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Forum Post: Trayvon WAS a tragedy - will we stop the NRA & ALEC in time to stop the next tragedy?

Posted 2 years ago on March 28, 2012, 3:22 p.m. EST by bensdad (8977)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Sarah van Gelder Published: Wednesday 28 March 2012 What can be done to stop needless violence like the killing of Trayvon Martin? Stand Your Ground to Stop the Violence For far too long, violence targeting young people of color has been tolerated, even condoned, in the United States. The killing of Trayvon Martin is part of a horrific history—one that can only be stopped if all of us, of all colors, take a stand. That means standing up to individual acts of violence, but also to systematic efforts to make our laws friendly to big corporations that profit from guns and violence.

Slavery was where it all started, of course. But Reconstruction, when former slaves were promised opportunities for education, full citizenship, and livelihoods, gave way quickly to a backlash that returned many former slaves to miserable conditions and forced labor. Michelle Alexander, in her book, The New Jim Crow, recounts how variably enforced laws—vagrancy, for instance—were used to lock up large numbers of African Americans for nothing more than walking while black. Convicts were often forced into labor not unlike that of slaves, leased out to plantations, railroads, lumber camps, and corporations.

African Americans who found fault with this system—or who committed such infractions as daring to succeed in business or failing to yield to a white person on a sidewalk—could find themselves dead, victims of domestic terrorist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan.

Fast forward to February 26, 2012, when Trayvon Martin, age 17, returning to his father’s fiancée’s home in Sanford, Fla., after buying a bag of candy and an iced tea, was followed by a neighborhood watch member, shot, and killed.

Although he admitted killing Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman has not been arrested. Under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, the use of deadly force is allowed if someone “reasonably believes” it is necessary to prevent harm or to avert a “forcible felony.”

NationofChange fights back with one simple but powerful weapon: the truth. Can you donate $5 to help us? What can we, the American people, do to put an end to this violence?

As a starting point, the man who killed Trayvon Martin must be arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We must send a strong signal to other would-be murderers that we don’t tolerate vigilante violence.

Article image The police and prosecutors who failed to pursue this case should be investigated, and, if it is found that they failed to enforce the law or conducted a cover-up, they should be dismissed and, if appropriate, prosecuted. The federal Department of Justice must maintain oversight and assure that justice is done.

Stand Your Ground laws across the nation must be overturned. These laws are vague and too easily interpreted as condoning violence by those who believe that the simple presence of a person of color in their neighborhood constitutes a threat. Allowing the use of deadly force because someone “reasonably believes” it is necessary to prevent harm is an open invitation to vigilantism. Indeed, self-defense killings have nearly tripled in Florida since the law took effect.

And we should challenge the role ALEC is playing in this ramping up of gun violence. Paul Krugman reports in his Sunday New York Times column that ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council) is pressing state legislatures across the country to adopt Stand Your Ground or similar laws that offer impunity to those who shoot first and ask questions later. Large corporations, including gun dealers like Walmart, and groups like the National Rifle Association, dominate ALEC.

The only silver lining to this tragic episode is that it has caused massive expressions of outrage and revulsion, calling attention to the dangerous discrimination that young men of color, like Trayvon, face every day.

Some are attempting to justify Trayvon’s killing by pointing to minor infractions and old stereotypes of scary black youth to portray the 17-year-old as dangerous. But teenagers from all communities have their squabbles with authority—it’s black teenagers, though, who are most often victims of violence. They're also the most often taken to the ground by police forces over-eager to arrest and charge youth of color, but, at least in this case, reluctant to do so when the victim is black. Imagine, if you will, the attitude if the racial profiles in this situation were reversed.

Student walkouts and street protests have erupted from Florida to Seattle, where thousands marched on Sunday, many wearing hoodies and carrying Skittles candy and cans of iced tea—the snacks Trayvon was carrying when he was shot. Churchgoers, pro basketball players, lawmakers, and others are wearing hoodies as signs of solidarity with Trayvon Martin. The Change.org petition by Trayvon Martin’s parents now has over 2 million signatures, making it the fastest growing petition in the site’s history.

The “soul searching” that President Obama called for last Friday is something everyone can do. But beyond that, we must insist that our law, and our law enforcement, treat every human being with respect and protect all of us. It may be small comfort to his family, but if, as a result of all this, young people of color can grow up without facing random violence from those who fear their very existence, then Trayvon Martin’s death won’t be in vain.

