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21 March, 2012

Trayvon Martin 911 Calls

I know this isn't a particularly atheist issue here, unless you consider that the factors in the case such as Florida's Stand Your Ground Law, gun laws, racial profiling and the conduct of the Sanford police all need to be reviewed using skepticism and critical thinking, but I'm compelled to write about the story of Trayvon Martin.

It's been bothering me for a few days and on Monday I finally listened to the 911 tapes for the first time here, all 35 minutes of it. Be warned, it is very, very disturbing. I have been posting to twitter and facebook and am going to wear an empty bag of Skittles on my shirt for the rest of the week, (Trayvon was found to be carrying nothing but Skittles for his little brother, a cell phone and an Arizona Iced Tea when he was shot) but I feel so hopeless and nothing I do seems to be enough. Florida's laws are so bass-ackward that even if the police get around to arresting Martin's killer, the chances of him walking free are pretty high. All he has to do is say he felt threatened. The injustice of this itself is heartbreaking, even before you consider the racist overtones of the case. A black kid in a hoody ends up shot in the chest and the man with the gun is not only walking free, but is still permitted to carry that gun around with him wherever he goes.

I don't really know what to do. My silent Skittles protest and internet posts seem so feeble compared to the tide of racism and injustice in this country. I'm left wondering what if my nephew, who is black, were faced with this gun-wielding, self-aggrandized vigilante maniac? The thought actually sends pain to my chest. I would probably find myself trying to be alone with Zimmerman to see how well this Stand Your Ground law works. Maybe I'm just saying that because this case angers me. The fact that anyone should have to worry about something like this because of the color of their skin just disgusts me. I don't trust the justice system to do what is right. It's a sad place to be, let me tell you. My heart goes out to the family.

Listen to the 911 tapes. Try to, at least. The 35 minutes it takes are more important that the Kony video. This is our own backyard. This is happening in the United States. Consider what letting Zimmerman walk free does to the nation. Do you want to live in a country that allows vigilantes to deem themselves judge, jury and executioner? That's not an America I can live with.

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