I’m sure you’ve received all kinds of mail and commentary, some of it supportive, and much of it–not. I doubt you’re interested in yet another person sticking their nose into it and giving you their opinion on the whole mess you’ve gotten yourself in. Too bad. It’s my blog and I want to sound off on this particular topic.
Only you will ever know exactly what happened that night. I’ve got to wonder if you even know the truth anymore, what with the requirement that you defend your actions that night. Tell a lie often enough, and you will come to believe it’s true.
Here’s what I think happened based off of what I’ve heard publicized and my own reading of human nature. I think you were out watching the neighborhood, trying to keep it safe from thugs who had been perpetrating crimes. It’s a noble effort, one I applaud. As citizens we should be looking out for one another, and I would find it comforting to have a neighborhood watch in my neighborhood.
The thing is–when you are protecting a neighborhood, it is important to protect everyone in that neighborhood, even when you don’t know that they belong. Law enforcement spends a lot of time training so that they can tell the difference in a split second between a threatening person and somebody who is not a threat. They are also trained exhaustively in the ways to best handle somebody they are not sure about the threat a person poses.
Even with all that extensive training, they occasionally make mistakes. When those mistakes happen, the result is often horrifying for the officer who made the mistake, the person about whom they made the mistake, and the community in which it happens. And, this with extensive training–training that you do not have.
What made you think that you were qualified to follow and confront somebody you were convinced was a threat to the neighborhood? So, no. I don’t believe your account that you were accosted by Trayvon Martin with no provocation of any kind. What I envision is a young man who was as scared of you as you were of him.
He’s walking home through the dark and a creepy, middle-aged man is watching him and starts to follow him. I can believe your account that he jumped out at you and even punched you in the nose. But, did he do that with a similar motivation to yours? Was he trying to protect the neighborhood from a potential predator, too?
We’ll never know, because he’s dead–by your hand.
Yeah, I know you’re life has gone to hell in a handbasket since that night. I know your life has been forever altered by that act. It seems like everyone is against you right now. But, it’s hard for me to feel sorry for you because as much as your life sucks right now, you’re still alive. He is not alive. Any potential he had has been squashed. He will never see the light of another day, and it is your fault.
No, I don’t consider you to be a murderer. I believe you honestly feared for your life when you shot him. But, it never had to happen. If you had just stayed home; if you had just listened to that dispatcher when she told you not to follow the guy; if you had left your weapon in the truck instead of carrying it, you would both be alive right now. One bonehead with a gun, and two lives are ruined–one permanently and the other until everyone forgets–which in America will be any time now.
You still have a future. Use it more wisely than you did the first half of your life.