By Robert Illes
The best news I heard
about the ongoing Trayvon Martin case is, it turns out, before he was shot to
death on February 26, 2012, he allegedly punched his assailant George Zimmerman
in the nose, and pummeled him on the ground.
Now I don’t believe that for a second, and this likely fable is no doubt part of the
scheme to torch the victim’s character (and cover Zimmerman’s ass), but if
anybody deserved a punch in the nose, and a good old school ass kicking, it is
George Zimmerman – even if it’s just in fiction.
But quite possibly Trayvon did throw a punch, when this latter day
Barney Fife seemed to be stalking him. Was
he a robber? A predator? At least Barney of Mayberry had a uniform, a badge and
was a real deputy sheriff. George Zimmerman didn’t even reach Fife standards…
with the added difference there was no genial supervisor, like Sheriff Andy, to
make sure George kept his gun unloaded as he neighborhood watched for “fucking
coons” roaming about. But this Barney Fife had his gone loaded with real bullets.
Anyway, for me, at least there is the newly minted image that Trayvon went down fighting for his life – “standing his ground” don’t you know, in the spirit of Jeb Bush’s NRA written law. And by the
way it is called the “stand your ground” law, not “follow a guy around and
shoot him” law. Meanwhile, at this writing, Sanford cops evidently continue to leak despicable info about Martin, ever molding this All American kid into one of those very scary gangstas, stoked on reefer, lurking
beneath a hoodie, wearing gold teeth and having the nerve to walk on our public
streets, freaking out white people. And the Orlando Sentinel seems compelled to
dutifully publish these leaks, Drudge-style.
And then there’s one Mr. Joe Oliver, self-styled Zimmerman supporter and
friend (in some vague sense), making the media rounds, even suggesting the
encounter was a “him or me” situation. “One of them was going to get shot that
night.” Oliver also dismissed Zimmerman’s 2005 violent encounter with a cop and
subsequent anger management training with “people change!”… claims George said
“goons” not “coons” on the 911 tape, citing “My daughter says 'goons' is a term
of endearment!”… and that he recognizes it was his dear friend wailing for help
on tape, not the soon to be dead kid.
By contrast, the only new info on George
Zimmerman himself, other than Oliver’s rambling speculations, seems to be his
new smiling picture.
What makes it most curious is that all the
concrete indicators, such as the 911 tapes, and certain of the ear-witnesses, among them Martin’s
girlfriend who was on the cellphone with Martin moments before the shooting
point to Zimmerman’s being the stalker and the perpetrator. Perhaps that is true, perhaps Zimmerman was in
a fight for his life. But this we know:
had he stayed in his car and stopped following Trayvon as ordered, there would
be no story. Conversely, there seems to
be no concrete indicators of Martin being the aggressor.
But we’ll probably never know key facts,
considering the ultra shoddy police work. Hey, I watch Forensic Files and CSI
franchise –I know it’s de rigueur for the investigation cops arriving
at the crime scene take photos, note bloody noses or bloody shirts, DNA on the
victim’s hands (to see if in fact he did punch George), etc. The cops on the
scene, responding to another of Zimmerman’s countless 911 calls, took note of
none of this – except for Zimmerman’s word.
Zimmerman’s account of being punched and pummeled lacks credibility for
these reasons, and the fact that it mysteriously has taken weeks of cable news
reportage and Limbaugh’s setting who’s on which side of this tragedy for this
rather astounding information to “leak”.
And perhaps weirdest of all, no effort was
made to reach Trayvon’s next of kin for at least three days. His father even
made a call to his cell phone, which of course went unanswered. They also
managed to do a drug test on the young man, but not on Barney Fife II. Was
George that well connected?
Late breaking news has a detective on the
scene calling for Zimmerman to be charged. A witness says her information was
ignored. The entire credibility of the Sanford Police Force was immediately in
question. Were they hamstrung by the Jeb Bush law or was it the good ole boys
at work? After the news broke – and all
hell, nearly a month after the shooting, the Police Chief stepped down and a
special prosecutor was hired. But the police leaks continue, and so do the
protests, and right wingers drawing lines in the sand.
As now portrayed, and the reason for turning
Trayvon into the next Tupac, it is indeed a classic case for the “Stand Your Ground”
law: Poor Zimmerman is confronted by a black gangsta punk (not an All American
black kid as initially, and inconveniently, portrayed), and, fearing for his
life, blows him away as if in an NRA wet dream.
So as the story has progressed, like much of
just about anything in the news these days, we are no longer merely talking
about a tragic incident in an obscure suburb of Orlando. Rather, it has become a significant,
all-encompassing tipping point in our national discourse. There are more than
just a paranoid shooter, a dead teenager, bereaved parents, angry blacks and
George Zimmerman’s fateful decision to ignore
the dispatcher’s admonition to stand down have the Sanford police dispatcher
and pursue the “fucking coon” may yet turn out to be one of the most
significant moments in this election cycle, and, in turn, in the nation’s
history. Hyperbole? Well, maybe for people not paying attention till now.
Trayvon Martin has punched something bigger
than George Zimmerman’s nose. An actual punch, not lawyer spin. It’s not even
my spin. It’s real and it’s palpable.
