Did Trayvon "Have It Coming"?
Trayvon Martin had it coming.
We read those words to that effect from an article linked to by a libertarian website we visit very regularly.
“In Zimmerman’s case, Martin was an athletic six-foot-two-inch tall football player that had him on his back pounding on him. Martin got what he deserved.”
So wrote Paul Huebl, a former Chicago cop and proud member of the Screen Actors Guild.
We’ve tried to avoid having to write anything publicly about the shooting of Trayvon Martin. It’s too obvious a move for the black anarcho-libertarian to spout off on the matter. But we feel we must let our thoughts be known…
You see, dear patron, we spent a few years of our adolescence in the Central Florida town just south of where Trayvon was killed. We have some experience with being black in that corner of the world.
Further, the public voices who dwell close to our philosophical sphere seem to be saying some questionable things in their rush to defend gun ownership and denounce sleazy race-baiters like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.
Like Thomas Sowell, the black conservative and intellectual who agreed with Geraldo Rivera’s advice to black and Hispanic youth to not dress to look so threatening.
First a few things about that part of Florida…
Like Caesar’s Gaul, Florida is divided into three parts…
South Florida as centered around the Miami-Dade metro area is essentially a continental Latin and Caribbean colony.
Central Florida is dominated of course by Orlando. It’s bloodless and its claim to fame is a tourist trap ruled over by a mouse created by a Nazi-sympathizer.
People often say that Florida isn’t really “The South”. And they’re right. But North Florida isn’t really part of Florida as much as it is the southernmost region of Georgia.
Once you head north of Orlando, the descendants of Castro-generated refugees and Jewish retirees become a distant spectacle. Much more immediate are the Confederate flags, monster trucks and occasional white supremacist tattoo.
Geneva, Florida, is just a few miles north of Orlando and a few miles east of Sanford, Florida, where George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin to death.
Through a series of crises and accidents your editor came to spend his early teen years as a resident of Geneva. The town is home to just a couple thousand souls or so. The downtown has a section full of older homes, a section of newer tract homes (where your editor lived), three churches, an elementary school, a couple of gas stations, one post office, one feed store and one stoplight.
The rest of the place is a smattering of multi-acre properties, dirt roads and swamp.
While Sanford lies directly east, Oviedo, FL, is just south and to the west. Oviedo is a very nice, suburb of Orlando. It made at least one “100 Best to Live in the U.S.” list one year. The road from Oviedo becomes Geneva’s First Street. There is a specific moment as you travel along that road that you sense you’ve crossed some ethereal veil. It happens within a second or two of leaving the “Welcome to Oviedo” sign behind.
The new, colorful subdivisions stop abruptly. Wide open pastures take their place. Tiny herds of cattle and the occasional horse or two alternate with lone houses in big fields as you drive along.
You notice more pickup trucks, quite a few of them on giant tires. The few other cars you see on the two-lane road move more aggressively.
Twenty years ago when your editor’s mother bought one of those newer tract homes, one of the neighbors painted “NO NIGER” in huge red letters on our mother’s garage door. We assume the vandal meant “NO NIGGER”, but we also assume it was also dark when he wrote it and he lost track of how many g’s he’d already written.
A few months later someone left a pathetic attempt at a chemical bomb on the front porch of our family’s house. Our mother called the sheriff. The deputies told her that had the bomb worked, it might have killed her.
That was all over twenty years ago. But just a few years ago the son of the other black Caribbean family in town was carrying his own young son on his shoulders when he was run over by one of our neighbors.
The brother and his son survived with only minimal injury. The neighbor went to jail for a long time. The attack was racially motivated.
Back in January, 2010 we were visiting the old homestead, we were hit by a speeding truck as we walked along the road just beyond our mother’s house. The hit was surely accidental. It was the response of everyone involved that made us mad. And reminded us what the life of a black man is worth in that town.
The driver stopped, ran over to our prone form and asked us angrily what we were doing “in the middle of the road” as we lay moaning on the lawn where we’d landed. The owner of the home also seemed mad that we had landed on his lawn and had created trouble for the driver. Once we recovered our senses and realized that we were neither dead nor crippled, a fight very nearly ensued.
To heap even more insult to our relatively minor injuries, the emergency crew who came out (at our mother’s insistence, not our own) seemed annoyed at us, too.
