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Commentary :: Education
Waiting to React to Pretend We're Ahead
31 Mar 2012
It's sad to see people go through situations like the Trayvon Martin case. As the information about what happened seems to flow out at a drip with something new every day, one can only imagine what Trayvon Martin's parents are going through. Whatever the case, what's happening seems of little consolation for his parents. Whether it's racism or not isn't fully known, whether pictures were taken of George Zimmerman's face that has no appearance of a broken nose from monitors in the police station, whether a medical report from the crime scene confirms the injuries Zimmerman complains of or whether Zimmerman was just a fearful wannabe spotting an easy target, we don't know. But we know Martin's parents' hearts have not been helped by most media reports. Instead, it seems each piece of information could not have been crafted better to feel like sandpaper to their already open sores - not that they have been purposely crafted of course.
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It feels as if their son's case has received some kind of discrimination - at least up until this point with the information available right now. That's sad. It's suspect even the police chief in charge of the case resigned temporarily.

The fact no blood can be seen on the front of a shirt of a person claiming to be a victim, Zimmerman, saying he suffered a broken nose, or that there is no blood visible on the back of a windbreaker of a supposed victim that required stitches to the back of the head, seems odd. It's possible I suppose, maybe - I'm no medical expert, but my favorite sports to watch of all, as were my father's when I was growing up and even my mother enjoyed watching sometimes, were sports like boxing, kickboxing, MMA, etc. People that watch those sports see such injuries all the time, and if you never have, I can tell you it takes a full minute of the best cut men in America to stop a broken nose from bleeding and it's only temporary. There is often a certain look to a broken nose also.

But we haven't seen any close up investigatory pictures of the shooter, Zimmerman, after the incident to prove he was the victim of an attack as would be standard in the case of an attack - any attack - especially one that had to be met with lethal force or a medical report from the crime scene, at least not yet. Adding to the suspiciousness is the fact Zimmerman got out of his car as though he were an officer of the law to follow the person he said was threatening looking. The dispatcher told him not to - specifically told him to stay in the car. If the kid was so threatening and scary that one would need to use a gun why would a person get out of their car to follow him if they're not a police officer, the police are on the way and the police just specifically said not to follow?

Further, Zimmerman, the person claiming to have been the one aggressed against, when describing a kid he didn't know, knew nothing about and didn't even know whether or not the person had done something illegal or not, referred to Martin in the 911 call he made as an a**hole and said, "these a**holes, they always get away." ( So Zimmerman pegged this kid as a bad person that had done something to "get away" with from the beginning. He said that. Up until that point the only thing Martin had done was look in a way that was scary to Zimmerman - he didn't try to - he made Zimmerman feel scared and had not done a thing to him or anyone else so far as Zimmerman knew.

That can't be comforting to Martin's parents. Knowing that Zimmerman obviously had it out for Martin, sounded like he was itching for a fight, sounded like he wished to try and act the hero, stalked Martin when he was told to stay in the car by police and then called him an a**hole before even setting out after him makes the whole thing look shady. Really the 911 call makes Zimmerman seem just as much a threat, if not more so, than the person he describes walking around the neighborhood. Maybe the reason Martin ran is because he got a good look at Zimmerman. Maybe Martin was just some jumpy teen that watched too many scary movies and Zimmerman looked just as scary to him as Martin obviously looked to Zimmerman - a person that probably also watched too many movies that scared him.

Either way, it is a really sad case for the parents of Martin, and as it looks right now he was harassed without provocation, and as such I can relate. When I was a student at the University of Connecticut's Landscape Architecture Department I was targeted for harassment due to outward appearances and preconceived notions people that didn't know me fabricated of me. My harassers had taken on the notion I was some radical fundamental Islamist terrorist and that they needed to get me out of the program. (I was a Buddhist that didn't go to any temple or even mediate regularly - not that they ever asked.)

This included a couple of whacky professors. One professor in particular targeted me for such harassment and recruited a small group of my fellow classmates to participate in harassing me. He needed more help at times and to ensure I got little support and was isolated, he would influence those that either wished to stay out of it or neutral or that sympathized with me by harassing them or having their grades drop or some combination.

However, this occurred over the course of three years, and, though I was physically harassed a few times, I was never immediately threatened in terms of having my life taken like with a gun pulled on me etc. My harassers were afraid of being caught and tried to do it subtly. So to extricate me from the program, which was the desired result, they decided to harass me in subtle ways - the kind which can be difficult to prove - over the course of time. The intention was to get me to quit due to the stress, flunk due to my grades dropping because of the stress or to get kicked out by my reacting to the pressure from the harassment emotionally like out of anger, for example.

They employed little strategies as time went on to make me feel as if I had gotten cheated, but couldn't prove it on certain assignments, etc. The idea was to make me feel discouraged, lonely, bitter, jealous, angered, humiliated, burned and so on. I committed to staying period - I didn't know if I could, but I committed to keep going through the desert even after I ran out of water if I had to crawl inch by inch to the goal - that letter - that diploma. As time went on I observed some of the strategies and tactics meant to make me feel any or all or some combinations of the targeted emotions I listed previously.

One of the tactics, when I was not reacting the way they had hoped and they couldn't figure me out, was to try and read my reactions and immediately start talking as if that's the emotion they were going for. They would just kind of let things progress here and let little bits and pieces of how they wanted things to go originally to gauge my reaction so they could react next often saying "that's how we wanted it to go. Great!!" Or something to the effect.

What was sad was how it distracted so from the class and really getting things done there. It was so sad that certain folks' zealotry, paranoia, fear and desire to control the group led to such a painful focus away the real subject so often. In fact, though it was not my fault as I did not initiate it but merely tried to survive it, I have often felt guilty that my classmates had to endure so much due to that instigating professor and certain others in positions of authority and their desires to force so many to focus on what meant so little, leaving futures lost and marred as a result of the corrupted education.

Harassment is never good and though I was harassed I finished and graduated. Whatever the system does to Trayvon Martin's parent, whether it helps them to find justice and heal or leaves them with scarring and a worse hole in their hearts, they can never get Trayvon back. That is sad.

What is also sad is the wedge certain loudmouths are trying to utilize this case for - that being to drive a wedge between the black community and the Latino community in general in America. This is not a time to stand apart; it's a time for people to come together. This is especially true of people that have had to suffer in common. Listen to the 911 tape and ask yourself if you really think that had Zimmerman seen a young Latino teen in a hoody that to him reminded him of those scary movies, would he have reacted differently?

Maybe, but his reaction on that 911 tape speaks to a man that lived his life in fear, and to try and stand up to the monsters in his own mind he joined the neighborhood watch where people of like minds (not all, like in crime ridden neighborhoods, but certain of them esp. where there's hardly any crime) often congregate to try and feel more secure in numbers. "Chuck Norris would stand up them" they think, and they wish they were Chuck Norris, but of course they're not. Fearful people that want to kill the monsters they see that they project onto specific people outside of themselves, but those are monsters that really live inside their own minds and cowardly hearts.

To read about my inspiration for this article go to
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