Last week we finished updates to our home--replacing garage doors and exterior lights as well as repainting the exterior of the house. Next project is hardscape which means removing the worn out driveway, sidewalk, and patio and coming up with a livable design that is easy to maintain. Along with all of this, I have been working on book marketing. Let me say, I'd rather tear down my whole house and start from scratch than market a book, but that's me, I guess.
So in the midst of all the day-to-day trivia, the George Zimmerman / Trayvon Martin case has dominated the news here in the United States. The case was a real eye-opener in terms of insight into my own circle of family and friends on the subjects of gun violence and racism. It ain't pretty. On the one extreme, I have family members who cheer the verdict of Not Guilty because the victim was black, the President is black, and the world around them is changing in ways they cannot comprehend. They love their guns. They are too afraid to live without them. To hear them talk, we are living in the lawlessness of the Wild West of yore and on the verge of Armageddon. One family member has made his house an impenetrable fortress with security cameras. He packs a concealed weapon wherever he goes and a gun is always next to the bed.
As for myself, I represent the other extreme. I don't think anyone should be shooting a teenager who is armed with only a bag of Skittles and a bottle of ice tea. I am ashamed of the disgusting jokes certain family members have made about Skittles since the Not Guilty verdict came through. I do not believe a black boy wearing a hoodie is thinking about robbery any more than a white boy wearing a hoodie. I think if Martin had been white, George Zimmerman probably would have never questioned his presence in the neighborhood. My question to George Zimmerman would be: if you truly were in fear for your life, why didn't you make the decision to wound rather than kill? Why couldn't you shoot him in the arm or leg? You had to put a bullet in his heart? Here's the thing about cowardly people--they are far more likely to shoot to kill because their ability to reason is clouded by fear. When I was a child my father used to raise hunting dogs. One lesson I learned from him was that although you need to beware of an aggressive dog, a timid dog is far more likely to bite because they are fearful. That rule kind of applies to humans. I suspect Mr. Zimmerman was probably a coward, but a gun in the hand gave him power--the power to take another human's life. Now his attorney says Zimmerman wants his gun back because he fears for his life. I think he made some very bad decisions based on fear and false machismo and for the rest of his life he will have to live with the fact that he took a life when he didn't have to.
In the vast middle of all this discussion, are all those who prefer to remain silent. They don't want to be attacked as racists or liberals. They don't want to deal with the heat. To them, I can only say that this country has had a long history of racism accompanied by an addiction to guns. It makes me sad that people are incapable of a reasonable conversation about things that need to be fixed in this country. Maybe you middle-of-the-road guys could bring a little common sense to the discussion. Speak up.
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