We never lived in neighboring Sanford itself. But we spent an awful lot of time there. On the way to the city itself from Geneva, there is a little “Chocolate Village” called appropriately enough Midway. A poor black neighborhood in the middle of nowhere. Out of the 1700 or so people who live there 1600 are black while only a few dozen are white.
Sanford itself is a much bigger town with over 50,000 residents. Over half of those are white and a little less than a third black. The black population is largely concentrated in the Goldsborough neighborhood.
Sanford’s neck isn’t quite as red as Geneva’s, but there is still that uniquely Southern flavor of black-white tension on the air. Your editor can taste it every time he lands at Orlando International Airport. It increases the farther north you go from the airport and from Orlando. You could choke on it in Geneva. It’s not as bad in Sanford, but it’s still there.
Here’s an anecdote not from personal experience, but culled from the Wikipedia page on Sanford:
“On October 23, 1945, the Brooklyn Dodgers announced that they had signed Jackie Robinson assigning him to their International League team, the Montreal Royals.
“Branch Rickey, Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager believing he ‘knew’ Florida, thought his team could train there ruffling as few feathers as possible. Robinson and his wife were instructed by Rickey not to try to stay at any Sanford hotels. He and his wife didn’t eat out at any restaurants not deemed ‘Negro restaurants.’ He didn’t even dress in the same locker room as his teammates.
“As soon as the citizenry became aware of Robinson’s presence, the mayor of Sanford was confronted by a ‘large group of white residents’ who ‘demanded that Robinson…be run out of town.’
“On March 5th, 1946, the Royals were informed that they would not be permitted to take the field as an integrated group. Rickey was concerned for Robinson’s life and sent him to stay in Daytona Beach. His daughter, Sharon Robinson, remembered being told, ‘The Robinsons were run out of Sanford, Florida, with threats of violence.’”
“In his 1993 book, ‘A Hard Road to Glory: A History Of The African American Athlete: Baseball’ tennis great Arthur Ashe wrote in response, Rickey ‘moved the entire Dodger pre-season camp from Sanford, Florida, to Daytona Beach due to the oppressive conditions of Sanford.’”
We share these anecdotes so you understand our bias. And not so much to explain Zimmerman’s actions — he was an overzealous cop wannabe whose stereotyping got him in over his head — but to explain the police response.
Black life doesn’t hold so much value in the region Trayvon was killed. And we sadly report that it often doesn’t have much value in the eyes of people with whom we tend to agree on other things like liberty and the right to bear arms.
It saddens us to be on the side of the national healthcare types on this one. (But again, we’re neither conservative nor liberal in any modern sense, but in love with liberty and the markets they foster.) Even if Trayvon got violent with Zimmerman…even if Zimmerman was getting the worst of it in a scuffle…he was the aggressor. He gave Trayvon reason to feel the need to defend himself. Zimmerman was the one “acting suspiciously.”
(Zimmerman also strikes us the type who admired authoritarian power and made up for his inadequacies by carrying a gun. But we don’t know the man personally and could be wrong. His idea of self-defense, however, seems in line with U.S. foreign policy: antagonize and escalate after the violent response.)
Lest you get us wrong, we believe in the right to bear arms to be as essential as the right to own property and to do as you will with your own body. We also believe in the absolute right to self defense and to stop violence toward your person and property with force.
But that doesn’t mean you get to create the situation in which you have to defend yourself.
Zimmerman is not white. Not really. But he stands in for all the white “conservatives” out there whose love of freedom extends only as far their right to bear arms. It doesn’t cover the non-white elements in “their” country, nor the Ay-rab countries their “conservative” political actors attack.
So no, Zimmerman isn’t white. But he has become the avatar for a large swath of the population who will never under any circumstances be sorry to see the Second Amendment used to lay waste to a young black man who probably had it coming.
Had Trayvon or any other black man behaved as Zimmerman had toward a white person…if a white man had been beating on then been shot by a black man who had been shadowing him…That is to say, if the races of the actors had been reversed (again counting the “white Hispanic” Zimmerman as a stand in for the white Second Amendment lovers who fantasize about some black punk giving them an excuse), then the gun rights crowd would be singing the opposite tune.
They would have decried the black man for stalking the white man in the first place. They would have cheered the white man for pummeling his black stalker. They would have called for justice for the fallen white man and for the imprisonment and even death of the black shooter.
