Trayvon Martin and the Eternal Present
I support the personal right to gun ownership, the right to self-defense, but "self-defense" does not entail stalking and shooting unarmed kids on the street. No, not even if those kids are black.
I will freely admit I sympathized with Martin from the get-go because I often do the exact same thing he did on the night he died -- leave my house after dark, buy something innocuous at the corner store and then return home. And the idea that my doing so gives any random gun-toting stranger the right to assume (sans evidence) that I am a dangerous threat, stalk me through the streets and then kill me if I get defensive ... holy crap.
Except that's not true. No gun-toting stranger (unless he's a cop with a badge) has the legal right to assume the mere sight of me is a threat -- when an unarmed middle-class white woman is shot dead in the street, the cops will immediately investigate with the assumption "A crime has been committed." But when an unarmed black man (or teenager on the cusp of becoming one) is shot dead, the cops won't even bother collecting evidence from the scene--just take the word of the shooter when he says "Oh, yeah, he was totally a threat."
I have a friend who takes a different view; she said "I think if my head had been scraped against the concrete and my nose had been broken I'd want to defend myself too by any means necessary." Which is true IF you focus on the eternal present -- ignore completely the fact that YOU initially decided the guy was a threat, YOU called 911 to growl about those "fucking asshole punks" who "always get away," YOU followed the guy first in your car and then on foot ... and YOU have the legal right to be afraid of him and behave accordingly, but HE, apparently, does not have the legal right to be afraid of you.
It's similar to how YOU have no right to take umbrage if TSA wants to give you a freedom fingerbang, but the TSAgent is justified in having you arrested for assault if you slap her filthy paw away from your genitalia -- the only thing that matters is what the TSAhole is thinking, NOT anything he or she did leading up to that. Except the TSAhole can at least cite the crappy Nuremberg defense "I was just following orders." George Zimmerman can't even claim that.
I remember once, when I was a kid, reading a book of Family Circus cartoons -- the cover showed one of the cute little FC boys crying and pointing his finger accusingly, and saying "Jeffy [or Billy or Dolly, one of his siblings] hit me back!" That's the attitude I get from Zimmerman and his defenders -- of course I had to shoot and kill the unarmed kid, because Trayvon threatened me back!