Friday, July 19, 2013

The Travon Martin Case—For Whom the Bell Tolls



     In the early morning hours of February, 2012, two weeks before Travon Martin was hunted down and  murdered in Florida, 31-year old, unarmed,  black marine, Manuel Loggins, was shot and killed in his car in front of his 9 and 14-year-old daughters by an Orange County, California, policeman who thought he was acting in a 'suspicious' and 'threatening manner'. In the face of community protests, a subsequent police report cleared the officer of wrongdoing, but the family later won a $4,400,000 civil judgment against the Department and the County.

     Travon Martin, Manuel Loggins, Kendrec McDade, Dante Price and a number of other unarmed black males were shot and killed in 2012 by the police, security guards, or vigilantes, on the average, perhaps, three or four a month. Most blacks are unaware of the numbers but are cognizant of the intolerable reality the numbers represent. Black citizens merely going about their daily business find themselves in a lunatic world in which the inmates of the asylum are armed. A black parent sends a child to the store to fetch snacks only to have him wind up dead because of the sick fantasies in his assailant’s mind.

      What to do? Joe Hill, the great labor organizer, said just before being executed for a crime he did not commit, "Don't mourn--organize." We should modify that, "Mourn Travon and the others senselessly killed--and organize". March! Become active politically! Show up in D.C. on August 28th, the 50th anniversary of The March on Washington. Support a wrongful death civil suit against George Zimmerman. Money damages will not restore Trayvon's life, but there would be a kind of justice nevertheless with  Zimmerman knowing that he is paying for his act for years and years to come.  

     The poet John Donne wrote, "…never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”  Travon Martin's parents have suffered the most direct loss. But justice denied erodes everyone's safety. Justice denied frays the bonds necessary to sustaining community. When justice is denied to anyone--the bell tolls for you.



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