As much as it offended anyone with a well-developed sense of reason, fairness, or compassion, George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager.
Imagine two people in the street. One has a gun. The other is shot and killed – but the man with the gun is found not guilty of the death. Applying Florida’s laws, the jury decided he did not commit a murder. Even after George Zimmerman admitted to killing Trayvon (with his own fanciful spin on the events), the jury found him not guilty of the act of murder or manslaughter. Given the way the ‘facts’ were presented, perhaps we should be glad they didn’t think Martin’s death was a suicide.
The response immediately following the verdict was one of outrage from all but the most soulless of people in the United States — but it’s important to state here, unequivocally, that violence towards the child-killer is not the answer. It is wrong to take a life in every instance, not because of the injustice done to the victim but to the damage done to those who survive the death. Killing makes us less of a people; it diminishes us. As wrong as Zimmerman was to kill the young man, it would be just as wrong to seek that kind of vengeance against Zimmerman.
But, of course, that leaves the question unanswered: What do we do? How do we respond to the sight of horrors compounded by horrors? What is the proper response to a heartless thug who kills innocent children? Many already know. In fact, it appears there is already an action template available.
When adults abuse children, when they molest them or damage them in other ways, we as a society cast them aside. We ostracize them. We set them apart as the vermin they are and say, “What you have done is so horrible, so destructive, you shall never be accepted into society again.”
Zimmerman has been released despite his wanton slaughter of a child. There are alternatives to violence one that we should take, from this day forward, is to cast him and people of his ilk out of society. They, and anyone who calls them “friend”, should be shunned. They should never again feel included. They should never belong. When they enter a business, they should be asked to leave. When they sit in a restaurant, they should be refused service. Those who see them should call them “child killer”. The child killer should never be allowed to forget what they’ve done, until the weight of it drives out every last smug, satisfied, arrogant thought. Only after George Zimmerman begs the Martin family for their forgiveness, only after the Martins are satisfied that George Zimmerman is really sorry, should his banishment be lifted.
What is the likelihood of this happening? What chance do we have of everyone working together for justice? What are the odds folks won’t be placated by the next, big news story? — Oh look! Someone said something about illegal aliens again! — and just simply forget what was done? It’s an uphill battle.
But we have to start somewhere. We have to make it our solemn vow to the memory of Trayvon Martin, and to the many others like him from any of a thousand other points on the American map, that those who kill will not get away with it. We will take responsibility for those who perpetrate hate and violence and death and remove them from our lives. Only then will they begin to learn.
Ken La Salle is an author and playwright out of Anaheim, California. His passion is intense humor, meaningful drama, and finding answers to the questions that define our lives. You can find his books on Amazon and Smashwords and all major etailers. His philosophical memoir, Climbing Maya, is available in ebook and paperback. Ken also has a number of audiobooks available on iTunes, Audible, and all major etailers. You can follow Ken’s writing career on his website at www.kenlasalle.com.