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Injustice for Some


Saturday, July 27, 2013
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This past Saturday my husband and I went down to Los Angeles from our home in Santa Ynez to join others in protest of the acquittal of the killer of Trayvon Martin. We wanted, in part, to stand in solidarity with the black community, which is suffering great pain over the reality that an unarmed young man returning to his father’s house was assumed to be a bad person because of the color of his skin. Profiled, followed, frightened, and confronted by a stranger, and then shot through the heart when he defended himself against the armed predator.

But we are also motivated by outrage and sadness on our own behalf (we are white) and Americans of all colors, because laws in many states sanction a murder such as this. It is so far from the ideals we are taught by our history, our religions, and our innate morality. If this killing had occurred in California, or even in Florida before the stand your ground law, it would clearly have been seen as manslaughter at the very least.

As we stood in front of the federal court building, surrounded by peaceful voices of black, brown, Asian, white and Indian voices raised in objection, we felt some comfort that we are not alone in recoiling from a definition of self-defense expanded to the point where a child can be stalked, provoked, and killed because a cowardly man can claim that injuries requiring two Band-Aids caused him to fear for his life.

In many ways we enjoy a refuge of sorts here in our valley. Though we enjoy the beauty and the ease of our uncongested days, we must not remove ourselves from being engaged with questions of justice for all. I do not know if others from the Central Coast were present in that crowd on Saturday, but I do know that you are here, among my neighbors, in my community. If you are not white, you know that this could happen to your own child; but if you are white and if you are honest about it, you know that it wouldn’t have happened to your son. This is a privilege that is unacceptable, and I ask each of you to participate in resisting bad laws that lead to tragic results.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” —Martin Luther King

Comments

Independent Discussion Guidelines

Thank you Gretchen for taking the time to stand against injustice.

blackpoodles (anonymous profile)
July 27, 2013 at 5:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

There was a huge vigil/march in Isla Vista last night.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 27, 2013 at 6 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Most disingenuous tripe ever! It's an appeal to gross bias and simple-mindedness. I smell a covert social agenda.

Adonis_Tate (anonymous profile)
July 29, 2013 at 9:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I can't escape the feeling that this letter is not bleating per se, but instead a calculated primer for bleating by the less devious.

Adonis_Tate (anonymous profile)
July 30, 2013 at 2:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

As far as I know, (disclaimer there--as I only have the media's word to go by) the only physical assault was upon Zimmerman. The self-defense notion contradicts this.

Having said this, I will say (again) that all who carry guns should also carry non-lethal weapons (pepper spray is an excellent choice) because had Zimmerman had that option, perhaps Trayvon Martin would be alive, and either way, why hasn't the media (on both sides) been asking about this?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 30, 2013 at 6:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@billclausen

If Zimmerman had been carrying a non-lethal weapon, it is possible that Martin might have brought some harm--maybe even death, if the "smashing his head in the concrete" line is believed. However, the difference is that Martin would probably have gone to jail. And in that fantasy case, I still would believe that the responsibility of taking actions that led to such and end would rest with Zimmerman, whom I see as the original aggressor.

The incredible irony is two-fold: 1) That Martin was not a threat until provoked, and 2) that Zimmerman turned out to be the danger in his neighborhood that he was seeking to control--he killed an INNOCENT kid, who was MINDING HIS OWN BUSINESS!

equus_posteriori (anonymous profile)
July 30, 2013 at 2:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If Zimmerman wasn't a vigilante, we wouldn't be having this discussion and bad feelings. Not that he's the root of all evil, just symbolic of its banality.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 30, 2013 at 2:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Sirwanksalot and his ropes and hangings....in your eyes GZ was just living the dream huh wanksalot.

lawdy (anonymous profile)
July 30, 2013 at 7:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Funny how Zimmerman's past legal transgressions (multiple assault and battery) is conveniently left out of the mix.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 30, 2013 at 7:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@equus:

"responsibility of taking actions that led to [!] such and end would rest with Zimmerman, " Yeah, and the liquor store clerk on the corner wouldn't have got shot IF ONLY he'd called in sick from work. His going to work LED TO his getting shot! This canard is getting old. Martin chose to engage, violently, & sealed his own doom. Case the morgue, prowlers.

But it's so hip to be down widda Black community, or at least widda rap-tastically presentable examples thereof. And Good Samaritans ain't coo. Yeh-uh, boy-eeee! (But you still smell like cumin, gabachos.)

