July 15, 2013

Guns and stupidity cannot cohabit

Although I am not shocked, I am saddened by the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. Accused of stalking and shooting Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old black youth who was visiting his father, on Saturday, July 13, 2013, a jury found Zimmerman not guilty.

My sadness comes from the fact that guns and stupidity cannot cohabit. That's right. A country that enables any and all persons to arm themselves and "stand their ground" as Florida law allows, will continue to have tragic outcomes.

I fully believe that as a neighborhood watch captain, Zimmerman racially profiled Martin and when the 911 operator told him not to follow the suspect, tapes have clearly shown that he disregarded the request. These two incidents, combined with the fact that Zimmerman was driving around with a gun in his pocket led to Martin's death.

We will never know what occurred during the direct confrontation between Zimmerman and Martin and because of that fact, a jury was forced to acquit the man on trial for a youth's untimely and tragic death. However, the world cannot excuse Zimmerman's stupidity.

Zimmerman's racist behavior combined with extremist views that guns are needed in order to protect oneself point to a society that is building itself on fear and hatred. If we look at the world with suspicious eyes, we won't be able to see the good when it arrives. And that adds to my sadness.

As the author of the Experience Optimism blog, I know there is plenty of good to be seen. From something as simple as donuts that make people happy or quotes that inspire people to live up to their full potential, we have wonderful opportunities to leave a positive impact on the world.

In my opinion, guns only detract from the possibilities. Perhaps we should pick up a fishing pole instead. When we teach a kid to fish, we teach patience and wonder that one can feel throughout their life and that is a much better lesson than violence in any form. Who knows, with a little luck, that slower, less suspicious pace will leave the space we need to be happy and to just get along.

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