The Invasion is the 2007 film featuring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, the latest actor to play the venerable double “O” agent James Bond, in yet another interpretation of the 1958 movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers. In this version, an alien life form that resembles some kind of virus attaches itself to the space shuttle Patriot before it terminates orbit. As it reenters the atmosphere it disintegrates in space shuttle Columbia fashion and crashes back to Earth. The debris field stretches from Texas to Washington, D.C., is two hundred miles wild, and this entire area becomes infected with the alien virus. Many people become infected and are eventually robbed of all their emotions when they fall asleep.
Nicole Kidman plays the heroine Dr. Carol Bennell. On her way to work in her private practice as a psychologist, Carol notices that the other commuters are behaving differently. Instead of being their usual animated and chaotic selves, most people are commuting in a very orderly, composed fashion. When she finally arrives at her office she remembers what one of her patients said about her husband behaving differently. Carol searches the web for similar responses and finds a number of people with similar stories to tell. She then embarks on an adventure to find and protect her son Oliver played by Bond, Jackson Bond.
Daniel Craig plays Carol’s love interest Dr. Ben Driscoll. Ben has a friend, Dr. Stephen Galeano played by Jeffrey Wright, who is a biologist studying the virus and trying to develop a cure with a group of scientist protected by soldiers on a secure military base. But before the cure is discovered, Ben succumbs to the virus infection. Carol is infected as well but refuses to fall sleep until she can find safety for her son. Eventually, changed Ben meets unchanged Carol in a climactic scene. Other than the scientist working on the cure back at the base, the only people we know who are not infected are Carol and her son. Ben has a number of infected people with him to help him capture her. He tells Carol what the future holds for humanity, a future free of strife and conflict where everyone works in harmony. He describes a perfect world, and the only price is our humanity.
The situation looks hopeless, until it was not. Eventually, in typical Hollywood fashion, good old humanity prevails! Carol shoots everybody trying to stop her and her son and she’s able to escape. She kills everyone but Ben, who she maims with a bullet in his knee cap. The scientists find the cure and the soldiers from the military base find and save Carol and Oliver. Everyone who survives is returned to normal with no memory of being under the influence of the alien virus. And at the end of the movie, just before the credits start to roll, we see Ben reading a newspaper with the headline “Business As Usual” on the front page that was covered with stories of war and violence.
The virus invasion promised humanity peace and harmony at the expense of emotion. Everyone capable of being infected would become emotionless free of anger, hate and all the other negative emotions, but also free of love, happiness and any of the positive emotions as well. The ending of this movie is supposed to make us question are we truly better off with our emotional baggage attached? In order for a utopian society where there is no poverty, no crime, no war, and everyone working for the benefit of mankind would we be willing to give up our distinct sense of self that truly makes us unique as individuals? Would we be willing to give up our existence outside the orthodox in order to have everyone accepted?
Here in America the idea of everyone having everything they need, everyone existing at a level that is more in line with everyone else, the idea of less disparity and more equality, is a frightening, unwelcomed proposition. In the wake of arguments before the Supreme Court to determine if the healthcare reform plan is constitutional, too many of us would prefer individuality and the get it if you can afford type of healthcare that is the norm for America instead of a system that truly protects everyone. Too many of us prefer the inequality that allows one person to amass billions of dollars while millions suffer through poverty.
No matter where you look in America there is disparity woven into the fabric of our society. We protect disparity at the expense of equality. We seem to thrive on conflict. We focus on the needs of only a fraction of our population instead of looking at the bigger picture that can benefit the greatest majority possible if not all. We welcome disparity under the guise that socialism for all is an affront to capitalism for the wealthy. Anything else is dismissed as class warfare. And the non wealthy people who work to protect this system of disparity do so with the belief that it is okay as long as there’s somebody worse off than they are. Disparity is tolerable for many of us at the bottom as long as they know that there is someone else more negatively impacted than they are. Misery loves more miserable company.
At the end of the movie The Invasion I came away asking myself what was the big problem. The people who were infected didn’t give up their will or their ability to make their own decision. They continued to go to work and to function as a community. In fact, it was the fact that they operated as a more cohesive unit willing to sacrifice themselves for others that made the infected a more formidable opponent.
In the movie, the people who were infected never killed anyone. Even when the Nicole Kidman character was fatally shooting the people trying to capture her they never returned violence. They were simply looking to bring her into the fold. As they were being shot down one after another, the others simply continued to move towards the goal. They sacrificed themselves for each other without fear. And as the bible says, no higher expression of love could be given than when a man is willing to lay down his life for friends or his country (John 15:13).
If nothing else the alien virus depicted in this movie turned our hate and fear of each other into the utmost extent of love for each other. Sure it looks scary to have somebody or something come along and forces us to change how we interact with our neighbors against our will. But if there is ever a case of the end justifying the means then this is a sure fire example of it. We truly may not understand utopia when we see it with our own eyes. Humanity’s utopia may be far too strange for most of us to embrace it.
