I’ve fed my inner right-winger pretty thoroughly with all this death penalty stuff, but along comes this month’s regularly scheduled mass shooting spree. America averages a mass killing every two weeks which are different from shooting sprees. By now, you already know more than you wanted to about the latest one as details about the killer (if not his victims) continue to flood out.
Here’s what I’m not going to do. I’m not going to mention the shooter’s name. I’m not going to watch his creepy video or read his even creepier “manifesto.” I will the skip the armchair sleuthing for motives and amateur psychoanalysis for possible motives. That’s the territory of the cable TV “experts” and I don’t want to horn in on their act.
This is the Internet. You don’t need a blog to tell you more of what you already know.
This murderer was unknown to me a few days ago. I will deny recognizing his existence a while longer.
I am confident the Bill of Rights is resilient enough to survive this latest “gutting” of it the NRA and gun fanatics fret over in much the same way it has every previous mass shooting in America. The organized stalwarts of the Second Amendment have been quite efficient in controlling the sort of conversations we the people have about mass murder and the use of firearms in these tragic, but all too common, events.
We seem to have fallen into an automatic response to these sort of things. First things first: let’s name the shooter, speculate on what his motives might be, (because it nearly always is a male).
Later we can get to the mundane little details like who our shooter killed in his rampage and much later we just might get around to what the efficacy and effectiveness is of using a gun when you absolutely positively want to kill a lot of human beings in as little time as possible.
This is how Americans deal with mass shooting events.
1. Speculate and theorize in the absence of facts.
2. Emphasize how terrible this is and how sympathetic we are to the wounded and the slain.
3. Do NOT bring up guns. It’s too soon.
If those three fast and easy rules to discussing mass shooting events are too much to remember, then remember this:
BLAME THE SHOOTER. DON’T BLAME THE GUNS HE SHOT PEOPLE WITH!
BLAME THE SHOOTER. DON’T BLAME THE GUNS HE SHOT PEOPLE WITH!
BLAME THE SHOOTER. DON’T BLAME THE GUNS HE SHOT PEOPLE WITH!
BLAME THE SHOOTER. DON’T BLAME THE GUNS HE SHOT PEOPLE WITH!
BLAME THE SHOOTER. DON’T BLAME THE GUNS HE SHOT PEOPLE WITH!
BLAME THE SHOOTER. DON’T BLAME THE GUNS HE SHOT PEOPLE WITH!
BLAME THE SHOOTER. DON’T BLAME THE GUNS HE SHOT PEOPLE WITH!
If you’re in some undemocratic country without a Bill of Rights like China reading this please translate this to read “Blame the stabber. Don’t blame the knives he stabbed people with!”
Me? I multitask. I BLAME THE SHOOTER. AND THE GUNS HE SHOT PEOPLE WITH TOO!
When it comes right down to it, I don’t care why these guys go off. Their backgrounds and motives and reasons are only interesting as far as understanding their crimes. But understanding why mass murderers commit murder doesn’t seem to be preventing or stopping them from murdering. There are a lot of dudes just like this one who have poor self-image issues who can’t attract the ladies who don’t go out and slaughter innocents. ALL and I do mean ALL of the attention is given over to the killer and his issues, motives sad feelings and staggering narcissism and days later we get a blurb or two about the victims.
It’s no wonder so many of these loners/losers lash out this way. At long last the world is finally paying attention to them. It shouldn’t.
We learn a lot about these killers. less about their victims and nothing about how to prevent the next mass killing. We’ll be back here again and sooner, rather than later.
I almost feel sorry for death penalty opponents.
When some miscreant breaks into an old woman’s home, beats, rapes and guts her like a trout, my argument is made for me.
“Joe Schmoe beat, raped and fileted a 77-year-old Bingo-playing grandmother like she was 90 pounds of sushi. He should be put to death for this horrendous atrocity.”
The other side has a tougher nut to crack.
“While yes, it is undeniably true Joe Schmoe did indeed beat, rape and filet a 77-year-old, Bingo-playing grandmother like she was 90 pounds of sushi, (and everyone is very much cross with Joe about that and nobody feels more awful about this than we do), we should still spare his life because he might be redeemable and killing him makes us no better than him killing her and the State murdering Joe is no different from Joe murdering that old woman.”
Good luck with that. I’d rather argue the other side.
Convicted murderer Clayton Lockett was put to death by the state of Oklahoma. They screwed it up.
It certainly appears like Mr. Lockett suffered a rather painful and horrible end.
Mr. Lockett was not a nice man. In fact, it might be fair to say he’s a bit of an evil demon. The other gentleman scheduled for the hot-shot, Charles Warner is actually even more so.
