“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and love and of sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Fear: a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain etc. whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.
The same emotion that moves us to protect our loved ones can also lead us to hurt others. It can make us look at each other with apprehension and distrust for absolutely no reason at all. It can drive a rational person to irrational acts.
We will never know what was going through the mind of George Zimmerman the night of February 26, 2012. We can imagine, we even have gut feelings, but we will never know. We will never know the personal demons that propelled him to follow a teenager, confront him, and then shoot him to death. Published reports state he is adamant that he acted in self-defense. What is not clear is from what he was defending himself, especially if he felt secure enough to begin a pursuit.
We will never know what was going through the mind of Trayvon Martin the night of February 26, 2012. We can imagine, we even have gut feelings, but we will never know. We will never know what he saw in the eyes of the man who confronted him. We don’t know if he even felt he could converse with the imposing person in front of him or if he suspected, at first, that he was in imminent danger. The recorded 911 calls, however, highlight what we do know – a shot rang out and a young life was cut short.
I will let politicians and media expound on the racial overtones of this matter. One would have to be either oblivious or in denial to not realize that racial profiling played a part in this tragedy. Instead, I am saddened by how much fear had its role. Trayvon Martin’s fear is not hard to understand; being followed, confronted and having a gun flashed before you would scare the most hardened person, let alone a child. It is the fear that George Zimmerman felt, the imagined threats that prompted him make dozens of “false alarm” calls in the months preceding the shooting, the rage that moved him to question the civil liberty of an individual he felt didn’t belong in his area, the twist in perception that turned a can of Arizona tea and a pack of Skittles into weapons that warranted the use of deadly force that saddens me. I am saddened that a man was so filled with fear that it overshadowed his rational thought processes; making him seek justice for a crime that was not being committed.
Fear and a rush to judgment have changed the lives of two families forever. If justice actually prevails, it will still feel hollow because two parents were robbed of the experience of seeing their child reach his full potential. There will be no winners because a man’s actions will forevermore be analyzed and treated with suspicion because of his fears. Let’s do away with fear and walk in the way God wants us to: in power, love and sound mind.