Ever since the murder of seventeen year old Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman managed to capture the attention of the nation, and possibly the world, the majority of the people in the black community have expressed concern and apprehension. We have yet another case of a senseless shooting death of a young, unarmed, black teenager minding his own business and the white murderer is allowed to go home without spending a single night in a jail cell, and he’s even allowed to take his murder weapon with him. While George Zimmerman was home chilling with his trusty nine millimeter, Trayvon’s body sat in the morgue for three days before his family is notified. Trayvon’s body was subjected to blood test and analysis while Mr. Zimmerman was never asked to submit to anything.
It is only natural that people would worry about this lack of justice with this incident that has yet to be determined a crime. Since the victim is a young black male and considering how America’s supposedly racially generic culture that is predominantly controlled by white people has developed a seriously awful history of tolerating the slaughter of unarmed black people by white people, it is only natural that the black community leads the charge for an investigation into the circumstances that would lead a white man to shoot a black teenager who was doing nothing more than walking home from the convenience store.
There is plenty of evidence to support the contention that the white man’s behavior was criminal. There is the recording from Mr. Zimmerman’s call to emergency operators to report a suspicious black man walking down the street. We hear Mr. Zimmerman describe his actions as well as the actions of Trayvon as he stalked the teenager from his vehicle. We hear Mr. Zimmerman give chase as he described Trayvon trying to run away from the man following him. We hear other 911 recordings from people calling the police to report somebody in trouble and crying for help and the single gunshot from Mr. Zimmerman’s gun. We have heard people tell the story of what they heard the night Trayvon was murdered. There are videos of the people in the neighborhood who called 911 that night saying that the police never contacted them to get their accounting of what happened the night Trayvon was killed. We have seen the video of Mr. Zimmerman arriving in handcuffs at the police station with no hint of a scuffle between him and Trayvon as he claimed.
There is nothing to support Mr. Zimmerman’s claim that he was struggling for his very life when he was attacked from behind by Trayvon as while walking back to his car. But somehow, the police were helpless to hold Mr. Zimmerman in custody because Florida has a law that allows people to kill other people when they feel threatened despite the circumstances that led to the killing. An unarmed black teenager is murdered and even though we all know who the killer is and all the evidence that support the fact that a crime has been committed, George Zimmerman walks free more than a month after he killed someone in cold blood.
Mr. Zimmerman’s supporters mock black people saying that with all the black on black crime that winds up with somebody dead, why are black people so upset over this crime? Black people kill each other every day and you never hear a peep. Why get bent out of shape over this one incident? The contention is that if Mr. Zimmerman was black this wouldn’t be an issue. And I could not agree more.
If George Zimmerman was black Sanford’s finest would probably have shot him on site. A black man standing over a dead body is an open invitation for one of those contagious police shootings that has taken down so many black men. Perverted justice served and case closed. If the black Mr. Zimmerman’s body wound up with forty bullet holes after he had shot somebody else who wouldn’t think that justice was served?
But for the sake of argument, let’s say that the police who showed up managed to hold back their natural urge to shoot our fictitious black Mr. Zimmerman. Does anybody think a black man would be taken into custody only to be released for shooting another black man? When was the last time that happened? Does anybody think the police would make press statements defending the black Mr. Zimmerman by telling the world that a black man was defending himself and therefore was never taken into custody? It would never happen. If there is even the remote possibility that a black person committed a crime it would have to be sorted out after dude was safely behind bars. It’s standard procedure.
But let’s step back even further. If George Zimmerman was black, chances are he would have never made a call to emergency operators to report a black man walking down the street and looking suspicious. If George Zimmerman was black odds are pretty good that he wouldn’t be following anybody walking down the street out of fear that somebody would call the police on him for the crime of stalking. If Mr. Zimmerman was black he would mind his own business because the odds are just too high that he’d be the one getting questioned. And then let’s not forget that he had a loaded pistol with him. A black Mr. Zimmerman would think twice and conclude it best to leave well enough alone.
If George Zimmerman was black, there are plenty of real life scenarios to play that would assure he would be charged for any crime he would have committed. People who want to point a damning finger at the black community for their desire for justice in the murder of Trayvon Martin have their criticism misplaced. But then again, if George Zimmerman was black, these people wouldn’t give a damn about Trayvon or Zimmerman. It would be little more than another case of black on black crime. The people who criticize black people for all the attention being brought to this case would go back to doing whatever it is they do. If these people really cared about black on black crime, why wait until we have a case of white on black crime to bring it up? It really looks like somebody is trying to play the race card in a situation that has race written all over it.
The Hunger Games is a story centered around sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in a future world after an undisclosed apocalyptic event. She lives in the country of Panem in what used to be North America. Panem is a technologically advanced society. The Capitol is the seat of Panem’s brutal totalitarian government and is located in the northwestern Rocky Mountains. The Capital has absolute control of the twelve outlying districts. Panem holds an annual event called the Hunger Games where one boy and one girl, aged twelve to eighteen years old, from each of the districts are selected by a lottery system to compete in a publicly broadcasted battle in which only one participant can survive.
