Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

Mr. Zimmerman’s a name that will live in infamy throughout history since his fatally shooting 17 year old Trayvon Martin on an ill-fated night in Florida 2012. Where the latter was mistaken for a burglar post a rash of robberies in the neighborhood, followed, confronted; the altercation that persisted one where Zimmerman pulled a gun shooting Martin to death, maintaining all along he feared for his life, a line he would stick to through police interview after police interview, trial, subsequent press interviews post court proceedings. What happened next was a very public police investigation hounded by accusations of bias in the aftermath of our growing awakening to police brutality gone viral, citizen brutality against teens, minorities and especially blacks easily mirroring what we were discovering about authority meant to, whose motto is, protect and serve. Followed by a trial of seemingly bumbling prosecution witnesses including Rachel Jeantel whose combination of Ebonics and teen vernacular became a public indictment surpassing the prosecution’s case to the school system who allowed this inarticulate person high school admittance at all to the village, community who raised her purposed goal toward such ‘obvious ignorance’ embodying every stereotype about her culture and race, topping it off with comments about her weight and her ‘dressed down’ appearance while in a court of law, not the least influenced by the fact media cameras were allowed in giving people a feel they were watching Law and Order not reality, where ordinary people don’t look like movie starts, the lines aren’t scripted and everyone isn’t dressed to the 9’s by someone in wardrobe. An ‘absurd’ parading of skittles and iced tea as court’s evidence marked with exhibit letters beforehand juxtaposed against the large cement block brought in meant to represent the curb Zimmerman’s head was allegedly repeatedly bashed into; which one made the more powerful visual. When at issue wasn’t whether young Trayvon was a thug, carrying a weapon, drug addict if not drug dealer, rather whether or not he instigated the physical fight everyone admits he got into with Zimmerman; at least that’s what skeptics will tell you to this day. Culminating in an absolute acquittal for the crime of second degree murder and all lesser charges relating to the death of Trayvon Martin on a criminal, federal level sparking equal parts outrage and a feeling justice was served. Outrage because a young man is dead, not from gang banging, possession of a weapon, a history of trouble at school, brushes with the law, committing a crime that very night, but for being let out after dark at 17, for buying skittles and iced tea from a convenience store and walking home to his father’s house, hoodie up due to the rain, hoodies synonymous with people up to no good, being new to the neighborhood, possibly lost and frightened by the creepy person following him in his car, then on foot. Justice served in the minds of others because George Zimmerman clearly showed evidence of being in a physical fight, citizens who believe it was him and not Martin on 9-1-1 tape screaming for help, identifying with sentiments expressed through people like juror B-37 fueled by the narrative of the young black thug, news stories of young black men and boys doing anything from punching teachers to robbing stores. They could understand community active, member of the neighborhood watch, placed several calls to police in an effort to try and clean up his neighborhood, Zimmerman’s fear for his life, but not Trayvon’s faced with a strange man following him in the dark. And while the Marin family and Martin’s mother have gone on to speak out about what she believes is a miscarriage of justice regarding her son, form a foundation in his name, lend help to subsequent movements like Black Lives Matter, continually reaching out to mothers like herself grappling with the death of a son via hair trigger police or skittish citizenry, supposedly upstanding member of the community, totally relatable George Zimmerman couldn’t stay out of the headlines or out of trouble if his life depended on it. Name splashed across the television news, magazines, newspapers, viral on the internet again for a confederate flag he painted hung in a ‘no Muslims’ gun shop, his arrest for aggravated assault, suspected domestic violence against both his wife and his girlfriend, pulled over in Texas for speeding, let off with a warning; making news because the same officers, department who took a selfie with him pulled over Kametra Barbour in her red car housing 4 children when they were looking for a tan car with 4 teen to adult males and a gun, subjecting her to a felony traffic stop that left both her and her kids traumatized by low level PTSD.  Then there’s the evolving story that cropped up about 2 weeks ago as George Zimmerman put up for auction the gun he shot Trayvon Martin with, recently returned to him by police; one gun seller almost immediately taking it down, another auction site inundated with prank bids ranging in the millions, latest announcement—auction, on the one site willing to host it, is closed, bids in the double digit thousands. Reigniting old debates about race, individual rights and gun ownership in America; assuredly opening old wounds for Martin’s family as Zimmerman treats the death of their son via the gun he used, as a celebrity piece, as a means to an end to make money he admittedly says he will spend fighting the group Black Lives Matter and its supporters, in his mind, including democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Actions generating comments like Larry Whitmore’s spot on scathing assessment encapsulating it all: “who woke up this rotting piece of human excrement?”

