As a former nighttime walker/runner through neighborhoods in which I did not live (which I considered my right as a taxpayer), I admit I identified with Trayvon Martin.

As a former nighttime walker/runner through neighborhoods in which I did not live (which I considered my right as a taxpayer), I admit I identified with Trayvon Martin.

From what I could tell from press accounts, he was out walking home from going to a neighborhood store to buy a soft drink and a snack. A do-gooder named George Zimmerman, the Neighborhood Watch captain, was out on patrol when he spotted the young man.

Zimmerman followed him, called the police who told him to back off and let them do their job, but he ignored their directive and stuck with Martin.

Martin, being young and apparently in good physical shape (pictures show him as bulked up and kind of thuggy looking), noticed that Zimmerman was stalking him. Martin confronted Zimmerman. I would have run like a scared rabbit.

Zimmerman had a gun. Martin saw it and decided his life was in danger from Zimmerman, so he attacked the stalker. It didn’t take too long for Zimmerman to pull out his gun and shoot Martin dead.

Now, my keen legal mind leads me to believe that Zimmerman should be held accountable for this in some way. When I said that to a close relative who is even more conservative than I, my relative said, “What did he do wrong? There’s nothing against the law in following someone.”

But my relative thought it wrong and illegal for Martin to confront Zimmerman. I don’t get that. I might do the same if someone stalked me in the dark and if I was young and tough.

The whole event was tragic, and it could have been avoided if Zimmerman had done what the police said and backed off. He did his job as Neighborhood Watch captain, i.e. he noticed something suspicious and he reported it to the police.

Now, I think young Martin was probably as thuggy as he looked and was probably a lawbreaker. But he wasn’t breaking the law at the time Zimmerman stalked him and killed him. That’s why I think Zimmerman should have been convicted of manslaughter and made to serve at least a short sentence.

The jury did not agree with my assessment, though, Those good citizens found stalker Zimmerman not guilty. Because of that there have been riots, protests, threats of federal intervention.

If the system of justice means anything, people need to get over it. It didn’t go the way many wanted it or the way I thought it should have, but it went the way the system is set up: A jury of citizens acceptable to both sides weighed the evidence and made a decision.

That’s the way it goes.

The whole Zimmerman-Martin incident affirmed what I had come to accept years ago: Walking/running at night is dangerous. I quit. I don’t even go to the community track after dark, which is the only time I have for exercise. Rolla has become too urban.

I go to Vessell’s and watch ball games or read while walking on the treadmill and riding the recumbent bicycle. It’s air-conditioned, comfortable, and a big, looming scary-looking guy like me doesn’t have to worry about being stalked and shot by a do-gooder who thinks I should not be on his streets that my taxes helped pay for.

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