A much larger, clearer version of the picture to the left, showing Trayvon Martin ‘s dead body in the grass after being shot by George Zimmerman, was shown today on MSNBC and posted on Gawker, a move which was met with mixed reactions. On one hand, many were outraged by this image being released to the public figuring it was completely in bad taste and should be only consumed by people essential to solving the case. On the other hand, many other people were saddened and disgusted at the fact that they even saw it in the first place. Of course there are many people who did NOT need to see this picture to be saddened, angered or frustrated by the true nature of Trayvon’s death – but can we definitively state that there aren’t people out there who have lost sight of the true human tragedy of Trayvon’s death – and ANY murder for that matter? See, what really disturbs many of those people more than anything else is being rocked out of their comfortable ignorance.
We know bad things happen in the world, but not actually seeing them explicitly helps many of us to refrain from becoming uncomfortably familiar with them. Unfortunately, avoiding that discomfort has directly resulted in many of us becoming desensitized.
As a dual citizen of Canada and Barbados, I was at home with my aunt in Warrens, St. Michaels on January 12th, 2010, when a catastrophic earthquake ripped through Haiti. The one thing people everywhere had in common was that we all had no real idea of the magnitude of the damage caused by the event but as the days slowly crawled by, early estimates were proven to be horribly wrong and the true extent of the horrific event began to unfold. I won’t claim to have been anymore emotionally invested than anyone else simply because of my island’s relative proximity to Haiti, but I do remember how much of the island was gripped in an underlying fear of ‘what if that happened here?’ especially when another, albeit much smaller, earthquake hit the Cayman Islands exactly one week later on January 19th. But, I began to notice something that truly disturbed me – and it was how quickly and easily most of my friends from North America had distanced themselves from the tragedy.