Last night, the jury in the Trayvon Martin murder trial found George Zimmerman not guilty. And throughout social media, on television and talk radio, our society seems to treat this tragedy as an academic exercise.
I for one cannot feel anything but the deepest of sorrows for the Martin family tonight. I as I listen to my children playing video games in their rooms, I felt such deep grief upon learning of the verdict that my body is in pain. Yet I also feel disappointment, not only in a verdict in a case that in my opinion merited a manslaughter conviction, I am also terribly troubled by two classic responses tonight: a sense of indifference, and at times even joy. The tone in so many posts on Facebook and other forms of social media as well as the unemotional indifference in so many news broadcasts just leaves me baffled. The comments are often stylized in a narrative about the justice system, or the prosecution's unmet burden. What is shockingly missing in those narratives is that a youngster's life was taken as a result of, at best, an example of profound poor judgment. Yet, the indifference, and at times utter joy, in the comments about the verdict tonight leaves me deeply deeply troubled.
In fact, the media comments are largely devoid of mention, let alone any reverence to the life lost. It speaks to a callousness as well as a deep deep racial divide in this country; one which I know I will not see mended in my lifetime. Technical arguments, including quoting African-Americans agreeing with the decision, or raising the burden the prosecution failed to meet, do not take away from the reality that an unarmed innocent youngster was shot to death. That innocent youngster was followed and ultimately killed by a man who was instructed by a law enforcement official not to do so; that adult, despite that instruction, stalked and then confronted the victim, then engaged in an altercation with him, and ultimately shot and killed the boy. Yet those actions ultimately merited no punishment. An innocent a child was lost. Yet, many friends as well as the media are more concerned about when and whether a riot is impending in San Francisco tonight, or Miami tomorrow. Shockingly, we treat the loss of a young life as but a classroom hypothetical or lunchtime political debate. No matter what your view of the verdict, shouldn't we all be remembering Trayvon Martin? Is a young black child's life so without value? Have we grown so jaded that the killing of a beautiful youngster means so little that we do not spend a moment of remorse after the verdict? What a horrible statement to all my African-American brothers and sisters.