Skip to comments.Zimmerman verdict: A green light for racist vigilantes
Posted on 07/14/2013 9:56:55 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Just weeks ago, I returned to New York City from Fire Island on a Sunday evening, and decided to stop by my office.
After I let myself into the office, I noticed some Caucasians mingling around. I paid them no mind, since our office often has off-hours visitors who rent the common space.
Can I help you? said a middle aged white man, testily.
No, I shot back. But I can I help YOU?
What do you mean?
I work here, I said. This is MY office.
Oh, he said, stepping back slightly. I saw you and just wanted to make sure things are OK.
Thank you, George Zimmerman, I said.
Weeks later, my sarcastic one-off is more painful to me than I could ever have imagined. George Zimmermans acquittal leaves me feeling so nauseous.
This office exchange has been common to me my whole life. A testy Can I help you? doubles as a passive-aggressive demand for me to justify my presence even where I belong. Thankfully, I have never encountered an armed white person on the other end of that presumption.
Trayvon Martin paid for that common presumption with his life.
Zimmermans stooges and apologists claim that his deadly encounter had nothing do with race. And that his trial and acquittal have nothing to do with race. His defenders effectively portrayed him as a hapless Samaritan who got in over his head. Meanwhile, they tarred Trayvon as a menace who failed to properly justify his existence.
These presumptions colored every moment of the Police Departments botched initial reaction and the trial.
How does an armed adult defy the policy, chase down a youth, kill him, and then turn around and call it self defense? Defense from what? A fleeing kid? Was Trayvon Martin seen for his humanity? Or as a f**king punk? Are black men seen for our humanity or as three-fifths of a f**king punk? This verdict will have devastating consequences. It is an implicit green light for every paranoid, sub-intelligent, vigilante racist to go on victimizing black youth. Trayvon Martin is dead for no reason other than being black.
Why do Zimmerman and some Americans feel entitled to police black and brown people like vigilantes? Why did the Sanford Police Department test a dead boys body for drugs in standard operating procedure, yet failed to test a live mans body for alcohol or drugs? Why did the Sanford Police Department fail so miserably during the critical immediate hours after arriving on the scene?
Since our juridical Establishment often turns its head or even winks at the prevalence of racial profiling and police brutality against black and brown people, why should anyone be surprised by Zimmermans chase? Or by his acquittal? Implicitly and explicitly, the law condones his racial paranoia. The so-called rationales used to design and peddle Stand Your Ground laws and Stop and Frisk laws, and immigrant policing laws, fuel a vigilante mentality allowing some Americans to feel entitled to self-police others.
Even before the verdict, the Police Establishment warned black people not to riot as though that were a foregone conclusion without delivering Zimmermans supporters the same warning. The warning not to riot in its substance and tone recirculates the dogma of black men as menace. The chase, the trial, the warnings not to riot, the acquittal all compound the passive-aggressive profiling of black and brown people.
And yet. Legions of white people are heartbroken by Trayvons death, and Zimmermans acquittal. Legions of white people do not make it their business to self-police people of color. Many people of all races feel solidarity with the boy. We are all Trayvon.
This sordid affair has everything to do with race, but not race alone.
Not just a cautionary tale on racial profiling and vigilante justice, Trayvons needless death is a devastating lesson on the paranoid logic of gun capitalism. Zimmerman claims he didnt feel safe. Did Trayvon feel safe? What about his safety? After all, the youth was shot by a multi-racial vigilante assailant with a troubling history with law enforcement in a multiracial gated community.
When will we muster the resolve to stop deaths from gun violence? For goodness sake: Why wouldnt the Aurora shooting and the Newtown massacre force us all to confront the illusory sense of safety in our communities?
Regeneration Through Violence, The Fatal Environment, Gunfighter Nation: Richard Slotkins masterful historical trilogy on this countrys long-standing love affair with vigilantism, cruelty, and gun violence reveals as much about Zimmerman and this tragedy as does his trial transcripts or any news media. This tragedy rips bare all the thorny issues Richard Slotkin exposes in that brilliant trilogy.