It isn’t just that he is willing to sell the gun he took someone’s life with so soon after having it returned to him, that he turned to an auction site to do so versus putting it in a local paper as discreetly as the law would allow, if his goal is to get rid of a horrific reminder of a bad time in his life, a nightmare he never asked for, stemming from a night where he sincerely believed his life was in danger, there was no other choice but to use the deadly weapon he had on him. It’s what he says about both himself and the gun spawning overwhelming outrage; in the gun’s description on auction site 1, later taken down, he calls it an American icon, depicting himself has honored and humbled to sell it, asking price $5,000. In another he calls it a piece of American history elaborating he believes it’s time to move past the fire arm and it’s otherwise going in a safe for his grandkids never to be seen again. Wait, he actually wants to give a gun he used to kill another human being, hold the circumstances for a second, to his grandkids— to quote a famous preacher: say yuck 3 times; does it make anyone else reading this nauseous that that particular gun almost ended up a sick, twisted family heirloom? Exact opposite of humble going so far as to suggest it should be displayed at the Smithsonian, vaguely alluding to purportedly expressed interest by the renowned museum; provoking a quick response from the, known the world over, displayers of all things historical indicating they have no interest in ever collecting or displaying it. Floating a near conspiracy theory based on what he wrote placing it on the original bidding site referencing one article, slurring the president at the same time: “The firearm is fully functional as the attempts by the Department of Justice on behalf of B. Hussein Obama to render the firearm inoperable were thwarted by my phenomenal Defense Attorney,” trying to paint himself again as the victim despite stark realities he’s breathing and Trayvon Martin is not directly thanks to his actions, largely an extension of a situation he created, many believe, as much or more than young Trayvon did.  Even defending his inarguably tasteless act saying he didn’t find it tasteless to sell it because someone died; during yet another media response defiantly proclaiming he’s a free American who can do what he chooses with his possessions. Dismissing people who objected to said sale saying they weren’t going to be bidding on it so he could care less about them, pointed to as the catalyst for a host of fake bids reaching up to 65 million dollars; a legitimate bidder wishing to buy the gun to keep it out of the hands of racists, but only for the original asking price. Most quickly distancing themselves from anything to do with Zimmerman or the sale of his gun; however, the auction site that agreed to go through with sale procedures defended itself saying they were not there to dictate morality. Capping it off sounding incredibly petulant not only planning on targeting Black Lives Matter for their views opposing police and citizen brutality against minorities, Hillary Clinton for her gun restriction ‘rhetoric,’ but vowing to put a portion of the funds toward ending district attorney Angela Corey’s career, unable so much as to spell her name correctly. Apparently he’s living in his own delusional bubble where he doesn’t realize he was acquitted, has his freedom; because, he isn’t announcing a war on her career truly believing her incompetent, merely as an act of childish revenge she dared try to charge him with a crime. Virtually destroying any hope Zimmerman’s actions aren’t laser focus what they look like at first glance, neither is it that he is selling the gun to eat, because he can no longer get a job after what happened and he has become a known American negative celebrity, to move, get away, distance himself from all the hype, find a place and a way to live the quiet life; in fact he seems to have developed a sick addiction to that shallow, 21st century claim to fame uncaring of the reason. Judging from that perspective alone we feel more for Darrin Wilson, the now infamous cop who tussled with then ultimately killed Michael Brown, whose life is turned upside down, and not for the positive, who won’t be able to get a subsequent job as a police officer certainly, maybe not a job period; because, we now know too, there was a racist, corrupt police system in Ferguson pushing officers to write traffic and jaywalking tickets to fill the city coffers, creating a culture of targeting African Americans, minorities. Listening to Wilson’s account, there were immediate questions about quality of training provided officers or absorption of that training by Wilson (by no means letting him off the hook either), but there was always more occurring than ‘lone racist officer kills black man.’ George Zimmerman on the other hand was a lone citizen told by 911 dispatchers he didn’t need to follow Martin when he reported the boy as a suspicious person in his neighborhood, who chose to confront Marin instead of letting the police handle it, fed up with punks ‘who always get away.’ Hardly surprising would be if he were selling the gun to pay off outstanding legal debts; understanding  those aren’t limited to his charges pertaining to the death of Trayvon Martin, adding  potentially the previously detailed laundry list containing speeding tickets, serious problems well after the Martin saga was over and done notwithstanding civil cases. Still not the given explanation behind the gun’s auction, to fight his perceived enemies; except Black Lives Matter isn’t his enemy, nor any political operative, Hilary Clinton has much better things to do than give him the time of day.  No, he is his own worst enemy incapable of simply minding his own business, unwilling or unable to shed his fascination with the hero complex (remember saving people from an SUV) demonstrating time and time again a propensity for violence and a further inflation of who he is, his exaggerated self-importance seen in a road rage incident where he purportedly said, “do you know who I am I’ll f—ing kill you;” the  obvious political leanings of the Young Turks News Network and their anchors aside, agreed implication being he had done it before and gotten away with it, none of the after Martin charges followed through on. Like O.J. Simpson before him, news show psychologist comment, it, his problems, repeating scenarios keep coming back to haunt him. The Young Turks, select civilian commenters right about something else, escalating potential for this to come back to haunt us, the rest of society, when he inevitably kills again; commenter on one article exactly right this is as close as we will get to a confession from lunatic, their word, Zimmerman. Strongly emphasizing moral guilt if not necessarily legal guilt, the idea moral guilt should carry more weight than conservative, Bible belt worries about fornication, adultery, did I covet my neighbor’s wife, reflecting cohesive parts of morality we say we espouse to. And if we espouse to the logical, reasonable idea you can’t indiscriminately murder people in the streets, how is Trayvon Martin dead and George Zimmerman free; further allowed to sell the gun he used to commit his act? Serial killers behind bars are not allowed to receive proceeds for memorabilia, t- shirts and items made to commemorate their infamous killings and the ‘fans’ arguably don’t know what they’re truly celebrating, vast majority not going on to become serial, habitual killers at any rate.

Redundant though it may be, Darrin Wilson did one, two interviews, media in all probability tracking him down for the ‘a year later’ pieces we saw, and when asked questions about what his life is like, now being nearly a year ago to date, was honest about his struggles to grain employment, how people perceive him, then disappeared from the spotlight name only reemerging attached to civil proceedings, one incident involving protesters, persons unhappy he had moved to their town, was living in their neighborhood. Robert Bates the retired insurance salesman who paid to play cop as a reserve deputy, boasting about his connections with the sheriff, whatever his glaring failings and the undisputed concept he never should have been there in the first place, on an undercover sting to capture a drug dealer, taking into account his 70 odd years old reflexes, complete lack of appropriate training, the pay to play stench hanging over his appointment as deputy was immediately remorseful he shot someone and not in the sense of negative consequences to himself. Acknowledging he made a huge mistake, owing it as opposed to inventing an elaborate, thin excuse as to why there is a dead person laying on the ground and he is responsible; he seems to have really mixed up his gun and his taser, is sorry for doing so in comprehending the loss of life not just repercussions for him. The New Mexico cop who pummeled an undercover officer full of bullets during a drug bust, mistaking him for a bad guy, was absolutely hysterical, probably shouldn’t have been a cop, retired just as a police board recommended his firing, which doesn’t seem much like justice, but for the context of examining mindset, gauging does the ‘guilty’ person, person who committed a controversial to horrific act comprehend the impact of what they’ve done, he unmistakably did/does. Is, will have to live with his actions that day for the rest of his life, indicative of some punishment leveled upon a person who did something so wrong. By contrast George Zimmerman is behaving more like the discovered racists who landed behind bars post their stand your ground, I was in fear for my life defenses not working, failing to move a jury adequately enough to side with them; people like Michael Dunn whose