By Glenn Peppers
The events that have unfolded these last few weeks concerning Trayvon Martin’s killing has been nothing less than a firestorm of emotions, protest, and solidarity in support of bringing this lone vigilante, George Zimmerman to justice. This case is important in that it is bringing to light a situation that has long plagued the black community and beyond for decades! The hair trigger, and seemingly right out killing of young (and at times) older black males, with impunity either by the police and now private citizens who think that a new law passed called “Stand your Ground” means, “Chase and Pursue, and Shot anyone you deem suspicious!”
I think that the whole idea of generalization is a horrible thing. When I walk my dog, and it is lightly raining or drizzling out, I wear my ball cap, and a hoodie to cover my head. I’m in the middle 50’s, and I don’t wear my pants around my buttocks, and I don’t look suspicious, at least not in my opinion, but leave it up to a cruising squad car, or a over zealous neighborhood watch captain, who may be sitting back in his car, talking to himself or a 911 dispatch officer going, “This guy’s on something! He looks like he’s on drugs or something! He’s coming over here to check me out!” And all I would be doing is halfway lumping as I walk because of my achy hip, I could be in trouble. If I stop for a minute and pull something from my Hoodie pocket, it just may only be my 10oz bottle of water or my doggie poop baggie for clean up. That Police guy wannabe in the car may take this as, “He’s reaching into his pocket for something!” This guy is building up in his mind that, I am a threat! Its almost as disturbing as that nutty character Robert De Niro played in the movie “Taxi Driver.” Looking insane in the mirror as he repeats over and over; “You talking to me? You talking to me? Then who the hell else are you talking to, I’m the only one here!”
If it is dark, and rainy, and this guy can’t quite see me, other than to notice that I am a black man, I could be in serious trouble and not even know it, because this guy has built up in his mind because of years of negative stereotyping, that black people (preferably males) are naturally some kind of a threat! So now, it doesn’t matter that all I have on my mind is getting back home to set my DVR to record NCIS, or The Walking Dead. Suddenly, and unknowingly, I have become a potential walking dead target just by being out and about, walking my dog, who by the way isn’t some ravaging, foaming at the mouth Pitbull, or whatever devil dog folks attribute black people or thugs as having.
So now, whether I know it or not, I am about to be confronted by a man who hates black people in the first place, so he is (as the saying goes), two seconds off my ass from the Get go! So, no matter what I say when this guy approaches me to play policeman, I am suspect! Now mind you, Neighborhood Watch is not a Tactical Unit! Suddenly, every move I make can be misconstrued as a threat in his eyes! My 10oz bottle of water in my left pocket to him is most definitely some sort of gun or weapon! If I straighten my pants, put my hand in my pocket, or ask my dog to sit, he could twitch and haul off and pull his gun (one of which he would have no business carryng on a neighborhood watch route) and shoot me, square in my chest or in my head. Once the police arrived, he’d swear I approached him, and attacked him; while walking my dog, who of course, who would assume played with him as opposed to biting him. He’s a St. Bernard, Dalmatian mix. Such a mean vicious dog! Its no matter that I am a husband, a writer, a long time healthcare worker, aspiring filmmaker, and all around good guy! I am black! I am (or was) a threat to him simply because I am black and out walking on a dark rainy night! So, as the saying goes, “We all look alike,” therefore we all act alike! Therefore, I am automatically by default a thief, a thug, and a criminal!
Heaven help me if I live through this shooting, and this guy who shot me has a father like George Zimmerman’s who was a Judge in Sanford, Fl, and can close criminal cases on his son the way Papa Zimmerman had arranged for wayward son! Maybe I’d get lucky and have my very cool neighbors call 911, and the dispatch officer would hear me yelling for my life in the background as this maniac yells and shouts at me as if he actually had a right to interrogate me and my whereabouts, in my own neighborhood; just before hyping himself up enough to shot me dead in my chest!
Hopefully, he’d be stupid enough to claim that I jumped him, and wrestled him to the ground and busted his nose and the back of his head, and the both of us had got all wet with the mud and the blood and the grass-stains during the struggle. Why? Because then out of nowhere, a video would turn up showing that right after the incident, there wouldn’t be a mark on that guy while he was being processed just minutes after the incident at the station house.
This is 2012. Humankind has so much to evolve from! The hate game is old, and it is the ball and chain that has been holding America back from being a truly great nation! Hate is stagnation, it is ignorance in its purest form. If we were actually being watched be intelligences outside our earth, I’d be careful and observe the citizen of this planet from afar as well. For this is a waring planet that eats its own. We are many species, yet all one race… The Human Race! The fact that we cannot come to grips with that is what has held humankind back since antiquity! We need to make this right! Not just with this issue with Trayvon Martin and the killing of black men and other hate crimes. We need to make things right as a people… God is watching!