Trayvon Martin died many days ago. Mr. Zimmerman seems to have gotten away with manslaughter, if not outright murder.
I've been waiting patiently for news of his arrest, but it's taking too long. I know Trayvon's mother has not been waiting patiently: Grief and festering injustice are her current portion.
We are not a nation of bigots, but we certainly have our moments of shame, and this is one of them.
The photo of Trayvon in a hoodie could be the child--or more likely now!--the grandchild of many of my friends and neighbors. Every time I see him, my heart aches more and more.
See, here in Elmira, New York, we have a very large black minority. I'm not sure what the percentages are, but I can tell you that a huge number of celebrants on St. Patrick's day around here are black. And they are just as Irish as their fellow-partiers.
Illustration: when my daughters were teens, a good-sized group of their friends were in a heated argument about bigotry in Elmira. They were sitting around our living room when I finally caught on to what they were discussing. As I recall, at least one-third of the kids where mixed-race, as we say around here. I scanned their faces as they waited for me to throw in my two cents' worth.
I shook my head, laughed and told them I was the only minority in the room.
Every child before me was at least one-quarter Irish! And the mixed race kids were one-half. It turned out that the most fully black child had a bigger touch of Green that even I do.
For the record, my Irish is Ulster: a mixure of Scottish and English and Protestant Irish.
All those children were family friends and all of them precious to me. A rash of teenage suicide a few years ago thinned out the boys, all of them white. All dearly missed.
If we had to worry about our sons and daughters being killed for wearing a hoodie in the tonier neighborhoods... Well, I find that unthinkable here in Elmira. If we are White, our neighbors are Black or Hispanic or whatever. Surely our neighbors wouldn't shoot a neighbor's child?!
Dear God, at least I hope not.