In the time since Saturday evening when George Zimmerman was pronounced innocent in the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin, commentary and debate has been almost non-stop. Bill Moyers posted photos of protests which blossomed across the country. Discussion and argument flourishes on Facebook and other social media. One police officer posted his assessment of the murder, and of Zimmerman. A video rant by an elderly white man outraged over the verdict has gone viral.
Lorraine Devon Wilke adds her thoughts to the national conversation ~ her thoughts and feelings echo my own.
"This will be short. I've been writing about this story for the last few days and, between phone calls, social media, heated conversations, debate rage, and the wranglings of hundreds of comments, some of which have been like little sucker punches along the way, I'm emotionally exhausted. And yet ...
"The story didn't change in those 24 hours. The verdict is still 'not guilty'. Trayvon Martin is still dead. The Martin family is still grieving the loss of their son and now the exoneration of his killer. That story didn't change.
"I'm weary after hours of listening to the insanity of some responses. I'm heartsick to witness how hateful and ugly people can get in the face of a young black boy's death. I'm surprised at the rationale of some, the 'certainty' of others, and a sense that the core of the story, the most basic irrefutable facts of the case, are being buried in an avalanche of interpretation that takes into account things none of us could possibly know. Like, what exactly happened when Zimmerman and Martin finally made contact after the former stalked the latter in an act of misguided, ill-advised, gun-toting self-righteousness? To every single person who's listed evidence, who's stated 'the facts as I know them', or plied me with pious comments about the jury system and the rule of law, I have retorted NONE OF THAT MATTERS. Because ALL of this goes back to the moment George Zimmerman climbed out of his car, disregarded the instructions of the police, and with his trusty gun strapped to his body, set out to stalk an innocent young black man. THAT's the only moment that we know and THAT's the moment that triggered every parsed, analyzed, debated, and interpreted moment that followed.
"And yet, as many times as I've said that, it wasn't until I saw this video that I felt like someone else was actually getting my rage, even saying some of the same things. And with the volume, the emotion, the sheer howl I'm feeling, maybe you're feeling."
Trayvon Martin ...
- was an honor student with a 3.7 GPA.
- was accepted into college on a full ride.
- was a volunteer of over 600 community service hours.
- was a devoted member of his church.
- was a loyal friend and a loving son.
- was an innocent boy.
- but black skin, Skittles, and a hoodie deemed him a "threat to the community".
The figure represents the percentage likelihood that
killings will be found justifiable,
compared to white-on-white killings.
Click to enlarge.