The author, Suzanne Collins, says that her inspiration for the story came from channel surfing on television. On one channel she observed people competing on a reality show and on another she saw the news with footage of the invasion of Iraq. Ms. Collins says that the two events began to blur in her conscience in a very unsettling way and the genesis for the story, the first in the Underland Chronicles, was formed.
The perpetual starvation and the constant need for resources that the people of Panem suffer create a sense of social dependence that the characters participating in the competition have to suppress in their fight for survival against each other. Katniss, the main character, has a proficiency with the bow and arrow that developed from her need to hunt in order to help provide food for her family. This results in a skill that gives her a competitive advantage in the life threatening competition. With a combination of skill and a sense of independence that gives her the courage to challenge the rules of the game when they are arbitrarily changed during the competition, Katniss survives the competition and is treated to a hero’s welcome. But she is warned by one of her mentors that she has now become a political target after defying Panem leaders so publicly.
In interviews, Ms. Collins said that the Underland Chronicles touch on issues such as poverty, starvation, oppression, and disparity. The story focuses on the struggle for self preservation that an entire society of people faces in their existence in the districts and the Hunger Games in which they are forced to participate. Ms. Collins also cites the Greek myth of Theseus, in which the city of Athens was forced to send young men and women into a labyrinth in Crete to face the Minotaur. As a child, Ms. Collins said she was impacted by the ruthless of a people who would force children into such a situation. She understood that Crete was sending a very clear message that if the people defy their government the government would do something worse than kill the people, they will kill the people’s children, and the people will be powerless to stop it.
The people of mythological Crete may have been cruel, their ruthlessness pales in comparison to a society of people who would subject a race of people to a perpetual existence of poverty, oppression, and social disparity. We might watch the Hunger Games and react with some sense of outrage at the cruelty of the authoritarian rule of the fictional Panem’s government and how it subjugates the people. But then we come away from this work of fiction to see the reality of our society that was founded under the deception that black people are inferior to white people and how it subjugates black people. It was written into the very document that established our national government that black people were not fully human and were deemed white people’s property. And when black people finally and openly defied the white people who were oppressing them, there was a clear signal from the dominant culture that black people have incurred the wrath of the white oppressors and black people will be targeted. Imagine the wrath of a society that was founded under the idea that they have the right to deem black people not human and deny them the right to pursue happiness. What kind of games would such a society design for its retribution?
Today, black people are forced to compete in our own games of employment, business, education, healthcare, justice, government representation, and everything else that we require as a people to live as a collective. All too often black people have to prepare for these games with inferior equipment and inferior facilities. Our future depends on overcoming these hurdles for our very survival. And if that’s not enough, we have our law enforcers and our judicial system ready to come down hard on black people when there might be a case of a black person defying the unwritten rules that require black people to submit no matter what.
And if that’s still not proof of the cruelty of a society that was developed with racial disparity written into its founding documents, a society that has a history of targeting black people for their defiance and for fighting back against racial oppression, this is a society that constantly reminds us all with the clear message that it will do far worse than kill black people, this is a society that will allow black children to be hunted and killed in cold blood, and will expect the black community to be powerless to stop it. Is it any wonder that George Zimmerman remains free even though we know he murdered Trayvon Martin?
When it comes to race relations this country is truly in a psychotic hell. What happened with Trayvon Martin is just the latest nationwide example of how bad things have gotten. In the twenty first century we continue to manifest obvious racial disparity in our law enforcement system, our legislative system, our legal system, and our judicial system. And the fact that we are so willing to tolerate this racial disparity shows how much our social system is so rooted to the idea that black people are inferior and are not entitled to the same levels of consideration and respect for our very lives as white people.
First we have act one. An obviously white man kills a black teenager trying to run away because the white man is stalking him and so the white man feels justified to run the boy down and kill him for the crime of looking suspicious. The white man saw the black teenager walking home and that was all it took to initiate an unfortunate set of events that wound up with the boy dead.
Act two is the behavior of the police. They show up at the scene, see a dead black boy, see a white man with a gun in his hand and they do nothing. Open and shut case of another black thug that probably got what was coming to him. White guy is allowed to walk away with his murder weapon while the police start looking for any evidence that the boy was no good. They check for the boy’s record and he doesn’t have one. They couldn’t be bothered to find the teenager’s family, so they let his body sit in the morgue for three days before his parents are notified. When people start asking questions, the police throw impartiality out the window and start to defend the white shooter during one of the resulting press conferences. The police say that Florida’s “stand your ground” law prevents them from charging the shooter with a crime and that there was no evidence to counter the shooter’s story that he was trying to defend himself. But since this law was enacted there are many instances of black people in Florida being taken to jail and are convicted for their use of deadly force to defend themselves.
Act three is the legislatures that pass such ridiculous gun laws. It wasn’t enough that Florida already has laws that allow people to defend themselves. We have to have a lackadaisical and irresponsible law that will give police departments the discretion to say whether or not there’s enough evidence to take someone into custody until it is proven that there is enough evidence to take someone into custody. The police don’t even have the responsibility to take a perpetrator’s murder weapon. And it is interesting that the threshold of what constitutes enough evidence is so much lower whenever the perpetrator is a black person, which leads to act four.
