Obama’s Curious Call To Honor Trayvon Martin
The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy. Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America. I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken. I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son. And as we do, we should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities. We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis. We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this. As citizens, that’s a job for all of us. That’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin.
The statement is rather…tepid when it comes to the jury’s decision. Obama simply notes that the jury “has spoken”. Yes, we know that. What the President should have noted but failed to, is that as a nation of laws we must respect the jury’s verdict and accept it as the final word on what happened on the night in question.
As for this somehow being a part of a “tide of gun violence”…nonsense. This was a case of a man being beaten by another man and using a firearm to defend himself to avoid being killed. A gun was not used to commit an act of criminal violence. It was lawfully used to stop an illegal and potentially fatal assault. To call this an act “of gun violence” you have to be unable to discern, as William F. Buckley used to say, the difference between someone who shoved an old lady out of the way of an on-coming bus and someone who shoves an old lady down while stealing her purse. You simply can’t call them both, “a person who shoved an old lady”.
Things really go off the rails in this statement with the notion we should “honor Trayvon Martin”.
What precisely about or for Travyon Martin should we being honoring him ?
That he had pot in his system?
That he was on suspension from school?
That he used racially offensive slurs?
Or that he was administering a beating to someone so violent, a jury ruled that shooting Martin to avoid having him kill a man was lawful?
Which of these things does Obama think is so honorable? So worthy of our national attention and effort?
I think it’s terrible that Martin was killed. He was a 17 year old young man. He may not have led an exemplary life to date but he will never have the chance to learn from these mistakes, to improve himself, to find his way to a better life. That is a tragedy. George Zimmerman took that opportunity from him and for that we should all feel a sense of loss for what might have been.
That does not mean I want to see Zimmerman honored. He had absolutely no reason to target Trayvon Martin that night. His overreaction (calling the police) based on nothing but erroneous assumptions set in motion a series of events that led to a young man, imperfect though like the rest of his he may have been, losing the opportunity to grow older and wiser. We will never know how Trayvon Martin would have turned out and that is a tragedy. George Zimmerman is morally, though not criminally, culpable for that.
He is not a hero, he’s a survivor. No more, no less.
But to say that we as a nation need to find a way to “honor Trayvon Martin” strikes me as a dangerous message to send.