Friday, February 27, 2015
One of the consequences of reading across the ideological spectrum is that one has to deal with material, from both the left and right, that is outright racist. Those on the far right tend to think black people are generally stupid criminals who are just looking for the opportunity to kill and maim white peopple. Those on the left, think that black people have no agency and that everything we do that is negative is the fault of some white person(s) somewhere at any and every time, ever. I have a strong stomach so most times I chuckle and move along. On occasion I have to respond. This is one of those occasions. This week being the anniversary of the Trayvon Martin killing, the dissident right has had an ongoing tribute to Zimmerman while defaming the name of Martin. No doubt the failure of those on the left to properly discuss that incident (Stand Your Ground was irrelevant) has given these folks ammunition, but I am still bothered by the commentary coming from the right on this matter as it reflects growing trend of cart before horse thinking as has been seen in the issue of campus sexual assault. Jared Taylor of Ameren.com posted a video a few months ago asking us, black folks in particular whether "facts matter". While it was triggered by the Ferguson matter to which the clear answer from the left was "no, they do not". He brought up Martin as an example of denial of facts. I came about this close to posting a response but didn't. Today however I'm going to address the issue of Martin, yet again for those who simply don't get why Trayvon's demise was so troubling. The right has spent a lot of time perusing Travon's Facebook and whatever to show him smoking weed, calling himself 'no limit nigga" and whatever else they could find as if any of it was actually relevant to the events on that night. Yet there was a total failure to understand why Trayvon was the victim. Lets go over the sequence of events: Trayon left his father's house to get some sugary treats at a local store. He is seen on video tape completing his purchase without incident because unlike the late Mike Brown, he wasn't out trying to rob anyone. It was a misty rain outside and Trayvon was wearing a hoodie. He put the hood up while walking to protect his head from the water. Some on the right have taken this as evidence that he was a criminal because wearing a hood in the rain while outside is evidence of intent to do wrong. George Zimmerman, armed George Zimmerman happened to see Trayvon walking back to his father's apartment and decided that Trayvon looked suspicious. I emphasize armed because I am of the belief that a person who is armed has a larger responsibility to not initiate or escalate conflicts. What was Trayvon doing to be seen as suspicious. Allegedly it was because he had his hood up and was looking at the homes he was passing along the way to the place he was residing. To even allow oneself to think this is acceptable shows a mind that is possessed. Why? Because who walks down a street and doesn't look at one's surroundings? Matter of fact I would find it odd if a person was walking down a street and not looking around. Situational awareness anyone? The trial showed that Trayvon was on his cell phone talking to his friend Rachel. We know that while on that phone call Trayvon indicated that Zimmerman was following him and that Zimmerman came across as creepy. That Trayvon called Zimmerman a cracker is irrelevant. The fact that Trayvon thought of Zimmerman as "creepy" IS highly relevant. We can induce that it is likely that Trayvon's head swiveling was in likely him looking to see what the creepy guy in the car is doing rather than actually looking at the homes. But that is supposition. We do not know this because Trayvon was unable to be questioned and no one else has evidence to offer to back up this idea. What we do know, and what is a fact is that armed Zimmerman was following Trayvon. Trayvon noticed this "creepy" person following him. We know that Trayvon had not, was not in the process of, or intending to commit a crime. He was lawfully going about his business. These are facts. whatever it was that Zimmerman thought was suspicious about Trayvon existed entirely in his head. Whether the audio recording of Zimmerman's phone call said "coons", "goons" or "guys" doesn't really matter. That he used a term that indicated that he assumed criminal activity where there was none does matter. There was no criminal activity and Zimmerman had no rational basis for later confronting Trayvon. I have said to many people that if one EVER thinks one is being followed that one should NOT go to one's home. Why would you lead a potential killer to your place of residence? The police say that Trayvon was hiding behind a sign (and/ore bushes) when he finally confronted Zimmerman. In terms of self-defense Trayvon's hiding makes perfect sense. Meanwhile, armed Zimmerman