Back in the day, my friend and tenor sax man, Mguma. put it this way:
A white man gets pulled over by a cop, he’s worried, will he give me a ticket? A black man gets pulled over by a cop, he’s worried, will he shoot me?
That was a lot of years ago. Seems like not much has changed – except maybe for the worse.
The recent murder of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman is a case in point. It's enough to make you wail and gnash your teeth.
Zimmerman is 28 years old, of mixed ethnic background, and was a law enforcement wannabe. Although his neighborhood watch organization was not officially registered, Zimmerman is described as a “self-appointed neighborhood watch captain.”
What the hell is that?
Isn’t that what we usually refer to as a “vigilante?”
What, if any, lawful authority does Zimmerman have to accost anybody on the street for any reason?
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have any problem with you, as a righteous citizen “taking the law into your own hands.” In fact, I trust YOU a whole lot more than I trust the cops.
But you’d better be sure you’re right, Pal.
That means you’d better be able to show me that you had a damn good reason to reasonably believe that an innocent person was facing an imminent threat of grave bodily injury or death and the use of lethal force was your only reasonable option, or at the very least, that you had ample reason to reasonably believe that some other serious felony was being committed, had been committed, or was about to be committed. And by “serious,” I mean rape, robbery, kidnapping, and assault, in addition to murder.
Zimmerman made nearly 50 complaints to the cops (since 2004) of various kinds from open garages, to suspicious people. I wonder how many of his complaints resulted in the cops making a felony arrest --- or even uncovering an actual crime?
Or is Zimmerman basically a hall monitor on steroids with a deadly weapon?
Zimmerman, as noted was an adult; Martin was only 17.
Zimmerman was armed with a handgun; Martin was unarmed.
Zimmerman pursued Martin even though the police had been clear that Zimmerman was not to do that.
Zimmerman therefore, initiated the confrontation.
Zimmerman claims he acted in self-defense.
Well, for starters, you generally can't initiate a confrontation and then claim self-defense. But for the actions of Zimmerman, there would have been no such confrontation, and Martin would have gone home to enjoy his Skittles in peace.
Further, Zimmerman outweighed Martin by 80 pounds and you don’t have to have been a boxer to realize that that’s a substantial advantage to Zimmerman in a brawl. Zimmerman would be justified in using lethal force only if threatened with lethal force. Unless Martin turns out to have been a ninja assassin whose hands were deadly weapons, that ain’t gonna fly. daddy-o. No way Zimmerman should have pulled out his dick. I mean, his gun.
I don’t know about Florida, but in most places “self-defense” is an affirmative defense. That means the burden of proof falls on the one making the claim, Zimmerman. The People don't have to prove it wasn't self-defense; Zimmerman has to prove it was.
Normally when there's a death, the Medical Examiner (or the functional equivalent) determines the cause of death – natural causes, suicide, accident or homicide. In this case, Zimmerman doesn’t deny shooting Martin, so it’s homicide, up front. Prima facie.
So Zimmerman tells the cops it was self-defense.
The cops check the body and the scene nearby and find no weapon on or near Martin and must conclude Martin was unarmed.
At that point,Zimmerman should be arrested and charged with murder.
So why wasn’t Zimmerman even arrested? The probable cause was laying on the ground in a pool of blood.
Later on Zimmerman could try to convince the Prosecutor that this was self-defense (repeat, not gonna fly), or maybe he can claim negligence (“the gun just went off”) also not likely to fly, in my opinion.
But hey, maybe his lawyer can work a deal.
Deals are fun.
Just a few years back in some places (just a few weeks back in others), a KKK sheet sniffer could shoot a black man and bargain the murder charge down for a plea of guilty to littering. Or hunting out of season.
You think I’m exaggerating?
Not by much, Pal.
Is race a probable issue here?
Not if Zimmerman just got here from Mars, it isn’t.
But here in the land of the unfree, racism is alive and well and getting the tracks together for a new album. It’s endemic. You can’t escape it. You can only become aware of it and hope to avoid getting sucked into it.
But racial stereo-types and “profiling” are now officially acceptable. Anybody whose skin hue falls on the bottom half of the grey scale is a likely terrorist, right? And if not a terrorist, probably a drug dealer. Everybody who watches television at all understands that much of the official program.
I haven’t said much about Trayvon Martin, have I?
It doesn’t matter, that’s why.
What we DO know is that he was engaged in no apparent criminal activity, was unarmed, was pursued by Zimmerman and was killed by Zimmerman.
All other issues aside, that’s reason enough right there for Zimmerman to take a fall for murder.
Things aren’t bad enough? REAL cops are completely out of control. Do we want to have to deal with pseudo-cop wannabe’s gunning down innocent kids in the street, too?
Maybe we do.
Hitler had his brown-shirted “neighborhood watch” goons on the look-out for Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, jazz enthusiasts and other such miscreants.
Maybe that’s where we’re heading.
I regret to say, it wouldn’t surprise me.