Act four is our judicial system that is far from blind. Too many judges, juries, and prosecutors that have some psychosis that makes them see the world only through the eyes of a white mindset people and refuse to see things from another perspective. These are the people that will allow police to shoot a man trying to go home one his wedding day only to die in a hail of deadly bullets. These are the people that allow police to shoot a black man for making the fatal mistake of identifying himself when he surrounded by four undercover officers with their guns pointed at him scaring him out of his wit. And because they protect police for their heavy tactics against black men we have to put up with the Joe Horns who will take his shotgun outside to kill, tell the emergency operator on the phone that he’s going to go kill somebody, and then plead self defense after shooting two burglars as they tried to run away. This is why a police officer feels that it’s okay to use a taser on a black man lying face down on the ground with his hands in cuffs behind his back, only the dumbass pulled out his service piece instead and fatally shot the man in the back. These are the people who give passes to SWAT cops when they fatally shoot a black woman as she held her infant son who was also injured as one of the bullets passed through his body on its way to kill his mother. We tolerate that shit because we provide are act five.
Act five is the rest of our society that does everything it can to minimize, demoralize, demonize, ostracizes, and victimizes black people. We see it in our entertainment that makes black people the background to white people’s foreground. We see all the detective shows and police shows and sitcoms and reality shows that revolve around white people’s world with a few black characters to serve at the edge of the story’s periphery to add a little color to a particular scene. The black character is far more likely to be portrayed as the betrayer or the comedy relief or the incompetent sidekick buddy instead of a real hero. White guy is more apt to be the playboy and drive the Ferrari while the black guy makes due with a twenty year old Cadillac that looks like a pimp’s ride.
We watch television shows that often portray young black people as violent and uncontrollable out for no good and with no redeemable value. Our local news television program tells us all about black on black crime and how it’s the biggest contributor to misery in the black community and yet white on white crime is a phrase we have never heard. We see a black person in the news in handcuffs doing a perp walk to the court house for an act considered a criminal that would never even register on somebody’s crime scope if it was Opie Cunningham or Greg Brady. And this is what leads to act six.
Act six is the deviant part of our society that is more susceptible to the racial programming that operates at the fringe of such a racially polarized society that was founded on the pretense that black people are inferior and can be owned by white people as a commodity. A society that has never done anything to actually reverse the damage that was inflicted on itself by the black subjugation, but instead pretends that ever since black people stopped being referred to as property, ever since black people were allowed to vote like their white peers, ever since we passed laws that made blatant, in your face, it’s because somebody used a racial epithet or wrote a memo about how they hate black people, types of racism was considered illegal everything is now fine. It is not.
We have a society that gives an obvious white guy the idea, fueled by the obvious racial disparity that we tolerate as a whole, the impression that if he killed a black guy fleeing for his life, the white guy would be justified and held up as a hero for stopping a character that represents a problem in our collective, the typical young black male. It would have worked have worked if Trayvon Martin was one of those character we have been taught to see as the definition of blackness. But that is not the case.
Trayvon Martin wasn’t a character rooted in somebody’s single minded portrayal of black people. He was the real deal. He was smart. He worked hard. He stayed out of trouble. The only problem Trayvon Martin had was that he happened to fit a stereotype of what one delusional man thought was the very epitome of trouble. That’s just a quick description of the basic way our society operates when it comes to looking at the way we condone and feed our racial disparity.
On February 29, 2012, conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh initiated a series of degrading, insulting, and scandalous remarks about Georgetown University Law Center student Sandra Fluke. Based on Ms. Fluke’s statements in her speech to House Democrats in support of mandated contraceptives for women, Mr. Limbaugh came to the conclusion that Ms. Fluke was a slut. In a fantastic leap of logic, Mr. Limbaugh concluded that the fact that Ms. Fluke wanted insurers to provide no cost contraceptive coverage meant that Ms. Fluke wanted to be paid to have sexual intercourse and that made her prostitute.
For three days Mr. Limbaugh used his globally syndicated radio show to make his vicious verbal attack against Ms. Fluke. On the third day, in an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Ms. Fluke announced that she had received a call from President Barack Obama just before she appeared on the program. Ms. Fluke said that Mr. Obama gave her words of encouragement and support and thanked her for exercising her freedom of speech about the concerns of American women. Ms. Fluke was understandably touched. She admitted that what was really personal for her was that Mr. Obama told her to tell her parents that they should be proud. It meant a lot to Ms. Fluke because Mr. Limbaugh had used his show to pose the question whether or not her family would be proud of her. During a trying time she appreciated the gesture so very much.
The White House said that Mr. Obama made the call because he wanted to offer his support and express his disappointment to Ms. Fluke that she had become the subject of such an inappropriate personal attack. The President thanked her for speaking out on public policy as a private citizen. When White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked what Mr. Obama thought about Limbaugh’s comments, Mr. Carney said that the President found it reprehensible that those kinds of personal and crude attacks.
