Florida: Getting Away With Child Murder

Trayvon Martin was murdered in a shocking act of violence clearly motivated by racial bias, yet it looks like he won’t even get a slap on the wrist.

It appears that George Zimmerman drove up to Trayvon when the 17 year old was returning from a shopping trip with an iced tea and some skittles, got out of his car, attacked the youth, and shot him (emphasis mine):

According to 911 recordings released late Friday by Sanford police, Zimmerman said the person was walking slowly, looked drugged and appeared to be looking at people’s houses. Police would later learn that Trayvon had gone to 7-Eleven during the NBA All Star game halftime to get Skittles and Arizona iced tea.

These a–holes always get away,” Zimmerman complained.

What happened next is unclear, and has already reverberated nationwide. Calls to 911 alerted police to a scuffle and someone crying for help. In one, the chilling howl stopped after the clear, crisp blast of a bullet. Trayvon was lying face down on the ground near a pathway that runs through the townhouse community.

One 911 caller sobbed to the dispatcher over not having helped the young man who wailed.

Zimmerman told police that was him crying for help and that Trayvon started the fight. He claimed self-defense and was not charged

The history of consequence free violence against black people in this community suggests a systemic problem (emphasis mine):

n 2010, police waited seven weeks to arrest a lieutenant’s son who was caught on video sucker-punching a homeless black man.

In 2005, two security guards — one the son of a longtime Sanford police officer and the other a department volunteer — killed a black man they said was trying to run them over. Black leaders complained of a lackluster investigation. The guards ultimately were acquitted.

Police Chief Bill Lee is not helping the situation with his comments (emphasis mine):

“We are taking a beating over this,” said Lee, who defends the investigation. “This is all very unsettling. I’m sure if George Zimmerman had the opportunity to relive Sunday, Feb. 26, he’d probably do things differently. I’m sure Trayvon would, too.”

What the hell could Trayvon have done differently?

George Zimmerman has no need of going back in time to do things differently.  He apparently killed a child – and from the looks of things – will get away with it.

Brief Update and Two Recommended Posts

Shortly (I hope) I’ll be announcing a new education blog related to my nonprofit.  In the meantime I’d like to recommend two exceptionally insightful posts…

Continue reading

CNN Political Ticker:

(CNN) — Conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh Monday strongly defended his recent remark that Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama largely because of race, and lashed out at members of the media and Democrats for appearing to take issue with his comment.

“So what if it’s race?” Limbaugh said on his radio show. “Why is it so hard to admit that it’s race…What’s so problematic about admitting it?”

Nice reframe.  It isn’t about the problem of “admitting” its about race.  Its about how fucking slimy it is to attempt to cut down the endorsement of a highly respected public official by appealing to paranoid racists.

I can understand why Rush did it.  The endorsement is a final nail in McCain’s coffin.  A very respected Republican who enjoys high approval ratings across party affiliation with a distinguished career of public and military service absolutely gutted McCain’s rationale for running.

The Republicans have nothing left to except finally trot out Palin for a surprise press conference and hope her incoherent babbling distracts us.  Barring that kind of surprise, I suppose Rush though racist appeals were a good stand in.

The Audacity of Bravery

When you consider the risks Barack Obama is taking, just by being Black and running for President, and further by taking progressive political stands, it puts his earnestness front and center.  There is a reason people feel they can trust this man.

My friend Brad, (who when pressed is full of insightful yet cuttingly cynical remarks about politics), is not someone I’d consider johnny Democratic volunteer.  I haven’t really given Obama’s speech a critical once through yet, but I’m heading into it impressed through the eyes of my friends.  Brad’s impressions foremost among them.

In the face of eliminationist rhetoric against Barack Obama escalating into actual assasination attempts, a lot of the political culture Obama is running in becomes easier to comprehend.  Right wingers are desperately trying to pin white supremacy on liberals (see the comment thread for examples).  Conservatives love their crazies when they vote, and do their best to either distance themselves from or ignore the crazies who act out.

In spite of all of this, Barack Obama is running to be president.

