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Is violence the only answer?

ImageI haven’t been following the Zimmerman trial that is now flooding the media so I cannot speak much to the facts. All I can say is that I am sad.

I work with youth. Some of the youth are the same age as Trayvon. I read a story like this and it raises so many questions.

If a young boy was ‘up to no good’… I can’t help but wonder… why following and killing was the proposed solution. My role as a mentor for youth is to be on the look out for those who are struggling – as well as those who are excelling – and to come alongside them. To encourage them to think about life differently. To have them step on the path of meaning and belonging. To encourage them that they can get up to a lot of good! Was following him and shooting him the only possible way?

So where were the supports for Trayvon? He was so young… and had so much time to have his life turned around. The bullet – interestingly one bullet successfully aimed to his heart – ended any chance of this. What was going on in this boy’s life that would make him wander the streets up to no good.

Ok, maybe Trayvon attacked Zimmerman. Even with a piece of heavy duty concrete. You know, if some strange guy followed me I might do the same. But as the adult – shoot the boy in the heart? I’m sorry but I cannot accept that that is ok.

Dear adults – it is our job to guide and care for the young. If they mess up, we are not granted license to do anything we please. If a kid hits me, I cannot hit him back. We need to be the “bigger” person. We need to model for our young ones how to behave. Killing someone who threatens me sends a sad message to the world. Someone needs to be the better person.

And that is all assuming the worst. It’s hard on the outside as an onlooker to know what happened. And it seems that there was not clear evidence to convict him. I understand this. Oh how I understand the weight of evidence required.

But at the end of the day, the news article show a happy accused, and a young boy is no longer, thanks to the accused killing him with a single gunshot to the heart.

I greatly respect the Martin family attorney’s words:

he urged them not to resort to violence.

“For Trayvon to rest in peace, we must all be peaceful,” he said.


Tonight, I pray for the family and friends as they grieve once again the loss of Trayvon. As they deal with the pain and unfairness of the justice system that delivered an answer that is painful and no doubt dismisses their pain. I pray that though they are hurting, that they will rise above what they and others claim as racism and show that love and peace can prevail even in times of darkness, even in times of sorrow and anguish. I pray that they might model what it is to be the “bigger person”.

I pray for troubled and misunderstood youth which speaks of most of our youth I believe. I pray for the brokenness in them to lead them to life giving mentors and friendships who can help them stay on a path that leads to wholeness and life. I pray for adults to understand and come alongside youth.

And I pray for those who think and use violence as an answer to their problems. I pray that they will be touched by your love. I pray that a spirit of non-violence will overtake them.

And I pray for Zimmerman. That through this whole process – whether guilty of second degree murder, manslaughter or misjudgement – will soften his heart and enable him to come alongside youth and support them.

I pray for all who are outraged by this situation. And I pray for God’s peace to flow in the hurting and angry hearts so that violence does not beget violence


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