24 Comments

24 Comments


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[-] 1 points by Philpux (643) from Mountain View, AR 2 years ago

Campaign Finance Reform. Boom.

The Trayvon Martin case is not about gun control. It is about racism, vigilantism, and stupid laws passed by short sighted, ignorant politicians.

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 2 years ago

"It is about stupid laws passed by short sighted, ignorant politicians."
NOT EXACTLY
"It is about stupid laws passed by purchaseed politicians."

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[-] 1 points by Quark3 (54) 2 years ago

Zimmie's father is a judge. That explains everything.

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[-] 0 points by ironboltbruce (371) from Miami, FL 2 years ago

Q: Trayvon WAS a tragedy - will we stop the NRA & ALEC in time to stop the next tragedy?

A: NO.

Next Question?

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 2 years ago

Next question - CAN WE TRY ?

[-] 0 points by ironboltbruce (371) from Miami, FL 2 years ago

Lead the way, and good luck to you...

P.S. Keep in mind that Kevlar usually trumps Kumbaya. Not always, but usually.

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[-] -1 points by F350 (-259) 2 years ago

Yo Zendog,have you no job or is stirring up knee jerk Leftist activists with limited intelligence a well paying occupation?

[+] -4 points by VantagePoint250624 (-51) 2 years ago

"Slavery was where it all started, of course."

You types make me consider buying laws for open season, no limits, on idiots.

NOTHING, AND I MEAN NOTHING, done to black persons, of which many were sold to owners by their very own people, remotely compares to what white Christians did to native Americans.

In fact, black Americans were treated far better by comparison despite the fact that there are very few natives left to set them straight and tell them how it really was.

It's not like people went to Africa, on behalf of the USA, burned their villages and slaughtered men, women and children, wholesale and almost even for sport.

It's this very haughty type of slightly unrighteous indignation and refusal to acknowledge, much less respect, those who were here first and suffered far more than blacks ever did...... that is at the root of the racism stemming from theatrical prima donnas like you.

I don't like people like you and don't care what color your skin is.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20482) 2 years ago

I guess you're not aware of the millions of Africans that died along the way on route from the hinterland to the trading depots on the coast of Africa, or the hundreds of thousands that died on the ships sailing across the Atlantic, or the profound suffering of being separated from your loved ones and enslaved, owned by another human. Are you delirious? Of course, what happened to the Native Americans was horrific, but it takes nothing away from the horrors of slavery.

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[-] -3 points by VantagePoint250624 (-51) 2 years ago

Let's talk about what happened in America at the hands of Americans.....

[-] 0 points by beautifulworld (20482) 2 years ago

Huh? Slavery did happen in America at the hands of Americans.

[-] -1 points by VantagePoint250624 (-51) 2 years ago

Yeah, but I surely don't recall armies marching on massive slave encampments and indiscriminately slaughtering them all, men, women and children.

Did I overlook or forget all of those carnal blood-fests?

Now if Zen/Dee/Ben had said it all stems back to the hypocritical heathen Christians that mass slaughtered the natives of this land, and then were even arrogant enough to feel God wanted them to own other men as their personal slaves.........well I may not have taken exception to his actual ignorant and racist assertion, made only for theatrical purposes while truly playing the victim card harder than any of America's natives have every right to do, but, you seldom hear or see it being done.

Not that it matters one bit, but, my American lineage is traceable back to even before 1600.

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (20482) 2 years ago

No matter how you slice it, African Americans are still dealing with the legacy of slavery and the failure of Reconstruction. That takes nothing away from what the Native Americans went through. This isn't a competition! And, no one is saying that ultimately, Christianity didn't play a role in slavery, too.

[-] 0 points by Quark3 (54) 2 years ago

Christians played a BIG role in Slavery. It is their paradigm that outs them closest to god. They burned thousands of records in the name of god. The Spanish inquisition is a perfect example but there are hundreds more. Christians feel the need from their empty soul to convert whole nations into their image destroying culture, history & lives in the process. Christianity is a cancer. I know no one is saying they didn't play a role but I'm saying they Christians positively DID. They are hugely responsible for the us them mentality that our people suffer from today.

World Solidarity!

