I have been thinking about the Trayvon Martin shooting. It is hard not to. It is constantly on the news, in the papers, at the water cooler, the topic is on everyones mind here in Florida, and I expect around the country.
So why am I writing this post? I don't mean to add to the noise, but the polarizing side-picking seems to miss the core points that matter to me. I'm not writing this to piss anyone off. I just want to think out loud a bit.
Did George Zimmerman break the law? I don't know. Was Trayvon Martin violent or provoked to violence? Again, I don't know.
Did Zimmerman murder another human being? Yes. Was it justified?
I think only Zimmerman can answer that. After all, he is the one that will have to live with his actions.
What is the deal with guns? I'm not anti-gun, but there is a time and a place. For sport, shooting is fun. Some folks enjoy hunting. It's not my game, but again, that's for the individual to live with.
There are gun shows on the Discovery channel. Not like Antiques Roadshow, looking at historic firearms. No. The shows are about blowing up things with bigger and bigger guns.
More glamorizing violence. Not cool.
I saw an old Navy buddy copy/paste/post a picture on facebook. The picture was a hand gun and a bible, and the caption read "Two things every American should know how to use, but neither of these are taught in school."
Um...LOL. Er...I don't even know how to respond to that. It's just ridiculous. So kids should be taught to use hand guns in school? The religion part, I think we all know the answer to that. Teach any religion you want, but don't confuse religion with science, or history, or math, or anything else.
So what does this have to do with Zimmerman? He had a gun legally. The courts have said he has that right. I don't necessarily agree, after all, he isn't part of any state militia, but that isn't how the courts have interpreted the law.
Did he weigh the consequences of his actions? I don't mean that night. I mean did he weigh the consequences when he strapped a lethal weapon to his body? Or when he purchased the weapon?
Of course he did, one might argue. He trained to use the gun, he filled out paperwork to carry concealed. But this isn't about shooting targets, even those horrific anthropomorphic silhouettes. At some point, he made the decision that under certain circumstances, he would kill. He's not alone. Most folks have thought about the tough questions, and have said they would do x, y or z under the right threat. However, it is one thing to imagine it, but it is a whole different matter to take the step of strapping on a lethal weapon.
I may be nit picking. But the truth is I'm talking about me and my thoughts on violence.
I got in a rather heated discussion with a close friend once, about teaching kids not to hit. They felt that kids should know that under certain circumstances it is ok to hit, like defending a weaker kid. My concern was the term ok. It may be necessary in extremis to use violence to defend, but that doesn't make it ok. It is not ok. Violence is never ok.
Would I defend myself? I'm sure if I dig deep, I can imagine extreme situations where mine or another's life is in immediate danger, and I have the power to employ violence as the only solution to the problem.
But would I kill for stuff? Would I consciously point a deadly weapon at another human being, and pull the trigger to protect my stuff? Of course not, sounds silly, right? Is my iPad worth another persons life?
According to the news, Zimmerman started the neighborhood watch because there had been burglaries in the gated neighborhood where he lives.
I don't know if he put the two thoughts together.
Bottom line, the world is not "get them before they get you." But some folks think it is. Some folks out there think it is ok to kill another. Some folks would kill to protect their stuff.