OK, before I say another word, let me state right now that I firmly believe that George Zimmerman should never have gotten out of his car. Had he followed the dispatcher’s orders, and just stayed there, we wouldn’t be looking at the situation we’re looking at now, and Trayvon Martin likely would still have been alive.
That having been said, without “blaming the victim,” I can easily see how Trayvon could’ve been alive today had he just used some basic common sense. And I’m not even talking about the well-known advice that many black parents give their kids of “Don’t argue with the police. Just be polite, and call the lawyer when you get home.” Heck, that’s good advice for anyone. It’s what I said to my melanin-impoverished wife when she was pulled over for speeding in a Pennsylvania work zone almost ten years ago. I knew something was wrong with the signs, but I told her that we’d quietly go back and check out the signs after she got the ticket.
No…I’m talking about something more basic, that applies to anyone, black, white, or purple; something that this least street-smart person in the world learned as a kid in Jersey.
What I’m talking about is this: If you think that someone is following you, don’t look back, don’t acknowledge them, don’t let them know that you know they’re there or that you think they’re following you (because maybe they’re not). Just walk a little faster to where you’re going, or to some “safe” place. Do not run, if they are following you, that will just make them chase you. And above all, Do not confront them. People are nuts; you don’t know why they’re following you or what they’re carrying. This is advice that this “least street-smart person in the world” had to follow more than once in his 55 years.
Zimmerman was one of those people, and had Trayvon followed this simple advice, he’d likely still be alive today.
To paraphrase Billy Joel, “You may be right - they may be crazy…and armed.” And sometimes backing down to defuse the situation, even when you know that you’re in the right, is the better part of living to see another day. I worry about some of my young friends, black, white, and all kinds of shades in between, who don’t understand this, and who I can easily see getting themselves killed over a principle, when they could easily have backed down and walked away.
Unfortunately, that’s the problem with being young; you don’t get that. I’m not sure that even I would’ve gotten it at that age.
And once again, I will say that Zimmerman instigated the situation that Trayvon was not experienced enough to know how to handle wisely.
Some people, upon hearing what I’ve just said, tell me that there’s no guarantee that Zimmerman wouldn’t have killed Trayvon Martin even if he had acted calmly and wisely. I can accept that. You never know what might have been.
But had Zimmerman still shot him anyway, the evidence against him would be even more damning.
So please, take a little advice from this “least street-smart person in the world;” if you think you’re being followed, don’t look back, don’t acknowledge them, don’t let them know that you know they’re there or that you think they’re following you. Just walk a little faster to where you’re going, or to some “safe” place. And above all, Do not confront them.
Oh, and by the way, cell phones are wonderful things. Use them to call for help.