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"Why the Trayvon Martin Case Bothers Me"
By: Toni Tucker
I have written a lot about my life, my salvation, and my wishes...However, in looking at my writings and my "book" there is a subject that I have never written about or shared...
The killing of Trayvon Martin and the court saga has forced me to remember a time in my life that I have not necessarily "repressed" - it's just a difficult period to broach. Yet, the recent similarities of that of Trayvon's age, 17... as a supposed "wannabe" thug - has jarred my memory.
Yes, I have shared the abuse I witnessed directed toward my mother and sister from back in 1968, (The Escape) but, this has got to be shared, especially at this time in history!
The year was 1980... Not that long ago. I was 18 years old and one month away from my high school graduation... It was also the same year that one of my beloved family members, a cousin, one of the original seven grand-kids, was gunned down in a local mom and pop store in a Chicago neighborhood at 17 years of age...
This young, handsome, charismatic, cousin had something "to prove" to the world...something to prove to those who knew and looked up to him. But, what he had to prove was to his detriment and his demise. He had a nickname that I learned of after his passing...A nickname that young boys and girls in his circle called him with affection...It was a pseudonym for his name....
I won't share this name, it's really not necessary right now.
My cousin, was a "gang banger" a head thug who mislead teens. At this juncture in life, I didn't really see or hang around my cousin, for I was always a good "church girl" and very ambitious in school. He was 17 years old, and could have graduated from high school the same year as me...However, his journey was to be an 'outcast' from conventional life and conventional wisdom.
This is not an article or a recapturing to compare he and I. At that point in our paths we were apparently diametrically opposed in how we lived our lives. It is more of a parallel between the current media hubbub surrounding the Martin case and the loss of my dear cousin back in May of 1980. And I am not insinuating that by any means that Trayvon was a gang banger!
He was shot several times like a rabid dog in a store where he was "unarmed" and told prior to the shooting, reportedly, to "never" come to this store again, by the store owner. Well, to make it simple, my cousin obviously did not take the formidable words "don't" or "never" as an answer.
He was infatuated with the owners daughter, entered the store, the owner locked the front door, preventing my cousin from exiting...pulled out his gun and shot him in the chest, arm, leg, and shoulder. Without remorse, in cold blood...They say, he grabbed a canned soda and a bag of candy, just like Trayvon...
The family did not pursue any justice for my cousin...it was all so overwhelming for us all. His mother forgave the man who snuffed the life out of him...My grandmother pressed in with questions to all who knew him and what lead to his death.
It was indeed, a very difficult time in all of our lives. We could have been shattered, but, the majority of my family from Grandparents to cousins were strong in our faith and relationship with the Lord! I remember in the hospital in the Roseland community on the far south side, in the emergency room late at night...in the back, in the critical care unit, I heard him moan and groan in agony...I knew it was my cousin...I knew his tone and I knew his voice...It was a dreadful season...
Trayvon's mother and brother testified under oath on the witness stand that they emphatically knew that it was and is unequivocally and unilaterally hands down Trayvon's "voice" on the recording played back to them yelling out for "Help! Help, Help!" They knew his tone, his sound, his shrill. How could any mother "not know" the sound of her child. And how could a mother claim a distinct cry for help, as "her" child's scream? Love for children has to be the motivating factor in the Trayvon case. Both mothers laying hold to the moans and yells in the background of a 911 call.
The family all wore white at my cousin's funeral, it was jammed packed too. There had to have been nearly three thousand or so people who came to pay their respect to him. One guy sang a former hit song from the movie Cooley High, "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday" and girls were literally falling out and yelling in sadness. Several said that they were his "girlfriend." One of those girls, had his baby a few months later.
My cousin knew about Jesus, and when we were young children, he professed Jesus as his Lord and Savior. I even had a dream about him back in 1980, where I was searching for him and the Lord showed me this swimming pool shaped in an S with a beautiful tree with dark green leaves leaning over the pool. I got the revelation at that moment, that somehow, he made it in. Yes, his name begin with an S.
Perhaps, back in the hospital in the critical care unit, while he lay there in agony moaning and groaning in pain from the bullets that riddled his body, he had time to repent and enter into eternity by the Grace of God!
It all bothers me this Trayvon Martin incident. It's pulling out the ugly in and exposing racism to the umph degree...Some posts on social networks even blame the President for this emotional powder keg. Mostly, the "Right to Bear Arms" extremists...My stepdad is still a card carrying member of the National Riffle Association (NRA), I believe in the second amendment, but that thinking is so laced in fear and steeped in and under the umbrella of hatred that it's reprehensible. I'm not a pro-choice, or pro-gay marriage believer either...I just think more prayer should be applied with pure and contrite hearts for our Nation and President, rather than hatred and bigotry. We don't need riots or race riots, we need to cry out to God.
Perhaps, Trayvon had time to reconcile with God as he lay there on the wet grass before his heart bled out, with his Arizona Iced Tea, and Skittles bag nearby....