A Calculated Risk (The Case of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman)

A calculated risk was taken on February 26, 2012, and at first blush it appeared that the risk paid off.  It was on February 26, 2012, when neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman, states that he noticed a suspicious looking man lurking around in his gated community located in Sanford, Florida.  He called 911 to report the “suspicious” man. The 911 operator asked a number of questions regarding the description of the person of interest who George Zimmerman spotted and was now referring to as the “suspect”. While George Zimmerman answered the operator’s questions, he also went beyond basic description. In his attempt to convey just how serious he thought the matter was, he started peppering his description by using derogatory language that was racially-based. He characterized Mr. Tryvon Martin’s behavior as “This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about”. His frustration was evidenced by the statement these coons/goons always get away with it.  I believe it is safe to say that his references in this instance could have only applied to one particular group of men since there had been a series of robberies in George Zimmerman’s neighborhood, and according to the accounts of some of the people living in this gated community, all of the perpetrators were African American males.  There was a long record of 911 calls made by George Zimmerman and in every one of the calls the suspicious person was African American.  Therefore, during this particular 911 call, there is no reason to believe that George Zimmerman was referring to anyone else but African American males, because there was absolutely no reason to mention any other ethnic group.

At some point while talking to the 911 operator, George Zimmerman decides to exit his vehicle to follow the man whom he decided was suspicious looking.  At the point when he decided to exit his vehicle, George Zimmerman had already decided to take a calculated risk.  A calculated risk is defined as “a risk that you take carefully consider the possible results.” Although George Zimmerman was found “Not Guilty” by a jury of six women on July 12, 2013, I respectfully challenge the premises upon which the jury decided its verdict.

While the case that the State presented was abysmal,  there was still enough evidence to prove at the very least, a case of  manslaughter.  The defense attorneys were successful in convincing the jury that Mr. Trayvon Martin was the aggressor in the altercation between him and George Zimmerman.  Throughout the trial, George Zimmerman’s attorneys meticulously destroyed Mr. Trayvon Martin’s character to the point that the man described by the defense attorneys did not even begin to resemble the boy who had just turned 17 as described by family members and friends. The defense attorneys’ description was not consistent with Mr. Trayvon Martin’s police record because THERE WAS NO CRIMINAL RECORD.  The defense attorneys then decided to take a calculated risk.  Because Mr. Trayvon Martin did not fit the description of the “suspect” that George Zimmerman described to the 911 operator, the defense attorneys had no alternative but to manufacture a fictitious trayvon martin because Mr.Trayvon Benjamin Martin was the victim of George Zimmerman’s calculated risk and not the man whom George Zimmerman described.  Mr. Trayvon Martin was unarmed.  So the defense attorneys decided to manufacture a deadly weapon called “cement”.  They consistently spoke of and cross-examined the State’s star witness about Mr. Trayvon Martin’s description of George Zimmerman as a “cracker”, while they wanted the jury to disregard the 911 call wherein George Zimmerman was referring to Mr. Trayvon Martin in derogatory terms without knowing a thing about him.  The defense attorneys took a calculated risk and branded Mr. Trayvon Martin as a racist. The 911 tape was solid evidence that George Zimmerman followed Mr. Trayvon Martin.  Once again, the defense decided to take a calculated risk, and as ludicrous as it sounds, manufactured a theory suggesting that Mr. Trayvon Martin pursued George Zimmerman.

If Mr. Zimmerman was able to give the 911 operator a description of the man whom he was following, he had enough time to carefully consider the possible results of the actions he was about to take. Listening to the tapes, one can tell that George Zimmerman is walking, trotting, or running after Mr. Trayvon Martin by his labored breathing. The 911 operator sensed this and asked him if he was following Mr. Trayvon Martin. George Zimmerman answered “yes”.  He was then told not do so.  Once again George Zimmerman carefully considered the possible results of the actions he was about to take, and decided that his calculated risk was worth taking.

