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Weeping in Florida

In 1950, the famed Japanese film director Akira Kurosowa made a movie titled Rashomon. In this film three people from different backgrounds are sitting out a rainstorm in an old gatehouse. As the weather beats down on them, they are remembering the tale of a woman who is raped and her husband killed. The three tell a similar story but each with a different viewpoint of the incident, each revealing a little more detail, but leaving the audience uncertain which version, if any, is the truth about what transpired.

Since the 15th century Lady Justice has been depicted wearing a blindfold. The implication of course is not that justice is blind but that it is fair. Justice is not intended to be blind to what happened but to be blind to who is giving witness and listening to all without the prejudice of appearance and what we would suspect without witness.

No one reading this is all knowing as to what happened between George Zimmerman and Treyvon Martin when their paths crossed in Sanford, Florida. We do however all bring our own perspectives drawn on our life experience prior to the trial and of our experience of the tales and testimony told in court.

The truth is a tale told from many sides, but neurologists tell us that our brain likes to have an opinion. Brain physiology drives us to take sides on what we think. We don’t like living with contradictory versions of the truth. Our mind literally makes us make up our mind. Knowing we are right is the end game of our need to summate what we think.

What we know for a fact is that Treyvon Martin lost his life, and George Zimmerman’s previous life is gone. The underlying issues of race, fear, and crime remain and will continue to remind and haunt us, all of us. And for years to come, the tragedy of this tale will be told – each telling with a different viewpoint of the incident.

Of all the faces that Lady Justice can wear to hear any case, I am most inclined to agree with her when her countenance yields compassion. What happened between George Zimmerman and Treyvon Martin isn’t a tale told in a rainstorm, but surely there is, or should be, a compassionate weeping from the heavens. And rain falling long enough can scar rocks.

Noah benShea
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