We can't know exactly what happened when Trayvon Martin died. We do know, however, the answer to that infernal chicken-egg riddle the NRA uses to mesmerize policymakers.
The answer: Guns kill people. Period. End of riddle.
George Zimmerman says he wouldn't have done anything differently. That depends. Let's say that he left his handgun on his dresser that night, then . . .
He would have done differently. He would have listened to the police dispatcher and not pursued the black youth in the hoodie.
But Zimmerman had his gun. So, he set off to investigate. If that gun wasn't his license to play policeman, Florida law determined it was his license to kill.
Post-verdict, the court returned the gun to Zimmerman, so we are that much safer today.
Florida, one of 22 states with a Stand Your Ground-type law, presumed that its people would be safer with such a statute. Sorry, reports the Centers for Disease Control. States with those policies have seen a 7 percent increase in homicides. Just curious: For statistical reasons at least, does Trayvon Martin count here?
Ah, but the George Zimmermans of Florida, or their kin, aren't the ones who'll get killed . . .
Not so fast, say researchers at Emory University. A gun in the good guy's hands (that's George Zimmerman, sayeth the court) is far more likely to kill someone in his own home or his self than to ever ward off intruders or 17-year-olds bearing Skittles.
Still, George Zimmerman Nation believes in the safety implicit in that gun, even if carrying it is the very worst mistake of Zimmerman's life.
On the flip side of tragedy: Zimmerman now reigns as a patron saint of people just like him. I'm thinking of those who rushed to buy ammo and guns when Barack Obama was elected president. Or rushed to buy guns and ammo when he was re-elected. Or rushed to buy guns and ammo when the slaughter of first-graders in Newtown, Conn., moved the nation's needle ever so slightly toward re-examining America's gun culture.
In truth, it's steady as she goes in George Zimmerman Nation.
The day of the verdict, the garage of a man in Aurora, Colo., caught fire, causing the discharge of some 4,000 rounds of ammunition. What a waste. He'll buy more.
Aurora, you'll recall, is where last July a gunman with hundreds of rounds of ammo shot up a movie theater, killing 12 and wounding 58.
The day that the jury found for Zimmerman and his gun, a 15-year-old girl's birthday party in Hamilton Township, N.J., was interrupted by gunfire. Oops. Another teenager dead.
So, you're right, George Zimmerman Nation. You're absolutely right. This wasn't about race. This was about a gun toted by a man who should never have been in a position to make a lawman-style determination about another in the dark of night. But instead of being on the bedroom dresser, the gun was on George Zimmerman, licensed by the state of Florida. And so he pursued.
After Texas authorized concealed-weapon permits in 1995, a neighbor of mine who had gotten a call from down the street went running past my house, shirtless, shoeless, gun in hand, to settle things. His bare belly protruding over his belt buckle, he was the vision of armed readiness. Thank goodness he didn't fire upon reaching his destination. Indeed, as I recall, the police didn't come, either, as no one called. Must have been a false alarm.
Stay vigilant, George Zimmerman Nation.
Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: email@example.com.