Agree or Disagree with the Verdict, 3 Mindful Things We Can All Understand about Trayvon & George Zimmerman.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Jul 13, 2013
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Trayvon Martin

Nobody wins tonight except CNN, MSNBC, FOX and the rest of the corporate-backed media.

Please comment thoughtfully and respectfully. This tragedy, trial and verdict is incendiary. The point of this post is to slow down, and feel our hearts, and enable peace, not further aggression.

Due to the controversial nature of this news, and the talk of riots, all aggressive comments will be deleted here. Please comment below. ~ Waylon Lewis

Update: we’ve added a childhood (or youth) photo of Zimmerman, looking happy, for “balance,” at the request of commenters.

1. This is all sad. Let’s feel our hearts, instead of acting out on our or other’s anger. Let’s not make it worse by rioting, or hurting others. Two sins do not cancel one another out. It’s sad for Trayvon’s family. George’s life is ruined, as are his finances. And it’s sad, in the most final sense, for young Trayvon, who didn’t ask for any of this.

Practice compassion for all. That’s how we end this.

trayvon2. George Zimmerman broke the rules of Conceal & Carry.

The top 5 rules of CCW (Concealed Carry Weapon):

“When you are armed, you must realize that you just lost your right to initiate ANY type of confrontation that could possibly escalate into a violent encounter. You must now have a very mellow attitude on life and your fellow mankind.

You have the legal and moral obligation of de-escalating any situation that you are presented with unless you are faced by someone displaying all three of the “attack potential” elements.”

From Reddit, a great comment (NSFW language):

“Honestly, I think that he just had a really good defense, and that he still deserved worse based on my views of it. I don’t give a flying fuck about the race side of things, which is what the vast majority of people are focusing on. Race has nothing people-magazine-april-9-2012-trayvon-martin-deaths-an-american-tragedyto do with it. I believe that Martin was a very confrontational and aggressive person, which obviously did not play out well with this situation, and I believe that Zimmerman is a paranoid vigilante that’s trying way too hard to be neighborhood hero.

Speaking as someone with a concealed weapons permit, Zimmerman broke essentially every common-sense rule of carrying. Those rules are taught in the permit class and are meant to keep you out of legal trouble while still defending yourself. When carrying, you have the last say of any confrontation, whether the other person knows it or not. You have their life in your hands. This means that you are to avoid negative confrontation at all costs. Most of us that choose to carry for defense are the nicest, most non-confrontational people around, because we know we are carrying and don’t want to use it unless we absolutely have to. Zimmerman not only actively sought out a confrontation, he blatantly followed a random guy at night against the orders of the 911 dispatcher. I don’t care who you are, that is straight up fucking creepy. Captain America himself could follow a gawker how to get away with murder trayvonstranger at night and it would still be scary and creepy. I absolutely don’t blame Martin for trying to fight him, because his view is that some guy is stalking him at night when all he’s trying to do is get to where he wants to be. Zimmerman let his carry permit go to his head, and rather than be for self defense, his gun became the long arm of the law with his neighborhood watch boner. He may have been lucky and is now off the hook legally, but his reputation is still ruined. Not to mention the absolute shit ton of legal fees I’m sure he’s racking up. This will haunt him for the rest of his life, guilty or not guilty…”

3. Stand your Ground is an awful law, with enabling consequences for an already blood-soaked, aggressive, speedy population.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


34 Responses to “Agree or Disagree with the Verdict, 3 Mindful Things We Can All Understand about Trayvon & George Zimmerman.”

  1. kimberlylowriter says:

    Thank you for this, Waylon.

  2. randolphr says:

    Zimmerman felt his life was threatened ….. every morning he looked in the mirror.

  3. Lilly says:

    To all broken hearths tonite… Know this… It hurts… But will never go that identical way… Ever. One down.. A few more to knock down.. But we'll be too many to ever got all nocked out….and it will never, ever happen again! I promise that. we are emerging from the thoughest of hurts… Keep making it better for everyone…

  4. JD says:

    Before going into outrage, take a moment of stillness. Examine your own life, as to what you can do differently. Then make changes to do so.

