George Zimmerman has given a bad name to my calls to remove from government its monopoly in community policing. In my opinion, if we were to de-monopolize community policing away from local governments, the George Zimmermans of the world who go out searching for criminals would be weeded out. Here is the Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case as I see it (and no doubt many people will disagree):
Zimmerman saw a young black guy leaving a store wearing a hoodie. Because of the hoodie, which apparently has an association with urban youth criminality, Zimmerman felt that the young guy, Martin, was “suspicious.” Zimmerman then went on to call 911. First, Zimmerman’s judgment was a little off. If someone is leaving a store walking, not running, so far there is nothing suspicious about him. Except, in Zimmerman’s mind, for the hoodie. So, in my opinion, Zimmerman’s choosing to go follow Martin was an act of aggression, because there was no legitimate reason to follow him.
And we know from Martin’s girlfriend’s statements that Martin had called her stating that someone was following him and made Martin feel threatened. Up to now, in my opinion, this is an example of stalking. Zimmerman was stalking Martin, and made himself, Zimmerman, be a threat to Martin, and unnecessarily so. This stalking is an act of aggression, and unprovoked aggression, I might add. It was Zimmerman who provoked Martin with his stalking. So Martin confronted Zimmerman apparently, to ask what his problem was, or whatever it was Martin said. Martin felt threatened by someone following him for no good reason and probably wanted the stalker to stop stalking him. The situation escalated to the point of Zimmerman shooting Martin.
In this instance, Zimmerman was the aggressor who initiated the whole ordeal. Whatever the outcome of this, Zimmerman is the responsible party because he started it. Zimmerman should be charged with manslaughter (or something), at the very least. Did anyone investigate Zimmerman and check out possible Facebook pages or Twitter accounts to see if Zimmerman may have expressed any desire to seek out criminals, and seek justice, and so forth?
Now, given America’s history with race relations, I don’t doubt that were Zimmerman (the stalker-aggressor-shooter-killer) black and Martin (the victim) white, obviously Zimmerman would have been charged immediately, and probably with murder. The radio talk hosts I listen to would be screaming “murder” and “death penalty” the first day this was in the news.
Unfortunately, Zimmerman the “neighborhood watchman” has given my call to de-monopolize community policing and security a bad name. In the current situation, local governments have a monopoly in policing and security. And this is compulsory – the community has no choice in the matter. This is why the government-monopolized police have been getting away with one crime after another against innocent civilians on a daily basis, murders, physical assaults, thefts, harassment, and so on. This is because monopolists are not accountable.
In a community in which policing were done by voluntary groups and individuals, common sense and accountability would prevail. Why? Because all individuals would have to live under the rule of law, all individuals would be equal under the law, and no one would be allowed to be above the law. Currently, the government-monopolized police do not obey the rule of law, and have a monopoly status that is above the law. It is they who act with criminality just as do the common street thugs. In a community in which policing is not monopolized by the government and whose government-monopolized police “service” is not compulsory on all people to have to use such government-monopolized “services,” the community would not allow a George Zimmerman to stalk a presumably innocent individual who had shown no sign of criminal behavior, and who was merely walking (not running) from a store while wearing a hoodie (and being black).
And also in such a community, private security firms would compete and serve the public, just as privately-owned and competitive grocery stores and realty brokerages do. And they would be accountable under the rule of law as well, alongside voluntary neighborhood watchers.