Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The One That Didn't Get Away

Note: I am going away for three days and will not blog until probably Sunday the 25th.

I did not want to write anything more about the terrible killing of Trayvon Martin, but as it is the only topic occupying all the news channels, and as there is obviously much more to come, I decided to make at least one more comment. I said previously that although I could try to consider Zimmerman innocent until proven guilty I do believe he is guilty. But in all honesty, if I lived in Florida and were called for jury duty on this case I would have to confess to being so biased I would not be able to serve. The more I learn about this vile unfortunate event the more I disbelieve Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense. It is clear that Zimmerman was actually pursuing the boy in spite of having been told not to do so. It is also clear he was carrying a loaded 9mm pistol even though Community Watchmen are not supposed to be armed. While it is true Zimmerman apparently had a permit to carry a gun he still should not have had one while being on watch, besides which, he was apparently not formally appointed to that duty and just volunteered. He also continued to perform this duty even though there had been complaints about him. The claim that a 17 year-old boy carrying a bag of skittles and an iced tea would have attacked him lacks all credibility.

But what has pushed me even further into believing he is guilty is learning that he had called 911 some forty plus times in a few months complaining about seeing suspicious characters loitering about the community. I don’t know if in all forty-some cases he reported the prowlers as Black, but in the cases that were reported all of them clearly specified the suspects were Blacks. When you couple that with his complaint that “These assholes always get away” it would seem clear to me that assholes is clearly referring to Blacks, presumably those who managed to get away from him previously. It is also possible that on one of the tapes he reportedly says what some interpret as “fucking coons,” others as perhaps “fucking punks.” I confess I cannot make out either of these statements but something like that is clearly there. In any case, it seems clear to me these are derogatory remarks are referring almost certainly to Black people and thus are proof of racial prejudice. If this is true it would seem to open up the possibility of a hate crime, to say nothing of premeditated murder (although I have not heard any mention of either of these possibilities). I wonder if Zimmerman is pleased that one of the “assholes” didn’t get away.

It is also pretty clear, at least to me, that this particular incident and others like it, can be traced to the NRA and the Florida legislature for promoting and passing some rather stupid laws having to do with carrying guns and “standing your ground,” laws that basically led to essentially an open season on young Black men and others. As the Florida Police have not had very good relations with Blacks this is a situation than cries out desperately for attention (that it is now getting big time).

And speaking of stupid laws, the relatively low interest rates on student loans are about to double, plunging those students who have loans (most of them nowadays) even further into debt. Congress can act to prevent this but if they do not it will happen with disastrous effects on the economy. But the whole system of student loans is incredibly stupid to begin with. Why should students have to go into debt for their education? Colleges and Universities should be cheap enough that anyone could afford to go. Indeed, in my opinion they should be free, as they are in some more sensible nations. They should be cheap or free because it is in the national interest to have educated populations. How else can a nation maintain itself over time if it neglects to educate their young people? The obvious result of our neglect of our educational institutions over time is not becoming apparent as we are falling farther and farther behind most other industrialized countries. The spirit of anti-intellectualism we have fostered and the decline of our educational institutions are combining to destroy us. This, too, cries out desperately for attention, but isn’t getting much at the moment.

The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced.
Frank Zappa

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