Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Outrage

First things first, Munchkin is home safely and had a fantastic trip...another whole week with Frenchie, and another whole week in Paris, this time with one of her very best friends along for the trip. Not a bad spring break:-) I am fairly certain that she has decided to go ahead and jump ahead a year to graduate in 2013, but we are going to finalize her decision later this week...a senior in High School...holy shit...

Speaking of kids her age...I am gonna get serious here for a bit...Trayvon Martin. I will skip the details of the case, because I am sure you have all heard them, and I will skip the outrage over George Zimmerman's actions because that has been covered pretty completely. I wanna talk about three other things...one I have been over before (and we will find out if Aaron still reads!) one is really bad, and one really sad.

First, the very bad. This situation is going to get worse before it is going to get better, because George Zimmerman is not going to go to jail, at least not for murder. There are a bunch of reasons he hasn't been arrested yet, and at least one of them is that he has a good claim that he didn't commit a crime.

Just to clarify, I am not talking about the "common sense" reasonableness of his actions. Make no mistake, emboldened by a gun, he stalked and confronted a much-smaller man who had had no reason to believe was armed and had no reason to believe was doing anything wrong, dangerous or illegal. Further, he did this after he was specifically told by the police that they were on their way and that he should not confront the "suspect". Zimmerman picked this fight, he picked it on his own terms, and he used it as an excuse to kill someone.

Unfortunately, people don't get life in prison for the breaking of "common sense" laws. They get convicted of murder by breaking the letter of the law, and based on all that has been said so far this week, the letter of the law in Florida doesn't seem to care whether or not you are wholly responsible for the altercation. All that seems to matter is whether or not there was a physical confrontation. So, all of the outrage that we have seen over Zimmerman not being arrested yet? Unless there is a really outstanding prosecutor who can sell the jury on the intent of lawmakers and get a conviction (and it won't be for murder, it will be for something less), I fear that the outrage is going to get a lot louder, and likely less peaceful.

Second, let's talk about that outrage...demonstrations and marches and protests all over the country. I have kinda mixed feelings about them, and this is probably not gonna come out right (which is fine, none of you know where I live:-P). On the one hand...great: it is good that people are paying attention and voicing their displeasure over what they perceive as an injustice. Our elected officials ultimately react to votes, and if they think something matters to the voters, they will treat it as if it does. Standing in a big crowd around a single issue says that like very little else.

And I don't wanna sound preachy (because really, no one is obligated to protest anything they don't feel like showing up for)...but where were these protests for the 15 or 20 other young black males who were shot in Orlando last year? Where was the outrage over probably half of those cases going unsolved, and no one serving a day in jail for? There was a march in Boston on Friday...but not a single peep about the unknown male who was shot in Roxbury that very same weekend? Never mind not arresting someone...police haven't even figured out who the dead guy is yet!

Where were the athletes and entertainers in 2000 when my friend Nikia got shot for no crime other than drinking coffee? Why no rally for her and the 625 other murder victims in Chicago that year, and a demand that the police take action against someone for her death? They knew who shot her, or at least they knew the people who were fighting when a gun went off and shot her.

Where were the media and the socially conscious celebrities when my friend Ty got executed for the dangerous act of "looking like the person they really meant to kill from behind in the dark"? The people that shot him? They leave a fucking calling card every time they do this let everyone know it was them!!! How hard can it be to find them? Where were the great crusaders for equality and justice that day? Oh, that's right, they were probably all busy spreading the "Stop Snitching" gospel and using their influence to actually encourage witnesses to NOT help put the killers in jail...

So yes, be angry, and protest. Because Trayvon Martin was nothing worse than a kid who wanted some candy, and he and his family will pay an ungodly price for what will turn out to be a dreadfully under-punished atrocity. But if you really want to have an impact, don't only protest when it is trendy and gets on the news...protest and direct your anger to the areas where it has the most difference. Ranting about a single guy in Florida with a paranoid outlook and a cowboy machismo is leaving out entirely too much of the tragedy.


Now I have ranted for too long, so I am gonna leave point #3 until tomorrow.

6 comments:

Dawn said...

That really IS serious stuff, and a very moving post. I'm so sorry to hear abut your friends. We live in a very messed up world.

Tammy said...

You brought up the same points as my husband last night and I am just tired of arguing the counter point so I will give you my bullets. But first, I am so sorry about your friends you mentioned.

-Yes I understand...there is tragedy everyday. The facts around this specific case are tragic, but I am sure, not unique. But does that make it any less deserving of our attention?
-My husband brought up the fact that the Iraqi woman in CA isn't getting as much attention as this case - but if others make sure that it doesn't fall off the news map then keep talking about it! That goes for any other "tragedy" that you feel should garner more attention than it is getting. Blog, write to news outlets, tweet about it, post on facebook/google +, make a sign and stand outside on a street corner. Do something about it - don't just complain that Trayvon is getting all the attention when there are so many other murders in the US. Right there you are giving MORE attention to this matter by complaining on a public forum that this is getting too much attention (which I know is not your main point, but a slight aside to your main point - AND what I was pretty much debating with my husband last night so a little projecting on my part :).
My own opinion is that I am glad that this is getting the public's attention. This whole situation is horrible and should never have happened.

Tammy said...

So for whatever reason I decided to completely ignore your last paragraph which you say exactly what I said with not so many words.
Sorry about that.

A said...

Yes, yes, yes. What happened was outrageous and awful. No question.

It's fascinating to watch this all unfold -- every day in this country, there is a teenager or a child who is killed under circumstances that are this awful and perplexing and there isn't the same outrage. There has been a disgusting number of kids killed in Detroit this year (including a 9 month old) and there isn't the same outrage.

We live in a strange world.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

I blogged about this yesterday and completely agree with everything you say. It is a travesty that a young black man named Trayvon Martin was murdered. He just happens to represent the hundreds of other innocent black men who are murdered, too. Sigh.

Kari said...

I totally agree with you!! As a Cdn -- this whole situation is hard to comprehend (we do have gun violence, but at much much lower levels).