racist jailhouse rants were caught on recordings and played for the jury underscoring the prosecution’s point he shot Jordan Davis because he was black, listening to ‘thug’ music, was a black teen who disrespected him, almost as a perverted form of public service, prejudice, racist psyche supplying the ‘gun’ he’s sure he saw causing him to reach in his glovebox for his conceal and carry firearm, rapid firing rounds into their car as the teens sped away, not a reasonable fear for his life. Theodore Wafer who shot Renisha McBride straight in her face after she ‘pounded’ on his front door post a car accident, walking a half a mile or more seeking help, reported alcohol and marijuana in her system compounded by accident injuries, apparent disorientation blowing significant holes in the onomatopoeia-ed boom repeated in court by defense attorneys describing the noise, her probable physical condition preventing her from being able to be that loud. To say nothing of if you’re in fear for your life why are you shooting someone so close to you, you can shoot them in their face, incidentally without activating a porch or flashlight (the former visible in video footage outside Wafer’s home) to see what is going on; another zealot convinced his neighborhood is filled with drug dealers, ‘identifying’ her as one largely based on the time of night and color of her skin, apologizing to her family in open court merely hoping for leniency from the jury on sentencing. Zimmerman too apologized to Martin’s family at a bond hearing no doubt hoping for lesser bail after his then wife misrepresented their financial situation to get more state/public help regarding his defense than he was entitled to. Emulating Wafer and Dunn again, Zimmerman has no remorse, right up to present day doesn’t believe he did anything wrong, unlike reactions from Wilson, Bates, the inconsolable cop who shot a fellow officer, he isn’t losing sleep over anything other than his own ‘woe is me’ predicament, who has more commonalities with someone like Curtis Reeves, the 70 plus retired police captain who thought a paper bag of popcorn was a threat proceeding, not only to shoot Chad Oulson ultimately to death, shooting his wife in the hand as well, but proceeding to wag his finger in his wife’s face telling her to shut her f—ing mouth and not say another word, when told what Oulson did didn’t justify shooting him period, never mind killing him. Exemplifying this psychological type’s exaggerated overreaction to ordinary people, simple disputes, and Bates, Dunn, Wafer are all serving prison sentences; Reeves out on bail pending a trial plagued by delays, a matter of time before a jury decides his fate. Presented with the above we’re supposed to remain clinging to George Zimmerman’s innocence, believe he’s perhaps the unluckiest person on the planet, ignore the things coming after Martin demonstrating a pattern of violence, delusions of grandeur, his apparent thought process he is above the law? We’re supposed to blindly believe a man who once referred to it as god’s plan he ended up shooting and killing Trayvon Martin went out of his way to avoid killing him, only did so to defend his life, undisputed facts, comparisons with others actually found guilty better matching Zimmerman than those feeling a sense of guilt for their mistake?  Especially taking into account the revealed thought process of juror B-37 proving this case that wasn’t about race because George Zimmerman was ethnically Latino not white truthfully was about race in that one juror could better relate to the 28 year old odd ball, current subject specific article commenters naming him a psychopath, than she could to a 17 year old being followed in the dark. The case that didn’t have any hot button issue overtones i.e. race, sexual orientation, gender identity did have meaningful overtones of bias, distorted views on what constitutes a thug, a punk, a potential criminal, stereotyped perceptions on articles of clothing, a hoodie, socio-economic backgrounds, esthetic look of people ‘supposed to be’ in the neighborhood; those valiant calls to 9-1-1 attempting to clean up his neighborhood, classified as nuisance calls by 9-1-1 dispatch leading virtually to nowhere. The last person to spout conspiracy theories al-a Zimmerman’s comments about the justice department’s actions on behalf of president Obama and the gun he used that night, to detail fantasies incongruent with reality or ability, hero or otherwise, think he was fulfilling a good and just cause saving persons who couldn’t save themselves, Robert Dear mumbling no more baby parts when arrested, shouting in court phrases like save the babies; at least nobody thought Robert Dear was sane. He was found unfit to stand trial and remitted to the care of a mental institution to begin treatment, hope he will be rendered sane through medication and therapy capable of standing trial at a later time.

