Lessons From Trayvon Martin Tragedy

Matthew Dowd

By Matthew Dowd

Mar 26, 2012 6:00am

The tragic death of Trayvon Martin and the media focus on it this past week have shown us a few things important to notice:

1. There are still stories out there and news to be discovered and sometimes the media misses it until some citizens speak up and get noticed. Never assume folks in the media already know everything.

2. The response to this tragedy has touched something deeper in our country. We are not past the race wounds on all sides, and folks in society still feel left out and uncared for at so many levels. We know Trayvon’s name but we still don’t know the names of the young children who die every day in Detroit, or Cleveland, or Los Angeles, or New York, or small towns in America from violence or even hunger.

3. There are still “leaders” out there on all sides who are willing to take advantage of a tragedy to make emotionally or racially charged statements and incite folks when real leadership should be measured and calming, as the president showed this week. Whether it is Al Sharpton, or Jesse Jackson, or Newt Gingrich’s irresponsible remarks. This isn’t a War on Blacks — it was the actions of one likely mentally disturbed man.

4. The good news is the renewed focus on laws on the books in many states that encourage gun ownership and violent reactions in self-defense. I am amazed that the same folks who pass these laws are the same ones who want prayer in schools and say we are a Christian nation. Guess they forgot about turning the other cheek and loving your enemies.

5. I hope we see this as an opportunity to come together instead of split apart, and really find out the truth, and allow justice to be served, and maybe get to the point where forgiveness can flower. Forgiveness will start in the search for the truth, as Desmond Tutu has very well pointed out. I hope compassion and love is the end point of all this and not hate or anger. As Nelson Mandela has said, hate or anger is a poison we swallow thinking we are hurting the other person.

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