Sunday, July 14, 2013

Heavy Heart

 After having spent weeks watching much of the trial, I actually missed the live reading of the verdict Saturday night, but I caught up fast and felt such pain.  I do not blame the jury, but I do blame the prosecutors, the defense attorneys, the law, the judicial sysytem, and the absolute absurdity that an unarmed black child can be dead and no one is accountable!  Look, I know that when you are sitting on a jury there are very strict and rigid legal lines to follow.  Jurors take their jobs seriously and do their best to follow the law.  From the outset of this trial, many people felt that Zimmerman would be found not guilty.  I couldn't believe it.  Yes, I am a Pollyanna.  I always believe the best in people, that those that do bad things will be punished, and that truth and justice will win out.  I am continuously heartbroken and surprised.  I haven't learned that justice is illusive for many.  

I heard Melissa Harris-Perry, an MSNBC host, speak after the decision and I found her words heart wrenching and tragic.  She was saying that black mothers will be hugging their children closer.  Mothers will try to come to terms with the fact that black children are not valued in this country.  I am paraphrasing poorly, but for any mother to feel that in 2013, just shows how far we have to go to get equality for all. 

Look, I am Jewish.  There was a time when Jews walked the streets with Stars of David on their clothing and were marked for harassment, jail, torture, and death.  Once the mark was removed, you can't tell who is Jewish or who is not, unless wearing Orthodox garb.  We can blend in, but if you are a person of are always a mark.  Maybe that is why I feel so deeply about this tragedy.  I have written so much about injustice and racism since I began writing this blog.  I haven't gotten any closer to having answers.  I don't understand why the TV talking heads keep saying the perspective falls on racial lines.  I think that's bulls**t.  I think it falls more along the lines of liberals vs. conservatives, pro-gun reform vs. NRA, educated vs. ignorance. To say that it falls along color lines seems too simple.  I live in NYC and I haven't met one person that thinks that George Zimmerman shouldn't pay for killing Trayvon Martin.  

Did you hear the comments of the defense attorneys after the verdict?  O'Mara and West should be ashamed of themselves.  They were so damn happy that they won.  They missed an opportunity to be compassionate and empathetic to Trayvon Martin, his family, and the entire black community.  It's not their fault that the laws are written the way they are, but the arrogance and righteousness at the press conference was unseemly and disgraceful.

Maybe the people of Florida and all over the United States need to get active and change the laws of the land.  Why are only the small-minded, ignorant, bullies able to get things done?  I have to believe that there are more of us, but we aren't good at rallying and effecting change.  The laws need to change.  All people should be treated equally. All children need to be safe. They shouldn't fear for their lives when they are walking through a neighborhood, going to school, or playing on the playground. I am sure I am preaching to the choir, but the choir is singing a little more wistfully today.  


  1. Very well-stated as usual, Diana. I've been struggling trying to find the words to adequately describe how I feel about this. I don't want to pin this all on racial inequality BUT when you have a white man who murdered a black child (even though he was told to not get out of his car to follow the child) and be found not guilty, yet, on the other end of the spectrum, have a black woman found guilty for firing a warning shot against a man she had filed a protective order against (and sentenced to 20 years in prison) just boggles my mind.

    Your sentence about Jews having to walk with the Star of David on their clothing puts it into perspective. But the two sentences after that were, in my opinion, the most important sentences of your post.

    Unfortunately there exists in this country different rules for different ethnicities. As a youth in Palo Alto, I was both insulated from yet exposed to those rules. And as a youth, I tended to rail against those rules because I was a wet behind the ears kid. As I grew older, I learned (sometimes the hard way) that there are places and things one doesn't do. It shouldn't have to be that way but it is.

    Perhaps Trayvon could have handled the situation better (but we'll never know that). Obviously George could have handled the situation better. I honestly don't see how a skinny Trayvon Martin "overpowered" a heavier George Zimmerman but since I wasn't there, I can't comment. I just hope going forward if a similar situation arises, that perhaps both parties can take a step back and handle it much better.

    Great post, Diana.

  2. It's almost impossible not to imagine that had the racial make up been reversed: Trayvon Martin a white child, and Zimmerman and Black Adult, that the verdict would have been reversed as well.
    A sad day for race relations in the country. And a too-late reminder to our Supreme Court that yes, racism is alive and well, and that voters still need protection under the law. Too late for the Voting Rights Act, too late for Trayvon Martin.

  3. We don't know exactly what happened. We do know that GZ tracked TM, possibly even provoking him. Doing so isn't necessarily illegal. And we don't know who initiated the engagement. The law wasn't broken until the engagement commenced. However, we have to keep in mind the actual evidence, sparse as it is. Considering the nature of the bullet wound, it appears that TM was on top of GZ when the gun fired, which suggests, at least at that point, TM was the aggressor. If so, that puts him in the wrong.

    My point is it appears that TM participated in his own death. GZ could have stayed in his car, sure. But TM could have gone home instead of disappearing and then returning. TM also could have talked calmly with GZ and waited for the police (GZ said that he told TM he had called them).

    TM might have been young, but if you read about him and his behaviors you might realize that he was no child. For that matter, even 17 year olds are often tried as adults in court.