Can’t We All Just Get Along?

I have been avoiding the blogsphere as of late, partly because I haven’t had a lot of time … and partly because I just don’t want to read it.  I have to imagine, though, that there has been a lot of fall out from the Zimmerman trial.  Frankly, I am weary of it, between the radio, the television, conversations over pints of beer or in the back yard over the fence … everyone has an opinion about poor George Zimmerman.

Ahhh, you say.  I know where she stands now, just based upon the “poor” part of that previous sentence.  Not really, no you don’t.  Not about the outcome of the trial.  I also think “poor Trayvon Martin”.  And followed right behind that “poor, misguided, foolishly led people of the USA”.

I find the entire situation to intolerably sad.  There was no “winner” in this trial.  In no way has this situation made this country, the lives of Martin nor Zimmerman and their families, the media, the government … in NO WAY has this trial made life better for anyone.

Shame on President Obama for turning it into a racial issue.  Shame on the media for letting him.  Shame on US for listening to it and allowing it to cloud our judgement of one another as flawed human beings.  This was not a case about racial discrimination, this was a case about stupidity, reckless behavior, cowardice, irrationality, false bravado, ignorance.  This was a case about entitlement.

My wants, needs and life is more important than yours and therefore I will do what I want.

In my humble opinion, GZ should not have been stalking the kid.  I understand wanting to stop violence, theft, delinquent behavior in the neighborhood.  I understand wanting to be the guy that brings in the kid that is wreaking havoc on your property and your neighbors properties.  The trouble is, TM may or may not have been that kid.  GZ had no way of knowing that when he started stalking him that night.  GZ felt he was entitled to bring the kid in, despite instructions to stand down.  He was stupid, rash and filled with a false sense of bravado.  He disobeyed instructions given to him and continued on a course that ultimately changed his life forever.

TM may or many not have been up to no good.  All we know for certain is that he knew he was being stalked by GZ and, instead of looking for help, going back to the store and calling the police, running straight home, he chose to confront his stalker.  I imagine he was scared.  I, too, would have been scared.  In spite of my self defense training, my weapon of choice, my own personal strength, I know that I, in a similar situation, would have went for help before I decided to attack someone who was stalking me.  TM, however, in his stupidity, filled with irrational false bravado, felt he was entitled to attack GZ.  That decision permanently altered the course of his life.

Both men ultimately lost their lives.  Trayvon will never be able to reach the potential God had in store for him.  George will forever walk under the shadow and stigma of being the one who got away with killing a kid.  Even if he did feel it was self defense, he has to live with the knowledge that he ended the life of a young man before it had even begun.  Trained soldiers struggle with that reality even in war time, how much more difficult would it be for a civilian?  I believe the prison that is now GZ’s life of “freedom” will be far more intolerable than incarceration ever could have been.

Two lives have been permanently altered in a senseless tragedy, dragged into the public forum by a president and a media that seems intent upon widening the racial divide.  However, we are not sheep, we do not need to be led down a path of hatred and divisiveness just because they have decided we should.  We can choose to rise above and to learn from the errors both these individuals made.  Most importantly, we can hold one another close and love one another, rather than pointing fingers.

I found a very interesting graphic that I want to share:


When this was brought to my attention it was under the premise of proving that black killing white crime was 2x higher than white killing black.  What struck me was that the cross racial attack ratio is severely diminished in comparison to the same race violence.  This is not as the media would have it portrayed.  My Facebook page is littered with stories today of cross racial violence, each trying to outdo the next to show how horrible whites are to blacks, or blacks are to whites, so on and so forth.  What I am struck with is how horrible we are to one another, whichever race we happen to belong in.

This isn’t about race.  This is about human kindness.  Treating one another as you hope to be treated.  Seeing good in people first.  Seeking out friends, not searching for enemies.  Why are we looting the streets, causing destruction over a verdict in a trial?  Why are we condoning further violence to voice our dissatisfaction?  On the playground, we teach our kids to use their words, not their fists.  Have we turned into such an ignorant, backward society that we no longer know which words to use to voice dissatisfaction?  We have a constitution that allows us freedom of speech, use it.  Work together to make a difference, not band together to cause a riot.

I read a great article on Yahoo immediately following the verdict, which, of course, I now can not find.  (If I do find it, I will link it into the comments section below.)  In the article the writer wrote that we need to remember that, in the George Zimmerman trial, the jury was privy to information we will never have.  What information we did receive was limited to whatever the media chose to show us, gleaned from that which the trial staff itself allowed the media to see and use.  We are fully subject to the whims of those who might attempt to spin the story in a specific way.  Only the jury had access to every piece of evidence, heard every utterance of every lawyer and every witness.  Only the jury was able to re-read, touch papers, examine tangible evidence.  And the defense only had to establish reasonable doubt in order for the verdict to be not guilty.  The burden of proof is on the prosecution and if they fail to eliminate every trace of doubt, the jury has no recourse other than to find the defendant “not guilty”.

This was not a failure of the system, this was the system working at its finest.  This, if anything, was a failure of the prosecution, which I believe, succumbed to political pressure in bringing forth charges for which they did not have sufficient proof.  Maybe proof would have been found, given more time, with less pressure.  Maybe there was proof for a lesser crime.  Maybe, no matter how much time or which charges they brought, there never would have been enough proof to convict GZ.

Because federal politicians overstepped, we will never know.

What I do know is this:  We need to treat one another with respect, treat one another as we hope to be treated in return.  We need to honor life, look for the best in one another, instead of the worst.  We need to remember the principles this country was founded on and why they make this nation great.

We need to get along.

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