(Picture courtesy of www.mostphotos.com )
Welcome back to The Everyday Man's Sports Blog! The revival of The Everyday Sports Blog comes with the introduction of my wife, Tiffany Patton and a variation away from sports. As we all know, the George Zimmerman trial just concluded and Zimmerman is walking free after being found not guilty. There was much outrage and anger with the decision across the country. But also with the end of the trial there were many questions and thoughts going through everyone's minds. Well, my wife took the time to express her thoughts in this blog. Without further adieu, here are her thoughts about the whole thing.
When I was a teenager I had an experience with being followed and it was VERY SCARY. I was walking home at night from my best friend's house when I noticed it was happening. It was very dark and most of my walk was in a residential area with very few escape routes. Now anyone that has taken a middle school biology class has heard fear produces one of two responses: "fight or flight". I was preparing my mind for both. Once my followers tried to approach me and engage me in conversation, I ducked into a neighborhood store (thank God it was open) and they left me alone. If that didn't work, I was prepared mentally to do whatever I had to do to defend myself. I assumed that they had intentions to harm me so what would be the point in engaging in any conversation.
What baffles me is how anyone can justify Trayvon's murder because he choose the "fight" response, because he choose not to engage in civil dialogue with someone he probably assumed meant him harm. Any other response is actually the opposite of what we teach our kids. We teach our kids not to talk to strangers, especially creepy ones that are following you. And if you do get approached by said creepy stranger, we teach our kids to yell, bring attention to yourself and fight if necessary. That's what he did. So why is Trayvon being held to a different standard than any other American child? The "acting suspicious" argument keeps coming up but I still have not been told what that means. I've heard the hoodie is the reason, but a hoodie can't "act". I've heard he should have responded differently when Zimmerman approached him, but he was deemed "suspicious" before the interaction occurred so that too makes no sense. Furthermore, in addition to what I stated above as reasons he should not respond civilly to someone that is following him, there is another very logical reason: because he just didn't have to. That's right, he was walking down a street, he knew where he was going and he didn't have to respond to Zimmerman if he didn't want to. It's a choice I've made many times in my teenage and adult years and one I'm sure I'll continue to make. I'm a free American: I'm free to talk to or not talk to whomever I please.
In my heart of hearts I don't believe Zimmerman set out to kill that young man. But I do believe that for reasons that he has not stated, he already decided that young man was a criminal that needed to be dealt with. What were those reasons? For his supporters please tell me what reasons you feel his categorization of this young man as suspicious and the subsequent actions that followed were justified? And why is Trayvon held to a different set of rules than any other American child? I think when you really honestly answer those questions then you may have a new understanding of why black America is outraged, saddened and quite frankly afraid for our children.
I think whether or not you believe race and gender played a major role in this whole affair (as I and most of black America feels), this verdict should make you very concerned for ALL of our children. Now the very subjective categorization of "suspiciousness" is a reason for adults to follow and approach your children. And when they don't get the response they were looking for, your child may end up dead. The precedent has been set. There will be more Trayvon's and more Zimmerman's and they will be from all races, creeds and backgrounds.
I refuse to live in fear for God has not given me that spirit. He has given me a spirit of power, of love and of a sound mind. I refuse to live in bondage, for whom the Son sets free is free indeed, no matter how this world views me. That is how I will live and how I will teach my children to live. They will not live in fear and they will understand that the true battle is not against flesh and blood. The true battle is against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. But faith without works is dead, so just as I was equipped as a child, my children will be equipped. They will live with an awareness of the world we live in and they will be equipped to respond. R.I.P. Trayvon Martin. I will continue to pray that the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard the hearts and minds of all who loved him.
(Picture courtesy via www.kharmasworld.com )