Before I wring my hands in concern or squirt a single tear for Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner over their possibly suffering a grisly, painful and lingering death, I’m going to ask two questions and only two: What did they do to get themselves strapped to a gurney and do they deserve to die for it?
- Stephanie Neiman, 19: terrorized, beaten, raped, shot and buried alive in a grave with her mouth still covered with duct tape.
- Adriana Walker, 11 months old: shaken, skull fractured in two places, jaw and ribs broken, lungs and spleen bruised and lungs lacerated, brain swollen, hemorrhaging found in her eyes and around the brain, anally raped.
Lockett got off easier than his victim. If there were a way to kill him twice, he’d deserve it. When there are no more criminals like Lockett and Warner raping and torturing and murdering terrified teenagers and helpless infants there will be no more need to execute them.
That day is not today and they both lived, lusted and laughed far, far longer than their victims.
Good-bye to both of them and good riddance.
Such a harsh judgment may muddy up my reputation as a good liberal, but I’ll take the hit.
There are prisoners more deserving of compassion and mercy than scum like this.
I want to see as much concern expressed for the victims of the crime and their suffering as there is for the perpetrators. Too often their plight is the center of the conversation and little to none given to the people whose lives they destroyed and the families they irrevocably shattered forever.
Present me with the option of feeling bad over how sorry an end Lockett’s last minutes of life were and they still won’t approach the horrors he put Stephanie Neiman through.
I’m pro-death penalty with reservations. No one should ever be put to death if there is the faintest shadow of a doubt of their guilt or capacity for rehabilitation. The ultimate penalty should only be imposed for the most heinous and vicious crimes. Popping a clerk at a gas station during a robbery may not rise to that standard. Kidnapping, raping, and sadistically torturing a clerk at a gas station during a robbery before murdering them probably would.
The death penalty is disproportionately applied based upon race and class, haphazard in its application, unproven as a deterrent and unreliable as a method to offer any sort of closure to the families or protection of society. I understand every argument made in opposition to capital punishment and I don’t pretend I have an equally logical argument for it.
I do have two reasons why I believe someone like Lockett and Warner should be put to death.
It does write a definitive end to the potential threat of a killer to offend again and their criminal acts end with their last heartbeat.
If you anally rape an 11-month-year-old baby to death, you should die. It’s really that graphic and that simple.
You don’t rape babies to death and you live. You do rape babies to death and you die. See how easy that works? It’s a choice whether you stick your filthy little pecker into places you know it should not go. If you wish to live, do not put your penis in those places.
Because if you do, you’re a baby-raper and there’s nothing lower than that. May God have mercy on your rancid soul because I will have none. Zero tolerance. Ultimate penalty. Bottom line: You do really bad things and you die a really bad death.
The pain Lockett endured in his last moments is no worse than Stephanie Neiman endured buried alive under the dirt. Don’t ask me to feel more sympathy for his life than he showed for hers. If there is a way to kill a killer that is less painful and more “humane” than lethal injection, let’s try that. I don’t advocate torturing the condemned, but I’m not concerned if they endure some discomfort. Clayton Lockett caused enough of it for others.
When the character of the defendant is less than sterling if you’re a smart (and somewhat unscrupulous) defense attorney the next best option if your client’s reputation is less than pristine is to dirty up the victim instead.
The trashing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman‘s attorneys and family has been brutal, ruthless, systematic and ugly. They are playing hardball. They are showing no mercy. Zimmerman’s lawyers began in earnest last week when they released text messages from Trayvon in trying to depict him as a punk kid with violent tendencies. Zimmerman’s mother did even worse to the teenager. She made him invisible and irrelevant in a letter she released to her son’s supporters.
Today, April 11, 2013 is the anniversary of the most unfortunate arrest of our son George. I am writing from my heart and with incalculable gratitude to our family members, dearest friends, and those we have not personally met but who have nonetheless offered their unwavering moral and spiritual support. Those who read this letter should do so of their own free will, and do so because they are interested in its message. If you read this letter with the hopes of finding material to mock or rebuke–please stop reading now, because this letter is not intended for you.
April 11 2012 will be forever remembered by the Zimmerman family as the day the justice system failed us as Americans, and as a consequence an innocent man was arrested for a crime he did not commit, solely to placate the masses. George was charged with murder. By confusing the public and manipulating perception in order to sway the “court of public opinion”, Benjamin Crump & co. finally achieved their “first base” victory.
A year later, we find ourselves–as Mr. Crump put it–in “third base” posture: we are awaiting trial. Throughout the past year, as evidence came forth and was later published, we have fought at every turn to be certain George is afforded a fair trial and equal protection under the law. It is imperative now more than ever that George receive fair treatment by the judicial system, as this is the quintessential birthright of every American.
