Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Trayvon Martin Situation: Obama's Latest Opportunity To Miss An Opportunity At Leadership

Before I go any further, allow me to send out my sympathies and condolences to the Trayvon Martin family and his parents. As a father, I cannot imagine any horror worse than finding out that your child went out to the store to purchase something and ended up fatally shot before they could return home from the store. The horror, anguish, and sense of loss has to be unbearable. A totally unnecessary and tragic loss of life.

Further, I am trying and working to understand how President Obama identified with Trayvon and his loss of life. I still feel it was totally inappropriate for him to discuss the pending case and court trial prior to it’s conclusion, it was selfish and unprofessional, and his premature discussion of the incident could have endangered the court proceedings.

But I continue to try to understand the President’s anguish. This past weekend he discussed how difficult it sometimes is for African Americans, especially young African American males, to go about their lives in our society. He seemed sincere in his feelings, experiences, and words.

But this is where my sense of understanding stops. Barack Obama is the President of the entire United States, not just the African American community of the United States. I believed he missed an incredible opportunity, a historic opportunity to bring this country and its citizens together. Not because an African American youth was tragically and unnecessarily killed, but because an American youth was tragically and unnecessarily killed.

These deaths happen everyday in American. Senseless violence that do not only affect African American families, but affect every type of American family. By not including these other, non-African American deaths in his discussions, he does nothing to bridge the gap in tolerance and understanding that exists in this country today. By not including the following fatal incidents that occurred to other Americans in his thoughts, prayers, and words, he does an injustice to their deaths and their families.

These exclusions do nothing to heal the country, close the racial divide and other societal divides, and fix what are the root causes of senseless violence in this country. Additionally, by awkwardly trying to insert a political message into the Trayvon Martin situation, i.e. we need more gun control, he belittles his leadership and ignores the lives of those that have recently and unnecessarily perished:

1) Last year, a 27-year-old Georgia woman with a four-year-old daughter, Elizabeth Hutchenson, was delivering pizza as part of her job to take care of herself and her daughter. Unfortunately, and unnecessarily, she was stabbed to death while doing her job.

According to the local Georgia newspaper, the Cedartown Standard, she was stabbed about fifty times by Cadedra Cook, 18, and an unnamed 15-year-old male, both of whom were arrested for the murder. Ms. Hutchenson was Caucasian, Cook and the unnamed minor are African Americans. Why was the President silent on this senseless murder if he could be so vocal on Trayvon Martin’s senseless murder?

As a human being and fellow American, shouldn’t Ms. Hutchenson get the same attention and compassion form the President of the WHOLE United States? And while we agree that the sense of loss of Trayvon Martin’s family must be incredible, what about the sense of loss of Ms. Hutchenson’s daughter, whose mother went out to do her job and never returned, just like Trayvon? (http://godfatherpolitics.com/5616/two-black-teenagers-murder-white-woman-race-hustlers-nowhere-to-be-found/)

2) Also, late last year, 12 year old Autumn Pasquale of Clayton, New Jersey was killed, most likely over her bike, by two juvenile brothers. Autumn Pasquale was a young Caucasian girl. She was likely strangled by the two brothers, both of whom are African Americans. According to news reports from last October, both brothers were charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, tampering with evidence, improperly disposing of a body and theft. One brother was also was charged with luring.

I imagine that the anguish of Autumn Pasquale’s family was similar to that of Trayvon Martin’s family. One of their kids goes out and about the neighborhood, never to return. Talk about a senseless murder, most likely over a bike.

Where was the President’s outrage when this young American was senselessly murdered? Was it because she was not an African American kid? A President who wants to comment about these types of needless slayings has to comment on all of them if he is to be considered a President of all of us. (http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/10/autumn_pasquale_death_2_teen_b.html)

3) Consider the sad and heartbreaking tragedy of Antonio West. Antonio was thirteen MONTHS old when his mother put him in the stroller and took him outside for a walk in their town of Brunswick, Georgia. Antonio was Hispanic.

While on their walk, they were accosted by two African American teenagers who demanded money from Antonio’s mom. When she did not or could not comply with their demands, the African American teens shot and wounded his mother and shot and killed thirteen month old Antonio with a point blank bullet in the face.

How senseless was this tragedy and how silent was the President. Thirteen months old, just sitting in his stroller and his life ended. Imagine the pain and anguish in his family, imagine how his mother felt to see her healthy, infant son butchered in front of her and no comments on the tragedy from the President, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, or Eric Holder. 13 months old. (http://topconservativenews.com/2013/03/black-teens-murder-white-baby-for-the-fun-of-it/)

4) In April, 2012, a 29 year old man that news reports identified as white Hispanic and mentally challenged, by the name of Danny Adkins, was taking his dog out of a walk towards a Taco Bell in Arizona. There, he got into a heated verbal argument with a 22 year old African American, who was riding in his SUV with his girl friend through the Taco Bell parking lot with the windows up.

News reports state that Adkins threw a couple of air punches towards the SUV, never striking anyone inside the car. However, the driver said he felt he was being threatened, pulled out his handgun, and shot Adkins dead with one bullet through the window. Unlike the Trayvon Martin trial testimony, it does not appear that Adkins was on top of the African American shooter and pounding his head into the pavement.

The NAACP, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson did not show up in Arizona to lead marches against the shooter in a case that was remarkably similar to the Trayvon Martin case, only the racial backgrounds had been switched. President Obama did not check in on how Danny Adkins could have been him walking his dog years ago. The President’s sounds of silence continued even though the Martin and Adkins shootings happened at about the same time. (http://www.chicagonewsreport.com/2012/04/daniel-adkins-killer-claims-self.html). As with the Martin family, the Adkins’ son never came home that night either.

