I do not usually post about current events on Tumblr—there are plenty of other people who do it better than I do, and I think most of my followers prefer my pictures that I post. In short, this will not become a regular thing.
For the 5 people on the internet who have not heard the verdict of the Zimmerman trial, George Zimmerman was found not guilty of Second Degree murder or Manslaughter in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. In my opinion, that verdict was a mistake—George Zimmerman gave up all right to proclaim self-defense when he stepped out of his car to follow Martin. However, I am not a lawyer, and I was not the prosecution in this case. Of all the myriad factors that resulted in the verdict, the primary one is the fact that the prosecution failed to convince the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman was guilty of Second Degree Murder, and they barely touched on the Manslaughter charge. It is also baffling why they tried to throw in the Felony Murder based on Child Abuse charge near the end of their case, as it seemed slipshod at best. At the end, though, I believe this was the wrong verdict.
However, immediately after the verdict was announced, people rushed to Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and the like to proclaim that the American Justice System was “Broken” or, more seriously, “Dead.” While I understand their anger and disappointment, I think that they overstate their case. In the history of legal decisions in the United States, there have been many verdicts that were a travesty of justice, such as Plessy v. Ferguson, or, more recently, the OJ Simpson trial. However, there have also been many instances of Justice being served through the American Justice System, such as the convictions of the Oklahoma City Bomber, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, and the almost assured conviction of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon Bomber. The American Justice System isn’t perfect, to be sure—this verdict proves that. However, it is not dead or broken, and is not better or worse than many other Justice Systems around the world. What needs to be done now is not complaints on Tumblr, but instead to research what needs to be done to fix the problems, and participate in the democratic process to vote in those who you think would fix the flaws in the system. Heck, if you think you’re informed enough, run for office yourself. Do something to fix the problem.
Finally, I have nothing but sympathy for the parents of Trayvon Martin, who have lost their son and their sense of justice. For those who think Zimmerman got off scott free, though, remember this—for the rest of his life, he will have to live with the fact that he shot a 17 year old boy and killed him, and that his face is now known to a majority of the United States. In many ways, this is almost worse than prison.
“The Historical Point of View, put briefly, means that when a learned man is presented with any statement in an ancient author, the one question he never asks is whether it is true. He asks who influenced the ancient writer, and how far the statement is consistent with what he said in other books, and what phase in the writer’s development, or in the general history of thought, it illustrates, and how it affected later writers, and how often it has been misunderstood (specially by the learned man’s own colleagues) and what the general course of criticism on it has been for the last ten years, and what is the ‘present state of the question.’ To regard the ancient writer as a possible source of knowledge – to anticipate that what he said could possibly modify your thoughts or your behaviour – this would be rejected as unutterably simple-minded.”—
CS Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
Context is important, but it can sometimes get in the way.
I’ve been excited lately by the idea of having a reading jacket made. “Reading jacket” is my own term. It means a jacket that’s specifically meant to be worn when one goes someplace to read. With internet connectivity so pervasive these days, I find the only way to get work done sometimes is to physically distance yourself from any WiFi-enabled device. That means go to a library or café with nothing but a pen, highlighter, and either a stack of journal articles or a book.
Such a light amount of material, however, hardly warrants using a briefcase. But carrying things by hand can feel a bit cumbersome. One solution I’ve been thinking of is creating a reading jacket.
Some people only seem to know Alton Brown as a food guru, famously from the Food Network. Mr. Brown is a huge part of the Food Network’s success, as he hosts a multitude of shows and has an incredible following. Personally, I know Alton Brown for his demeanor and style — he has…
“Lord it is night. The night is for stillness. Let us be still in the presence of God. It is night after a long day. What has been done has been done; what has not been done has not been done. Let it be. The night is dark. Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives rest in you. The night is quiet. Let the quietness of your peace enfold us, all dear to us, and all who have no peace. The night heralds the dawn. Let us look expectantly to a new day, new joys, new possibilities. In your name we pray. Amen”—The New Zealand Prayer Book