From the beginning, this case has been heavily publicized and a false narrative was developed surrounding a very real tragedy when there was little evidence available to the public. It is astounding that despite the vast amount of information and evidence now available that supports George’s self-defense claim, the majority of the media avoids its publication. It is indeed alarming that even more media outlets do not regret misinforming the public and have not taken steps to retract the fabrications they are responsible for perpetuating.
The media, with the help of social media made it their prerogative to judge and sentence George before and after his arrest. Even members of Congress and self-proclaimed “activists” used and routinely use to this day the term “murderer” when they speak of him–in effect they are re-enforcing the only acceptable judicial outcome in their eyes. Many have seen to it that he be judged by the public, the very public they were keen on misinforming.
It is for these reasons I share my thoughts and heart with you today. Despite the mythological monster the media created, those who knew George did not abandon him, and those who have become familiar with him throughout the course of this ordeal have prayed daily for him, his wife, his parents and siblings. Without your constant prayer, words of comfort, and endless search for truth–our family would not have made it this far.
After reading Gladys Zimmerman’s letter and its total absence of decency or humanity I understand where George’s racism comes from. It is more than misleading, self-serving and selfish. It is inhumane. Not once is Trayvon Martin’s name mentioned. No one in the Zimmerman family has a shred of compassion in their cold hearts.
“For the Zimmerman family to allege that the justice system doesn’t work simply because they are unhappy their son was arrested in the first place is disingenuous and disrespectful to the very system that is currently affording him every available opportunity to defend himself. The arrest of an admitted killer is not a violation of due process, it is due process. “Most will agree that no one has been given greater consideration by the justice system for killing an unarmed child than George Zimmerman.”
The Zimmerman family is waging a public relations war on the behalf of their murderous son and nobody has been vocal in his unwavering son than kid brother Robert. His recent rampage of Tweets to slime Trayvon will likely have no effect on the upcoming trial, but it does show how low Bobby Z. is willing to stoop to.
The Zimmerman defense team released a series of photographs and text messages from Trayvon on their website depicting the teenager discussing guns, being suspended from school and smoking marijuana. In a text message sent 12 days before Zimmerman gunned him down Martin tells an unnamed friend he was suspended from school for fighting.
“Why you not in school?” a text he receives asks.
“I thought you was going out with ur friend,” the reply says.
“Naw my ol g say she dont want me home caus she think ima get in mo trouble,” he texts back.
Martin’s texts also indicate he may have been curious about guns.
“U gotta gun?” reads a text from Martin’s phone, sent on Feb. 18, 2012, to a friend of his who was on the phone with him on the night of the shooting.
“You want a 22 revolver” asks someone in a text he receives that day.
Three days later, Martin mentioned a caliber of gun while asking a friend in another text, “U wanna share a .380 w.[redacted]?”
Other texts released allude to problems Martin was having at home and with authorities.
“My mom just told me i gotta mov wit my dad,” says one from Nov. 22, 2011. “She just kickd me out.”
“Is the defense trying to prove Trayvon deserved to be killed by George Zimmerman because of the way he looked?” Benjamin Crump said, “If so, this stereotypical and closed-minded thinking is the same mindset that caused George Zimmerman to get out of his car and pursue Trayvon, an unarmed kid who he didn’t know. The pretrial release of these irrelevant red herrings is a desperate and pathetic attempt by the defense to pollute and sway the jury pool.”
From what I’ve read from legal experts none of this crap will probably ever be heard by a jury and will not be admissible. Certainly Team Zimmerman would like to put Trayvon’s character on trial as he is already dead and cannot defend himself. Perhaps there is also the hope that painting Martin as wannabee thug, doper and gangsta will play to the worst fears of potential jurors.
Of course, anyone with the brain power of a house plant should ask, “What does this have to do with why Zimmerman shot Trayvon? He didn’t know any of this.” But the defense is going to muddy the waters as much as they can to get their client off. If they have to trash Trayvon in the process, you’d better believe they’re gonna do it.
It doesn’t make it any less disgusting. Mark O’ Mara wants to “niggerize” Trayvon Martin as a wannabee gangsta and future criminal. That’s understandable since its his client who is a killer with a prior criminal record. Writing in his legal blog, attorney Frederick Leatherman denounced the tactics of Zimmerman’s defense team saying, “This is quite possibly the sleaziest tactic that I have ever seen. To intentionally poison a jury pool a couple of weeks before trial with false and misleading information about the victim of a homicide calculated to incite and unite White racists to approve of the execution of an unarmed Black teenager is astonishing.”
“These two lawyers are fortunate that I am not Judge Nelson because I would jail them for contempt of court and file complaints against the bar association requesting their disbarment from the practice of law.”
