Last night I was shocked to hear that Zimmerman went free. I don’t get it.

I am discouraged, and question how much conscience has left some of our fellow Americans.

…but clearly not all.

I can’t imagine what the parents of Trayvon Martin are going through. I can only say that I am very sorry that our judicial system let them down. TRAVON'S MOM AND DAD

And once again I feel our country is divided. Facebook posts making jokes about not going out today in fear of getting jumped by angry black people…how good the justice system is.  Black and white statements (pun intended) like –  “He was tried and set free and that’s that.”

Feeling a bit lost for words, I heard a beautiful sad melody this morning that I did not recognize, though I easily recognized the voice.

As I listened, and watched the video, I started to cry, but my heart was full of love for those of us who care. And it also makes me proud to be a musician. This song is, in a word – brilliant.

Please watch this song/video “Stand Your Ground” by Arlan Feiles.

(On a side note – I am sad that The Recording Academy put in committees to take the democracy away from independent musicians…like Arlan. I would have loved to see him submit to Americana this year, and have the members decide, rather than a group of “I know betters”.)

Continuing my frustration with injustice, I’d like to share one more story I just read from a friend of mine, Thomas Hutchings. He grew up in the burbs of Idaho. He is biracial. And a wonderful musician. (Another side note. We will be performing together in Boise on August 3rd.)

This was part of his post this morning on facebook:

Ellison’s Invisible Man came to mind after finding out the Zimmerman verdict this morning.

“I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids — and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination — indeed, everything and anything except me.” – Ralph Ellison

There’s a lot of racial anger out there that I think can be overcome with some intelligent civil discourse, so lets focus on that positive conversation. 

After years of being called by racial slurs, followed around by security in stores and surprisingly seeing women clutch their belongings for dear life sometimes when I step onto an elevator, Ralph Ellison’s words still hold true 60 years later. I feel so sad and disappointed that anyone with teenage boys my complexion or darker has to now be even more concerned and vigilant for their safety. 

My Dad used to always make sure me and my brothers were home before sundown and I hated it. Looking back I always thought it was ridiculous in such a small town, but now I understand he was trying his best to keep us safe; Even if it meant he had to kick our asses to protect us from something we couldn’t understand at the time out of love.

Thomas is one of the kindest gentlest souls I have ever met….I wonder what Treyvon would have grown up to be?


2 Responses to “A SAD DAY IN AMERICA”

  1. July 14, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    At the end of the day, the Jury did not have sufficient evidence to convict George Zimmerman of Murder. We do not convict on a hunch or because someone may seem guilty, as much as we may not like the verdict. The Prosecution has to prove that the accussed is GUILTY: BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT. In this country our justice system is predicated on the idea that it is better that one hundred guilty men go free than one innocent man be convicted and incarcerated. I still believe that.


    1-Our Justice system is based on the premise that it is better 100 guilty men go free than one innocent man suffer the injustice of a wrongful conviction and incarceration. And I believe in that premise. Because if you are that one guy, its awful. Let me tell you, I will write about it some day, but I have been falsely charged in my own life and had to spend thousands of dollars to have charges dismissed. Even one night (36 hours) in jail is the worst thing.

    2- Conviction: To convict someone requires that prosecution prove their case against the accused BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT. There is is an element of gamesmanship in the American legal process. If you have the better legal team and the facts are circumstantial, mixed or unclear, you can be victorious if your strategy is superior to that of the prosecution. It is that simple. Try to remember, before you indict the jury in this case, juries have no choice but to render a verdict of not guilty if the case is not proven by the prosecution beyond a reasonable doubt; a gutt feeling that someone might be guilty is not sufficient.

    We cannot conclude without examining all the evidence, like the jury did presumably, what really transpired between Zimmerman and Martin, because there were many contrary interpretations of what happened. As stated by writer #RayHanania “All the ‪#‎Zimmerman‬ trial proves is there was NOT ENOUGH evidence to convict Zimmerman; death silenced one side of the truth in that story.”

    In my opinion, the verdict in the Zimmerman case is also an outgrowth of the POLICE STATE that has enveloped America Post 9/11 and the prevailing mentality that some of our citizens by virtue of their skin tone or ethnic or religious background or societal standing (poor vs. affluent or rich) are simply worth less than others.

  2. July 14, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    “1-Our Justice system is based on the premise that it is better 100 guilty men go free than one innocent man suffer the injustice of a wrongful conviction and incarceration.”

    That would, of course, be why 130 Death Row inmates have been exonerated since 1973, most after serving a large portion of their lives in prison for a crime they didn’t commit. Because our justice system is so fair and so concerned that they get things right.

    As you might guess, I take great exception to the above statement. Especially living in the nation that has the highest per capita prison population in the world and where a highly disproportionate number of those incarcerated are not of European descent. Zimmerman has some Hispanic background in his heritage, but he has a white father and since Hispanic bloodlines are either mostly or entirely European in origin, we whites generally don’t have a problem accepting them. Except for those dirty Mexicans, of course. THAT’S who we really mean when the term “Hispanic” is applied to a Latino in this country, not Central or South Americans, but those damned border-jumping Mexicans who come and steal ‘Murkin jobs and date our daughters. Georgie boy only gets it on a technicality and as smoke and mirrors so it can be made to look like he didn’t racially profile Trayvon…because then it’s not a race thing, if a non-white chases after another non-white and then murders him.

    You want to know what’s beyond a reasonable doubt? The fact that George Zimmerman was armed with a deadly weapon in contradiction of the guidelines the Neighborhood Watch program he was a part of. The fact that members of that organization are told not to confront, follow or interact in any way with a suspicious person; they are to simply report suspicious activity to the police and let them do the job they’re trained and paid to do. The fact that, by leaving his vehicle and pursuing Trayvon he created an encounter that should have never happened. And finally, the fact that by creating that encounter, he cost a 17 year old kid his life.

    Was Trayvon an angelic, do-no-wrong child? Hardly…neither was I at that age. But I never did anything that deserved death. Neither did Trayvon, yet it was dealt to him willfully and with stated malice of intent; the 911 call cleary, CLEARLY demonstrated that., as did statements he made under questioning by the police afterwards.

    When Zimmerman left his vehicle, he made himself responsible for anything that followed. Maybe, as some have suggested elsewhere, Florida law is so convoluted and vague that there really isn’t a law that they could absolutely pin him down for a conviction on. Or maybe, and being a Floridian myself for the first 65% of my 50 years, far more likely, 6 Floridian non-black women looked at Trayvon’s picture and just another scary black guy…the kind that would make them clutch their belongings close if he got on an elevator with them. Just like they would with ANY black man, because I can assure you, racism and racial profiling are rampant in Florida. I know. I lived it….and no, I’m white. But I still saw it…hell, I DID it for a lot of my life myself.

    Regardless, as I said, whether a jury convicted him of a crime by the State of Florida’s laws or not, Zimmerman made himself guilty when he left his vehicle. Trayvon’s death can be blamed on no one else, and that makes him guilty, no matter 6 fear-filled Floridian women think.

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