2013-07-26 / Columnists

Eye On Rockaway

Special Needs Slack Taken Up; Trayvon Martin
By Miriam Rosenberg

In June I wrote about the closing of the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center’s mental health clinic and Children’s Day Treatment center. Well, good news. New Horizon Counseling Center has been taking up that slack.

“We have been getting a lot of referrals” Flora Bienstock, the clinical director of New Horizons told The Wave.

New Horizons has served the community since 1980. It has two clinics in Far Rockaway, one in Ozone Park, one in Howard Beach, and another to open soon on the west end on Beach 88th Street – where there is no other licensed mental health clinic serving the area.

Bienstock says that special needs and autism are addressed at all their sites with a particular emphasis at the new Central Avenue site.

While their expansion had nothing to do with the Addabbo closing, New Horizon’s sense of community has only grown since it began serving the community. A big and welcome difference from Addabbo. A more in-depth article on New Horizon will come soon.

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So let me get this straight, you’re a volunteer on neighborhood watch, you spot someone who looks “suspicious” and call it into the police and they tell you not to follow the person. The volunteer disregards those directions. The so-called “suspicious” person realizes he is being watched, probably feels threatened (wouldn’t you?) – he protects himself and is shot and killed by the neighborhood watch person. And for setting all that into motion by following Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman goes free.

If Zimmerman had not pursued Martin, the 17-year-old would be alive today. Unfortunately, the jury could not consider what thoughts were going through Martin’s head and if he believed he was in danger. The jury could only determine what Zimmerman felt at the very moment of the shooting. But prosecutors felt differently.

“Who was following who? Isn’t that what this case boils down to?” said Prosecutor Bernie de a Rionda after the verdict was read.

Angela Corey, the special prosecutor, believed there was evidence for a second-degree murder conviction. “We truly believe the mindset of George Zimmerman and the words he used and the reason he was out doing what he was doing fit the bill for second-degree murder.”

Prosecutors believe that Zimmerman was, as the Miami Herald pointed out, on a mission to put a stop to recent burglaries in the area. The former defendant also told the dispatcher, “These a**holes always get away.”

Martin, who was visiting the area with his father, was returning from the store. On the 911 tapes Zimmerman does tell the dispatcher that Martin is “just looking at all the houses.” Would it not make sense that the young man was just looking for the house where he was staying?

Then Zimmerman said, “Now he’s just staring at me.”

Now, wouldn’t it make sense that it was Martin who felt threatened and that Zimmerman should have stayed in the car and let the police handle it? But, by getting out of the car Zimmerman set in motion the tragic events.

The laws in Florida favored Zimmerman. And Florida does have a history of grave injustices. Just look at the Casey Anthony case.

This case has shown what may be justice in one part of the country may not be in another. It also should be a warning to all neighborhood watchers to do the job you are there to do – be a neighborhood watch person and leave the policing to the police.

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