Friday, July 19, 2013

Maudlin, Marvelous, and the Obligatory Trayvon Post

Years ago, when hubby and I were still new, we watched a movie called "The Cure."  I had zero interest, but he really seemed to want to, had seen it before, so I went along with it.  I thought it was the most maudlin, overwrought pile of crap I'd ever seen, but kept that to myself because I didn't see any reason to slam something he so clearly liked.

Last night, he said he'd come across the film on Netflix, and thought we could watch it.  I guess I'm just old and indelicate now, because, without even thinking, I said, "No way I'm sitting through that crap."  And then I stopped and tried to backpedal because he looked up and said, "Are you serious?"

Oh, hell.  We're not going to fight about some crappy Brad Renfro movie, are we?

He went on.  He said, "You LOVED this movie when we first met!"  I said, "No, YOU loved it, I faked it because I didn't want you to feel bad about liking such an emotionally overblown, melodramatic puddle of puke."  He started laughing.  Turns out?

He'd faked it because he thought I liked it.  He hates the thing.

Can't you just hear the violins, taste the tears?


Just a quick thing here:  Leeslye is not a name.  Seriously, stop that.  Don't do that.  Mean, mean, mean.


Watched an amazing documentary about Budrus last night on Netflix streaming.  If you don't know what Budrus is, you should watch it, too:  

We were, of course, horrified by the IDF, its actions, and its attitudes (no way not to be), but even more, we were so impressed by the persistence and intelligence of the villagers in the face of that hideous, self-aggrandizing, prideful machine.  It was hard to watch, but beautiful.


Charlie, our Cairn Terrier, has been "half-promoted" to regular dog training. He's still in his "reactive" dog class, but they've invited us to bring him one or two nights a week to the regular training.  He was . . . nervous, distracted, not as attentive as he should be.  Training-wise, he is head a shoulders above these dogs, but that's not surprising--when he's not barking at other dogs, Charlie is incredibly well-trained. 


Just a little bit about Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman.  I just want to remind folks that Zimmerman wasn't found "not asshole" or "not wannabe cowboy/cop" or "not dull-wit."  He was found not guilty, and I think the jury was correct in that finding.  There was no compelling evidence of INTENT to do murder, and without intent, you don't have the grounds to convict.

My opinion here?  Despite the out-of-control hyperbole painting Zimmerman as some zombie-like creature that murders angelic children and Trayvon as some pure-as-the-driven-snow saint (or, from the other side, Zimmerman as a "stand your ground," wrapped-in-the-flag hero and patriot with Trayvon as some gold-grilled gang-banger demon), I think Zimmerman's a dipshit of breathtaking scope, and I think Trayvon was something of a punk, and I think they both had a history of assaulting people (with at least one of them given to bragging about those assaults).  I think these two people collided and it turned disastrous, and I wish it hadn't.  Because teenagers are often punks who grow up to be NOT punks.  And my heart breaks that he won't get that chance--regardless of his troubles, he was an incredibly handsome young man who was quite clearly deeply loved by his family and friends.  And Zimmerman's life?  Is over.  Even if no one murders him (and yes, that would be murder--again, it's that whole "intent" thing), fact is, the guy's reputation is forever soiled.  Other than Fox News (who will hire the registered Democrat for a short while so long as his notoriety is high), nobody's going to give this guy a job.  Nobody is going to let him live in peace.  Which does beg the "what about innocent until proven guilty?" question, but that's not my point.  I'm not soliciting sympathy, I'm just reminding folks who think Zimmerman's "walking" on this.  Walking to what?

A totally devastated existence.  I know we're not famous for our empathy, but I know I'd be feeling pretty bitter if I were cleared of a crime only to find that the court of public opinion had convicted me WITHOUT giving two spits about the evidence and that my old life would never be mine again.