  5. AVG says:

    It is sad that two lives have been lost. A young man who will never achieve his potential and another man who's life will never be the same. I saw his defense team a few times and doubt that they were that more skilled. I think it would be interesting to examine the deliberation of the 6 female jurors. I think therein lies the reason behind the decision.

  6. Vickster V says:

    This article places the issue into a balanced perspective which is not supported by the media. The number of victims is rising by the hour as people succumb to an imbalanced media that fuels hatred and uprising into the public's hearts and veins. In order to not be victimized by the media and reflex of our emotions, we have to filter images and information and examine everything that is in our minds with objectivity. In order to accomplish that, we have to begin with an objective mind and heart. This luxury is probably possessed by 25% of the population, so a percentage of the rest of the public will have a knee-jerk emotional, physical reaction, while others will remain apathetic. And that is not nearly as sad as an angry, aggressive teen losing his life in a confrontation with a vigilante, self-proclaimed peace-keeper but, it is the same negative, mindless energy that moves like a wave to and fro across the nation like a lethal stream of consciousness.

  7. Stuart says:

    "practice compassion for all"…that is what I have been advocating today, and everyday. Compassion for everyone.

  8. Vickster V says:

    I have mixed emotions about posting anything related to this case but this article places the issue into a balanced perspective which is not supported by the media. The number of "victims" is rising by the hour as people succumb to an imbalanced media that fuels hatred and uprising into the public's hearts and veins. In order to not be victimized by the media and reflex of our emotions, we have to filter images and information and examine everything that is in our minds with objectivity. In order to accomplish that, we have to begin with an objective mind and heart. Unfortunately, this ability is not possessed by enough of the population, so a percentage of the rest of the public will have a knee-jerk emotional, physical reaction, while others will remain apathetic. And that is not nearly as sad as an angry, aggressive teen losing his life in a confrontation with a vigilante, self-proclaimed peace-keeper but, it is the same negative, mindless energy that moves like a wave to and fro across the nation like a lethal stream of consciousness. So, check in with yourself. Have your opinion but don't be swayed emotionally either way so that your contribution to the stream of consciousness leaves no mark upon others other than the pure energy that comes from the heart.

  9. @WmAnthony says:

    Agree that there are few winners here. I read a very profound Tweet which suggested that our world would indeed be a better place if a lone young black male was asked if he wanted a ride home out of the rain rather than being followed

  10. DMZ says:

    I don't think mindfulness is about naivete or failing to do research. George Zimmerman's life is not ruined- he is an international vigilante star- he has many supporters paying his bills. There is no evidence that Trayvon started the fight- none. There is no evidence that he used concrete as a weapon. He did not die in concrete = he died in the middle of grass. There are witnesses that say Trayvon feared for his life and cried out for help-not just his friend on the phone but the neighbors that called police. We can not change conditions we will not look at squarely and honestly. Implicit racism and classism killed Trayvon.__

  11. Cheryl M says:

    My heart breaks for the young Trayvon and his family. My heart sighs for the weight GZ must carry deep down inside. My mind does not understand a court system which allowed GZ the option of not testifying.

  12. Thanks, Waylon. As you say, compassion is all.

  13. scout4282001 says:

    " This is sad " Race had nothing to do with it " You need a wake up call my friend. Non-violent protest. Don't go to or vacation Florida-Don't spend any money in Florida – Don't buy anything from the internet from Florida. If you already live in Florida run for public office and change the law or move. " Sad" no this is Sickening.

  14. karen says:

    This trial & the juries verdict was NEVER about racism. Do we always have to go there. I am not racist at all & would have also have found him not guilty. It's all about reasonable doubt

  15. Sibila Velasco says:

    I think this is absolutely unbelievable, GZ maybe is not

    Guilty to shot a 15 year old kid, maybe he didn’t want

    to kill a teenager, but he did! My dom of 17 would it react

    the same if somebody follows him. I found very heart

    Breaking for his family and for his young life GZ is not guilty.

