In the words of Dr. Ben Carson, former neurosurgeon at John Hopkins University, and many other commentators, “In this tragedy, there were no winners.” There is no doubt that this case is tragic. Trayvon Martin another young black man is dead. Another man's life, George Zimmerman, is ruined. A city and country struggling with an undercurrent of racial tension for decades has another gaping wound.
We ask “why.” We search for answers and all we seem to find are lots of questions … a whole lot of pain... a lot of anger… a lot of frustration. There is nothing pretty about this case. It's a horrific and tragic event that has left a young man dead, two families devastated and wounded and a nation fractured.
After all who likes to hear of a 17-year old being shot and killed? Unfortunately, it happens way too often and we develop callousness to the news. People paused for a moment and then go on with their lives. In this case, until the news came of no arrest. Then people started getting angry, very angry.
Battle lines began to form: white vs. black, pro-gun vs. anti-gun, pro Sanford PD and against. As massive marches and demonstrations took place, outsiders looking for a way into the conversation flooded the city. Many in news media went wild fanning racial fires even before the facts were known. Entire streets were shut down, businesses were closed, and many feared for their safety. Conversations on Facebook and Twitter escalated the tension. Rumors of impending riots began permeating the city. Everyone had opinions but no one seemed to have the facts.
As I watched the trial, it seemed to me that both individuals involved operated from a sense of fear and mistrust. Trayvon feared he was being followed and George feared another home invasion in his neighborhood. Did it all happen the way the trial painted it? We will never know.
But the jury, chosen by both prosecution and defense, heard and weighed the evidence and made a determination. The six women found George Zimmerman, the killer of Trayvon Martin, was not guilty of second-degree murder nor manslaughter. After more than 16 hours of deliberation, the verdict was unanimous.
However, the verdict has sparked wide-spread protest and dissatisfaction across the country. There has been a firestorm of criticism from social media, mainstream and cable networks as well as politicians, civil rights leaders and celebrities. Even one prosecutor has redefined her role a lawyer to one of “social engineering.” Should we really castigate and vilify those who willingly sacrifice their time to listen, analyze and make a judgment in keeping with the evidence and the law because we didn’t get the verdict we wanted? One thing is certain, there are no winners!
This world is a pretty messed up place! Margot Starbuck in Christianity today sets the stage: America is living with a deep racial wound. Many, today, are limping. They're hurting. Not a day goes by that racism relinquishes its visceral sting on our broken world. Yet, it's possible for many of us to ignore issues of race in America, to not see the pain around us.” We seek answers, but they evade us!