“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone wo begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.”
~Matthew 5.38-42, New Revised Standard Version
“Then Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”
~Matthew 26.52, New Revised Standard Version
George Zimmerman has been arrested, charged by Special Prosecutor Angela Corey with second degree murder in the killing of Trayvon Martin. His parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, were said to be “overwhelmed by the news.” Before they spoke to those gathered and watching on television, thanking God for the arrest of George Zimmerman, Rev. Al Sharpton said, “There is no victory here. There are no winners here. This is not about gloating. This is about pursuing justice.” A point almost lost in recent weeks to the threats of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP), who had placed a bounty on the head of George Zimmerman (Their presence in Sanford, Florida was not welcomed by the parents of Trayon Martin.) and the announcement from the neo- Nazi, National Socialist Movement (NSM) that they would protect “local citizens from the area who are concerned for the safety of their families.” There has been talk of race- baiting and a potential race war.
Ironically, Charles Manson, the cult leader now 77, was recently up for his twelfth parole hearing after he attempted to incite just that. Manson and three of his followers were convicted of killing five people in 1969, including actress Sharon Tate. Afterwards, they wrote in blood words like “Helter Skelter” (the song recorded by The Beatles on The White Album) and “pig” in the blood of their victims. Yesterday, I saw a video recording of a European American tourist visiting Baltimore, Maryland during Saint Patrick’s Day weekend who is beaten, robbed and literally stripped of his clothing by a group of African American men and women. And many persons are aware of what has been described as a “shooting spree” in Tulsa, Oklahoma where two European American males, Jake England, 19 and Alvin Watts, 32 have been charged with multiple counts of first degree murder after killing three and wounding two African American men. Sadly, the murders occurred on the second anniversary of the death England’s father who he says was killed by a socially colored black man, causing persons to consider the killings race- related and perhaps revengeful.
So, where does this leave us? Now, everyone is talking about race, rehearsing old battles and showing our scars. Historic fears are being revived and color lines are being drawn by new generation. But, George Zimmerman is in custody. Charles Manson has been denied parole. Investigators are pursuing the culprits of the Saint Patrick’s Day assault who posted statements about the event on Facebook and Twitter. England and Watts have both confessed to the shootings.
We know that race, its cultural stereotypes and socially color- coded prejudices are wrong. Still, we continue to sow this seed in conversation and in deed. We continue to reap its harvest, to gather its fruit and feed it to generation after generation, knowing and understanding the damage that will be caused. We are repeating race’s history. It’s rules have not changed: “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” … “a life for a life.” And the results will remain the same, we will live and die by the sword and there is no victory in this.