Not only did they not arrest Zimmerman; not only did they not test the weapon he had discharged and sent him home with it, losing potential evidence, but they took this dead child, who weighed 100 pounds less than the man who killed him and who was running away, and who had nothing but candy and a can of iced tea, and they tested this child's dead body for drugs... The clock's ticking, Florida. When are you going to arrest this guy? My home state, if you can't figure this out, this is not complicated, we can help you. Whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, a conservative or a liberal, this is shameful.
That was Joe Scarborough on Morning Joe, this morning. The quote may not be exact as I was typing furiously as he spoke, but the content and the sentiment are exact. I argue with Joe Scarborough a lot in the mornings, talking back to the screen as I sip my coffee. But this morning, Joe spoke for me. I know a lot about the Trayvon Martin case from my own interest, the nature of my job, and from the zeitgeist, but I did not know police took his dead Black body and tested it for drugs. For some reason, that is the ultimate indignity. I don't know why it hits me that way, but it does.
Because if he had tested positive for drugs, would that have justified his murder?
One of my neighbors, a dipped in red conservative, argues that Black males are targeted because Black males commit crimes. Indeed many do. Raised in homes fractured by generations of poverty, inadequately educated, with no vision of what might be possible for their futures, many do turn to crime. But the fact is, White males commit more crimes than Black males proportionate to their numbers in the population as a whole, yet young White males have nothing to fear should they decide to cover their heads with a hoodie on a rainy evening in the neighborhood. They are not the face America conjures in the mind's eye when it thinks the word criminal.
Update at 1: 45 pm: Moments ago, Obama weighed in on the tragedy. He said, "If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon." There was something about his face as he spoke. The pain we all feel was etched there. I thought about what Michelle Obama said on 60 Minutes back in 2008 when her husband was running for president. She was asked, "Do you worry about Barack's safety?" She replied, "Barack could get shot going to the gas station or to pick up a carton of milk, so no, I don't dwell on that." I remember feeling so chilled by the almost mundane truth of what she said. I remember holding my breath till I heard my husband's key in the door, because he was at that precise moment on an errand to pick up a carton of milk from the store.
This is not usually the stuff I want to talk about here, but it is just bubbling up right now, spilling across the surface, the pervasive consciousness behind the super consciousness that attends our everyday functioning. The watching out for. The incessant prayer loop in my head. Bring them home safe. Bring them home safe.