This week, we highlighted the recent campus peace march in honor of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old whose death has caused major controversy all over the nation.
As a board, we are conflicted about the case. Our feelings come from not knowing the details surrounding Martin’s death, and we freely admit that we do not know.
But this got us thinking: very few people know what happened. There are so many passionate responses about his death, especially in responses that call for George Zimmerman to be charged.
Even so, very few people know what happened that night, which makes the controversy surrounding the case so disconcerting to us.
Because we know so little, it’s difficult for us to have an informed opinion. We realize how tragic it is for someone die young, especially at the hands of another human being, but this doesn’t give us an excuse to have an uninformed opinion. Uninformed opinions do more harm than good, and in some cases, uninformed opinions can be dangerous.
We have made observations about the reactions to Martin’s death, and this is something we are sure of: our nation still has problems we thought were gone. Racism is not a thing of the past. Racism is still present, and this case has brought that issue back into the spotlight.
But the racism we’ve seen is in the reaction. Almost immediately after news spread about Martin’s death, people claimed the shooting to be racially motivated. Zimmerman has been called a racist because he, a white man, shot a black teenager.
The only thing we can agree on is that the circumstances surrounding Martin’s shooting are still not clear, and they won’t be clear for some time. Experts have given their opinions on evidence presented thus far. For example, the video just released of Zimmerman shortly after the shooting neither proves nor disproves his claim that he shot Martin in self defense.
This vision is unique in the fact that we do not have a definitive response to this situation. None of us know enough about the case to make a fair judgment or a decision.
We don’t know if there is a lesson from all of this. Perhaps the only thing we can take away at this point in time is that the justice system is in place for a reason. It is in place especially for situations like this, when people want to punish Zimmerman even when the facts aren’t clear. The justice system should be allowed to do its job, even if it takes some time.
We are cautious to jump to conclusions about what happened that evening, and we sincerely hope further investigation will reveal the truth about what happened that night.