Trayvon Martin’s smile is haunting me. I see it in the photos broadcast on the nightly news programs, in the newspaper, and when I close my eyes. It’s a wide, shy slice of youth and happiness. And now, it’s permanently erased.
The person who guaranteed that the smile would be frozen in photos is a self-styled town-watch volunteer, which in Florida seems to be spelled V-I-G-I-L-A-N-T-E. The laws in that state, like the laws in many others, make it okay to “stand your ground” in self-defense, and a shooter under those circumstances is almost guaranteed a “don’t even get into jail” card. But George Zimmerman, the man who erased Trayvon Martin’s smile, might not be able to cower behind that questionable law, because by his own admission on a 911 tape, he was actively following the victim.
In that strange Floridian lexicon, that seems to be spelled “S-T-A-L-K-I-N-G.”
While I sincerely hope that this does not become a battleground between the NRA and the NAACP, we have to face facts. If Trayvon Martin were white, his shooter would be in custody. If George Zimmerman were black instead of Hispanic (he was adopted by Jewish parents), Trayvon Martin’s shooter would be in custody. You can pretend all you want that this has nothing to do with race. But you can also buy the Brooklyn Bridge at a fire sale.