Last week, my friend Dave sent me a letter written by a Sheriff Mike Scott from Fort Meyers, Florida with the following intro:
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Gentlepersons:
        I received this from a friend. I don’t necessarily agree with it.  I would be interested in any comments you might be willing to share as a thinking exercise.
        Please do not shoot the messenger,                                                        David.

Here is the letter
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followed by one of the responses that Dave received from Mr. Carlos Campbell who wrote a piece for his blog as his response.  Carlos Campbell’s Post
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I wrote back to Dave with my opinion which follows:
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Dave,
 
First thanks for sending the letter.  Second, thanks for asking my opinion.  Third, thanks for sending the Carlos Campbell post.  I will start watching his blog.  It looks interesting.
 
I liked Carlos’ post and found it an interesting and generally well written piece.  It, of course, comes from a point of view different from mine since I am not black.  However, I don’t find the post terribly relevant to the question of the letter from Sheriff Scott.
 
In my opinion, Sheriff Scott was writing to decline an invitation to attend and to financially sponsor an event.  In his response, he gave reasons which I found compelling, to neither attend nor fund the event.
 
Carlos’ post was an argument that black youth are treated in a biased manner in our society and also was an argument for less biased treatment of black youth, especially within our justice system.  It did not address the key points stated by Sheriff Scott in his letter declining the invitations from the NAACP.  In fact, it was a strong opinion about how black youth are treated in our society that, it seems to me, Carlos wanted a larger audience for and chose it as his response even though it was not very relevant to the letter.
 
To my mind, Sheriff Scott was not saying that the Martin/Zimmerman trial was properly or improperly decided. What he did say is that the NAACP was wasting its time, both locally and nationally by focussing on this case rather than working on the problem of black on black violence that is both more prevalent and more significant than the Martin/Zimmerman trial.
 
I think Scott is right.  It is easier to blame others or point to injustices than to work to fix what is wrong in our society.
 
I think Campbell is wrong when he claims President Obama set the right tone when he spoke at a White House Press Conference on July 19, 2013.  The tone I heard was one that cast doubt on the local and state police and the state justice system.  It was a tone filled with the explanation of the great differences between black youth and all others in our land.  It was a dividing tone, not a uniting one as I heard it.  Mr. Obama twice compared himself with Travon Martin and growing up as a black in our society – a very disingenuous claim from a man raised in Hawaii and Indonesia as a person of mixed race in majority mixed race areas. Mr. Obama also stated he hoped we would use incidents like the Travon Martin death to encourage our better instincts rather than to heighten our differences, yet his entire presser was a discussion of the differences, how difficult they are and that we needed to solve the problem caused by bias.  In other words, at least in my view, Mr. Obama was heightening the differences, for political gain.  
 
In my view, Mr. Scott wrote an appropriate letter and pointed out good reasons for not wanting to support the NAACP until it saw fit to use its power to address major societal ills rather than make than gain political capital from high profile cases like the Martin Zimmerman Trial.
 
Tom
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