I don’t often pontificate on matters outside of Fort Lauderdale, but I think I might have some special insight into how this terrible tragedy of the killing of Trayvon Martin happened.
You see, I was a neighborhood watch guy.
Let me start by saying that I don’t believe that George Zimmerman is guilty of murder or manslaughter. ….. I’ve thought that from the beginning….. And if you’ve never lived in a neighborhood with a lot of crime, never had to concern yourself with it, I understand why you might not see it this way, but …
This is my opinion – and here’s how I see it….
For almost a decade during the 1990′s, I spent lots of time with neighbors trying to stop criminals from destroying neighborhoods. Crime was out of control. We formed anti-crime groups after it seemed the Police were losing the battle with the street criminals. We marched the streets, started bike patrols, called the press, demanded action. We were mad as hell and were not going to take it anymore!
The criminals then were mostly drug dealers. [And yes, there was a racial component then. The dealers were almost all young black men, and the drug addicts (buyers) were most often white guys]. We followed the dealers, (and the buyers), profiled both, called the cops incessantly.
We never confronted the dealers, just followed and called the cops. And on a few occasions, the dealers got mad at our meddling into their profitable business and tried to assault us, but we’d back off and call the cops some more.
I’m glad we did not carry guns.
In Sanford, Florida, the crime that frustrated the neighborhood was burglary. Even though Trayvon Martin was not a criminal, Zimmerman thought he was.
Zimmerman said as much to the 911 operator – these “fucking punks always get away”. So Zimmerman followed Martin, profiled Martin, called the cops on Martin, made sure Martin didn’t get out of his site. None of that is illegal, but it certainly pissed Martin off.
Martin told his friend on the phone that this “creepy ass cracker” was following him. I think Trayvon knew that he was being profiled, that Zimmerman was calling the cops on him. But Trayvon knew he wasn’t doing anything wrong.!
Why should he put up with this dude disrespecting him like that? Why should he go run into the house? He had a right to walk there!
Then Martin’s anger built, and he did what many 17 year-old males might have done – set out to teach Zimmerman a lesson….. Got the drop on Zimmerman - clocked him – climbed onto him, not stopping to think things out.
Zimmerman was armed, he fired, and the rest is just tragedy.