TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
With a broken nose, lacerations and profuse bleeding of the head, George Zimmerman realized he was losing his fight and maybe his life. Gripped in fear and alarm, he rescued himself from his opponent; a 15-year-old kid, Trayvon Martin, quite able-bodied and armed with a bag of skittles.
Although we know by whom this confrontation was ended, we’re not sure if one or both started it. There had to have been some kind of verbal provocation that quickly escalated into a physical altercation. Shrouded in darkness and rain, these fighters were mysterious to each other, fueling their anxiety and desperation.
“On duty” as a volunteering neighborhood watchman in a gated community where Trayvon Martin was staying at the time, George was on the lookout for a “suspicious character.” Travyon, hooded, unknown and in darkness seemed to look the part.
The highly-profiled and meticulous investigation of these few murky moments between George and Trayvon are well known to millions of us. The more we followed the media’s coverage of this court case, the more in- the-dark many of us felt.
With endless conjecturing and adamant opinions, there has developed a polarization of us Americans — condemning or defending George Zimmerman.
Although George is now “free to walk” as determined by the comprehensive and thorough investigation of a court of law — culminating in a verdict by a jury — just where is it that he is “free to walk?” He is a marked man and in the eyes of millions a guilty man. With the added dimension of race to the vehement condemning of George by some, it appears he has a dangerous walk.
Just where is it that he, his wife and family can go to find peace, acceptance, respect and safety? Every advisor comes forth with the same directive, “George, move away and far away.” Realistically, however, where is “away?” Invariably wherever George alights, it will be broadcast the world over. Although free to walk, he is incarcerated for life; particularly by those convinced of his guilt.
If ever there be a time and place to demonstrate from the heart forgiveness, understanding, acceptance and love — here it is!
Any punitive thoughts or actions toward George show distain and disrespect for the best of due process following the laws of our land, as well as God’s exact and ultimate justice. Destined to stand before that same scrutinization and judgment, we all need to hear, “Do not judge or you too will be judged.” [Mt. 7:1]
The Rev. John Burkhart Ph.D, is a retired Episcopal priest and professor of psychology
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