On February 26, 2012, three days before the thirty year old Ms. Fluke was verbally assaulted by Mr. Limbaugh, a seventeen year old Trayvon Martin was confronted by twenty eight year old George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. The confrontation turned deadly and Trayvon was killed when Mr. Zimmerman pulled out his nine millimeter Kel-Tec pistol. According to reports, Trayvon Martin was murdered by a single bullet wound to his chest. Despite a series of 911 calls made by people in the vicinity of the killing where Trayvon could be heard in the background pleading for help before being shot, and Mr. Zimmerman’s own emergency operator call where he says that Trayvon was trying to run away from Mr. Zimmerman, despite the fact that Mr. Zimmerman admits that he was chasing the young black teenager and initiating a confrontation, Mr. Zimmerman claims he was being attacked and fatally shot Trayvon in self defense.
The police took Mr. Zimmerman for his word claiming there was no evidence to contradict his story. The only other eyewitness to the sequence of events had died. Mr. Zimmerman went free as Trayvon Martin’s body went to the city morgue and sat for three days before the police gave his parents the horrible news of what happened to their son. To this day, there has been no indication of any call from President Barack Obama to the parents of Trayvon Martin to convey his disappointment about a fatal attack on a young black teenager and the cover up by the Sanford, Florida police to hide at best their ineptitude, at worse their blatant racial bias that prevented a thorough investigation of a possible crime of murder. Chances are pretty high that Mr. Obama will never make that call.
President Obama rarely injects himself into matters of race that pertain to black people. The majority of times Mr. Obama would probably do so would be to defend his self from accusations and insinuations that he is racist against white people, like all the times it was suggested that he went to Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ to hear anti white propaganda even though many of the people who fervently pushed that suggestion are the same ones who would accuse him of being a Muslim. The only other time Mr. Obama spoke of matters of race was when he used his Father’s Day address at the Apostolic Church of God in 2008 to berate black fathers for their lack of responsibility to support their family. Otherwise, Mr. Obama appears to be under the assumption that issues of race just aren’t all that big a deal here in America.
It is well understood that if black people would just do the right thing and keep their nose clean they too can achieve the American dream. If Mr. Obama had made that call to Trayvon’s parents, he’d probably chastise them for their inability to keep their son under control. Just like black men with children have a reputation for being irresponsible, young black men have an even greater reputation for irresponsibility and criminal behavior. Everybody knows that if there is an altercation between a black male and just about anybody else that the black man is guilty until proven innocent well beyond the most unreasonable doubt. That rule holds even when the black male is a teenager with nothing more deadly than a bag of candy in his hand.
In fairness to Mr. Obama, the altercation between Rush Limbaugh and Sandra Fluke had political implications that could be used to help Mr. Obama in his bid to win reelection. For many people, the President looks good when he offers his support to a white woman being defamed by a conservative windbag. He’ll score some political points. There are no points to be gained from the President injecting his self into the senseless murder of a black teenager gunned down by an armed self proclaimed neighborhood watchman for walking home late at night and the resulting cover up from the botched police investigation.
Mr. Obama knows that it is rare for the murder of an innocent black teenager to garner national attention. On a national level there are many other cases that match the senselessness of Trayvon’s murder. Trayvon’s murder is far from being a rare event. Black men are constantly being confronted at the drop of a hat but then will be accused of being the aggressor when they wind up injured or dead. It’s why people like the ones who serve at the Sanford, Florida police department don’t bother to lift a finger to do a thorough investigation when a black man is murdered.
If Mr. Obama says anything he will be lambasted by his opponents. But then again, he gets lambasted by his opponents no matter what he does. Mr. Obama was thoroughly criticized when he called Sandra Fluke. He was willing to take that battle on in order to ingratiate himself to the women of America as the one most likely to support and protect women’s rights.
You would think the black Mr. Obama could relate to a black teenager minding his own business and only trying to get home when he was accused of being threatening. Not too long ago Arizona Governor Jan Brewer made headlines when she stood on the tarmac under Air Force One and pointed her bony finger at the President not too long after he descended from the plane. Later, when she was asked what circumstances led to such a blatant disrespect of the President, Ms. Brewer said that she had felt threatened. Lucky thing for Mr. Obama Ms. Brewer wasn’t the Governor of Florida. Just imagine what could have happened.
But there is nothing for Mr. Obama to gain as a supporter of black people. Mr. Obama already has the majority of black people in his favor. From a political perspective there is nothing to gain from him reaching out to the parents of a murdered black teenager. In fact, he’d probably open himself up to a can of political whoop-ass that would cost him far more than he would gain. It’s just the way our national collective responds to issues of race when it involves black people.