    And is not about racism is more about why everyone can

    Carry and buy a gun, is totally obvious not everybody is capable

    to use it….but my question is also…GZ would it you shot if he

    He was a white kid?….would it you be scared of your life if the

    color of his skin weren’t be black….

  16. ed skis says:

    I'm sorry but while I completely agree with the tragedy of it all, I disagree with the way you frame it. You perpetuate the same lopsided images (childhood photos) and statements that have twisted this story from the start. Why not show George Z with playful puppies that he loved and wanted to protect in a neighborhood that was becoming increasingly unsafe? Why does any neighborhood have to put up with increasing crime and violence. Yes, compassion for Trayvon, but I'd like to see some balanced compassion for the Zimmermans and the threatened neighborhoods of the country.

  17. scout4282001 says:

    It's as simple as this: Trayvon Martin was murdered and someone is responsible. The jury convicted Trayon Martin of his own murder. I have no zero compassion for Zimmerman. What I do have is contempt for him and his hoards of apologists.

  18. I agree with much of this, and I agree with Ed Skis comment, finding compassion for all involved is the hard but necessary path.

    One thing I noticed though, the information on the CCW is from an intensely right wing site, not that that is a problem if the info is accurate, but if Free Republic and Reddit were the only places I was seeing info, I'd want to look for a little more balanced confirmation.

    Also, Zimmerman's defense did not invoke the Stand Your Ground law. I agree that they need to go, or be severely amended, but though the police initially indicated that he gave Stand Your Ground law as a reason for his actions, he waived his right to invoke this law during the trial and didn't opt for a SYG hearing, which would have been necessary to use this defense. In all probability, it was a decision made to keep him off of the stand.

    It's a sad, sad thing no matter how you look at it.

  19. charlie43 says:

    I am not surprised at the acquittal of George Zimmerman. There was no evidence that could be honestly and objectively proved. If we are to believe in our justice system, regardless of its flaws, then we must accept the fact that the jury could find no real reason to convict. It has to be proven beyond any shadow of a doubt, and is something the prosecution could not accomplish. Regardless of how people feel about Trayvon Martin or George Zimmerman, there must be proof of wrongdoing. This was never proven. Speculation and racism are the cards played throughout this trial and acquittal. We are lucky in the country to be judged by a jury of our peers. I have to think that a jury of six women would not be gung-ho to convict, even though motherhood is the supreme driving force. Zimmerman was found not guilty. It is our duty and obligation, regardless of how we feel, that should dictate our reactions to this set of circumstances.

  20. elephantjournal says:

    Oh, that's heartbreaking. Let's walk our talk and check in with whomever we see walking home alone at night, next time, and even if we or they don't feel comfortable offering/accepting a ride from a stranger, at least smile and check in to see if they're alright.

  21. elephantjournal says:

    Funny take on this–the info from CCW is being included here to show that even those who support CCW would not support how Zimmerman comported himself.

  22. elephantjournal says:

    Thank you. Aggression perpetuates aggression…and that includes online, online bullying, angry tweets, and comments. We can change the world for the better without creating enemies—in fact, it's the only way.

  23. daryl morazzini says:

    This is a good article except that, "Stand Your Ground" was not used in the decision process by the jury, and was not a factor in the trial. The Defense did not use the "Stand Your Ground" law as part of their defense, and also, because Zimmerman was on his back when he fired, Stand Your Ground was no longer relevant.

    Otherwise, I think all three of these points are very valid.

  24. Jane says:

    I was in hat area when it happened and heard the reports before the Cabal and racists go involved. Zimmerman was on neighborhood watch. There had been a recent series of breakins. Simmer called the police, rather than act on his own. You can too by sounds on 911 tape – Z’s breathing and the wind, that when advised not to follow the 17 year old man, Zimmerman did so. The police did not press charges because of the same reasons the jury found – that evidence was that the very big Martin was the attacker. (Why does every pic on this page show Martin as a little kid?)

