Some Thoughts on the Trayvon Martin Case

I gotta be honest, the rhetoric and discussion surrounding the Trayvon Martin case has surprised me. And I’m about as cynical as anyone. It’s hard to surprise my crusty soul these days. While I’m not surprised by what is being said by the Al Sharptons and the Black Panther Party, I am surprised by what Christians are saying about this whole thing.

First, I’m shocked how so many people just assume Zimmerman is guilty of racism. Everything you hear about the guy in interviews says the exact opposite. (Update: Here is a CNN article where his neighbors describe him.)Yet, every discussion makes the assumption this is a hate crime. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. But goodness, don’t we need to wait till at least there is Grand Jury testimony?
Second – and here is where my cynicism comes in – whenever something like this happens, it dies down quickly soon thereafter. Usually it’s because the story has more elements and is more complex than the media and protester’s narrative. We prefer things to be simple but they rarely are. Far too often, we assume the guilt or innocence of someone because of what we read in a news story. Then the story dies down because the evidence no longer fits the media narrative. And we forget about the very thing we were so passionate about last week. And then we move onto something else.
Remember how passionate everyone was about Kony just about 2 weeks ago? Now silence.
I applaud the desire for justice I see. But we need to be careful that we are not confusing a moment’s outrage with real care about justice. Our spasms of emotion resulting in sharing an opinion piece on facebook are likely to fade. 
Do we really want justice? A true desire for justice would want the same for Zimmerman – who by the way is half-hispanic. To hope he gets a fair shake and is not pronounced guilty without a fair trial. And then if he is guilty, a just sentencing. 

4 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on the Trayvon Martin Case

  1. A.E. Forest March 25, 2012 / 1:46 pm

    You might be right that people are jumping to conclusions about exactly what happened, but it seems like you are perhaps in danger of over-correcting. What isn't in doubt is that Zimmerman followed Martin against the instructions of the emergency operator and the policies of the neighborhood watch he was in charge of. He did the wrong thing, resulting in a grown man shooting an unarmed child to death. Whatever happened could have been avoided had he not done the wrong thing. The claim that "Everything you hear about the guy in interviews says the exact opposite" followed by a link to an article in which his attorney is the main source of information is simply inaccurate. Reports are mixed, at best. http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/23/2712299/george-zimmerman-self-appointed.htmlhttp://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/03/21/149054605/trayvon-martins-killer-had-been-accused-of-violence-in-the-pasthttp://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2012/03/23/george_zimmerman_s_long_lonely_war_against_black_youths_doing_things.html

  2. kristen March 26, 2012 / 2:03 am

    I have read quite a bit, listened to all the 911 calls, and George Zimmerman's call to the police dispatcher, and it seems overwhelmingly to point to the fact that if Zimmerman did not (a) have a gun with him and (b) follow Trayvon Martin that Trayvon would be alive right now. I believe GZ thought he was doing the right thing. But doing the right thing and thinking you are doing the right thing are very different. In any event, when it was clear that Martin did not have a weapon, police should have treated Zimmerman as an unreliable witness, tested him for drugs and alcohol, etc. They made some big mistakes that may make or break a case against Zimmerman.I do think the truth may be in the grey area (or it may not) but it should give us great pause to consider things like (a) who makes us feel threatened and why (b) is it appropriate to carry a gun and why would we feel we need one (c) what is our responsibility when it comes to our neighbor's property, and is it different than our neighbor himself?

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