In a series of rulings that were described as favorable to the prosecution, Judge Debra Nelson denied the defense’s motions to admit Martin’s marijuana usage, disciplinary records from school, possible interest in guns and fighting. Robert Zimmerman called upon the prosecution to drop the second degree murder charge against his brother. The defense asked for a delay in the trial which Judge Nelson also rejected. Jury selection begins June 16.
What we’re witnessing now is simply the public relations spin and the preliminaries. When the trial actually begins that’s when the circus will really start.
- Statement From Trayvon Martin’s Family and Their Attorneys (tmwarriors.wordpress.com)
- Zimmerman’s mom thanks supporters (abcactionnews.com)
- George Zimmerman’s Attorney Trying To Put Trayvon Martin On Trial (blackamericaweb.com)
- Zimmerman Lawyers Smear Trayvon (boomantribune.com)
- Judge denies delay, bars evidence in George Zimmerman trial (usnews.nbcnews.com)
Trayvon Martin should be alive today, but of course he isn’t. He’s dead because a scared little creep named George Zimmerman shot and killed him a year ago to the day.
And all hell broke loose…
When we talk about race in America those conversations are often nervous, dishonest, awkward and less than candid. Too often we end up saying things we don’t really mean but sound right. When Whites and Blacks and other races talk about race, we’re either put on airs as we struggle to be on our best behavior and not offend. However, there are occasions where the false fronts and fake faces are dropped and we stand toe-to-toe and just let the bullets fly. We don’t get polite. We get real.
For a year now that’s what I’ve sought to do as I write about the Trayvon Martin case. I try to bring the real. I’m not trying to be impartial. I’m not claiming I don’t have a bias. I’ve chosen a side and I am on Team Trayvon, not Team Zimmerman. I’m not a vigilante. I leave that sort of thing to frightened rabbits like Zimmerman. Nor do I want anything bad to happen to him or his wife and co-conspirator, Shellie Zimmerman. I want them to be safe as houses right up until the day they are both convicted of their many crimes and are sent to prison.
I’m also preparing myself for the distinct possibility they both walk.
Do you move on? Do you put it behind you? Does your once inflamed sense of outrage cool until it grows as cold as the corpse of Trayvon?
No. Of course you can’t allow that. Not if you have the slightest sense of justice. There’s been no justice here. All we’ve seen so far is how skillful lawyers with no conscience or scruples will go to murder the truth. Why does Zimmerman’s defense team need access to a teenager’s social media? Who exactly is on trial here?
We know the answer to that, don’t we? We know it is Trayvon who is on trial. It is Trayvon, not his killer, who must prove he wasn’t some sort of thug. Some punk who went out in the rain not for a bag of candy and a can of iced tea, but looking for trouble.
After all, he was a bad kid, right? He shouldn’t have been out at 7:00 pm roaming around in the dark. Right? Just because some fool he didn’t know was chasing him in the dark and confronted him with a loaded gun he wasn’t supposed to be carrying, doesn’t mean it’s not his fault? Why, he practically made poor George Zimmerman shoot him! Zimmerman was fighting for his life. He had every right to defend himself!
That only makes sense if you concede one point. You must concede Zimmerman was correct in his conclusion that a Black kid walking around at night in his neighborhood and wearing a hoodie justifies racial profiling. Justifies ignoring police instructions not to follow and engage. Justifies hunting Trayvon through the apartment complex. Justifies terrifying an unarmed young man who had done nothing and wanted nothing more than to get home and out of the rain.
Justifies confronting an unarmed young man, fighting that unarmed young man, and pulling out a gun and shooting to death that unarmed young man once it became clear he was winning the fight.
The problem for Zimmerman is there is no justification. The Stand Your Ground law is not a license to kill. Putting your own dumb ass in a potentially dangerous situation is not a justification. Fearing for your life because you’re getting your dumb ass kicked is not a justification.
Being a coward, being an arrogant wannabee vigilante? That might be a justification. If you’re a murderous coward, that is.
On the anniversary of the murder, CNN published excerpts of letters provided to them by his lawyers sent to Zimmerman from both supporters and detractors. They illustrate how wide the racial schism is and how raw the emotions are between how Black and White America view this case .
“Murderer,” one e-mail’s subject line said.
“Please shoot yourself, you racist piece of sh-t,” read the body of another e-mail. “You killed an unarmed teen that you stalked.”
And several dictated the same, succinct line: “Hope you die in prison.”
These venom-drenched words are just a smattering of at least 400 e-mails and letters, all sent to George Zimmerman over the past 10 months.
Some applaud his lawsuit against NBC over the altering the recording of his police call, allegedly to “create the myth that George Zimmerman was a racist and predatory villain.”
Other missives — many packed with vitriol and anger — provide a glimpse into the emotion that overcame the nation when Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon Martin, a black teen, in Sanford, Florida, exactly one year ago.