Yes George Zimmerman is, independent of opinion, for better or for worse, a free American who is free to do what he wills with his possessions, in accordance with the law, including selling a controversial gun in the most public way possible. We as a society, a collective public are also free to express, sans violence and lawbreaking ourselves, our unease, our upset, our insistence that he not make a buck off of killing a teenager, however heroic he wants to paint himself to be. Graduating to a special kind of sick to use the auction as a means to come out publicly badmouthing and trashing his parents who ‘didn’t raise their son right; ’you read that correctly, his most up to date commentary relating to his gun sale involves telling the Martin’s, and anyone else reading/listening, they didn’t raise their child well implying that’s why he was forced to shoot him on that late winter night, why his gun has now garnered the status of American icon. Utterly hypocritical, the epitome of hubris for him to say considering fact, during the total 17 years Trayvon Martin walked the earth the worst he was ever guilty of was smoking a little weed, a reported 2 week suspension from school for said weed, varying reports he had 2 prior suspensions for stolen jewelry and a screwdriver categorized as a burglary tool, plus supposed school security camera footage of Martin defacing a door (wonder what we would find in darling George’s school record), no criminal record what so ever, no juvenile justice record either. Mr. reveling in his acquittal Zimmerman, in the meager 3 years since the verdict, has been let off with at least one warning regarding speeding, given a speeding ticket for hundreds of dollars, told the tint on his windows was too dark, and those are just the minor, traffic infractions. Add in accusations of domestic violence against his wife, then his girlfriend throwing a wine bottle and allegedly pointing a gun at his soon to be ex-wife, estranged father in-law, the previously elaborated on road rage incident also centered around a gun, thousands of dollars in bond expended on numerous stents in jail awaiting charges. His before Marin arrest record and suspected accusations almost more serious, undeniably more relevant to could he have done something wrong in his encounter, altercation with Trayvon that night; arrested for assaulting a police officer, accused of domestic violence, remember before shooting Martin, on an ex-fiancé, a Zimmerman cousin accusing him of close to 2 decades of sexual abuse, alleging Zimmerman’s mother often disparaged African Americans at family gatherings, possibly answering questions about his racism, bias. George Zimmerman who lied saying he wasn’t just neighborhood watch but watch captain to a group that’s not even registered, violating watch policy A-following Marin and B-being Armed, who lied during his apology to the Martin family saying he didn’t realize Trayvon was as young as he was, stating at the bond hearing he believed him to be nearly his age contradicting 9-1-1 call tape where he describes the suspicious person as black male, mid to late teens, who lied telling press he didn’t know what stand your ground was, teacher of a criminal justice course Zimmerman took directly refuting that informing press it was the topic of an entire class lecture where he received an A. Dubious behaviors speaking to moral corruption routinely attributed to parents and upbringing abound for Zimmerman too; already mentioned the confederate flag, but check out that HLN linked list again detailing a painting of district attorney Angela Corey where her fingers are pinched together caption reading: I have this much respect for the American judicial system, less that he drew it and more that he tried to sell it, show it to the world, showing up at Kel-Tec gun manufacturing, company that makes the gun he used to shoot Trayvon. And now selling the gun he used to take a life in the most gratuitously grandiose fashion he could think of; reminiscent of a guy flaunting his having gotten away with something not exuding his innocence. Certainly accusations aren’t arrests and charges aren’t convictions; however, you have to ask yourself, with his rap sheet proven penchant for waving guns around recklessly, his attitude toward the gun he literally killed someone with, what level of faith are we to equally have in his account of that night? After all the Daily Kos and others got this singular thing right, “it’s simply not possible for him to have pulled his gun from his right-back hip while Trayvon was Sitting On Top of Him. Trayvon had to be further away or in the process of standing for George to get to his weapon, in which case his life wasn’t in imminent threat.” [Sic] He’s the one whose cousin tells the world of abuse, has multiple domestic violence arrests, but Trayvon ‘the thug’ was destined, bound  to rape some poor girl due to fighting, drug use, derogatory comments on women. Contrasted to an unvarnished, non-spin-doctored Martin who, if you dig deeper into the damming school records, damaging text messages, social media comments and pictures the way the Daily Kos did you find the jewelry in his backpack photographed and sent to local police never turned up as stolen, proof of the other charge he could find leveled against him, receiving stolen property. Screwdriver—a teacher described Martin as a student who was very creative, fascinated by how things worked, who enjoyed building things, corroborating family descriptions of a kid who liked to tinker, took an early piloting course and considered being an engineer; not a burglary tool then, eliminating with both accusations