Politicizing the Trayvon Martin Tragedy
The longer the Trayvon Martin case remains open and the subject of daily rumors, the more politicized the circumstances surrounding George Zimmerman's actions become. The feverish media coverage, especially the instant reporting of each rumor or unauthorized leak, fuels the tensions and emotions surrounding the case.
Earlier this week, City Council Speaker Quinn, other city councilmembers, and several of state legislators wore "hoodies" as expressions of solidarity. Taking their hoodie solidarity on to the floors of respective chambers only succeeded in trivializing a bitter tragedy.
Black men and youth, whether dressed in a suit and tie or "hoodie," are subject to racial stereotyping and bias. Regrettably, there are still those in our country who when asked, "What do you call a black President?" will reply, "Ni***r."
I know what it’s like to be stopped for being black in the ‘wrong’ neighborhood –walking to the subway with classmates after a Bronx Science basketball game. A carload of bat-wielding men saw a group of black teens and assumed the worst. Lucky for us, the two white kids in our midst rushed forward to tell the self-appointed watchmen that nothing was happening
State and city legislators can make their point without wearing hooded sweatshirts. Mock arrests are another political stunt that diverts attention and resources from fighting real crime for the sake of a day’s “talking point”.
Dr. King and the courageous civil rights activists they seek to emulate fought state-sponsored evil. My friends are now agents of the governments whose laws and policies they help write.
Political pandering and grandstanding by some politicians and pundits on the left and right have only succeeded in politicizing the case.
An apparently unjustified killing in Florida is used by New York lawmakers and activists to criticize the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk police activities. Had Trayvon been stopped by a professional Sanford police officer, he’d be alive today.
The news media have also sensationalized the tragedy by reporting on opinion, conjecture and innuendo regarding the circumstances surrounding Trayvon’s deadly encounter with Zimmerman.
Bungling by the Sanford PD and the Seminole County prosecutor's office has imperiled proper justice for either Martin or Zimmerman.
The NRA is needlessly adding fuel to the fire by marketing its new Stand Your Ground hoodie. The NRA hoodie endangers the public safety by unnecessarily winding the tensions surrounding a confusing and difficult case.
A stupid gun law that arms unstable people is just like giving matches to an arsonist in a crowded theater.
Our nation sits atop a tinderbox of economic resentments, racial distrust, religious intolerance, and irrational fears. Responsible leaders – business, political, and community— must see the wisdom of reducing tensions, so our nation does not experience the social explosions seen in Britain, France, Greece, and the Arab world in 2011.
Justice for Trayvon is best obtained in an atmosphere that is not inflamed.
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