This is a story about two regular men, living in a world quite similar to the one in which your currently find yourself. Actually, only one of them is a man, Jordan Zingerman, a mid 50’s shy pencil pusher at a mortgage risk-management firm with no discernible qualities or notable skills. Jordan was well-intentioned, while he didn’t excel at his work, he made a living, and for the most part was content with living out his regular suburban life, perhaps one day starting a family with fiancé Charlene, who he loved dearly.
The person in the story isn’t really a man, at least not in the sense he wishes he was, you see, Collin Boulder was only 17, a social outcast who was still struggling, as many of us do throughout our high school years, to find a social stance among his peers. While Collin was very friendly, he turned people off with his edgy attire; a long black trench coat adorned with patches, and dyed jet black hair that was paired with various tattoos and piercings. While ] never set out to alienate himself, he was simply showing the world who he was, molding his identity, unfortunately in the high school world, people who find themselves out of the social circle often never make the connections they wish they could.
Now Collin and Jordan have never met, I mean, why would they, they were completely different ages and shared almost no similar hobbies or interests. Honestly, they only connection between the two was the relatively close proximity of their homes.
Recently Jordan had heard news of break ins, and as a major advocate of public safety and prominent member of the neighborhood watch, he was obviously concerned about the safety and integrity of his community and needless to stay, was a bit on edge.
Collin had also heard about the recent crime spree, of course he had, he knew the people who did, they had bragged at school all week about how easy it was to maneuver around local subdivisions and quickly make off with select valuables.
While Collin was certainly intrigued by the instant gratification provided by stealing, his ethics and morality eventually got the best of him and he quickly decided that while he wouldn’t snitch on his peers, he would also avoid participating in any sort of crime, because regardless of his appearance, it just wasn’t his type of thing.
One evening, Jordan was particularly on edge, he’d just gotten in a petty argument with Charlene and he knew it was his fault, sometimes he just didn’t know when to stop, Jordan always seemed to need to have the last word.
In attempt to be the bigger man, Jordan avoided further confrontation by stepping outside on the porch and having a cigarette. He was trying to cut back, but now seemed as good a time as any to cheat a little bit, he really needed to relax.
On the same evening, Collin was experiencing the same luck as Jordan. He had tried to make his way into a house party but was promptly kicked out and mercilessly ridiculed for his attire. Collin, who was intelligent, but still very naïve, just couldn’t understand how other people could be so hateful. He contemplated changing the way he dressed, getting rid of the trench coat, wearing more colorful, “hip” clothing, but he decided it wasn’t worth sacrificing who he was to fit in. Besides, it was flat-out wrong to judge people based on their appearance, why couldn’t people see Collin was actually a really cool, fun guy and not some goth trench coat loser? Were people really that superficial? How could they jump to conclusions based solely on his appearance? Collin finally understood all those history classes, he knew what it was like to be profiled, and it filled him with anger and resentment.
Perhaps if everyone already thought he was some crazy kid in the trench coat then he would actually show up at school and give them the crazy, fucked up kid they seemed to want him to be. But Collin just didn’t have it in him, he knew the anger would pass, it always did, he was no stranger to loneliness and at this point almost felt more comfortable in isolation than around his classmates.
Jordan, still calming his nerves with nicotine and tobacco, keeps a watchful on his front porch, he’s on edge, ready to snap at the first sign of disrespect. This isn’t like him, but if one person could get under his skin, it was Charlene.
Wait, what the hell is this? Jordan spots a lone figure walking down the road swiftly, he can’t make out the face of the ominous figure because of his large hooded coat, but he’s moving at a pace that concerns Jordan.
Jordan, not wanting to jump to conclusions, grabs his cell phone and dials 911.
“Hey, not to alarm you, but I’m out here on Waterfront Drive and I see a suspicious hooded figure walking down the street, in fact he’s almost running. I feel like I should follow him, he looks like he’s up to something.”
While the 911 receptionist is patient, understanding and thankful for Mr. Zingerman’s concern, she assures him that patrolling officers will cruise the area and scope out the scene. If anything was wrong, they’d take care of it and Mr. Zingerman should just go back inside and relax with his family.