Like the friendly letters, there are recurring themes: condemnation of Zimmerman’s conduct that night, mocking the website he established to collect donations for the legal defense and even ridiculing the physical appearances of him and his wife, Shellie.
Zimmerman is vilified as a predator in these letters, while Martin is portrayed as a “baby” or “child.” Dozens are riddled with profanity and crude anatomical references.
In contrast, others saw the racial controversy as a ginned-up conspiracy to condemn Zimmerman and made references to “the race-baiting media” and “threats by the black community and their leaders.”
“Black people take every opportunity to claim they’ve been wronged,” said one letter, while another encouraged Zimmerman to keep his head high: “Don’t let the damn blacks hold you back.”
It’s a bitter laugh when Zimmerman’s supporters say “race has nothing to do with this.” On what planet are they living on? Not the same one I’m from. Race has everything to do with this and it always did. Only a deliberately blind idiot can’t see how Martin’s race, and to a lesser extent, Zimmerman’s as well factors into how the sides have been chosen and whose cause is being championed.
For many, Zimmerman is a hero defending his hood from a thug in a hoodie. For the rest of us who only have to know the facts, not twist them, we know it is Trayvon Martin who was the only innocent victim here and the only one who was minding his own business not looking for trouble.
Trouble found him and cowardly ended his life. The story of Trayvon lives beyond his brief 18 years. He has become both a symbol and a martyr for this country’s pathological fear and scorn for young Black men. We can’t ease up, can’t let up, can’t give up. Not until this murdering piece of trash pays for his crime. But if Zimmerman doesn’t pay for his crime (and it’s not only possible he won’t, it’s likely) and he walks out of a Florida courtroom declared “not guilty” by the law, that won’t be an end for the pursuit of justice.
The law and justice are two separate things. The law may set Zimmerman free. Justice never will.
It’s a year gone by. My hoodie is on and up in support of Trayvon Martin and his family who say they will let the jury decide. That is how it should be. We must allow the justice system to go forth and hope it finds its way to the truth.
It’s slow. It’s frustrating. At times it’s infuriating, but that’s how it has to be. In the meantime, me and my hoodie say ” Geraldo Rivera can kiss my ass.”
No forgiving. Not forgetting. Justice for Trayvon.
The job’s not done. Trayvon sleeps, but I pray justice doesn’t sleep on Trayvon.
- Trayvon Martin: One Year Later, Justice Remains Elusive (ideas.time.com)
- Trayvon Martin: TrayDay ~ Hoodies UP 4 Trayvon ~ (theobamacrat.com)
- There will be more Trayvons (salon.com)
- One Year Ago Trayvon Martin Was Murdered..What Have We Done Since Then? (aboriginalpress.wordpress.com)
Hadiya Pendleton, 15, was an honor student who according to her father hated and avoided violence.
But violence is relentless in how it methodically seeks out and destroys even those who want no part of it.
A 15-year-old girl who performed at President Obama’s inauguration last week was shot dead Tuesday while hanging out with friends after school in bullet-scarred Chicago.
Hadiya Pendleton — described by family as a “walking angel” — was standing under a canopy in Vivian Gordon Harsh Park when a gunman ran down an alley, opened fire and fled in a white car, police said.
Pendleton was shot in the back but managed to run about a block before she collapsed, officer Laura Kubiak said. She died at the hospital.
A 16-year-old boy was wounded in the 2:20 p.m. incident. Police said Pendleton, who had no criminal record, was probably not the intended target.
“Never in a million years did I think I would get a call that my own baby had been gunned down,” Pendleton’s mother, Cleo Cowley, said through tears from her Chicago home.
“As usual, the bad guy aims, but he never hits the other bad guy . . . He hits the one that hurts the most to lose,” the victim’s godfather, Damon Stewart, 36, who is a police officer, told the Chicago Sun-Times.
“I changed her diapers, I played with her growing up. My heart is broken.”
A sophomore at selective King College Prep High School, Pendleton had traveled to Washington to perform with the band at inaugural events.
“It was the highlight of her young 15-year-old life,” Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said Wednesday at a Senate hearing on gun violence.
“Just a matter of days after the happiest day of her life, she’s gone.”
White House spokesman Jay Carney called the shooting a “terrible tragedy” and said the Obamas were praying for Pendleton’s family.
Cousin Shatira Wilks said the inauguration trip was the talk of a family gathering around New Year’s, but the young majorette was even more excited about something else: plans to travel to Europe this spring with the band.
“She was an honor student all her life,” Wilks said. “Honestly, she was a walking angel. She never once gave her mom any problems ever.”
The day after Hadiya died, another gun victim, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords went before a Senate committee to ask Congress to actually make a tough call instead of talking a problem to death.
