Someone carrying a sign shouted, “Justice! Peace!” I was heartened.
As it was picked up in the crowd, the familiar “No” was inserted before each word and I started to leave.
I saw a young man with a poster saying “We are all Trayvon Martin. The whole damn system is guilty.” I saw observers and agitators. We all held hands to demonstrate our oneness. The police outnumbered the protesters and came in riot gear. We’d walked right through them earlier to reach the people. We’d left the circle already when we heard an announcement that weapons would be used to disperse the crowd in ten minutes. I saw a brown young man in a uniform, holding a BB gun. I saw young women in helmets, holding billy clubs, yell at the observers. I saw men backed by the might of dozens of cars, and lights, and civic power put on gloves for the confrontation.
The last cop we saw talked to us. He said, “What are we supposed to do? They have the right to protest, but after three hours other people have the right to get home.”
Trayvon Martin was just trying to get home before he was hassled by someone with a grievance and the willingness to use destructive force.
The cop said, you’ll never have a problem if you obey orders.
Trayvon Martin is a symbol of all of our vulnerabilities, and the “whole damn system is guilty” of creating martyrs and monsters.
Yes, Justice! Yes, Peace!
As peacefully as one can, turn a situation of injustice to a moment for justice without violence or threatened aggression, without fear based tactics.
I do fear that this verdict may create more George Zimmermans, people who are so convinced of their own righteousness that they will create situations that cause them to murder in the name of “self-defense.”
But we can change that with continued humane action (even if it feels superhuman) to insure that all people are treated humanely.
Imagine a world where we put as much energy toward eliminating the use of weapons of individualized destruction as we do against weapons of mass destruction.
Let’s create our humane vision.