Thursday, March 22, 2012
Snow, violence and our culture
Last year was a little odd too as our spring was colder than usual and wet. Summer, once it finally got here, not the usual May but nearly the end of June, was lovely with a lot of warm dry days, never hot enough to need the room A/C. Summer weather lasted well into October. Snow falling in the mountains was very late with little accumulation on Santiam Pass clear into January. So I wonder if that polar shift they talk about, if it is happening gradually and the earth is doing a little shift without asking any political party...
I have been following what is happening with the murder of Trayvon Martin-- and it was murder whatever the legal system decides to call it in Florida. Their law for self-defense is not meant to cover a big burly guy in an SUV deciding to track a citizen, follow them, intimidate them, and then when the citizen recognizes they are being hunted (but not by who), they try to defend themselves (how would the victim know this wasn't someone out to kill them-- oh wait, it was. Even the man who wrote the law says it needs to re reworded. They figured when they wrote it that it would really be self-defense. This clearly was only self-defense on Trayvon's part.
The sheriff's office in Sanford amazes me but likely when it's a black, they have been used to thinking hey it's gotta be okay because doubtless the black had done something wrong. We have seen many sheriff's offices across this country (Arizona comes to mind) who think exactly that way.
But there are saner minds, and I am hoping Florida will realize what this was-- a homicide and I don't mean manslaughter. You follow someone, reveal through tapes that you were angry and out to get them, then when they resist, you, a private citizen, have a right to shoot them dead-- that scenario sounds like self-defense to any sane person? I don't think so.
I get it-- there had been burglaries in that neighborhood. But it could have well have been whites. The idea that a black youth isn't as safe as anyone else to walk the street is horrifying to many of us. Frankly with a vigilante like this guy, any young guy might not be safe. And I've heard of this too many times to not believe the black community is right when they say a young black male is not as safe. From what I have read, it actually was a mixed neighborhood; so the killer had no right to assume anything as he clearly had.
In most states even to prevent a burglary in your home you do not have the right to shoot someone. You only have that right when you are being threatened. What kind of threat could this boy have had beyond a few bruises if he had decided he had to defend himself.
I don't know what kind of man this self-appointed vigilante was. The police there didn't do a drug and alcohol test on him (they did on Trayvon's body). Most people would be feeling awful now not only for the chance of a criminal justice system coming down on them but also that they took the life of someone who was clearly innocent. For all I know, he felt proud of himself though. We aren't hearing there was even much questioning of him or what his reaction was.
I think the reason this has gotten so many of us so upset is we can visualize it being our son, our grandson, and the teen who lives in the neighborhood. We relate to the boy, to his parents, and those of our population who do not (you know who they are, the 30% who are bigots and more worried that they might not have the right to shoot someone themselves), well we know why they are not upset at it.
Maybe I am a Pollyanna but I really do think this will lead to rewritten laws, in states all across this country, because the average Republican doesn't really want this kind of hunt and kill law-- at least not where it involves humans.
I also think there will be a spring here... Although it won't be one with daffodils inside our fenceline (these are from the bulbs that self-planted themselves along the gravel road, just outside our fence, under the shelter of the trees there, as the lambs are eating the blossoms as soon as they open. Theoretically sheep don't eat daffodils...