Sunday, March 25, 2012

Trayvon Martin

Charlie Pierce has some memorable commentary on the Trayvon Martin murder, such as Trayvon Martin and the End of Excuses Esquire Politics Blog 03/23/2012:

I am sick to death of people who celebrate "the family" making excuses about why other people's children are expendable. I am sick to death of politicians who are more concerned about protecting zygotes than about the teenagers on whom they seek to balance their budgets and advance their careers. (Barney Frank's line about conservatives's believing that life "begins at conception and ends at birth" was not entirely a joke, although it's always been treated as one.) I am sick to death of opportunistic yahoos who can look at this country's unhealthy attachment to firearms and declare that the actions of George Zimmerman, while unfortunate, were pretty much what the Founders had in mind. I am sick to death of the steady drip-drip-drip of all the topical anesthetics we mix up whenever something like this happens. Had Emmett Till been killed in 2012, there'd be at least three people sitting in the CNN Green Room right now — and probably 15 of them sitting offstage at Fox — waiting to explain how unfortunate it was that the lad so transgressed against local custom that circumstances dictated that he be beaten to a pulp and tossed into the river tied to a cotton-gin fan. I am sick to death about how we can argue about anything simply to argue about it, and then move along to the next argument, as though anything at all has been settled.

Earlier he commented on the Martin murder in connection with the Kandahar massacre, Two American Killings and a Creeping Paranoia 03/19/2012. He comments on the deeply flawed media coverage:

You can see the enveloping ambiguity in both cases begin to soften the edges of the actual events, so as to make them easier to live with. There's a creeping paranoia at the roots of both events. For [accused Kandahar massacre perpetrator Robert] Bales, it was another trip into a war zone where the lines between friend and foe were utterly blurred, and the search for someone to blame. For Zimmerman, it was the fear of crime that seems to have seeped into that neighborhood like foul water up from the earth, its source the very real economic dislocation abroad in the land, and the search for someone to blame. Someone who "seemed" to the professionally paranoid to be on drugs. Someone who "seemed" to the professionally paranoid to be "looking at" people's houses. Bales and Zimmerman are already halfway to being, if not victims, then people just like the rest of us who simply "snapped" due to circumstances we can all understand, if not excuse. There, but for the grace of god, and all that.

We see the steady construction of an architecture of anesthetic nuance, the comforting embrace of anodyne cliche. It deadens us to the fact that we are a people too violent with each other, too ready to reach for the gun, and all too prepared to go out hunting for the Other who steals our dreams and our futures and our barbecue grills. We tolerate the monsters within ourselves, and the actions of the monsters those monsters provoke, and then we tell ourselves fairy tales to make them go away. [my emphasis]
It's important to be clear in the Martin case that conservative commentators are defending the lynch-murder. Although, as Digby puts it in Desperate for a rationale Hullabaloo 03/24/20112, they are finding it a bit of a challenge:

Clearly, this case has the right wing discombobulated. They desperately want to defend the shooter. He's one of them. But they just can't get a handle on how to do it. You've got a dead, unarmed 17 year old kid and a shooter on tape looking for trouble. The only defense they can come up with is that the 250 lb armed man was so frightened by the 140 lb teenager that he had to shoot him. I'm going to guess that for many of these right wing gun nuts, the kid being dark would be an exigent circumstance that explains it. It's all they've got.
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