Thoughts on Zimmerman/Martin

Time to back away and look at the bigger picture, dig a little deeper than our first gut reactions and assumptions. There are two sides (or more!) to every story – the Media has chosen their one-faceted version with handpicked bits of information tailor-made to direct the conclusions of the easily manipulated and it has worked, dividing our country more and more. Most people seem to have jumped on those meager, twisted “facts” and made outrageous leaps and logic-bereft outcries. Both men have more to their ‘stories’ than we will EVER know. Both men made bad choices that night.

For anyone to state unequivocally that Martin was an innocent kid strolling through his Dad’s neighborhood with Skittles and iced tea in his pocket and that Zimmerman was an overzealous vigilante out looking for a young black person to shoot is idiocy.
For anyone to state that Martin was a drug-addled hoodlum out to steal and rob and do horrible things and that Zimmerman was a heroic beacon of justice protecting his neighbors from evil is equal idiocy.

Both these statements are simplistic and polarizing and would be indicative of each individual’s own prejudices. To choose one narrative over the other and stick to those stories as if one’s life depends on it is foolishness of the highest degree. WE DON’T KNOW THE WHOLE STORY AND WE NEVER WILL.

There are atrocities carried out every day, in this country and others, that are massive orders worse than this event but so many are ignored and buried on the back pages of today’s media all because they don’t fit the agenda of the day – which is overwhelmingly biased and twisted.

Who will advocate for the massive black-on-black violence?
Who will advocate for black-on-white violence?
You don’t know anything about these issues?
Why is that? Ask yourselves.

Look deep to bring out your own prejudices. Examine them before you leap onto any media-driven bandwagon with all your heart and soul.


Finally, words from

“Did the jury make the right call? I just don’t know. The reality is that, above all else, this was an extremely complicated situation with both individuals involved operating from a sense of fear. Trayvon feared he was being followed and George feared another home invasion in his neighborhood. Did it all happen the way the trial painted it? We will never know. We can’t really know, and that is terribly unsettling.
It’s unsettling because we want to close the book. We want answers. Outsiders came looking for a story or looking for a fight. We who live here just want this to be over. We want justice served and the spotlight gone so we can begin to put the pieces of our fractured city together.

As long as the nation peered into our little town they sought for one thing: a villain.

The news, the talking heads, the activists, they just wanted a monster. They wanted someone to blame, someone to hate. They tried to paint George Zimmerman as a hotheaded, racist, wannabe vigilante. If that wasn’t sticking they tried painting Trayvon Martin as a reckless, drug-using thug looking for trouble. Both were horribly wrong, but more people watched, and more people seethed.”

Starting out… an introduction.

So here’s where I introduce myself… always a good place to start:
I’m KJ Gardner* and I live in Western Colorado with my husband of 30(mumble) years and one golden-honey-colored, gray-muzzled, Boxer/Rhodesian Ridgeback dog named Riley. Our son, our only kiddo, is a college student in Montana, 700 miles and eleven hours away (but who’s counting); all three of us miss him every day and are a bit lonely in the emptier house. [Update 2014: He’s set to graduate this spring. Wow.]

I’ve worked off and on for many years as a Florist (there’s a teaching subject for a long blog! For now, I’ll jsut advise you never to say, “How fun! You get to play with flowers all day!” ), with a 3-year stint as a “Plant Maintenance tech” – which sounds like I was fixin’ pipes and moppin’ floors! But actually what I did was tend and maintain live plants at businesses; from the Airport to the Credit Union to the local Red Robin. I dragged (okay, rolled) a green water tank around with all my tools-of-the-trade – trimming, dusting, polishing, and of course watering.  Most people at these places called me “the plant lady” or the “flower girl” – nice, huh?  :p  I made some good friends in that job. Also was a substitute bus driver for a few years just before my son was born – you remember how we treated subs in the classroom? Yeah, it’s worse on a bus when they’re all sitting behind you…

Gardening is a favorite pastime of mine – organic, sustainable, environmentally aware. These can be buzzwords or they can have real meaning, depending on how they’re used.  But I’ve used the word ‘Garden’ in the title here because of the wider meaning of a gardener as a nurturer, and carried that further to mean someone who cares for not only their specific garden in their local environs, but who also cares for the earth – the only Garden we have in which to live, work, play and thrive. So, in that spirit, I hope to share information and thoughts on how we may more carefully and thoughtfully maintain our ‘Garden’ – and ourselves, as caretakers.

I’ll be posting on other topics that I am excited about, concerned about, passionately interested in… environment, justice, music, faith, animals, hope, maybe a few political petitions or opinion pieces. Plus some posts on my meanderings – hiking, jeeping, travels…

Through all this, I hope to find a voice that is meaningful, humorous, realistic, and one that people will find interesting, informative and inspiring.

*My “pen name” – you won’t find that name in the phone book (well, you might, but it won’t be me!). Wait, do people even use phone books anymore? Okay, modern version: you won’t find me by googling.