5) According to news reports, African American Roderick Scott left his house one day to confront three teenagers that he thought were breaking into cars in his Greece, New York neighborhood. At his trial for shooting and killing a Caucasian teenager, Christopher Cervini, Scott testified was that he fired two gun shots at one of the three when the young man charged him after being told to freeze and wait for the cops. A jury found him innocent of murder and let him go free.

A complete racially opposite situation of the Zimmerman/Martin case. A local homeowner defending his neighborhood and assets, defending himself in what he thought was a life or death situation when attacked by the youth. Trial held, justice supposedly done, no threats of a Justice Department civil rights follow up, no Presidential intrusive comments, no Caucasians marching and rioting in the streets. Just another tragic act of unnecessary killing because of the society we live in today.

6) In June, 2012 Marley Lion was shot dead in Charleston, South Carolina. Marley Lion and Trayvon Martin were both 17 years old when they were shot to death, both unarmed, and both doing nothing illegal. The difference is that Lion is Caucasian and he was shot not by a lone gunman but by four African Americans who were arrested in connection with the shooting, a shooting that apparently happened for no reasons at all.

The President had no remarks about the senseless murder of this young man.

You get the idea. We could talk about 44 year old African American Mona Yvette Nelson who is the accused murderer in Texas who kidnapped and brutally murdered a 12-year-old Caucasian Houston boy.

We could talk about the organized “beat whitey night” that occurred at a recent Iowa state fair where young African American adults planned and then executed coordinated beat downs on non-African Americans. (http://www.westernjournalism.com/flashback-beat-whitey-night-at-iowa-sate-fair/).

We could talk about how three African American Auburn University players were killed by an African American shooter. (http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2012/06/former_auburn_players_ed_chris.html)

We could talk about how on July 11, 2013, Chicago police found the decaying body of missing 17 year old African American Darryl Green, who was possibly murdered for his refusal to join a Chicago street gang at his school. Personal Liberty Digest observed the following regarding the senseless killing of Darryl Green:

“The only media outlets that have covered the murder of Darryl Green are The Chicago Sun-Times and ABC 7 Chicago. President Obama has not commented on Green’s death. Neither have any other politicians, including local Congressmen Danny Davis and Bobby Rush, or Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Neither has anyone at MSNBC, CNN, ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, The Washington Post, Associated Press, Reuters, or throughout the Hollywood community.”

We could go on and on. Senseless violence, unnecessary deaths, the vast, vast majority of which President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and the main stream media could care less about, their silence in these deaths is deafening.

And the President’s pathetic attempt to inject his control agenda does not make any sense in relationship to most of these cases and thousands like them. Elizabeth Hutchenson was stabbed to death. Autumn Pasquale was likely strangled to death. Mona Yvette Nelson is accused of beating and burning the 12 year old kidnap victim to death. The guns that were used to kill the others mentioned above would still have likely been in place since none of the shooters were likely or would be likely in the future to follow any of the President’s gun control restrictions.

As we said earlier, the President comes up small in this situation. He talks about his own background and his sympathy with Trayvon Martin and his family, which is fine. However, his shunning any discussion on Elizabeth Hutcheson, Autumn Pasquale, Antonio West, Danny Adkins and the others who have died for no reason, is a failure in leadership.

He needed to address all of the families who have senselessly and violently lost loved ones, but he did not.

He needed to step up front and say that unnecessary violence knows no racial, sex, religious, or other boundaries, all violence is unnecessary, but he did not.

He was presented with an opportunity to address the root causes of ALL violence in this country, but he did not:
  • He needed to mobilize the country with an apolitical vision that would improve our schools so that our kids had a hopeful future independent of violence, but he did not.
  • He needed to mobilize the country with an apolitical vision of a new national economic strategy that provided good jobs for everyone, minimizing the chance that violence becomes the surrogate for a good job, but he did not.
  • He needed to mobilize the country with an apolitical vision of how to end our lost war on drugs so that so many of our youth, especially African American youth, do not waste their lives in prison or in death from drug addiction, but he did not.
  • He needed to tell his political allies, those that have tossed around the word “racist” so casually over the past five years in using this despicable term to describe any American with a contrary view on an issue, to save the word for real racists and real racism, not to devalue it with political rhetoric, but he did not.
  • He could have stepped up like a real leader in this time of crisis and sorrow, not just sorrow for Trayvon but also for Elizabeth, Danny, Antonio, and others, uniting the country, but he did not.
He just worried about his own background and his own private feelings. The loss of this historical opportunity to advance the cause of every American is saddening and his words, actions, and inaction will do nothing to prevent future senseless violence and deaths.

Why he did not grab this issue while it was on the top of everyone’s mind is a mystery to me. But words from the Personal Liberty Digest website on July 16, 2013 probably provide a good set of clues why the President and other’s in our society receded into the background noise instead of preceding into a better future:

The media doesn’t care about the victims of crime. The elected class doesn’t care about the victims of crime. A great many cultural leaders and highly visible famous people don’t care. But they do care about manipulating outrage, because their authoritative voices in times of manufactured hardship help to consolidate their profit, their legal power and their brand recognition.

Contrived, emotionless proxy outrage makes power more powerful and, too often in America, makes profit more profitable. In America, political and cultural leaders don’t need smart followers anymore — in fact, they’re a liability. The leaders are preaching sermons in hoodies and pretending to fantasize on Twitter about violent karmic payback for the exonerated. Turn off your hearing aid.

Too bad that the President did not look beyond just his own experiences, heeding the advice of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

He and other so-called leaders in this country certainly did not rise above anything in this matter, leaving the lessons that could be learned from Elizabeth, Antonio, Danny and thousands of others unheard and unheeded.
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