The questions demand: How does a legal establishment maintain justice in a world getting browner by the day? And in a nation that feels the need to regenerate itself through violence? What will this country do to keep young people safe?
Slotkin trilogy shows us how Americas frontier myths still dominate our violent politics and culture. So, in painful ways, the man who occupies the Oval Office, in all his blackness, is irrelevant.
From the highest levels of power designing our drone policy to the inept local trenches of Florida policing, we remain a gunfighter nation. From Trayvon to the kids in Newton, young people are vulnerable to mentally ill or paranoid or racist adults with guns. The acquittal is yet another frank reminder of who writes our laws, who enforces our laws, and the very presumptions guiding our laws.
Zimmermans acquittal is a blunt reality check about how power works in America.
I thought the drones he talks about were controlled by a black man.
back from a weekend he spent on fire island....
What happened to "If you see something, say something?" George Zimmerman was in a position to "say something" to the local PD. In fact, it's better for local PD to know who the key people are in various housing areas, in order to optimize their ability to respond to a trusted source, instead of having to guess what the situation will be each time they're called into a neighborhood.
This was a condominium community. I think that there is a hierarchy of "rights" here, if not in law then in social protocols.
The "rights" should descend as follows:
1. Owners first.
2. Renters second.
3. Temporary guests third. I won't distinguish between guests of owners vs. guests of renters.
The bottom line is that Trayvon Martin, as a guest of his step-mother (I think she was the owner/renter? of the condo unit), should have been more deferential to the residents who own the units. Instead, Martin was acting like everyone owed him something, and he was disrepectful to the people he encountered in the neighborhood into which he was invited as a guest.
If some people stop treating each encounter as a conflict to be "won," then maybe they won't run up against someone who doesn't back down.
But we can't criminalize not backing down, because it will only glorify the other to keep pushing the limits.
Sounds like he came back with a massive chip on his shoulder and lashed out.
And his story is as fake as his outrage is synthetic.
More lie filled BS propaganda.
Heard about this Fire Island place, apparently a notorious homosexual gathering spot..........
No need to read any more of this whatever it is has to say.............
He looks like a drama queen to me.
Don’t be distracted. The Federal government is going to use sleight of hand, to keep our attention focussed on riots and demonstrations like the ones in Oakland, San Francisco and elsewhere, to try and give Boehner and Cantor breathing room to force amnesty for illegal aliens down our throats. DON’T LET THEM DO THIS!!
DOJ tried very hard to pin the racist label on GZ. They couldn’t.
Welcome to Negro Nation....
Really, now just what were these people doing in his office? How did they get there without knowing who’s office it was ?
These racist agitators feel they say any outrageous thing because people are afraid to call them liars. But me? I call bullsh*t and second the motion on Fire Island. I bet his hair was straight before he went there.
I don’t really care if the Author is black, he could be purple with pink polka dots from Alpha Centarii, and I’d still ask
‘ARE YOU HIGH?”
Chased down a fleeing Trayvon Martin? Excuse me??!
“Black and Brown”? uh, George Zimmerman ain’t an albino, last time I looked he was “brown” too.
Feel like I’m taking crazy pills, because nobody is paying attention to the actual TRUTH of the case, they want to vilify the Jury for doing just that...looking at the FACTS!
i believe fire island is a homo 'retreat' (read: weekend homo gang-bang / orgy)
if i worked that office and hadn't seen the guy before, i'd ask to see his id. if he refused, i'd call security.
that's how you're supposed to handle it.
if he tried to get even more mouthy and attack me, i'd drop him on his oversized forehead
and yea... nice wicker-basket chic you got going on there, 'homie'
I’ve seen him on tv, he should thank God he’s black, he would be sweeping floors without affirmative action.
Good point and haven't seen it discussed. Wasn't that Obama? If not, who?
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