July 16, 2013
When I was a boy, my superhero fantasies included “carrying” pistols around and killing bad guys. I actually fired a lot of guns, thanks to my mom’s brothers, Dee and Jess and also Grandpa Jones, who taught me to shoot Texas jackrabbits in the rear end, to hear them cry out. I killed a fair number of helpless animals–just no people.
Nature does not recognize a distinction between the two. Only humans see human life as something more important as frogs or fish or houseflies. I am a humanist; I don’t need a deity for me to know I must live my life according to a code of ethical conduct. I respect everyone who feels differently—racists excluded. Like most of us I grew up and learned to separate fantasy from real life.
Some men never grow up. Some men feel downtrodden and powerless. I feel for George Zimmerman. He never grew up. He had unhealthy fantasies and it is blind fate that he placed himself in a situation where fantasy and reality cross.
People who participate in neighborhood watch programs are taught never to leave their vehicles, never carry a weapon, always have a whistle and a cell phone to call 911 in emergency. Mr. Zimmerman, perhaps with visions of superherodom swirling in his head, was not adequately trained, was armed, was not prepared for the consequences of his actions. He did not set out to kill a boy. The 911 dispatcher told him to remain in his car. There would have been no national news story, had he listened.
A boy is dead. Nature will not take note. Trayvon—what a weird name. Ewing (me)—what a weird name. Mr. Zimmerman didn’t know the boy’s name but he could see the color of the boy’s skin. He would not have killed me, would not left his vehicle to investigate an old white man. Yet I am more dangerous than a boy in a hoodie. Experience has taught me what I will and will not do. I am capable of killing. I understand nature, but I think that boys should be given the benefit of the doubt. Innocent children die all the time. Hate begets hate.
And so it goes.
Shame, anyone? Anyone?