My how this case has taken on a life of it's own. In the two weeks since we originally posted on this case, it's gone from a backwoods story to a nationwide media circus. Unfortunately, lost amongst the accusations of racism and heated emotion is the core of what this case is about.
I very much doubt Mr. Zimmerman intended to become a child killer. Unfortunately, that is exactly what he has become. Not because he is a heartless monster, or even a racist, but for a much simpler reason: when you carry around a loaded gun, life altering tragedies are as easy to come by as a simple misunderstanding. Trayvon wasn't killed because he was profiled, but because one person had a gun when the situation escalated, allowing a mistake and misunderstanding to turn deadly. Like a drunk driver who plows into another car, it was Zimmermans stupidity, not his evil character, that left a child dead.
It was a mistake for Zimmerman to assume Martin was up to something. It was a mistake to follow and confront the teen. And regardless of how things unfolded next, it was a mistake for Zimmerman to assume he needed to use deadly force against a 140 pound unarmed teenager. This is not a racial tragedy. It is a gun tragedy. Even if you believe Zimmermans rather dubious story that Trayvon reached for his gun, this would be a non issue, and a non life threatening situation, had Zimmerman not had a gun. This case comes back to one thing, and one thing only: Mr Zimmerman, this otherwise "law abiding" citizen, was packing, turning a series of mistakes into a deadly encounter.
Unfortunately, this is rather typical of the mistakes that are common to "law abiding gun owners" when more people carry loaded weapons. In fact, "law abiding gun owners" are several hundred times more likely to make a mistake or commit a crime with their weapon that they are to use it legitimately for self defense. That means that every person carrying a gun makes you and your children monumentally less safe and more likely to die from a crime despite what the gun lobbyists might have you believe. Having a gun can make you feel powerful, but it doesn't offer safety, for one simple reason: legitimate chances to be the hero are extremely rare. You have a better chance of winning the 'big ' lottery. The chances to make mistakes happen every day.
The real monsters of this story are people like representative Dennis K. Baxley, who sponsored the gun lobbies stand your ground law, openly encouraging people to shoot first and ask questions later. Or any of the other ill informed gun advocates who promote the fairy tale that guns offer self protection. This myth directly causes hundreds of child deaths each and every year. It was killing children long before Treyvon Martin, and it will be killing kids long after. Let us not forget that as we speak the gun lobby is pushing further and further to try and revive the Wild West days where every idiot carries a gun on his belt. If this campaign continues unchecked, we can be assured of thousands of more stories like this to come.