This topic isn't academic to me. Emmett Till was murdered in Mississippi not long after I was born. The Mississippi part of the Till family had split from the Alabama part prior to the Civil War, so I can't say how Emmett came to share my family name -- but the inference is clear. Some years ago one of my son's African-American acquaintances expressed discomfort at the Till name. I understood why right away.
With that in mind, I am beside myself with anger at the Sanford police, who remind me of Mississippi and Alabama and Georgia police in the 1950s and 1960s. I don't know exactly what happened on February 26, 2012; none of us will, until there is a proper investigation. It seems reasonable to me that George Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter if not murder so that a jury can ascertain the facts.
Justice requires vigilance every day -- but not the kind of vigilance that Zimmerman had in mind. Meanwhile, I'm reminded that "old Florida" was as much a part of the oppressive South as any state.