Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Reality of a Tragedy Hits Home

Like millions of individuals around the world, I've been following the story of the killing of Trayvon Martin, an innocent, unarmed teen. Yesterday afternoon, though, the true import of the murder hit me. I grew up in a middle-class family, and I'm as white as the Ace of Teeth, I've never had to look over my shoulder, concerned about my personal safety... this kind of thing just doesn't happen to people like me.

Yesterday, I worked an uncharacteristic day shift- when I finally got home, the first person I saw on the street was the son of a good friend of mine, a divorced African-American mother of two boys. Her elder son is in college, studying aviation, and he wants to be a commercial pilot. Her younger son, who I saw when I got home, is still in Middle School, and is involved in several extracurricular activities. All I could think upon seeing him was, "What would I do if anything ever happened to these boys? How would I feel?" I'd feel devastated, which is the proper human emotion in the face of such horror.

Of course, proper human emotion is foreign to right wingers, as this horrific collection of Fox viewers' comments demonstrates. Just reading that combination of racism and bloodlust proves to me that there's no place in society for a "stand your ground" laws.

Meanwhile, the murderer of Trayvon Martin remains unincarcerated (I'd never call someone so hemmed in by fear and hatred free), but the Sanford police department has a history of corruption and a failure to treat attacks on black men seriously.

How do well-meaning people push back on "shoot first and don't bother to ask questions" laws? In Florida's case, letters to the tourism board and the Disney Corporation would not be unwarranted- who would want to travel to a location where unprovoked attacks by armed nutbars aren't even investigated by the police? I've been to Florida once, but I sure as hell would not wish to travel to a place that has given civilians the power to engage in state-sanctioned murder.


Anonymous said...

good idea about letters. Thanks.

kennymfg said...

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ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I've been to Florida once...

I was born there, B^4.

I support your thoughts of focused boycotts.

Laura said...

I've been on an extended news fast so, I hadn't heard this story.

It's horrific. A kid is a kid. Black, white, green, whatever! 17 DOES = kid, ignorant Fox commenter that hinted that it didn't.

The thing that strikes me about society now, is how concerned with everyone is about THEMSELVES. "I felt this way" and "My rights..".. I mean.. really, fuck off.

If that was my kid that guy had shot, and he seemed to be getting away with it? I don't know.. I think that you'd have to peel me off him cause as a white woman, I might get away with beating the shit out of him.

I get it that sometimes, people feel scared or intimidated by others but is shooting them REALLY the first course of action?
In this case the answer is obviously "no".


zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Also, Laura, this Zimmermann character PURSUED the kid. How intimidated are you when YOU are the one doing the chasing?

wiley said...

I walked through a bunkered community in Houston once--- going to meet a friend of a friend--- and I looked at the houses very intently, because there was something really odd about all of them that it took me a while to identify. I didn't see any windows. The houses were walled and designed so that the only windows in the houses were facing the courtyard that was enclosed with high brick walls. They were little brick fortresses.

Perhaps a lot of Zimmerman's neighbors regret allowing him to take his role as self-appointed Sheriff of their community seriously. I certainly hope so.

Vonnie said...

Such a sad sad story.