The Trayvon Martin/ George Zimmerman case is the most talked about story in recent weeks. Why are stories like this always the ones that command the most media attention? The answer to that is quite simple: conflict. The media take advantage of our natural tendency to be interested in conflict. But there story is riddled with more conflict than simply the original confrontation between Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman.
This story was especially lucrative for the media. This started with the original struggle between Martin and Zimmerman. After the event, there was more widespread conflict as the nation took up arms against Zimmerman – calling for “justice” to be served. However, once this story was in the national spotlight, it created a national conflict – those who called Zimmerman a cold blooded killer and those who claimed Zimmerman was only acting in self-defense. Throughout the trial (which was a conflict in and of itself), the media played the two factions in the nation against each other to get people more involved in the story. Even after the verdict was given, the nation is still at odds with each other – debating the decision and how to proceed.
There are serious ramifications to this type of conflict being constantly cultivated by the media. Namely, it creates a constant split in our nation. There is support and opposition to some aspect of an event in nearly every major story – the media count on this to increase viewership and audience involvement in the story. But is this conflict good for our nation? Does it spur diplomatic debates or does it simply cause us to constantly be at odds with each other? Maybe we should be focused on collaborating on issues instead of constantly opposing each other. In relation to this case, we shouldn’t be focused on arguing about the verdict, we should be unified in finding a solution to prevent other young men from being shot.
One thing that we must always be aware of is that conflict is one of the six constants of life (as described in my novel A Day of Life: Moments in Time). Throughout history, there has always been conflict. As long as life exists, there will continue to be conflict as organisms compete for limited resources needed to sustain life. However, many conflicts are completely unnecessary – such as the one between Martin and Zimmerman. We must focus our attention on eliminating this type of petty conflict; I’m personally trying to eliminate the conflict created from religious differences. While we will never be able to completely eliminate all conflict in the world because, at some point, we will run out of resources to sustain our increasing population, we can eliminate conflicts stemming from abstract ideas such as race, religion, and economic practices.