Headline Muse, 3/22

The cops have to pick up the slack
They’re too worried ‘bout media flak
You can’t be a goodie
While wearing a hoodie
So shoot him, for “walking while black”.

Headline: Uproar over Florida teen’s death focuses on race

No, I wouldn’t have chosen that headline for this verse. That headline is what showed up when I clicked a link saying “Neighbors stand by George Zimmerman” on CNN.com’s front page. Were it not for my Grandfather’s years living in Florida, I would not, could not understand how Zimmerman’s neighbors could stand by him in this case.

I am disturbed beyond saying by the Trayvon Martin story. My colleagues here at FtB have written about it, but it has not been, and can never be, enough. I blame Florida, as an entity of government, as much or more than I blame Zimmerman (whom I do not hold blameless).


  1. says

    “Stand your ground” law in Florida has raised the number of killings in so-called self-defence from 13 a year to 42 a year (averages of course, before and after). Not too surprisingly, the instigator of that law is bleating that he didn’t mean it that way–that stand your ground doesn’t mean following and harassing someone. As if intent were magic or something. As if racists won’t take a shrug or a look away as suspicious.

    One young man got jumped in the the London subway by a SWAT team due to “suspicious behaviour,” to wit:

    * “He looked away from a security guard and wouldn’t meet the guard’s eyes.” Fact: he’d just had his eye checked, they were dilated, and he was focusing on his footing instead of the guard at the head of a stairway.

    * “He had an antenna or wire sticking out of his bag.” Fact: it was his cell phone.

    * “He let several trains go by, obviously the hesitation of a suicide bomber.” Fact: they jumped him before the first train arrived.

    * He was Southeast Asian.

    At least they just arrested him instead of killing him.

  2. Rocky says

    In situations like this one, jumping to conclusions is always a mistake. Unless you know the true facts (and no one but Zimmerman will probably ever know the actual truth), it’s impossible to say whether or not he was truly justified in shooting.

  3. Cuttlefish says

    Markita Lynda–

    To me, the “stand your ground” laws are inherently flawed, so long as this sort of thing exists.

    My mother-in-law lives in Florida. She owns and carries (or did carry, until recently) a handgun (which she has accidentally left in restaurants more than once). Oh, yeah, and she also watches Fox News, is racist and bigoted (she is the product of her upbringing and her family). (Incidentally, she is also an atheist, so she does not fit every stereotype.) If she were to see, on two different nights, a white man and a black man following her on the street as she walked her dog, she would feel threatened by the black man. The feeling would be hers alone, but Florida’s laws would currently allow her to shoot.

    And, Rocky… she would be legally “justified”. Even if all the man had in his pocket was a bag of skittles. “Truly justified” is an odd, abstract bar to clear. Of course, the bar Florida wants us to jump is low enough you have to dust of the dirt to see it.

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