I respect the verdict of the jury who heard the evidence and the law and delivered the verdicts of not guilty in the trial of George Zimmerman. I also respect the anguish of African Americans and others who believe that had Trayvon Martin been white, Zimmerman would not have killed him.
With our shameful racial history and the death of an unarmed boy who was doing nothing wrong, I can appreciate their grief and rage. But I have teenage sons too, who are white, and they are also at risk from the Zimmermans of the world, because Zimmerman was armed and emboldened.
I wonder whether Zimmerman would have ignored the dispatcher’s instruction to stay in the car if he hadn’t been armed. I wonder if Zimmerman would have approached the teenager he confronted with more thought and planning if he hadn’t been armed.
Did Zimmerman have a right to get out of the car and approach Trayvon? Yes. Did he have a right to carry a firearm? Yes. But this isn’t the Wild West, and those of us who don’t carry firearms shouldn’t live in fear that walking down the street or even appearing suspicious to someone else will cost us our lives.