What do we do when a gun is valued more than a black man’s life, in 2016?

J. Cole asked what’s the price of a black man’s life? And when he checked the toe tag, there were no zeros in sight.

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That’s the first problem.

But when a gun which was used to take the life of a black man, senselessly, sells for $250,000, there’s an even bigger problem.

Immediately, I think way back to a time in my history—a time we do not like to discuss, but a time that did exist. The auction block. The block that was used to display slaves for slaveholders to choose who they wanted. The slave(s) would, of course, go to the highest bidder. Zimmerman’s gun, went to the highest bidder. In an excerpt I read on the history of auction blocks, the writer said, “the expression on the faces of all who stepped on the block was always the same, and told of more anguish than it is in the power of words to express. Blighted homes, crushed hopes and broken hearts was the sad story to be read in all the anxious faces.” I can only imagine the expressions on the faces of Tamir, Michael, Mike, Sandra, and Trayvon, and the anguish they felt before taking their last breaths, as well as the blighted homes, crushed hopes, and broken hearts their parents and families are still experiencing.

What do we do when we’ve traveled back almost 300 years in history?

George Zimmerman, an ex-neighborhood watch volunteer, has been living his life with no regret since the day he gunned down an unarmed, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012.

I still remember where I was at the time I heard that Zimmerman was acquitted for second-degree murder. And I also recall how, not so much angry, but heartbroken, I felt when I heard those two unmitigated words: not guilty.
Here I am, 3 years later, hearing Zimmerman sold his pistol for more than my Hampton University tuition.

I am infuriated. But what most infuriates me, is the painful lack of injustice those effected by Martin’s death are facing. Shaun King, a New York Daily News contributor wrote, “He is the living, breathing, walking, talking personification of injustice. He is injustice in the flesh.” This is not the first injustice in 2016, and it surely will not be the last.

But, what do we do in the face of injustice, in 2016?

I know you may not know the answer, and I’m not quite sure either. I know it’s extremely easy to let our minds become desensitized to everyday injustices due to our own personal problems, but I simply encourage you to keep your mind open. Pay attention. Wake up.

I am grateful to GunBroker and the United Gun Group for denying Zimmerman’s attempt to auction his gun on their websites, and I also admire the Martin family for keeping their dignity despite this heartless notion to auction a gun used to kill their baby boy. According to CNN, Martin’s family declined to comment on the sale of the gun, but will continue to fight against gun violence through the Trayvon Martin Foundation.

If injustice inspires you, you can do the same.

Author: Maya J. Boddie

Daughter. Sister. Friend. Lover. Giver. Writer. Dreamer. Doer.

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