How Suggestibility Killed Trayvon Martin ll

In the earlier post I discussed how easily one can get caught up in sudden rage and instantly become a victim of the very evil that caused that rage in the first place.  This post is to bring to light how suggestibility caused this and how its now shaping the emotional environment of argument.  As the nation rallies around the Martin family and the shouts for justice  grow ever louder, when this is all over two lives will have been ruined and millions more will have been affected by them.  Some believe Mr. Zimmerman should be locked away, others believe he was justified in the shooting and should remain free.

As a teenager I grew up in a middle class neighborhood with a pretty good mix of nationalities.  My house was in walking distance from school so most days my brother and I would walk.  Well one unsuspecting winter morning on our way to school, we notice this car following slowly behind us.  So we began to slow down to make sure this was the case and if so, confront the stalker.  As we made it obvious that we were on to the pursuit, the driver steps on the gas coming within inches of hitting us both.  A rather lager white male jumps out of the car with a badge in hand and aggressively approaches.  “What are you boys doing in this neighborhood?”  He demanded.  Ok, keep in mind that we were carrying books, we were literally a half block away from the school at 7 am on a Tuesday.  So I  responded sarcastically, “We looking for some white women.”  The fluctuation in his face color from red to purple was a slight indication of his displeasure with my remark.  “Don’t get funny with me boy!  I’ll lock your ass up for trespassing.  There was a breakin in this area and y’all fit the description (what was the description? “Uh, yeah Charlie we’re looking for two black guys walking to school carrying books and lunches…over).  Now where are you going and why are you wearing this big coat?”….(SMH) “We’re headed off to school officer ‘Friendly’, I said calmly, and I’m only wearing this big coat because it’s FOURTY- THREE DEGREES OUT HERE!”

After an impromptu pat down to make sure we weren’t carrying any weapons he returned to his car and followed us all the way into the parking lot of the school and didn’t leave until we were inside. That made for an interesting rest of the day.  Who was I going to tell of this harassment; my teacher, the principle, other cops?  Now, from that point I began to hate all cops, especially white ones.  Becoming a victim of an institution that was designed to protect you it’s akin to a child being molested by a trusted family member.

As you can see this ordeal stirred up negative feelings within me and I applied the feelings of what one police officer did to all police officers.  In the end it’s really just a primitive self-defense mechanism.  Remember, when your emotions are at their highest is when you’re at your most suggestive state.  So in both of these adventures, my mind labeled these people as threats and subconsciously prepared a defense plan if I were to ever face the same events again.  

This is how suggestibility killed Trayvon and so many other innocent profile ‘fitters’.  At the core of it all is lack of emotional control.  I guarantee you that if he could replay that day over again he would decide that his emotions were getting the best of him and he’d let the cops handle it.  It’s always ‘after’ the fact that we can see things so clearly…why is that?  It’s because the emotions are no longer present and you can now see what was there all along.  I hate emotions!  (ha) They are liars, omnipresent deceivers of men/women that we can’t live without, we can only hope to modify them in some meaningful way.

Now that I’m older, I’ve let go of most of the injustices I’ve encountered in the past, I’ve even stopped racially profiling people wearing sagging pants and started profiling everyone! lol!!….seriously.  I don’t hate the police or white people, instead I’ve learned to focus my energy on changing the way I see things by looking past how I ‘feel’ about them and helping others to  do the same.

One final note… if young ‘men’ stopped committing crimes wearing hoodies, there wouldn’t be a fear of someone wearing one and if people realized that good and bad lives in us all, there’d be less ‘racial’ profiling and more of and effort to promote the good in those same people. It was everyone that came before us that shaped the mind-set of the world today, it is now up to us to make the world what it’ll be for our children tomorrow.


Troy Davis (Capital Punishment)

Today two men are scheduled to be executed, Troy Davis in Georgia and Lawrence Russell Brewer in Texas.  If you’re not familiar with the cases of the aforementioned, I’ll give you a brief run down. – My thoughts and prayers are with the families involved.

Troy Davis was convicted of shooting an off-duty police officer in Savannah who was trying to help a homeless man being attacked by Davis and an accomplice.  The evidence in this case is based on eyewitness accounts which out of nine, seven have recounted their stories.  One witness is said to have heard another man, supposedly with Davis at the time, say that he was the one that pulled the trigger.  The case has been  appealed and stayed over the last few years but Davis seems to have run out of options.  If the Supreme Court does not stay the execution one final time Mr. Davis will be executed for the murder of police officer Mark MacPhail.

In the case of  Lawrence Russell Brewer, a white supremacist, the evidence of their crime was a little more concrete.  Brewer and two of his friends came about James Byrd Jr. on a dark, lonely road in Jasper, Texas.  Evidence showed that a fight ensued between the four men and Byrd was subsequently chained to the back of a pickup truck and dragged to his death.  I’ll spare you the grizzly details of the crime scene but needless to say, it was pretty gruesome.   – Mr. Brewer has been executed while I’m writing this blog.

While reading about the story of Troy Davis an, African-American, feelings of rage began to build inside of me.  I remembered all of the stories of racial injustice and inequality very well-known in the south.  As I continued to read on, the writer injects the story of Mr. Brewer – a White American, my thoughts immediately changed from anger to satisfaction.  I immediately stopped reading and began examining my own thoughts and feelings.

Let me make  clear my view of the death penalty.  I believe that if a person is evil and thoughtless enough to kill without remorse, they should be treated in the same fashion.  I know that’s not a popular view but even a sentence of life in prison allows the offender to endanger the lives of the other inmates. So it is my contention that if life meant so much to the offender they would’ve spared the life of the person the killed.

Why did I get a feeling of satisfaction for one execution but disdain for the other.   My first answer was that it was because the evidence against Davis was not concrete while the evidence against Brewer was overwhelming.  However, if I’m honest, race played a role in how I felt in each case.  So, I asked myself, would I feel the same about Davis if I knew that he was guilty and this is was my answer.  If Davis is in fact guilty, he deserves the same end as Brewer in Texas.  I stand by my statement that if you’re evil enough to take an innocent life then the world should be made safer by your absence.

It was eye-opening to hear the family of James Byrd plead for the life of Brewer to be spared and on the other hand hear the family of MacPhail plead  for the execution of Davis.

I’m not writing this to convince anyone to change their mind about whether the death penalty is right or wrong, rather to ask ourselves the question – what could ever make us want another person to die?