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Strange Fruit

July 14, 2013

TRAYVON_MARTIN_NEW_PHOTO_1I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time dissecting the Zimmerman verdict.  Although I don’t understand how you can kill someone under very suspicious circumstances, admit you did so (while disputing the circumstances), and not at least get convicted of manslaughter, I realize that it is a function of Florida’s specific laws, the intricacies and vagueries of our justice system, and the insidious and systemic racism that pervades our culture. People smarter and with more knowledge than me can and will dig into these issues, but I don’t expect them to change anytime soon.  There are clearly too many people with vested political, economic, and emotional interests in keeping things the way they are for us to see a quick change.  That, of course, is not to say we should give up.  Only through fighting will change ever come.

No, what I want to talk about is the reaction of some so-called conservatives (please know that I lump this group together only for the sake of brevity.  I know that there are plenty of conservatives who are able to see both sides of an issue and understand the tragedy that took place, even if they felt Zimmerman should go free) upon hearing this verdict.  To some degree, I understand (but don’t condone) their feeling of victory.  This case was drawn along partisan lines from the beginning, and it feels really good when your team wins.  I mean, people celebrate when the Yankees win, for pete’s sake.  And I know many people on the Right love their gun rights and see them as the first line of self-defense against criminals and a tyrannical government (however erroneous I might feel that belief is).  But can we show a little dignity and compassion, please? Regardless of your political leanings, a teenager was killed, and he didn’t deserve it (and no, some pictures of him giving the finger or trying to look tough, or the fact that he smoked marijuana, do not mean that he deserved it. Have any of you ever even met a teenager?).  Even if I grant that every aspect of Zimmerman’s story is true, there was no need for Trayvon Martin to die, and the fact that he did should not be cause for anything but reflection on gun culture and racism.  Make no mistake, racism played a significant role in his death.  Maybe Zimmerman isn’t the least bit racist.  Maybe he’s never once thought that black people are of less value. Maybe he even has black friends.  Even if all of that is true, I have an incredibly hard time imagining that he stalks a white teenager.  As for the aftermath, imagine Trayvon killed Zimmerman in that fight.  Do you think we would have ever even heard about “Stand Your Ground?”  Pretty sure the story would’ve been framed around the ruthlessness and lawlessness of today’s (black) youth.  I know conservatives seem to have this belief that the liberal media covers up for black assailants all the time, and that black people get away with everything because if they are ever arrested, racism is the first thing the liberal media starts shouting, and no good police officer or district attorney wants to have their name besmirched in such a manner.  I’m sorry, but this is absolute, unmitigated bullshit.  And if you took five minutes to look outside of your “conservative values,” you’d know it was bullshit.  So tone down your “Hallelujahs” and your applause.  Nobody won.  A kid is dead, and a killer is free.  And the Martin family is left with nothing but sadness and a hole where Trayvon used to be.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 20, 2013 10:32 pm

    So good!

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