I think everyone’s had something to say about the Zimmerman/Martin trial over the last few days and that’s understandable. I don’t really want to talk about it. Well, I do and I don’t. The politics involved make my head hurt. The race issues and the trial and the everything is such a jumble of AWFUL STUFF that I’ll let smarter people dismantle it. I’ll let others take it apart piece by piece before spewing their slant on the rights and wrongs of our judicial system. As my grandmother used to say, “Opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got one.”
Smart lady, that grandmother. If you have an opinion and share that opinion, good on you. Cheers to you. I won’t play in your sandbox, though, because I’m too tired to fight right now.
What I want to talk about today is something I’m seeing missing in a lot of this political grandstanding and it’s bugging the shit out of me. The value of human life, or the tragedy inherent when a life so young gets snuffed out for ANY reason. A kid that wasn’t even old enough to buy cigarettes or lottery tickets died. Regardless of where you stood on this trial — your support or loathing of Zimmerman — there’s one thing that can’t be overlooked. A seventeen-year-old boy died. And the reality here? That kid is neither the hoodlum nor the saint the left versus right media is portraying. I’m betting he was a little bit of both. Somewhere in the middle. He did good things, he did bad things. He had a family. People loved him. And now he’s gone.
That’s sad. And if you don’t think it’s sad, I’m wondering what’s wrong with you, because gleeing at the death of a kid is just . . . I can’t even. You are the worst. If you do that, you are THE worst. Whether you think that Zimmerman was within his rights to shoot Trayvon Martin is not the topic at hand. What is? A kid’s passing in any guise is terrible. If you rejoiced over the verdict, if you found some “pleasure” in it? Shame on you for losing sight of the stemming tragedy.
Do you remember being seventeen? I do, and man, it was a weird time. I wasn’t a bad kid. In fact, outside of a streak of laziness and a snide mouth, I was a relatively GOOD kid. But I made some incredibly stupid decisions because . . . I was seventeen. I remember going out with friends on a snowy night and playing car tag. The object was to chase each other and bump our friends’ cars and that car became IT. Our Oldsmobile behemoths could, if we were just a little too reckless, kill us. This incredibly bad plan was brought to you by icy roads and boredom in a small town. But I did it anyway even knowing my mother would kill me if she found out. I did it knowing that a cop would tear off my head if he saw what I was doing.
I also remember stealing shit off of people’s lawns. Garden gnomes, I think it was. Street signs? Yeah, we took those, too. Because we were dumb. Were we breaking the law? Probably. No, definitely. But I stand by my assessment that I wasn’t a bad kid. I did stupid things because I was young and reckless and didn’t quite understand consequences yet, but I don’t think that made me a reprehensible human being. I think it made me seventeen and dumb, but not reprehensible.
I’m venturing a guess that Trayvon Martin did a lot of stupid shit, too. Because I think it’s part of growing up. I think teenagers test their limits. I think they strive for acceptance among their peers, whoever those peers might be. I think they grandstand. I think they make crappy decisions but, in most cases, learn from their mistakes. But they can only learn from their mistakes when they’re given that opportunity. This kid? He won’t have that opportunity. For every person assuming what Trayvon Martin would become one day, whether that’s a good person or a bad person? Stop. It’s a moot point. You can hypothesize until the cows come home. This half adult, half child human being will never be able to prove your theories of his potential right or wrong because he is dead. And pretending you know him? Pretending you know how he would have turned out as an adult? Makes you a prophet or a dink, your pick.
If someone comes in here vomiting vitriol in the comments, I’m going to nuke it from orbit. I have a very clear opinion on the Zimmerman subject and no one’s going to sway that opinion. This post is about the bigger picture – remembering what was lost BEFORE the politics. A kid died. Take a moment to think about that. Take a moment and be sad about it. Take a moment to consider the douchebag you were at seventeen and how your death would have affected those around you. And once you’re human enough to do that, go ahead and have your political talks. But Jesus Christ, please remember what was lost first. Seventeen years is not long enough. It just isn’t.