duly explained the presumption Trayvon shouldn’t have been out to roam free in a neighborhood, his neighborhood instead incarcerated by juvenile justice. Because they had nothing to charge him on, thus too annihilating any truth behind news stories bantering about the idea Miami school districts handled misdemeanor criminal offenses as school infractions; they assuredly did not. Continuing, despite not finding the marker used to deface that all important door, prompting the search of his bag in the first place, he was still suspended for the graffiti. His marijuana suspension involved a baggie containing marijuana residue not actual physical, tangible marijuana; enough to get you suspended from school, not enough to warrant charges on the lowest misdemeanor count nationwide, usually allowing amounts equal to 1 joint to fly under legal radar, especially important for someone 17 capable of being considered a legal adult if charged with serious crimes, further dispelling notions Trayvon belonged in the clutches of juvenile justice, was a delinquent headed down the wrong path.  Referencing the fighting, fight videos he had in his possession i.e. on his phone, he left his mother’s house to stay with his dad for truancy, was never suspended for fighting and all the fight videos never show him participating, only filming. Also, fights filmed are not bullying rather 2 teens willingly participating in a test of mental, strength, skill, masculinity; which Daily Kos reinforced to readers isn’t the same as stone cold walking up to a grown adult, punching them, trying to bash their head into a curb and suffocate them for good measure. The ‘thug life indicating’ text messages are hard to decipher— crucial things like whose talking to whom, who sent the texts to whom, (why they weren’t permitted in court) but the most you find Martin doing is asking someone else about fights they might have been in, another prompts Kos author questions is it a real fight or a video game because real street fights don’t have rounds they just happen, people talking to him about their fighting not his. Yes there is mention of a gun, going in to buy one to share, abandoned for multiple reasons including a 3rd party who didn’t want to share; offered another one he point blank said no, no proof he ever bought one, let alone had it on him that night. Taken a different way, the text messages prove real kids talking about real issues; pictures on social media show Trayvon with a grill (gold façades on his teeth) shirtless, flipping the bird, a tiny Marijuana plant and someone holding a gun, zero definitive proof the hand holding it was his, like people have never put cool, macho things on their social media pages to seem cooler, other than what they are? Daily Kos nails it one final time in the following single sentence quote, “If this was the presentation in the case of “Trayvon Benjamin Martin: Thug-Wannabe”- there would more than enough reasonable doubt to acquit him of the charges.” Reduced to bear minimum of provided, provable information, Trayvon Martin wasn’t a thug—yet; solid thinkers, analyzers can unobtrusively see who bears the greater burden of ‘not raising their son right.’

George unfortunately is not alone in his thinking that ‘kids today’ are the problem, not individuals with vigilante complexes; the longstanding thread in commentary on stories like what happened to Trayvon, Jordan Davis, Michael Brown is had these, encompassing a generation, errant young people kept their hands to themselves, respected their elders and followed police instructions, not stolen things, broken the law they would still be alive today. At best you obtain grudging acknowledgement both parties were in the wrong; here, Zimmerman for shooting and Martin for fighting. But exceedingly clear is—these young people, generational labels aside, never had a chance faced with extreme, boarding on psychotic mindsets, people willing to go berserk over every day, normal things, utterly failed logic, problem solving to the point it turned deadly, absurdity so powerful it would be comically funny if it wasn’t endlessly tragic. Michael Dunn was in fear for his life, so in fear he had to pull his conceal and carry firearm pelting a car full of teens with bullets without getting in his own car and speeding away, cowardly though it would appear with his fiancé in the store, but there it is. He was so in fear for his life but never called police, never ran into the store alerting the clerk to the potentially ‘dangerous’ car full of ‘thugs,’ grabbing his girl and exiting out the back to avoid them; no real reason why he approached the car in the first place, if he found the probable people in it so distasteful, likely criminal and life threatening, no matter how loud their music was. And when the woman you care about does come out of the store, you do nothing to warn her, alert her to the emanate danger she might be in, that they might come back, even mention what you had done, just drive home, order pizza and walk your dog? Worse, celebrity commenters putting a gratingly raw life texture to it remarking incredulously they (the jury) could come back with guilty on the 3 he missed, yet not murder one for the teen he killed; it would take a retrial on that count to secure his conviction, sending a message to future stand your ground cases and rightly so. Theodore Wafer woken from a deep sleep in the middle of the night to a booming, banging on his front door, side window, he couldn’t find his phone but he could find his shotgun, he told jurors on the stand about his bad neighborhood, yet he has a porchlight and he doesn’t use it, doesn’t keep it operational to use in just such a scenario, lives in a bad neighborhood but doesn’t keep a land line phone being 54 years of age, then shoots an unknown person for, up to this point, waking him up in the middle of the night and misdemeanor grade damage to his screen door? Wafer depicted to be a past heavy drinker, what are the odds he wasn’t startled from a deep, ‘dead’ sleep rather a drunken stupor, sporting a hangover, effect being the booming onomatopoeia he heard presented in court actually someone just knocking amplified by his aching head, excessive alcohol consumption?  