We have been presented with two very different portraits of Trayvon Martin. One is a sweet young boy who liked little kids and playing football. The other is a teenage wannabe thug who was in the process of graduating from misdemeanor property crimes to violent felonies.
I think both portraits are accurate.
The teenage years are when boys begin to transition into manhood. That transition can be difficult under the best of circumstances. Our bodies change and suddenly hormones began flooding through us. We experience thoughts and feelings we never had before.
Our friends become more important than our parents. Peer pressure is incredibly powerful. We are trying to figure out who we are and where we want to go with our lives. We are simultaneously overconfident and insecure.
We make decisions that will determine the rest of our lives. But we don’t always make the right choices. Sometimes we start down paths that turn out to be false starts. Sometimes we go too far down those paths and can’t get back.
That sweet young boy named Trayvon became enamored of a thug lifestyle. You can literally see him changing in the various photographs that have been published.
What if he never met George Zimmerman on that fateful night? It is possible that he would have straightened out his life and become a productive citizen. Or maybe he was doomed to follow the wrong path until he ended up dead or in prison.
We’ll never know, but that is not George Zimmerman’s fault. Trayvon Martin made the decisions that cost him his life. Now George Zimmerman is one of the people that have to live with his death.