[my goal is] the creation of a society
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
It was the last night before sorrow
touched her life, and no life is ever
quite the same again when once that cold,
sanctifying touch has been laid upon it
--Anne of Green Gables,
L. M. Mongomery
Ranger Question of the Day;
My bank has been robbed a few times and
has a sign on the door:
"No hoodies allowed in the lobby"
--Is my bank racist?
[NOTE: The zombie white faces and Anglo features in the "No Hoodie" bank sign. Just 'cause most of the robbers were black, we didn't notice that, you see? So, no racism, right?]
Subtitle: Florida -- the Death Knell State.
The death of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old killed by a community watchman, has been called a martyrdom and an assassination by his bereaved mother.
If so, consistency requires that we also call the targeted killing of the U.S citizen and 16-year-old son of Anwar al-Awlaki also an assassination and a martyrdom. With martyrdom comes the need for a cause, so what shall we call it -- the death of innocence?
Why is the younger Awlaki's death cheered, while Trayvon's is decried? Are we less discomfited when the kill is called by our president on an erstwhile innocent than by a civilian? If this is truly a racial issue (as so many arguing), then is it simply that a black man can kill a brown man, whereas a brown man may not kill a black man today? Do we only turn the other way when African Americans kill their own (as they do in 91% of gun murders in the U.S.)?
Is it that we just presume that it is a righteous kill, or that we simply don't care -- we don't want to get up in their business? And could that be because we know how entirely and hopelessly estranged we are from a culture that lives under the rubric, "U.S.A."?
But let us forget the dark-skinned little man called al-Awlaki's son, as dark-skinned deaths in the Phony War on Terror are oh-so forgettable; just another brick in the wall. Let's bring it closer to home, back to Florida and assassinations and all the stuff that is beyond the limits of civilized behavior, to another story of young black men involved in murder which you will not hear much about, though it is in the same edition of the paper that fronts Trayvon's saga.
But this story runs several pages back, and under the fold. It is the story of two British tourists murdered in cold blood by a 16-year-old black youth less than three hours Southwest of Trayvon's story. The murderer, Shawn Tyson, called his victims -- James Kouzaris and James Cooper -- "crackers" as they begged for their lives before he shot them to death last April. Tyson was just convicted of two life sentences.
One of the witnesses testified that Tyson told her the day after the killings that he said to the victims, "Well since you ain't got no money I got something for your ass." Calling someone one a cracker when you single them out for death because of their skin color would seem to be a hate crime, but no such charges were filed.
The AP reported, "Authorities say it was initially difficult to get people in this case to reveal details about the shootings (as) many of the witnesses were friends of Tyson's" -- how's that for civic responsibility? Nobody "saw or heard nothin'," a familiar refrain. (If you've ever dealt with the criminal justice system, you know every con was framed; no one really did anything. A culture of responsibility it is not.)
Tyson had been improperly released to his mother's custody from juvenile detention via administrative error the day before the killings for shooting into a car with an illegal firearm the week before. The silence continued when "savage" Tyson was observed tracking his intended cracker victims, enabling the two murders. While the witnesses were complicit in their silence, maybe in their neighborhood that is what is called "neighborhood watch."
Friends of the victims expressed their disappointment with the lack of parity in President Obama's non-response to their plight:
Davies said:"We would like to publicly express our dissatisfaction at the lack of any public or private message of support or condolence from any American governing body or indeed, President Obama himself.
"Mr Kouzaris has written to President Obama on three separate occasions and is yet to even receive the courtesy of a reply.
"It would perhaps appear that Mr Obama sees no political value in facilitating such a request or that the lives of two British tourists are not worthy of ten minutes of his time" (Parents of Murdered British Students Criticise Barack Obama.)
The same scenario was played out in 1993 at a rest stop in Monticello, about 30 miles from Tallahassee: four black youths executed another British tourist, wounding his companion; five days before that, a German tourist was murdered in Miami. After these events, the British and German tourist authorities issued travel advisories to their citizens heading to sunny Florida (the Governer Chiles also wisely suspended the "One Florida, Many Faces" tourist campaign.)
When one of the assailants, John Crumitie, was sentenced to first degree murder two years later, his mother blamed the change of venue -- and REDNECKS -- for the decision:
"It's horrible. It's horrible," said Crumitie's mother, Susie Mae Johnson, blaming the conviction on a change of venue to Pensacola. "The town ain't nothing but a damn redneck town, and Monticello is just the damn same."
Seems like everything boils down to blacks and crackers.
Alas, there is no outrage in our communities for these murders. Everyone knows you don't roll down your window for a group of young black men . . . and they were foreigners, anyway.
Maybe it was that the victims were not wearing hoodies.