My heart is heavy today because I’m thinking about the progress of the country I love, The United States of America. When growing up, I didn’t notice so much division. Maybe I was too young to understand the “us” versus “them” concept. We all said the pledge of allegiance and it wasn’t a big deal. Maybe they tried harder to shield us from this division or maybe the division wasn't as powerful as it is today. I don’t know.
It just seems there is more division than there ever was and I’m trying to comprehend where it is coming from, because we on the bottom level, the ordinary people, are trying to make sense of ground zero, wanting to survive.
Now my concerns:
As the jury deliberates today in the case of The State of Florida versus George Zimmerman, I am saddened. I'm not saddened for George Zimmerman or the fact that a life is lost; I've become immune to it over the months.
What saddens me is when these six jurors come out of their sequestered world and deliver a verdict, their lives will be forever changed, and our country will be transformed shortly thereafter. Why?
1. Racial inequality and politics
Though I believe our country has moved forward in civil rights issues, I don't believe that the media and government have accepted this fact. If they accept the forward progress, then they would have to find another means to cause civil unrest so that there may be this need for intervention, thus more government and more bureaucracy. I have faith in the people in our country and in all our diversity. It's the media and politics which caused this to play out for the world to see.
2. A mother's love
How wonderful to put all women on this jury! I'm not knocking an all-woman jury. However, think about it. Their hearts go out to Trayvon's mother, for the death of her son. What mother wouldn't relate? Their hearts go out to Zimmerman's mother, for the potential conviction of her son and 30 years in prison. What mother wouldn't relate? These jurors have a tough job, and I will be thinking of them and the pain they will endure attempting to reconcile this huge mess of a case. Whatever their decision, the world is watching, with scrutiny, and it's just not fair for them to bare this burden on their own. I'm behind them with whatever decision they come to, and I feel for them.
3. The second Amendment right to bear arms
This verdict will change how we deal with the Constitutional right to bear arms. Why? Because, bearing arms has restrictions as it is. We must abide by certain laws before we are able to obtain, carry, and utilize firearms. Better yet, we are required to provide fingerprints, photo identification, and certification of training, before permits are granted for "carry conceal" licenses. Any person who acquires and intends to utilize a firearm without abiding by these rules is breaking the law and has a total disregard for the right to do so.
So, how do we protect ourselves and others without putting ourselves in the same class as those who have a total disregard for human life and the law? We do the right thing. That's not good enough though, because there is room for error, which the law does not provide a definitive clause. We act first, and then are judged later.
Now that I've listed the things which sadden me, let me share with you my biggest fear.
If this is a case decided by defining the perception of "death or grievous bodily harm" we are in trouble. Today, with violent crimes reported in our media, more people are becoming legally armed, many with "conceal carry" permits. If I'm a licensed carrier, will I need to change my perception in the future? Do I need to change my perception of imminent death or serious bodily harm before I utilize my legally purchased and licensed firearm for its intended purpose? Is it even humanly possible to do that during a time of high stress and fear?
If a woman is being raped, does she now leave her firearm cradled in its holster because she doesn’t believe that penetration of her vagina and lacerations from the friction are more severe than a fractured nose and lacerations to her head?
This is serious. I hope I never have to be in a position to place a verdict on anyone, but worse than that, I hope I never have to carry out justice while leading from behind because certain people in positions of authority just couldn't stand up and say enough is enough.
My heart goes out to the Trayvon family AND the Zimmerman family. I just hope we can fix things so this tragedy doesn't happen again, because it IS a tragedy, and a misuse of justice. What I'd like to see is both families come together in a fight to prevent these types of tragedies in the future. We can't heal from this if that doesn't happen.