(Published in Guelph Mercury in 2012)
There is no denying the fact that media has played a very important role in giving a just cause to the unfortunate killing of the seventeen year old teenager, Trayvon Martin at the hands of George Zimmerman in Florida, U.S.A.
It did not so much bother the vast majority of African American residents of United States that a boy amongst them was targeted as a criminal just because of his colour and the hood that he wore, as that unfortunately has been a reality of life for many of them . The same even holds true for many young male adults of different colour than White, living in the Western world.
However what has caused greater uproar and indignation in this case is the drama that followed the unfortunate incidence wherein first Zimmerman was allowed to walk free within hours and would have remained free for the rest of his life, lest the media would not have made it a national cause.
While a lot has been written on the case, few issues remain as old wounds have resurfaced and raise eye sores for all the North Americans-
1. Would the Police have acted in a similar way if a Black or a coloured person would have shot a White person, in the same act of so called- ‘Standing the ground’? Especially if the 17 year old boy would have been White and the 28 year as well built as Zimmerman, coloured?
2. Considering for a doubtful second that the above would have happened, could the mass uproar be still called a ‘media circus’, as so many amongst the public and the media have started calling it? Would there still have been insensitivities towards the people who stood up for Trevon and calling them as doing it because of their colour or would it be considered a cause to rise for the passing of a young soul?
3. How did the Police and the Justice department decide in a few hours that Zimmerman was not guilty when forty five days later they had been able to collect enough evidence to charge him for the same crime? Does the initial callousness of the law enforcement authority which only resulted in action due to mass upheaval, throws light on how a common family can expect to being treated especially if they are not of the colour of the majority? Is it only limited to U.S.A. or is seen in the entire Western world?
4. Above all, is the job of law enforcement agencies to enable justice for all and FIND the truth or is it their job to see if they can build cases which can be contested in a court of law beyond doubt? And how can they decide on the fate of a case within hours without even giving themselves a chance to investigate and collect factual data? How many criminals are being let go and how many victims suffering in light of the findings that at times law enforcement agencies focus on ‘winnable cases’ and not on ‘justice’?
Then what is the difference between Zimmerman and the Police pesonnel who arrested him and then let him go scot free within hours on the advice of the attorney who said that there was no winnable case? They both took the law in their hands and delivered their own justice- one by killing an innocent in cold blood and the other by letting him go deciding on their own that it was a case of ‘standing the ground’. Justice delivered-INSTANTLY.
Whether this was a case of self defence, an accident or a cold blooded murder and a race crime should be decided in the court and in a civilised society everyone is expected to do their part of the job.
The Police of being the fact finders and putting together all evidences without any prejudice in front of the court of law.
The Attorneys and the justice department to scrutinise those evidences and give their learned decision.
Media to highlight such cases and bring them forward to show the mirror to the society and bring about necessary discussions on them, which for the records has been aptly done in this case.
Last but not the least, you and I, the common people have to introspect and decide as to whether our lives are long enough to be ruined by suspicions, hate and mistrust of each other till such time realisation occurs that all that mattered was one act of faith or one act of love to bring happiness and peace.
Appeared in Guelph Mercury on 17th April 2012