"An eye for and eye. A tooth for a tooth" Those were the defiant words of New Black Panther Party leader Mikhail Muhammad when asked whether he was inciting violence when members offered a $10,000 reward for the capture of George Zimmerman, the Neighborhood Watch volunteer who shot an unarmed Trayvon Martin to death in Sanford, Florida.
There is no doubt in my mind that those very same biblical words have been uttered millions of times since man began walking upright and understood their meaning. And I suppose that they were uttered most when revenge consumed human souls for senseless acts committed upon other human-beings. As much as I do not agree with Mikhail Muhammad, I can honestly say that I fully understand the rationale behind it.
In actual practice, though, it is quite another thing. The truth of the matter is that an eye for an eye will never bring back to life the victim. One senseless death in exchange for another, I would think, could not sustain any long term comfort and that would just leave more victims in its wake.
As such, I am hoping that the threat of a bounty was designed only to force authorities to reevaluate the circumstances behind Trayvon Martin's senseless death. Zimmerman, it appears, took great liberties in applying what I perceive Florida's Stand Your Ground Law to be. Yes, I believe people have a right to defend themselves with lethal force. However, I would think that "imminent danger to one's own life" must be the burden placed upon the person who is seeking protection under self-defense laws. And from everything I, and others, have been able to digest thus far do not believe that George Zimmerman has not met that burden.
Opponents of gun rights will surely fault Florida's Stand Your Ground Law and call for its repeal, but before anyone gets too obtuse here - I seriously doubt that the law was enacted to permit the cold-blooded shooting of innocent people. But let's be very clear here too - if the New Black Panthers bounty is more than just a tool to ensure that Florida Officials do their due diligence in this matter with Zimmerman, then what they would be doing is just as obtuse as those who believe that the Florida Law is something more than what it is intended to be.
While the outrage and protests are justified, taking the law into one's own hand will not solve anything except diminish the life of Trayvon Martin. That young man's memory would be better preserved if the anger and outrage does not escalate into something that would further divide the races and instead opens up a deeper and much needed understanding among us all.
Although we should be farther along as a society, unfortunately, there will always be those who do not understand the true value in what tolerance and diversity brings us. And that is a real shame because we should be at a better place and time in our nation's history. Even though racial barriers have been broken down since the 1960's, we still have a long, long way to go. And that is a sentiment that goes for everyone, regardless of their color or ethnicity.
Let's face it our nation's diversity is its' greatest strength!
As for the furor Trayvon Martin's murder has sparked, it is still my hope that the anger will be replaced with a sense of calm. But the only way that can happen is if the authorities in Florida take the appropriate action in this case. No one should be protected by the Stand Your Ground Law if it is proven that the victim was stalked and gunned down unarmed. The people absolutely have a right to demand that justice be served if George Zimmerman has violated the intent and spirit of a law designed to protect people.
And that justice must be color blind!
At the end of the day Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman must have their day in court and it will be up to a jury, not a mob, to determine what happened that fateful night.
Tags: Crime, Florida, Florida and Stand Your Ground Law, George Zimmerman, George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman Trial, Gun Rights, Mikhail Muhammad, Murder, New Black Panther Party, New Black Panther Party Bounty, Race Relations, Racism, Stand Your Ground Law, Trayvon Martin, Trayvon Martin Murder