Monday, April 23, 2012

Systemic Sickness or How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Trayvon Martin and Love George Zimmerman

I have been decidedly mum on the post title's issue pretty much since the wave of race-baiting, victim pimping and gung-ho vigilantism was instigated. There are certain news stories spotlighted and reinforced by the media to meet a specific end. Whether or not the talking heads who reinforce, regurgitate and reiterate media memes know what they are doing, those who orchestrate the mass mainstream consciousness are witting perpetrators perpetuating themes and underlying assumptions in news coverage.

The fervor began with the news stories circulating that a non-black man shot a black teenager armed only with a hoodie, skittles and iced tea. At face value, the crime appears to be pure murder. Slowly additional facts trickle out. Zimmerman: a self-proclaimed guardian of the community, deputy member of a NON-SANCTIONED Neighborhood watch program, walking and protecting the streets, a Floridians first line of defense. Zimmerman, a man who, after a simple search was shown to have been a ridiculous, almost crazed fanatic bent on phoning 911 at the slightest provocation (I read that he had called 911 50 times previously, all of them leading to nothing, feel free to correct if this is wrong).

And then there is Trayvon Martin. 17 year old black kid with a boyish face and a penchant for sweatshirts with hoods, skittles and iced tea. With the breakneck speed quickness of the mainstream media, there were immediately different pictures of Martin plastered across glowing television sets across the United States and beyond. The immediate details of his crime became apparent, innocently walking home until fervent protector Zimmerman took the law into his own hands and decided to gun down the unarmed teenager in the dark of night, seemingly unprovoked. The media memes swirled over and over, how could this innocent, cherub-like child have possibly initiated a battle to the death, with as innocent a mission as going to a convenience store for candy. This is where the media really kicked into overdrive, selectively releasing conflicting information over the next weeks of the tragedy and coverage therein.

The first fishy fact was released early on in the case, that being Zimmerman, as a "neighborhood watch captain" was not with any neighborhood watch program registered in the community. The "fact" that Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch captain/deputy/dimwit/vigilante was and is reinforced with vicious repetition. The fact that he was not registered in the community with a legitimized neighborhood watch program was not. This distortion is critical to a media narrative, now with a racially charged angle on the attack, I think members in the media deem it important to repeat this farce if and when Zimmerman is ultimately exonerated: Zimmerman was just a good citizen of the community looking out for its well-being against the night terrors on the attack. He sure did yeomans duty with this murder.

The next media distortions all arrived amidst a confused and muddled narrative. First the 911 call is released, then subsequent additional audio is released without creative editing. The narrative at what I would call the 2nd quarter, is in Americans trying to understand why this act was committed, through listening to these calls.  The 911 calls were the first tangible eyewitness account, if Zimmerman's words are not accepted.The Zimmerman 911 call is actually far more illuminating to his state of mind than it is a cut and dry clarification on what really occurred. My analyzation of this phone call amounted to Zimmerman not necessarily being a racist hell-bent on violence and death, but of a borderline mentally handicapped man with a mallcop mentality, taking justice into his own hands. Zimmerman laments that "these assholes always get away" and proceeds to follow a man deemed a potential suspect, merely for being suspicious looking and in Zimmermans wheelhouse, so eager to catch his prey. Against repeated orders by the phone operator to stand down, to discontinue pursuit, to not follow or engage with the suspect, Zimmerman persevered and continued pursuit. I believe firmly that Zimmerman attained the results he so glibly thirsted for. Zimmerman may not be intelligent enough to have concocted a scheme to bait Martin into attacking him, I don't grant him that much credit. However a few things are clear through the information already released.

Zimmerman was itching to catch a criminal, to get someone punished for perceived attacks upon his community. Zimmerman had a track record of harassing 911 without producing any real results for law enforcement. Martin, while his past has now been dragged into the zeitgeist and many have attempted to slander his character through claims of marijuana use and physical violent confrontations, was, at first an innocent bystander, truly moving through the neighborhood to obtain candy. Beyond this, the story becomes shrouded and convoluted and will be likely impossible to clarify without an additional eyewitness who can back up or refute Zimmerman's claims of self defense.

As it stands now, it is an extremely unfortunate fact that Martin was gunned down, whether in self defense or the most heinous of cold blooded murder. Whether or not Zimmerman was the innocent bystander, a stalwart community protector purely defending it, he was absolutely in the wrong for suspecting a black kid of being a thief simply because he was black and walking through a neighborhood. Zimmerman is a true piece of shit for at best goading Martin into a scuffle he couldn't possibly defend himself from. At worst, Zimmerman, for all his protectorate gusto, was trolling the streets thirsting for a confrontation at any expense. A black kid is dead, an hispanic man is out on bail, and mark my words, will eventually be set free. The laws in Florida sound friendly to claims of defense against intruders and aggressors. While Martin may be faulted for going after a fat mentally challenged slob (who was chasing him for no legitimate reason and with no tangible proof), he should not be faulted for ultimately being a victim to vigilante aggression. The worst kinds of problems are those where both sides of the equation are at fault. And ultimately, regardless of where Zimmerman ends up, the damage is done to greater society. Race baiting, race war instigation, racial tension are continuing to be ratcheted by the media and by many well-meaning humans who just want justice. The outcome of this story will not be incarceration or exoneration, it has already arrived. This story was meant to instigate hatred, to ratchet tension, to goad, to boil blood of those who behold it. Those who pay attention will know where the true blame squarely falls.