Trayvon Martin belongs to all of us

"Whatever you do to the least of these, you do also to me." Trayvon belonged to all of us, and his death diminishes all of us.

Florida’s Stand Your Ground law means that Trayvon Martin’s killer likely won’t be punished for his deed.

The law was written by ALEC (the Koch Brothers and NRA-funded American Legislative Exchange Council) and the gun lobby to enhance the sale of guns. The NRA long ago stopped lobbying for gun owners; now it represents the gun lobby, especially gun manufacturers.

This no longer is about the Second Amendment; it is about selling guns to frightened citizens. Hey, if someone like George Zimmerman were following me, I’d need a gun to protect myself.

Here’s the deal, though: If all the African-Americans in Florida got guns because of the Stand Your Ground law, it would be repealed pretty quickly. I’m certain that if the roles had been reversed and Trayvon Martin had felt threatened and shot Zimmerman, young Trayvon would be sitting in jail charged with murder.

Zimmerman had no reason to feel threatened. He didn’t live in the gated community where he shot and killed Trayvon Martin, and his 911 call that night was not his first; in fact, there were more than 90 such calls to police in the year leading up to the murder, and most were about suspicious looking African-American males.

A newer photo shows Trayvon looking a little less saintly than the one most widely circulated. It is next to a photo of Zimmerman in a suit and tie and it claims media bias because these aren’t the images we see the most. Frankly, I don’t care about the image. Trayvon was a kid who had Skittles and iced tea in his hands. He committed no crime; he died because he happened to walk across the gun sight of George Zimmerman, a stalker who was, and is, dangerous.

I know a little bit of what Trayvon’s mother feels like, having lost a son who should still be alive. But my son was killed by a broken health care system, not a hate-filled vigilante; I at least got to say goodbye.

Trayvon Martin belongs to all of us. He was our child.

When Emmett Till was murdered by a racist gang of white men in Mississippi in August 1955, his mother said that the act that killed her son diminished us all, and that is true of this case. We live in a society where people tout the Second Amendment as an excuse to allow the murder of an innocent 17-year-old.

In my mind, there is no excuse. Laws like Florida’s Stand Your Ground law exist in 23 states, including North Carolina, where I live. That’s nearly half the nation. Could an African-American kid walking through my neighborhood be shot in cold blood and his killer get away with it?

The Second Amendment doesn’t give us the right to murder children who make us nervous.

Zimmerman said in his 911 call that the kid was wearing a hoodie. Hell, I wear hoodies, and I’m hardly a threat. In fact, I wore a pullover with a hood to church yesterday.

A lot of homeless people wear hoodies to keep themselves warm. Does that make them expendable?

These same people who scream that any control of firearms is unconstitutional are the same ones who claim to be pro-life, who believe they have the right to shoot to kill  someone who makes them nervous.

You can’t have it both ways, people.

I’m OK with the Second Amendment, but not with the length to which it has been interpreted to mean we deserve a free-for-all gunfight whenever someone makes us nervous.

 

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