Caller: "I'm walking home to my Dad's fiance's home and a guy is following me in a van."
Dispatcher: "Someone is following you home. Where are you right now?"
Caller: "It's a gated community in Sanford. I'm not sure where I am now."
Dispatcher: "You don't happen to wearing a hoodie, are you?"
Caller: "Yeah, it's raining."
Dispatcher: (Laughing) "The guy following you is a neighborhood watch volunteer calling in on you as being suspicious. We'll tell him.
Caller: "Really? Thanks.
How simple! Misinterpretations about motives reported by two people against each other quickly resolved. Two citizens doing their own thing, return to their lives unscathed and intact. Unfortunately, the world knows how this scenario played out.
As the stars aligned under the south Florida sky hidden behind the dark February rain clouds, Neighborhood Watch Volunteer George Zimmerman reported a suspicious person as he perceived him based on past incidents. He disregarded a dispatcher's suggestion to stop following the "suspect." He learned that his people skills fell short of effectiveness much like his preparedness for physical altercations.
Trayvon Martin, a seventeen year old guest in the gated community probably never thought to dial 9-1-1 when he noticed that he was being followed. On the other hand, he possessed the know how to excel at pugilism. He probably did not consider the possibility of his opponent being armed or his opponent's training to engage it under stress.
These two individuals made conscious decisions governing the intersection of their lives where the outcome held no winners. Mr. Martin lost his life; his family a son. Mr. Zimmerman lost his existence although he survived the fight.
A loud outcry complete with many people of name recognition demanded Zimmerman's arrest instead of being patient as proper police procedure dictated. The local agency felt obligated to release case information not usually available to the public with an ongoing investigation. Though Zimmerman was eventually arrested, he was exonerated of all charges by a jury following a court trial. Not the desired verdict expected by Martin family, they allege that the system failed?
In my humble opinion, "No, it didn't." Bad choices by both parties involved, contributed to this situation. Bad choices do not necessarily define the person making them. Bad choices do impact the consequences stemming from them. Most important here, bad choices are not necessarily criminal in nature and that concept is the hardest to accept.