A Lesson From Trayvon

I haven’t slept well for a week and a half.  Ever since Trayvon Martin’s murderer was set free, I’ve been haunted. The verdict was alarming and disheartening for me, and it makes me anxious to live in a country where this sort of crime can go unpunished.

Through some strange loophole in a faulty law, the jurors decided to set George Zimmerman free.  I’ve read opinions that the jurors’ verdict was fair and just.  Those opinions just do not ring true to me.  I have to ask Zimmerman’s supporters: WHAT IF TRAYVON WAS YOUR CHILD? If YOUR child died, would you think it was reasonable for an armed adult man to stalk and bait your unarmed teenager walking home from a convenience store? I praise Trayvon’s parents for maintaining composure and dignity during this tragedy; I have to wonder what my reaction would be if one of my babies was so ruthlessly murdered.

George Zimmerman is a coward. The gun made him feel braver, stronger and tougher than he really is. If he hadn’t had the gun, I don’t think he ever would have pursued the teenager walking through the neighborhood.  If he hadn’t had the gun, the whole situation would have been nothing more than a police drive-by after a paranoid man called 911.

The tragedy reminds me of my obligation to show my children how to treat people. There is nothing I can do to change the outcome of the case against George Zimmerman…there is no way I can bring Trayvon back to his family…I have no ability to change Florida’s law.  However, I do have an opportunity to raise kids who can lead a generation born of peace and civility. Through example, I can teach them to believe that all human beings are created equal, and that we are all deserving of respect and kindness and patience.  Age, race, class, looks just don’t matter when it comes to treating people nicely.

I’m sure I’ll have many more sleepless nights as I mourn the loss of Trayvon and the lack of justice in Florida’s justice system.  But, during the days I will continue to greet strangers on the street and welcome new folks to our diverse neighborhood.

Teach through example.

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7 Comments for this entry

  1. I totally understand. It’s such a tragedy. I agree with the President, we need to use this time to work to end gun violence in this country.

  2. Terry Jane says:

    Seriously? He was tried by a jury of his peers and acquitted. End of story. You live in America, that’s the law. Deal with it. This case was so over-sensationalized by the media. I’m sick of hearing about it.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Actually, the point of this whole thing is that what we thought was the law in America is not actually the law in Florida. This case brought attention to the fact that the laws in that crazy state are appalling. Maureen, great post. I, too, am haunted by this.

    • Maureen says:

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, I live in America, but I also live in Chicago where gun violence has reached epidemic proportions. It is out of control. When 6 month old babies and 14 year old teenage girls are gunned down (not to mention innocent 17 year old boys walking home from the convenience store), then there is a problem that needs to be addressed. I don’t have all the answers, but a law allowing a grown man to stalk and shoot an unarmed child falls out of the realm of reasonable (in my opinion).

      And, last I checked, as citizens of this great country we have the right to have an opinion against the laws of the land. I sure am glad 100 years ago our sisters rallied against laws preventing women from voting. And, it was pretty awesome when our country went to war protesting slavery. Just because “it’s the law” does not mean it can never change.

  3. Anika says:

    I agree whole heartedly. I’m just grieving this murder and that the murderer went free. If he hadn’t had a gun, he never would have gotten out of the car, never would have shot this unarmed child. It’s awful.

  4. Annastasia says:

    It saddens me to learn that you got sucked into the media bias & didn’t take all information/perspective in before condemning someone that was found Not Guilty by your fellow American peers. I watched & studied this case for a year taking all info. in w/ an open mind. I watched as the flashed a pic. of a 12 yr old Trayvon instead of a current pic of a 17yr old that was on the way home from buying the two main ingredients to make a home made drug called LEAN which coincided with the coroners report. I’m not saying that b/c he was a troubled kid & was confirmed to be into drugs that he deserved to die. I feel for his mother… I really do. But if I lived in that neighborhood & had to choose between Trayvon or someone who thought they were being a Good Samaritan, I know who I would choose. The FBI found NO evidence of race playing a role ( many examples of the opposite, that he lived with, tutored, saved quite a few Black Americans while growing up). It’s a sin that so many lives are ruined by this tragedy… But where is the uproar over Chicago stats? And other unjust murders? Unfortunately, I will no longer follow your blog or pages due to your uninformed post. I hope your other posts were more thought out with an educated opinion.

    • Maureen says:

      Thanks for your comment. We are all entitled to our own opinions. However, I do not appreciate you attacking my intelligence. I find your comment to be one of the more offensive I have ever received on my site.

      Despite what you say, I also followed the case quite closely; I paid attention to all aspects. But, I came up with a conclusion different than yours. That does not mean I was “sucked into the media bias” or that I buried my head in the sand when presented with facts. I am an informed, educated and caring citizen – to suggest otherwise suggests you have no appreciation or tolerance for people with opinions other than your own. What a bummer for you!

      Also, I never once brought up race in my post. But, because you brought it up in your comment I will point out the obvious: if Trayvon was an unarmed white kid and Zimmerman was a 230 pound black man with a gun, we all know the result of that trial would have been quite different.

      And, for what it is worth, I DO care about gun violence in Chicago. I care about all the innocent lives lost – too many precious and beautiful souls. I wrote about it here: https://homemademothering.com/2013/02/we-are-all-in-this-together.html

      I want my kids to grow up in a country that fosters and cultivates a culture of life. Respect for life. Love for life. Patience for life. And, perhaps most importantly, tolerance when they encounter someone who looks, thinks and acts differently from them.

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