… when I see pictures of the late Trayvon Martin?
I see a 17-year-old boy trying to be tough, trying to be brash.
He does it with his clothes, with his language, with his actions. He seems to know as a black male he is a target, a never-ending target. And being young, he acts out and shows poor judgement that makes a parent bang their head against the wall.
Fact is, I know many Travon Martins.
The difference is the ones I see come from poor white families. Maybe there is a learning disability or hyper-active disorder thrown in. Maybe there is no structure at home or a mom desperately trying to get the kid to live with structure.
Some of these kids care more than you would think. And that leads them to reach out to other people who are hurting.
So when I see people trying to defame Martin by using his texts or Facebook postings, I get really upset. These postings and messages are a part of the image he tried to project. The actions, befriending a girl picked on for her appearance, speaks of a different boy.
His death is being depicted as a bigger issue, that of a young black man shot and killed by a man who looks white while being half-Hispanic. While that might have led to Zimmerman to profile Martin, to me it is something more.
It is profiling a young male, wearing a hoodie, as being a dangerous suspect. It is following a young man who is a stranger to the neighborhood watch volunteer who has tagged that young man as being a dangerous element while his actions do not suggest any such thing. And when the suspect turns and confronts his stalker, everything goes wrong.
If I am the parent of that young man, I am angry and I want the shooter to get justice.
I want the inconsistent elements of this story explained. I want to know why the neighborhood watch guy did not follow instructions from the dispatcher. I want to know why he told Sean Hannity he did not know about the ‘Stand Your Ground Law’ when he had learned about it in a class before the shooting in which he received a grade of ‘A.’ I want to know why he followed my son for doing nothing more than walking to a convenience, buying a drink and a bag of candy, and then walking home.
We know there will be repercussions should Zimmerman get off. I am not talking about the inevitable riots and demonstrations no matter what the verdict. I am talking about young men who appear suspicious while doing nothing that are harmed by an over zealous neighborhood watch person. And that watch person will feel justified because that kid was ‘up to no good or on drugs or something.’
Think I don’t know what I am talking about? I have seen some of these kids up close and personal in my youth group. Some are in my very white, very small town. They walk around and they will give you lip. They will dress in the manner of a gang member even if they are not in a gang. They might be going to ‘alternative school’ if their acting-out behavior has gotten them kicked out of regular school.
If they have a family member with issues with the law or is a no-good-nick, they are watched just a little more by law enforcement even if they are a ‘good kid.’ The kids know this and react to it. Some fight back, some find a way out-of-town, others decide to live up to the undeserved reputation.
They will be black, white, or any other color. But I guarantee they will be the young men that people consider ‘troubled,’ young men who dress rough and talk tough, they may not start the fight but they sure as hell are going to finish it. I bet you can think of one such kid right now without too much trouble.
Trayvon Martin was not an anomaly. He lives in every town in every state of our nation within every grade of every school. Every single one of us know a ‘Trayvon’ who got to grow up, to mature, to be better, or not. Most of us know a teenage ‘Trayvon’ and the jury is still out on whether or not they will make it to the age of 25.
If I had my way, more people would reach out to those prickly creatures. Instead of complaining about the troubled ones, maybe they could befriend them, be a trusted adult other than their parent that is reliable. Yes, you will get bitten some of the time and you have to set boundaries. But if that is what it takes to prevent one more death such as Trayvon’s, wouldn’t it be worth it?
The Roycroft Report has a post up with a picture of Trayvon Martin after he died that was first shown at MSNBC. It is painful and graphic to see the eyes staring at nothing. It should not matter if you are a libetard or repubdickan, the death of a young man should be shocking.
Editor’s Note 7-14-13:
Now that we have a ‘not guilty’ verdict, I feel certain this will give many neighborhood watch guys the right to use a gun on their patrols or walk arounds. Do we teach these guys to use more caution or teach the young men how to act around extra vigilant neighborhood watch guys? I don’t know.