Like everyone else in the country, I have been riveted by the story of Trayvon Martin, the beautiful young boy who went out for some Skittles and an iced tea and never came home again. It is particularly poignant for me because it comes months after the murder of a young member of my family, my cousin Al. Al was only two years older than Trayvon. Unlike Trayvon, Al did not go out to buy Skittles. He went out to buy drugs. Unlike Trayvon, Al was white. So unlike in the case of Trayvon, Al’s shooter, who was black, was arrested two days after the murder.
I don’t blame Al for his murder, even though he was involved in an illegal transaction. The murderer had a grudge against him and would have used a bag of Skittles to lure him in if he could have. I don’t feel sorry for Al’s murderer. He is a person who saw murder as a defensible solution to an interpersonal problem, which makes him a menace to society. I want justice for my cousin. I think that’s the least he deserves.
I also want justice for Trayvon. I think that’s the least he deserves, too.
I have no idea what Trayvon’s parents are feeling, but on some level, I know what murder can do to a family. Murder turns the universe into a malevolent place. Murder is not just a sudden, horrible death, it's a personal, sudden, horrible death. Murder is intentionally cruel. Murder rips your heart out.
It’s horrible when someone hated a person you love enough to consider that person not worthy of life. What must it be like when the murderer considered your loved one not worthy to live not because of who they were, but what they represented? Murder turns the universe into a malevolent place when it’s caused by something, no matter how trivial or unworthy of blame, the victim did. Even more does murder turn the universe into a malevolent place when it’s because of who the victim was.
I look at Trayvon’s picture and I almost can’t breathe. There is at least hope for justice for my cousin, although he deserved so much more. He deserved to live out his life. Where is the hope for justice for Trayvon? He deserved to live out his life, too.