Dear Mr. Zimmerman,
I don't think anyone would disagree that taking a life is traumatic, and even worse when you take a life because you are afraid for yourself or someone else. In fact, police officers, doctors, military personnel, and even executioners suffer from PTSD. No matter how “justified” the killing may be, we, as human beings, will always have an innate resistance to taking another human life. So from that perspective, I can understand where you are likely to be horrified that you took a life.
But now, I must move forward with the real point of this letter. I'm sure you realize that the 911 clearly told you NOT to follow Trayvon Martin, just as you are aware police videos did not show any injuries to the back of your head just after the killing. Now let me tell you a little story about a man that was also in something a “life or death” situation. His name was Kevin Carter. During a visit to Sudan, he captured a picture of a starving child that was being watched by a vulture. He had access to transportation, plus knowledge of a safe place about a mile away. Needless to say, this incredible picture rocketed throughout the world. As the story unfolded, it turned out Carter did nothing to help this pitiful child reach safety. In fact, after he snapped this photo, he smoked a cigarette and continued to watch the world go by. Needless to say, there was an uproar, even as this man went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for his work. Carter was held up as a horrible excuse for a human being, and ultimately committed suicide.
Mr. Zimmerman, I'm absolutely certain at this point you know the kind of anguish that Carter was feeling, not just because of what he did, but because of the world view. Sadly, he had no way to make amends to that little girl, any more than you have a way to give Trayvon Martin his life back. While it is bad to speak ill of the dead, I must say that I felt Carter took a cowardly path in ending his own life. You see, he could have taken on the anger and the rage, and insisted that people pay attention to world hunger and ways to resolve it. He was in the hot zone of a lifetime, and had a chance to create real change... if only he'd owned the truth about his actions and used that truth to hold up the same mirror to everyone else in the world.
Now, let me offer my opinion about your situation. First, you know perfectly well that Martin was no threat to you or anyone else in the neighborhood. Not only were the police on their way to investigate your report, Trayvon had wasn't carrying anything more deadly than a bag of Skittles. What were you thinking when you decided to chase him? Were you thinking it wast time to mess up some skinny African American that made the sad mistake of walking down a public street? Did pursuing Trayvon make you feel white like the people in the neighborhood you were “protecting”, instead of a Hispanic with a rap sheet? Did it get out of control when you realized you couldn't get close enough to fulfill your sick little fantasy?
Let me tell you something about what is going on in our nation. People on both sides of the question that don't know for themselves what really happened that night are taking sides. It's already a bad situation because our nation is not yet free of racism, let alone the pain in families that are senselessly divided by shame born of trash rhetoric. The kind of rhetoric that we know can cause a person just like you to pull the trigger on an innocent boy. It's the kind of situation where egos can't let go because of the pain, and they must justify their position rather than see the truth. Just like no meat eater in our nation wants to see the truth that we are contributing to starvation in Sudan and other parts of the world. How different would our world be if Carter had told that one simple truth and stood by it regardless of the sentiment for and against his actions?
I honestly feel that you are in a very bad situation. It really can't get any worse, because if you don't get convicted and raped/killed in prison, you will either commit suicide or some vigilante will get you. So, if you are going to die one way or another, why don't you do something useful with the time you've got left? Why don't you just own up to the truth? Release a statement about what you felt, and all the rage and hatred that must have been festering beneath the surface when you saw Trayvon Martin walking away from your truck. Tell us about the fear afterward when you realized he wasn't armed and no real threat to you. Tell us about how afraid you were to go to jail for shooting a lil' black boy. Tell us how afraid you are of what you see going on, and that you believe the truth will set us all free. Give those of us who have grown up in busted families a chance to forgive you. Give those who still live in fear of people different from themselves a chance to step out of that fear and into a world of harmonious co-existence
In closing, Mr. Zimmerman, I am not just asking you for the truth. I am begging you for the truth – for me, for my family, for my nation, for my world... and also – for you as a human being that took a wrong road and ought to do something to make right.