Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Greater Evil Behind Trayvon Martin's Death

Raise your hand if you have ever watched a B-grade movie where the villain turns out to be a pawn.  At the very end of the movie, sometimes even after the credits roll, a silhouette of a man appears, sometimes smoking a cigar, remarking that the loss of the villain is only a minor setback; the plan still thrives and continues.

That's how I feel about the shooting of Trayvon Martin.  George Zimmerman is the movie villain, but he is in the end the lesser evil of the situation.  The Greater Evil is more ominous, more hideous, hiding behind shadows, using talking heads to disseminate diversions to the public in order to cover up its true nature.  And the Greater Evil is working overtime at the moment.

First, it tried to use the Stand Your Ground law to exonerate Zimmerman, but public outcry at the fact that Zimmerman instigated any confrontation soon made that untenable.  Then it tried to use self-defense, but again that particular tactic does not seem to have a mollifying effect.  So it switched to attacking Trayvon Martin, spreading rumors about his supposed marijuana use at school and even blaming the incident on his hoodie.

The Greater Evil produces fear mongering, sowing new crops of terror at every turn, until the mere present of a young, black man spooks an older man into calling 911 and acting as a vigilante.  For that matter, the Greater Evil produces the atmosphere where a vigilante feels justified in his actions.  Property and material goods suddenly carry more worth to the general public than a human life.  Requests for personal liberty slam into accusations of "If you don't have anything to hide, why do you care?"   And if you even think too loudly about protesting or happen to be near a protest (regardless of your involvement), police show up at your proverbial door and try to intimidate you into silence.

Sadly, the fate of George Zimmerman means nothing in the end if we do not work against this Greater Evil.  Worse, Trayvon Martin's death will be in vain.  But what are you willing to sacrifice, what are you willing to do to stop this infection in our society from claiming another innocent life?

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