Categorized | Opinions

On Standing Ground

By Edgar Nkosi White

Stand Your Ground is the new expression for right to kill blacks with legislative approval.  It has just received legal sanction in Florida with the Zimmerman case and his acquittal in the shooting of Trayvon Martin a seventeen year old unarmed black youth.  The shooting was justified on the grounds that Zimmerman felt threatened and had no way of knowing that the youth was unarmed.  The case was further complicated by the fact that it took authorities some forty-four days to even consider arresting the shooter.

Zimmerman, who was a member of neighbourhood watch, pursued and confronted the youth despite being instructed not to do so by police radio.  The worrying thing about this case is that no matter what action Martin would have taken, he would—none the less—have ended shot.  Had he run, had he been armed, the result would have been the same.  We have no way of knowing exactly what words were exchanged.  All we have is the sworn statement of Zimmerman that he felt that his life was threatened after he confronted this youth, who was on foot while he, Zimmerman, (by car) had pursued the youth whom he felt was acting in a suspicious manner.

This case calls to account two fundamental principles of American justice.  One is the right to bear arms and the second is the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Clearly, in the case of black youth that right of liberty is seriously curtailed.

Had young Martin been in the company of a white person, he would probably have reached home alive.  Little has changed in that regard since emancipation.  It is hypocrisy to pretend any different.  Straying too far from the plantation without written permission will still result in corporal punishment and in, more often than not, death:  the greatest corporal punishment of all.  Still, the most frightening thing about the Zimmerman decision is that it gives carte blanche to any white vigilante to act on impulse and be assured that they can walk free from the most flagrant act of gun violence as long as there are no witnesses present who could be classed as credible.

The incident took place in the racially charged state of Florida.  There was a general reluctance to even bring the case to trial.  The shooter, George Zimmerman, took it upon himself to leave his car and confront Martin who was returning home from a grocery store and had nothing more lethal on his person than a bag of candy.  What could he have done to defend himself from a handgun?

Although the solution to every problem by the NRA and the other gun lobbyists in America is yet more guns, I don’t think in this instance, even they would have advocated that young Martin be armed.  The question then is:  should George Zimmerman have been less fanatical in his desire to be a policeman?  What was it (other than the boy’s race) that made him feel that he was under threat even when advised to simply stay in his car unless he witnessed actual criminal activity?

There were two people present, (a third, a teenager, listening to her friend Trayvon on the phone describing everything up to Zimmerman’s  contact with him) but only one, on location, survived to give their version of the tale.  In actuality there were a host of other characters that took part in that tragedy.  When you have a society which is privatized and prison oriented.  A society ruled by scarcity and greed, and a general atmosphere of fear and violence with a talk show host stirring up the atmosphere of racial tension daily (in fact, instructed to do so by managers and sponsors).  If you are being constantly encouraged to never travel anywhere unarmed even when taking your children to school or church, what other result could there be but a shooting murder?

From young Trayvon Martin’s standpoint, what must it be like to know that if you dare to venture beyond your home or neighbourhood, there is always the possibility that you’ll be gunned down with impunity.  Florida is filled with Latinos and Haitians and blacks from the South.  It is a toxic mix of anger and resentment over years of racial abuse and discrimination at the hands of police and the powers-that-be which control business and housing.  It is ridiculous to even attempt to claim that race was not a factor in this trial.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

By Edgar Nkosi White

Stand Your Ground is the new expression for right to kill blacks with legislative approval.  It has just received legal sanction in Florida with the Zimmerman case and his acquittal in the shooting of Trayvon Martin a seventeen year old unarmed black youth.  The shooting was justified on the grounds that Zimmerman felt threatened and had no way of knowing that the youth was unarmed.  The case was further complicated by the fact that it took authorities some forty-four days to even consider arresting the shooter.

Zimmerman, who was a member of neighbourhood watch, pursued and confronted the youth despite being instructed not to do so by police radio.  The worrying thing about this case is that no matter what action Martin would have taken, he would—none the less—have ended shot.  Had he run, had he been armed, the result would have been the same.  We have no way of knowing exactly what words were exchanged.  All we have is the sworn statement of Zimmerman that he felt that his life was threatened after he confronted this youth, who was on foot while he, Zimmerman, (by car) had pursued the youth whom he felt was acting in a suspicious manner.

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This case calls to account two fundamental principles of American justice.  One is the right to bear arms and the second is the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Clearly, in the case of black youth that right of liberty is seriously curtailed.

Had young Martin been in the company of a white person, he would probably have reached home alive.  Little has changed in that regard since emancipation.  It is hypocrisy to pretend any different.  Straying too far from the plantation without written permission will still result in corporal punishment and in, more often than not, death:  the greatest corporal punishment of all.  Still, the most frightening thing about the Zimmerman decision is that it gives carte blanche to any white vigilante to act on impulse and be assured that they can walk free from the most flagrant act of gun violence as long as there are no witnesses present who could be classed as credible.

The incident took place in the racially charged state of Florida.  There was a general reluctance to even bring the case to trial.  The shooter, George Zimmerman, took it upon himself to leave his car and confront Martin who was returning home from a grocery store and had nothing more lethal on his person than a bag of candy.  What could he have done to defend himself from a handgun?

Although the solution to every problem by the NRA and the other gun lobbyists in America is yet more guns, I don’t think in this instance, even they would have advocated that young Martin be armed.  The question then is:  should George Zimmerman have been less fanatical in his desire to be a policeman?  What was it (other than the boy’s race) that made him feel that he was under threat even when advised to simply stay in his car unless he witnessed actual criminal activity?

There were two people present, (a third, a teenager, listening to her friend Trayvon on the phone describing everything up to Zimmerman’s  contact with him) but only one, on location, survived to give their version of the tale.  In actuality there were a host of other characters that took part in that tragedy.  When you have a society which is privatized and prison oriented.  A society ruled by scarcity and greed, and a general atmosphere of fear and violence with a talk show host stirring up the atmosphere of racial tension daily (in fact, instructed to do so by managers and sponsors).  If you are being constantly encouraged to never travel anywhere unarmed even when taking your children to school or church, what other result could there be but a shooting murder?

From young Trayvon Martin’s standpoint, what must it be like to know that if you dare to venture beyond your home or neighbourhood, there is always the possibility that you’ll be gunned down with impunity.  Florida is filled with Latinos and Haitians and blacks from the South.  It is a toxic mix of anger and resentment over years of racial abuse and discrimination at the hands of police and the powers-that-be which control business and housing.  It is ridiculous to even attempt to claim that race was not a factor in this trial.