Just like you, I was not there at the awful moment that a 29 year old took the life of a 17 year old. I don't know for certain how the confrontation began, I don't know how it escalated and I don't know exactly what was going through Zimmerman's mind when he pulled the trigger.
Normally in times like this, I lament on the tragedy, say some prayers and hope for healing where its needed. But something, other than the constant media onslaught, kept needling me. I listened to Zimmerman's call to 911, I read testimonies from trial and biased opinions on both sides... but something, something, something was on the edge of this trial that was giving me the most disturbing itch and I couldn't quite find where to scratch.
And then I allowed myself to listen again to the 911 call where you actually heard the shot. I listened to it when it was first released and got so sick I couldn't sleep or eat or think straight for a while. It is soul jarring to hear screams for help and then more so to hear the gun shot that definitively took a life.
But it was upon listening to this awful moment again and many other 911 calls made just after the shot that I realized what had been bothering me.
Someone cried for help. No one came.
People keep asking would it have been different if Zimmerman listened to the advice of the police, or if Martin just ran home, or if Martin wasn't black or wearing a hoodie, or...
But what I wonder, is would it have been different if just one person, upon hearing a scream for help, yelled something back. In any scenario I can think of, just a simple call from a window may've changed the outcome.
If Zimmerman was the aggressor and Martin was screaming and a witness offered help, wouldn't he have wanted to seem like a hero? 'I've got the perp,' I could hear him calling. If Zimmerman were screaming and being attacked but knew that someone was there with a flashlight and a phone, wouldn't he have had no excuse then to pull his gun? And if Martin were attacking and knew there were someone else coming, wouldn't he have just run away?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not shifting blame from Zimmerman nor am I saying I would encourage anyone to go charging into the blackness into the middle of a fight... And I'm definitely not saying they shouldn't have called 911.
But of all the people that heard screams for help, no one investigated? Not one person called out the window, "Hey, everyone ok?" or "What's going on?" Not one person shined a flashlight to let the fighters know that someone was watching... that someone was there?
And why is no one talking about that? If it was a woman or a small child screaming... surely someone would have done something? At least called out conspicuously from a window??
Again, I'm not judging... I'm sure I would've done the same thing and wanted to hide with my phone... but the whole time I would be cursing the fear that paralyzed me from doing more... and I would have been cursing my husband who I couldn't have stopped in a million years from 'just checking it out.'
I linked already to an Archie Andrews story that talks about the greatest enemy and obstacle to God is fear. And I feel like every part of this tragedy solidifies that point.
It was fear that caused Zimmerman to follow Martin in the first place. It may have been fear that caused Martin to "act suspiciously." It was fear that Martin was 'carrying' that probably made Zimmerman take his gun with him to investigate. It was likely fear that made Martin hurt Zimmerman and it was likely fear that made Zimmerman shoot Martin.
And all the while, fear kept scores of people shut in their houses, quiet and waiting while a tragedy took place outside their windows.
And now, fear is getting front page press and encouragement... because what is racism if not fear?
Some people say that the opposite of fear is courage. But I've been taught that the opposite of fear is love. If any of those people thought that it was their loved one in danger... they would've rushed out. What if we really tried to see other humans... all of them, as potential loved ones.
If we truly let love in, like God begs us to over and over through Jesus' words, we could see each other as brothers, sisters, equals on a journey that none of us really understand.
Not a huge fan of the song... but the lyrics from 'Where is the Love' keep playing in my head... so I'll leave you with this,
Madness is what you demonstrate
And that's exactly how anger works and operates
Man, you gotta have love just to set it straight
Take control of your mind and meditate
Let your soul gravitate to the love, y'all, y'all
Wrong information always shown by the media
Negative images is the main criteria
Infecting the young minds faster than bacteria
Where is the love...
thanks for reading,