Will Cobb take ‘high road’ on Zimmerman fallout?
by Pete Borden
July 30, 2013 12:03 AM | 2368 views | 3 3 comments | 44 44 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Marietta Daily Journal’s news sections, as well as the op-ed pages seldom miss having at least one entry concerning the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman tragedy as well as the subsequent trial and its verdict. Indeed, one can hardly read a newspaper or magazine, watch TV or surf the internet without reading, hearing or seeing something about it. The case has, with a lot of outside help, split the nation, so to speak.

I had hoped that the people of Cobb County were above the racially divisive finger pointing, name calling and sheer idiocy overtaking a large part of the nation. Based on the disparity of opinions expressed by readers in their letters and by local columnists, it does not appear that is the case.

I read the protest signs proclaiming “Justice for Trayvon” and I wonder, “What do they mean by that? What do they expect to accomplish?” Is “justice” summed up in “Kill George Zimmerman?” Those signs are being carried too. How will that help Trayvon Martin? Will it satisfy the demand for justice? Or, must we also kill off the jurors (or maybe just the five of them who were white), the judge and the defense attorney?

Cobb County will be site of a trial starting Aug. 19 for a murder which happened in Glynn County on March 21. A 13-month-old Hispanic/white baby boy, Antonio West-Santiago, was shot in the face and killed, allegedly by a 17-year-old black youth named De’Marquise Elkins, during a robbery attempt. The baby’s mother, Sherry West, has said that she was walking the baby in his stroller when two youths, Elkins and 15-year-old Dominique Lang, approached her and demanded money. When she told them she had no money, that all her money was spent on taking care of her baby, Elkins reportedly asked “Do you want me to shoot your baby?” West said they first shot her, one shot grazing her head and the other entering her leg, above the knee. The older of the two then walked over to the stroller and allegedly shot Antonio in the face. They then fled the scene.

Obviously this will be a high-profile case at least in Cobb County. We must hope that it does not attract the national attention attached to the Martin/Zimmerman trial, or we will watch our county turned into a seething hotbed of hate and malice, provoked by divisive “leaders” who continue to fan the flames of a dying racial prejudice.

There is already talk that either the baby’s mother or father killed him for the insurance money, and are trying to railroad these two “innocent” little boys. At present it is just talk, but, in the wrong hands, it can be turned into a racial conspiracy. We must guard against allowing that kind of thing to happen.

We need to quit the demonstrations, the protests, the signs and banners, the hate speech and the racially divisive talk. Race relations in this country, until recently, have been vastly improved. For better or worse we elected a black President. Atlanta has seen a long string of black mayors, black police chiefs and city councils, as have many other localities all over the country. Blacks are significantly represented in the Senate and the House of Representatives, not only nationally, but in almost every state legislature.

Our schools, governments, workplaces, fire departments, police forces and the military are all evidence of the coming to fruition of Dr. King’s dream, of a time when people are judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.

I fear that all the racially divisive and inflammatory talk and actions of the past month may well set that progress back further than any of us wants to imagine. Dr. King, were he here, would most assuredly prevail upon us all to let cooler heads prevail and to preserve the progress we have made. He would be saddened indeed if it is thrown away over one unfortunate tragedy, and the desire of some to heat the flames of racial hatred to a white hot state, to further their own agendas.

Cobb has the opportunity to take the high road and show the rest of the country how it should be done. It remains to be seen if we do so.

Pete Borden is a retired masonry consultant from east Cobb.

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Devlin Adams
July 31, 2013
To ninalove,

As a Cobb citizen and one who happens to be black, I take exception to several things in your response to Mr. Borden’s column.

First, if you have not seen the “Kill Zimmerman” signs, it is because either you closed your eyes to them, or you were not looking at anything that does not support your views.

Second, you talk about seeking justice. What is your idea of justice? You want to convict Zimmerman in the face of a mountain of evidence indicating he is not guilty of anything more than trying to do what he volunteered to do and then defending himself against someone who attacked him? Is that your idea of justice?

Third, you say the senseless violence must stop, but we need to continue the senseless protests and demonstrations which often lead to senseless violence? What do you expect to gain by them? The verdict is not gong to be changed. Trayvon is not going to be brought back, nor are his parents going to be helped. But, our entire race is going to be hurt if we continue to foment the racial hatred, as expounded by Sharpton, Jackson, Holder and Obama.

In regard to your examples of racial incidents, yes I experienced them, but not in the last TWENTY FIVE TO THIRTY YEARS. I was born in 1940 in rural East Texas and grew up in South Georgia during the time that racial hatred was practiced openly. I have seen the KKK and watched as the very sight of them filled the hearts of my people with terror.

I seriously doubt that you have encountered any of the things you mention, except in your own mind or in the retold and varnished experiences of others. You talk about people moving over to let you pass, when you are obviously overtaking them on a jogging path. What are they supposed to do, make you and your family veer off the path, possibly into the street? Sounds like someone extended you a courtesy and you chose to view it as an act of discrimination.

As to a clerk following you around in a store, that won’t wash either. Unless you have done something to arouse suspicion, I am can assure that neither, Kohl’s, Sears, Kroger, Office Max or Home Depot have enough staff to assign someone to watch every black customer who comes through the door. This type of thing went out with the mom and pop stores.

Sounds to me like you prefer to look for racism and, if there is none, you imagine it anyway.

As a member of the black race, we have two choices. We can dwell on the negatives and view everything as racist, or we can concentrate on the positives and the progress made in race relations over the past fifty years.

If people keep listening to the hatred spewed by the New Black Panther leaders, Sharpton, Jackson, Holder and even our President, your vision of an America where racial hatred is an ugly presence , will definitely become reality..

July 30, 2013
All of these issues are people tired; tired of violence, tired of injustice, tired of the status quo. I don’t think I saw a sign saying ‘Kill George Zimmerman’ however there many seeking justice. A woman lost her son tragically in Sanford just as this woman lost her baby horrifically in front of her very eyes. This senseless violence needs to stop, but the protests and the demonstrations need to continue in order to see this to its end. More of these incidents occur in places where the need is greatest but the resources few. As a child growing up in Detroit (yes Detroit) we had the boys and girls clubs and the YMCA to get the kids doing something other than hanging on the streets. And it was FREE. You didn’t see as many obese children either.

Mr. Borden, as a fine Cobb citizen and one that happens to be white you may not have had the misfortune of a police officer stopping you for no apparent reason and later letting you go without explanation, or a store clerk following you around in the store ensuring you don’t steal, or joggers letting you pass them by on the sidewalk because they feel uncomfortable as you and your children jog pass. But unfortunately sir, it still exists. We are by no means in a post-racial society, we are regrettably still caught in the quagmire of inequality. But there is hope. Our eloquent president, (for better or for worse) takes time to remind everyone of this. Let’s pray for peace as yet another mother has to watch her child’s killer take the stand. Let God give her the strength to endure.

August 01, 2013
Oh brother! Its called common courtesy to move to the side and let people pass when they are walking or running faster than you. You need to get a grip and stop being so paranoid.
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