That Complicated Case
I’d like to compliment Ilyassha Shivers for overcoming his concerns and addressing the Zimmerman trial in last week’s Wave. I agree with Mr. Shivers that the trial was destined from the start to be a disaster. I hope for the country’s sake we can cut short the circus and find a positive path forward.
Trayvon Martin’s death was a tragedy and George Zimmerman is largely responsible. That did not automatically make him criminally liable. The cold, hard fact is that charging Zimmerman with second-degree murder was about politics, not justice. The prosecution never had a chance to win and as a result, everyone is a loser…most especially Travon Martin’s parents who had to suffer the inevitable ‘not guilty’ verdict.
The country is now pulled into an unproductive white-black debate. Race baiters have incited many black citizens to push for a Federal civil rights indictment… even though the facts don’t support it and another acquittal would only hurt Martin’s family again. There is zero evidence that Zimmerman acted with malice toward Martin due to the fact that Martin was black. Assuming that George Zimmerman was a racist that night based on the light color of his skin is the moral equivalent to assuming that Trayvon Martin was up to no good that night based on the dark color of his skin. They are both repugnant assumptions.
President Obama did a masterful job last week of gently shifting the conversation away from potential Federal charges by framing the black community’s interpretation of the verdict in the “context” of the African American experience (i.e. being suspected of criminality simply for being black in the ‘wrong’ place at the right time.) Hopefully, Eric Holder will follow up soon and fully exonerate Zimmerman of a hate crime. There is no benefit to pursuing false charges. The truth is bad enough in this case…and Martin’s parents can still file a wrongful death suit, if they think that will bring a fuller truth to light about the tragic loss of their son.
The other thing we can all do to make something positive out of Trayvon Martin’s death is to have honest conversations about the issues the President raised. It’s hard to imagine that happening while the Al Sharpton circus is in town. Truth is the first victim of such race baiters. Inter-racial cooperation is a close second. The divisiveness that these opportunists sow makes it almost impossible for us to learn and progress as a nation.
I appreciate that Mr. Shivers took the first step despite the current environment. Things can change if we own the change ourselves instead of leaving it to people who benefit from dividing us.