    With the Cabal news media doctoring Zimmerman’s pics to remove injury and showing Martin as 12 years old and calling him a child, the sheeple tend to fall in line. But I am very happy that the Cabal were unable to incite as much racial violence as they desired.

    One lesson is regarding the anger in Martin’s heart that caused him to be violent

  25. Jane says:

    I apologize for all the typos while using my phone!

    I wanted to say that we are past MLK days when blacks had such anger to deal with for personal experiences. So MLK spoke against violence. Now we need to speak against manufactured anger and urge taking mindful charge of thoughts that result in anger. You see how so many people on this page have such anger against Zimmerman, and did have before checking facts. Most have still not checked facts. How far will you let that anger caused by lack of responsible for your thoughts and opinions take you? Wake up and stop being manipulated. Be on the side if truth a d self responsibility.

  26. scout4282001 says:

    Compassion to the point of the need for a CCW. Did the Buddha carry?

  27. nile says:

    THIS IS A multiple and ongoing CRIME. That murder can go unpunished and a boys life stolen and ended by a self appointed; gun totting, vigilante. Then the message that this verdict sends out to people of color, children of color is horrific and toxic. Community by community if we don't take a stand against this; the debilitating and saddest crime of all takes place, complacency and numb defeat. My heart goes out to the Martin family and any child who now feels they don't count as much as another kid because of their color. Any positive push you can place in your personal world against this recent slash at justice, please do it. For Trayvon Martin and and the Trayvon's to come.

  28. Dr. Steven Hall says:

    When you compare this case with that of Marissa Alexander, a black woman recently sentenced to serve 20 years for firing warning shots at her allegedly abusive husband against whom she had already taken out a restraining order, both verdicts make perfect sense from a white, patriarchal world view. That is the real crime that needs to be addressed: how deeply entrenched and pervasive that world view is in our laws and society.

  29. Michelle Marchildon says:

    I have been unable to write about this, so thank you for posting something, anything about this tragedy. As a mother of 16 and 18 year old boys, I understand how they can be confrontational, emotional and irrational. This is the very definition of adolescence. They are not thinking straight. They think everyone is picking on them. In this case, Trayvon was right. George Zimmerman made a half dozen calls to 911 before this night all about African Americans out to do him harm. The operator told him not to follow this young man. He did, and a fight ensued. It was a perfect storm of racism, fear and anger. The truth is, that if a black man in America was found over a dead body with a smoking gun, he would not be free today. That is something we must live with, but despite that, nothing will bring this boy back to his mother. Nothing. It is too late.

  30. elephantjournal says:

    Correct. Thank you. My point to Kate was just that Stand your Ground laws have influenced the context and even state of mine of Florida citizens, giving them a kind of confidence in their impunity…enough to, say, follow someone in a truck, get out despite warnings by law, and get into an altercation…because they have a gun on their side…as well as the law.

  31. Laura S. says:

    With all due respect, unless you were in the courtroom, you don't have any way of knowing whether or not the verdict was about racism. Maybe it was. Maybe it wasn't. Those of us who weren't in the deliberation room will never know. Personally, I am more inclined to believe that Zimmerman should have been convicted, but in an effort to not fan the flames, I think it's very important to label it as such: it is an opinion – not a statement of fact – because I was not there and I did not hear the evidence, and I did not sit in the deliberation room. And there is nobody – absolutely nobody – who is not racist to a certain degree. The best we can do is be authentic and take ownership of the times when we – whether intentionally or due to lack of knowledge or experience – do, say or think anything that can in any part be attributed to assumptions we make about another based on their race. Whatever the actual truth of this situation, we have to acknowledge that there is a phenomenal amount of racism in this country. There is a phenomenal amount of violence. The fact that there is even a credible argument for racism being the motivation for the crime – whether it actually was in this case or not – speaks to the larger problem of racially motivated violence that is rampant in our culture. And that's what we need to focus on: what each of us can do, given our particular circumstances, expertise and perspective to own our culture's violent, knee-jerk fearful tendencies, and work towards changing them. We're all implicitly involved.

