Trayvon Martin Guilty of WWS*
My extended family includes children the same color as Trayvon Martin, only slightly younger.
Two of them are young men who could easily be walking around their neighborhood outside a major southern city, with a bag of candy in their hands.
Their lives became a little more jeopardized Saturday night when the jury ruled George Zimmerman not guilty for starting trouble with a gun on him, courtesy of our gun culture.
I understand the legal concept of reasonable doubt, but I have trouble with it when the oh-so-reasonable defense attorney (with his Queens accent) is willing to do his own racial profiling of a teen-age witness as a Haitian. Got that. Haitian. Kenyan. Outsiders. Not "us."
That’s where we are going in this country – brave vigilantes walking around loose, plus long voting lines in poor districts, and the cuts in food stamps and planned parenthood, and other blatantly malicious acts.
I firmly believe that Zimmerman acquired his courage not only from the big iron he was packing but from the message from the yowlers on the talk radio and the Murdochite channels, plus members of Congress – the Boehners and McConnells, the Cantors and Pauls -- who rule with a smirk, letting everybody know they are not cooperating with that Kenyan Socialist. That’s been going on for more than four years. The tone is set.
Zimmerman is just a symptom.
*-- Walking With Skittles
7/14/2013 02:58:17 pm
This bum also got his so-called courage, but what in reality is testosterone poisoning, from packing a gun that our society never should have let him have. I am from a Republican family, as is my bride, and everyone -- my WWII veteran Father who was sent to war with a single shot Springfield, my Father-in-law who proposed all guns be banned by the state, my office holder Grandfather-in-law who was a farmer who owned a shotgun for farm purposes but who also proposed all hand guns be banned as nonessential -- all thought this gun craziness to be nonsensical and dangerous. Every one of those good Republicans were right on target. God bless the caring women of that jury, but they were wrong in this case, I believe.
7/14/2013 03:24:27 pm
George, as you know, I'm close to a lot of young guys who could have been Trayvon. And we have all met an over-aggressive rent-a-cop(or three) who is a frustrated, and quite often rightly-rejected-for-cause, law enforcement officer, a wannabe who never will be. Zimmerman wasn't even that. He was a neighborhood watch volunteer. So it's easy for me to imagine how this all got started, how it escalated and how it ended the way it did. It's real American tragedy. Guns, anger, frustration, racism. But why was Zimmerman even allowed to be walking around with a gun? In most European countries HE would have been arrested. When I see the photos of Trayvon I can't help thinking of a lot of my guys from the Giants, some of whom you met. When I see the photos of Zimmerman I think of an immigrant who fell in love with and embraced dark side of the American Dream. Maybe Trayvon was beating him, and maybe he feared for his life. But who was more afraid? Probably NOT the whacko with the gun. But that kid never got to tell his side of the story. My brilliant German wife has more than once asked me how we can trust important decisions about criminal justice to a random group of amateurs, the selection of whom is so easily manipulated by the respective lawyers. You look at OJ, you look at Zimmerman. You wonder if there might be a better way to achieve justice.
7/15/2013 01:10:56 am
I think you nailed it, John, how this could have too easily exploded to tragedy. Justice wasn't served in my view, but once we accept gun toting, all bets are off. That's the core issue, I suggest. I'm not ready to conclude it's our jury system. The reason we have juries is that citizens are better judges on the whole than employees of some government which can become a runaway self-serving entity too easily once a power elite is institutionalized. Your wife I'm sure has heard about the trials of the Stasi State. What do YOU think, NSA?
7/15/2013 01:38:05 am
Brian, your version of Republican does not exist any more. I recently used the example of Everett Dirksen standing with LBJ for the 1965 Civil Rights act. Howard Baker. Charles Percy. Edward Brooke, Nelson Rockefeller. Jacob Javits. Gone.
7/15/2013 02:30:44 am
I have seen more mention of the gun-carrying issue in your post and the responses it provoked than anywhere in the media. No gun, no death, somebody just gets beat up, justifiably or not. You are probably aware, George, that during the abortion debate in the Texas legislature last week tampons and other potential projectiles were confiscated from women before they were admitted to the gallery, But Texas law allows for the carrying of a concealed weapon in the capitol and no guns were confiscated.
