Respect for Trayvon Martin

This is the story of a man selling a gun. That man’s name is George Zimmerman and the gun is the one with which he fatally shot Trayvon Martin. A lot of people have opinions on whether Zimmerman was justified in killing Trayvon Martin. Some believe it was racially motivated and amounted to murder, others think that it was a case of self-defence and totally justified. I imagine there are plenty of other opinions on the case that fall somewhere in between. We’ll never know exactly what happened that night because Trayvon Martin is dead and no one can tell us his story. But when it comes to Zimmerman selling his gun, I don’t think any of these opinions matters at all. Whether he was right or wrong, he made a choice and he killed a young man, and nothing can change that. What we can change is how we deal with the aftermath.

Life is beautiful. Life deserves respect. Two statement with which I hope most of us would agree. Life is incredible in its complexity, from single celled organisms, to butterflies, to elephants, to human beings, and everything in between. Life is also precious and fragile. We as human beings get the unbelievable opportunity to see and know the splendour of life in all it’s variety. And we share the power to preserve or to destroy that beauty.

I’m not a pacifist. If attacked I will defend myself and I believe that sometimes killing is justified. Life is difficult and sometimes there are hard choices to be made. We all must live with the consequences of those choices, right or wrong. But at the heart of it should always be that life deserves respect.

A man is selling a gun. He is leveraging the notoriety of his case and attempting to profit off a young man’s life. Trayvon Martin was a human being with all the greatness and all the flaws inherent in us all. Whether his killing was justified or not is irrelevant. All life deserves our respect, including Trayvon Martin’s. Selling this artifact on the basis of a life lost is undignified and disgraceful. He calls it a piece of American history, and maybe it is, but it is not one on which we should look with pride but with regret.