Now Jordan had, had enough. Relax? There were children and families in this neighborhood, multiple news stories were going around about break in’s, and he was supposed to just relax and let the police handle it?
“If the police could handle it, why did the problem even exist in the first place? There’s a reason I’m on neighborhood watch and that’s so I can stop the crimes before the police even have to get out here. This time, I’m going to stop the problem before it starts, this time they won’t just let him get away.”
Although he was on the brink of becoming enraged, Zingerman thought it was only right to do his due diligence as a concerned member of the community and he called the police again.
As before, Mr. Zingerman was assured that any problems would be handled by law enforcement and that he stop worrying.
Jordan couldn’t believe the indifference, the disrespect, this was ludicrous. Finally Jordan decided, this time, no crimes were going to happen on his watch, and he quickly made his way to grab his revolver and check out the scene.
Collin, who is now on the brink of tears, stops by a local convenience store, like many people, candy and pop was always a good pick me up when he was feeling down.
Just his luck, as Collin leaves the store with candy and beverage in hand, the rain starts to pour. “Hey, it’s Florida” Collin thinks to himself as he puts on his hood and strides through the downpour back to his home.
As he turns the corner on to his street, Collin sees a man in a distance, not being one for confrontation, Collin becomes nervous and weary of the man in the distance, when suddenly, the man calls out to Collin.
“Hey, what do you think you’re doing around here? Don’t you know walking around like that makes you look like a criminal?” Mr. Zingerman is intimidating, but Collin knows he’s not doing anything wrong, so he tries to calm the man down.
Collin explains that he’s only wearing the hood because of the rain and apologizes if he frightened or startled Mr. Zingerman, he told him he knew about the break ins and commended him for protecting the community.
Collin, in an attempt at a friendly gesture, reaches his hand out to shake Mr. Zingerman’s, who instantly jumps back from the boy and fires off 4 rounds.
“He attacked me, help, this boy just crazy and tried to attack me.”
Neighbors come pouring out to the street, some from the noise of the shots, some out of pure curiosity from the loud and frightened screaming of Mr. Zingerman.
Bobby Jones, a friend of Jordan’s and fellow leader of the neighborhood watch rushes over to the crowd.
“Everything alright Jordan, what the hell happened here, did this boy attack you?”
Mr. Zingerman, now looking around at the faces of his neighbors who are all eagerly anticipating his answer becomes increasingly nervous.
“Well, he had that big trench coat on, and he started coming at me, and you all heard that Columbine stuff, I didn’t know what was gonna’ happen, I had to stand my ground, you all believe me right?”
The crowd has a mixed reaction as patrol cars finally pull up to the scene and retrieve information from all the parties involved.
“Well Mr. Zingerman, if that will be all, you can be on your way, my office will contact you if you have any further questions” says Lieutenant Bennett, who watches as young Collin is put on a stretcher and put into an ambulance.
“We know that these kids out here can be dangerous, but you did the right thing by standing your ground and defending yourself.”
As the Boulder family got news of the death of their son, they were all paralyzed with fear, Jordan was a nice, kind boy, how could he have attacked someone unprovoked.
“I’m sorry, but your boy shouldn’t have been walking around so suspiciously, people have the right to defend themselves ma’am,” the officer tells Ms. Boulder.
If you have any questions about the death of your son, make sure to contact the police department and we’ll take a look, have a nice day.
This is a fictional story that’s somehow happening in real life as we speak. Trayvon Martin was killed for no reason then an appearance. In this case he was black, but it could happen to a kid with dyed hair, a trench coat and tattoos. It could happen to anyone who decides to express themselves in a manner others disapprove of.
This is not justice and this is not the America I thought I lived in. Please share this story as a message of hope and justice for the ruthless and pointless murder of a young child.
Have a wonderful day, and pray for the Martin family and anybody else who has had to endure the kind of unimaginable pain and injustice they’ve had to do on a national stage.