For Such a Time as This

I don’t think I can handle reading too many more articles about the Trayvon Martin shooting, or its aftermath in the reactions to George Zimmerman’s ‘not guilty’ verdict.  I don’t think I can listen to any more discussions, or read any more comments.  I’m on overload…or close to it.

Yet I still want to put some of my own thoughts and questions out there.

This tragedy can be approached from several angles, can’t it?  Regardless of whose fault it was, Trayvon’s mother lost her son.  She will never get him back.  His family’s heart has been grievously torn open.  It may heal, God willing, but it won’t be an easy process.  I would never wish that on them.  For them all I pray.

George Zimmerman’s life will never be the same, either.  Because he was willing to try to protect his neighborhood, and place himself in potential harm’s way, it seems likely that he will be looking over his shoulder for a long, long time.  A huge portion of American society hates him now.  A jury may have declared his innocence, but many will not believe or accept that.  He and his family now receive death threats.  For  he and them I also pray.

The volatile issue of racism has flared up across the land.  The NAACP has urged the President to file  Federal charges against Zimmerman, for violating Trayvon Martin’s civil rights.  At this point, I am not clear if President Obama has actually done that (he “…seemed to pour cold water…” on this prospect, according to Olivier Knox of Yahoo News), but the demand is there.  It took a little while, but I now am close to fully believing that the Trayvon Martin shooting has been quickly and opportunistically ‘grabbed hold of’ as a lever to ferociously stoke those fires of racism.  How does this help?  For one thing, reports repeatedly indicate that there was no evidence to substantiate a racist accusation against Zimmerman. ( Although perhaps we cannot know for sure…but if George Zimmerman was guilty of profiling, there is evidence to support such concerns, as cited by the Yahoo commenters below – 

“…when you have a segment of the population that commits crime more often than another they will always be under more scrutiny. A study done in 2005 (that was buried of course but you can find it) found that of the nearly 770,000 violent interracial crimes committed every year involving blacks and whites, blacks commit 85 percent and whites commit 15 percent…” Jason

“After researching the FBI numbers for “Suicide of a Superpower,” this writer concluded: “An analysis of ‘single offender victimization figures’ from the FBI for 2007 finds blacks committed 433,934 crimes against whites, eight times the 55,685 whites committed against blacks… ” Sonny )

Why are the mobs and throngs of accusers unable to let go of their rage against George Zimmerman ?

Perhaps that is the core question to be salvaged from this tragic incident.

President Obama shed some redemptive light on this question, when he spoke to the nation following George Zimmerman’s acquittal.   I know it was a tap on my shoulder. “…the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history,” judging “what happened one night in Florida” through that lens, he explained.  I suppose this perspective should be obvious, but as a white person,  it hasn’t been my past or my history, so that perspective tends to fade for me.  Being reminded has helped my understanding.

On the other hand…when this same President appears to empathize with the African-American community by comparing his hypothetical son to Trayvon, I have come to wonder just how much he is actually trying to improve national understanding.  I have come to suspect political motive.  I have come to suspect this speech as meant to gain, maintain and entrench the support of not only the black community, but any other Americans who might fall prey to his apparently compassionate heart.  In addition, such language could surely tip the emotional public scales  in favor of Trayvon Martin’s innocence and George Zimmerman’s guilt.

Well, it such were the President’s true motives, it didn’t work.  If these were not his motives, I think his attempt to provide a healing balm was misguided, because it tended towards a presumption of guilt towards a man not yet tried by jury.

Because I am not an Obama supporter and loathe the socialist agenda – I do not believe our Founders intended it – I gravitate towards resistance and suspicion where he is concerned.  In this case, I hope I am wrong.  I would like to believe that President Obama really wanted to comfort a grieving family and a nation disrupted.   Going forward, perhaps the best course of action would be found in these words spoken by Tavis Smiley on Meet the Press:   “On this issue, you cannot lead from behind…I disagree with the president respectfully that politicians, elected officials, can’t occupy this space on race. Lincoln did, Truman did, Johnson did; President Obama did. He’s the right person in the right place, at the right time. But he has to step into his moment. I don’t want him to be like Bill Clinton, when he’s out of office, regretting that he didn’t move on Rwanda. I don’t {want}the president to look back, David, and realize that he didn’t do as much as he could have in this critical moment.”


“For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us”

Ephesians 2:14


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