13 July 2013

Trayvon Martin, Skittles, and the not-guilty verdict

The Trayvon Martin decision just came down. I’m listening to legal analysts try to explain the not-guilty verdict and why the jury, even if the six women felt defendant George Zimmerman had acted wrongly, voted the way they did. 

That doesn’t make me feel any better. 

I can’t help but feel that if the shooter had been black and the person he’d shot had been white, this would have not been the verdict. And, furthermore, while I’m not calling Zimmerman a racist,  we all know there will be people in the states that have Stand Your Ground laws that take this ruling as carte blanche to shoot anyone they perceive as a threat, real or imagined. And, by the way, Zimmerman has been given back his gun.

When asked that very question, if he thought the verdict would have been different if the races has been the reverse— if the shooter had been black and the victim white—Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump said in a very measured tone, “We know that a 17-year old unarmed boy was killed and I think all of America has to dig deep in their heart to try to find out how we as a society can learn from this tragedy and make sure that it’s not repeated.”
Another Martin attorney, Natalie Jackson, said it best, “A black 17-year old child should be able to walk home from the store and not be shot.”

I’m too shattered to write more, so I’m just going to give to an organization that fights for gun control and sit silently and hope that everyone who feels justice was not served stays calm and finds a non-violent way to express their frustration. 
Violence Policy Center is a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit that fights to reduce firearms violence through advocacy and education. It looks not only at gun violence as a crime matter, but as a public health issue. It also tackles such issues as concealed carry laws. As you can imagine, VPC spends a lot of time going up against the very deep pockets of the National Rifle Assn., so they can use every bit of help they can get. 

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