Crime and Punishment

I read Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky in college.  The story has many layers but the one thing I remember is the guilt that Raskolnikov felt as he argued with himself over the many good deeds that he had performed outweighed murdering someone. That internal push-pull of him trying to justify his actions eventually takes over his entire being. 

It is the first thing I thought about when I read this morning that George Zimmerman was found not guilty on all charges on killing Trayvon Martin.  Zimmerman said he had killed Martin in self-defense.  Martin, a young black man who had yet to see his 17th birthday was walking home when a strange man followed him starting with a car and then on foot.  What was the fear that Martin felt?  We will never know because that strange man, George Zimmerman, killed him. 

Florida, the state that this heinous crime took place in, has a law called "stand your ground".  Essentially private citizens are allowed to carry concealed weapons and can use them in self defense when a person believes they are being threatened.  To me that means that the state of Florida has given each citizen a right to be their own police.  I am sure there are plenty of studies that show that more innocent people get killed and crime rates have actually gone up from this law not down.  IMHO, citizens should not be the police.

I read about the case as it went through the court of law the past few weeks.  My take away is that a young defenseless man who has nothing but skittles in his pocket with him was walking home in the dark when someone decided that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and decided to pursue him, with gun in hand, and in the end for whatever reasons we will never know, shot and killed him in cold blood. 

The outcome of that trial is senseless and heartbreaking.  I am not sure that time will ever heal the wounds that Zimmerman inflicted on the Martin family.  Yet, if you believe in Crime and Punishment, it is Zimmerman who will have to live with the true story of what a terrible crime he committed.  Every day he has to get up and live with what he did.  Only he knows as we were not able to hear the other side of the story because the only other person there was killed.  Zimmerman gets to grow old, walk the streets freely and live his life.  Trayvon Martin does not.

As for the gun laws in the state of Florida and the juries conclusion we can only be sad and dismayed.  I was thinking about going to Basel this year in Miami but I do not want to support the state of Florida.  Just like the Senators who voted against gun laws this past year, I will not support them anymore.  It is a small amount on the grand scale but I do not plan on going to Florida any time soon or possibly ever again.