Why I agree with the Zimmerman verdict

I might be the only one among my friends who agree with the Zimmerman not-guilty verdict. I agree that it’s a travesty that young Trayvon Martin died that fateful night, no one can say whether he truly deserved it, but the verdict was almost guaranteed.

People are turning this into a race crime, but it’s not. Many people would have done the same thing given the circumstances. I will admit, that if I see a young, man of African decent standing outside my house in a hoodie I would feel suspicious. I would do the same if the person was of Indian decent as well. I probably wouldn’t if the person was white or Chinese. Many of us have this in-built stereotyping and can’t help ourselves. We do judge a book by its colour.

If I had a gun, I would probably be more emboldened to confront a suspicious person. And if that person becomes aggressive, I would also like the right to defend myself with force. I’m sure that many other people will want that as well.

We all want to right to protect and take back the community from criminals. But many of us can’t as we have to depend on the Police to protect us. If I see a suspicious person and call the police, will the police actually come? What happens if that person becomes an aggressor, can I protect myself with force? Sometimes the answers to these questions is no.

But if I was able to “stand my ground” I can confront people and use deadly force if necessary if they did pose a threat.

The jury had to find Zimmerman not-guilty. They too want to be able to stop possible criminals. They too want to be bold enough to step up and kill if they had to. A guilty verdict could change all of that.

I don’t know the events of that night, but I know that if I was in the same position, I might have reacted similarly. This was no premeditated act. This was simply Zimmerman wanting to protect the community. Taking away the racial undertones, no jury would have found him guilty.

The New American President

So the new President of the United States of America, Barack Hussein Obama, has been elected and taken office. I must admit that I really, really got tired of everyone in Trinidad (and the Caribbean) singing praises for the American President, especially when we have our own mess here to clean up.

I certainly do not expect in any stretch of the imagination that President Obama will put any emphasis on trying to help our Caribbean countries, especially when he has inherited a real sad state of affairs. I think that too much is expected of President Obama and we must realise that he is one man and that his priority is going to be trying to jump start the american economy once again and prevent a long and serious recession.

I am very happy for the new president, but I don’t accept that there is real change in the government. Change is not about colour, but about the way things are done. I guess only time will tell on that one.

In the meantime, stop showering praises and expectations on the man, and try stepping up to help yourself and your community.

Ready for a Recession?

In the US there is a lot of talk and fear about a recession hitting this year. I don’t think I am in any position to debate that. From my pretty much uneducated opinion, though, I believe that one is brewing. Based on the sub-prime mortgage issue, the war on terror and the increase in consumer credit, it just looks like the US is setting themselves up for it.

We here in Trinidad and Tobago should not feel that we are immune to the effects of a recession in the US. As our main importer of our major export good – oil and natural gas – and our main country of origin of imports, we need to think again. I for one is looking carefully at developments.

The fact is that progressions and recessions are part of the economic cycle – what goes up must come down – but as countries develop the net gain should be a progression. As such we should be ready for one should one occur. I was catching up on some news and came across two blogs that discussed how to stay employed in a period of economic recession.

I invite you to take a read of these articles as they provide some pretty good advice. I have some points on my own (that are related loosely to the points in the articles.

  1. Update your skills. Just being continuously employed is not enough if you are not also ensuring that your skills are up to date – get those certifications or do those short courses that you have been putting off. Note that skills not only refers to the technical ones but also the softer ones. Organisations are progressively looking for the kind of skills that you can’t get from a class (although they do try don’t they).
  2. Improve your education. You would find that you not go very far in your own organisation, far less others, if you are not improving your education. If you don’t already have your degree then get going; if you already have your degree, then get an advanced degree or even an MBA.
  3. Have a plan B. Sometimes we will set our careers around only one path that should that industry collapse or become over-subscribed with employable candidates you become unemployable. Ensure that you have something else to go to if your chosen career goes bust, even if then change in career means a reduction on salary.
  4. Create your human network. Cisco has it right, the human network is one of the most important weapons in any one’s arsenal. Make contact by joining and being actively involved in professional institutions, non-governmental organisations or even sports clubs. You know what they say – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

One article (Are Gen Y-ers Greedy or Just Different?) though sees any recession being a wake up call for those Generation Y’s out there. It’s something you see with young school leavers and recent university graduates, especially in the IT industry. You have candidates calling for large salaries and nothing to show for it.

I know that if a recession hits it would be terrible for some, but a part of me wants it to happen to wake up the citizens of the country. With government spending out of control and prices of housing through the roof, we need something to get us back on track.