I spent the better part of last night running around getting shot, stabbed, or otherwise killed last night. Not in a real world sort of way, mind you — my brother in law invited me to download a free to play game called Uncharted 3, and after explaining the way the game worked (Basically it was a kill or be killed sort of “tag” game with plenty of extra information you do not particularly need to know for the purpose of this article) we got into a five versus five match that pitted us along with three strangers against five strangers. The purpose? Kill them fifty times before they could do the same to us.
I couldn’t help but think of Trayvon Martin and the meaning of the “Stand Your Ground” law. Here is how I understood the sequence of events :
Trayvon was walking through the neighborhood, having just purchased an iced tea and Skittles. He was spotted by Zimmerman, who called the police and reported suspicious activity. If I had been in a similar situation and had been suspicious of someone for whatever reason< I would have done exactly the same thing. The police, however, explicitly told Zimmerman not to follow Martin.
Here is where we are different. When the police tell me to do or not to do something, I listen. I have found that it tends to keep things running as they should, so to speak, and it also tends to keep me from being arrested.
If Martin was approached in what he perceived as a hostile manner, did he not have the right to stand his ground?
The death of Trayvon Martin to me was entirely tragic and preventable. He was approached by someone that appeared to be a bully, and he stood his ground. I believe that if he had been approached by the police in a similar manner, things would have played out entirely differently.
Let us say that all of the negative things written about Martin are true — that he was not carrying iced tea but a watermelon flavored beverage intended for making into purple drank (You have to love comments sections for how angry they get) — if he had been approached by an armed police officer who asked him where he was going, would there have been a fight and a shooting, or a simple response and an “Oh, have a good night” instead?
I would like to believe that it would have been the latter. Then at least I wouldn’t be thinking of a gunned down hooded black teenager who wanted to go from point A to point B and never made it. Unfortunately, the real repercussions of this case have already started appearing, with teenagers getting shot for playing music loudly.