Trayvon's actions earlier that day or the week before or the month before or the year before have no bearing on this event or how we should view it because Zimmerman didn't know any of that when he shot Trayvon. Based on the events of the evening, what we know is Zimmerman followed, chased, and confronted Martin even after the 911 operator (and therefore the police) suggested he not. The two exchanged words, likely unpleasant ones. Zimmerman ended up with superficial injuries. Martin ended up dead. Injuries heal. Dead doesn't.
As coverage continued and people weighed in, my thoughts kept returning to Jake Brigance's closing argument in A Time Kill by John Grisham. I won't quote it as that would be a spoiler for those who haven't read the book or seen the movie. I will however mention that he provides an argument that shatters the lens through which the jury sees the crime. That closing argument, that book, forced me to examine the way I saw events around me and continues to influence me today as I think about whether or not my reaction would be different if the victim or the perpetrator looks more or less like me in any given situation.
Before you defend George Zimmerman for killing Trayvon Martin, I implore you to ask yourself a couple of questions.
Would you feel the same way if it had been your child walking home from a convenience store carrying an iced tea, a bag of Skittles (or whatever his/her snack of choice is), talking on the phone and wearing a hoodie? This is an incredibly likely scenario, so think about it. Really think about it.