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An Open Letter to the New York Times

Dear New York Times – I have been a faithful read/subscriber for years but on the Trayvon Martin case from the get go, you have blown it. You refused to deal with the reality out of fear and you lost touch with the story. I read the verdict you published dispassionately. I read the opinions and the editor apology and the later analysis of this case and all along the way I’ve looked for your heart, your conscious, your understanding of the reality of what is not being said and have not seen it – not once.

Then I read Brian Sims’s statement and I heard what has been missing from your coverage:

“I think one of the things that most upsets me here is the “well that just the way the law works” argument or hearing that the verdict was in line with the law. It’s sort of a “that’s the way the cookie crumbles” response and it entirely ignores the policy and justice problems and implications at play here. To be clear, like most everyone else, I’m not angry because I think it’s going to bring Trayvon Martin back to life. I’m angry because there’s a justice system that somehow says that the killing of an unarmed boy by an armed civilian who defied police orders and pursued him, got in a fight, and then killed him when he was probably losing that fight is ok.”

“Simply saying that the verdict was appropriate given the system doesn’t make it any less a travesty of justice. It’s sort of like saying that the selling of slaves wasn’t unjust until it was illegal. A Justice System that allows this type of verdict is broken and that’s why people are so angry because that doesn’t seem to be changing. Fine, for argument sake, I’ll concede that this verdict was entirely in line with the law. It doesn’t make it less wrong. It was still wrong to sell slaves before the Justice System decided to make it illegal. It was still unjust to deny women equal rights before the Justice System decided it wasn’t anymore. It is still unjust that this kid was killed and saying that the verdict was in line with the law either ignores that purposefully, or is only recognizing 1/10th of the problem.”

Brian Sims, State Representative, Pennsylvania House of Representatives


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