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Tragedies Abound: George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin

July 17, 2013
Pictures of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman used by the groups sympathetic to each side. Photos taken from Wikipedia.

The story of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin is a tragic one evoking a variety of emotions.  A young man’s life was cut-off, his future destroyed, his potential unrealized.  The loss is truly impossible to quantify.

Also, another man was publicly, nationally, vilified.  He was arrested, held without bail for over a year, and threatened publicly by individuals of many stripes – including some sports “heroes.”  All of this was done on charges that, according to the police chief at that time, did not have evidence to support them.  According to Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee on March 12, 2012, “There is no evidence to dispute Zimmerman’s assertion that he shot Martin out of self-defense.”  This opinion has now been born out in trial by jury.  Still, a man’s reputation has been torn to shreds, and that nationally, without proof of guilt.

Lessons from the trial of George Zimmerman

Both of these incidents are tragic.  There is no way we can put a value on a life.  Knowing this, it is also tragic to hang the burden of that life on someone else’s shoulders before the benefit of trial.  However, it seems to me that this trial was more about ideas than it was about the people involved.

1. Self-defense is under fire

I find it difficult to believe that self-defense was questioned under the circumstances.  Martin (approximately 6′ tall and 160 pounds) was on top of Zimmerman (approximately 5’8″ and 170 pounds) and was beating his head against the pavement.  If someone was on top of you beating your head into the ground, what would you do?

Much is made of Zimmerman’s decision to follow Martin.  Should nothing be made of Martin’s decision to challenge and assault his follower?

In any case, as American’s our right to defend ourselves is coming under fire.

2. Some American’s are more equal than others.

It has been said that if George Zimmerman were African American, or if Trayvon Martin were Caucasian, the trial would not have become a nationally dramatized saga.  We live in a society in which there are many special interest groups.  African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, women, children, LGBT, cats, dogs, whales…. the list is almost endless – all these groups have special rights and people to champion their cause.  There are two groups I can think of that don’t have special rights and/or a special group to champion them.  Can you name them?

In any case, America has in many ways become a multi-class society.  Depending on which group you belong to, you get more or less notice if you are infringed upon.  This too is a tragic.

It is a tragedy that when a crime occurs, the first thing we notice is the skin colors involved.  It is tragic when we become so involved in race that we forget that a boy died, and that a man lost a year of his life, his reputation, and possibly his future safety.

Frankly, I’m still trying to process all my reactions to the conclusion of the trial.  However, these stand out.  Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts.

Dave

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  1. Racial Profiling at its Best | deliberatingdave

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