calls the authorities to report suspicious activity. Mind you, as we stated before Trayvon hadn't done anything suspicious. He was lawfully walking to the place that he resided, while on the phone with his friend and observing his surroundings. The authoritites, being professionals, told Zimmerman to not follow the "suspicious" person. There are two major reasons for the professionals to say this to Zimmerman: 1) Zimmerman may be harmed by the criminal and they do not want to place a civilian in harm's way. 2) The alleged criminal may in fact be an innocent civilian who is alarmed by armed Zimmerman who is not an offical and uniformed law enforcement officer and a conflict may arise that may cause harm (or death) to that civilians and/or Zimmerman. Zimmerman decided to disregard the directions and handle things himself. This is what we call "negligence". That Zimmerman, armed, decided to take the law into his own hands, on a person who had not committed a crime, was not in the process of committing a crime meant that HE was escalating the situation. Looking at it from Trayvon's perspective, as we should, he sees a person following him in a car. He tries to shake the person by hiding and that person leaves their car to follow him on foot. To Trayvon this is potentially life or death situation which has escalated from a person in a car to a person on foot. . He doesn't know Zimmerman. What reason does Trayvon have to believe that the stranger who is following him means him no harm? None! Then we have the conflict. We only have Zimmerman's story to take but there is a confrontation. On one hand we have a report that Trayvon says "Why are you following me!?" and on the other Zimmerman says that Trayvon simply jumps out the bushes and says "you're going to die tonight" and starts to beat on him. . Since we have no video or eyewitness at this point, I have to make assumptions. I think Trayvon probably said BOTH things. I think that Zimmerman flashed his gun while demanding of Trayvon to explain "what he was doing here". I cannot prove it but given his behavior after the trial, we can surely believe that Zimmerman is the type to have brandished his weapon. I think once Trayvon caught sight of the weapon, he decided that he would take on Zimmerman physically and it was during that fight that Zimmerman was able to shoot Trayvon (lesson, always control the hands of your opponent and ALWAYS end the fight quickly, an eye jab and groin kick would have ended this fight in favor of Trayvon). So we come to the jury decision. Due to the total fuck up by the prosecution, the jury was lead to focus on the end fight that claimed Trayvon's life. Indeed without argument Zimmerman shot Trayvon in self-defense. But that self-defense is like the self defense a gang member who assaults another gang member during a turf dispute could claim. Yeah, you defended yourself, but YOU initiated the conflict. And here, the facts show that Zimmerman initiated the conflict. It was Zimmerman that stalked Trayvon. Zimmerman made Trayvon fear for his safety and life by following him for no good reason. It was Zimmerman who disregarded the professional safety personel's advice to not exit his vehicle. That was negligence. It was the armed Zimmerman who decided to up the ante and stalk Trayvon on foot and confront him (while possibly showing his weapon which would be menacing). The problem I have with those acting like the actual criminal in this case was Trayvon was their total disregard for the idea that one can be stalked by an armed man. That an armed civilian, emphasis on civilian, has the right to demand to ask you why you are on a public street or public thoroughfare and if you resist that and get shot, YOU are the criminal. Of course I've read enough on these websites to know that many of them are of the opinion that black people, males in particular ought be subject to interrogation by any white person who find their presence disturbing. Yet these individuals do not realize that such an idea poses a threat to general law and order (supposedly a conservative platform) whereby citizens can stalk and harass and threaten other citizens going about their lawful behavior. As a postscript I find it very interesting that the same people who scoured the net for Trayvon's childish web postings often ignored the frequent interactions with police that Zimmerman has had, which often involved his gun. If Trayvon's antics at his school and on Facebook and Twitter are to be evidence of his "racist" and "criminal intent" towards Zimmerman, the it would stand to reason that Zimmerman's activities with his gun are also evidence (although late) of the likelihood that he did in fact threaten to use his weapon against Trayvon (menacing) and it was THAT escalation that lead to the fight and Trayvon's death. Which would be legally felony murder (a homicide that occurs during the commission of or result of another crime).