- On the case of Trayvon Martin
Please do not think I am making light of the recent "verdict" handed down in the case of George Zimmerman and the "death" of Trayvon Martin. If I want to write a few words about something topical, like this case, I need a T-shirt as my vehicle. Looking through my closet, I selected this shirt because I did not need to really write much more than I already have about Star Trek in six total posts (see my Star Trek category for a list if you're interested). Though I did make plenty of jokes Monday during Ultimate about this case and this so-called "verdict," they were of the sarcastic variety, as in "I am so proud to live in a country that functions this way" kind of thing.
George Zimmerman not guilty of murder or manslaughter.
I was appalled to learn that a jury would acquit George Zimmerman.
David Simon, creator of The Wire, who runs a very interesting blog called The Audacity of Despair wrote that he felt "ashamed to be an American" or rather that's how a news service sort of misquoted him. Specifically, he wrote: "anyone who truly understands what justice is and what it requires of a society is ashamed to call himself an American" (Simon, 2013).
Simon's most recent post on the Trayvon Martin case refers back to his original post and a second post that generated over 500 responses of fascinating debate, which is by and large, mostly, unedited. This and his other posts plus the comments are worth reading.
COMMENTS ON MARTIN-ZIMMERMAN. TO REITERATE
Here is one of the best comments:
I have not watched The Wire, though I hear it is great stuff. It is on my to-do list. After finding this great blog, it has moved up on my to-do list.
Perhaps I should take a lesson from his brevity and succinct impact. I am trying.
In fact, David Simon's entire post is worth sharing. Find it at Trayvon.
As a resource for material written on this travesty of justice, I like Bitch Magazine, which has always been a favourite source of mine for news and views.
The first Bitch post I saw was a capsule of much of the web's best content on the Trayvon Martin case.
Six Perspectives on George Zimmerman's "Not Guilty" Verdict
I like what Roxane Gay of Salon had to say: "This verdict tells us everything we need to know about our laws, whom they are designed to protect, and why. It tells us about the power of the gun lobby, the power of stereotypes, and the value of a black person’s life" (Gay, 2013).
Simple. Nails it.
Since that post on July 14th, Bitch has had a few more posts on the subject, such as
We are NOT all Trayvon Martin
"I believe that even had Zimmerman been found guilty, justice would not have been done. The problems revealed here are bigger than just one legal verdict. There is something bigger here, and it's not that "We are all Trayvon." This country is full of systems that treat people differently based on their race...a guilty verdict ...would not address the need to change the ways we talk about race and racism in this country...however, a guilty verdict would have given some closure to the Martin family" (Law, "We are NOT all Trayvon Martin," 2013).
The Jury in George Zimmerman's Case Never Once Discussed Race—That's a Problem
"Forcing the jury to at least have racial issues on their radar may not have changed the verdict in this case. Numerous court-watchers have noted that the prosecution's case was flimsy for various reasons. But changing "racial profiling" to just "profiling" fundamentally changes the discussion of what happened that night. The judge's decision to nix race from the courtroom certainly influenced the jury's perspective that race had no role whatsoever in the death of Trayvon Martin. This is exactly why it's important to talk about race—not talking about race allows people to ignore its realities" (Mirk, "The Jury ...Never ...Discussed Race...Problem," 2013).
Some more from Bitch Magazine:
Here's what's on our radar! First some Zimmerman trial reflections...
- Mimi Thi Nguyen shares an excerpt from a talk she gave about the salience the hoodie and racial profiling played in the Trayvon Martin case. [Threadbared]
- The legal system "worked" for George Zimmerman. But for most other folks in court, that's not what happens. [Salon]
- Alice Walker reflects on the verdict: "So many killings of black men in my lifetime." [The Guardian]
- In more "I can't believe he got acquitted news," the Texas man who murdered an escort was also let go. [Think Progress]
- One of the jury members had a book deal lined up by Monday. Thanks to the work of one woman on Twitter last night, the publisher dropped her. [Uproxx]
WHAT WOULD KIRK DO?
Back to the subject of the T-shirt. Not to make light of the Trayvon Martin case, which I take very seriously, but I think this is a legitimate question: What would Kirk do?
The shirt plays on the popular bracelets of a few years back: "What Would Jesus Do?" After the proliferation of that phrase, there were many others asking what Gandhi would do or what Tyler Durden would do.
Kirk would try to fix the situation.
Like in the Star Trek episode "A Piece of the Action," (TOS #49, 2.17), Kirk "fixed" the gangster-based society by unifying the gangs with a concept they would all understand: The Federation will back every few years for its percentage of the "take." Kirk's novel solution worked for the culture that the planet had developed. Yes, the episode is campy and humorous, but the idea is serious. What would work for our culture? Why take race out of consideration when race is clearly the number one consideration in the Trayvon Martin case?
In the episode "A Private Little War," (TOS #45, 2.19), Kirk solves the tribal warfare problem on Neural by arming both sides of the conflict equally, beginning an arms race he knows will escalate and introducing "100 serpents to the Garden of Eden." Though some interpret that the episode's end leaves viewers doubting whether Kirk gave the Hill People weapons or not, I believe it's clear that he did. This solution of Kirk's would have changed the outcome in the death of Trayvon Martin. What would have happened if they both had Concealed Weapons Permits and firearms?
Or what about how Kirk resolved the situation in "The Omega Glory" (TOS#54, 2.23) and the war between the Yangs and Kohms of Omega IV? Kirk finds that the crumbling document in the possession of the Yangs is the American Constitution, which he recites, pleading with the Yangs to apply these principles equally for both Yangs and Kohms because the words "must apply to everyone or they mean nothing."
A dramatic reading of the American Constitution in the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case by Captain James T. Kirk might be just what is needed.
This morning there was a baby bird outside my window learning to fly.
It seemed an apt message for this situation with Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman.
Here's the video:
BABY BIRD LEARNING TO FLY
You work and work and work to raise your children, to teach them right from wrong, to protect them, to let them loose so that they can fly. And then what?