I learned last night that the word ‘verdict’ comes from a Latin phrase which means to say the truth. The irony of this reality was highlighted with the results of the recently concluded George Zimmerman case.
But I’ll be honest. I’m actually not surprised by the verdict.
I posted an article on my Facebook wall a few days prior. I hadn’t been following the case. But, apparently, the elements of it all boiled down to Zimmerman’s story versus that of the boy he killed.
“Remember, it’s monumentally irrelevant who’s morally guilty here … that’s all irrelevant in Florida law,” the article read.
So, no, I’m not surprised.
But I do feel ten pounds heavier with all of this new anger, and sadness, and confusion. This afternoon, I just sat on Brooklyn steps and people-watched. I wondered if it would be cruel of me to raise black children in this country. I asked myself what countries in this world are not like this one, where I and my family could live with a relative sense of safety.
I sat for an hour and wondered what the hell I could do in response to this circumstance. The only thought I have, at the moment, is to say something true, to concoct my own verdict.
There’s this very clear divergence of perception when considering who Trayvon Martin was. To me, he was a 17-year-old child. He also was college bound and had a 3.7 gpa, but I don’t see the relevance. I don’t need to add anything to this equation to justify why Trayvon Martin deserved to live. To others, and I’ll just quote from the comment section of an article, “he lived like a thug and died like a thug,” or “he was a reckless black kid that just happened to come across an older guy wanting to keep his neighborhood safe.”
And my instinctive response to these opinions would be indifference, the same indifference that America’s justice system has displayed for Trayvon Martin’s life. Some people are going to be misinformed, or bigoted, or just cruel. But I don’t want to be indifferent. I want to hate these people. I think they deserve to be hated. A punch in the face. A murdered family member. A conviction for a crime they did not commit. I just basically find their lack of insight, and empathy, and social awareness to be completely and utterly disgusting.
I’d say their thoughts are like dog shit on a sidewalk.
These are people I will never agree with. I will most likely never ask for their opinions or develop a true friendship with them, as I want neither. And I know that there are probably people like this in my life right now, and I’m just not aware of it. They can all feel free to unfriend me, unfollow me, fire me, or say fuck me. I am happy to be as disconnected from these people as much as I possibly can.
But I will not hate them. I will not follow them in the streets with a deadly weapon, based on suspicions built on nothing but physical appearance, and driven by a personal need for satisfaction that overrides admonishments from legal authorities to mind my own damn business. I will never be that monstrous. Or, at least, I promise that I will die trying not to be. I would rather be dead than be what George Zimmerman was on the night he followed and shot that child. And I would rather have my murderer walk out of the courtroom a free man than be the kind of person who is incapable of recognizing Trayvon Martin’s humanity and blamelessness.
I do not like these people. I think they should read more books and allow their global perspectives to be built more by facts than social conditioning, groupthink, whatever fucking television shows they watch, and nostalgic bullshit about the good ‘ol days. I think they should spend more time with people who do not look like them, think like them, act like them, or experience the world like they do.
But, just as true, I love them as my equals in humanity. They deserve their time on this planet as much as anyone else. I will mourn if that time is prematurely cut short. And if it is within my power, I will support them in the preservation of their lives.
And yet, simultaneously, they can go fuck themselves with the festering, syphilitic erection that is their obliviousness.
This is my verdict.
And if this displeases you, then perhaps you should drag my ass down to the state of Florida and shoot me.