Guest Column: Trayvon Martin and Joseph Kony demonstrate impotence of misguided American rage

S. Jacob Stern

Trayvon Martin, as most, if not all, of you know, was murdered a month ago while walking home through a gated community. His offense? Purchasing a bag of Skittles, an iced tea and wearing a hoodie while being born the wrong color.

Whether George Zimmerman is Caucasian or Hispanic is irrelevant. What he is and always will be is a murderer, an idiot and an asshole.

The log of 911 calls Zimmerman made prior to that night indicates the shooting was, in a manner of speaking, premeditated. However, as the saying goes, there are three sides to every story: yours, mine and the truth.

This case is no different. By at least one witness account, the only shot fired was what ended a fight between the two men. That Trayvon was only 17 years old does not detract from the fact he was a pretty good-sized kid.

I cannot and will not guess what happened that night and odds are the truth will never be known, but I can tell you Zimmerman had no business confronting anyone who wasn’t directly on his property, not even as part of his perceived duties under neighborhood watch.

However, the sensationalism of this story has officially gone viral. The Miami Heat donned hoodies and LeBron James tweeted this picture as an attempt to increase awareness.

Conservative writers are, of course, attacking the New Black Panthers and Al Sharpton for making this a race issue, while the NBP and Sharpton are calling for immediate justice.

Keep in mind, Al Sharpton once marched in North Carolina on behalf of a black woman who had been raped by affluent young white males; when it turned out the story in the media didn’t match the facts and there was massive corruption perpetrated by the prosecutor, Sharpton didn’t offer an apology to those young men. What makes people think this case is any more or less straight-forward?

I’ve done my best to illuminate how useless the mainstream press and education systems have become. The actual effort that has followed the viral video Kony 2012 and now Trayvon’s case have highlighted how utterly impotent we’ve become as a nation.

Kony’s video received so much attention, the director apparently lost his mind and decided he’d commit a public spermicide and wound up in jail.

Why is the case in Florida getting so much attention? A young black man was shot and killed before the age of 18. According to multiple government and private agencies, the leading cause of unnatural death for young black men in America is violence at the hands of young black men in America.

The rates of homicide within that group are astounding. Between the ages of 15 and 34, a black male in the U.S. is most likely to die in a violent act committed by another black male of the same age category.

What’s remarkable about the online uproar is the total disconnect with the black communities who are saying stop making this a bigger issue than black-on-black crime.

Trayvon’s death is having exactly the wrong effect for those who are seeking to stop violence in the black community. One writer goes so far as to say this needs to be a racial issue of black Americans showing solidarity.

Between the meaningless sharing of Kony 2012 and the vocal but mostly ignorant outcry for Trayvon, Americans have demonstrated their total support for events they do not completely understand.

The bottom line in all of this is social media is making a footprint in activism. This is good, but the people participating lack the motivation, understanding, knowledge and means to actually accomplish anything.

Let me pose a question for those who are unequivocally on the side of Trayvon and are demanding justice: What if Zimmerman is charged, prosecuted and found not guilty by a jury of his peers? What then? Because the last time people without all of the information demanded justice in such huge numbers and didn’t receive the outcome they desired, the L.A. riots were the result.

So for those who are alleging this was a hate crime, as opposed to an act of violence no different from the very same acts of violence taking place between young black men, I hope you have better reasons for the outcry than George Zimmerman’s race.

Trayvon is gone, and that’s a tragedy, but it’s no more of a tragedy than any other time any person loses their life.

If we want true unity, we have to get away from this philosophy of ranking tragedies. Hate crimes are only different because of their motive. It is decidedly a violation of justice to tell one family their son’s death was less tragic than another.

Murder is murder, assault is assault, vandalism is vandalism. We support hate speech as Constitutional because preservation of liberty and equality are vital to our views. But we have the gall to suggest one murder is less tragic than another because of motive?

If I kill a black man for his wallet, why is that less offensive than a black man killing me because I’m white? This idea has absolutely no merit. This was the product of emotional legislation. If we want equality, punish crimes, not motives.

Instead of constantly reacting from the heart, what we need as a country is to focus on critical thinking, analysis and non-emotional solutions to complicated problems. Lynch mobs were hell on crime as a deterrent, but they were emotionally triggered and many innocents died.

Laws need to come from the mind, not the heart. Activism should start at the heart, but should proceed from the mind. Emotional arguments will lose to logic every time.

Rocky Mountain Collegian,

Colorado State U.via UWIRE