“Speaking is difficult,” Giffords said slowly and haltingly, “But I need to say something important. Violence is a problem. Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something.”
Also speaking was NRA Executive vice-president Wayne LaPierre running his usual rap about how more laws and background checks won’t stop criminals and only impede the rights of law-abiding citizens. It’s subject to debate whether LaPierre was there to testify or check on how the NRA’s money is being spent. Eight of the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have received campaign contributions from the NRA including all eight Republicans and Democratic chairman Patrick Leahy.
There is no reason to believe “something” will be done by anyone on Capitol Hill. Stand up to the gun lobby? Question the priorities of the NRA? Not from a Congress populated by dopes like Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) who doesn’t believe the proliferation of guns is any sort of big deal.
“I’m going to wait and see on all of these bills,” Alexander said. “I think video games is a bigger problem than guns, because video games affect people. But the First Amendment limits what we can do about video games, and the Second Amendment to the Constitution limits what we can do about guns.” Alexander, who is up for reelection in 2014 owns a 92 percent lifetime rating from the NRA.
Politicians that aren’t moved to action by White children killed in an elementary school, aren’t about to do anything for Black children killed on the streets of Chicago.
The day Hadiya died she was one of three to be gunned down in broad daylight in the Windy City.
In 2012, while crime fell in most major cities, over 500 people were murdered in Chicago.
Thus far in 2013, over 42 people have been killed, the most violent January since 2002. Seven people were slain on one bloody Saturday. Chicago is so segregated if you avoid the battle zones and stay in the nice neighborhoods and the tourist areas, you probably wouldn’t even notice they’re pulling bodies off the pavement two or three at a time. If this isn’t war in the streets, it sure is claiming a body count like one.
It’s one thing to live in a war zone in Syria or Afghanistan. It’s another to live and die in a war zone in a major American city. “This guy, whoever he was, the gunman…you took the life of my life, Nathaniel Pendleton said of his daughter, ” Just look at yourself and just know that you took a bright person, an innocent person, a non-violent person.”
As young Black people are murdered by other young Black people, I wonder if there might be more of an outpouring of outrage if there were thousands of racist Klansmen behind the mass spilling of blood across the streets of America.
But I recall there is no law, no agency, no Constitutional right that can make someone respect human life. Self-hatred leads to self-destruction. I could paper the walls of my house with all the editorials, essays and columns I’ve written about young people like Hadiya. Apparently, I was writing those words for the wrong audience.
A petition has been created on the White House website requesting the president attend Hadiya’s funeral. He really should. She was there to commemorate his second term. Obama should be there to commemorate her premature demise. It’s not the most, but it’s certainly the least he can do.
I never knew you Hadiya, but I cried for you little sister. I’m crying for you now. Tears of pain. Tears of anger. Tears of bitterness. Tears of rage.
“You know, it’s not the world that was my oppressor, because what the world does to you, if the world does it to you long enough and effectively enough, you begin to do to yourself.”
~ James Baldwin
- The ‘terrible tragedy’ of Hadiya, the girl with an easy smile who was killed after being mistaken for a gang member (smh.com.au)
- Hadiya Pendleton is brought up during Senate gun control hearing (thegrio.com)
- Girl who performed for Obama shot dead in Chicago (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- White House Calls Girl’s Slaying a ‘Terrible Tragedy’ (hispanicbusiness.com)
Here’s something I know about the shootings of the Auburn football players without knowing anything about the suspect Desmonte Leonard. Whatever reason he had to shoot and kill three young men in the prime of their lives and wound three others, the reason will be stupid.
It won’t be because of a dispute over land nor property. It won’t be because of some great cause or a wrong that could be righted in blood. It won’t be for any of the grandiose excuses nations dream up to justify the spilling of life. It won’t be for riches or a threat to Leonard’s way of life.
It will be because somebody said or did something and someone took offense and grabbed a gun to make everything right again. Only guns are poor tools to make anything better. They are good at making everything much worse.
Two of the dead were former Auburn players, Edward Christian, who had to quit the team because of a back injury, and Ladarious Phillips, who had previously quit playing football. The third person killed was 20-year-old Demario Pitts.
Over the years I’ve written thousands of words weeping and wailing about Black-on-Black violence and it occurs to me that the problem isn’t that the words won’t work. The problem is they are for the wrong audiences. It’s not the gentle reader of this blog that I need to reach. It’s knuckleheads like Desmonte Leonard.
Only thing is guys like Leonard don’t read blogs like this. He probably doesn’t read much of anything else. What’s the solution? Building more jails and locking up more Black men hasn’t stopped them from killing each other. You could execute every brother on Death Row and that wouldn’t make a dent. Writing songs against Black-on-Black crimes and public service announcements don’t deter anyone from picking up a piece and settling a score. Electing Obama didn’t stop it and neither will replacing him with a rich White man who doesn’t think about race at all.
