We live in a strange world. Unprecedented violence appears commonplace, even acceptable. It has taken weeks for the Florida shooting death of 17 year old Trayvon Martin, an innocent unarmed teenager who’s killer wasn’t even charged, to attain the kind of widespread international public outrage that should have happened on day one.
The police believed Trayvon’s killer’s ‘self-defense’ excuse despite the fact that the teen was half his killer’s size, had no criminal history and his only ‘weapon’ was a packet of Skittles candy. But he was a black kid wearing a hoodie, so he must have been threatening…
I can’t get over this. I have a 17 year old hoodie wearing son. His friends come in all shapes, sizes and skin colors. Would it really be okay for someone in Florida to shoot them to death and pretend, without a trial, that it was just self-defense?? Would the police really not charge the murderer??
We let down God when we allow this kind of injustice to happen in the world. We let our kids down. We let ourselves down. From the execution of Troy Davis in the fall to the shooting of Trayvon Martin, we legitimize a culture of violence when we don’t speak up against it.
I am heartened by the current outcry by Americans from all over their country. I am so pleased that they have created such noise that they have caught the attention of the big news outlets that so often want to pretend that racism, sexism and other discrimination are ills brought upon the self, same as poverty. Laws that let killers walk without trial must be repealed. There is no justification for murder, not by the State as I wrote last fall in the Davis case, and not by the individual.
Like so many others, beyond signing the requisite petition, I feel helpless to do anything. I am not an American and my country is far from perfect too. But I can only imagine the hell the Martin family has traveled through these past weeks. I think of Mary at the foot of the cross, of the resurrection that comes after, but I know for the Martins it is too early, these are still the days of the tomb, of silence, of absence, of the horrific loss that as parents we can’t even let our minds touch.
But together, across this world we can do one thing: We can pray. I invite you to risk for a moment the belief that it makes a difference, that the Martin family will feel some warmth of comfort, and that they will someday find the stone rolled away from the tomb again. In an eternity beyond time may they find their son, hale, happy and surrounded by the love of God. And may all of us stand up peacefully against violence, so that no other family need walk such a painful road.