We just spent the last year, or so, focused on the Trayvon Martin death and the George Zimmerman trial. I have voiced my opinion that George Zimmerman seemed to have made choices that, as a gun owner, or a neighborhood watch, I probably would not have made. As a result, he ended up in the confrontation where he felt he needed to defend his life within the bounds of Florida law. I feel the jury was correct to acquit Mr. Zimmerman, as it pertains to Florida law. What really happened that night will never be known, and we can only go by the evidence that was obtained, not by what we feel emotionally and definitely not by what fits our own political agenda. Both sides of the gun debate took their respective sides and then with the race card mixed in, it became an ugly unfortunate mess. Almost no one seemed to really look at it subjectively – no one was willing to admit that the side they favored made any mistakes. I believe that mistakes were made on both sides that lead to confusion, misrepresentation, fear (on both sides) and ultimately the death of Trayvon. I believe that either side could have stopped the escalation in that one situation, but even my opinion is just my opinion – for I only know the facts reported.
What I do know is that a great deal of people threw their political capital behind Trayvon Martin, to include the President of the United States, all the current Civil Rights leaders, many politicians, nearly everyone who has a song on the top 40 charts or a B-movie streaming on Netflix. The energy, money, television airtime, space on blogs, and merchandise promoting the image of Trayvon Martin as a polarizing symbol was a relentless tsunami, one that drowned out any other perspective, as well as many other important current news events. Trayvon’s death was tragic, but it saddens me deeply to think that so many people lined up to rage against a case where mistakes were made on both sides and the self-defense shooting was conducted within the law and without malice. I watched an interview on CNN soon after the Zimmerman trial ended, I believe it was with Anderson Cooper, but he was interviewing inner city kids in Chicago. Many of them were upset that Trayvon was getting so much attention, because people were getting murdered in their neighborhood day after day and it only made the news as a statistic (i.e. there were 43 murders over the weekend.) I wondered then, what if every single person who has spent money or time on the Trayvon Martin case instead had spent time and money toward solving the inner city gang violence that throbs through the veins of the city, always just under the surface, like a cancer – killing the young and underprivileged.
In two separate incidents this week, Christopher Lane and Delbert Belton were killed in random acts of meaningless violence. Their deaths are indicative of the type of violence that happens somewhere in our country several times a day, in one-way or another. Neither of these deaths would have been stopped by all the gun laws that Senator Diane Feinstein, Mayor Bloomberg, nor legislatures from New York, California, Colorado or Illinois could conjure in their cauldron of seething gun-grabbing nonsense.
Chris Lane was killed by three teenagers who claim to have been “bored”. He was killed with a .22 Caliber handgun, police believe it was a revolver. The World War II Veteran, Delbert Belton, was killed by two teenagers using heavy flashlights, his death was caused by blunt force trauma. Again, these two teenagers may have been looking to commit a robbery, but otherwise, killed this honorable man who fought valiantly to defend their freedom, probably before their grandparents were even born.
What I want to know is: Where is the rage now? Where are all those movie stars? Why aren’t people wearing East Central University Baseball caps or United States Marines ball caps declaring, “It could have been their son, friend, father, grandfather?”
When I think about the billions of dollars spent and the valuable time spent by lawmakers at every level of government in an attempt to infringe upon the second amendment, it sickens me when city Police Departments are basically left to take on gang related activity with meager budgets and reduced manning. Kids are born into worlds where dreams seem impossible. If all of the energy spent dividing this country on guns and race were actually focused on something we could all agree with, we might see real change.
You do not need a gun to be a thug.
Rest in Peace Christopher Lane, may your light shine on for all who knew you.
Delbert “Shorty” Belton (USMC) I salute you! You came from the greatest generation and gave more than most to our country. I can only pray that one day these young men realize what they have done and the dichotomy between their lives and yours.