I've waited for some time before deciding to write a post about the Trayvon Martin killing. Emotions have run hard in me on this case. Upon first hearing of the story, I became angry. I'm angry because I don't understand how this type of thing can happen in this country in 2012. I'm angry because a teenager is dead. I'm angry because a self-appointed vigilante shot and killed this young man after being told by the 911 dispatcher that he didn't need to follow Trayvon Martin ignored this and went ahead anyway and the result was tragedy. I'm also angry because the news media has taken this up and of course done what they usually do which is try and make something else out of this terrible event. Depending upon which paper or blog or web site one reads, the story is tilted towards trying to find blame for the event. Some have decided that George Zimmerman is to blame, other have attempted to portray Trayvon Martin as the person responsible for the outcome. Still others are attempting to make this about race. I'm very angry that all of this noise about the case doesn't change the fact that a teenage kid is dead and will not grow up to have a job, have an education, get married, have kids, go on vacation, have a hobby, have grand kids, and get old. I'm angry that George Zimmerman's life is inexorably altered and not for the good. A young kid is dead at his hand. He will carry this with him the rest of his life. The rest of his days, he will be known as "The vigilante who killed a teen-age kid". I'm angry that we live in a culture where it is necessary to have legislatures pass laws that identify justifiable reasons why it is o.k. to kill other people. I'm angry, and yet I'm also anguished by the fact that this type of thing keeps happening. I 'm anguished by the fact that we have yet one more example of violence in this country and it doesn't seem that it will ever stop.
Some people are attempting to make this a race issue. I don't know if it is or not. I don't know Mr. Zimmerman, and don't know what is in his heart and in his brain and what his motivation was for pursuing Trayvon Martin. It really doesn't matter except that if it was about race, if it was Mr. Zimmerman becoming suspicious of Trayvon because he didn't look like he "belonged" where he was and the principal reason for that assumption was the color of his skin, then it simply goes to show we have still a long way to go in our society.
We have to find away out of the cycle of violence that seems to be pervasive and endemic across our society. We have to find a way to come together and get to a point of compassion versus suspicion. We have to find a way to stop the idea that killing is an acceptable outcome in this country. It's not a race issue, it's not a political issue, it is a issue of our collective humanity and if we are to progress, we must get to a point where we do not tolerate any longer the collective attitude that violence is a reasonable answer to our problems.
My thoughts are with Trayvon Martin's parents. The absolute worse thing in my view any one can experience is the loss of their child. No one should have to suffer through that. I hope they can find peace.
My thoughts are with Mr. Zimmerman and his family. He, by his action has irrevocably changed his life and ended the life of another human. While the circumstances on the event are still being argued and we have an obligation to hear the facts of the case before determining whether Mr. Zimmerman's actions were justified, the simple fact of the matter is that a young, teenage boy is dead and Mr. Zimmerman was responsible. He will have to deal with that forever.
We need to have a national conversation on the topic of violence. We know that violence is a reality and will continue to be so. We must however find a way to minimize it as much as possible. I know many who are following this case are aligning themselves with one camp or another in an attempt to find someone to blame. Blaming doesn't help. It doesn't bring this kid back to life. It doesn't make Mr. Zimmerman's life any better, and it doesn't stop the probability that next week, next month, next year, we'll see more and more stories where acts of violence have irrevocably destroyed the lives of others in our community. What is there to do? How can we continue to progress our humanity forward and reduce the amount of violence in our society? All of this must be discussed over and over again as we look for answers.
I'm exhausted with the violence. I'm exhausted with reading about the tragedies like the Martin case. I'm exhausted with reading the attempts of people with an agenda to make this about something other than one person killing another person. I'm tired but cannot stop thinking about what can we do to avoid this in the future. We have to keep talking about it.
Tell me what you think.