The reason why George Zimmerman was willing to take the calculated risk was because Mr. Trayvon Martin did not fit the description of the goons/coons, thugs, or whomever else had been responsible for the robberies in George Zimmerman’s neighborhood.  During its investigation to prepare for trial, the State uncovered information and spoke to individuals who confirmed that George Zimmerman had a passion for law enforcement, so much so that he had taken law enforcement classes, including course study in “Stand Your Grown” laws, in which he excelled.  He had self-defense training.  Long before George Zimmerman met Mr. Trayvon Martin, he was preparing for February 26, 2012.  Then there were those defense witnesses who painted the pictures of a gentle man, a man who wasn’t in physical shape to battle with Mr. Trayvon Martin (contradictory description for someone who studies self-defense).  If all of these descriptions are true, and we must assume they are or else a whole lot of people perjured themselves, it is not unreasonable to conclude that an armed man with a passion for law enforcement, self-defense training, but not in the best shape to handle a physical altercation with a 17 year old young man, would only exit his vehicle and hunt down the person whom he described as a “suspect” because George Zimmerman decided that Mr. Trayvon Benjamin Martin was worth the calculated risk.

This is why George Zimmerman decided to take the calculated risk.  If he had seen a thug, a suspicious looking character, who was on drugs or something, lurking around in the dark in his gated community; if Mr. Trayvon Benjamin Martin really looked like the coons/goons who always got away; if George Zimmerman considered Mr. Trayvon Martin dangerous and capable of murder, George Zimmerman would have never exited his vehicle and there wouldn’t have been a chase, argument, struggle, or gun shot. George Zimmerman knew that a thug, coon/goon, or any other criminal would have known how to handle him, armed or otherwise.  He knew that the chances of him winning a battle with a thug were little to none. By George Zimmerman’s calculations, (which he would never admit to) he wouldn’t have to chase down a thug because the thug would have never attempted to run away from him.  The fact that Mr. Trayvon Martin did what frightened children do (run away from danger), his running away confirmed to George Zimmerman that his target was afraid of him.  He was willing to take the calculated risk because he carefully considered the outcome if things did get out of hand.

George Zimmerman spotted an innocent 17 year old young man, who didn’t look menacing in the least.  The build of Mr. Trayvon Martin’s body still looked like that of a gangly 17 year-old.  So an armed man, such as George Zimmerman, had no reason to feel threatened by Mr. Trayvon Martin who was running away in fear. George Zimmerman carefully considered the results of his action because he wasn’t about to put himself in harm’s way.  Long before he met Mr. Trayvon Martin, he had been preparing, training, and rehearsing to ensure the outcome of February 26, 2012.  So on February 26, 2012, by his calculations, Mr. Trayvon Martin, was easy prey.  The chances were that he could scare him out of the neighborhood and be herald has a hero.   The chances were that this tall and skinny kid was a real threat were minimal.  The chances that George Zimmerman’s prey could handle a gun were minimal.  When this gangly 17 year-old couldn’t get away from him and decided to challenge him, this even made him angrier.  How dare he, thought George Zimmerman?  Fired up and fueled by anger and frustration, George Zimmerman made the ultimate calculated risk.  Although Mr. Trayvon Martin tried to exercise his right to stand his ground, he was no match for a man who had been preparing, training, and rehearsing for the night of February 26, 2012.

The calculated risk and the verdict did not pay off, however.  George Zimmerman’s victory began and ended on Saturday evening, July 12, 2013.  He will forever be known as the neighborhood watchman who killed an unarmed 17 year old boy who had no criminal record. Neighborhood Watchman is the pinnacle of his imaginary law enforcement career. He will never have the illustrious career in law he was feverously planning for.  He will never wear the badge of honor he had been relentlessly pursuing, or receive numerous citations from local, state, or federal authorities.  He will never be looked upon in high esteem.  All of his hopes, dreams, and aspirations were destroyed by his calculated risk.  Unfortunately, the jury did not consider the calculated risk that was taken by George Zimmerman.  Had they factored in “a risk that you take carefully consider possible results” along with other compelling evidence, the word “pre-meditated” could not have been dismissed.

Mr. Trayvon Martin will never be forgotten.  His story will inspire people all over the world to be vigilant in the pursuit of justice.  His story has already galvanized Agents of Peace to fight for what is right.  His story will move politicians to enact and strengthen gun laws.  Mr. Trayvon Martin and his family will be our constant reminder of the Power of Love.   In the midst of their tragedy, they have asked us all to fight for justice by peaceful means. Mr. Trayvon Martin’s name will be attached to what is right, while Mr. Zimmerman’s name has been relegated to “shame”, “untouchable”, “pariah”, and “coward”.  The Victor on February 26, 2012, paid with his life, but he is victorious nonetheless.