As it is many liberty and guns types see a smoking gun and big, dead, black kid and honestly don’t see a problem. They can’t believe the rush to judgment. Granted, the media is making the usual circus of this…And those charlatans Sharpton and Jackson are all over this like flies on a corpse…
And maybe therein lies the problem. Being black has become so politicized. The state is so involved in being black that blacks can’t help but live politicized lives. And have the occasional politicized death.
Economic integration — being useful in the marketplace — was resulting in social integration before WWI. Then along came the state with its wedge in the form of Jim Crow laws. So after the state prevented the natural integration of white and black, it took it upon itself to force integration at a later date. To make it a violent political matter when markets had been doing it peaceably.
After making integration as violent as possible, the state further amplified the divide between blacks and whites. It’s the state that cripples blacks with the crack cocaine of welfare. It corrals the visible mass of them in public housing and rewards them for creating one-parent homes. It traps their children in bottom-of-the-barrel public schools where they learn nothing.
After public education destroys their minds and welfare destroys their work ethic, the state creates quotas to get unqualified blacks into the job market. This only increases resentment from whites. Meanwhile blacks are kept from any meager but honest employment by means of minimum wage laws.
These laws strongly discourage employers from hiring anyone whose labor isn’t worth at least the minimum the government sets. If an employer MUST pay at least $7.25 per hour and a young black man’s skills are only worth, say, $5.00 per hour (because he is a product of public schooling, public housing and welfare), then that young black man will simply not be hired. That young black man will be further driven away from becoming a contributing member in the markets and therefore civil society.
Also the state persecutes blacks mercilessly when they engage in the most attractive trade available to the majority who won’t make it in music or sport, a trade that exists because of unreasonable prohibitions on human choice.
So the state does everything to shape dependent and resentful adults. Then the state’s wage controls keep young black people out of the labor market. Then it punishes them harshly for engaging in the black markets it creates with its senseless prohibition, often setting them on a lifelong cycle of incarceration.
The state has helped craft members of the black race into objects of hate. Parasites in weird dress, speaking in alien tongues. Their natural habitat is surely the prison, where more today reside than were enslaved in the early 19th century.
By “helping” blacks, the state turns them into subhuman caricatures. By making them its wards, the state creates a concentration of hopeless, dangerous, ignorant poverty with its own subculture and dialect. The state creates a population that the white majority views with unease at best and hatred at the worst.
So black men will always “have it coming” in the eyes of many in the liberty and guns crowd (to which your dark-skinned editor belongs). As long as so many black lives are shaped by the state’s inherently destructive assistance black men will always be deserving of suspicion in the eyes of those who have no biological urge to view them as extended members of the human family.
It’s natural enough for humans to identify along lines of kinship. Ethnicity is just extended family after all. And it’s unreasonable to expect people not to favor family. But the market provides a civilizing effect by rewarding cooperation, providing mutual gain and creating tolerance for those who aren’t related to us and don’t share our exact tastes. We manage to get along with each other in the market place where we interact and are rewarded for serving each other well.
Politics will have none of this. It thrives by amplifying divisions, creating social friction within and war without. Where markets demand peace and cooperation, politics demands conflict, otherness and hatred of it.
“Look at him!” the whites with guns cry about slain Trayvon. “He looks like a thug!” Tall, athletic, wearing that black dress code. Gold teeth. He was already dealing with that plant the government doesn’t like, according to the reports.
Nowhere in all this do those who are satisfied with Trayvon’s death say what Trayvon was actually doing to warrant Zimmerman’s attentions. Besides walking at night while black.
They will often ask what Trayvon Martin was even doing in a gated community. They sniff out the marijuana possession and the more recent Facebook photos. But they seem to have keep missing the part of the story that explained that Trayvon was on his way back to his father’s house in that gated community. They mock as biased the sympathetic note in the media’s voice, then cherry pick the parts of the story that suits their practiced narrative.
Trayvon was walking back home. But he had the misfortune of looking like the state-fostered cartoon that stirs the base, clannish reaction within whites.
“Hell, if I’d seen him there,” the white ones who tend to have the guns say, “I’d have wanted to confront him, too. And I wouldn’t have lost a wink of sleep over shooting him.”
Perhaps the only acceptable behavior from black men is to avoid areas where they’d make whites nervous, especially at night. Should they be confronted by a non-white, the only correct response is apologetic submission.
Maybe it’s not enough that black men not wear hoodies. Perhaps the good ones ought to wear iron collars to let non-whites know they are not looking for trouble, are not dangerous and can be trusted.