Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Few (Very) Random Thoughts About The Trayvon Martin Situation.

I guess I have to say something, since I haven't yet. Here are my random thoughts on the very sad Trayvon Martin story.

Neighborhood Watch Doesn't Make You A Cop - Like lots of you, I'm an active member of my community's neighborhood watch. Once or twice a month, I slap a decal on my car, and drive around our 1,000 home complex after dark, armed with nothing more than a flashlight. The job description, if that's what you call it, is simple: call 911 if you see anything suspicious. Sure, I sometimes bend the rules and ask anyone who seems out of place "Neighborhood Watch: can I help you?", but that's about it. At no point do I brandish a firearm or take matters into my own hands. Zimmerman, who appears to have a criminal record, obviously didn't follow these directives.

Florida's "Stand Your Ground" Law Is The Real Culprit - In most states, Zimmerman would have been charged with something, anything, given the circumstances here. Sadly, Florida is not such a state. Their "Stand Your Ground" Law allows anyone who feels their life is in danger while in their home to shoot first, ask questions last. Zimmerman wasn't exactly in his own home, but apparently he police believed his account of the incident, despite the since-released 911 tapes and witness testimony to the contrary. This essentially boils down to "he said/he said" and sadly, one of the he's isn't around to give his side of the story.

This Is Literally Every Black Parent's Nightmare - Martin's shooting is the manifestation of every black parent's nightmare. I know that sounds insensitive or "racial", but it's true. I don't think white parents have to talk with their kids about how to behave when confronted by police (or in this case, overzealous community watcher), the importance of dressing a certain way and using proper English to be taken seriously (ie: not as a threat) in certain environments, or how to conduct yourself in department stores to avoid being stereotyped as a thief. But my parents had this "talk" with me, and once my sons are of age, I'll do the same. It's hard, but it's fair. By all accounts, Martin had been raised the right way, yet still met his demise.

I Don't Necessarily Think The Shooting Was Racially Motivated - I'm sure I'm going to get a lot of flames for this, but it's not 100% certain that Zimmerman shot Martin solely because he felt threatened by a young black boy. Yes, he did refer to the kid as an "a$$hole" on the 911 tape. As many have noted, Zimmerman is Hispanic, and has black family members. This means little to nothing, other than to say Zimmerman in theory shouldn't feel as threatened by the sight of a young black kid than, say, a middle aged white woman. Reality is, everyone falls prey to stereotypes. If we keep it one-hunned, lots of otherwise well-meaning black people could see a Twenty-Something Black Male in Dark Clothing approaching in the dark and would reflexively respond much like Zimmerman allegedly did. It is what it is. Whether or not Zimmerman is racist is immaterial. Martin is dead. Period.

I Definitely Think The Lack Of Prosecution Is Racially Motivated - What's undeniably racist is that Zimmerman probably isn't being charged, "Stand Your Ground" Law or no "Stand Your Ground" Law, likely because Martin was black. There's plenty of data and empirical evidence to back up the assertion that black lives are less valued by the criminal justice system than white lives. So yeah, that's what the protest should be about. Not proving something as unprovable (and ultimately pointless) as whether or not the shooter was racist.

What I Think Will Eventually Happen - As this story (finally) begins to gain national attention, I have little doubt that enough pressure will be applied to get Zimmerman charged with something. Anything. Murder. Manslaughter. Hell, even Jaywalking. Just don't let this moron skate. Seems like Eric Holder and the DoJ are finally on the case. Cue the Conservative backlash.

There Are Thousands Of Trayvons - One thing that's sorta bugged me about this whole debacle is how people who wouldn't give a flip about black-on-black crime are suddenly outraged. This is black America's #KONY2012, except we have one of these every few months. Jena Six. Sean Bell. Tim Thomas. Oscar Grant. Troy Davis. We get worked up, Tweet, Facebook, and blog about black males when they fall victim to someone non-black. Then, nothing happens. Until the next case of DriveByActivism™. It's a pattern that's tired as hell. It also ignores the fact that roughly half of the people murdered each year in this country are black, and nearly all of them are killed by other black people. So I wonder, had Mr. Zimmerman been black, would anyone care? I don't think so, because we as a country are so conditioned to seeing black on black crime as no big deal. Just a thought.

Question: What are your thoughts about this sad situation?

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