What if


I hesitate to write this post.

I don’t want to add to the general sense of hysteria out there, on this morning after the acquittal.  But I tossed and turned a lot last night, and I just have one big question that keeps coming to mind.   Just one.

See, I didn’t watch countless hours of the trial on TV, and I didn’t read every word written by every legal “expert”.  I couldn’t.  A seventeen year old boy was dead, and I didn’t want to keep hearing those screams for help, no matter who was screaming.

So I don’t honestly have an opinion on whether the shooter was a racist or not. I don’t know him.   I don’t know if the victim reacted out of fear or anger or frustration when he knew that some “creepy” guy was stalking him.  I don’t know either of them, and I wasn’t there.  I don’t think its right for me to act as if I know what really happened or what motivated either of the people who was actually involved in the tragedy.

But I just have this one question, and I can’t get away from it.

What if the shooter hadn’t had a loaded gun hidden in a pocket?

If the guy wasn’t holding a loaded weapon, I wonder if maybe he would have been smart enough to have stayed in his vehicle, like he was told to do by the police dispatcher?  I wonder if he would have told himself, “This kid looks really dangerous (since that’s what prompted the whole incident, right?)”.  I wonder if he would have thought, “I better stay safe in my car.”  Did that loaded gun give the shooter a sense of power? Did it prompt him to follow a guy who he clearly described as suspicious?

I wonder.

And what if the shooter had had gun, but what if it wasn’t concealed? 

Would the boy have pushed down his anger and frustration over being followed by a creepy stalker, and would the sight of that weapon have prompted him to rush home, instead of standing up to the guy and confronting him?

I wonder.

This was such a senseless, stupid, mindless, wasteful death of a child.  So blindly, mind-numbingly stupid, stupid, stupid.

I don’t know if society, at least at this moment in time, can stop people from having racial prejudices. I don’t know.

And I don’t know if we can stop weak and powerless people from wanting to pump up their own self-image by imitating the macho strengths of the police.  I just don’t know.

I’m not sure that we can stop young men from reacting impulsively to perceived slights/threats/challenges. A developing brain is a developing brain; common sense, it seems, comes slowly to the human species.  I don’t know how we can speed that up.

But I do know that we, as a society, could have prevented this kid’s death.

Until we are finally willing to stand up and say, “It is just plain stupid and dangerous to let average imperfect human beings walk around with loaded weapons hidden on their bodies.”, we are going to have to keep dealing with needless, senseless, wasteful death.

And I just realized that I have another question ringing through my head this morning:

Does that shooter now regret carrying a loaded gun in his pocket?

I wonder.SONY DSC

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17 thoughts on “What if

  1. You’re absolutely right, Moms. If Zimmerman had not had a loaded, concealed gun in his pocket, the scenario would have played out much differently.

    Guns are a huge problem. Sadly this verdict is going to bring on more guns. If you were Trayvon’s friend, wouldn’t you go out and buy one right now to prevent this from happening to you?

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    • I don’t know.
      What I do know is that I am now afraid of people I meet in public places. A grumpy looking old guy in the supermarket? What if he has a gun!? The person buzzing along in the left lane of the highway? He could kill me!
      I’ve never been afraid of people before; I am now.

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      • I guess I’m more philosophical than that. I figure I can take normal precautions (like not pissing off grumpy old guys in the supermarket) and then not worry about it. Because if we all worry about dying all the time, we’re not going to do a whole lot of living.

        Funny/true story. One day I was talking with my son about dangers, explaining that very philosophy. I said “I’m careful, but sometimes things just happen and you have no control over them. I mean, I could get hit by a meteorite any day now!” The very next day a piece of a meteorite hit a house. It was in all the news (not the recent Russian one, this was in the US some years ago). We laughed and laughed.

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    • I fully understand your point of view regarding firearms. No sane rational adult conceals a firearm and skulks around in the shadows until they come upon a stranger and then shoots them dead. Zimmerman was never judged to be insane.
      I fully understand your point of view regarding the loss of a child. I am the father of three grown sons. My sons came to visit/stay during service hitches and college times. I lived in a gated community with full security and associated mobile patrols throughout. The officers patrolling were not armed but their supervisors were. My sons were 18 and 19 years old when they first visited in my new community. I told them our security is a serious business and went through what requirements and rules were to be followed. Last thing I told them; Stay above board. Don’t play with them. They don’t play!
      Security was expensive there because it was done correctly. There were lot’s of people who made mistakes and judgement errors. I will always mourn the loss of this young child!

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  2. Whoever snags the first interview with Zimmerman should ask that question. I, for one, would like to hear his answer. Thanks for a thought-provoking post.

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    • I’m getting so tired of feeling sad about so many dead children. I’m just bewildered by the idea that anyone, anywhere is made safe by a concealed weapon. What is wrong with humans?

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    • As I understand it, Zimmerman’s already answered that question. When Hannity asked him if he’d do anything differently if he could do it over, Zimmerman said “no”…

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      • I guess I’m not surprised. Still, that interview happened (as far as I know) before the whole trial. Maybe now he has rethought his incredibly stupid, irresponsible, personally self-aggrandizing actions.
        Or maybe not.

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  3. trayvon was shot and suffered for 10 minutes until he died, and this guy walks AND gets his gun back. if the roles were reversed the shooter would be convicted. only in florida can this happen because of stand your ground law. there are three standards of justice in this country. 1 for blacks. 2 for whites. 3 for rich whites who can buy their way out of anything. tell me how it is different here now than in south africa?

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    • All great points, Aaron.
      I just don’t understand this ridiculous, amoral fixation on weapons. I just don’t get it.
      And I am so tired of feeling sad and helpless as more and more kids are killed every day by people who claim that they have a “right” to own and use guns.

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  4. The only “good” thing about this whole situation is that I have hope for our younger generation. My 15 year-old son was so angry last night – about as angry as I have ever known him to be. And his anger was over the verdict. No matter what you think or believe about the entire situation, I have hope that our next generation is not only less racist and more tolerant but also pays attention to such issues.

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    • Good for your boy! I have such faith in our children, in our next generation. They seem to be so much more in tune with kindness and with tolerance.
      It’s just such a sad day for our country.

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      • “Whenever any American’s life is taken by another American unnecessarily – whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of the law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence – whenever we tear at the fabric of the life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded.” Robert F. Kennedy

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  5. I’m not sure Zimmerman cares – he and his attorneys looked gleeful over the verdict. Zimmerman will get his pats on the back from like-minded people. Racism is alive and well in this country. Aaron is right – there are different kinds of justice in the U.S. depending on the color of your skin. I for one wouldn’t live in a neighborhood where untrained, non law officers were carrying guns. At some point, I hope that Zimmerman will have some remorse and realize that he’s no hero. He’s a murderer.

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    • And, oh the irony: I just read that Zimmerman’s attorneys are saying that he is “in fear for his life”. Which no doubt means that he will come out shooting every time he goes out his front door.

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