There will be t…

imageThere will be times when the path to greatness becomes complicated, daunting or overwhelming. Then you remember that greatness is not simple. It is that which is enormous, immense, or vast. Achieving greatness means that your work extends far beyond you. If it is to touch, change, or enhance the lives of others, its Architect (you) must be the example of overcoming complexity, challenge, & obstacles. © P. Reaves

How Do I Avoid Taking My Bad Experience Into My New Relationship

As the Year 2012 is approaching its closing, many of us will be reflecting upon our experiences  throughout the year.  As with tradition  some will make New Year’s resolutions.  There are those of use who don’t believe in making resolutions.  However, whether you want to call it a resolution, commitment, or your plans for the future, those of us who understand the importance of self-evaluation and preparation for the future are  contemplating the steps we will take, the changes we will make, and the goals we will achieve in the coming year.  As we consider our lifestyle changes, lifestyle lifts, or development,  we will be re-evaluating a number of things, and among them are our relationships.  If our relationships were healthy, fulfilling, and everything we hoped for, we still think about how and what we can do to make things even better.  You must admit — a relationship can never be too good.  We should endulge ourselves in wonderful relationships because they affect every aspect of our human experiences.

As the New Year approachs, we want to disgard, leave behind, or just plain forget about those relationships that proved to be problemmatic, exhausting, or just out of line with what we desire.  Moving past them is most certainly possible and is best for healing.  Life is too full of wonderful things, experiences, and people to let a bad experience linger around.  A bad experience is good for only one thing and that is  — it becomes a lesson.

Here is an article that I wrote for the quarterly  mini magazine “Positivity 4 Ever, the July – September 2012 edition, published by Glenda Staten (Copyright 2011 by Glenda Staten, North Carolina, Printed in the United States of America).  Although circulation of the mini magazine has been discontinued, I’ve decided to share with you the articles that appeared in my column, “Relationship Resolutions by Author Pam Reaves”.

So Happy New Year — May the rest of your life be the very best of your life.

How Do I Avoid Taking My Bad Experience Into My New Relationship

There is a relationship formula offered by many relationship experts which states that when ending a relationship, you should remain single one week for each year that you were in the relationship.  Although it seems odd when throwing a mathematical equation into something as emotionally-based as a relationship, there are a number of reasons why this formula makes sense.

Our relationships (positive or negative) become a part of us over time.  As time passes, the relationship will experience joy and sorrow, success and failure, laughter and tears, as well as a whole host of other emotions too numerous and complex to list or explain in this article.  All of these things attach themselves to us in some way and our experiences shape who we are or who we will become.  So when the relationship ends, the effects thereof do not magically disappear although there are some experiences that are so terrible, we wish everything about them would magically go away. Stuff (good and bad) has a way of sticking to us.  We don’t mind the good stuff sticking around, but the bad stuff is what we’re trying to get away from.   So don’t you agree that it is insane to take it into the next relationship?

Among the pieces of advice we give or receive in our efforts to bring closure to a relationship include: Going to social events where we will meet new people (increasing our prospects);   Don’t grieve over the relationship, but start dating other people (they are supposed to make you forget the painful past); and Having sex with someone new to get over a former lover (self-medicating that has no real healing properties).  So it is safe to conclude that many of us somehow believe the new relationship is the answer to moving beyond the one that ended.  The reality is that if the prior relationship is not really over, if a person is still carrying around hurt, humiliation or abuse from a previous relationship; if there hasn’t been sufficient time to heal, the new relationship will not solve the problem, but rather it will exacerbate the problem – things will get worse.

So how do I move on without carrying toxic baggage into my next relationship?  Whether or not you are spiritual or religious, when ending a relationship a good piece of advice is to apply the biblical proverb, “Physician heal thyself.”  The premise of this proverb is that people should take care of, address, or start with their own defects rather than focusing on fixing the defects of others.  So when the relationship ends, the first step in preparing for the next relationship is to remain alone in order to heal thyself.  Another relationship or person cannot heal the scars from the previous relationship.    The next person cannot fix you because the fixing starts within.  When you are healed, you are strong, happy, and ready enough to have a relationship that has nothing to do with your past.   You will be offering the best of you and not a broken, disillusioned, and unhealthy person.  The kind of person that you want will not accept you in this state.

