Trayvon Martin Target Practice Was Truly Disgusting

A Florida police sergeant's terrible target practice idea.

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A woman wipes away tears next to a photograph of Trayvon Martin during a rally in support of the slain teenager at Freedom Plaza in Washington, on Saturday, March 24, 2012. Martin, an unarmed young black teen, was fatally shot by a volunteer neighborhood watchman.

Let us, for a moment, take a break from dumping all over Congress for its handling of the gun safety issue. Lawmakers deserve a respite because they have just been totally outclassed (or out-unclassed) by a non-politician, a member of the constituent class that has been complaining so mightily about the dysfunction among those elected to office.

And the winner is Florida police sergeant Ron King, who thought it would be a fine idea to have an image of a kid that looked a lot like slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin as a target at a shooting range. That's the same 17-year-old who was shot and killed by a self-professed neighborhood watch person, who apparently thought the boy – an African American dressed in a hooded sweatshirt and holding a can of iced tea and some Skittles – was up to no good.

King, who is a firearms trainer, had an image of a faceless youngster in a hooded sweatshirt carrying a beverage can and Skittles. Really, was that a coincidence?

[See a collection of political cartoons on gun control and gun rights.]

King claims he wasn't inviting anyone to actually shoot at the target, although it had a bulls-eye on it. Further, he aggravated the situation by issuing one of those non-apology apologies, expressing his regret to Trayvon's family if they were offended after he was "used as a pawn in somebody's political agenda."

I have a reaction to that, and it's similar to the one my father had many, many years ago, when my then-15-year-old brother came home from being out with his friends and fell asleep in his room. His only problem was that when my parents woke up, there was a trail of vomit from the bathroom to the door of my brother's bedroom, suggesting that he might have been engaging in a little underage drinking.

[See a collection of editorial cartoons on the Trayvon Martin tragedy.]

My father rather calmly confronted him with the evidence. My brother, initially, said it wasn't him. My dad started laughing uproariously, saying, "Mike, what are you saying? That someone broke into the house, threw up in a direct line from the toilet to your bedroom door, and then left?" So Mike said he had simply eaten too much pizza. My father laughed even harder.

My brother got older and matured, and is now a Ph.D and a chemistry professor (and now presumably knows with scientific precision how much alcohol one can drink without getting sick). The behavior of the Florida police sergeant – who was fired by a much more sensible Port Canaveral police department – cannot be excused by the bad judgment of youth. In fact, it makes one want to vomit.

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