Things are not always what they seem

Believe it or not, I don’t plan my trips onto the soap box. In fact every time I write something controversial, I vow I will never write another like it. It would really be much easier for me and probably more enjoyable for you if I could stick to family pictures and updates. It seems like my controversial posts do nothing but upset a handful of my friends and most of my extended family. Frankly, if this country is turning into what I think it is, I really should just shut up and keep my head down.

I don’t post on everything I feel passionately about. I have dozens of article ideas that never come to fruition. I write when I am prompted to write and this time is no different.

What does it mean to you when I say we are a nation of laws, not a nation of men?

That is a phrase that has been floating around in my head a lot the last year and especially the last few days. “Government of laws not of men” is a quote attributed to John Adams’s “Novanglus Papers,” no. 7 and was also used in the Massachusetts Constitution and Bill of Rights.

It means the most just and stable form of government is one where we are governed by the rule of law and that no one person, including those in authority, are above that law.

Aristotle wrote “Laws should govern men”. It’s not enough that the laws be there and that we follow them, the laws themselves must be just and easily understood. Plato, Aristotle’s mentor said:

“Where the law is subject to some other authority and has none of its own, the collapse of the state, in my view, is not far off; but if law is the master of the government and the government is its slave, then the situation is full of promise and men enjoy all the blessings that the gods shower on a state.”

Finally Cicero, in 30 BC said “We are all servants of the laws in order that we may be free.”

The “authority” that the law is subject to, according to Plato is nothing more than reason. If a law doesn’t make sense, then chances are it is not just. The government must bow itself down to reason and justice for all and only then can men truly be free.

About a month ago the alarm on my radio woke me up and started playing the news. I heard about a neighborhood watch member who had shot and killed a young man. That was pretty much all I heard about it until last week, when all of a sudden the story exploded to the forefront of the media.

Now for all intents and purposes, it appears that George Zimmerman is guilty of killing Trayvon Martin in cold blood. There are witnesses that say both that Trayvon attacked George and that George attacked Trayvon. There is evidence of a struggle and according to the police report, George was taken into custody with a broken nose, a head injury and grass stains on his clothing. There is also a surveillance video showing the police escorting George into the station and seemingly examining his clothing and head wound. There are reports of George being a disgruntled, wanna-be cop who had no business following this young man no matter how suspicious his activity. He was told by 911 not to follow Trayvon, but he did anyway. There is also speculation that George was shouting racial slurs as he followed Trayvon. What we know for sure is that George shot and killed Trayvon. Everything else is speculation at this point.

That is the extent of what I know about the case. My opinion is that if George shot Trayvon in cold blood than, since Florida has the death penalty, and being a supporter of the death penalty, I say let him fry. It is also my opinion that if he shot him in self defense, then he should be left alone to live the rest of his life in peace.

So what does this have to do with being a nation of laws not of men? I am disgusted at how people (left, right and center) have politicized this tragedy. A young man is dead and another man at the very least has to live the rest of his life with the knowledge that he has killed someone and at most will be put to death for his crime. That should be the end of it as far as politics and the media are concerned, but this whole event has turned into a circus. A crazy, scary, nightmare of a circus.

I have learned not to take anything at face value. I question with boldness everything, especially if it doesn’t seem quite right. And something about the Trayvon Martin case doesn’t seem quite right.

Before you get upset with me, let me reiterate, if George Zimmerman is guilty, he should fry.

I just have a few questions, why is it that this is only just now becoming headline news when the event took place a month ago? Why is it the only pictures we see of Trayvon are from when he was 12 and 14 years old? Is there not a more current picture of him? Why is it the only picture we see of George is a mug shot? Is there not a less incriminating picture of him? Why do we automatically assume this is a hate crime when we don’t even know for sure if a crime occurred at all?

I have no idea how long a murder investigation takes, however knowing that if the police are operating under the rule of law and due process, then there will not be an arrest until after they have enough evidence for a warrant. Since George hasn’t been arrested, clearly they don’t have said evidence. I don’t think that a month or longer is an unreasonably long amount of time to conduct an investigation. If any law enforcement officers are reading this, please feel free to enlighten me because I can’t find any stats on the internet. And considering George isn’t “on the lamb” or in any other way trying to impede or disrupt this ongoing investigation, I have little reason to suspect that either he, or the police are doing anything wrong.

What else really bothers me is the show the media and the politicians are putting on. It started with Geraldo and is asinine “hoodie” remark. Then it continued with celebrities and politicians trying to cash in on the hoodie remark and in other ways make a “statement” with it. Geraldo was an idiot. I have a green hoodie sweater that I wear nearly every day and it certainly doesn’t make me a hoodlum. Bringing so much attention to the hoodies gives credence to what Geraldo said and you are forcing a negative stereotype where none exists. People are now calling for the Skittles and Arizona Iced Tea companies to share their profits because of the increase in sales they have had since the shooting. So many people are trying to wring this for cash that his own parents are trying to trademark his name.

