Your Life After Trayvon’s Death

Trayvon Martin

A few hours ago, one man upset about the way he had been treated by his class mates and administrators, returned to the small college he had recently been dismissed from, and gunned down seven people ‘execution style’. CNN.com has its story of these events: “College shootings called ‘cold-blooded’” listed atop the ‘Latest News’ heading amongst fifteen other stories, including ‘Dick Cheney released from hospital,’ and ‘Transgender contestant back in pageant.’ Further reading will be required to determine any correlation. All this news can be found at the bottom left of the screen.

CNN thinks two stories need no category to entice clickers. Tornadoes that have torn through Texas garner roughly one-third more screen space than Obama saying ‘Romney’ for the first time on camera. Both are given prime retinal real estate at the top center and top left of the screen, respectively.

Finally, there are twelve or so stories that are ‘featured’ on the page. These are centered, include pictures along with caption, and many bear the play triangle, indicating video content. The top piece amongst these details is the ‘competing evidence in the Martin case.’ Martin who, you ask? No, of course you know. Martin, as in Trayvon Martin, is the seventeen year-old, unarmed African-American boy who was shot by one George Zimmerman on the auspice of self defense. As Anglo as his name is and the story may indicate him to be, Zimmerman himself is a twenty-eight year-old, Hispanic male.

Nonetheless, many feel a mocking bird has been killed, and Zimmerman’s self-defense story is a weak attempt to cover up a murder he committed because of racial stereotyping. It’s hard to disagree with this assessment. Trayvon was unarmed, undersized compared to Zimmerman, and was simply walking back to the house of his father’s fiancée at the reasonable hour of 7pm, having bought Skittles and a drink at the local 7/11. Zimmerman claims, as the neighborhood watch leader, he noted suspicious behavior on the part of Martin and was attacked when he approached him for questioning.

That seems to be the icing on the case; a self-righteous buffoon, who is allowed to have a gun because he lives in Florida, saw his archetypal suspicious character strolling down the street and got trigger happy. But the cherry on top… Martin was wearing a hoodie, an article of clothing donned by every person whom has ever walked into a 7/11 to steal Skittles. Never mind that it was raining; Zimmerman watched what he wanted; his trifecta of trouble – young, black, hoodie’d..

Martin’s death is certainly a tragedy; but, it wouldn’t be a travesty without the hoodie. When tap water is put in a plastic bottle and named something that makes you say ‘AH’ (DasAHni, AquafinAH, EviAHn) people are happy to pay 1900 times more then they would for a drink from their own sink. And when you dress a racially charged case up in an article of clothing everybody owns, like the hoodie, you invite a circus to town that never actually left.

NBA teams, US Senators, and supermodels have all taken the opportunity to publicly sport hoodies since the story broke out. Thousands of hooded sympathizers have assembled across dozens of America’s major city centers in protest of the incident’s aftermath. President Obama, known for his background in genetics, took some of his precious time at the pulpit to let us all know, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

Jessie Jackson, the self-appointed face of the ongoing civil rights movement has taken this case as an opportunity to remind us ‘Blacks are under attack,’ and he has described the young Martin as a ‘martyr.’ He also perceives it as an appropriate time to ‘reinstate the Civil Rights Commission.’ I wonder who he’d suggest head up such an endeavor? Remember kids, the exterminator doesn’t want to kill all the termites, just the ones in your house, and just long enough that you’ll still call him when they come back.

Granted, the police in Sanford, Florida have botched this case big time. Zimmerman has been charged with a crime nearly two months after the incident, and procedures for gathering and processing evidence were done haphazardly. But let’s look at all the facts before we again start paying attention to the likes of Jesse Jackson on a regular basis.

February 26 is the day Trayvon was killed, and a day prior, two more Americans were murdered. But they weren’t on home soil. They were in Afghanistan, and a native militant shot them in retaliation for the burning of the Quran on a U.S. millitary base, which took place under the sanction of American officers. The burning of the Quran, which most Americans might equate to playing T-Ball with a statue of Jesus, is the most recent in a long list of instances that demonstrate American’s complete lack of understanding, respect, or even tolerance of Islamic culture.

Of course, President Obama’s apology for the matter assured everyone that the opposite is the case, but the 10,000-30,000 Afghani civilians who have died since 2001 as a result of this most recent ‘conflict’ in the Middle East might have something different to say. If that number seems a bit vague, please remember that it’s very difficult, and also fruitless, to count people that are hardly considered as such in the first place.