The more the public learns about the case surrounding the shooting of seventeen year old Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Florida. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, Mr. Zimmerman claims he was in fear of his life and was only practicing self defense under Florida’s stand your ground law which gives people the right to use deadly force if they so much as feel like they are being threatened. There are witnesses that say they heard the black young man pleading for his life and begging for help before hearing a single gunshot from Mr. Zimmerman’s nine millimeter gun. We hear Mr. Zimmerman ignore the 911 operator’s instructions to stay away from the young man walking down the street and minding his own business. We hear Mr. Zimmerman tell the operator that young Trayvon was trying to run away from him. We know that the wannabe T. J. Hooker got out of his car in order to confront Trayvon. When exactly did the tables turn and the young black man become the aggressor and made the fateful choice to attack Mr. Zimmerman with a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea?
But what’s even more horrendous than the behavior of Mr. Zimmerman was the behavior of the police that showed up at the murder scene. Not very many of us have ever served as a police officer. I’ve never, ever entertained the thought of being a servant of the public so I won’t even try to pretend that I speak from experience or anything, but would it not have been a standard professional police protocol to at least do a thorough investigation of a possible murder scene? The first police officer on the scene should have apprehended the guy with the gun in his hand, standing over the guy bleeding face down on the ground. I think it would have been smart to seize his gun as possible evidence. I think it would have been professional to have listened to his explanation of the sequence of events that led to a possible murder. When he was finished I would put him in the back of my police car while I took a closer look at the crime scene. He is my main suspect in a possible crime.
I think it would have been standard procedure to ask the people in the neighborhood milling about if they heard or saw anything. I would have listened to their stories. I would have listened to the stories of the people in the houses nearby. I would want to know if what they told me corroborated or contradicted my main suspect. I would have taken pictures. I would have taken measurements. I would have noticed that the dead young man was unarmed and had nothing but candy and a soft drink. I would have noticed that the dead teenager’s body was faced down with a gun wound in his chest. After getting all the information I need from the scene I would take my suspect back to headquarters for further questioning and processing. I would like to know if he had a criminal record or anything in his past that might be suspicious. I would want a lab test on his metabolism. I would tow his car back to the station and search it top to bottom. I would do what I think would be a thorough investigation to get a complete understanding of what may have happened to cause someone to wind up dead.
But Instead of doing anything professional the local cops acted more like Cletus, Enos and Roscoe from Hazzard County on a bad day in one of their worse episodes in the perpetual pursuit of the infamous Duke boys. And just like on the television show, it is unfortunate that they let the perpetrator get away. Their investigation amounted to a little of nothing. They asked the only eye witness at the scene what had happened and all the guy had to say was that he was defending himself. With that, the man that was holding a gun in his hand and standing over a dead body was able to talk his way out of being investigated and walk away. The police didn’t even take the murder weapon into custody. They focused their complete attention on the dead body.
Instead of putting their energy into investigating the man who did the killing, the police put all their energy into finding all the secrets of the man who was killed. They searched for all the evidence that would prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Trayvon Martin was the typical black teenager that was good for nothing and confirm Mr. Zimmerman’s story that he was the victim here. They drew the dead young man’s blood and did the lab tests. For three days his body sat in a morgue as the police waited for the lab results. They didn’t bother to call any of the numbers from Trayvon’s cell phone. While young man’s body sat in a refrigerator to keep it from decaying, Mr. Zimmerman was allowed to continue his life without worry. And after three days of finding nothing, the police finally had to relent and called the young man’s family to tell them where they could collect the body of their son. When the parents asked what happened, the police could only say what they were told by the boy’s killer, the entire extent of their professional investigation against a murder suspect.
When asked why the perpetrator was still free the police say that Florida’s stand your ground law meant they could run the risk of opening themselves up to legal action if they infringed upon Mr. Zimmerman’s rights. There were no other witnesses so they had to take the killer’s word as to what happened. But that’s such bullshit. Police have the authority to take a person in for questioning when his/her name comes up as a possible suspect for jaywalking. The police have the authority to hold people without charge for so many days and/or hours before they are required to release. They had plenty of cause to suspect a crime was committed, if they only cared to do their job. But Trayvon was just another black kid and they had to get back to chasing those Duke boys for Boss Hogg.
The police that showed up at the scene of Trayvon Martin’s murder should be investigated as accomplices. At the very least they should lose their jobs for their utter incompetence. A young man is killed and they sit on their hands and act as if they’re the ones who are helpless. Even if the fucked up Florida law that allows people to shoot each other based on nothing but a perception of a threat is true, it’s not the police’s job to decide when and if that law is applicable to any given situation. That decision is usually left for a district attorney, a jury, or a judge. It’s not the police’s job to say when and if a crime was committed. Their job is to help people whenever a crime might be or may have been committed. They collect all the pertinent evidence and make sure they have the suspect in custody so that a judge can determine what’s necessary to keep this guy available if he is to be prosecuted for a murder. It is sad to say, but if Trayvon was black there is little doubt that the police would have had a totally different take on what they could have and could not have done, what they should and should not have done, under Florida law.
Another unarmed young minority man is murdered in a mysterious altercation with an armed white man who found the young black man suspicious. And in all too typical fashion the white murderer is allowed to go free, go home, and go live his life while the family of the black man is left wanting for answers and justice. Where have we heard this type of thing before?
