The Thinking Viking is a taller than average but not towering, usually well-groomed white man of 40, weighing in at 175lbs.  About as far as you can get from a slender  black teenage boy, 140 pound 6’3″ Trayvon Martin, aside from our gender and being tall.  I’m wearing a freaking hoodie as I type, I own four of them, three black, one grey. I wear one almost daily as I walk to the store a couple blocks away.  The rent-a-cops in my neighborhood are all – so far as I have seen – Hispanic or Black.  If one of them had shot and killed me while I was walking home, talking to my girlfriend on the phone, I can assure you, they’d be in jail – or at least charged formally – by now.  The man – George Zimmerman – who stalked and shot and killed Trayvon Martin has not been charged, and is walking around a free man.

Anyone who thinks this isn’t racially motivated isn’t seeing things clearly. As for the Stand Your Ground law he is using as his defense? You cannot claim self-defense if you follow a total stranger  in your car and then confront them after being told by 911 dispatch to stand down, wait for the real cops. Would he have done this  if a 40-year-old white man had been with Trayvon? I doubt it.

But I will tell you this.

If I had been followed by an unmarked car with some strange dude in it, clearly watching me, I would have run or at least hurried, as Trayvon did.  And if that car had  followed me all the way home, and the driver confronted me, he would have been met by a few things  a lot more dangerous to him than than a bag of Skittles.

A camera, a gun, and my phone dialing 911.

Trayvon, I wish I could have been there for you. Best I can do now is write this, and hope the outrage your murder has raised will change some minds.  I doubt it will change many, most  people who think like Mr. Zimmerman are like concrete – all mixed up and permanently set.


  1. Sahm Ataine King says:

    I don’t ever run, anymore. I learned the quickest way to get shot is to run.

    • Matt Johnsen says:

      How often are you followed by suspicious strangers? Never happens to me – but then again, I’m white.

      • Sahm Ataine King says:

        Breakdown, it’s usually cops in either gov or unmarked vehicles. I’ve had some cases where it’s been people following me home, casing my place. By cops or strangers, since I was 10, at least once per year.

  2. Allison says:

    To Sahm Ataine King. The difference between cops being in an unmarked car and a crazy dude following you in a car is if you run, the cops have to identify themselves. So if I were you and someone was following you, I’d run until you hear “This is the police” over a loud speaker and turn on their lights and sirens because that is exactly what the will do. The stuff you see in movies like “stop or I’ll shoot”, it’s real. And it’s all for your protection and so you don’t have to fear “is this a cop or a random stranger”. No lights, no sirens, no one identifying themselves as a police officer…no way I’m stopping to find out what you want because common sense tells me it’s not going to be good.

  3. RD says:

    Well, the last I heard, people aren’t allowed to shoot someone just for running anyway. If they could, track would be a much bloodier sport.

  4. shelley1laysi says:

    May he RIP and may the Officials hurry up and just DO The Right Thing by this kid and his poor family please, With God’s Speed!

  5. Darcy Gagnon says:

    Thanks. As a middle aged woman who has a favorite hoodie … I see my own children in the pictures of Trayvon, just as the President said. He looks like all of our children.

  6. Kimmie says:

    Excellent point on your hoodie attire, I have a 6’4″ 16 year old son, who also happens to wear hoodies on an almost daily basis. I would be lying if I said I believed for one minute that if it were my son (and it very well could have been, based on the limited information I have) whomever shot him would be walking free right now. Whomever shot him would be in custody, for at least a cursory amount of time while the facts are being gathered.

  7. […] details about it, I joined the fight for justice for Trayvon and wrote this piece – “Walking While Black“.  Some of you have read […]

  8. Anonymous says:

    since you have enough time on your hands to write this, why don’t you take your head out of your hoodie, (and your ass) and read this

  9. Anonymous says:

    Policing the streets armed should be left to the officers trained to carry weapons. Here in the UK we have a specially trained select band of officers who carry weapons and unfortunately they too make tragic errors of judgement resulting in the loss of innocent lives. Gun culture has gone crazy in recent years and I for one would like to see less “normal” people feeling the need to arm themselves. That way it would be far easier to distinguish between someone carrying a weapon with intent to do wrong with it. But that’s just my opinion.

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