Ever since the verdict was announced on late Fri evening, I’ve been scouring news reports of riots or violent protests, and always on tether hooks that fresh riots will break out in LA city or Inglewood, or Anaheim. Selfish, yes. Mainly because in a case like this, irregardless of the end result, was going to invite some sort of protest. I’m sure the law enforcement officers were also prepped way in advance of the final verdict. As were the tabloids, book publishers and Hollywood
vultures who are just waiting to cash in on the story.
And I know that a majority of people are convinced that the root cause of the problem is race. But sometimes I think race is the easy scapegoat of the whole situation. Its easy to sensationalize, and to capitalize on and to rally people around.
And I agree, I am perhaps naive as to the tensions that race can bring on because I was brought up in a country where I was a part of the majority and even though my government does do its best to quell any racial tensions, I’m not stupid enough not to know that there is, and always will be some simmering racial tension there. But the truth of it is, Singaporeans are Singaporeans, and I hope that when it counts, we all realize that its our country. Our differences are what makes us strong, but its those very differences that can also tear us apart if we don’t learn to appreciate the flavors of those differences.
Race, though, in this country, has a very different force, and the tensions that underlie it are very different because of the specific history of this country. So again, context is important and I think in many ways, I will never fully appreciate the root of the tensions because I wasn’t brought up here.
I’m side-tracking here. No, to me, what I think is the root cause of this tragedy is the insane gun laws in this country. Its an issue that is divisive, but also rooted in history, and money. And unlike a person’s race, it can be banned, taken away. The Gun Industry makes a lot of money, and they have very clever lobbyists who are able to prevent an overhaul of the gun laws in this country.
Guns, in the hands of an overzealous vigilante, was the reason why Trayvon Martin died. Why do I call Mr. Zimmerman an overzealous vigilante? Well, he was told by the police to back off. But he did not. Having a gun gave him a false sense of power. Perhaps when he did encounter Trayvon Martin, the power struggle may have been temporarily overturned due to the adrenaline rush brought on by fear. Regardless of what happened, whatever it was that made Mr. Zimmerman confront Trayvon Martin was brought on by a foolish sense of being able to handle the situation simply because he possessed a gun, and Trayvon did not. Race might have played a part in how the two men interacted with each other, but it was the possession of a gun, the presence of a gun that led to the unfortunate end of a young man.
Do I think that this tragedy could have been prevented if handguns were outlawed? Definitely. Right now, I think the only one who really knows what happened was Trayvon Martin, and he is unfortunately not able to speak, and Mr. Zimmerman and you can’t really know what happened if you only have his side of the story, can you?