Impact of a Tragedy: Trayvon Martin

Impact of a Tragedy: Trayvon Martin

By Dr. Stewart Bitkoff

The whole world is a marketplace for Love,
For naught that is, from Love remains remote.
The Eternal Wisdom made all things in Love.
On Love they all depend, to Love all turn.
The earth, the heavens, the sun, the moon, the stars
The center of their orbit find in Love.
By love are all bewildered, stupefied,
Intoxicated by the Wine of Love.

Today a reader asked me to comment upon the death of Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old young man and the circumstances surrounding his death. From my point of view, I offer the following thoughts, but first let us discuss what appears to have happened.

What Happened?

According to NEWS reports, allegedly George Zimmerman, 28 years old, shot Mr. Martin because he was not adhering to the ‘Stand Your Ground Law,’ which exists in Florida. Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood patrol officer, shot this young man because he thought Martin was going to cause harm. At the time, Martin was talking on his cell phone to his girl friend and said, “Some one was following him and he was going to pull-up his Hoodie.”  Then, according to cell phone records, there was a bang (shot). Martin was returning from a trip to the 7-11 with an iced tea and pack of Skittles. Martin was Black and Zimmerman is White; Zimmerman claiming Martin would not ‘Stand His Ground’ as requested, and was threatening.

Clearly many factors may play into this event: factors such as racial profiling; poor communication; or an abrupt movement; training/selection of neighborhood patrol officers; using a gun with hasty deadly force; ambiguous laws; and fear. How this interplay of factors will be explained, what punishments will be handed out, or what societal changes will be effected is open to question and discussion.

This death of a young man is a tragedy and the average person wonders- how does this taking of a young life make any sense?  What kind of world/country is this? If there is a just God, how are events like these allowed to occur? What about the suffering brought upon Martin’s friends and family?

Multi-Level Effect

Sometime back, I wrote the following about the impact or potential outcomes of another type of tragedy. Some of this piece, pointing out the multi-level effect, applies to our present situation.

The wise claim the impact of an event is never singular. When something tragic happens the effects are multi-level, longitudinal and cannot be counted.

Let us take the example of a plane crash. Everyone would agree this is a terrible tragedy and scores of lives are changed forever. Yet the impact of this event does not end with the families involved. If you look closer you will see other impacts.

The hospitals where the injured are treated are affected; a clean-up/rescue effort is begun immediately; investigations are started to examine cause; manufacturers may be sued for faulty material; insurance companies pay or reject claims; families anxiously await news of loved ones; people are frightened and refuse to fly; and scores of lives are altered by injury and death.

As this multi-dimension exists with events; so it is with a person’s life or death. The impact or importance is never singular. We are not able to count the levels of Martin’s passing.

Perhaps as a result of this young man’s death: laws will be changed, people will be less quick to judge by externals; some sort of screening/training will be used for volunteers on neighborhood watch patrols; guns will be limited; perhaps we might even look at ourselves a little more closely and wonder how we would have reacted; send out prayers to the victim’s family; and pray for the shooter and all he might emotionally carry.

The Heart Answers

For the spiritual traveler, life is filled with many experiences that cannot be answered by the everyday consciousness- with a simple answer. Our mind balks at the senselessness of many life events; and it is only time, healing, and the higher awareness of the heart; that eases the hurt and offers some level of healing.

Daily the mind reels at the destruction that seems to be intensifying around us, and it is only time and distance that provide some sort of answer.  Why does life have to be this way? Why do so many innocents have to die? That is something that only your heart’s inner wisdom and God’s Mercy can answer. It is an answer that must be experienced, emotionally and spiritually.

Know that the answer is found in Love; as the poet Attar states above: The whole world is a marketplace for Love. This includes the good, bad and seemingly senseless shootings.

Without the friction and pain of daily life- who would turn toward something Higher and embrace the potential of another form of existence.

Death as Personal Creation

In his book, Neale Donald Walsch* discusses the subject of death, with God, and why people die; and in their discussion, God characterizes death: as an act of joyous personal creation; much like birth and is something which we personally choose and cause to happen.

Further God goes on to say: “You are the cause of your own death. This is always true, no matter where, or how, you die.

“Yes. What you call ‘death’ is wonderful. So do not grieve when a person dies, nor approach your own death with sadness or foreboding.  Welcome death as you have welcomed life, for death IS life in another form.

Welcome the death of another with soft celebration and deep happiness, for theirs is a wondrous joy.

Here is the way to a peaceful experience of death- your own or that of another: Know that the person dying is always at cause in the matter.”

Certainly, this view of death is very distant from what most spiritual travelers believe, or are taught; yet, do not automatically dismiss it -give the idea time to sink in.

Perhaps let your own heart, give an answer to this potential; consider what is being offered as a wondrous possibility. . .

While I am certain Martin did not wish to die this way, on a soul level, a different destiny involving Zimmerman was playing out. Perhaps Martin walked this path from the 7-11 to help teach us all something about prejudice and the way we are living; or the potential of life and death and how to help others.

*Neale Donald Walsch, Home With God: In A Life That Never Ends, Atria Books, New York, NY, 2006.

Also by Dr. Bitkoff, which you can purchase via Amazon: Sufism for Western Seekers.
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