A Dark Day in American History

The not guilty verdict delivered to George Zimmerman; neighbourhood vigilante – is a dark day in American history. I’m not sad or disgusted, I’m depressed. I feel like a crushing weight prevents my every breath and there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it. As good old boys pat each other on the back, raising a glass to this “victory” – bile fills my mouth, fighting waves of grief and disbelief – I ask, where is justice in America?

To be fair, many would consider my description of Zimmerman as “neighbourhood vigilante” biased. To be clear; this ponder is my opinion. I am neither judge or jury – all I have to go on is gut reaction, instinct, and considerable thought. Anyone who has followed my blog for a while understands I don’t believe unelected, non-profit lobbyists should be handed the power enjoyed by the NRA. I’m just as vocal on America’s assertion they have a constitutional right to sleep with a gun under their pillow. I see both as tentacles on the same monster.

I’ve agreed to disagree with many sensible people; sensible in that right or wrong, we are all a product of our environment. People reasonable enough to debate my Canadian mind set, trying to relate it to theirs. believe it or not – I get it; I grasp why Americans keep a gun within reach. That said, these are not the people who would take it upon themselves to prowl their neighbourhood at night, puffed up like a righteous Wyatt Erp.

One thing I’m fairly certain of; if Zimmerman was African American and Trayvon Martin white – the verdict would have been different. That’s the truly depressing part, the point where I’m empty, but for the vomit in my mouth.This is a dark day for America, a point in time encapsulating all that is wrong with the growing tentacles on a very scary monster. Sadly, it takes a lot to truly knock me on my ass – today was one of those rare days.

Trayvon Martin for Target Practice

I just can’t help myself. No amount of willpower justifies tight lips on this news tidbit. On  Friday Sgt. Ron King  of the Port Canaveral police department in Florida, was fired after he offered a likeness of Trayvon Martin for target practice. The only saving graces being that the other officers refused to fire at them, and this disgraceful police officer lost his job.

Trayvon Martin was a 17 year old black youth, visiting his father at a gated community in Sanford, Florida. As he walked home from the corner store, bag of candy in hand, talking on his cell phone to his girlfriend; Community Watch volunteer George Zimmerman spotted him. Trayvon told his girlfriend he was scared; he was being followed and didn’t know what to do. Several 911 calls are public record, the first is Zimmerman calling police to report a suspicious thug, the second from a woman reporting gunshots with Trayvon crying for help in the background. The police clearly tell Zimmerman not to take action; undaunted it appears he appointed himself judge, jury, and ultimately executioner. Zimmerman claimed he acted in self defence – it took weeks of public outcry and media condemnation before Zimmerman was charged with a crime. The case goes to trial in June.

I realize the actions of Sgt.. King represent an isolated incident. I’m pondering Zimmerman’s mindset, being quite certain many more Americans inhabit the same head space. Listening these past months to gun advocates rationalize how guns don’t kill people, people kill people,  violent media and working parents contribute to the problem, or mental health issues need to be addressed – I wonder where the George Zimmermans of this world fit in.

I humbly offer this suggestion – children learn by example, and perhaps America needs to tighten up the practice of arming volunteers. Creating paranoia never comes with a happy ending. Try to remember how it was to be a child. Media violence isn’t the culprit – hysterical parents strike fear into hearts of the young. Keep your guns if you have to America, but keep them out of the shaking hands of zealous volunteer watch dogs.