For the sake of my sanity, I generally refrain from watching any news. This is something that started when Hurricane Katrina hit and my then 5 year old son started asking questions about what he was seeing on television. I decided that my sensitive child didn’t need all the sensational coverage the news provides these days. Now, instead of watching the news, I read it online from a variety of sources…including sources that normally run contrary to my own opinions. That is the only way I have found to ensure fair and balanced news coverage.
Because of my antipathy for television news, I was largely out of the loop on the shooting of Trayvon Martin. I missed the President’s comments to his parents, I missed Geraldo’s crazy ranting about hoodies, and I missed hearing about Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jacksons’ concerns regarding racial profiling. Today I finally sat down and read through some information to get a better perspective. There was a lot to sort through, but I found myself returning to the same thought repeatedly: this hoodie-wearing kid, armed only with Skittles and iced tea, did not have to die. George Zimmerman called 911. That was his duty as a civic-minded, neighborhood watch captain. That is all he should have done, and if he had done just that Trayvon Martin would more than likely not now be a top news story.
Despite being fairly liberal, I am not anti-gun. I’m fine with the second amendment. I’ve chosen not to own a gun because of our sons, but I don’t expect others to give up their firearms simply because they’re not my thing. What troubles me, though, is how gun possession seems to make some people believe they are the law. When Zimmerman spied Martin, Martin was not in the process of stealing someone’s car or breaking a window and entering someone’s home. He may have looked suspicious to the neighborhood watch captain, but he wasn’t doing anything illegal. Instead of allowing the authorities to address his concerns (wasn’t that the point of his call to 911?), Zimmerman apparently followed Martin on foot against the advice of the 911 operator and there was a deadly altercation. Would he have been so brave if he’d not been carrying a concealed weapon? Maybe. Maybe not.
I have six of hoodies and I do wear them, sometimes with the hood up because my ears are cold. I think about my sons. They like hoodies and Skittles too and their ears get cold. Someday I hope they will be teenagers. Do I really need to wonder about their safety if they’re out walking at 7 p.m. on a Sunday night wearing their hoodies? Do we really need to be that afraid of one another?