Three weeks ago seventeen year old Trayvon Martin took a walk to the corner convenience store for snacks and a can of iced tea. He decided to take the jaunt during the half time break of a televised basketball game. As he was walking back home, twenty eight year old George Zimmerman spotted the young black man with the hood of his jacket up walking through his neighborhood and looking suspicious. Mr. Zimmerman was driving through the area as part of a neighborhood watch program when he decided that the young black man walking alone at night was trouble, so he used his call phone to call the police.
A recording of the call to emergency operators show that Mr. Zimmerman had no reason to suspect the young black teenager of anything. Mr. Zimmerman said that he was following the young black man who he referred to as an asshole. The operator told Mr. Zimmerman that a patrol car was on the way and that he should stop following Trayvon and he should definitely not get out of his car. Mr. Zimmerman did and not long afterward young Trayvon Martin lay dead face down of a gunshot wound to the chest. The dead black teenager had a bag of Skittles. The neighborhood vigilante was armed with a smoking Kel-Tec 9mm pistol.
George Zimmerman was never arrested nor charged with anything. The police say that there isn’t any evidence to contradict his story that the young black man attacked the armed patrolman that was following him. The only witness to what actually happened was Mr. Zimmerman and his dead victim. And since the dead black guy isn’t able to contradict anything Mr. Zimmerman said, his word is as good as gold.
According to Mr. Zimmerman, he is the victim of this tragic incident. He had to defend himself with deadly force after he had admitted that he was stalking and following a young black man who was doing nothing but walking home. We heard the tapes of the operator telling Mr. Zimmerman not to follow the guy. So we know for a fact that he disregarded instructions and was bent on creating an altercation that would lead to a young man losing his life.
While it is true that there were no other witnesses to what exactly happened between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, many neighbors have come forward to say that they heard a male voice pleading for his life and calling for help before hearing a gunshot and then hearing the voice calling for help go silent. We heard another 911 recording from a neighbor talking to the operator. In the background of that call we could hear the pleas for help. We heard the gunshot and we heard the following silence. But Mr. Zimmerman claims that was him crying for help as he was pulling the trigger. The police must’ve heard all of this evidence and decided that is was reasonable to mistake Trayvon’s Skittles as a weapon and ruled it an open and shut case of self defense.
According to police Florida law has a “stand your ground law,” which allows for the use of deadly force if someone feels reasonably threatened. The problem comes with the laws application. What constitutes reasonably threatened? Was it reasonable for the neighborhood watcher to feel threatened at the site of a single black man walking down the street at night? For a lot of people, based on the social programming that constantly paints young black people as little more than thugs and lowlifes looking for an opportunity to commit crime, a single black man walking in the dark wearing a hooded jacket is a frightening sight and so it’s okay to shoot to kill.
Now let’s try and look at this from the flipside. Let’s say that a young man knows that he will be mistaken as a good for nothing cretin hell bent on crime simply because he’s black. He’s walking along minding his own business when he notices he’s being stalked by a white guy in a car. After a few minutes of being followed, the white man gets out of his car and starts to walk up to the young black man. The white man is carrying a pistol so at least one of his hands is in his pocket ready to pull the gun out at a moment’s notice if necessary. The black youth has nothing but his snacks. It’s dark. Would it be reasonable to assume that the black youth is being reasonably threatened? Who actually started threatening who?
The police say there’s no evidence to contradict Mr. Zimmerman’s claim that he was only defending himself. But we know for a fact that while he was armed and dangerous he instigated an altercation with someone that he was stalking and he ignored instruction to leave it alone. We know that his Kel Tek was fired. We know that Trayvon is dead with a bullet from Mr. Zimmerman’s gun. We know that Trayvon was unarmed. Who decided to attack who?
Trayvon committed no crime and had a good reason to be where he was. He never bothered to arm himself to attack anyone. Who really made the decision, who took the steps to put themselves in a situation that was bound to go wrong based on assumptions without any foundation other than an appearance? What made Trayvon Martin so suspicious that Mr. Zimmerman had to put himself into a situation where he knew he could wind up killing someone? But based on his appearance of being black and being male and being too dead to contradict the word of a murderer, the local police department says there’s nothing criminal here, pat Mr. Zimmerman on his head and send him away to live the rest of his life.
But really, who is surprised? We saw Joe Horn get away with the murder of a couple of minorities robbing his neighbor’s house after he called 911 and reported something suspicious. Mr. Horn was instructed not to get involved by the operator. He ignored what he was told. The man took his shotgun outside and confronted the burglars. We heard him tell the burglars that if they moved they were dead and then we heard two shotgun blasts not two seconds later. He said he was in fear of his life and that’s why he killed them. He was never charged with a crime.
We saw a group of seven boot camp guards surround and beat the teenaged Martin Lee Anderson until the young black man’s lifeless body slumped to the ground. It was his first day at the camp and within hours of his arrival he was dead. An investigation ensued and, surprise, the guards were acquitted of any criminal wrong doing.
