Everything I learned about investing I got from the Martin/Zimmerman trial

I know I’m stating the obvious, but the basic guideline for investing is to buy something you believe to be either undervalued or something you believe has significant prospects to increase in value because of some upcoming economic/geo-political or social event.  You do this with the idea in mind that at some point in the future you will have an increase in value of that which you became invested in.  I know that seems like a simple enough principle that has proven profitable for many over history.  The main caveat to investing is that if some previously unknown or new information contradicts the initial positive prospects for your investment you MUST cut your losses and get out while you still can.

The Martin/Zimmerman trial is a classic example of how not to become too heavily invested in something before you know all the facts.  Early on indicators gave little value to the thought that Zimmerman did anything illegal or arrest worthy.  After being handcuffed, taken “downtown”, interviewed (combined with interviews with other witnesses of varying degrees) and given medical treatment, George Zimmerman was released from custody with no prospect of future arrest.

At this point, enters the stage numerous concerned (albeit uninformed) outsiders followed by the all too willing media.  Pictures of an innocent looking young boy are plastered across the nation’s headlines with calls for justice for this mild-mannered looking youth who was just walking home with his skittles and ice tea and was accosted by a white “want to be cop”.

Social pressure mounts for an arrest for the “obvious” injustice that Trayvon should lose his life for having gotten the munchies.  A huge block of society and media gets deeply invested in this apparent noble cause.

Problem being, once the facts were fully vetted, their investment in the justice angle for Trayvon was proving to be of little verifiable value (not the least of which is the fact that George is ½ Hispanic).  Any smart (media) “investor” would at this point move his investments to a more promising place like that of 36-year-old Joshua Chellew of Mableton Georgia.  Just last month (June 2013) Joshua (white) was part of an attack, beating unconscious and throwing someone into the path of a car.  This happened after the (now dead) victim came out of a convenience store with a snack for him and his girlfriend who witnessed the entire ordeal from her car.  This story presents a problem for the media and social criers since Joshua was actually the victim and all four of his attackers were black (now arrested and charged with murder).  Or maybe a better focus of social media investment would be the tens of thousands of black on black murders that take place every year in America.  Or maybe the angle that black people use the self-defense and stand your ground defense more than all other races combined when used to defend themselves from other blacks.

But then those stories would not serve to push forward the social or political agenda they hope to find in regenerating the historical injustice of “whites still lynching blacks”.  I for one do not understand the ultimate motive lying beneath all this effort to keep racial tension alive in America.

So the fully vested giants against social injustice along with much of the media start losing credibility for their deep & unwise investment but instead of cutting their losses, they double down.  Ignoring the actual courtroom testimony they label George the aggressor, start calling him a “White”/Hispanic and promote boycotts of the state of Florida.  This tact will only result in greater “losses” for society.

All of this exposes their “Ponzi” scheme for what it is.  The fabrication of a huge house of cards that will only come crashing down and be revealed for the emptiness it is if society gets its head out of the sand and starts calling for and acting on those things that will actually produce a valuable return in our country.

It is no easy thing to change a society.  It takes decades of solid cultural investment to counter stereotyping, wrong profiling and suspicion.  But then that’s what wise investing is; it’s putting those things you consider valuable to work hoping and expecting a fruitful return for both you and the generations to come.  We can’t bury our heads or our “talents” and expect things to get better.  I wish it was as easy as encouraging whites to be more trusting or for blacks to listen to people like Bill Cosby and Ben Carson instead of Jackson or Sharpton.

Although this post is not particularly religious in nature, I will offer one solid cultural (as well as religious) focus we can hopefully all agree on as a good place to start investing.  FAMILIES.  The disintegration of the family and marriages has done the most damage our society and our kids.  Children of single parents are exponentially more likely to not only get into gangs (Hispanic, white and black) but also to cost society in both financial and cultural ways.  No matter what the apparent main stream of today seems to be saying that traditional families don’t matter or that having both a mother and father in the home is no longer necessary, every single study put out in recent history suggest the opposite.

So if we are buying “widgets” in Iowa for $2 and driving them in our truck to sell in Florida for $2 and we are not seeming to return a profit what are we going to do?  Simple mindedly get a bigger truck or change our entire investment strategy.


2 thoughts on “Everything I learned about investing I got from the Martin/Zimmerman trial

  1. Linda Livingston says:

    I agree that the first step in changing our society is at the family level. If parents today instill good values and behavior in their children this will be passed on to the future generations. A little snowball can turn into a large avalance!

  2. Jayme says:

    I would apply your investment metaphor in a very different way. The media WERE indeed investing in a product that they saw as profitable: a controversial story with passionate viewers on either side…an opportunity to make “entertainment” out of death and anything racially tinged. And guess what, they were right on that score. People have yelled, watched, read, obsessed, discussed, analyzed and boosted ratings all over the place.

    When this thing first happened, I purposefully did not read or watch any more about it than I could help. Not because I didn’t care about whether it was a man defending himself or a kid getting shot, but because I didn’t want to get drawn in. I mean, you’ve seen “Chicago” right? About the sick obsession with murder trials.

    All I knew, until I could not avoid hearing about the reactions to the verdict was this: A hispanic guy was accused of manslaughter for killing a black minor who had been/appeared threatening or had made him feel his life was in danger.

    Now, what I will say (regardless of whether or not this applies to the Martin/Zimmerman issue) is that I read an article by a very level-headed seeming woman who has adopted two black sons, and did not seem to harbor any ill-will toward Zimmerman in her commentary. She said that black male BABIES are the least desired children for adoption because of the fear that they will grow up to be the media stereotype of a black MAN. The social worker even said “you do realize this boy will grow up to be a black man, right”…as if to say “get out while you can!”

    And that breaks my heart. Because those little boys could grow up and change both the stereotypes about black men, and some of the unpleasant hard FACTS as well (because there ARE serious problems, obviously) if people (any people, of any color) cared enough, and were courageous enough to be thier parents. So while this may or may not be the most relevant factor in the Zimmerman/Martin case, the stereotypes DO perpetuate the facts when people live by them, and when male black babies put up for adoption can’t find homes because people fear them.

    Also, read this, it’s excellent: http://www.eurweb.com/2013/07/romany-malco-pens-message-to-trayvon-sympathizers/

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