In a statement on the George Zimmerman verdict President Obama said that preventing future gun violence and tragedies is the best way to honor Trayvon Martin.
Obama said, “The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy. Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America. I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken. I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son. And as we do, we should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities. We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis. We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this. As citizens, that’s a job for all of us. That’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin.”
What happened to Trayvon Martin is just one example of the kind of violence that happens in this country everyday. With more compassion and understanding, deaths like Trayvon’s can be avoided. Perhaps, the biggest tragedy in this entire story is how easily the death of a 17 year old boy could have been prevented. If George Zimmerman would have just walked away instead of following Martin. If Zimmerman had seen a 17 year old kid instead of an fucking punk, Trayvon Martin would still be alive today.
Trayvon Martin’s death reminds many of the open wounds that have been caused by hundreds of years of racism and prejudice. We can’t expect 17 year olds to make the right decisions and choices, but an adult like Zimmerman could have shown some compassion and understanding. He didn’t, and a young man was needlessly shot and killed.
President Obama’s call for the nation to look in the mirror and ask themselves about gun violence is certain to freak out the right. However, without George Zimmerman’s willingness to use his gun, Trayvon Martin wouldn’t be dead.
President Obama was right. The best way to honor Trayvon Martin is to make sure that there won’t be any more “Trayvon Martins” in the future.