Twenty three year old Amadou Diallo was shot by four New York police officers when he was sighted walking home with a couple of bags of groceries. When he was confronted by the police who thought he was acting suspicious, Mr. Diallo reached for his wallet to identify himself. His mistake was trying to identify himself when it was already identified as being black. The police didn’t put their guns away until they had fired forty one times. They were found not guilty.
So now we have another incident. This time we have a young black man minding his own business when somebody felt that his life wasn’t worth leaving him alone or leaving him to be questioned by the police. We have a neighborhood watchman say that he found the man suspicious and based on nothing but his appearance initiated a confrontation that wound up with death. He didn’t have the right or the responsibility to say anything to the teenager let alone pull his gun out to kill him. But police say that Florida law gave him a green light to kill because he was so scared. If dude was such a pussy, so easily panicked, why was he out stalking people with a gun?
Three weeks ago a black teenager was murdered in cold blood. Odds are pretty good that eventually Mr. Zimmerman will get off without so much as a slap on the wrist. The parents of Trayvon will have to learn to grieve without justice. All the propaganda that paints black people as nothing more than criminals waiting for an opportunity will continue. Nothing will change.
President Barack Obama can’t complain too much about people blaming him for the continuing increase in the price of a gallon of gas. When he campaigned for the presidency back in 2008, Mr. Obama castigated the administration of President George W. Bush over the same issue. Mr. Obama pounded Mr. Bush and the conservatives. Mr. Obama told the public that they were paying two and a half times the price of gas when Mr. Bush took office back in 2000. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Now, Mr. Obama’s conservative contenders blame him for energy policies that have resulted in a sudden increase in the price of gas in this presidential election year.
Current gas prices have seriously hindered Mr. Obama’s approval ratings. The majority of people believe that the President has a lot of power to control gas prices and many disapprove of how Mr. Obama is handling the issue. People believe that Mr. Obama is impeding domestic oil production and if we could just produce more of our own oil the price of gas would fall dramatically. It’s the “drill, baby, drill” mentality. And it doesn’t help that Mr. Obama rejected Canada’s Keystone pipeline that would have made it easier for Alberta’s tar sand oil to get to the global market by trekking across the Midwest.
More oil on the market would only help if the high price of gas was the result of an oil shortage. There’s plenty of oil being produced and in reserves all around the globe so putting more oil out there really isn’t going to make much of a dent in gasoline prices. In all likelihood, the primary cause of the recent rise in gas prices is a combination of increasing tension with Iran and other recent and ongoing conflicts in oil producing and Middle Eastern countries such as Sudan, Syria, and Libya. Speculators and oil traders are nervous about a possible conflict in this part of the globe. The fear is that we could have production cut off. There’s plenty of oil right now, but what’s going to happen in the near future? As long as oil remains a primary component of our national energy policy our national economy will be impacted by the price of oil.
In a recent government study produced by the Obama administration, the United States reduced imports of crude oil last year by ten percent. We now import about forty five percent of our petroleum need, compared to almost the sixty percent figure in 2008. Imports have fallen because the United States has increased domestic energy production in recent years. Domestic crude oil production is the highest it has been since 2003.
The issue of supply is only one of two factors for the oil market. There is also the issue of demand. Americans love machinery that consumes gas. We are addicted to big thirsty vehicles. For some of us being told to buy a more fuel efficient automobile is like laying down a gauntlet. Politicians will pander that you can’t put a gun rack in a fuel efficient vehicle. Even if that was the case why would you need to carry your gun rack around?
Before somebody gets their panties in a gasoline soaked wad and tries to use baseless rhetoric, if you want a monster truck with a supercharged Hemi motor, forty inch tires and an eighteen inch lift kit to carry your guns around then by all means have at it. But if the price of gasoline goes up because so many of us want to buy this type of vehicle or something similar then do we really have the right to complain that somebody else isn’t doing enough to keep the price of oil down? Like a lot of things that we enjoy in our market driven social economic structure, oil is a commodity and its price is driven by the tried and true rules of supply and demand.
Americans consume more than a quarter of the world’s production of crude oil. That’s not just the President’s fault. That’s a problem that is compounded by everyone who squanders energy. It would be one thing if the President was out there encouraging people to consume more and more than necessary. But the President tries to tell us that we need to be more energy efficient. And the moment he says we should work for a more energy efficient future some of us complain that we need bigger and less efficiency because some of us got gun racks to carry around. Whose fault is that?
Personally, I’d love to have a Ford Mustang Boss or Shelby with a bigger than most eight cylinder engine eager to suck down every drop of gasoline I can put in its tank. But if I’m ever in a position to actually get one I’d like to think that it wouldn’t be my primary set of wheels. I hope to be wise enough to mitigate my fuel expenditure with a more efficient vehicle as my daily driver. The thought of having something else in the driveway that uses something other than gas is a truly attractive proposition. Maybe the people who insist on having a less efficient vehicle to carry a gun rack around can do the same thing.