Below are my comments, on July 20 – 21, 2013, to another poster on an Atlanta Journal-Constitution blog regarding the encounter between Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman:
“You call Trayvon Martin the assailant, and yet some ‘assailant’ shot Trayvon Martin dead.
George Zimmerman could have listened to the police and not have followed Trayvon Martin. He chose not to do so. The result was a dead teenage boy who had been minding his own business.
Has it even occurred to you that Trayvon Martin may have been in fear for his life by having a “creepy” stranger, who did not identify himself, continue to follow him, first in a car and then on foot – for some unknown reason – perhaps even a devious reason, as Travon Martin may have feared?
In his fear for his life, perhaps Travon Martin felt the only way he could protect his own life was to fight George Zimmerman to keep him from continuing to pursue him – even from pursuing him on another day. If he ran home, perhaps Martin reasoned that Zimmerman would then know where he lived, and Martin might have reasoned that Zimmerman could be a threat to others in his family, if he knew where Martin lived. Thus, Martin may have chosen to “stand his ground” and fight for his own safety, in his fear of Zimmerman’s motives. But, we don’t know that for certain because Martin was killed by Zimmerman and could not speak for himself.
You say that Trayvon Martin did great bodily harm to George Zimmerman, but Zimmerman did not even go to the hospital because he decided that that was not necessary. He had a bloody nose and two minor scratches on the back of his head. That sounds like a regular fight to me, and not worthy of shooting someone dead.
You have believed everything that George Zimmerman said to be true was, in fact, true. You did not hear Trayvon Martin’s version of what had happened because Martin was dead, killed by Zimmerman’s gun. Zimmerman’s wounds would not have killed him. Martin’s wounds were so severe that they did kill him. Those are the facts. Martin had the right to walk home from the store without being confronted by a stranger on a overly zealous mission. Martin had committed no crime that would have precipitated his being followed.
The jury found that Zimmerman was not guilty because he was not proven to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But, that does not mean that Zimmerman was innocent. He has to live the rest of his life with the fact that he pursued and killed a teenager who was simply walking home from the store, minding his own business, until he was pursued by Zimmerman – for no good reason.
We need to have a national dialogue on racial matters. Perhaps Zimmerman might not have approached a boy who had not committed a crime if he had a raised consciousness about respecting the value of every human life, which obviously he does not now have when he states that he would not do anything differently even now. He should have stayed in his car, as he was directed to do by the police and no one would have been hurt or killed. Zimmerman had horrible judgment and he should not have been carrying a gun, as a result, imho.”
The same poster responded to my post above. Below are my additional words to that poster on the AJC blog:
“I have not given ‘facts’ as I ‘wish’ them to be. I have given possibilities that may have been in Trayvon Martin’s mind when he chose to “stand his ground” and fight George Zimmerman for what he may have perceived to be a threat to his life or person. We do not know what was going on in the mind of Trayvon Martin because Martin was killed by Zimmerman.
You, however, do not appear even to be willing to weigh, in your mind, a possible scenario in which Martin might have been justified to have fought Zimmerman, who was unjustifiably following Martin because Martin had committed no crime.
I have never stated that I thought the jury made the wrong decision based on the evidence that they were presented. But, I stand by my perception that Zimmerman was, also, not innocent. He should have to live with his horrible judgment for the rest of his life and, through voices such as mine speaking out, perhaps he will come to understand and regret his poor decisions that ended in the death of Martin.
I hope that you will, soon, be able to look beyond the Zimmerman trial to the larger scope of societal needs of America which any thinking, caring person should want to explore as an outcome of seeing this tragedy unfold. Young black men must be given more support in our nation. First, we must see the problem. Zimmerman, too, was a victim of his own stereotypical thinking toward others that must be overcome. Martin had the right to walk through his own neighborhood, whether he was black, white, or any other race, without being followed – simply because he had committed no crime.
Btw, according to The American Heritage Dictionary a synonym for ‘to assail’ is ‘to attack, which is defined as ‘to begin hostilities against or conflict with.’ Zimmerman began ‘conflict with’ Martin when he followed him without identifying who he (Zimmerman) was. And, he certainly ‘assailed’ Martin when he shot him dead. Both, more than likedly, acted in self-defense in their own minds. The difference is that a bloody nose and two small head scratches will not kill a person. A gun wound to the heart will. Those nuances of differences must be considered as we, as a society, think about changing ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws throughout our nation.”
And finally, I posted to that poster: “I have been encouraging you to expand your thinking beyond the simple verdict of the jury, which I have not been debating with you. I, evidently, have not been successful in getting you to step outside your self-imposed thinking box and see a larger picture. Therefore, I will “rest my case” in trying to get you to expand your thinking as to what made Zimmerman culpable, even if he was not guilty, by the letter of the law.”
To the readers of my blog. You may, also, be interested in my response to another poster on Jamie Dupree’s AJC blog on July 21, 2013:
Other poster: “Neither you, nor I, nor anyone else but him (Zimmerman) knows if he is ‘culpable.’ “
My response: “In a way, you are correct, with your statement, above. However, accepting your statement as final, would preclude anyone from thinking for themselves regarding the nuances of ways that Zimmerman (and others) may be culpable for the death of another person when those deaths may not have been necessary if only better judgment had been exercised by the killer.
