Most people, knowing what’s known about the shooting of Trayvon Martin, would like to see George Zimmerman charged with something – me included. But it would be a miscarriage of justice if Zimmerman was charged with a hate crime, as some experts speculate.
Racism, if Zimmerman is guilty of it, is not a crime. Pursuing an unarmed teen when law enforcement tells you not to, then shooting and killing him, is clearly illegal.
The overriding cultural issues brought to the forefront by Trayvon Martin’s slaying shouldn’t cloud simple matters of justice, nor should it obscure the larger problem that’s garnering scant attention.
We’re a nation of no gun laws. A state rep. from Woodstock has proposed House Bill 981, which would allow concealed weapons in:
Public schools and colleges;
Bars and restaurants;
Places of worship;
Government buildings, including the state Capitol.
Meanwhile, a bill that would require four hours of training for anyone who gets a permit to carry a concealed weapon couldn’t even get a hearing in a committee.
While there appears to be nothing in George Zimmerman’s past that would’ve prevented him from carrying a weapon there were certainly warning signs.
Over the years, his scores of calls to police showed he pursued shoplifters and errant drivers with zeal, reporting pit bulls, potholes, children playing in the street, open garage doors and “suspicious” youths — usually black males — loitering in the street.
He peppered his calls with jargon familiar to police. In one case, he chased a reckless driver while calling 911 — the driver later told police he was terrified that Zimmerman was going to attack him. In another case, Zimmerman tailed a supermarket shoplifter until a police officer successfully arrested the thief.
Of course those warning signs were missed because the NRA won’t allow governments to regulate who is allowed access to deadly weapons. And few people seem inclined to challenge the gun nuts who, despite nearly uncontested influence, still claim to be under siege