Thirteen years ago Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold entered their High School in Columbine, Colorado armed with a shot gun and a 9mm each. By the early afternoon twelve students, one teacher, and two gunmen were dead. Twenty-one more were injured during this, the forth deadliest school shooting in America’s proud history. That also happens to be the day the U.S. took the opportunity to drop more bombs on Kosovo than any other time during that ‘conflict.’ I wonder how much news coverage was given to those events that evening. Notice a trend? I’d like to call Afghanistan, Kosovo, or for that matter Vietnam, Korea, and the rest of our recent conflicts ‘war’ like most media outlets do. But that would be admitting that the U.S. Senate passed a declaration of war for those ‘conflicts,’ which is something that hasn’t actually been done since WWII.

In the Sanskrit language there is a word, ‘maya.’ In his purport to the thirty-fifth text of the fifth chapter of Bhagavad Gita As It Is, Bhaktivedenta Swami Prabhupada explains the word literally translates to ma (not) and ya (this); not this. Practically, the word is used to describe persons who are confused about the actual state of things. Persons who believe what is factually not true are said to be in maya or illusion.

Particularly, the Bhagavad-gita uses ‘maya’ to reference the idea that the body is the end-all, be-all plane of existence. This philosophy is a very convenient one for the established structures of society to perpetuate. Media outlets are designed to spin countless threads of discourse about race, gender, height, weight, age, et cetera. You can’t find one article regarding Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman that doesn’t focus on these discrepancies because otherwise there would be nothing to write about. Governments can speak of justice for all their people and simultaneously get away with dropping thousands of bombs indiscriminately on ‘others,’ because of arbitrary borders they themselves distinguished. Similarly, celebrities and charlatans can manipulate the masses for their own advances simply by wearing a sweatshirt. This is called ‘maya;’ illusion, that which is not.

The reality of Trayvon Martin’s death is that it resulted from one of the unlimited number of violent acts Americans perpetrate on each other and ‘others’ everyday, not merely Feb 26, 2012. Its perceived significance as an event highlighting an escalating trend of violence and racial injustice is an idea being perpetuated by those who want you to remain unaware of the fact that violence and discrimination are the cultural norms and not the exceptions.

The Vedas, our world’s oldest and most comprehensive tomes on spirituality and consciousness, describe violence as any act which encourages a person to identify exclusively with their body. By that definition, every action encouraged by America’s main stream is a violent one. Buy this facial crème if you’re this old and that one if you’re that old. This television entertainment is for Blacks only. You want the ball to go in this hole if you’re from this city, and that hole if you’re from that city – any questions?

Subtle violence, much more insidious in nature, leads to acts of gross violence like in the case of Trayvon Martin. The Bhagavad-gita explains that rather than being a summation of our temporary designations, we are actually eternally conscious beings experiencing a temporary reality. It is identification with this temporary reality that brings about so much suffering; so, by encouraging identification with a person’s transient qualities, we are committing a violent act.

Old age, disease, and death are scourges that do not discriminate. Though Martin’s was untimely, the upset caused by his death can largely be understood when we acknowledge that everyone knows they will die and most people are pissed about it. White, Black, fat, thin, rich, poor and, as this case has reminded us, old or young. The end can come at any moment. Once your body is in a hole six feet underground, what does the make of your car or the complexion of the president matter? What has the summation of your life’s endeavors to accumulate so much material distinction amounted to?

Knowledge of our eternal nature is completely discouraged and suppressed in our society. Though a recent Pew poll shows nearly one-third of Americans believe in reincarnation, still the only religious paradigm spoken of in popular culture is the one-and-done Christian dogma. Could you think of a better value system to teach people if you wanted them to be impressionable, short sited consumers with no regard for the well being of any being but themselves? Me neither.

Actually, calling George Zimmerman a criminal gives him way too much credit. He’s just an idiot. He was and is swept up in the bodily stereotypes that we are all bombarded with from every end by a society hell-bent on being a living hell. Of course, there are a few people who benefit and subsequently encourage this adverse arrangement. Most of us learned how to catch these true criminals way back in elementary school. From time to time the air would suddenly become putrid. Noses would crinkle, pencils would stop moving as a tense silence would build… and then…. ‘EWWWWW.’ Just remember, ‘He who smelt it, dealt it.’

Devin James O'Rourke

Devin about himself: "Grew up in Monroe, NC. Soccer was my life until I discovered wine and women in college. I worked 80hrs a week during my summers as a door-to-door salesman so I could party 80 hours a week while I was in school at NCSU. In between sips and rips I read philosophy. Upon graduating I decided to move from Americas 'best place to live,' Raleigh NC, to Detroit MI; whose noteriety needs no qualifier. It is there in the buckle of the Rust Belt that I met the Hare Krishnas, and was presented with a philosophy that demanded sobriety for comprehension. It is my struggle to both decipher and disseminate this ancient Vedic wisdom that has me writing for 16Rounds."

1 Comment

  • Reply May 11, 2012

    Abeer Saha


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