On the Zimmerman Verdict

July 15, 2013

Disclaimer one: I didn’t follow the Zimmerman trial so I don’t know if the jury made an accurate decision based on the complex criteria they were set. They may have. But there’s a difference between being legally accurate and morally just.

Disclaimer two: I don’t feel competent to speak on the issues of gender and race obvious throughout. Would the same story have unfolded if one protagonist were a different gender, or a different skin tone? I doubt it – though¬†this chart on prosecution results divided by race is compelling to say the least.

But I do have fierce opinions on how this country I’m so proud of has ideals and laws I’m ashamed of – ones that made it possible for whatever happened to have happened.

The ideals part is about how we fear teenagers. About how we react when we see a slouchy, gangly kid who won’t meet our eyes. And about the teenagers, too, because, sometimes, they are fearsome. My problem with our ideals is that we expect little from kids, and from ourselves as the adults around them. We insist that kids are so useless that they must either be coddled or avoided – and then we’re surprised when they deliver on those expectations by being a waste of space, or worse.

The laws part is about what’s been done to a simply worded document that I appreciate -this is key – as it was written:¬†”A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” My literal way of thinking puts me in the “collective rights” camp – basically, there’s argument about whether the first four words are as important as the other ones, and I believe rather passionately that they are. You’re in our military? You should be fitted for the incredibly heroic job of defending yourself and us. I believe that’s what the Second Amendment calls for and I agree with it entirely. You want to keep guns in your home and car for your own interests? That’s where I don’t see the Second Amendment at all.

It makes me sad and angry that both our expectations of our kids, and the words of our founders, have been lost.

I love being around kids – I think they’re wiser than adults give them credit for, more fearless and creative than adults remember how to be, and as trustworthy as you’ll let them prove themselves. I think it’s worth spending time around younger people because you remember things worth remembering.

Conversely, I hate being around guns. I’d switch our laws for the UK’s in a heartbeat. But I’ve taken it upon myself to learn about guns because they’re everywhere here, for the same reason that, if I lived in an area infested with snakes, I’d learn what to do if I ran into one of them too.

I feel like this post is rambling. I’m not sure what my points are. But I know that things aren’t right in a whole bunch of ways, and I wish I knew how to do something to fix them.

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