I was watching the George Zimmerman trial a little bit this week. Today they brought in a dummy to represent both participants in what would turn out to be a life-ending skirmish.
I don’t know all the details. I don’t think anyone can know exactly what happened. But I think the dummy wasn’t far off. At least in most cases it is not.
I miss the old days when boys and men (mostly) would get rattled and offended and there would be threats and somebody’s mother would inevitably take some verbal jab and there would be cursing and a crowd would gather. The two combatants, usually drunk, would go at it until one actually took a good bloodied punch or they were both too exhausted to continue.
Nowadays people just bring a gun to fistfight.
I wonder if it could have ended differently if both men would have held their arms out and said, “Hey, I don’t want any trouble.” Backing away, backing away. Heck, Trayvon could have run safely away. I’m sure he could have outrun George.
There are a lot of things I miss about the “old days.” Lots of things I lament. I miss Winkleman’s and Hudson’s. I miss Kresge’s slurpees and Hardees pickles. I miss the old corned beef at my favorite deli before they started making it differently.
I miss Cutlass Supremes and the cheesy pre-stroke Dick Clark. I miss our old city pool and the days when I didn’t find new gray hairs or have my hands ache every morning when I get up.
I miss people and pets. Shades of younger versions of me. Moments gone. Abilities and opportunities gone, too.
I miss the days when drunken buggers used to get steamed over a gal or over a ball game or a favorite team or defending a favorite school. I miss the days when fistfights were something that people chuckled over the morning after.
Instead now we watch the sad ramifications of such poor choices splashed on every news channel.
I wish we all had a common goal. That the bottom line at any time was to make sure everyone gets to go home in a safe and healthy manner.
I wish parents and coaches didn’t teach their kids how to throw head shots. I wish kids didn’t learn how to take out a knee or to throw a fastball high and tight.
I wish I didn’t read about mom and daughter teams poisoning family members for the insurance money or families who deal drugs together or sell kids into sex slavery.
I don’t know when we stopped holding life up so preciously. Sacredly. Especially.
People don’t play by the same rules anymore.
What do you say when a kid gets shot for his pair of gym shoes?
People can talk all they want and complain all they want about government and religion and privacy rights and civil rights. People are always going to complain about taxes and gas prices and intruding in-laws and busy-body neighbors.
I just wish we wouldn’t kill each other. Period.
I’ll take the rising gas prices. Presidents as they come and go. I’ll take the sad goodbyes of favorite stores and old-fashioned food treats and buildings and homes that fall down to ruin.
I just want everyone to make it home safely. To have a shot at tomorrow. To awake again amidst a glorious day of possibilities.
I don’t want any trouble.
You don’t get a do-over when you bring a gun to a fistfight. Both lives are ruined. One goes to prison and one to the morgue. Two families, at least, in shambles.
It is the job of the light to shine. To make brighter. To give chase to the dark.
We all need to step up and shine up. There’s a lot of darkness out there.
In our own relationships, in our own families, in our own work places, in our own communities…We can make a difference.
We gotta love ’em up and lift ’em up and commit to a light impenetrable.
We gotta teach our young men, especially, that sometimes the price for bravado and pride is every tomorrow after that one. Every dream, every love, every person, every moment.
There never was anything wrong with getting your nose bloodied so you could realize you weren’t going to be so quick the next time.
There aren’t any mulligans in a gun fight.
I wish you all safety. From that precious beginning, all things follow. The ability to feel safe in our homes and our cars, on our streets, at our schools and jobs.
Let’s not kill anyone. Let’s not end up on cable news at our trial and across every newspaper headline.
Let’s help each other get home safely. Whether that means not driving too fast or drunk…Whether that means not packing heat and going looking for trouble…Whether that means not stalking or bullying or being reckless trying to show off…
Let’s just not kill anyone. It isn’t our job. Not our right. Not our duty.
Let’s try to help everyone get another tomorrow. Who knows what wonders might await all of us with that kind of gift and power.