Explains why he was so scared by the mere action of someone knocking on his door, who circumstance suggests fell into his screen door,  knew where his gun was over his phone, forgot, didn’t use his porch light; for this Renisha McBride had to die. Starkly noting Renisha McBride, for all the drunk and high toxicology reports show she was, rammed into a parked car hurting no one but herself, potentially did less than $500 damage to a man’s screen door falling into it while seeking help; whereas Theodore Wafer’s extrapolated, advertised safer drowning into the bottom of a bottle in his own home ended in a dead body. Curtis Reeves had already gone off on another couple using their phone in the theater, making them uncomfortable, unsure in terms of their safety, wellbeing before confronting Oulson and his wife, had gotten up once already in search of the manager to complain about Mr. Oulson’s cellphone use, saw him as a problem if not a threat; still who cares, instead of demanding a refund on purchased tickets and leaving, patiently seeing if he puts his phone away before the movie starts (that’s right it hadn’t even started yet) he continues his confrontational rant directed at Oulson provoking him into throwing his popcorn or spilling it while emphatically gesturing. In the heat of the moment pulling his gun, firing point blank into the younger man’s chest killing the father of a young toddler; claiming after the fact he was hit with a heavy unknown object. No attempts to get the attention of other theater patrons, communicate your fear he has an unknown object and hit you, might attempt to beat you up; just pull out your gun and blow another person away then cuss your wife up one side and down the other for pointing out your criminal overreaction. Bigger things are wrong than simply ‘the kids,’ today or in any other decade, when a 76 year old man envisions the solution to his 13 year old neighbor allegedly stealing his guns is to confront him with a gun while he takes out the trash, man’s own home security system catching the altercation on tape where we see the teen backing up, holding his hands up, paused by news before you see actual shots fired that would take the teens life. Pondering the age bracket he could have perhaps misplaced them, forgot selling them or loaning them out, miscounted, be suffering dementia, gotten confused. Barring the previously listed possibilities to locate your guns, standard remedy if you believe you are a victim of theft, someone broke into your home, call police, file a report, let them sort it out; instead we have a man shouting about theft of guns yet he still has one to confront the young man, choosing to confront him he opted for a remaining firearm in his possession not a baseball bat, snow shovel anything less lethal. Still his lone defense, I didn’t mean to kill him; well sir what did you expect bringing a gun into an otherwise peaceful situation? Hammered home in the Wafer trial, these people were looking for something, anything, an excuse to go off, to get their guns and shoot someone; meaning no matter how respectful, obedient, adherent to the law mentioned teenagers, hapless victims were, they would have been a target, if not them it would have been someone, something else. Cops, high profile, media saturated cases have proven, aren’t much better, but when you go to a person’s house to serve a probation violation warrant and you don’t stop long enough to register the person answering the door isn’t who you’re looking for, is younger by far than, known procedure say’s if he’s on probation, you have his mug shot, trial photo, something on file telling you what he looks like, never mind the thing he’s holding is a video game controller, not a gun. Forget as I said first explicating this case Wii controllers are white where guns are silver or black, you don’t announce yourself as police to get them to answer the door? The fact they do this better in the movies, on TV than in real life, if worried about a tendency to run, invent a benign reason to talk to persons behind the door lulling into believing them they aren’t in trouble, arresting them peacefully; instead the boy playing his video game, 17 year old ROTC student, called out who is it, received no answer, answered the door anyway to be shot to death over a toy. Returning us full circle to Zimmerman, one of the reasons skittles and iced tea wasn’t so ‘absurd’ to enter into state’s evidence is because, at least that night, Trayvon wasn’t a thug, he didn’t have drugs, he didn’t have a gun; he had skittles and iced tea, maybe a cellphone. He wasn’t an intruder in the neighborhood, young punk looking to case the place, wasn’t a miscreant youth wandering around with idle hands known to be the devil’s playground; he legitimately belonged there living with his father, at minimum, until her served out his 2 week school suspension, out with a purpose of having bought snacks at a convenience store, as if strolling around your neighborhood at 7PM on a Florida February night, much warmer than elsewhere, should be considered a crime.