It is clear to me that there is an agenda being pushed here. I’ve seen articles and posters on Facebook calling for justice to be served, but instead of allowing justice take it’s proper course and following the rule of law, celebrities and politicians alike have encouraged vigilanteism and mob violence. I’ll give you just a few examples:

  • Spike Lee, a celebrated movie director, retweeted the supposed address of George Zimmerman. Following the twitter trail we see phrases like “let’s go smash this n***”, “let’s turn up the heat on his ***** ***” and “#DEAD”. What did Spike Lee expect to happen? Did he want people to send him flowers or a fruit bouquet? Why on earth would someone do that? To make this disgusting behavior even worse is it was the wrong address. He had retweeted the address of an elderly couple who now have to live out of a hotel and are afraid to go back to their home. They can’t even sell the house. Who would buy it now? Is this justice?
  • Rosanne Barr retweeted the address of George’s parents and other general nastiness. Is this justice?
  • This incident has been turned into a “cause”. I’m not exactly sure what the cause is supposed to be for, but someone please tell me how a mob of teens ransacking Walgreens is supposed to “honor” Trayvon’s memory.? It looks more like theft and destruction of property to me. If Trayvon was the great kid everyone says is he was, he wouldn’t want his good name anywhere near that kind of thing. Is this justice?
  • The New Black Panther Party put a hit out on George Zimmerman with a reward for $10,000. Dead or alive. I have heard the reward is over 35k now and the goal is for $1 million. The leader of the New Black Panther Party has also said that according to “street people’s law” George has already been charged with murder. I wonder if “street people’s law” will give him a trial by jury or will they go straight to the execution. Is this justice?

This is not justice. This is not the country we are supposed to be. Our country was founded on laws and principles of actual rights that are written down in the Constitution; including the right to a trial by jury and due process under the law, and like it or not, in this country we are innocent until proven guilty.

Let’s look at two different scenarios. First, pretend that George is found guilty in a court of law and executed according to Florida statute. Second, George is dragged out of his home in the dead of night and lynched by a mob. Does it stand to reason that because the end result for George is the same, that the two different scenarios are equal? No, of course not. Ends do not justify the means. I would argue quite the opposite. Ends do not justify the means, but means do justify the ends.

Our justice system is imperfect. It’s true. Being human, there is no way for any person or government to execute perfect justice. But the imperfection we have is not the kind where innocent people are routinely jailed or executed, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Sometimes killers get off and sometimes the guilty go unpunished. But I would rather live in a country where 100 guilty men go free than where one innocent man doesn’t. It’s not a perfect system by any means, but it is the most perfect we have and I argue that it’s the most perfect system possible.

I can’t know for sure why the political elites and talking heads are treating this case they way that they are, but I have my theories.

Where is the outcry over the hate speech? Sarah Palin is blamed for the Gabrielle Gifford shooting because she used the word “target” and yet “let’s go smash this n***”, “let’s turn up the heat on his ***** ***” and “#DEAD” are perfectly ok? Why aren’t we hearing about how calling for vigilanteism isn’t the American way? Why is it, that our president can get up and condemn Rush Limbaugh for one stupid comment but can’t seem to condemn the New Black Panther party for putting a bounty on George Zimmerman’s head or Spike Lee for causing an innocent couple to flee their homes in fear for their lives? Instead our president got up and spoke about how Trayvon could have been his own son, then he asked us to look inside ourselves and see what part we had in Trayvon’s death. I can honestly say I had nothing to do with his death. I also have nothing to do with the riots and retweeting and threatening that came shortly thereafter.

Why this case? Why this shooting? Did you know that there 49 people gunned down on St. Patrick’s day weekend in Chicago? Ten of those 49 were killed. 10 people killed in one city during one weekend, including a six year old little girl caught in the crossfire of a gang war. Why aren’t we hearing about her? Five of those 49 people were shot in within one hour. Why aren’t we hearing about how dangerous Chicago is?

I believe in addition to encouraging chaos and sowing seeds of discrimination and hate in an election year, the reason why we are hearing all about Trayvon and nothing about Aliyah is because Florida has a “stand your ground” law and Illinois, along with DC, has the strictest gun control laws in the country. It doesn’t take much of an imagination to guess what the gun grabbers are saying about Florida’s gun laws; however a string of 49 shootings in one city during one weekend in the only state in the country where concealed or open carry is entirely prohibited just doesn’t fit the narrative. Don’t believe me? Let’s just wait and see how this plays out. In the coming weeks and months you will see exactly what they will use Trayvon’s murder for.

Trayvon Martin’s death is a tragedy, if he was shot in cold blood than Zimmerman should be punished to the full extent of the law, but please don’t let yourself be manipulated. The truth has no agenda and should be told regardless of how well it fits the story line.

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Megan B says:

    The whole thing is a complete mess.

    Like

  2. Courtney says:

    Thanks for the soapbox- I agree with everything you’ve said. Some crazy things are going to snowball because of this- our president needs to keep out of this.

    Like

  3. Heather B says:

    I agree. Well written post!

    Like

  4. Cari says:

    I completely agree- I was listening to the coverage on npr and thinking- these people have very little facts- they are making a conclusion based on the family’s testimony, and they were extremely upset when information about his troubled teen behavior was leaked out. Let’s wait for the facts before jumping to conclusions people. I think there’s more public outrage in this case then there has been in the Afghanstan murders…

    Like

  5. maine mom says:

    Right on Courtney! Where are the facts to this murder case??? What is going on is very scary!

    Like

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