I have been silent for quite some time on the Trayvon Martin case. I just haven’t had the stomach to speak on it. I’ve been reading the articles and watching the news and trying to work out my feelings on it. Today, I am no less disgusted, sad, fearful or tearful than yesterday, but still, I have come to a place where I care to share my thoughts:
- To the family of Trayvon Martin…I can think of no good words. I am just so sorry. I can’t imagine this loss. I don’t want to imagine it being my family. It’s just enraging and heartbreaking at the same time. No one should feel so helpless.
- I hate that some people think this case is a black problem or just another “race card” attempt. I hate that CNN is talking about this, but it doesn’t appear to be a big deal on Fox News. I hate that the race component has gotten so much attention. This is SO much bigger than race. This is an American problem, and most immediately, a Florida problem.
- While the actions of the Sanford Police Department reek of racism and perhaps George Zimmerman was racist, I have to say…when I think of this case, I don’t think of racism first. I think of a dead kid. And then I think of hatred. This could have been YOUR kid. You…white person, black person, asian person, middle eastern person, latino person…it could have been your kid. We ALL have been touched by racism and we ALL have our own stereotypes that we assign to certain people. It’s just human. Now imagine those thoughts leading to the death of your child. Your kid, that’s walking home with some skittles and tea. How many times have you let your teen take off to the store, whether on foot or in a car? Suddenly…it ain’t a race thing, is it? It’s a dead child thing.
- This case reminds me of all the ignorance that still exists, so strongly, in Florida, both on the books and off. I have NEVER been a fan of the Stand Your Ground law and I am not a fan of the NRA being heavily involved in legislation. I do not like guns. With that being said, I do not feel that I have the right to take them from anyone else. However, weapons should have incredibly strict oversight. All laws should maintain that oversight. Our loved ones cannot afford to have their lives based on the belief system of other gun owners. It could get them killed.
- The Stand Your Ground law should not exist. This is not the Wild, Wild, West. We have police officers for a reason. There have been many times where I felt threatened, but if I’d shot someone each time, I’d have a lot of innocent deaths on my hands. While I have felt legitimately scared, there have been many times where my own natural prejudices were at play. For instance: Anytime a homeless white man at the corner of Westshore and Kennedy approaches my car, I roll my windows up because I think they’re gonna rob my black, employed behind. So far, they’ve just kept it moving. I also get nervous when I am pulled over by white policemen, even though I’ve only been ticketed by a black cop. I also went to a party with a bunch of “straight out of the trailer park” looking white people and got nervous. Instead, I had fun and their food was delicious. Talk about making me feel like a jackass for assuming.
So what I’m saying is, we need reasons for taking lives, beyond fear or ignorance. Being afraid or nervous or caught up in a stereotypical view of someone doesn’t mean pull the trigger. Neither does your personal belief system. The only thing that quantifies pulling a trigger is being in imminent danger. And clearly, no one believes George Zimmerman was in danger.
No teenager should die…and if so, not like this.