7/22/2013 4:04:00 PM Publisher's Column
America is better
than the Martin murder
makes it look
Most of the mail we get at our Byron Post Office box is envelopes containing subscription renewals from our readers, but I knew immediately that the letter I picked up last Thursday wasn't one of those. It was addressed "Attn: Larry Dumbson." I knew this one was going to be interesting. Normally, we don't run unsigned letters to the editor, but this one deserves sharing for several reasons-not the least of which is that it gave me the best belly buster laugh I'd had all week, and a good laugh should be shared.
The letter contained copies of my editorials, of July 9/10 and July 16/17 in the Byron Review and Star Herald, which had been torn from the newspapers and crumpled up. The letter itself, handwritten and unsigned, read, "These articles, crumpled and jagged, represent the state of your mind when you call our laws unjust. You chicken shit liberals are the ones who stand up for being sure everyone is protected by the law, while breaking them yourselves if it is convenient for your views. To call our laws unjust is from such a sick, hypocritical mind.
It's obvious you did not follow the trial and what was shown. If Zimmerman was black, Martin was white, you would be writing that way.
I'm sick of your liberal views in your communist-inspired editorials. I will cancel my subscription.
I hope you grow up to be an adult and leave your childhood behind someday-"
Actually, I did follow the trial and was struck by the testimony George Zimmerman gave in his recorded conversations with police. He said he was following Martin in his car, then got out of his car and followed him on foot, was confronted by Martin, who asked why he was following him, didn't answer Martin's question, reached for his cell phone, and Martin attacked him.
Martin, who was doing nothing wrong, found himself being followed in the dark of night by someone in a car, who then got out of his car and began following him on foot. When he confronted this stranger and asked why he was following, rather than answer the question, the stalking stranger reached into his pocket. Martin responded by jumping Zimmerman and beating him up.
If both men had been white or black, and if the one who had been followed had a gun, he would have been justified in shooting the stalker under the "stand your ground" law. However, Martin had no weapon. When he attempted to defend himself against a realistically perceived threat on his life, Zimmerman had the opportunity to draw his gun and shoot Martin.
Black or white, Martin was doing nothing wrong.
Black or white, Zimmerman initiated the incident and killed an innocent young man.
The essential facts in this case are that George Zimmerman killed an innocent young man, and Florida law provides no penalty for that homicide.
Our correspondent is correct that, if Zimmerman was black and Martin white, I would write it that way. But that wouldn't change my opinion, that the person with the gun precipitated the incident by stalking an innocent person, that any legal system that allows such a killing without punishment is unjust.
All parents deserve to feel their children are safe on American streets. Black parents cannot, as this case demonstrates. We are better than this, and our laws must reflect that we are.
As for my "communist-inspired editorials," I don't belong in such exalted company. If the writer recalls, Jesus and the early Christians were the first communists, preaching "love your neighbor," "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs," and living in communes. This must be the communist inspiration to which our correspondent refers, but I don't deserve such credit.