Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Chuck Gillies: We may not agree with other viewpoints on the Zimmerman verdict, but we ought to listen

To the editor:

I was distressed to see the six letters, “Irate readers respond to Zimmerman verdict column” in Friday’s paper, responding to the column by Gregory Clay a few days before. While I agree with many of the comments about racism in our society, I strongly object to the several comments that fit the headline, “Shocked that Gazette would publish column.”

I have reread Clay’s column and found it a thoughtful commentary on the results of the trial, including such comments as “the prosecution didn’t prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt,” and “Zimmerman may have been morally at fault for racially profiling and following him, but under the law of self defense. …” It seems to me he is making a perfectly calm analysis of the verdict.

We complain about Congress’ inability to “talk across the aisle.” It appears from these six letters and their attacks on the Gazette that we can’t do any better in this academic and progressive community.

Did all of your writers realize that Clay is a black man? When a black father speaks to his teenage son about what he wears or how he talks, is he being racist? Perhaps we need to be more careful about throwing this word around.

Racism is a horrible blight on our modern society, but it will not be removed by refusing to listen to others with a different point of view expressed carefully in a rational, not ranting, way. We may not agree with them, but we ought to listen.

Let’s turn our anger and activism against the senseless gun laws that pervade our country, apparently especially in Florida — the real cause of this tragedy.

Chuck Gillies

Easthampton

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