Saturday, March 24, 2012

L'esprit des lois

The killing of Trayvon Martin by a vigilante leaves the United States yet again in shock. Why?
Lately, in Europe and in the United States, we have overdosed on war casualities, random killings, hate crimes, and bullying, but this particular case strikes a cord, unlike any other almost. I wouldn't dare to comment on circumstance or motive, which remain obscure. Any premature judgement would be inappropriate.
This tragedy is special because of multiple reasons. The victim looks "straight at you" and stares at the camera as if it were the sunrise. The killing is certainly in part the result of the saturation which is fed by a real gun culture in many parts of the United States. Besides it lays bare the fact that opposite camps with regard to the interpretation of the Second Amendment of the American constitution remain as infexible as never before. How the right, Tea Party, evangelicals, etc. reconcile a culture of agression with a supposedly Christian agenda remains a mystery to me. The National Rifle Association is a state within the State. Last but not least, the ugly face of racism cannot be ignored. Certain comments were dispicable, independently of what will come out of the inquest.
There is the letter of the law of the land and there is the spirit. We witness yet again the fight between those who adhere to the notion of interpretation (ruling from the bench) and those who adhere to the letter of the constitution.
A Fox News contributor, Geraldo Rivera, insinuated that Trayvon's dresscode (a hoodie) helped to cause his own death. Does he imply that the majority of youngsters in the United States risk their lives if they wear sportsclothes and happen to stand in the way of the likes of Mr. George Zimmerman, a community watch volunteer, whose "credentials" need to be certified?
I realize that many recent events here and elsewhere have had a lethal effect on the beliefs of the majority of law-obiding citizens here and elsewhere. This tragedy cannot yet be directly linked to any verifiable motive: homophobia, political agenda, terrorism and so on. It makes this killing all the more out of the ordinary.
One should be cautious when emotions are raw. One should also consider the sad procession of lonely victims who just happen to be in the wrong place: Tyler Clementi, Matthew Shepard, the honor (how ironic) murders in Islamic countries. President Obama used the right words but behind the rhetoric there has to be a will to suit the action to the word. I still believe in the pertinence of the workings of the American institutions. It would be unwise to rush to judgement, especially in a case which lays bare a fundamental divide in this country over the right to bare arms.
Trayvon Martin will become the face of a cause. Let us not add insult, by prejudging, to grief. As in his too-short life he deserves respect now that he is gone. How does one miss so much total strangers? They take our emotion with them in their shroud.
Good night,sweet Prince !

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