What started out to be a human tragedy just
about everybody, including Malkin, Limbaugh, Geraldo, Fox, Friends and even
assorted Republican presidential candidates could sympathize with, somebody saw
an opening – Frank Luntz, Karl Rove, David Koch -- who knows?
And a huge reason for concern. They HAD to
get out in front of this, Grover Norquist-style – drown it in the bathtub! Too
many people, from Obama on down, were being compassionate and caring and
sympathetic about this situation. See, compassion,
care and sympathy are all anathemas to the right wing. And Americans coming together, united –
around the wrong thing of course (9/11 was OK) – that’s really dangerous. It screws
up the whole divide and conquer strategy.
Such stuff causes people to vote Democratic,
and do things like rethink gun laws, pervasive racism – everything! It all goes
back to the master plan. Must preserve the master plan! And that goes back to a long string of
legislation, particularly about gun rights, and self-defense rights.
Everybody on the right rallied to the cause
– of defending George Zimmerman.
There’s Fox, Friends and Geraldo to the
rescue: it was the hoodie! And “look,
the Obama campaign is selling hoodies!
Why are they politicizing this, bringing race into this, dividing
people?” As they divide people. And, of course, the ever reliable Limbaugh:
“(Zimmerman) was being a little overzealous!” And then there’s Andrew
Breitbart’s heir apparent, self hating, anchor baby Michelle Malkin, posting
online a more pleasant, happy photo of Mr. Zimmerman, rather than the dour one
we are used to. But next to that
picture, by contrast and in order to advance the agenda, was supposedly a photo
of Trayvon Martin from his Facebook page, with lowered pants and hiked up boxer
shorts, gangster-style, giving the finger. Death penalty for him!
Of course, turns out, in true to the
Breitbart tradition, it was NOT a real picture of Martin, and, with or without
shame, was soon taken down.
But of course all of this is simply a
diversion for the real story, the big picture, The Master Plan.
Going back to 2005, about the time George
Zimmerman was punching cops and taking anger management courses, the “Stand
Your Ground” law was almost wholly written by the American Legislative Exchange
Council, (ALEC), a shady group cynically fueled by the Koch Brothers, major
corporations and such advocacy groups as the NRA. Fearful there weren’t enough
guns and shooting situations available, the NRA got their puppets in the
Florida legislature to pass “Stand Your Ground” and Jeb Bush to sign it.
Apparently to make sure he signed it properly, there was an NRA lobbyist Marion
Hammer standing over the governor’s shoulder as he did so.
Since then, dozens of Floridians have been
shot and some killed by individuals citing the “Stand Your Ground” law – i.e.,
if I feel threatened in public (not just in my house or car), I can take out my
trusty piece and “defend” myself. And
since then, dozens of other states have eagerly passed the same loophole ridden
law. In one case, Democratic Pennsylvania
governor Ed Rendell vetoed it. But his Republican successor, Tom Corbett,
Elections have consequences.
Yes elections, those goddamn elections. Also
part of the Plan. And that is where the Citizens United comes in, perhaps the most
despicable and infamous 5-4 decision since Bobby Thomson’s homer beat the
Dodgers. Citizens United of course enables unlimited bucks to be poured into
elections by corporations, anonymously. Why? Because the corporations love
capitalism but hate actual democracy. Of course they want to elect Republican puppets
to local, state and national office, in order to effect (and write, thanks to
ALEC) laws that affect – or more specifically, don’t – affect them, get rid of
the pesky Democratic Party supporting unions, lower taxes for gizillionaires,
reduce government regulations that interfere with gizillionaires befouling the
air, running crappy coal mines or Gulf drilling rigs, more privatization of
services such as mail delivery, cops, prisons. Prisons, where scary punks of
color like Trayvon can be warehoused, as a service to states and funded by
taxes other people pay.
And so that brings us to the 99%’rs, the
“Occupiers”, who are wise to and fed up with the direction we are being taken
by the Koch Brothers, Karl Rove, the Supreme Court, the NRA, Exxon and the
other usual suspects. This is precisely what “Occupy” was bitching about, with
a lot more to bitch about every day, in fact, the many, many things represented
by the Trayvon case: ignorant or incompetent or corrupt authority, racism,
guns, corporate written laws.
It’s all there, and that is why the right
wing is desperate to manage the message.
Like pulling the thread on a cheap Chinese
made suit sold at Kohl’s, the consequences can be enormous. If the Trayvon Martin case makes people think
about “Stand Your Ground”, and how idiotic stalker Zimmerman is trying to hide
behind it, and how absurd it is to have a wild west atmosphere with guns guns
guns everywhere. And how crappy this and
other crazy draconian laws are (vaginal probes, union busting, voter
suppression, etc). This is a big deal, and
could easily get out of hand, what with Al Sharpton and everybody else talking
it up. And getting bigger.
The story has to be reframed - stat! Make Trayvon the perp, that’s
And, as always, as an added bonus – there’s
political hay to be made! Obama mourns black kids not white ones (well except
for Christina Taylor Green, the 9-year-old killed during the Gabbie Giffords
And so it has gone. Will it work? Not if
people in the 99% start to finally pay
attention. With this case, they just might. If folks see the bigger picture of
what this incident represents, then, the teenager in Sanford with so much
potential will not have died in vain.
Trayvon Martin may have punched us all in
the nose. Hopefully, if not before, it will get our attention now.