Just one more thing--what's with this whiny-butt idea that a jury's verdict must somehow please the public?  This screwed-up conviction that a court of law should operate like a popularity contest?  It doesn't MATTER if you like the verdict--the court isn't supposed to be in the business of doing the teeming masses' will.  It's not a MOB, it's a JURY.  If you don't like the verdict, tough.  Seriously, tough.  Big deal.  Oh, well.  I didn't like the OJ verdict, I don't like a LOT of legal outcomes, but that doesn't mean you'll find me calling for killings or screaming for retrials.  I never once accused the OJ jury of being racially biased.  And I believe wholeheartedly that, had OJ and his wife traded races, the result would have been the same--a guy I believed was guilty would have walked.  

And that's how it should be--if we start twisting up our legal system to serve the desires of a less-than-educated public with little grasp of law, then we have nothing standing between us and mob rule.  

Now, if you want to talk about/protest "stand your ground" laws, I'm totally with you on that. While I think they're a possibly good IDEA, in PRACTICE they're just an excuse for people to intentionally put or keep themselves in dangerous situations instead of seeking to escape them.  Combined with lax concealed carry laws, and you've got exactly this.  Zimmerman shouldn't have had a gun, and if he hadn't, he probably wouldn't have gotten out of that car.  And no, that's not me saying he got out looking to kill--most people playing dimwitted cowboy don't actually intend to USE the gun, they think that, by brandishing it, they'll get the desired effect.  No gun= no courage here.  I believe that. Obviously, I can't crawl into Zimmerman's mind and know for sure.  But that feels right to me, based on what I do know.

And at the tail end of all this?  Do I think Zimmerman "targeted" Trayvon because he was black?

I don't know.

And neither do you.

I think that, in this country, with the screwed up arrest and conviction rates, with the news stories, the common stereotyped perceptions, and, yes, the reality of inner cities, there is the real possibility that Zimmerman might not have stopped, had Trayvon Martin been white.  But with his level of frustration at the happenings in his neighborhood, I think he might have.  I don't know.  We can't know.  We can't know if Trayvon's response to Zimmerman was aggressive or ugly, we can't know if Zimmerman would have been as persistent with a white kid.  We can't know. My gut?  My gut says that, yeah, Trayvon's skin color probably did influence Zimmerman's decision to follow.  Probably.  And I say that NOT because I see anything clearly racist in Zimmerman, but rather because our nation, as a whole, too often looks at that.  Looks at it, and then makes decisions based upon it.

But again, I can't actually KNOW that about Zimmerman.

What I DO know is that, based upon released text messages, school records, interviews with Zimmerman, etc., I wouldn't have invited either of them over for dinner.  And neither one of them should be dead.  And that makes this whole thing incredibly sad.

Also sad?  That I wish I could hop on the "hang the bastard" bandwagon.  I do, that would make this all SO much easier for me.  And I know why so many people have jerked those knees so hard--because a"not guilty" George Zimmerman makes the nasty wingnuts happy.  It makes the gun-freaks and the racists gooey-ecstatic.  And I HATE that.  But here's THE thing:

I can't adopt an opinion based solely upon how the KKK or Tea Party feels about things, because, to quote an old one, "even a stopped clock is right twice a day."  I will tell you it makes me examine things a whole lot more deeply, but I cannot allow myself to knee-jerk to an opposing position just because I don't like the scumbuckets who are celebrating this.  

That would be absolutely unacceptable to me.  I will not pretend that something IS just because I wish it were so.  I refuse.

And so, I've mostly stayed quiet on this.  Because most of the folks I know appear to have come down on the "popularity contest/hate the wingnuts" side of this, and I like most of the folks I know.  Don't want to argue with them about law vs heart.  But I believe they're wrong here--it's not about whether or not Zimmerman is an asshole or even about if he's a racist.  It's about whether or not he got out of that car with the intent to kill, and whether or not his actions were justified or allowable UNDER THE LAW AS IT CURRENTLY STANDS.  And sorry--by that standard, Zimmerman is absolutely not guilty.

Whether we like it or not.  The answer isn't to make fools of ourselves protesting a VERDICT.  The answer is the protest the LAWS that led to that verdict.


Sorry, that turned out to be a "LOTTLE" bit about Trayvon and Zimmerman. 


I'm going to end with this because that last bit was heavy.  I love this video, even though the kid (who is clearly a terrific person) looks a little too much like the newest Rolling Stone cover for me.

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