How many more people have to die before we stop?
The pain is etched on the faces of Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton.
Pain no parents should ever have to suffer.
Pain no one’s parents or friends or loved ones or fellow travelers should ever have to contend with at the hands of intolerance, bigotry and ignorance.
The truth is I’m heartsick and angry and haunted by the senselessness of this young man’s death. And for what? Why does a young 17-year-old with nothing but promise ahead of him have to die? What was so overwhelmingly fearful other than a perception of “otherness” that caused George Zimmerman to pull the trigger and snuff out this boy’s life?
And there’s the rub.
Trayvon Martin is a drop in the bucket of our daily diet of ridiculous death. Just since his death on February 26th, we’ve lived through a free-for-all of senseless violence. And if not for the color of someone’s skin or the shape of their hoodie, than for their religion or ethnicity or sexual orientation or gender or tribal allegiance or gang membership …. and the list goes on and on and on: our collective demonization of “otherness.”
Here in America, it is in our daily diet of vitriol.
And yet it doesn’t stop here. Three days ago in France, a man opened fire in front of a Jewish school in Toulouse killing a religious teacher and three children, and leaving a 17-year-old boy in serious condition.
And today, if we comb the world’s papers we will find other instances of horror.
We will find that women have been killed for so-called “honor.” We’ll learn that young men in Iraq have been tortured to death for wearing “emo” clothing.
The question is can we rise above our fears to say enough?
Can each of us rise up and shout down hatred and bigotry long enough to have it mean something?
I’d really had the hope that the long 20th Century of war upon war upon war would somehow liberate us enough to enter a period of tolerance.
Apparently I was wrong.
All that is truly left us is our ability to shout E-N-O-U-G-H.