7/15/2013 04:13:05 am
Charlie, great to hear from an honored colleague. The male need to control females is a scary part of the new Republican party. Confiscate tampons but let people pack heat. Sounds like a game plan from the Koch Bros. delivered to state legislatures around this great land. Has anybody done a study of the male obsession with guns and the control of female bodies. Maybe Perry or Gov. Ultrasound of Virginia would cooperate. GV
7/15/2013 04:28:10 am
George, it is a breath of fresh air to read this blog. My own Facebook friends are similarly inclined and so we are all grieving, not just for Trayvon and his family, but for us. "So do not ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee." John Donne.
7/15/2013 05:57:40 am
Ed, thanks. I just quoted from that poem the other day. That is, I quoted Danny Jordaan, the head of the South African World Cup committee, summing up the benefits of that 2010 WC: He said, "No man is an island." Cool guy. Was one of Mandela's young followers people back in the day. Donne and Jordaan were right. Good to hear from you. GV
Thor A. Larsen
7/17/2013 06:31:36 am
My initial reaction was UNBELIEVABLE. This view was an emotional one based on the informaion I had read in the newspapers and periodically listenng to the 'talking heads' on TV. How could it be that a young man, carrying a gun (legally however) could shoot and kill another person who was unarmed? That seems enough rationality to convict George Zimmerman. However, Florida has a ;'stand your grounds' law which sound very scary to me in that a person,possibly armed, could shoot another individual if he feels threatened. Also, in this case, the prosecution did not do a very good job to seek alternate convictions such as manslaughter etc. Perhaps there is at least a valued lesson here to DRAMATICALLY TIGHTEN THE GUN LAWS! If anything good could come out of this case, would be that ALL the states need to have gun laws that are typical in Europe and maybe then, we will much less likely to hear about another Trayvon Martin or the school massacre in Connecticut in December, 2012.
7/17/2013 12:03:39 pm
Thor: good luck with that. Florida gave us the infamous 2000 ballots plus this gun law that says, if you feel threatened, make sure the other person cannot tell his side of it. A woman in Florida fired a warning shot at an abusive husband. She was prosecuted by the same mediocrity who prosecuted Zimmerman -- and got 20 years.
Thor A. Larsen
8/1/2013 01:14:47 am
7/18/2013 01:31:21 am
Poignant interview with Trayvon Martin's parents this morning on the CBS Morning Show. His Mom did most of the talking. She was asked what she wanted of our President, and she said in major part to turn over every stone and figure out what this incident tells our children. Don't walk too slow? Walk fast? She is right to want her son's death to be meaningful, and I agree with her that it would be helpful if the President were to call attention to it, and investigate the incident, for just that reason: to foster thinking and discussion about our own behavior. But Presidents hardly use their office as a bully pulpit anymore for any purpose beyond vote getting.
7/18/2013 02:07:19 am
Brian, thank you for the thought. I can remember Red Skelton (or Spikes Jones?) saying, "Friends -- and you are my friends --" on the radio. FDR? (Yes, I can remember FDR...I saw him in Queens in 1944 in an open car on the motorcade on the day he caught cold in the nasty rain. I was 5.)
7/28/2013 04:48:01 am
George’s site attracts insightful dialog on a wide range of topics. It is unfortunate that these views and insights do not get wider exposure in main steam media (no disrespect to George intended).
3/3/2014 07:29:39 pm
Awesome blog. I enjoyed reading your articles. This is truly a great read for me. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work
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From the great Maureen Dowd:
As I write this, I’m in a deserted newsroom in The Times’s D.C. office. After working at home for two years during Covid, I was elated to get back, so I could wander around and pick up the latest scoop.
But in the last year, there has been only a smattering of people whenever I’m here, with row upon row of empty desks. Sometimes a larger group gets lured in for a meeting with a platter of bagels."
--- Dowd writes about the lost world of journalists clustered in newsrooms at all hours, smoking, drinking, gossipping, making phone calls, typing, editing.
"Putting out the paper," we called it.
Much more than nostalgia.