In the movie Pulp Fiction, Ving Rhames’s character Marsellus Wallace shared his take on pride, saying that pride only hurts, it never helps.
Sometimes pride can be dangerous, even deadly.
On February 26, 2012 neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman confronted Trayvon Martin. Words were exchanged. A fight broke out. And a young man was fatally shot.
Zimmerman should have followed the advice of the police by remaining in his vehicle during his observation of Martin, and many of Trayvon’s apologists have seized on this error of judgment to pin full responsibility for Martin’s death on Zimmerman, absolving Martin of all responsibility for what played out.
However Zimmerman did not gun Martin down immediately upon exiting his vehicle. It was Trayvon’s turn to overreact.
As there are no independent witnesses to what happened at this point, we have only the word of Zimmerman and his scars.
Martin’s friend and “star witness” for the prosecution Rachel Jeantel has said she believed Martin threw the first punch. Considering the shape he was in, it’s doubtful the “soft” Zimmerman was looking to engage in a physical alternation with Martin.
Martin took offense to Zimmerman’s approach and/or words and inflicted on the neighborhood watch volunteer a serious beating that ended with a shooting Zimmerman maintained was in self-defense, a claim that could not be seriously questioned when examining Zimmerman’s injuries.
Lost in the media circus about Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman is the fact that what happened in Florida last year was a rarity, as the leading cause of death for young black men is other young black men.
How many times have gunshots resulted from violently reacting to an expression of disrespect on the street or in a club?
How many young black men have killed or were killed over pride? Or worse yet how many bystanders not involved in the petty conflicts between thugs have been hit in the crossfire?
Yet the young faces and street names get glanced over when the power brokers and leading societal influencers skim the obituaries.
The focus on scrapping “stand your ground” laws and more gun control proposals are dodges that will not reduce crime and street violence but merely increase the citizens’ dependence on the state for rescue and protection. Hence the Left has planted their flag firmly on these demands that do not treat the problem but only advance their agenda.
If the state could perfectly perform this service then George Zimmerman would not have been on patrol that night.
If, however, you are looking to save lives, particularly those of young black men, the real questions to answer are why so many young black men are inclined to commit violence and what can be done to change this behavior?
This is an inconvenient and awkward yet necessary conversation America needs to have if society is serious about staunching the bleeding in the inner cities and not simply posing and tweeting concern while the lights shine and cameras roll.
To their credit director Spike Lee, through his “Flip the Script” initiative, and Boondocks cartoonist Aaron McGruder are popular culture figures who have been addressing the consequences of the “hair-trigger” mentality. Too few others in the entertainment industry and within the black community have joined them in their campaigns.
George Zimmerman is not a symbol but a mirage, a distraction to the greater problem of violence within the black community.
If Trayvon Martin had not fought George Zimmerman that night, he likely would have found himself in a scuffle some other night over some other perceived slight, perhaps meeting a similar ending.
Trayvon Martin bought into the gang-banger life. The blatant drug use; the self-description via his Twitter handle as a “No_Limit_Nigga”; the gold teeth; the posing with pistols; his contempt for school authority via his suspensions for hostile conduct; and his possession of “lost” property.
By his behavior, Trayvon Martin was a ticking time bomb, falling into the mentality adopted by too many of his peers that violence is not only a legitimate means of self-validation but the preferred way.
The thug life mentality glorified in popular culture makes for good rap videos but an abbreviated existence full of hardship for those who live it.
Trayvon Martin was largely doomed before George Zimmerman ever laid eyes on him.
Had Trayvon Martin been killed by a young black man and not George Zimmerman, he would not have become a household name but a tick in a statistic that includes thousands of other “anonymous” young black men who have died at the hands of other young black men, uncelebrated by the media or self-appointed black leaders.
The Al Sharptons of the world who are there for Trayvon Martin in death were not there for him and countless other young black men in life when they might have done some good.