During the healing process there is time to: (1) Assess what went wrong; (2) Honestly determine and come to terms with the part each party played in the troubled relationship; (3) Figure out what one’s expectations are, if those expectations are reasonable, and what type of person can meet them; (4) Learn how to love self; (5) Rest in the peaceful place of solitude; and (6) Learn how to trust again.

There is some truth to the saying “Time heals all wounds”.  I say “some truth” because the ugly truth is that if you don’t take the necessary time to heal you, the pain, scars, and other toxic elements will continue to be a part of you and you will in turn take this toxicity into the next relationship.  However, the more distance (time) you put between the old relationship and the new one, the greater the certainty is that things of the past will become no more than distant memories from which you learned valuable lessons.  You may only come away with having learned something as rudimental as what not to do or accept in the next relationship.   That’s great – past history won’t repeat itself.

So when the question of starting a new relationship without the baggage from the past arises, remember that you do have the power to move on.  Power requires a source of energy.  It is impossible to be energetic when you are exhausted from the vestiges of a past relationship that depleted you of your strength, zest for life, and will to live a happy, loving, and healthy life with the person of your choice.  When you acknowledge the negative effects of holding on to negative relationships, you understand how critical it is that you let go of them.

When it comes to love, you deserve the best.  Accept nothing less than the real thing. © Pam Reaves





THAT BURNING DESIRE fueled by a commitment to excellence, inspiration, passion, compassion, purpose, and a desire to make a positive, life-changing difference in the life of at least one person can yield wealth that extends far beyond financial gain.  This is the type of wealth that makes everything you’ve gone through in life worth it because through it all, you’ve learned to value more than money.   Yet, financial wealth without a burning desire including these priceless intangibles can feel like poverty: malnourished in substance; underprivileged in healthy relationships; lacking in integrity; deficient in morality, destitute in spirit; and living daily in a distressed environment.  So when you make the claim that you “want it all”, make sure your “all” includes inspiration, passion, compassion, purpose, commitment to excellence and a grateful heart (the Creator honors a grateful heart).  The burning desire is what makes financial wealth truly enjoyable.  The burning desire is your motivation, energy and the tenacity needed for you to remain in a wealthy and healthy state of mind regardless of what the financial report says. © P. Reaves 2011


Stubborness Is Way Overrated

Stubbornness is way overrated.  The man or woman who believes that fighting to the death with someone for whom he or she professes love always yields victory, is the man or woman who will surely die (be it physically, emotionally, or spiritually) at the hands of his or her own stubbornness.  To be inflexible, obstinate, unyielding to the opinions, advice, or directions of others serves to foolishly blind the stubborn individual to the consequences of his or her bad decisions, recklessness; or the dismal direction a relationship may be headed.   In a relationship, which by mere definition implies a link, bond, or connection, the spirit of stubbornness may wind up being one of the main contributors to the dissolution of the relationship, if not the destruction of one or both parties.  Couples who survive arguments and disagreements will tell you that at some point, one or both individuals realized winning was not as important as reconciliation.  Winning was not as important as preserving the dignity and respect of a loved one. Winning was not as important as that indescribably wonderful feeling of harmony with the individual whom you’ve decided to share your life.   If a disagreement or argument has to end with a winner or a loser, then harmony was not achieved.  Isn’t harmony what individuals who are engaged in a loving relationship desire?  If not, then the necessity that someone loses or wins should be of great concern.  There is no equity (equality, balance, etc.) in the winner/loser scenario, while harmony is the synchronization of link, bond, or connection.   Harmony flows; it is the “one accord” experience; it is the fulfillment of what love promises; it is the soothing environment in which the healthy relationship can flourish.

