Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I know everyone in the media is talking about it – and I think that is a good thing – but I just had to comment on this as well. The shooting death of Trayvon Martin is tragic. It isn’t just tragic because of the fact that the police have yet to arrest George Zimmerman, the known shooter. Please note that I didn’t say charge, I said arrest. I don’t know the facts, none of us do, but the fact that they haven’t even arrested this man for killing an unarmed boy is outrageous. But the fact that Mr. Zimmerman has not been arrested is more of a statement to a culture of violence, fear, vigilantism, and gun worship than anything else.
The Florida “Stand Your Ground” law essentially allows a person to attack someone (overruling previous supreme court rulings, which declared you should try to flee first) if he or she “reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony." This is pretty ambiguous language (deliberately), and essentially gives anyone carte blanche to murder anyone in the area, as long as they can show that they were scared for their life. It seems odd that Mr. Zimmerman, larger, older, and carrying a weapon, would be scared of a young man walking through the neighborhood, who showed absolutely no intent on hurting or killing him. Trayvon Martin was responsible for nothing more than WWB (walking while black) in a neighborhood that Mr. Zimmerman felt that he shouldn’t have been in. And now Trayvon Martin is dead, and George Zimmerman walks free (in a new neighborhood – he’s since moved).
After the incident, it was reported that George Zimmerman was the “neighborhood watch captain”. This was a volunteer position, for which no official selections or elections were held – so basically the guy took it upon himself to be the “captain”. The guy is a vigilante. And why was the made possible. Because we now live in a society based upon fear. Fear of terrorism, fear of illegal immigrants, and fear of a young black man walking in a gated community. We’re told that we should be scared of these things. And Florida tells you that you not only should be afraid of them, but if you feel threatened by them, you have the right to act upon your suspicions and kill them.
Gun obsession and violence in this country is out of control (well highlighted by Michael Moore’s film, Bowling for Columbine). People keep guns in their homes, their cars, the desks at work, behind the bar, behind the counter at work, on their person, and anywhere else you can think of. Why do we have all of these guns all around us? Are we in constant danger of being killed? Reality and statistics will tell us no; violent crime has actually been steadily declining in this country for the past 40 years.
So why do we have so many guns floating around, and why are we so scared? There are several reasons why, but the most potent reasons are that the NRA wants to promote gun ownership (regardless of the consequences or type of gun), the companies that manufacture guns want to sell more guns, and the media wants something to sensationalize. It is time to ban handguns in this country. Handguns are made to kill people, and that is exactly what they’re doing. People are not only being empowered, but being encouraged to use them. “Taking back the streets” does not mean killing everyone. It means building a real community, so that neighbors know one another and watch out for one another, not kill one another. Let’s hope that the senseless death of Trayvon Martin will at least start a dialogue about the culture of fear and the stupidity of laws such as Florida’s (and several other states’) “Stand Your Ground”.


Kevin said...

Isn't there some inherent contradiction in this post? Violent crime has been decreasing for 40 years, but guns still float around. Though there are the "guns prevent crime" group - that's rarely the case, and does point to a highly violent mindset, but violent crime has been decreasing, and gun ownership has not, so how can you really make your claim against guns except the fright they instill in you?

I'm already quite cynical about this particular case, as I've always believed we should treat people with the assumption that they are the basest, most depraved of human beings, and be pleasantly surprised if they're not - so why give them weaponry? Mostly I think it comes down to a difference in geography. Universal gun restrictions don't take into account those in the country, who need a gun to protect their land where police coverage simply cannot. In places like New York, the collateral damage of a gunshot is tenfold - but it's also much more threatening for many people, an increase in population leads to an increase in crime. Although we do ban certain types of guns (sawed off shotguns, various military guns) banning handguns, and thus effectively making concealed carry laws moot, as you can't easily conceal a shotgun seems a bit too idealistic. It "sends a message" but doesn't exactly have the proper effect.

mpm210 said...

I completely respect your comment, and I think you make some great points.
While it doesn't seem to make sense that gun ownership and prevalence has not decreased, but overall crime rates have, it actually does. While gun sales may be increasing (there are statistics that show that a smaller pool of people are buying more guns, but that's a tertiary issue), there are also overall stricter gun laws in this country, and therefore you have gun owners who have had background checks run on them. While this process is not fool-proof, at least it puts in place mechanisms whose purpose it is to make sure that guns owners (for the most part) are responsible gun owners.

Anonymous said...

In a perfect world you might be thought brite.

Realistically you are either preening for the affection of fellow idiots that cannot see the trees of the GD Forrest .
Most like you're a large dash of the later spackled upon a basecoast oflow iq worked uo to a dull glow thru indoctrination that's spit polisjhed with that low IQ's ID fascination hearing yourself think out loud what you have been told to think. My God man grow yourself a pair of thinkers.