Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Trayvon Martin

Tell me again there is not racism in this country.  Arming Zimmerman

In the story of Trayvon Martin and his killing, the injustice doesn't stop with one black youth who was clearly hunted down and killed by someone who should never have had a gun, but it goes to the law that protects his killer.

It also goes to the community that allowed this volunteer to patrol their streets. This man should clearly have never had a gun, was puffed up in importance at protecting the stuff of others in that neighborhood. Calling the police with some kind of report more frequently than every other week for the last year, it's clear he was out of proportion, but he was authorized by others who deserve some responsibility for what happened next.

Wandering through that neighborhood became a death sentence if this vigilante  didn't already know the person and their skin was the wrong color. Supposedly the killer wasn't a bigot. That's what people who knew him say. Maybe not. I don't know about that but listening to his 911 call, clearly he was zeroing in on Trayvon for being black, a stranger, and walking through his neighborhood. That justifies murder?

And then there is what the police have done since then-- rather not done. This isn't the first time this kind of killing has happened in our country, but might be the first that black parents have been able to speak up, had the money to hire a lawyer, and demand justice for their son.

Too often minority parents have remained silent out of fear for their own lives. These stories are happening across the country and sometimes the perpetrator is a police officer who appears to have totally misused their power. I want to defend our police, have written stories about their problems, but when power is misused, citizens should care!

Florida even has a law that protects someone like the killer of Trayvon-- a self-defense law where if you just say you felt threatened you can use lethal force without any question if you misused it. Just your word that you felt threatened-- no need to prove you could have backed away.  It's why the police didn't consider the killer to be in the wrong. All he had to do was say he felt threatened. Think about that for a minute and then ask if it had been a white boy, killed by a minority, would the story be different.

This man followed the boy, even when told by police dispatcher not to follow him, clearly scared him, got out of his vehicle in what would scare most of us, and then said it was his need to defend himself that made it okay to shoot down the youth.

I don't know what was wrong with this neighborhood watch person but that neighborhood should recognize their own part in this tragedy, a tragedy that the police excused despite the shooters record of questionable judgment, and Florida added to the unfairness by a law that protected the killer.

Killing someone when you have a choice, when you put yourself in a questionable situation, should not be condoned by any nation if that nation expects justice for itself.


Rubye Jack said...

I heard this on the news last night and find it inconceivable and unconscionable that the killer was not even arrested. What a crazy world!

Tabor said...

Unfortunately I have visited iends that live near this area and culturally this state has morphed into a really creepy place. All the old people are rich and look like they belong in a Stepford movie and I agree that poor minority parents would not stand a chance. I hope justice prevails...if not our county has changed for the worse.

la peregrina said...

This has outraged me too. This man did not shoot that kid in self defense. As you pointed out he got out of his car to confront this young man. He committed murder and the local authorities are culpable in this travesty of justice.

FYI- some news reports have mentioned other states that have these kinds of "stand your ground" laws. Colorado is one of them but their law is called the "make my day law" and only allows you to use deadly force if you have a reasonably fear of "imminent peril of death or serious bodily harm to yourself or another" inside your own house. You cannot just kill someone on the street and walk away under the Colorado "make my day law."

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

It's as if we have gone backwards in this country. It is sickening, beyond words. I feel like I am living in a very very strange land.....A very frightening land.
Racism is alive and well and is being encouraged in some strange horific way. I find this whole terrible 'happening' so out of wack as to make me feel I am living in a nightmare. What the hell is happening here???

Celia said...

Unbelievable, my heart hurts for this child's family. From what I have read I believe this guy just hunted him down and killed him. I did see some commentary that neighbors in this area had complained about Zimmerman's "agressiveness."

Ingineer66 said...

I heard on the news today that Mr Zimmerman has black people in his family and he is part Hispanic. If that is true maybe this senseless killing is less about race and more about some idiot wanting to play policeman and be the hero. Either way Mr Zimmerman should go to jail for a very long time.

Rain Trueax said...

He can be a racist even in that case. I have read there is a lot of bad feeling between some hispanics and blacks. So that doesn't say anything nor does mentoring a black family as that could be through his church or organization. It doesn't get away from what he said himself on the 911 call and that he disobeyed instructions to not follow the boy.

I have heard several possible interpretations when he said-- these f------ ____s and I had not listened to the tape originally. I frankly didn't want to hear the guy's voice. And now when I looked for it, I couldn't find it to see what I thought. But any possible combination labels him clearly for what he is.

I have heard of men who mentor boys too-- before they sexually abuse them. Whatever the case you cannot chase someone, stalk them, and then when they turn to try to defend themselves (especially as much smaller as this kid was) then say it's self-defense. There is a lot of argument over whether that Florida law justifies what he did. And from what I can tell it should not have. But it's been used over 90 times with over 60 homicides including between 'friends', gangs, and assorted other combinations. It has become a justification for murder. So you are mad at a friend. You go over there and insult him, maybe even hit him and then you can shoot him dead. That was not what the law was intended to do. When you are dealing often with an uneducated bunch with guns, you cannot give them license without some bad results.

It has been abused also in other states, most recently (I think Wisconsin but don't hold me to it) where the black boy was hiding on a guy's porch-- outside his home but his porch. You call 911 when that happens but he didn't, he shot him dead. Kid was hiding from the police who had raided a beer bust. He died. Of course, he was also black.

The thing that has offended me so greatly with the Trayvon Martin case is the police and frankly you can see bigotry there quite easily and if you read the link above about the woman's experience with them, you see it there. AND then Geraldo and his stupid comment about the hoodie being as guilty as Geraldo. Geraldo is a total nut to say such a thing which comes with and without racism. All teens wear hoodies for pete's sake. It's a style thing not a gang thing. I even wear one sometimes!

I agree with you that Zimmerman should do jail time. The Florida law doesn't cover hunting someone and when they try to defend themselves, you can then shoot them. I do think he could be a racist in addition but the police clearly showed racism and maybe prejudice against young males period and that is not okay. I have young male grandsons growing up and I don't want the police always looking to give them trouble or overlook assaults on them. I don't know what's going on with this.

Ingineer66 said...

I agree that racism does come into play in some cases. I just think that in some cases it is overblown instead of looking at the actual cause of a situation. I think this guy is a nut that just wanted to play cop so bad that he hunted this poor boy down and shot him. That could have just as easily been a white kid in this situation.

Today in the news is the firing of a NYPD officer for shooting a guy at his bachelor party. Both the officer that fired the first shots and the guy that was killed were black. No racism cries on that one. So maybe they will have to look at the actual causes of why it happened.

Rain Trueax said...

In this case he said it was a black and that made him suspicious in his call to 911. He is now going to put up all kinds of excuses thanks to Fox nuts providing them. But if you read the black, female reporter's story and many more like it, you know there is racism.