A nation mourns its youth, gone away, gone astray, dying by the bullet. And painted in stereotypical black, we have another stereotypical tragedy that cannot be anything but grist for a cycle of protest, outrage, sadness, disappointment and resentment. It quiets down until another bullet gives another HBO writer of 'The Wire' another million dollars. Because that's reality.
One day, America will let its black families mourn their loss in peace. Until that day, scribble another name in grafitti sharpie - the name of the innocent: Trayvon Martin.
What is forgotten at this moment in time is the politics behind all sorts of pseudo-para-police forces that have always been a flawed concept, but last time around had another group of politically misled people jumping up and down with anticipation. I'm talking about Philadelphia and I'm talking about Sylvester Johnson. What I said:
This is evidence that in Philly (which from my experience, fits the profile) that social segregation is alive and well. I use the term 'social segregation' lightly because I'm fleshing it out. It's basically that the idea of separatism is alive. People *expect* that there is something fundamentally different about black crime, and therefore that there must be some kind of separate solution to it. People then accept that there is fundamentally something different about how black suspects and criminals must be treated and how black families must be organized etc. This is a regional / social / cultural /political thing that's working its way back to Jim Crow. The idea of equality is being undermined from both sides of the law.
Something like 'support your local police' just doesn't work with the black community in Philly. Instead some bizarre hybrid of protest politics and God knows what else is informing this situation.
I agree that black residents of Philadelphia should expect and deserve equal protection from police. But that also means they should give equal respect for and collaboration with police. I hope this idea never gets off the ground. It's nothing more or less than a call for an ethnic militia, the root of all unrest in the modern world.
I expect that in the ebb and flow, that black politics is angling more towards an anti-militia sentiment, and perhaps especially an anti-ethnic militia sentiment now that The Man is of African descent. But surely that sentiment is not necessarily logical because this time around it's correct. After all, if that were the case, we would expect to hear a great deal more calling for the head of the President over 16 dead civilians in Afghanistan... but I second-guess people I don't even listen to.
The answer is for all peasants to support their local police, always. Because this is precisely what happens when knucklehead peasants attempt to take the law (that they don't really understand) into their own cotton-picking hands.
Obviously George Zimmerman, the shooter, needs to be arrested, tried and convicted. Obviously he will get the benefit of some over-zealous public defender and the slack in the criminal justice system. But I think he should get 2nd Degree Murder conviction, and 20 years. But adding the circumstances of impersonating an officer and acting under the color of authority, I could see the combination get him 40 years, although if I were the family, I'd like to have him pilloried and stoned.
But Zimmerman will not be stoned because we seem to have lost our perspective of what good people deserve and what bad people deserve. Something is inverted when you get umpty million saying 'I should never have to go broke because I don't have health insurance' but not 'Death to Zimmerman'.
So I ask the question I've been meaning to write about but haven't gotten around to: Who is your Leviathan?
Or in political terms, are you safer today than you were four years ago?