Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"Listening Post"

I just wanted to take a quick second to throw this item up because I think it's important. There's a lot of conjecture going on right now -- and it's spreading with the usual viral speed through the social media world -- about whether George Zimmerman uttered a racial slur in the moments before he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Basically, a radio show host, Joe Madison, is claiming that Zimmerman can be heard huffing the words "fucking coons" as he's on the phone with the 911 dispatcher in Sanford, Florida; it happens while he's chasing down Martin, just before the dispatcher warns him to back off. The problem is that Zimmerman, as far as I can tell, doesn't say that at all. He says, "Fucking punks." It's pretty obvious, even to the untrained ear.

I bring this up because George Zimmerman very likely deserves to be prosecuted for killing Martin and he seems to have profiled the kid as dangerous or generally suspicious just because he happened to be black. That and the fact that Zimmerman was armed with a handgun while Martin was carrying nothing more than a bag of Skittles and an iced tea is reason enough to charge him with a crime, if not a few. You don't need to let your imagination run wild and start a psychotic torch-and-pitchfork frenzy by desperately seeking out details -- or creating details -- that confirm your suspicions about Zimmerman, in this case that he's a racist. You've already got the very clear-cut facts about the case: that he targeted, stalked and shot a black kid in a hoodie because he automatically assumed he was a threat.

The outrage over this thing is righteous and well-deserved. Let's not allow it to go off the rails into the realm of the sensational. It does a disservice to the memory of Trayvon Martin and to the fact that there may be, as ghoulish as this will sound, a truly teachable moment to come from his tragic death.


Steven D Skelton said...

I saw this headline at the very top of the Huffingtonpost this morning.

I shook my head and went outside for a smoke.

An unarmed kid is dead under circumstances that scream for prosecution. There has been none and the DA refuses to give a decent reason why....

.....and the top story is that Zimmerman may have mumbled a racist word.

We have PC'd ourselves to the point where we have lost our fucking minds.

kanye said...

Teachable moment? This kind of thing has been happening on a regular basis for 200 years in this country...perpetrated by the state more often than not.

If anything, incidents like this teach us that the history books are wrong: The South did win the war; not the military battles, but the war to be sure.

Steven D Skelton said...


Your going to our evolution as a terms of racial relations and civil the wishes of the Antebellum south?

You couldn't possibly mean that....could you? Certainly you're not blind history, so why would you say such a thing?

J. Dack said...

If this whole story wasn't awful enough, it's spurred some pretty hefty rants from PoC activists especially on tumblr.

Some of them are writing ten paragraphs basically summed up as "no Zimmerman is not Hispanic he's white."

Others are "Hispanic or not, this murder is the fault of America being a white supremacist country."

I've had to tune out to avoid orange goo flowing out of my ears.

Pati said...

I'm in Orlando and as you can imagine this is big news here. I also just heard that Sanford's Police Chief (the one that decided not to arrest Mr. Zimmerman) has stepped down. Hopefully they will get it right yet and not let those of us who live here be the laughing stock of the country, again.