I think our society needs to think long and hard about racial stereotyping (not that the Zimmerman’s trial demonstrated necessarily that Zimmerman was indulging in racial stereotyping, but the trial did demonstrate, imo, that Zimmerman indulged in stereotypical thinking about any unknown young man who might be walking through his own neighborhood – or Zimmerman would not have followed a teenager who had committed no crime). I also think that we, as a society of caring Americans, need to think about how young black men can be better supported in our society, because of their specific needs have become even more evident, as a result of the national discussion that has emerged around this tragedy. (As progressive as I am in my thinking, I have locked my car upon grocery shopping spontaneously when a poorly dressed young black man has come close to my car. I have caught myself doing that, however, and thereafter made a point to smile and say hello to the young man as he further passed by because, intellectually, I knew I was wrong to have profiled him through emotional fear that was not justified. Many people will not acknowedlge their indulging in racial profiling to themselves. This is why black young men, especially, need special support in our nation today.) I think our nation, also, needs to consider changing “Stand Your Ground Laws,” which can lead to a vigilante society, if that law not reigned in, at least to some degree. I think our society needs to tackle some additional gun control regulations. As I wrote previously, I think Zimmerman displayed horrible judgment in getting out of his car and pursuing Martin, even when he was directed not to do so by the police. I think that if he had not had a gun, which gave him the security of personal power, he would have used more prudent judgment and, more than likely, would have stayed in his car and let the police handle the situation.
Again, what you wrote, above, that no one knows how culpable Zimmerman was but himself is true; however, that truth should not stop thought and discussion from continuing on this matter. Zimmerman later, as a result of this national dialogue, may even acknowledge, at least to himself, that he would do something differently if he had a chance (like remaining in his car). Presently, he cannot see how that would have been a wiser choice, as he stated on Sean Hannity’s Show and as his brother reinforced in the last week on national television.”
Futhermore, Jesse Jackson just stated (correctly in my opinion) on CNN that solutions to America’s crime problems, and problems specifically within the black community, will entail more investment in education, jobs, and public transportation access for the poor of all races in our nation. Jackson said that more investment in transportation is needed because the young poor cannot escape their pockets of poverty when they have no transportation means to take jobs elsewhere. This is what fosters crime. In other words, if transportation is being underfunded and cut back – and he said that it is – then the young poor cannot take jobs outside of their bubble of crime-ridden neighborhoods where jobs do not exist.
In my opinion, this nation needs to make a concentrated commitment, once again, to another “War on Poverty” for all of the nation’s poor – black, white, and all other races – instead of allowing the middle class to continue to shrink and the lower class to expand, with little hope for upward mobility for individuals within both of these classes. In other words, we need to care, once again, about our fellow Americans who are not as fortunate as we are, and make an effort to help them, especially the young, poor black men for all the reasons that I have given, above.
Other poster: “You seem to be avoiding my question to you, since you have thrice posted since I posed it. Let me repeat it for your convenience.
Let me ask you a direct question with only two possible answers – yes or no. If Zimmerman were black and Martin were not black, would you be posting as you have been?”
Other poster: “It is a quality question, and the fact that you refuse to answer it is an indication of its quality.
You don’t want to answer it because answering it will expose your motivations.
I believe you are a coward.
I expect your truthful answer would be ‘no.’ If Martin were not black, you would not be posting.”
My response: “In all due respect, I believe that you have become so insensitive to the basic problem of racial tensions in our nation and world that you do not even recognize how divisive of human beings your question is. I fear you and I live in two different universes of consciousness. The only way I can address how divisive your question is – by the very parameters in which you have shaped it – is to post my second entry, in November of 2010, on my blog. I hope that you, and others, after having read my entry, below, and after having listened to Bob Marley’s song, ‘One Love,’ on my blog, in the link provided, will better understand why I cannot give validity to your divisive question by even answering it. If I were to do so, I would be perpetuating, further, the limited thinking of some in our society, which is based upon seeing others in simple and surface labels of divisions between people instead seeing their unique spirits and the fact that we are all part of the one universal spirit. Below is my thinking regarding why we should discontinue thinking of ourselves, and others, in terms of divisions of racial, and other, limiting labels of identity. We are all one-in-spirit. The entry of my November 23, 2010, post on my blog is entitled, ‘Essential Premise In Finding One’s True Spirit.’ See below:
“The essential premise in finding one’s true spirit is understanding that all are equal within the spiritual universe. We are all part of the One. We each have equal, individual spirits within the One.
To find our true and unique spirits, we must dismantle and transcend the superficial labels human beings often identify with – and live out in their lives – to their diminishment as conscious, loving beings.
Labels that separate.
Can you feel the pulse of life running through Bob Marley’s song, ‘One Love’?
Listen for its consistent, pulsating beat. It is a heart beat.
The beat of the rhythm of life. It is organic. It does not need labels.”