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Our leaders outrage over acts of violence is very selective

  • Published in Letters

To the editor,

Apparently there is another eye witness to the incident that ended with the tragic shooting of Trayvon Martin. Hopefully Cathy Merwin, who seems to know exactly what happened and how the case should be handled, has provided her information to the Florida state, Justice Department, FBI, and Special Prosecutor investigators.

Perhaps she also can explain what it is like to live in an area where there is so much fear of break-ins and harm to residents, that people, ...

To the editor,

Apparently there is another eye witness to the incident that ended with the tragic shooting of Trayvon Martin. Hopefully Cathy Merwin, who seems to know exactly what happened and how the case should be handled, has provided her information to the Florida state, Justice Department, FBI, and Special Prosecutor investigators.

Perhaps she also can explain what it is like to live in an area where there is so much fear of break-ins and harm to residents, that people, who would much rather be home in bed, are instead out alone trying to protect their neighbors. And, perhaps she can explain what it is like in the dark of night to encounter an unknown person who is younger, taller, more athletic, dressed in a way suggesting an attempt to hide his identify, and perhaps acts or speaks threateningly.

No one except George Zimmerman really knows what transpired that night. One apparent witness supports at least some of Zimmerman’s explanation of what unfolded, suggesting why he may rightfully have felt in fear for his life. Was race a factor? Before deciding how to protect ourselves, I wonder how many of us would consider the race of a person we think is about to murder us?

As equally tragic as this loss of life is the aftermath. Americans thought that the election of Barack Obama would bring an era of better race relations and show we have finally overcome the racist parts of our history. Yet, those who we hoped would bring racial harmony have increased racial agitation and anger.

We are not surprised that the usual race baiters, Sharpton and Jackson, have rushed to exacerbate the situation. But, who expected President Obama, Congressional members and others to do likewise? It is irresponsible to be charging or even suggesting racially motivated murder, and demanding an indictment even before the evidence has been gathered and evaluated by law enforcement. (Fortunately Zimmerman is a registered Democrat; can you imagine if he were a Republican or a TEA Partier?)

Where are our leaders who should be condemning the New Black Panther party for offering a $1-million reward for Zimmerman’s kidnapping? I thought we were against lynching.

Who would have expected the media to present this incident in a way that fans racial hatred? Why present a photo of an angelic looking 12 year old Trayvon next to a larger almost ominous looking photo of Zimmerman? Why refer to Zimmerman as a “white Hispanic” if not to promote racial agitation? When did we ever hear that term before? Do we refer to President Obama as a white African?

The media made sure we knew that it was a gated community, trying to imply an exclusive rich white community. But whites are less than half of this community.

I don’t know what the media’s agenda is, but this is a clear example of how the media influences people‘s opinions by presenting selected information, half truths, and using suggestive and inflammatory language. (Sadly, this is not unusual.)

Remember that, while Trayvon and Zimmerman and their families will pay the price, the people who really caused this, those who set this event in motion are the criminals who invade people’s homes and terrorize neighborhoods. Without the need for citizens to try to protect themselves, Zimmerman would have been home in bed where he wanted to be, and Trayvon could have wandered the street without anyone to question him.

One wonders where were the police? Different actions by Zimmerman or Trayvon could have avoided the results, but so could prompt arrival of the police. One wonders about the police comments to Zimmerman. Why have a neighborhood watch if the watcher does not watch suspicious people? How does that protect the neighborhood? The neighborhood watch existed because of a history of crime in the neighborhood. Zimmerman called the police to report a suspicious person, why weren’t they there to handle the situation? Apparently the NRA is correct, when seconds count, the police are minutes away.

It is deplorable that so many people exploit tragedies to promote their political agenda. While I disagree with her position, with her conclusion, and dislike the use of a tragedy to promote their political agendas, I believe that Cathy Merwin and many like her have honest concerns about guns. I am sure we will continue to debate gun laws, but the debate should be done in a rational, unemotional, fact based way.

However, for many of our leaders, the outrage over violence is very selective. Where is the outrage at the 49 shootings in Chicago, including the killing of 10, over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend? Or the thousands of other annual killings? Where are the black leaders fighting against all crime, especially since most black crime victims are harmed by other blacks? The outrage is only when leaders can inflame race relations for their own selfish advantage.

Our country’s great shame is that we allow charlatans and racial agitators to make a very good living off of destroying the lives of millions of Americans.

Our country is still the land of opportunity. Millions of Americans of every kind (race, religion, gender, ethnicity, etc.) have worked their way from absolutely nothing to a good living, even to fabulous wealth. Nearly everyone, even the children of the wealthy, starts in a low level job and has to work their way up. Some people are self motivated, others need encouragement, but very few are helped by discouragement.

The race baiters like Sharpton and Jackson and too many of our politicians tell people that they are not capable of getting ahead, that they are victims, that the white man is keeping them down or looking for an opportunity to kill them, that someone else owes them a living, that society is unjust. The Black College Fund advertises that “a mind is a terrible thing to waste”. The race baiters encourage the waste of whole lives. They discourage people from doing the work needed to get ahead, thus wasting the opportunity to be all they can be, of living a life of achievement.

We mourn for Trayvon and are sad for his family, for Zimmerman, for his family, and for their friends. The real tragedy is that not only have we not reached racial harmony, but that the race baiters continue to divide our country and to destroy millions of American lives.

Don Ewing

Meredith