An Investor’s Take on the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman Tragedy

For those who normally visit my website, let me start off by saying:

  • I don’t have all this figured out
  • This is one of my more personal posts
  • I am no legal expert and will not pretend to be one
  • I aim to be as intellectually honest about this tragedy (and other, non-market matters) as I am about my investment research/analysis.
  1. The way I see it, this is first (and foremost) an incredibly sad + tragic situation - I mourn for Trayvon Martin … and George Zimmerman (and family, friends, communities, etc). Trayvon’s life was prematurely taken from him. George will have to live the rest of his life knowing he killed a boy. If he’s a half decent man, that will weigh on him the rest of his life, even if he was in the right. If he’s not a half decent man… well, judgment day is coming. A court may render him innocent of “Thou shall not murder” , but I for one believe there is another court that is all-knowing and all-powerful, and will be the ultimate arbiter. And in that court, exoneration and forgiveness belong to that judge, alone.
  2. I don’t have this all figured out … maybe you don’t either - I don’t know all the facts, and even if I did, it is unclear if I would have the knowledge and wisdom to make the right decision(s). Maybe a healthy dose of humility and grace towards others is in order?
  3. Too many Zimmerman supporters seem lacking in empathy/compassion for the other side - A young boy was killed. As it is written, “There is a time for everything… a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn …” Maybe you should be more sensitive and loving to those still in mourning for such a loss? If your own son/daughter, brother/sister, was taken away from you in such a manner, how would you feel?
  4. Too many Trayvon supporters seem to be mistaking vengeance for justice, and hate for righteous indignation  - A young boy was killed. That is tragic, and my heart goes out to all. Bear in mind, however, that killing someone is not necessarily murder. If Zimmerman did not murder Martin, it is JUST that he walks free. Even if Zimmerman was motivated by hate, returning his hatred with more hate is not righteous at all. Violence/hatred as a response to this legal verdict is not consistent with righteous indignation.
  5. I find that way too many people are trivializing the race/bigotry issues - For starters, look here . And that’s  just a sample of people  foolish enough to overtly tweet about it (and get caught).  Racism/bigotry on a personal level are alive and well. I don’t think Zimmerman’s supporters are necessarily racists…nor do I believe that Trayvon’s supporters are necessarily reverse racists. I’ve seen racism with my very own eyes. Personal racism is alive and well. Institutional/structural racism/bigotry is also alive and well. A smart female friend of mine, who is a middle/senior level professional at a white shoe investment bank, recently told me how discriminatory and NOT meritocratic her group was, especially compared to similar groups in other banks. And this is in ‘progressive’ Manhattan, and at a firm whose employees only select supposedly only “highly educated” and “elite” folks. She’s also not the complaining type. She’s a smart, cheerful, hard-working woman with a “can-do” attitude. Yet even she has sounded defeated, demoralized recently when she talks about the discrimination she personally experiences. Bigotry (even when it’s economically self defeating!) is alive and well, and goes beyond racism.
  6. There are significant structural problems with our ‘justice system’ - The United States accounts for less than 5% of the world’s population, but houses more than 25% of the world’s prisoners (read this for more facts). This has not always been the case, and is actually a fairly recent phenomenon in US history. I personally believe that both Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman (and many others) are unintended victims of a highly flawed system, that is overdue for reform.  I’m encouraged to find that most lawmakers (on all sides) seem to agree with me.

Food for Thought for Market Participants:

  1.  Maybe you should dialogue more frequently with people whose thought process and opinions vastly differ from your own… both when it comes to markets as well as other matters. It can help you grow and even make more $.
  2. Nearly all (like 99.9%) of market participants are emotional beings. The goal, then, is to master one’s own emotions, not eliminate them. Trying to eliminate emotion seems like a Sishyphean task, chasing after the wind. It aint  happenin. Once you realize this, then maybe you don’t get angry at your own and others’ emotions…and rather, you start using them to your advantage.
  3.  When I play poker, I like to observe and learn from both the smarter and dumber players. There’s a lot to be gained from understanding both (as well as players similar to yourself, and others who are stylistically different from you, but not necessarily smarter/dumber)…

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