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (20482) 2 years ago

You might be interested in the writings of Bartolomé de las Casas. He was a Dominican friar who fought for the rights of native Americans and against slavery very early on in the 16th century.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bartolom%C3%A9_de_las_Casas

[-] 0 points by Quark3 (54) 2 years ago

Exception to the rule, does not prove the point at all. The current situation of the Native Americans both North & South and History easily proves how Christians are a Cancer to the world.

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (20482) 2 years ago

I wasn't proving any point. If anything, de las Casas does prove the point because he attacks the Church and Christianity for its bad behavior as early as the 16th century. He is a historical hero to many.

[-] 0 points by Quark3 (54) 2 years ago

He doesn't because his attack on the church was futile & meant nothing ultimately. The Christians won and the natives (many tribes & cities) lost everything. That is the final ultimate truth regardless of one man who was forced to returned to Spain because of his ideas. The TRUTH is in the NOW. Look around. How many thriving Native Societies do you see. None! I don't know why you can't see this? I give up...

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (20482) 2 years ago

Oh. I see. What happened to Trayvon and African Americans from the legacy of slavery is a mere trifle compared to what happened to native Americans. I see. I get the argument now. I don't agree with it, but I get it. Both groups were harmed greatly, no doubt about that. It's not a competition, though, and to make it so is quite sad.

[-] -1 points by VantagePoint250624 (-51) 2 years ago

Have you ever thought maybe it would have been a much better idea for Lincoln to have not insisted on war, allowed the South to peacefully secede and then let things work themselves out as technology advanced making it's way South?

You do know the number one motivation of that war was Lincolns dogged determination that the South would not skip out on what he deemed as their share of the United State's debt....... and that the debt of the Civil War has NEVER been paid.

Slavery was only an "also ran", nothing more and anyone who read the letter to Greeley knows this to be true.

That war's unpaid debt is indeed why old world money de facto OWN the United States and all it's "government", which is why you are seeing, from DC, what happens there everyday as standard operating procedure.

The elections process is nothing more than a deceptive pacifier as anyone unable to KNOW their elected servants serve ONLY their money masters, and not The People, are quite deluded and truly hanging onto the most insultingly outrageous, and patently unsupported, conspiracy theory.

Prove to me that anybody's vote has matter even one shit's worth or that there are not thousands of examples, continuing to accrue, of DC's government working only for money masters and not The People.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (20482) 2 years ago

First of all, I never cited the Civil War. Slavery would have ended on it's own in probably a few decades. Brazil was the last hold out ending slavery in 1888. It's earlier demise here, due to the North's victory, certainly was a good thing. Anyway, it is very libertarian of you to go back to war and view it in terms of dollars and sense. That is a convenient, neat way to look at war, but in reality war is much more complex.

[-] -1 points by VantagePoint250624 (-51) 2 years ago

You say that like it's a bad thing, the money surely paled in comparison to the senseless loss of lives.

However, you paint me any way you like, there is no escaping the fact that war was fought over nothing but the holy USD.

Have you ever been to war? Would you go if drafted or have you ever volunteered? I don't believe you have, nor do I believe you've ever taken another human's life or even ordered another to do so. Have you ever even killed a mammal?

If I'm wrong please explain to me all the vast complexities of actual war, I'd really like to learn your actual perspective and views of these complexities.

I certainly agree that slavery would have ended on it's own without the civil war ever being fought and I do maintain that the black people's own are every bit as much to blame for any problems still existing today as a result of their selling their own into slavery. It's quite a bit different than what was done to natives and if blacks wised up, they would acknowledge that anytime they decide they want to point their fingers at the evil white fuckers.

That would be hard for me to ever reconcile my own people selling me into a horrific life, while it's equally difficult for me to reconcile how many of the "pro, bigger, more powerful government" types are unable to see how they accept their own current de facto slavery and even that of their unborn.

It's reasonable for me to assume you cannot fathom how anyone would want much less government controlling and ruling their lives.

Meanwhile, 29 nations dump the USD today in a race to see if they can kill the dollar before Obama kills it, as he stated he would in November of last year.

There I go, back to money again. I must be something much different and less than you.

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[-] 0 points by CCNN (8) from Walla Walla, WA 2 years ago

Do you mean "hypothetical"?

[-] 0 points by VantagePoint250624 (-51) 2 years ago

I may have, calling them hypocrites sure does have a flavor of self-righteousness.