The Internet Age has brought us many revolutions that many thought impossible. One of these things is the advent and ascension of the Online Auction. Sites like eBay make it extremely simple to sell anything you want to a wide breadth of people, much more than you would a brick and mortar store.
This has also brought about the refinement of selling off the private lives of the famous and infamous. Britney Spears' used chewing gum, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's breath in a jar, and Justin Timberlake's half-eaten french toast are only a few of the gems to grace the echelons of Internet Glory.
A recent story threatens to trump all of those and is inciting public outcry and personal pain. You may remember George Zimmerman, 32, as the murderer of Trayvon Martin, 17, on February 26th, 2012. The teen was walking in a Sanford Florida gated community when Zimmerman approached him, questioned him, and shot him. The event sparked public outcry and a feeling of bitter anguish in the black community and the world as a whole. Zimmerman was found not guilty of second-degree murder at his trial in 2013. The event sparked a national dialogue about race and the police mentality toward African Americans which still rages on today.
And now the gun which killed Martin is set to be auctioned off to the highest bidder by Zimmerman. The starting bid is $5000 and the impetus for auctioning it off, as explained by Zimmerman, is the fact that many people approached him offering to buy the gun but their offers weren't large enough for him to consider seriously. Benjamin Crump, attorney of Martin's parents, summed up his client's views in this matter: "It's just shocking, it's shocking to me and it's shocking to everybody — and Trayvon to them is their child...To everybody else, it may be a cause or a hashtag, but this is their son. So somebody's actually talking about profiting from the loss of their child and it's just very hurtful to them."
Benjamin Crump, attorney of Martin's parents, summed up his client's views in this matter: "It's just shocking, it's shocking to me and it's shocking to everybody — and Trayvon to them is their child...To everybody else, it may be a cause or a hashtag, but this is their son. So somebody's actually talking about profiting from the loss of their child and it's just very hurtful to them."
And, as so happens in this rowdy political season, Hillary Clinton finds herself enmeshed in both sides of the issue. Zimmerman announced that a portion of the profits "are supposed to 'fight BLM (Black Lives Matter) violence against Law Enforcement officers' as well as 'ensure the demise of … Hillary Clinton's anti-firearm rhetoric.' "
Today Clinton herself tweeted, "Sybrina [Fulton, Trayvon's mother], you and all mothers of gun violence victims have taught us hate will never win. Thinking of you today." She also said, during a speech, that Zimmerman shouldn't have the gun to begin with.
So, what do we make of all of this mishegas? To analyze a situation like this I always boil the problem down to the most simple issue encased in the muck.
The basic core of this problem is one of property rights. Zimmerman, when he committed murder, used his own gun. Therefore, though it was used for a criminal act that he was acquitted of, the gun is still his to own and he can do with it what he will.
The issue that stems from that is a matter of ethics. Martin's parents are still grieving their son and that gun is a symbol of his murder. Like the axe that killed Agamemnon in Greek Mythology, the gun is an icon of unjust murder perpetrated by those too weak to face issues directly and without violence.
And then Hillary Clinton is thrown into the mix, using Martin's parents' plight as bait to lure voters into thinking of her as a model of Christendom. All tragedies can be used to advance a political cause but it is in extremely bad taste. Clinton can support the parents and the issue of hate crime legislation but, she shouldn't use one family as a model for her social causes. If she truly cared about this issue, she should come up with practical solutions and not just empty emotional rhetoric.
Another matter is one of who is in the market to buy this accursed item? If a potential racist buys this gun it because a symbol of the white man's superiority over the inferior race. If a serial killer buys it to use in his own murders it becomes a symbol of using a hero's saber to fell the enemy.
But, and this would be the ultimate solution to this whole issue, a wealthy individual should fight to become the top bidder and immediately destroy the tainted symbol of hatred. No good will come if it becomes a false idol, passed down generation to generation as a harbinger of man's conquest of the lower race.
This gun is, to put it succinctly and ironically, a loaded gun. It killed and, if it falls into the wrong hands, it will kill again.
The only way to honor the memory of Martin and avenge his murder is to throw the gun into a funeral pyre.
(All quotes and research contained in this article are courtesy of NBC News.)