Trayvon Martin, Peace for His Parents

Tragedies have a way of bringing people together in America.  Our compassionate response to the pain of others has always given me hope about our society.   We rally around the afflicted.  We pray for them.  We cook meals for them.  We hug them.  We donate money to them.  We mourn with them in their time of grief.  We cry with them in their time of torment.   Injustice frustrates us.  Unfairness, when brought to our attention, agitates us.  And, it has been my experience that when Americans are confronted with tragedy, this sort of kindness and compassion towards each other crosses all political, religious, and yes, racial, lines.

I saw that kindness and compassion and righteous indignation swell and grow from every corner of America, as the news of the killing of an unarmed teenager by an armed neighborhood watch captain began to slowly emanate from the sleepy town of Sanford, Florida.  People of every race, party, and creed mourned the death of a kid who was simply walking home, talking to his girlfriend on his phone, on a drizzly, mild winter evening in Florida.  Our hearts broke for his parents, grandparents and friends.   None of us knew exactly what happened that night in Sanford, but virtually all of us realized that if it had been our son who had been shot, we would have at least wanted our son’s killer to have been arrested and be forced to defend in a court of law his decision to shoot our unarmed son in the chest.  That the Sanford Police chose not to arrest George Zimmerman at all, viscerally offended our sense of justice and fairness.

But, as the days passed, the Trayvon Martin story became less about the tragedy of a boy’s troubling death and his family’s grief and more of a platform to discuss a wide array of social issues.  A national discussion regarding racial profiling, the merits of legislation that extends self-defense further that it has ever been extended, the merits of gun control and the right to carry firearms, and the racial frustration that so many still feel in America, has been created because of Trayvon’s death.  These discussions, if handled with civility and patience, may well prove that his death moves our nation in a positive direction on some very important issues.  But these discussions are still moons orbiting around the center of the tragedy – Trayvon Martin died a needless death.

Thus, today, in light of George Zimmerman being charged with second degree murder late yesterday afternoon, I want to focus on the decidedly personal side of this tragedy.  Today is about a mother and a father, family and friends, feeling some relief from the oppressive sorrow of losing a son without any hope of justice.  I know that George Zimmerman being charged with murder doesn’t bring Trayvon back to life.  But at least it relieves his parents’ greatest personal fear – that their son’s killer would not even have to face a jury of his peers for shooting their unarmed boy.

From the beginning, Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton’s purpose has been clear – Justice for Trayvon.  It has not been about pointing out the state of race relations in America, or highlighting police misconduct, or attacking the NRA and the other lobbyists who supported the “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida.  In fact, for Sybrina, the racial component of this case was breath at the edge of the windstorm of her fierce love for her son.  Justice for her baby drove her to talk shows and interviews – any other agenda was simply a means to an end.   To her, this was, first and foremost, a tragedy of a mother losing a son, not of a white man getting away with the murder of a black man.  Gratitude overwhelmed her when she heard the news that Zimmerman had been arrested,  “I say thank you. Thank you, Lord, thank you, Jesus,” she said. “I just want to speak from my heart to your heart, because a heart has no color. It’s not black, it’s not white, it’s red.”[1]  Zimmerman would be held accountable for his actions.

Ms. Fulton made it clear that while the rest of the world has been caught up in all of the deep-seated emotional and political implications of her son’s death, she and her husband just wanted justice for their fallen child.  For Ms. Fulton and Mr. Martin, the justice they sought was not extraordinary – they never called for vigilante justice or members of the African-American community to seek retribution for their son’s death – they just wanted the legal system – their justice system – to care enough to work properly.  “We simply wanted an arrest,” Ms. Fulton told reporters in Washington after the announcement. “We wanted nothing more, nothing less. We just wanted an arrest. And we got it. I say thank you. Thank you, Florida. Thank you, Jesus.”[2]

Mr. Zimmerman’s guilt or innocence will be speculated and debated ad nauseam for the next several months as this case slowly winds its way through the procedural processes that precede trial.  This has always struck me as a fool’s errand.   No one outside of the courtroom will be in as good a position as those inside the courtroom to determine Mr. Zimmerman’s guilt or innocence.  Now that the decision to try him has been made, I am quite content to let his guilt or innocence be decided by the legal system.   Either way, his innocence or guilt is a determination for another day.[3]  Today, is about the family who lost their son feeling a little relief for the first time since their personal hell began on that terrible day in February.   So, I join Ms. Fulton, and millions of other Americans, in being thankful that an arrest was made.  I hope that she and the rest her family feel the compassion and embrace of their fellow Americans as they continue to heal from this tragedy.


 

About David Davies, Editor-in-Chief

David Davies is the Editor-in-Chief of Media Rostra. He is also a lawyer and a licensed minister, so he is basically distrusted by everyone on some level. He received his Political Science degree from the University of Tulsa and his Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas. He is a former Assistant Attorney General for the State of Arkansas, a former "good athlete for his size," and current owner of The Law Offices of David Davies, PLLC -- an Estate Planning and Elder Law firm that has offices in Arkansas and Tennessee. He co-authored, with fellow editor, Aaron Brooks, the article entitled: “Exploring Student-Athlete Compensation: Why the NCAA Cannot Afford to Leave Athletes Uncompensated," in the University of Notre Dame’s Journal of College and University Law.

Comments

  1. Great article Dave. 

  2. Sybrina Fulton’s pursuit of justice is an inspiring tale founded on the value of a son’s life in his mother’s eyes. I am grateful to live in a country whose people value justice and whose government acknowledges the worth of an individual. Yet, I am left with an insatiable discontent. What kind of penalty is a young boy’s life worth? No judge can undo this damage. We hope in divine justice that restores that which we’ve lost. And, the down payment on our hope is the resurrection of Christ!

  3. david daviesNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks, Brandon for your comment.  I agree that tragic events rarely have a solution that restores completely those who have suffered.  All we can do is care, pray, love, speak and act in a manner that demonstrates our compassion and concern.  I appreciate your thoughtfulness and hope you enjoy our content regularly. 

  4. Great Article!