Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In Memory of Trayvon Martin

Today my heart hurts for the family and friends of Trayvon Martin. I wish to express my deepest condolences to his mother and father and to all who knew and loved him. And as more and more information come out I am further saddened, and at the same time angered. 

I am saddened that we still live in a society, where in some circles it is seen as a crime to walk down a sidewalk while being black in America. George Zimmerman has a history of calling 911 and each time it was only for "black" or "African-American" males and their supposed "suspicious behavior". The most revealing moment in this call, I believe, is when Zimmerman proclaims, "These assholes, they always get away." And then after Zimmerman confirms that he is pursuing young Trayvon, and ordered by the police dispatcher to stand down, he continues to pursue him anyway. Moments later, as evidenced by other 911 calls from neighbors in the area, there was an argument, yelling, calls for help, and then a deafening gun shot. And then there were no more calls for help. George Zimmerman saw to it, that this "A and B student who majored in cheerfulness", armed only with a bag of Skittles and an iced tea, did not "get away." I am saddened that this young man, with aspirations of working in the aviation field like his uncle, will never realize his dreams. Most of all I am saddened that this young man's civil rights were taken from him with one shot. His rights to walk on a sidewalk in a Florida neighborhood, because a man with obvious racial bias took it upon himself to be prosecutor, judge, jury, and executor of young Trayvon for walking down the sidewalk while being black, were stripped in an instant. 

I am saddened that some in our society still think it is okay in 2012 to judge someone based on the color of his or her skin. It breaks my heart that this young man was shot just because he was crossing through the neighborhood to his father's house and was murdered because of the color of his skin. Of course his father says George is Hispanic and has black friends and he's not racist. To which I call bull crap! Not only does Zimmerman repeatedly comment on Trayvon's race during his call to the police, and not only does he declare that these assholes always get away, but in that same call you can seemingly hear him calling his "suspicious black male" a "f***ing coon". This one clip would be enough to convict Zimmerman of a hate crime against Trayvon Martin.

I am angered because the Sanford Police Department is hiding behind a NRA sponsored Florida law, the so called "Stand Your Ground" law in Florida, in not detaining, arresting, or charging Zimmerman with any crime whatsoever. This law basically says that if there are no witnesses, and you shoot and kill someone and claim it was in self-defense, well, you are basically free to go. And this is exactly what happened. Zimmerman was allowed to keep his gun, go home, and sleep in his own bed that night, while Trayvon went to the morgue. 

I'm angry because this 28 year old man, George Zimmerman, called police 46 times just since January 1, 2011, with reports of suspicious activity, mostly by "suspicious black males", outweighed Trayvon by 100 pounds, armed with a 9mm handgun, continued to aggressively pursues Trayvon after being ordered by the police dispatcher to stand down, obviously confronted the young man, and according to 911 evidence, shot and killed Trayvon as he was pleading for help. It is a lie that he was acting in self-defense. If he was acting in self-defense, Zimmerman would have stayed in his car, or returned to his car when the dispatcher ordered him to stand down. Martin was walking down a sidewalk minding his own business. And still, Zimmerman is at large, and the Sanford PD claims they cannot arrest him because they do not have enough evidence to disprove his claim of self-defense. Um, have you listened to his 911 call, or the 911 calls of the neighbors? That's enough evidence to call into question his testimony. Or how about Trayvon's girlfriend, who was on the phone with him at the time Zimmerman confronted him? Her account contradicts that of Zimmerman and seemingly corroborates some of the neighbors' 911 calls. I'm angry because the Sanford PD has a history of badly mishandled racially charged cases, involving their own officers, and it seemingly took a national outcry to get the Dept. of Justice and the FBI involved in this case. Otherwise, Zimmerman may have been allowed to go free forever. 

I am angered because we live in a society, where in some places the gun laws are so loose, that even though one has a history of battery and violence, he is still allowed a permit to carry a concealed weapon. I do not wish to infringe on anyone's second amendment rights, but I do believe in a certain amount of regulation thereof. The fact that this man was permitted to carry a concealed pistol, which he used, not to defend himself, but to pursue and kill young Trayvon Martin, is case in point for stricter gun regulations. I believe that when you break a law and demonstrate an inability to handle yourself, you also give up your rights, including and especially to bear arms. 

I am angry that this same police department has allowed Zimmerman to act as a policeman, although he A. is not one, B. is the self-appointed leader of his neighborhood watch, C. his neighborhood watch is not registered, and D. violated the neighborhood watch principle of not confronting any person who is suspicious and calling the police to let them handle it, and, at the risk of repeating myself, was told by the police dispatcher not to pursue Trayvon. Why is this man not incarcerated right now?

I am encouraged that as more facts and details have come to light, the right people have come out in support of Trayvon and his family. It has been announced that a grand jury will be convened to evaluate all the facts surrounding this case. The Department of Justice and the FBI are now involved with their own investigations. Even the Republican state legislators who sponsored the "stand your grounds" law in Florida have declared that Zimmerman should not be protected by this law, particularly since he did pursue Trayvon. They have called for Zimmerman's prosecution. And while I am encouraged that things are moving in the right direction, it should not have taken a national outcry to make it happen. I want everyone to go to and sign the petition started by Tracy Martin, Trayvon's mother, to prosecute and bring George Zimmerman to justice.

When will we as a nation stop this hate and bias and prejudice against one another only because of the color of one's skin? If you believe in God and the Bible, we all came from Adam and are the children of God who loves us and wants us to return to live with him after this life is over. That journey would be much better in this life if we embraced one another and lifted each other and joined hands as we made our way. And if you don't believe in God, if you're atheist, then we're all descendants from African heritage and have evolved and adapted over millions of years to different climates which accounts for the differences in our appearances and skin color, which means black, white, yellow, red, or whatever, we all have the same origin - from Africa - which means that no one race is any better than another, just better adjusted for a certain climate due to the process of natural selection, and we should all be respectful of one another and still embrace one another and lift each other up and try to make life better for our neighbors. 

Trayvon's death does not have to be in vain. Again, I send my love and thoughts to the Martin family. I grieve with you in your time of mourning. No parents should have to suffer as you are suffering now. Although I do not personally know you, I feel that Trayvon was my little brother, my nephew, my cousin. He was my family member and my heart hurts for his loss and my heart hurts for you. And I pray that you may find peace. And I pray that as a people we may put away our prejudices and begin to work together in cooperation and love and brotherhood.