When looking at opposition candidates in third world countries, its hard to image how devastatingly difficult it is to run in the face of life ending violence.  While our own government is thankfully not corrupt enough to kill politicians, some of our citizens are murderous and hateful enough to try and take our vote away from us by force.  There are people out there seething at the possibility of a black president.  I think all the talk in the various supremacist and neonazi forums about wanting a black president so he can fail is bullshit.  Not simply because Obama (who has been surrounding himself with some increasingly impressive allies) is geared to succeed (and he will).  But because the kind of psuedo-intellectual urine soaked cowardice that drives racists cannot stand the fact that their hated enemy will hold a position of incredible symbolic power.  As definitely as their paranoia extends to additional worries beyond Obama’s victory in November, they are surely worrying that his victory will represent a powerful blow to the cause of white supremacy.  They’d be right there.  When Barack Obama shatters the glass ceiling, the symbolism of a black statesman on JFK’s level showering the oval office with the alien sensation of competency will drive a nail into the coffin of racial inferiority in such a public way it knocks the coffin into the ground and buries it all at once.

The focal point is Barack’s sheer skill.  He literally lifted himself onto the national stage with a speech at a convention most reporters and politicians routinely mock as a mere informercial for the parties.  His speeches aren’t simply articulate or effective, they are electric.  He’s what Cicero had in mind when he wrote “On the Ideal Orator”.  The laughable criticism of Obama as a “rock star” is an incredible boost:  The man is a rock star because of his oratory.  He’s not a rock star like Prince or Nickleback.  He’s a rock star in the sense of Bob Dylan or Pete Seeger.  You cannot energize and uplift a crowd with empty words.  That’s why his supporters know in both brain and gut that the weak attacks on his “lack of substance” are innately pathetic.  You can’t make that argument in good faith having actually listened to his speeches.

This is why the violent underbelly of American culture, racism, is a source of violence aimed at the Democratic presidential nominee.  Because at their core white supremacists, nazis, and racists run on fear.  And they fear being shown completely wrong their twisted take on humanity is.  If they could only let go of that fear, they’d find the world a much more loving place than they imagine.

Barack Obama is an embodiment of the America Martin Luther King Jr had the audacity to hope for, and the bravery to work for.  The Senator shares that hope and bravery in the face of a boiling undercurrent of hate and violence.  It is a deep honor to support and believe in such a person.

Good Reads 07-27

Today’s Good Reads are brought to you by the letter COOKIE:

Been arguing with people who think free market health care will solve everything?  This is a caustic counterpoint (The Unapologetic Mexican).

Bloggernista exhorts us all to stand up for Gay rights and fight hard come November.

It is a deeply compassionate wisdom which invites us to remember that because the world is so violent we have the fire to change it.  It always always pays to remember that (docstrangelove).

CNN misleadingly quotes A pro-eugenics racist in a column on race and Barack Obama (Hatewatch).

Newscat clues us on in the dribbling insanity passing for opinion at the Wall Street Journal (hint: major Bush worship is still very much in fashion, but comparing him to batman?!  WTF?!!)

Good Reads

I’m starting a semi regular feature (ideally this will be once daily) listing interesting pieces of news and curiosity I come across.  Things that hit home, piss me off, or make really important arguments.  Thanks to Marco for the idea!

The anti-immigrant group the Minutemen and the racist CCC are formally working together now.  For an organization that has gone to lengths to protest accusations of racism, this is huge.  (Source: SPLC Hatewatch).

Kay clears up a lot of the smoke being blown around the Obama campaign (including noting that the abortion move I thought was a change was not).

This is heartbreaking.

Even the compliant Iraqis we put in power now want a timetable for withdrawal.

Jesse Helms remembered accurately.

McCain now having protestors who accurately compare him to Bush arrested.  Those ne’er-do-wells.

Its good to take time and remember the deaths of those brave enough to stand and fight.  In this case an activist journalist working in Mexico.

McCain’s short list for VP keeps getting crazier.

There is chess boxing.  It has a new world champion.  Sometimes the world is magical.

[Update:  You can find these posts here (rss feed here).]

Anti Obama Racists: You Will Lose

It looks like racists have been crawling out of the gutter to leave some helpful comments on an old post I wrote.

Which I’ve decided I am fine with.  I want them to be out in the light and paying attention when they lose.