Two snows in two weeks, an earthquake centered just north to northeast of Augusta, GA, and a 7th round draft pick (the last round of the NFL Draft) being named Super Bowl MVP are events some would say are incredulous or totally unexpected, even irrational.
It rarely snows here in Atlanta, but when a critical mass of one inch falls, it brings an entire metro area to its knees; an earthquake grounded 2 hours away can have its aftershocks felt as far away as Tennessee, and if items in one's place of residence isn't shaken or disturbed, the reminder that there are fault lines on the East Coast lets one know the ground may not be as solid as you think. And in the case of one Malcolm Smith, a former University of Southern California player who is recruited by one Pete Carroll, who also happens to be his head coach (Seattle Seahawks), took a chance on him in the last round of the 2011 NFL Draft, only to see him rise to the occasion during the 2014 NFL Playoffs, from being the recipient of a game-ending tip by cornerback Richard Sherman, to picking off Denver Broncos' quarterback Payton Manning, resulting in a touchdown.
Earlier today, some more incredulous news took place, but if you really think about it, it mirrors the same degree of a miscarriage of justice as in a more reported case dealing with a young male of African-American background. While the former case involves a young man armed with Skittles and some iced tea, this young man is armed with nothing, save for doing something that teenagers do: a loud, throbbing beat, reciting their favorite lyrics, and resulting in an action that makes you wonder.
Jordan Davis is a young man whose life is lost due to the senseless act of Michael Dunn from the standpoint that the only real threat is that he played his music too loud. Contrary to Dunn's claims, none of the young people with Davis are armed and are actually in their vehicle when for some reason, Dunn felt the need to act by firing into the vehicle. And while Dunn is likely to serve a considerable length of time for the 2nd degree attempted murder of three of the four people parked in the vehicle, he is actually "rewarded" for the murder of Davis in that he is found not guilty of committing murder in the first degree.
Based on Florida statue, some of the conditions needed in order for murder to be of the first degree include (but are not limited to) unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb or murder. Now, from what I can tell, I would figure that some people would consider firing a gun into a vehicle full of unarmed youth an example of discharging a destructive device; likewise, from what I can gather, if four people are in a vehicle and alive before a shooting happens, and that number reduces to three, then it would be reasonable to believe that one of the people died, or perhaps got murdered.
And for whatever reason, a jury, presumably of Dunn's peers, have some difficulty in grasping this concept? Really?
To make matters worse, there is going to be some level of public outcry, and deservedly so. However, what of the real, tangible, time-consuming, strategic action that has to take place in order to effectuate changes? Just because things clearly went in a far different direction as evidenced in the Zimmerman case (and others which are equally as questionable, even in the event where the ethnic background of the victims and perpetrators of such crimes may differ [Dunn is a Caucasian male while Davis is an African-American male] or even be the same), it doesn't mean that things can't be or will never be different. It means that changes take place over time, and it takes sustained effort, especially where it is clear that misapplication of the law is becoming more of the norm instead of the exception.
To all those who are angry and riled up, have you considered channeling your energy into placing a phone call or sending a letter clearly articulating your areas of concern to the decision-makers ranging from those who elect judges to those who appoint governmental leaders? Have you considered as consistently as possible lobbying your elected officials by doing something more than a pomp and circumstance showing at A Day at the Capitol? Even if you do not have the financial resources that veteran lobbyists have, it doesn't mean that you cannot get one's ear; it means you have to be a little more creative and consistent in getting their attention.
What about coalition building with others around common areas of concern? As the adage goes, there is strength in numbers, and for any social movement of significance, ranging from Women's Suffrage to the Civil Rights Movement, it takes multiple segments of the greater community to effectuate change.
Again, this is not to say that anger and frustration are not justified; however, don't reduce your action to a march or a protest. Have a conversation grounded in getting the anger out of your system, and then approach things with a clear mind so that your action plan has a sense of rationality and substance. Likewise, big talk is fine and dandy, but bigger action has to be the call of the day.
Hopefully, just as what took place in Florida earlier today, doesn't result in it being the hot topic of the week, only to settle as people are conditioned to essentially get mad, and then "accept" things for what they are, or simply saying that changes are going to come some day. You don't have to be a King, Malcolm X, Shirley Chisholm, Bayard Rustin, or anyone of that nature; just know that you can do something of merit and value, and keep the focus on the greater good, even if it means you may not see it happen. The systematic disenfranchisement of people of non-European descent has been taking place for more than 400 years; change isn't going to happen overnight.
However, even knowing the battle is not necessarily ours, it doesn't mean we just sit idly by and let things unfold accordingly. It doesn't mean that we put more of our energy in forgetting about it in the form of being a regular at the club, or complaining about the format of the NBA Slam Dunk contest, or saying it isn't our issue because we are not of the socioeconomic class that is usually made an example of.
Get some sleep, but sleep uneasy...