More of the same

So for those who are interested… here’s the text of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stand-your-ground_law#Florida

I know I’ve written about this once already, and I know it’s straying a little far afield from the main purpose of this blog.  But I’m writing about it again, because I’m still angry, and because this is the only place I have to voice that anger.

I’m angry because there seem to be so many people trying so very hard to find mitigating factors to exonerate Zimmerman.  Trayvon had disciplinary problems at school.  Trayvon had been caught with a plastic baggie that may or may not have contained marijuana at some point.  Trayvon had pictures of himself online dressed “thuggishly,” with gold teeth and baggy pants, and sent tweets containing tough-guy talk.  And perhaps the favorite one – Trayvon fought back.  Heck, he might even have swung first.

And you know what?  I don’t care.  I really, really could not give less of a shit.  Because you are not allowed to kill someone because they acted up in school.  You are not allowed to kill someone because they smoked pot.  You are not allowed to kill someone because you don’t like their clothes or the way they talk.  You are not allowed to kill people, morons!!  Full stop!

As for the charges that Trayvon attacked Zimmerman first – god, I hope so.  I hope that asshole got punched in the nose at least once.  Want to know why?  Go back up there and read the wording of that law again.  Read it carefully.  Go ahead; I’ll wait.

There ain’t a damn thing in it that exonerates Zimmerman.  But it exonerates Trayvon.

Trayvon didn’t come on to Zimmerman’s property.  He didn’t  brandish a weapon and wasn’t in the process of committing a felony.  He was walking a little slowly, looking around a lot, despite the fact that it was raining – weird, sure, but hey, some folks like the rain, whatevs.  Hardly something that any rational person would consider an imminent threat to their life or safety.  Zimmerman, on the other hand, left his house to follow this kid around the neighborhood (despite having been told not to) with a gun. 

So picture this.  You’re a kid.  You’re out after dark, but you’re in a public place where you have every legal right to be.  And a large adult man with a gun has been obviously following you for some time now.  Think you’d feel threatened?  I think I would.  I think the law might agree I had every right to.

So no, I don’t know what happened during the confrontation.  But even if Trayvon did attack Zimmerman, I think you could make a really good case that he was entirely justified in doing so – based on the very same law Zimmerman is citing to excuse murder.

And there are so many people bending over backwards trying to insist that it’s not about race, we shouldn’t make it about race… and y’know, I’d really like to believe that, I’d really like to live in a world where  people don’t get shot for the color of their skin, but a) so what?  Even if it’s not about race, it’s still about murder; it just feels like the people insisting Zimmerman isn’t a racist have convinced themselves that if true, that will magically also mean he’s not a murderer, and b) …I just don’t buy it.

I don’t buy it because my husband can wear a hoodie and nobody thinks he’s suspicious.  I don’t buy it because my brother got arrested for smoking pot once, and had a few disciplinary problems in high school, yet nobody thinks he’s a thug.  I don’t buy it because I can – and do – walk around my neighborhood in the dead of night, even when it’s drizzling, walking slowly and staring absently around, and nobody confronts me, calls the cops, or thinks I’m on drugs.

And if you don’t think it’s because we’re white, then I got a bridge you might be interested in.

And I don’t buy it because of the sheer defensiveness of the response.  The angry denial that it could have anything to do with race just smacks of “methinks the lady doth protest too much.”  Why are you angry?  Why is it so important to you to prove that it’s not about race?  Could it be because deep down, you kinda know it is, and maybe you’re a little ashamed and don’t want to admit it to yourself?  Because that’s how it’s coming off.

And right now I’m… I’m angry, and grieved, but also frustrated.  Because I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know if there’s anything to do.  There are protests and vigils in Sanford, but they’re all while I’m at work – and even though I know, intellectually, that I really can’t take off any more time (not if I don’t want to get fired, that is)… it doesn’t keep me from feeling like a slack-ass who talks big but doesn’t do anything. 

And I’m frustrated because racism isn’t dead, and because the burden is on me and people who look like me to change that fact – and I don’t even know where to start.  I mean, hell, I was raised in about the least-racist environments you can think of, but I absorbed it.  I’m aware of it.  I’ve had kneejerk thoughts I’m not proud of – and if I don’t even know how to get those unconscious prejudices out of my OWN mind, how on earth can we work on getting them out of society as a whole?

I’ve got a kid to raise, or I will soon enough.  I don’t want her to grow up in a world where racism exists, even though it won’t be directed at her.  I don’t want her to absorb those unconscious stereotypes.  I sure as hell don’t want her to perpetuate them.  But I have no fucking clue what to do.

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3 thoughts on “More of the same

  1. Hugs. Unfortunately, The Stand Your Ground law has one loophole that you can drive your truck through, because it has a very wide measure of what you can “stand your ground” for.

    “776.012 Use of force in defense of person.—A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:
    (1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or
    (2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s. 776.013.

    In this state, a forcible felony includes breaking and entering, and unfortunately George Zimmerman can say he reasonably believed at the time that Trayvon was going to commit a forcible felony. It would be a crock of manure, but there is no real way to prove what his thoughts were when Trayvon came up to him, or he came up to Trayvon, whatever the hell his story was this week.

    It sucks, because quite frankly, even assuming he wasn’t a racist arse (and the whole, “well, he’s a Hispanic, there is no way that he is racist,” ur, bullshit. You can be of any race and still be racist) he just might get off with less than a slap on the wrist because of the way the law is worded, all for thinking he could play Clint Eastwood.

    Hugs again. Sorry for the rant.

  2. “imminent.” That’s the key word there, and if I were a lawyer (instead of just a law nerd), that’s where I would hit him. Because as long as Trayvon was still walking down the street, no felonies were imminent. (Which is nitpicky, but it kinda has to be – otherwise, by that precedent, I could just go downtown and open fire, under the justification of “they might have someday, somehow decided to commit a felony, so best to nip it in the bud now.”)

    Of course, for all of these excellent and fascinating legal nitpicks to be discussed and decided upon and clarified and for precedent to be set, the guy would have to GO TO FUCKING TRIAL.

  3. I know. And that just fucking burns me that he is not going to trial. I want that arse to look at Trayvon’s family, square in the bloody eyes, and tell them that he had a good reason for shooting their son.

    And that whole thing Zimmerman’s father is trying to pull, the whole “my son is part Hispanic, of course he is not racist” is the biggest crock of shite to ever come out of someone’s mouth. And I say this as a Hispanic myself: what the hell does the one have to do with the other? I have seen many racist Hispanics, as well as racists of other stripes.

    Argh, this whole Zimmerman thing is just a grab bag of frustrating idiocy.

    Hugs again.

    PS- the only defense I have for the word imminent is the fact that he could have thought the kid was running off at that moment to commit a B & E. Provided, it is a weak, tenuous at best argument, and takes the kind of mental gymnastics that I just don’t think this arse has, but that just might be how the department is justifying sitting on their tushes, and not even giving the guy a freaking slap on the wrist.

    More Hugs, because I just could not be more sad that Zimmerman is not facing a trial.

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