When I was twenty years old, while I was working on a student film, I was in a serious accident that nearly cost me the use of my right arm. Part of the upshot of this accident was that I had unintentionally trespassed on public property that was not well-marked as being off limits.
This was in the days before everyone had a cellphone. The friend I was with had luckily done EMT training and was able to do some preliminary care for me, get information like my blood type, etc, in case I passed out, before trying to flag down a car for help.
When the ambulance came, they were accompanied by a state trooper. The trooper was very kind to me, and assured me that he knew I hadn’t done anything wrong, and that he would testify to that end in court, but unfortunately, since I had technically committed a misdemeanor, I had to be arrested. He was as nice as humanly possible about it, and did the paperwork at the hospital, so that I didn’t have to go to the police station, but when I was twenty years old, I was arrested for accidentally trespassing on public property.
I think about this every single time I hear that George Zimmerman still has not been arrested for murdering a child.
You kill another person, you get arrested. If you’re innocent, or defending yourself, (neither of which I believe about Zimmerman) you prove that in court. That is what court is for. I went to court, I explained to the judge what had happened, the judge kind of laughed at me, asked how my arm was, made me promise not to sue the state, and dismissed the charges.
I unwittingly trespassed on public property, got severely injured, and was arrested.
The guy who sent a non-specific threatening email to the Sanford police chief, Bill Lee, has been arrested.
The guy who murdered an unarmed teenager has not been arrested.
This is hideously wrong.
I’ve been trying to figure out for a while now what to say about this. I’ve been saying a lot about it in person, but not a lot on the internet. Sometimes I don’t want to add more noise to drown out the signal, especially when I see white people co-opting the death of a young boy to further their own messages, and I don’t want to be part of that. I want to listen to what the people who are really being affected by this have to say. But I feel compelled to say something. In some ways I feel like waiting to say something until I could figure out what to say is problematic in itself, because we all need to speak out when horrors are committed. And I feel like a cad when horrible things are happening and I’m posting cute photos of myself going to movies.
Other people have spoken about this a bit, but I’m frustrated and angry when I see other white people pulling the “I am Trayvon Martin” thing, because it’s so dismissive of the real issue, which is that we’re not Trayvon Martin. None of us ever will be. We’re George Zimmerman. Even if we don’t go out and shoot kids for fun, when we allow the images in the media to perpetuate the idea that young black men are violent, when our own speech (I don’t want to talk about the conversation I had to have at lunch today) perpetuates an idea of black Americans as criminals, especially young black American men, we are accessories to murder. We are creating people like George Zimmerman. That’s on us. And it doesn’t matter if we have black friends, or black relatives, or black ancestors– that doesn’t absolve us. In fact, it’s worse when we do, and say nothing, because it’s our loved ones who are suffering and we’re not doing anything to ease that.
In the end, I think that’s why I keep thinking about the time I was arrested. Because I don’t have a right to compare myself to a kid whose life was in danger simply because he dared to buy some Skittles and go for a walk. I can compare myself to the man who took his life. The difference being that the only criminal act I’ve ever committed harmed no one but myself, and of the two of us, I’m the one who’s been arrested. I’m not trying to make this about me– It’s not. I’m using myself as an example because I know the details of the story, and I know what happened. I’m not angry that I was arrested. I get what I did wrong, and that that’s the way it’s supposed to go.I’m angry that apparently murdering a young boy isn’t as serious an offense as walking onto a bridge when the pedestrian walkway is closed, if the boy in question is black.
For those of you who thought this was a lone case of crazy, or who are trying to deal with people who claim that:
22 year old Rekia Boyd died on Thursday after being shot by an off-duty cop.
18 year old Ramarley Graham was murdered by a New York City cop in a “drug bust” (though they had no warrant to enter the home, and I’ve heard conflicting stories about whether there were any drugs present at all) just a couple of weeks before Trayvon Martin.
Love to all of you.
Mirrored from Antagonia.net.