I don’t blame Trayvon Martin’s mother for being too upset by his death to accept the clear evidence that George Zimmerman was acting in self-defense. Nor do I blame her for reaching out to the family of another criminal who was shot in self-defense and then became a cause célèbre.
But Sybrina Fulton closes her open letter to the Brown family, published by Time Magazine, with something that sounds suspiciously like a threat.
To The Brown Family,
I wish I had a word of automatic comfort but I don’t. I wish I could say that it will be alright on a certain or specific day but I can’t. I wish that all of the pain that I have endured could possibly ease some of yours but it won’t. What I can do for you is what has been done for me: pray for you then share my continuing journey as you begin yours…
But then she closes with:
The galvanizations of our communities must be continued beyond the tragedies. While we fight injustice, we will also hold ourselves to an appropriate level of intelligent advocacy. If they refuse to hear us, we will make them feel us. Some will mistake that last statement as being negatively provocative. But feeling us means feeling our pain; imagining our plight as parents of slain children. We will no longer be ignored. We will bond, continue our fights for justice, and make them remember our children in an appropriate light. I would hate to think that our lawmakers and leaders would need to lose a child before protecting the rest of them and making the necessary changes NOW…
If “We will make them feel us” isn’t needlessly provocative, what is it? It sounds rather ominous, especially considering her last sentence. It sounds like she’s wishing dead children on anybody who doesn’t see things her way.
Is a mother’s grief an excuse for stoking the fires in Ferguson? Are we just supposed to ignore all the evidence again?