I was listening to a local radio show the other morning where one of the topics in their news segment was Zimmerman/Martin. Drew & Mike were pondering why this case was a polarizing political topic. Thoughout the segment their inbox got bombarded by local listeners who made it clear that many people here in the WRIF demographic in Detroit think that Zimmerman was well within his rights to everything he did that night and furthermore, Martin somehow got what he had coming.
Drew and Mike, not exactly champions of liberal thinking, were baffled.
It is polarized though, because it is true that a great many people in the U.S. believe that Zimmerman had the right somehow to follow someone in public, and while armed, create for himself a situation where he felt entitled to shoot another person. How does this work?
The simple fact at the end of the day is that all evidence according to any living people point to the fact that if Zimmerman had never shown up that night Martin would have walked home from the store with some candy and been with his parents watching a ball game. Zimmerman didn’t stop a crime in progress, didn’t stop a crime before it happened, he only stopped some kid from walking home. Thats it. Yet here we are with an incredible wave of support from the right for George Zimmerman, frankly because he’s the one with the gun.
Nevermind that the Stand Your Ground law doesn’t apply in this case according to the prime sponsor of the legislation Dennis Baxley and the Governor who signed it into law, Jeb Bush. When asked by Neal Conan of NPR Interview why the law does not apply here Baxley said this, “Well, simply because if you carefully read the statute, which most of the critics have not, and read the legislative analysis, there’s nothing in this statute that authorizes you to pursue or confront other people.” Furthermore Baxley also said, “The Senate sponsor, Senator Peaden, former senator, he said it doesn’t apply. From my review, I certainly – it certainly wasn’t the intent of any of us to protect anyone who was pursuing and confronting other people.”
Ask yourself this, if the person walking home in the dark had been the one with the gun and had a licence to carry it, and George had been the one shot dead would the conservative right be on Martins side? You bet. All Martin would have to say would be something like “he came up on me in the dark and I was scared. I was standing my ground.” Every pro-gun, pro-carry supporter in the nation would be sending money to the Travon Martin defence fund.
We have a gun violence problem in America, and its not just criminals who are guilty of propelling the problem. The problem owned jointly by anyone who thinks they have the right to shoot another person, an attitude that in itself is rather unique in our society. Look at any other country in our category and what do you see? Even criminals by and large refuse to use a firearm in the commission of a crime. It’s beneath people to shoot each other in those countries.
Pro-gun supporters are correct that it’s not the gun that kills it’s the person using it. So stocking up the entire country with guns shouldn’t make gun violence rise at all with that logic. And that’s what we’ve done, according to the Graduate Institute of International Studies the U.S. citizens own 270 million of the worlds 875 small arms. Thats 90 guns for every 100 people in the U.S. Another piece of conservative logic is that more guns equates to less crime. That one is dead wrong. If that were the case the U.S. would have no crime to speak of would it? We’re the most heavily armed country in the world bar none. Gun violence doesn’t come from crime, it comes from the belief that we have the right to shoot people if one can only justify it. That is what the folks on the right are constantly trying to prove. That’s why George Zimmerman has become the latest hero on the right, the poster boy for justifiable homicide. George Zimmerman was the one with the gun. He has to be made to look like the victim here or it won’t work. But that’s impossible isn’t it? Martin was doing nothing wrong. But even innocent bystanders cut down by a stray are considered collateral damage by the right, the price we have to pay in order not just to keep and bear arms, but to use them on each other on a regular and steady basis.
George Zimmerman will go to jail and he should. But I can’t help but think that maybe on some level, buried deep within his lack of common sense and mixed up with the belief that he has the right and authority to shoot his fellow citizens, he is a victim. He’s a victim of conservative thinking. And so is Travon Martin.