Leonard has two previous convictions with theft and carrying a weapon without a permit or license in 2008 and second-degree assault in 2009. As of this writing he is still on the run having fled the scene with two other suspects in a vehicle later found abandoned. Police have surrounded a home in Montgomery where they believe he is hiding and thrown tear gas in.
While I was reading about the useless life and times of Leonard, I chanced across another senseless Alabama-based tragedy. Jack Mac Girder, 73 was babysitting 9-year-old twins Jordan and Taylor DeJirnett when they went missing along with Girder’s 1986 Mercedes-Benz. The bodies of the three were found on a dirt road in Lourdes Country. Deandra Marquis Lee was arrested and charged with the triple homicide and held on a $3 million bond.
According to the mother of the slain children, Girder attended the same church and acted their babysitter while she worked. Lee was out on bond from another country had been charged with being in possession of a firearm with an altered serial number, obstruction of justice, resisting arrest, and violation of license to carry a pistol.
Girder’s Mercedes-Benz was found with all four doors missing. Lee is presumed innocent until proven guilty–the cold, miserable little son of a bitch.
Not wanting to miss out on all the blood splattering, in Chicago it was just another deadly weekend with 40 wounded and eight killed including 16-year-old Joseph Briggs who was merely sitting on his porch when he was gunned down.
Police believe the shooting was gang-related and Briggs simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Like sitting on the porch of his own home is the wrong place
Briggs’ grandmother who was raising him and his sisters said she would try to move out of the neighborhood. Police said progress was being made in tamping down the city’s street violence pointing to the fact this time last year there had been 17 people murdered in a week.
Malcolm X said a knife buried in your back six inches pulled out three inches is considered “progress” by some. The problem is you still have a knife in your back.
Black-on-Black crime is a knife in the back, at our throats and pointed squarely at our hearts, but nobody seems to care. The president never speaks about the violence in his home city. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton don’t lead protests or threaten boycotts about the problem. All the online petitions in the world can’t stop a single bullet fired in anger.
We don’t have to go to Syria to find people who look each other killing each other. We don’t have to go around the world looking for new wars to fight. The old wars on the street are still taking a heavy toll in spilled blood and shattered lives.
It’s frustrating and it’s scary and the worst thing is if only it were the KKK slaughtering Blacks on this wide of a scale. Then we would see some action. As it stands, the criminal element among African-Americans is doing a more complete job than the most nigger-hatin’ redneck ever could dream of.
George Zimmerman appeared in court yesterday for his bond hearing. His attorney said his client wished to make a statement. From the witness stand, the killer of Trayvon Martin addressed his parents and spoke in slightly accented English, “I am sorry for the loss of your son. I did not know how old he was. I thought he was a little bit younger than I am. I did not know if he was armed or not.”
The Martin family had turned down a request from Zimmerman’s attorneys for a meeting. Now face-to-face with him, Tracy Martin wept angrily and Sabrina Fulton had no outward reaction to the apology. The family’s attorney, Ben Crump dismissed it as “self-serving.”
I thought Zimmerman’s “apology” to the Martin family for their “loss” was too precious for words. He even managed to work in a preview of his defense strategy when he added he didn’t know how old Trayvon was or if he was armed.
I see what they did there.
Benjamin Crump, attorney for the Martin family did too.
They feel it was just so self-serving, that it was one of those things that was not sincere,” he said. “We can only guess that his motive was to get sympathy. It’s 50 days later at his bond hearing, and for the first time he’s saying, ‘I’m sorry for killing Trayvon.'”
Most people are sorry. Sorry after they’ve been caught.
Some observers thought the bond hearing was a major setback to the prosecution’s case as the lead investigator said he couldn’t conclude if Zimmerman’s claim he was attacked by Trayvon was untrue, nor which one was heard crying “help” that night.
The natural urge to declare winners and losers is deeply ingrained in the American psyche. There are probably odds being given in Vegas whether Zimmerman beats the rap and walks.
Here in the land of snap decisions and short attention spans you get instant analysis by experts on whatever is the burning controversy of the day. Way back when it used to be the job of the media to simply present the facts and let the public reach their own conclusions, but apparently everyone is so much stupider now and must have everything explained to them or they won’t know what to think.
The justice system doesn’t work well with the 24-hour news cycle. It moves too slow and doesn’t space its dramatic moments out between commercial breaks. This isn’t going to discourage CNN, MSNBC or Fox from offering observations that may be flat wrong, but any sentient human being should understand going in not to fall for the hype.
