You’re headed home from the store on a dark, rainy night. Wearing a hoodie, your attention is forward, not to right nor left. In order to become aware of someone following you, your pursuer must issue a challenge or initiate a confrontation. Have you ever felt someone was following you at night? Did you experience a rush of fear? You’re in a classic fight-or-flight situation, and you choose to stand your ground. You’re frightened, but you’re also angry. “Why are you following me, bitch? Get off my ass!” Your pursuer does not relent and the situation escalates to shoves, then punches. George Z. turns out to be not much of a fighter, and soon you have him on the ground, immobilized and bleeding. He realizes he’s made a mistake and screams, pleading with you to stop. Then, you make your fatal mistake. You begin to feel sorry for him; after all, you’ve won, you’ve eliminated the threat, and you want to continue home and watch TV. You let George Zimmerman get up, and he draws his gun. George Zimmerman did not shoot Trayvon Martin while he feared for his life. He murdered Trayvon after the danger was past, to avenge his humiliation and his injuries. Race need not even be an issue, though it probably was.

I can’t believe a jury of women failed to understand the fear of being followed by a nighttime stalker. There is no empathy here for the victim who briefly defeated his attacker. Trayvon Martin did not live to enjoy his victory. The message to the world is clear: “If you are thinking of going for a walk in America, you better have a gun.”