How many of our kids wear hoodies in the rain? How many of our kids get shot because they are wearing hoodies in the rain? Well, at least one…this week. America is scratching its collective head over the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The Florida teen was walking back to a friend’s house with a bag of Skittles and an iced tea during half time of the NBA Playoffs. He was allegedly shot and killed by neighborhood-watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, who later said that he thought the boy looked “drugged.” Trayvon was on his phone with his girlfriend right before the shooting, and she said she heard him talking to the man following him and then heard a scuffle before the phone went dead.
Zimmerman had called 911 and told the dispatcher that he was following the boy, because, he said, “These a**holes always get away.” The dispatcher had told him, “We don’t need you to do that.” But he did.
MOMism: “Don’t jump to conclusions.” Good advice for us to give our kids every day. Good advice for us to remember as adults. When we are reactionary, fearful, angry, distrustful, judgmental and jump to conclusions…we make mistakes. As adults, we have to lay our own agendas down and get to the heart of the matter, before taking action. There is a distinct line between responsible citizenry and vigilante justice. As a neighborhood watch representative, Mr. Zimmerman should have called the police if he thought something was not right. But, he also should have heeded the direction of the dispatcher when told not to follow the boy. He got out of his car and pursued the boy. He crossed the line. If he had followed directions, Trayvon would not be dead.
So, we can also tell our kids not to go out looking for trouble, because guess what? They’ll find it. Seemingly, Mr. Zimmerman was looking for potential problems and he was armed and ready for something, anything to happen.
Imagine how your child would feel if a stranger with a gun started chasing him/her. Trayvon could have been any of our kids – he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time – and he happened to be black. Please share your opinions MAMAs?