Unarmed Fla. teen's death: Who is safe?

What combination of childhood snacks is punishable by death in America ("Florida rally seeks arrest in unarmed teen's death," March 20)? I need to know the answer so that I can make sure my 6-year-old son never runs down the street carrying them. Is it simply fruit-flavored candies and tea, or should he avoid chocolate candies and soda? Maybe it is the way that our children walk down the street that should change? Should I tell my son to slow his pace, hang his head and never run? What should I tell my son so that I don't have to bury him in 11 years?

I don't worry about the SAT or any state standardized tests because I will teach him what he needs to know to master his academic studies. Little League teams will allow him to build skills as a team member and show him how to keep trying even when he knows that he has already lost the game. What I need to know is how to teach my son to carry himself around people who fear his physical form. What I need to know is how to teach my son to survive past the age of 21 in America.

My mother never allowed me to buy something in a store without getting a bag because she told me people will think I stole it if I walk out of a store without one. I never wanted to teach my son that lesson; I didn't think I needed to. Do brown bags make you look suspicious, or should I tell my 6-year-old to always ask for plastic? I think I will play it safe and purchase a green, reusable bag for him. Maybe if he appears to be interested in the environment, people will assume he is not a criminal. I don't believe a criminal would ever walk down the street with one of those reusable shopping bags, so that is probably the right choice. Yes, I think this is the safest, most politically correct option for him.

I don't think my son will be able to walk down the street at night. I can understand how this can confuse people. Criminals tend not to work during the day, so at night all of the innocent people need to be in the house. I can remember a women's group tried to get me to go to a "Take Back the Night" rally when I was in college. I told the nice ladies that as long as I can move around during the day, the criminals can have the night. They still can. There are murderers with guns that kill children on the street at night. There are police that won't protect children on the streets at night. I will tell my son that he can walk down the street during the day, but he should not walk down the street at night.

That just leaves the question of where is a safe pace for a child to walk while carrying candy and a beverage? I will tell my son to move slowly but not too slowly or people may think that he is trying to case the joint. That's criminal lingo I picked up from black and white movies when I was a child. I don't know any current criminal lingo because I am not a criminal, but I have to teach my son how not to look like a criminal or behave in a suspicious manner so that he doesn't get murdered on the street when he is 17. It is not his fault. It is his physical form that will frighten people before he even becomes a man.

I never described my son's physical form. What does my son look like? He is black. That description is enough to warrant stalking, assault and murder in America. That description was enough to murder 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla.

His mere presence caused a man to dial 911 and report him. Without action, Trayvon was hunted and murdered in the street. Without reason, his murderer is free to patrol the streets in search of other suspicious, young children. Young children just like my son. Young children that share the same innocence, character and physical form as Trayvon Martin who was a handsome teenager, a student, an athlete, and someone's child. There is no justice for what was done to Trayvon, and there can be no real peace in a society that supports the murder of innocent children. We, as Americans, can only support any and all efforts to incarcerate this pathetic man who was afraid of a little boy with a bag of candy in his hand and hope that our actions are enough to protect our children; all of our children.

Dia M. Allmond, Owings Mills

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