Then came the anti-depressants and my ability to rage was dulled. Until now.
Trayvon Martin is my son's friend. Not literally, of course, but if he's going to be reduced to one thing - a threat, if he's going to be tried, sentenced and executed for the crime of simply being black, then I'm going to presume to have him be a stand-in for all the young, black men I know.
He's Nate's classmates. His baseball teammates. He's the students at MathMan High School, the kids in the neighborhood, the boys draped across the living room furniture playing video games, watching TV and emitting deafening decibels of noise. He's the pick-up basketball players at the park, the young man looking through the sci-fi books at the library, the guy working the Wendy's drive-thru, the young athletes stoking our March Madness.
They are boys. Young men with young men interests, worries, hopes, dreams and fears. They are not so different, as it turns out, than my own son who is Irish pale.
And yet, every day is a risk for them in ways that I cannot comprehend. Their mothers have to worry about things that rarely cross my mind. They have to live in fear of some pussy with a gun, some asshole who thinks that every young man with dark skin is a potential criminal, an interloper, an intruder in his pristine gated world, a threat, a thug armed with a bag of Skittles and a bottle of iced tea.
Wanna know what happens when you're a dark mark on George Zimmerman's gun-toting radar?
You end up with a hole in your chest. Boom, black kid. This is my world and you're no longer living in it.
Big man with a gun. Playing cop.
The only thing worse than George Zimmerman's murderous fear - the only thing worse - is the cavalier attitude of the police in Sanford, Florida.
This feels personal to me. This young man was murdered. Murdered. The local authorities refuse to do anything about it. They've dicked around with it, made excuses, and entirely gummed up the investigation until all they could do was kick it up the food chain. Talk about pussies with guns.
Listen, I don't hate guns. I hate guns in the hands of people who don't respect the power they hold when they've got their finger on the trigger. I hate it that guns can be easily procured by fearful people because fear gets in the way of clear thinking. Guns are more dangerous because the people who have guns for personal protection are afraid.
That's not to say I don't have my own fears. Please. I have many and varied. A treasure chest full. Not surprisingly, one of my fears is guns in the hands of frightened people with itchy trigger fingers and not a lot of sense.
The fact that the authorities who are responsible for ensuring justice and the safety of the entire community - not just the white community - have refused to charge the confessed murderer with the crime is the insult, George Zimmerman, the shooter, is the injury. He's the open wound of our collective hate and fear of the other.
And if we remain silent about this, the shame of Trayvon Martin's murder belongs to all of us.
Sign the petition to demand justice. Charles Blow on the Curious Case of Trayvon Martin.
**********Hey, my loves, my friend Jurassic Pork is in a tough way. If you can help out at all, please do. Thanks, gang. xoxo