Responsibility For the Death of a Teen

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past two weeks, you know the name Trayvon Martin. He’s the seventeen-year-old killed by the leader of a Neighborhood Watch group in Sanford, Florida. The guy claims it was self-defense. News analysts are blaming everything from a gun law in Florida to the hoodie the kid was wearing. Who really is to blame for the death of Trayvon Martin?

We are.

When asked what the most important commandment was, in Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

If the shooter had been more versed in Jesus’ word, a teenager wouldn’t be dead. And if teens weren’t so prone to violence or having to prove themselves, a teenager wouldn’t be dead. All they had to do was talk to one another. Instead, the killer automatically thought of this kid as a “F… Punk”. And I’m sure when this kid realized he was being followed, he turned to face the guy, probably with an attitude of you’re not going to steal from me or “dis me.”

That’s the society we live in. We’re afraid to walk down the street at night for fear the two teens, no matter the color of their skin, might try to rob us. And kids are forced to fight for what belongs to them or for pride.

If the shooter had asked the kid what he was doing there, the media would have no story. Therein lies another issue. The media focuses too much on the bad and not enough on the good. Mainly because the bad is what sells. We have ourselves to blame for that also.

We’re all to blame for what happened. This is the society we created. And it’s a society that only we can repair. And until we do, there will be more Trayvon Martins’ who die.


  1. You hit the nail squarely on the head.

    1. Thanks Pat.

  2. Well, said, Kathy. A little more trust, a lot more willingness to accept each other for who we are, and a ton of reaching out, talking it out, trying to understand and be “Our brother’s keeper.” I’m saddened that an armed man feels the best use of his time is stalking anyone he considers different and that he’s allowed to do so and get away with it. I’m even more saddened to see the protests and marches shown on television and see so few “white” faces in the crowds. I have a sinking suspicion I would not like the make up of those protesting crowds had Trayvon had blond hair and blue eyes and what that would say about our society. Pray for us all.

    1. I agree. However, there were quite a few white faces in the crowd. The media just didn’t seem to take a lot of them. A lot of college students have been attending the protests, both white and African-American. I think the media might be trying to make this a white v. black thing when in reality it’s an armed man vs. unarmed teenager thing. I don’t think it mattered what color Trayvon was. Zimmerman would have thought he was up to no good if he’d been a white teenager. That’s a sad statement of our society right now. No trust.

      1. An interesting op-ed piece in yesterday’s paper talked about the wisdom of kids wearing hoodies. The author likened it to when he attended Harvard and was advised NOT to walk through the Irish part of Boston. He did walk through the supposedly dangerous neighborhood, but instead of wearing the Brooks Brother’s clothing that was popular on campus, he wore the jeans and boots of the local working class and was never molested. All of which seems to say we are all guilty of judging a book by its cover and making life or death decisions, in the Trayvon Martin case, based on what a person chooses to wear. So, now I wonder, am I as safe as I think I am when I walk my dog late at night wearing a hoodie, with the hood pulled up on cold nights? I’m a white senior citizen, but who would know that with my navy blue hoodie on?

        But an even more disturbing issue bothers me about this case. Our police academies spend a lot of time and effort training our professionals (police and others) in the acceptable and safe use of firearms/force. Officers are reprimanded and punished for inappropriate use, and always put on temporary suspension until cleared when they do use their weapons for any reason. Yet it’s okay to allow an untrained man walk our streets at night, a self-appointed neighborhood watch, who might just have a sick fascination with the power this gives him. And worse, he gets away with killing another human being after a cursory questioning by the original investigating officers? I’d like to repeat my earlier comment that I am very thankful that there are no Zimmermans living in my neighborhood, and if I lived in his, I’d have my house up for sale.

  3. I know the first time I heard about the hoody, I recalled that I’d bought one for my daughter with her college logo on it. Also, don’t you have to take certain classes to have a concealed weapon? If not, you should. And if so, they need to be better classes. I have no Zimmermans in my neighborhood, but a couple Trayvon’s. I’ll take a Trayvon any day.

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