This will be short. I’ve been writing about this story over the last few days and, between phone calls, social media, heated conversations, debate rage, and the wrangling of hundreds of comments, some of which have been like little sucker punches along the way, I’m emotionally exhausted. And yet…
The story didn’t change in those 24 hours. The verdict is still “not guilty.” Trayvon Martin is still dead. The Martin family is still grieving the loss of their son and now the exoneration of his killer. That story didn’t change.
I’m weary after hours of listening to the insanity of some responses. I’m heartsick to witness how hateful and ugly people can get in the face of a young black boy’s death. I’m surprised at the rationale of some, the ‘certainty’ of others, and a sense that the core of the story, the most basic, irrefutable facts of the case, are being buried in an avalanche of interpretation that takes into account things none of us could possibly know… like, what exactly happened when Zimmerman and Martin finally made contact after the former stalked the latter in an act of misguided, ill-advised, gun-toting self-righteousness? To every single person who’s listed evidence, who’s stated “the facts as I know them,” or plied me with pious comments about the jury system and the rule of law, I have retorted NONE OF THAT MATTERS. Because ALL of this goes back to the moment George Zimmerman climbed out of his car, disregarded the instructions of police, and with his trusty gun strapped to his body, set out to stalk an innocent young black man. THAT’s the only moment that we know and THAT’s the moment that triggered (pun sadly intended) every parsed, analyzed, debated and interpreted moment that followed.
And yet, as many times as I’ve said that, it wasn’t until I saw this video that I felt like someone else was actually getting my rage, even saying some of the same things. And with the volume, the emotion, the sheer howl I’m feeling, maybe you’re feeling.
It appears no one knows who this man is; likely that will come out shortly and if it does, I’ll post an update here. [See below for that update.] Commenters have referred to him as the “old white guy.” All we know right now is that the video was posted on YouTube today by “James,” and it’s already making its way around the viral universe. I’m not surprised; it strikes a chord. Not only did his outburst bring like-minded tears to my eyes, it gave voice to the HOLLER I’d like to make right now… but I’m trying to keep to my “inside voice.”
And his image is a surprise. It goes against stereotype, against “profiling.” He’s an old, craggy, tooth-challenged white man. A man who, if someone were to profile him, would be described as a trailer park “redneck,” someone who would surely hold racist, bigoted views of this case (or any other). And that’s the surprise. That he’s not that. That he’s someone else all together.
Someone films him as he walks across a room, and his rage is so raw, so palpable, he appears to almost howl on behalf of all of us so outraged by this event and this verdict.
It oddly made me feel better after watching it. A sort of emotional purge.
But I’ll shut up now and let him take it from here.
Here’s the video:
UPDATE: A helpful commenter has identified the star of this piece as Angry Grandpa. He has a page on YouTube and uses it to spout off about a whole host of things. Here’s a link to that page: Angry Grandpa. Thanks to the commenter for the tip!
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