Friday, March 23, 2012

Everybody's Son

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.



14 comments:

  1. Testing the body for drugs ... This is a mark of something insidious that is taking place in many areas of the country. It was happening here for several months. Whenever a person was killed in New Orleans, the police would release his or her arrest records. That reassured the upstanding citizens they had nothing to worry about, this could never happen to them. It changed when a white man who was trying to save a woman from being carjacked was shot and killed in front of his children. He had an arrest record, too. The police were left with egg (blood?) on their faces and so have discontinued revealing the skeletons of the dead. If drugs had been found in Trayvon Martin's body, you can bet your last penny there would be a different spin twirling around Florida today.

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    1. Glenn, you speak true, my friend. Sometimes, the whole thing just makes me tired. Thank you for being here, and for your honest and insightful comment the other day. I really appreciated it, and you.

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    2. Thank you for your kind words and understanding. I was beginning to fear I might have painted myself as a sheet-wearing cross-burner the other day when I was really trying to express an idea of common accountability. Whew ... ;-)

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  2. I know, it makes you wanna scream.
    m.

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    1. Mark, let's go up to the roof and scream together!

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  3. Staggering. Surely he WILL be arrested, charged, and found guilty. What else could they do?

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    1. Cro, you would think. And yet, the man still walks free. I don't get it.

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  4. F**k. That's all I can say at this point.

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    1. Mary, well, that is an entirely appropriate response, i would say.

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  5. Every morning when we watch the news and this comes on I feel sick. I feel angry. I can't believe another day goes by and no justice for this boy, Trayvon. Trayvon who won't be going to school, playing sports, talking to his girlfriend or any of his friends. Trayvon who won't be any his family home with all the love they had.

    And oh where is Zimmerman? Yeah he seems to be gone and the press doesn't even no where he is. Home is empty. Miles away or hiding. A crime record and yet he has a gun to be a neighborhood watch. Who elected him?

    Trayvon....you will not be forgotten.

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    1. Ellen, I hope we all won't soon forget this lost boy. Thank you for being here.

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  6. my brother patrick is adopted; his mother was a white woman and his dad was a black man (they were college students together and felt they weren't ready to raise a child - we got a lot of information offered to us directly from them via the catholic agency my parents went through).


    he's been part of my family for nearly forty years, one of six kids. my parents respect and trust him so much that they made him one of the executors of their estate (he shares that responsibility with me. mom says he represents logic and i represent mercy - two things they think will be needed when the time comes). he makes a point of spending every single christmas with our parents, which isn't something i can say about any of my other siblings. he's a great son and my parents are terribly proud of him. he also happens to be a wonderful cook, a fly fisherman, a pheasant hunter - just an all around outdoors-man. he owns his own home, helps his elderly neighbors with their yard work and he's even built some of his own furniture. he travels the world as a benefit of his job. he's handsome and personable - and i could go on and on because the guy has a million things going for him. i love him so very much.

    way back when pat was in middle school, there was a racially motivated assault in the alleyway behind my parent's home in st. paul, minnesota. a black woman was beaten savagely by three white men with shaved heads. a seed of fear was planted in my heart at that time - my entire family shares it - and it's grown to be part of us.

    always in the back of our minds; is patrick safe? will someone hurt him because of his skin color, because they're blind to everything else?

    when i saw trayvon's mother on television a week or so ago, and heard the terrible, terrible confusion and pain in her voice...i don't even know how to express what that made me feel. this crime has got to be dealt with. so much has got to change.

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    1. Dottie, you shared a piece of your heart here, your love for your brother, your admiration of him, you worry for him, i know. I am humbled by this sharing, and moved by it. Thank you. PS I love your mother's reasoning about the bases that need to be covered, logic and mercy. absolutely yes. Hugs.

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  7. This whole situation is fucked up and our country is fucked. I don't really have a more sophisticated way to say it. I wrote about it here: http://psychdocnyc.com/2012/03/20/murder-was-the-case-that-they-gave-me/

    I'm surprised that all my white friends who were all over the Kony 2012 video and who set up recurring donations to support that cause have issued nary a peep about this atrocity occurring right in our own backyard.

    It makes me sick.

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