Fear Thy Neighbor

Zimmerman_Trial_generic When I started this blog, I said that there would be no subject off limits and that this would be a forum for honest and civil discourse. My friends, honest and civil discourse are two things that we have seen very little of when it comes to the national debate regarding the George Zimmerman case.

I’m not going to claim that I know exactly what happened on that night. The truth is, only George Zimmerman knows with 100% certainty. And i’m not going to judge the credibility of certain witnesses or the verdict that was made by the jury. I believe we live in the greatest nation on earth with one of the best systems of justice. And while it may not be perfect 100% of the time, we had a situation here where the evidence was presented, the facts were heard, a jury deliberated and a verdict was issued. But there are no winners in this case. We have a young man who is dead and another young man who will have to live with his actions for the rest of his life. And sadly, thousands of young men are gunned down by other young men ever day in our country. Young black men, young white men and young hispanic men. But there has been no outcry, no protest, or no real national debate regarding that sobering fact.

And what has saddened me over these last few weeks is how the media and those on both sides of the political spectrum have used this case to advance their own political agendas. There have been far too many judgments from individuals who have not based their opinion on fact or law but on hatred and ignorance. Sadly, it seems these individuals have prevailed as we have now seen rioting in the streets and a nation that had made great progress in race relations slide back down into a nation divided by white and black.

For me, this case is not about black versus white but about two individuals who were afraid of one another with both men acting out on that fear. It’s a snapshot of a greater societal problem. We are afraid of our neighbor and our neighbor is afraid of us. Perhaps it’s a post 9/11 mentality. Perhaps it’s because we live in communities where there is little neighborhood and community interaction. And perhaps it’s because the media inundates us with stories designed to make us afraid to leave the house.

My hope in all of this is that our country can become more civil, that we can stop shouting and screaming and accusing one another of being racist. I hope that we stop being afraid of our fellow man and that we can learn from this tragedy so that our youth can grow up to be anything it is they dream to be.

As always, I want to hear your thougts.

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3 thoughts on “Fear Thy Neighbor

  1. I applaud what you are saying, but do believe that untrained people carrying guns are a threat to all of us. Mr. Zimmerman had that gun and Mr. Martin was unarmed. Who had the leverage?

  2. For me this case was really a trial about the Florida justice system and the Stand your Ground law itself. The verdict was just as interpreted by law, but incredibly unjust as interpreted by humanity and empathy and basic human decency. The trial didn’t prove that Zimmerman was an innocent man who was justified in chasing down, confronting and ultimately murdering a 17 year old, who’s crime was stealing a bag of skittles. The trial proved that the justice system in Florida has been so incredibly co-opted by the gun lobby and by prejudice, that its possible to claim fear as a justification of murder, even when the person who committed the murder initiated the confrontation.

    The Florida justice system was put on trial an was proven beyond any doubt to be guilty of inhuman and unjust application of law.

    I don’t care what color Zimmerman or Martin were, I care that a grown man was able to chase down, confront and use a weapon to kill a minor and walk free.

    Its horrible.

    • This say’s it all,perfectly. Stand Your Ground is a hideous law created and pushed by ALEC. Strong ties to the NRA. Zimmerman killed a minor who was afraid. He was not a thug. Trayvon was a child with a 3.7 GPA, loved his cousins, football and horses. His parents are noble and God loving. Sabrina Fulton stated she would “pray for Zimmerman.” A far cry from juror B37,who racially profiled Rachel Jeantel. SYG needs to be outlawed!

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