I’m sure that you have heard about the tragic death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford Florida. I completely understand the outrage. We live in a country that has a very scarred racial past. Even though we have made great strides in racial conciliation over the years, we still have a long way to go. So I know when a white person shoots and kills an unarmed African American teenager and then the white person is not arrested that there is going to be public outrage. And that’s ok. Public debate is part of what makes this country great.
But what about when that outrage leads to a call for vigilante justice? The New Black Panther Party leader, Hashim Nzinga, recently offered a $10,000 bounty to the person who captured George Zimmerman, the man who allegedly shot Trayvon. (Bounties are not a good thing. Ask the New Orleans Saints and their fans if you don’t believe me.)This is completely unnecessary and will only lead to more problems. It’s a very irresponsible “call to action” . Mr Nzinga was recently arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm. I expect that type of conduct from a person like Mr. Nzinga; someone who is trying to gain publicity for his New Black Panther Partry. (I preferred the “old” Black Panther Party by the way). But what’s Spike Lee’s excuse?
Mr. Lee is one of my favorite director/activists despite the fact he is also a New York Knick fan. Recently, Mr. Lee tweeted out what he thought was the address for Trayvon’s alleged killer, Mr. Zimmerman. Many people and the media descended upon this address. The problem? It was the wrong address. The home belonged to an elderly couple who had no connection with George Zimmerman.
To his credit, Mr. Lee quickly called the elderly couple and profusely apologized. The couple said his apology was sincere. But, what was Mr. Lee’s intention when he tweeted out that address? Did he simply wish to make Mr. Zimmerman feel uncomfortable? What if one of the “bounty hunters” seeking the New Black Panther Party’s $10,000 went to the home seeking to “capture” Mr. Zimmerman only to cause harm to the elderly couple?
I’m not African American but I do understand how racial injustice works. I also know that our country is not the same as it was 40 years ago. We have an African American president as well as an African American United States Attorney General. African Americans are in other high political positions throughout our country as well. If the facts and evidence show that Mr. Zimmerman killed Trayvon without justification, he will be prosecuted to the furthest extent of the law.
This is not a time for “mob rule”. Cooler heads need to prevail and let the justice system work. The old saying “two wrongs don’t make a right” has never been more true.