Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Trayvon Martin ...

I make sense of the world through words.

I write my way through confusion.

Each letter is a step through the fog toward clearing.

But tonight, the clearing won't come.

I am pulled to this keyboard yet left utterly speechless.

What is there possibly to say?

The more I learn about the death of Trayvon Martin, the more overwhelmed I become.

How can this be the world we live in?

How?

I thought about L.A. Dave tonight, about the conversations we would have had for the past few days, since this story finally took root in our nation's consciousness, although Dave would have told me about it before. Because Dave was forever informing me, teaching me, challenging me.

And I sat down to write, thinking that perhaps I could understand some sliver of Trayvon's story through something Dave might have said, but what kept coming to my mind was a post I wrote about him last year.

I am surely no saint. I have failed throughout my life to be the best person I can be. Not failed entirely, that is to say, but I am far, far, far from beyond reproach. I judge, in the moment, things that do not matter, and later I wonder why. Who knows. Conditioning, I suppose. But then I consider that at least I am aware. Belatedly, perhaps, but maybe one day in advance. Maybe one day, I'll stop before I start, be kinder to the world, to those who are worthy, anyway.

I would like to be the person who thinks of Trayvon's killer with compassion, who thinks that we cannot know what brought him to that point that night.

But I am not that person. I want Trayvon's killer to spend the rest of his life in prison. I want his brand of hate behind bars, not gunning down innocents in the name of "safety."

I do not believe in the possibility of redemption for someone so filled with hatred that he would gun down another human being not as a person but an emblem. "They always get away." Those words chill me. "They always get away."

Trayvon was killed in that moment for being "they." Not a young man with a life story that had barely begun.

My mind keeps returning to the hope that someday, history will reveal this tragedy to be a meaningful moment in moving us toward our greater humanity.

But today, may his family find comfort in each other.

And may we all vow to do better every day.

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