Trayvon Martin was a 17-year-old kid walking back to his father's house after buying a package of Skittles at a convenience store. George Zimmerman was an overzealous block watch volunteer carrying a gun. Zimmerman may have been carrying something else around with him: an attitude about black kids and where they belonged.
Martin had the bad luck to cross paths with Zimmerman. It was raining. Martin's hoodie was up. He was on the phone with his girlfriend and, according to her, was getting nervous about the big guy following him. The guy was Zimmerman.
Zimmerman considered Martin a suspicious character -- at least that's what he was telling the 911 dispatcher he had on the line. He also told the dispatcher that "these ... always get away," according to a recording of the call that has been released. Then he took off running after Martin and uttered to the dispatcher a word that some listeners heard to be a racial epithet.
Martin, of course, was African American and, even though this gated neighborhood in Sanford, Fla., happened to be where his dad lived, in Zimmerman's eyes, he did not belong there.