Zimmerman was given a low bond of $150,000 instead of the $1 million the prosecution wanted. He will be released and have to wear an ankle bracelet to track his whereabouts. He isn’t the most popular guy in Florida so he’s probably going to be confined to the homes of whoever takes him in and lets him sleep on their couch.
This is the process. It’s a long, hard journey to justice and there’s no guarantee Zimmerman will be convicted or if he is it comes along with a plea deal to a lesser charge.
But I’m cool with whatever happens. Despite all the hand-wringing and fears that Florida would burn to the ground, there’s been no riots and no rampage of Blacks running wild on the street lashing out in rage.
That’s not to say it can’t happen, but as the process plays out everyone seems to be playing it cool and waiting to see if justice is really done.
- George Zimmerman’s Bail Bond Hearing. Bond Granted. (theobamacrat.com)
- Zimmerman bond draws emotional reaction, but experts say it’s not unusual (thegrio.com)
- Just a Little Rant From a Goose About the George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin Case (wyldgoose.wordpress.com)
OFFICE OF THE STATE ATTORNEY
FOURTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT of FLORIDA
ANGELA B. COREY
STATE OF FLORIDA VS. GEORGE ZIMMERMAN
EIGHTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT, SEMINOLE COUNTY FLORIDA
AFFIDAVIT OF PROBABLE CAUSE – SECOND DEGREE MURDER
Before me, personally appeared T.C. O’Steen and K.D. Gilbreath, who after being duly sworn; deposes and says:
Your affiants, Investigators T.C. O’Steen, and Dale Gilbreath are members of the State Attorney Office – Fourth Judicial Circuit appointed in the case by State Attorney Angela B. Corey, who was assigned in the case under Executive Order of the Governor 12-72.
Investigator O’Steen was previously employed by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, and has 35 years of law enforcement experience, including 20 years handling homicide investigations. Investigator Gilbreath was previously employed by the Jacksonville, Sheriff’s Office, and has 36 years of law enforcement experience, including 24 years handling homicide investigations.
Your affiants, along with other law enforcement officials have taken sworn statements from witnesses, spoken with law enforcement officers who have provided sworn testimony in reports, reviewed other reports, recorded statements, phone records, recorded calls to police, photographs, videos and other documents in detailing the following:
On Sunday, 2/26/12, Trayvon Martin was temporarily living at the Retreat at Twin lakes, a gated community in Sanford, Seminole County, Florida. That evening Marin walked to a nearby 7-11 store where he purchased a can of iced tea and a bag of skittles, Martin then walked back to entered the gated community and was on his way back to the townhouse where he was living when he was profiled by George Zimmerman. Martin was unarmed and was not committing a crime.
Zimmerman who also lived in the gated community, and was driving his vehicle observed Martin and assumed Martin was a criminal. Zimmerman felt Martin did not belong in the gated community and called the police. Zimmerman spoke to the dispatcher and asked for an officer to respond because Zimmerman perceived that Martin was acting suspicious. The police dispatcher informed Zimmerman that an officer was on the way and to wait for the officer.
During the recorded call Zimmerman made reference to people he felt had committed and gotten away with break-ins in his neighborhood. Later while talking about Martin, Zimmerman stated “these assholes, they always get away” and also said “these fucking punks”.
During this time, Martin was on the phone with a friend and described to her what was happening. The witness advised that Martin was scared because he was being followed through the complex by an unknown male and didn’t know why. Martin attempted to run home but was followed by Zimmerman who didn’t want the person he falsely assumed was going to commit a crime to get away before the police arrived. Zimmerman got out of his vehicle and followed Martin. When the police dispatcher realized Zimmerman’s was pursuing Martin, he instructed Zimmerman not to do that and that the responding officer would meet him. Zimmerman disregarded the police dispatcher and continued to follow Martin who was trying to return to his home.
Zimmerman confronted Martin and a struggle ensued. Witnesses heard people arguing and what sounded like a struggle. During this time period witnesses heard numerous called for help and some of these were recorded in 911 calls to police. Trayvon Martin’s mother has reviewed the 911 calls and identified the voice crying for help as Trayvon Martin’s voice.
Zimmerman shot Martin in the chest. When police arrived Zimmerman admitted shooting Martin. Officers recovered a gun from a holster inside Zimmerman’s waistband. A fired casing that was recovered at the scene was determined to have been fired from the firearm.
Assistant Medical Examiner Dr. Bao Performed an autopsy and determined that Martin died from the gunshot wound.
The facts mentioned in this affidavit are not a complete recitation of all the pertinent facts and evidence in the case but only are presented for a determination of Probable Cause for Second Degree Murder.
By: Investigator T.C. O’Steen, Affiant
By: Investigator Dale Gilbreath, Affiant
Sworn to and subscribed before me
This 11th day of April, 2012
Notary Public, State of Florida at Large