Contemplating the jury's decision in the Trayvon Martin case, I reflect upon my traditional understanding of westerns.
I admire westerns, despite their racist undertones, for the values they represented. In those times, a handshake represented a contract; a man's word represented his bond; the law was fair for the gunfighter. Those were the values I grew up with.
The jury in the Martin case returned a not guilty verdict for vigilante George Zimmerman. Not one of the jurors could have been a true fan of the western, nor of the values they represented. I arrive at this conclusion because in the old West no one would have been allowed to kill an unarmed person and claim self-defense.
The rule of law says that every force can only can be met with an equal and opposite force, not an unequal force: words for words, fists for fists, knife for knife, gun for gun. But not fist for gun, as we had in this case.
The Martin kid had neither a gun nor a knife. But Zimmerman had a gun, and when he bit off more than he could chew, he escalated the issue. He should have been convicted on that fact alone.
So what have we become? We have become a society more concerned with the color of a kid's skin than the reality of the situation.
Michael L. Bell