All Hail to the Christ Within!
I was going to remain silent on the George Zimmerman verdict but can’t do so any longer. Dear friends this drama should give us all pause.
1. Violence doesn’t solve anything. Trayvon is dead and George Zimmerman (and his family) will never have a normal day again.
2. We all need to become more civic minded. The so-called “Stand Your Ground” laws stand unlimited in 24 states, are applicable in limited circumstances in 7 additional states, and more state legislatures are considering them. In a nutshell, these laws allow someone who is under the threat of immediate danger or death to use deadly force, without having to first attempt a retreat. Stand your ground is nearly universally accepted for those on their own property. For example, if someone breaks into your home, you are not required to retreat but can stand your ground. But the Zimmerman case shows a flaw in the stand your ground laws sweeping the nation. Do we want people to have the legal right to kill someone on the street, at a store, or on the road, if they can safely escape? In Zimmerman’s case, he could’ve left Trayvon alone, as the police instructed him to do.
3. We need to hold our elected officials accountable for the laws they pass. While I doubt the average lawmaker anticipated the growing list of cases like Zimmerman’s—they should go back and amend these horrific laws. (See http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/07/15/everything-you-need-to-know-about-stand-your-ground-laws/ and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2363939/White-people-kill-black-people-Stand-Your-Ground-states-354-likely-cleared-murder-Fresh-questions-self-defence-law-wake-Zimmerman-verdict.html for some startling statistics)
4. PRAY. PRAY. PRAY. Pray for the family of Trayvon Martin. Pray for George Zimmerman and his family. Why? He’s a 29 year old young man and a known killer! Zimmerman will live under the threat (whether real or imagined) of violence and death the rest of his life. His name is forever ruined. Pray for this nation, as we continue to struggle with racism, justice, and fairness.
Finally, this drama makes me more thankful for where I am and the God I serve. Just before I wrote this article, I had a long frustrating wait while taking care of some business. Thinking on these matters made me realize how non-frustrating waiting was. Unlike Trayvon, I got to live past 17!!! Lord have mercy. Writing that brings tears to my eyes. And unlike George Zimmerman, I can live my life freely with no dark clouds hanging over me. Father Hurley was right when he told us that learning to cultivate our innate forces, through the Spirit of God and his Christ, is our only hope.
I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
Rev. George Hubert Latimer-Knight
Written July 15, 2013 at age 31