Adonis_Tate (anonymous profile)
July 31, 2013 at 1:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

How was Trayvon Martin to know Zimmerman isn't some kind of perv who was gonna kidnap him?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 31, 2013 at 1:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

What's the underlying social paradigm or mega-meme underlying condemnation of Zimmerman? Generalizing, people including White people are consummate herd animals, putting pilot whales to shame. They paint their worlds with belief systems the same way they adorn their bodies with clothing - fashion is function. The mass media tell them what's cool and they hop to it. (Are there any ulterior social agendas in the mass media?) Conformists aren't self-hating if it makes them cool. If some few AfAms threaten to riot ("no peace") on a major news channel, then you can only find public comment on the possible immorality of that on talk radio. (If you can stomach the polemics long enough to hear a nugget of neglected wisdom.) AfAms are condoned in acting up by the trendy masses. Hence Rachel Jeantel (on Piers Morgan) felt free to pass off TM's exertions upon GZ as mere whoop ass, rather than actual bashing. So, TM's manners were gracious enough, because GZ survived. Minor injuries. BTW, no one experiences major injuries to the back of the head, because unconsciousness intervenes.

Being cool would explain a lot of Zim-hate. He applied for a police job, therefore he's deranged and a loose cannon. (How cool are cops, those assassins of freedom...?) So, the evidentiary blind spot gets painted in accordingly. How wholistic! Even if police work draws types with control issues, well, at least they're putting their personality flaws (?) to good use. Consider the three-part division of humanity expressed in Team America: World Police (not quotable here). It was an anatomical analogy, if that helps to remember.

Adonis_Tate (anonymous profile)
July 31, 2013 at 3:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Excellent post Adonis. I'll add my perspective--if only to punctuate what you said.

Societies tend to extremes, and the American conciousness went from hating anything outside the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant realm, to the other extreme. Look at Bolshevik Russia as a good comparison: One extreme begot another--irrationality generally comes from chaos.

For what it's worth, my parents were liberal idealists who hated racism for their experiences growing up. My mother was Assyrian who could have passed for black, and my dad was Irish-Catholic so between the two of them they had plenty of experiences directly or through ancestry of bigotry. Add to this that she was into the arts and he was a jazz musician. By the time I was born, things were pretty comfortable, the money was coming in, and we shortly thereafter moved to the suburbs of Chicago. My parents had a big sense of noblesse oblige, and frequently told us of the evils of racism--and in those days--there was still a lot of it where we lived. They however, did not see that by the end of the 1960's, the civil rights movement which they supported was getting infiltrated with people who were not interested in "brotherly love", and who either didn't care about the plight of those they claimed to represent, or were too blind by idealism to see the damage they were doing. In short, how did we go from Martin Luther King to Al Sharpton? Think of it, can the two be compared?

So what is the result of this?...me--a kid becoming socially concious in the early 70's, but feeling very guilty and uptight about being white. The message was white people racist, all others victims. What results is someone who spends their time trying to appease those angry at them on account of race, gender, religion, whatever. For years I blindly went along with this agenda, and even when Jesse Jackson made the blatently anti-Jewish comment "Hymie Town", in reference to New York, I still supported him even though I knew intellectually it was a racist comment which would have gotten a white Republican thrown out of the the election, but emotion overrides intellect.

Some will say "Martin Luther King was a communist", or point out his adulterous behavior, but the mainstream message of King was not to judge people by the color of their skin, but by "the content of their character". Simple truth encapsulated in that comment. Another quote--if I remember correctly--was "we must learn to live together as brothers, lest we die as fools". Amen.

What I have learned over time is that I have not abandoned my childhood dream of equality and siblinghood among all people, but the movement we think of as being connected to the ideals of people such as my parents, Mr. King, and those who "walked the walk" has become apostate, and since most people seem to fall into the doctrinaire line of party-line politicts, I would guess much fine-tuning is in order.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
July 31, 2013 at 8:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Dear Gretchen -

Murder is the unlawful killing of one Human by another. Zimmerman was found not-guilty, so it's not murder. Please keep in mind:

Zimmerman had a black girlfriend for his prom date.

Obama co-sponsored a stand your ground law in the Illinois legislature.

Florida has a stand your ground law but Zimmerman was found unanimously not-guilty *without* using that law in his defense.

Zimmerman claimed and there was eye witness testimony that Trayvon was on top of Zimmerman smashing his head into the pavement.

We're either a country of laws or we're a country filled with emotional reactions.

willy88 (anonymous profile)
July 31, 2013 at 11:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@ billclausen:

It is in the nature of pendulums to swing until arrested, hence the incarceration profile. New paradigms go to extremes? Also, there are benefits to a state wherein the majority ethnic group feels some proprietary interest in the country's well-being. Bashing by the media, & the apotheosis of urban cool (pardon my "code") has demoted the Smiths & Joneses... oops, make that the O'Reillys. Not all bad! But not all good. On top of that, population growth per se produces mob-think. Remember when teenagers in Santa Barbara dreaded to flout the law, knowing the consequences at home if they sullied the family name? People know who is who, in small cities.

BTW, I envy your composure & incisive thinking. If you were a biblical character, it would have to be Solomon. Your humble serpent, AT

Adonis_Tate (anonymous profile)
August 1, 2013 at 11:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank you Gretchen for another tear jerking, vacuous waste of words...
bc-stop confusing people with facts.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
August 4, 2013 at 8:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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