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When a KILLER is set free...

July 15, 2013 11:54 IST

A man holding a cardboard cut out of Trayvon Martin protests the acquittal of George Zimmerman.It’s not just those he has wronged whose lives get affected.

A young man was killed in Florida on February 26 because he was black and wore a hoodie.

When his killer was acquitted on July 13, Roopa Unnikrishnan’s faith in the justice system was shattered, forcing her to look at life through the prism of colour.

It's going to be a difficult conversation -- explaining the Trayvon Martin verdict to my little American children.

They were only nine when they watched the story unfold on the news last February. Yet, they were appalled and bothered by what this meant about the world, and their country in particular, when a young boy can be shot for wearing a hoodie and for no other crime other than being black.

The only comfort I could provide them was that there was a legal and judicial system in the country that would give Zimmerman his just desserts.

A year and a quarter later, the verdict is in and I've been proven a liar.

Zimmerman is walking free and, by all accounts, will have his handguns returned to him.

I wonder if I will now always see life through the lens of colour.

I clicked on a story about NASA's 2013 astronaut candidate class. Four of the eight candidates are women.

Usually, that would be cause for celebration.

But I looked at the photos and saw four white faces staring back at me.

It's a sad day when a global citizen has to see the world through the lens of colour.

I'll take comfort in what Newark's Mayor, Corey Booker tweeted this morning -- he's an African American, a Rhodes scholar, and all around good guy – ‘There is a higher court than courts of justice, and that is the court of conscience. It supercedes all other courts -- Mahatma Gandhi’

Maybe my children can take comfort in the fact that they share their country with Corey, and not just Zimmerman.

Roopa Unnikrishnan has been a sports rifle shooter since the age of 13. She has won multiple international medals for India, including the Commonwealth Games gold. She has received the Arjuna Award from President K R Narayanan. She is also a Rhodes Scholar and was captain of the Oxford University shooting team. She now works as a management consultant in New York City.

Image: A man holding a cardboard cut out of Trayvon Martin protests the acquittal of George Zimmerman.

Photograph: Eric Thayer/ Reuters

Roopa Unnikrishnan