Much has been written, and much more will be written, about the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman. As a former practicing attorney, I will leave all of the media hype and speculation to those who have forgotten (or have an agenda and choose to ignore) the fact that we remain, thankfully, a nation bound by the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise in a court of law.
My concern over this killing is the misuse of the tragedy by those who seek to further divide and alienate us from one another. As we go through rough economic times, the need for a scapegoat, or an object upon which we can vent our personal frustrations and difficulties, will be great. This, historically, has always been the case no matter what the culture. Giving in to this need remains, sadly, a flaw of human nature.
If we allow ourselves to be used to polarize black against white, or be seduced to participate in a cause that advocates retaliation or vengeance as a remedy, this may well turn out to be the equivalent of the Tunisia man, Mohamed Bouazizi, who set himself on fire and sparked the Arab Spring. The lesson there being that his cause was hijacked by those with a radical agenda who used the sincere intentions of the majority of participants to gain a result that few foresaw and less intended.
Here, a young boy is dead. If it was in self-defense no crime was committed. If it was an act of aggression on the part of the other, then justice needs to ensue and punishment to follow. For that determination we must be patient.
While we are waiting, let us remember that we rise or fall together…as a people, as a Nation, as a planet. Unless we comprehend exactly what that means and what it entails, we will continue to be pawns in a much larger game where the few triumph over the many and freedom becomes a fading memory.