Unless you've spent the last year hiding in a cave with Dick Cheney, chances are you've heard of Trayvon Martin by now. You know the teenager's name is at the heart of a debate about race and guns and just about every other controversial topic in America. And so you know that pretty much the dumbest thing you could do right now is take a "Trayvon target" to a shooting range. Well, you and I know that, but a Florida cop didn't.
Sgt. Ron King was fired by the Port Canaveral Port Authority after officers complained that he planned to use targets that resemble Trayvon Martin at an upcoming shooting exercise.
Think he's ashamed of himself?
Nope! King says the backlash at what most of us could smell as a bad idea from a mile off is just a conspiracy cooked up by people trying to smear his department (yes, really).
King has scrambled to come up with an excuse for buying the targets that show a silhouetted figure in a hoodie and holding a bag of Skittles (remember the description of the dead teenager?). He claims that the so-called Trayvon targets were going to be used in a "no shoot situation."
But why not just get some standard targets typically used at ranges around the US? Why purchase something from a company purposely trying to profit off of a child's death? Why use a product specifically associated with an actual dead child, whose flesh and blood parents are out there grieving the loss of their teenage son?
It's common sense -- or should be. You don't use the image of a dead child as part of a training exercise, whether you shot at him or not.
You don't use the image of a dead child who is at the center of an upcoming murder trial in a game.
You don't do it not because it's controversial, but because it's inhumane. Trayvon Martin was a real person, a real child. He has a family who love him very much (a family that is outraged by this abuse of their son's image).
Set aside the debates of the last year over standing your ground and racism and all of that, and that is the nut of the whole argument. Some things are just too precious to sully in this way, and a dead child is one of them.
Unfortunately, Ron King can't see that.
The cop -- or I should say former cop -- issued a faux apology to Trayvon's parents on YouTube this weekend, but it's not for abusing their son's image. King only apologized to the Martin family because, in his words, they are "being used as a pawn in somebody's political agenda."
Right now the only agenda that's using Trayvon and his family is Ron King, but until he sees that, he's just going to dig himself a deeper hole.
Check out this response to this quagmire:
Do you accept his faux apology? Is there ever a time when these Trayvon targets would be appropriate?
Image via Trayvon Target