  32. Laura S. says:

    Charlie – I agree with most of what you said, and am glad to see a reminder here that an acquittal is not synonymous with the jury saying GZ was not guilty – all an acquittal implies is that the prosecution did not prove with no room for doubt. Just to keep things accurate – guilt does not have to be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt – this is a common misconception. It has to be proven beyond a *reasonable* doubt. While that might seem like a quibble, there is a vast difference, because beyond a "shadow" of a doubt would imply that the person can't be found guilty unless there is absolutely no way that anyone could believe, based on the evidence, that the person is not definitely guilty. I think this may be where we get into trouble sometimes, and why race plays a big part in many cases, even if the people involved don't appear to be – or don't believe they, themselves to be – racist. Regardless of our *intentions* we all have blinders, to a certain degree, when it comes to the experience, perspective, and "reasonable" beliefs of someone whose life is significantly different from ours in some way (in this case, the experience of being of a different race). To me, this is why we have to be especially careful about assuming that we aren't racist just because we don't have conscious animosity towards people of other races. The fact is that we all *do* have limited understanding, which translates to unconscious assumptive perceptions about people of races other than our own, and so, regardless of whether or not we believe racism to be a conscious and malicious component of a verdict, we must acknowledge that to some degree it *will* play a part. So – I don't think there is any definitive answer in terms of singular cases like this. What we *can* do is use these cases, every time they come up – which, tragically, they will again – to re-motivate us to work in whatever way we can towards educating both ourselves and others about the problems inherent in our highly racist culture, and continue to find ways to make things better in whatever small way we can.

  33. @castellani says:

    When I hear "have compassion for George Zimmerman" – for me, that translates to don't worry be happy and "forget what happened and move on."

    A viable solution is not to subdue my feelings by forcing fake compassion towards Zimmerman. What exactly does that mean or accomplish? It accomplishes nothing for Trayvon and everything for Zimmerman. Is that what Buddhism is, just a pop theory of compassion? I was under the impression that Buddhism is an active decision.

    No one knows if Zimmerman is going to suffer. It isn't for us to "decide" if he is, or isn't going to suffer. There is no buddhist judgement placed on Zimmerman. I am compelled to ask myself – Do I want to accept the verdict of a corrupt system of fear or actively choose to live in today.

    Trayvon was shot in his own gated community, walking home to his own house.

    When Zimmerman "suspected" Trayvon of committing crimes and directly ignored 911 dispatch's advice, Zimmerman got off the phone, got out of his vehicle, continued to follow Trayvon, profiled him, stalked him and when Trayvon confronted him (like it or not – TM was legally within his "stand your ground" rights) – Zimmerman murdered him and JurorB37 is one of the juror's who helped him get off.

    There is pretty solid information that B37's husband (also an attorney) knew O’Mara and she had met him before – which should have excluded her from the jury.

    I could choose to not live in racially profiling "safe" gated community, or make sure not to wear "hoodies," or try not to talk back to over zealous neighborhood watch people, yet every situation is going to be different. Fearing (or ignoring what's happening) isn't going to solve anything either.

    Feel free to feel whatever will make you feel better tomorrow, but it doesn't change the fact that that boy is dead, and it doesn't change the fact that this court case was a farce.

    Zimmerman fails as a Neighborhood Watch person, he fails as a trusted community leader, he fails as a person of character, but he succeeded in manipulating the system.

  34. Mike says:

    Read Tim Wise and watch Race the Power of Illusion. American society was born out of racism it is the core of who we are as Americans. We should work hard embracing all of our shadows so we can see ourselves. True personal work seems to be holding and unraveling our darkness not always sitting in the light.