If stubbornness is your method of having what you want in a relationship, remember that it will not always be the spouse or partner (whom you’ve decided in your fight to win is now the adversary) who takes you down, but your own inability to: (1) step back when necessary; (2) assess the consequences of the fight, and (3) either resolve or diffuse the situation before it escalates into irreconcilable difference.   The stubborn state-of-mind is incapable of embracing new ideas, better ideas, different opinions, or wiser decisions that may just come from the other party who loves you and does have your best interest at heart even though they disagree with you.  Because we are individuals, it is not realistic to expect that we will always agree with each other.   However, our disagreements do not have to be our destruction when we understand and acknowledge that disagreement can occur without the adversarial spirit.  Make sure that your stubborn attitude is not wearing you and/or your partner down and eventually out.  The stubborn will may also be the unnecessary battle of wills.  Even if the disagreement or argument does somehow reach the boiling point, be willing to extend the Olive Branch (symbol of peace) or to receive the Olive Branch that your spouse or partner may extend to you.  This was all supposed to be about love in the first place.  So reign in the stubborn spirit that is alienating you from your loved one.  Revelation can be tricky.  It is after we’ve lost a loving relationship that we then realize stubbornness, fighting to the death, and winning at any cost was of no value at all.

Standing on principle, what you believe in is admirable, but we must also give careful consideration to the reasonableness, accuracy, and consequences of that which we believe in.  There will be times when there is an issue on which you decide to take a stand.  However, be careful that stubbornness does not impair your vision, sensibility, or judgment.  It is not a sign or display of weakness when we have to re-consider a position we may have already taken.  It is a sign or display of courage when we are willing to change our position if the end result is a healthier, happier loving relationship.

© Pam Reaves – August 15, 2011



Once you realize you’re in a war, be it on your life, spirit, confidence, self-esteem, hopes and dreams, one of the most effective strategies for winning is to choose your battles wisely.   Some of them are just not worth fighting.  It is not necessary to win every argument.    Sometimes winning is to say absolutely nothing at all.   If you say nothing, the enemy has no way of knowing your plan of action.    It is not necessary and is never good to expend your energy on insignificant confrontations – preserve it for that which will make a positive or substantive difference.  Once a woman, whom I knew was embroiled in a battle that she was bound to lose.  Exhausted, near tears, and totally confused, she finally asked me, “What should I do?”  My answer was, “How about doing nothing.”   There are some battles that we’re just not destined to win and should not be considered the end of the world.

The battle is not yours – it belongs to the Creator.  So let Him fight what He cannot lose, and you continue to implement other portions of the Plan of Victory.  You have been equipped with weaponry such as intelligence, skill, information, perseverance, patience, vision, and talent.  Rarely, if ever, does the adversary know how to handle the battle or war that is fought with these types of weaponry.  For centuries, victorious warriors in every type of warfare there is have claimed their victories by using one or more of these weapons.   Adversaries who continue to lose prove this point themselves, and so there is no reason whatsoever to argue the point with them.  Although winners repeat their formulas for winning the wars and battles that come with living life, adversarial forces continue to ignore the formula for victory and continue to attack with the same results – failure.   Let the adversary have his or her bloody fight.  In the end they lay in ruin among their bloody messes.  However, in order to prevail, you must stay committed to fighting a bloodless warfare with intelligence, skill, information, perseverance, patience, vision, and talent.  You will be positioned to move forward and achieve your goals without any blood on your hands.  Now that’s winning the war.

Why We Must Distinguish the Truly Loving Relationship From the Toxic Relationship

“Is It Love…Or Merely a Sick Attachment?”  My new book is doing quite well, even prior to the official Release Date, which is tomorrow (July 5, 2011).  However, the most consistent questions that I am getting are in regards to the book’s title.  Yes, it is jarring and causes an immediate pause.  But that was my intent — to cause a pause, which means I have the reader’s attention, which means the reader is intrigued, as he or she should be.  Believe me, our loving relationships or those relationships we want or need to believe are loving relationships require immediate and our undivided attention.  So much is taken for granted whenever love is professed, and maybe that is why despite the very high premium we all place on love and our expectations when it comes to our loving relationships; despite the abundance of information we now have at our disposal on how to have a great relationship, how to ensure we are satisfied in our love-making, how to have communication, the results are in no way consistent with the emphasis and/or premium placed on love.  Despite tons of information on how to keep the passionate fire ablaze in our relationships, how to keep the romance fresh, how to have the better relationships we tirelessly pursue, there is still something very wrong in the Land of Love.  The statistics on domestic violence are chilling and we need to know why.  My concern is that we may not be paying close enough attention to the desire as opposed to the reality, and here is why.

