Trayvon Martin, One More Among So Many Black Men Killed in My Lifetime

I deliberately watched none of the Zimmerman trial, just as I have deliberately not read a draft of a new book by Jen Marlowe and others, soon to be published: I Am Troy Davis, about a young black man in Georgia who was, by all indications, innocent of any crime – but was put to death recently by the state. News of these deaths, of Troy, of Trayvon, is so painful that I protect myself in this way.


So many killings of black men in my lifetime. The physical shock is astounding.

I write this, remembering that when Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated in 1968, the shock to my system was so severe I lost the child I was carrying. This shock, this assault on the psyche and body, is what is intended.

That, too, is painful, though we may feel glad not to be, ourselves, so cruel and sadistic. I feel the grief of all people who love fairness and justice coursing through my body, deep into my soul. We are united in our suffering. Being aware of this helps.

Contemplating Zimmerman's exoneration for the shooting death ofTrayvon Martin in a letter to a friend yesterday, I wrote this, with a few thoughts added today:

Just heard the Zimmerman verdict. It makes me think of the man given the "pleasure" of assassinating Che Guevara. He was young, and it was his birthday. He was strutting and proud to be offered this "work", as Che stood bleeding, weakened and alone, before him.

Fast forward to recently, when the assassin became old and ill and needed surgery – and Cuban doctors (who loved Che Guevara) did their best to heal him.

The ache of realization, of what he has done, when it comes for Zimmerman, will be all the punishment he will ever deserve. I remember now, with understanding, that our parents used to say, about things they regretted they had done and that they got away with: "I'd rather take a whipping …"

Zimmerman will wish many times in his life that they had given him 100 years.

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