The Trayvon Martin trial is literally going to drive me mad! I am outraged, grief-stricken, and perplexed all at the same time. I probably scare my wife to death with my turrets-like bouts of frantic swearing (“b*$@h *ss cops!”); panic attacks (“OMG what if we have sons!? how will we raise little black boys in America?!”); and animated political rants (“the NRA, ALEC, and these so-called Stand Your Ground laws must die!).
I mean we did have to wait 46 days for Zimmerman to be arrested and called to account for his murder. 46 days frickin’ days! And now he’s been handed another get-out-of-jail card, which only costs him a mere $15,000. Seriously???
Today the judge granted Zimmerman bail of $150,000, of which his family will only have to pony up ten percent, or $15,000, to set him free (and it’s presumed they will). That to me seems like a miniscule amount to pay when having admitted to murdering a child. Hell, people are held on much higher bail for lesser crimes!
Like the 20-year old black man in Baltimore who is being held on $500,000 bail for punching a drunken tourist in the nose on St. Patrick’s Day, and then humiliating him by stripping him of his clothes on the street where they (and dozens of others) were partying. His bail was originally set at a whopping $1 million but was later lowered. Nonetheless, the victim, a white man, got up and walked away from the incident with minimal injury, beyond the big bruised ego from the video of the event that went viral. Trayvon, of course, will never walk the earth again.
Now I’m no legal scholar. I admit that my knowledge of criminal proceedings comes from the news, John Grisham novels and Law & Order (which are remarkably realistic!). And I did pick up a few cool facts at the National Museum of Crime and Punishment when we took our 12-year-old cousin last weekend…
But it’s really hard to swallow the fact that an admitted murderer gets to remain free and travel about the country, unrestricted, no ankle bracelet, nada.
Emotions aside, I appreciate the fact that in America, we are all innocent until proven guilty (and you should too!). In fact I’m serving on a jury right now and know all too well that the burden of proof to determine whether Zimmerman is guilty is on the prosecution, regardless of what public opinion might be. I for one am praying that they have their acts together! The fact that they asked for $1 million bail and he walked away with only $150,000 would suggest that his lawyers have won the first round.
But this is round one of many, as the trial promises to be a long drawn out media circus. So for my own sanity’s sake I’m going to try and divert my frustration away from Zimmerman and to the system that ultimately failed Trayvon.
Justice for Trayvon, and the hundreds of other innocent people who have been murdered by vigilantes in neighborhood-watch clothing, won’t be achieved simply by sending Zimmerman to jail. Justice won’t be served until we dismantle the Stand Your Ground laws he’s hiding behind, and decriminalize black boys and men in the eyes of society.
So how are we going to channel our rage positively and do something about it?