Despite an abundance  of information via relationship books, television and radio talk shows; despite the millions of books, seminars, retreats, and erotica designed to improve or maintain our loving relationships, there are some very disturbing reports on the State of Love.  I have been reading reports in which the statistics are supporting experts’ opinions that domestic violence is at epidemic proportion.  One report on domestic violence for the year 2010, states that on average more than three women and one man are killed by someone whom they were intimately involved.   Yes — men are victims of domestic violence and are dying too.  When we think about (and most of us do not like to ponder on the dark side of relationships) the worst case scenario in a relationship (i.e. murder, suicide) we want to believe that the worst case scenario rarely happens.  Well in this case, the worst case scenario happens every day, according to the report.  Since the victims are dying at the hands of someone with whom they were intimate, it is not unreasonable to reach a conclusion that at some point in the relationship, someone professed to have loved, or assumed that love was a component in the relationship.  We need to focus on the huge gap between the high value we place on love and the staggering results in the reports on domestic violence.  In reading my new book, “Is It Love…Or Merely a Sick Attachment?” you will read about truly loving relationships versus the toxic relationships veiled as loving.  You will understand the gap between what most of desire a loving experience to be and the realities supported by the reports.  You will connect with my book and the unforgettable short stories that are also included because most of us have been in the gap at one time or another in our lives, or know some else who is in, or has been in the gap.  You see, the gap involves our familial relationships, our individual definitions of love, our perceptions about love; our points of references, and a host of other elements that we may not be aware of that ultimately affect the romantic relationship (a lot of times the only type of loving relationships we focus on) we desire.   My readers will have a better understanding as to why some individuals are able to survive problematic relationships, while others descend into a hellacious hole disguised as a loving relationship.

Readers will become accustomed to the terminology “Sick Attachment”.  People want to know what is a Sick Attachment, and what is its relationship to the concept of the Love.  Well, I call the Sick Attachment a Relationship Disorder.  Just like any physiological disorder that needs to be treated, early detection of this Relationship Disorder is the best line of defense and cure.  To ignore the signs of a troubled relationship and where the relationship could end up, or the devastation it causes is to one’s own peril.  Many of you refer to this type of Relationship Disorder as toxic, and rightfully so.  However, I do believe that there are many cases in which individuals identify toxicity within their relationships and are able to either fix the problem or terminate the relationship before it causes irreparable harm.  Furthermore, I do not believe that all problematic relationships are sick attachments.  It is that devastating relationship that eats away at an individual mentally, emotionally, and physically (all in the name of love) when all the evidence points to the contrary that is of great concern to me.  There are those individuals who stubbornly, sometimes desperately, hold on to the toxic relationship and keep alluding to it as “love” — even more troubling.  The statistics beg for my question (Is It Love…Or Merely a Sick Attachment?” to be answered.  In my book, I explore and analyze the power of true love and the devastation of the Sick Attachment.  Although our definitions of love may be as individual as DNA, we do not (and should not) expect our loving relationships to hurt, maim, destroy, or kill us.  Most of us would initially gasp at the question and respond with: “Oh no, this isn’t me”; “I don’t know anyone like that”; “It could never happen to me”.  You may even question why I wrote a book about something as disturbing as a “Sick Attachment” when writing about our loving relationships.  Sadly the statistics that report domestic violence is at epidemic proportion are revealing and not in a favorable light.  The statistics prove that there are a whole lot of unhappy/unhealthy people who are either: (1) covering up, (2) afraid to come forward, (3) living in denial — risking everything including their health and/or lives; or (4) incapable of taking the necessary steps to detach themselves from the relationship that is tormenting and destroying them.  How does a culture that pursues love with all the benefits of the truly loving relationship wind up with violence, turmoil, sickness (physically and emotionally)  in staggering numbers that include at least three women and one man dying every day — all in the name of love?  Read my book, “Is It Love…Or Merely a Sick Attachment?” and I promise you will understand the difference.  You will come away with different perspectives or just re-evaluate your current perspective.  You will have a better understanding about the dynamics that keep people attached to relationships that most of us would turn away from.  You will never view relationships the same again.

“When it comes to love, you deserve the best — Accept nothing less than the real thing.   P. Reaves