Tuesday, July 16, 2013

On Outrage, Justice and What Comes Next.

For two days now, I've debated on whether or not to write this blog.  There is way too much animosity and emotion in the subject I am about to discuss.

On July 11th, the body of Darryl Green, 17 year old black male, was found rotting face down on the floor in Chicago.  Cause of death?  Gunshot wound.  His family says Darryl disappeared after refusing to join a gang.

On February 26, 2012, Trayvon Martin, black male, age 17, was shot and killed at close range after an altercation with neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman.  This happened in a gated community  in Sanford, FL.

Both of these deaths are tragedies.  Both are young men snuffed out before their life ever really began.  Only one made national news, occupied the airwaves for months, and has resulted in the most vile language and threats.

Why?  Because one of them involved a Hispanic male, the other was most likely black on black violence in a city where kids dying has become normal.  One is obviously seen as less of a tragedy, because President Obama has yet to stand up and say "If I had a son, he'd look like Darryl Green."  

I'm so tired of the outrage and calls for justice in the death of Trayvon Martin, even after justice has clearly been served.  A jury of 6 females acquitted George Zimmerman of both the charges of second degree murder and manslaughter.  Plain and simple, the state of Florida did not have evidence, beyond a reasonable doubt, that George Zimmerman acted in anything other than self defense.  Him being a different skin color than Martin is not proof, because as the death of hundreds in Chicago has proven over and over again the last two years, black men are more than willing to shoot other black men. 

And yet, as more and more young black men fall victim in the President's home town, there is so very little outrage, so few people demanding justice, so few people wondering what the heck is going on.

That was all reserved for the town of Sanford, FL, and one death, that by all evidence was a tragic shooting in self defense.

Trayvon Martin had 4 minutes from the time George Zimmerman placed his call to police dispatch, and the time that call ended, to walk the 80 yards to the house he was staying at.  Get home, lock the doors, call 911.  And  yet, we are painfully aware of the fact that he chose not to do that.  Before George Zimmerman ever left his truck, Martin took off running, not to his home, but to some other destination that would eventually lead to the confrontation that ended up being the last thing to happen in his life.  I urge everyone to listen to that full four minute phone call.  At one point in the call, George Zimmerman says he has no idea "where the kid is".  We will never know what happened in the time between that phone call ending, and the gunshot, but we do know why Trayvon Martin didn't call the police, didn't go to the house 80 yards away, and ended up on top of George Zimmerman, pounding his head into the pavement.  The only injuries, outside of the gunshot wound, to Trayvon Martin, were knuckle injuries consistent with the testimony of George Zimmerman. We know the trajectory of the bullet was consistent with Martin being on top.  The gun was fired at close range from a downward angle.  And despite all efforts, even the FBI has stated that race was not a factor in the shooting.  

It was a tragic death, and one we should maybe be using as a teachable moment. Instead, actors, sports figures, and musicians took to twitter and pontificated on racist America, told jury  members they should commit suicide, and threatened the life of George Zimmerman.  Not to mention the thousands of young people who offered to kill Zimmerman themselves.  Seems we've learned nothing from this.  Violence killed a 17 year old boy.  And the response is more violence.

And in Chicago, the family of Darryl Green mourns in private.  Most of this country doesn't even know he exists.  His only crime was refusing to become part of the circle of violence decimating Chicago's young black male population.

Where is the outrage for all those other dead boys?  Is this country so obsessed with race, that we only care if someone who is not black kills a black child?  In Chicago, killing young black men is an industry, but because the shooters are other young black men, no one even pays attention.

In Chicago this year, more black children have died, then all the white children killed in Sandy Hook.  In the past 40 years, we have killed more unborn black children, than black people have been killed since before the civil war.  Where is the outrage over ANY of this?

There is none.  There in only outrage reserved for this one death, this one tragic death.  

What should come next is a serious discussion about why our young people think violence is the answer.  Why bragging about fighting and beating people up is the cool thing to do.  Why Trayvon Martin thought confrontation would be a better outcome than just going home.  

A few years ago, a couple of drama enabled teenage girls showed up on my property trying to get my girls to come out and fight.  My girls figured fighting wouldn't solve the problem, not to mention what their parents might have done when we found out.  These girls were on our property, making threats, and yet, my girls locked the doors, stayed inside and alerted my husband and I. We walked out on the porch and had two teenage girls at 10 pm at night, screaming profanity at us, ON OUR PROPERTY.  Once my husband stepped off the porch they ran like the girls they are, and then told all their friends they beat up my kids.  

Maybe the problem isn't about race or George Zimmerman's gun, maybe it's that kids have no respect, think they are invincible and think violence solves problems.  Maybe we should use this moment in time to start teaching our kids differently.

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