stand your ground graveyard

Astounding according to public interpretations George Zimmerman is entitled to his fear about the suspicious person in his neighborhood, allowed to stand his ground in fear for his very life, yet Trayvon Martin for inexplicable reasons wasn’t allowed to be afraid of the unknown person following him, (Zimmerman we know the aggressor here because he told 9-1-1 dispatch he was following him, remained following him after being told we don’t need you to yammering about punks who get away), wasn’t allowed to stand his ground potentially fearing for his own life using the only weapons he had, his fists, leaving a man slightly, bloody sporting a broken nose. So minimally injured mind you he reports to the doctor not for extensive treatment, setting for his nose, but to obtain an excuse for work; on the contrary we reward the guy who brought a gun to a scene he turned into a fistfight, not once but twice giving him his freedom and ill-gotten proceeds from selling that gun. Curiously mirroring incidents with youth in schools, I was provoked is a constant excuse for adults to level inordinate punishments, school resource officers to arrest children in elementary school, adults of all stripes, in all strata of authority to go completely bananas, you aren’t exactly wrong to think that’s an insult to bananas, while kids are expected to keep their composure, or else, at all times. The South Carolina sheriffs softening of his officer’s actions, never mind he sounds like he’s more trapped in the 3rd grade than Bart Simpson—she started it—by not getting off her phone, not listening to the teacher and finally not listening to him; result, to be violently, bodily removed from her desk, literally thrown across her classroom, roughly placed in handcuffs receiving minor injury to her arm, her friend threatened with arrest, time in juvie for daring to speak in her defense about do you have to be so rough? Why, she wouldn’t get off her cellphone during class; what you get when you leave on staff a guy known as ‘officer slam.’ Observe closely this teacher (video 4) cussing out her student promptly fired for doing so, particularly her side of the story; not that every adult watching it didn’t sympathize with her, the best she could come up with was to stoop to his level while exuding superiority? ‘He called you all up out of your name’ (every name in the book) you had already been to administration twice that day about the student (tell us did you consider tenuring your resignation) did you go to your boss, say get someone to watch my class before I lose it, that’s it I’m leaving, pack your belongings and exit? It isn’t just her being fed up lapsing into cuss words, it’s what she said about him calling him stupid ass, dumb mother f**ker, telling him you aint never gunna be sh-t or at (least that’s the guess it was so bleeped it becomes incomprehensible); sure he won’t be anything, amount to anything with you his teacher, you an educator saying things like that to him, no matter how tempting, uttering a variation on our favorite line—kids today.  Further you’re in an alternative school, what did you think it was an alternative from lady?  Mother of the teen in video 5 absolutely correct to stand up for her child, attempt to change policy, not because we don’t know fighting is against the rules and carries appropriate consequences though the ‘attempts to injure another student’ and ‘should be arrested’ are a bit exaggerated. What isn’t exaggerated, the depicted principal held her so tightly around her neck she passed out; she passed out because this man obviously had A-no forethought toward not letting issues escalate to this point and B- if there’s nothing you can do training to properly execute a safety hold to keep someone from being a danger to themselves or others. Said holds done encircling the arms, holding them to the chest, never tight enough to restrict breathing; how you can exclude such training for middle school personnel dealing with hormonal teens and pre-teens is beyond stupidity. At least the officer who body slammed the middle schooler had her in a correct hold, arms pinned to her side no longer a threat, it’s that he did next that caused problems; this guy, slightly taller giving him leverage, is literally dragging her, pulling her by her neck simultaneously pressing down with so much weight she passes out, stopping a fight consisting of slaps and pulled hair. Mother highlighting on something else given little thought, she could have suffered greater injury from the principal than from the fight; may still in fact, we’ve seen it in domestic violence victims suffering strokes after a choking incident. A 15 year old should be subjected to that because she got in a smack fight; how fast can you say I don’t think so? Similarly how does attempting to use the bathroom without a pass in the 11th grade result in being restrained on the ground suffering a concussion, school officials saying you’re to blame? He threw an orange at the wall, so you the school resource officer, the aptly identified grownup, respond by punching him twice to his face, tackled him to the ground in such a way his forehead connects with the floor hard enough to gain a concussion, a kid who has asthma and a history of bladder problems? Instead of, here’s a radical concept, letting him use the bathroom, writhing him up for no pass, taking him to the principal’s office for discipline. Since you had the time to give this kid an exceptionally hard time over no hall pass to use the toilet, you had the time to monitor his bathroom visit then escort him to his next class, wherever he was supposed to be or, as stated, to the principal. Common meet sense; adding to the strangeness here the officer asked a student to delete what little video of the incident there is captured on their phone, cash strapped school officials admitted under journalistic scrutiny all the resource officers had not been subjected to full criminal background checks. Again it would be comical if it wasn’t so detrimental to what should be going on in a learning environment, if it wasn’t the antithesis of a civilized society we say we have, shout we’re trying to build. And we wonder why kids are so apt to fight, why Trayvon Martin resorted to his fists that night, because it’s a survival skill less for the mean gang banger, drug infested, dilapidated streets of the inner city and more and more for ordinary suburbia, the modern day classroom, not from their fellow students, bullies 2 grades up, but their teachers, school resource officers, beyond school, zealot neighborhood watch wannabes. They never know when or if someone, an adult, an authority figure, random person on the street is going to hit them, punch them, choke them, tackle them, sit on them till they can’t breathe, cut them, shoot them, kill them.