It’s been a week since the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case, giving people a chance to actually think about it beyond their initial reactions that night, hopefully you’ve actually taken that time.
Now for a brief disclosure: I’m white. Now, many of you who read this know me and are thinking “No shit you’re white, you look like Opie if he’d grown up.” And many of the readers who don’t actually know me are thinking “No shit you’re white, you blog almost entirely about hiking, backpacking and photography.” But I thought I’d get that out of the way for those who are stumbling on the blog for the first time.
I spent most of Sunday either in church, resting, or wandering around on foot. I wandered through an empty industrial park on foot going to and from the church and got passed by the sheriff’s deputy. He didn’t bat an eye at a guy carrying a suit coat which he’s never seen before on foot in 95 degree heat in an empty industrial park. Later that night, around twilight, I walked to a super market, and cut through the empty parking lot for a tech company that was rebuilding its structure. There was a security guard there sitting in his AC cooled car. I dropped off my DVD from Redbox, grabbed a Vitamin Water and a Payday and headed back to my hotel the way I’d come, with a bit of jay-walking thrown in. As I was cutting across that parking lot the first time the irony of just what I was up to hit me. Why exactly is it that I am allowed to cut across private property in strange neighborhoods while others can’t safely walk on public streets? Remember, there was no legitimate evidence that Mr. Martin was committing a crime when Mr. Zimmerman first spotted him. He was simply a person who was unknown in the neighborhood he happened to be in.
There are many injustices in the situation surrounding the death of Mr. Martin, the most obvious one being that he is dead. But the injustice of his death, and all other injustices that stem from his death, come from one single injustice, that for young black men it is entirely possible to be completely within the law, and still get into a situation that leads to your death simply for being in the wrong place with the wrong person around. Now I’m certain that someone will come along and cite various cases of black on white crime. That’s not the issue here. Even the verdict is not the issue here. The issue is the fact that justice was not served from the moment Mr. Zimmerman chose to confront another person without legitimate cause. And it was equally unserved the moment I entered that parking lot and was NOT confronted. In a truly just world, all men are equal under the law.
Take the time to think about your life today. Where are you going? How are you getting there? What do you have in your pockets? Are your hands in plain sight? Now think about why you may not ever have to have those thoughts in your mind. Let us hope for a day when none of us need that worry.
Here I stand, I can do no other.