When did Florida become Ulster or Pretoria 20 years ago?
When I say the name Trayvon Martin, does it mean anything to you?" Melissa Harris-Perry asked her MSNBC audience on Saturday. "If it doesn't, it should."
Harris-Perry then took some time to explain who Trayvon Martin is: a 17-year-old, unarmed black teenager who was allegedly shot and killed by a man in Florida in late February, after the man saw him walking down a street and thought he looked suspicious. The case has attracted substantial attention, in part because the man, George Zimmerman, has admitted to shooting Martin but has not been arrested or charged with any crime.
I enjoy listening to Melissa’s work and discussions with her guests. I’m not sure why she was denied promotion to full professor at Princeton – They have a quota on attractive women, Black, Liberal Political Scientists who get opinion gigs on MSNBC and PBS? They still have investments in slavery? Paul Krugman scares them – but their loss is Tulane’s, the nation’s, and MSNBC’s gain. I was steaming over the Trayvon Martin situation anyway, and her commentary pushed a lot of buttons.
Usually at this time of year, I’m writing something about the Irish, or Ireland or Catholicism. I’ve been following An Problacht, (The Republic) and watching Rugby on both BBC and The Rugby Channel. Caught a brief bit of Young Cassidy last night on the way out to a very non-Gaelic supper that did include roast beef and cabbage. I wore a dark green t-shirt, a tweed jacket and a plaid scarf. I looked something like Rod Taylor in the damn movie. I saw some wild pictures of Shane McGowan looking like a punch-drunk old man and heard a bit of the Rocky Road to Dublin. I’ve got a copy of Fox Crow on my kindle that seems to be set in a cross between the Land of the 7 Kingdoms and Donegal. I’ve been getting primed, but what the hell, what for?
If you’re not sure of the story, or missed it with the important stuff about Seamus the Irish Setter, transvaginal probes and March Madness, Trayvon Martin was a black kid with his dad visiting a relative in a nice, gated community in Florida. He was wandering around the neighborhood, and some neighborhood busy body named George Zimmerman decided that there was something wrong when a Black Teenager is walking around his neighborhood. He followed the kid, confronted him, hilarity ensued and this fine representative of white middle class values– Mr. Zimmermanis 28 years old and the “Neighborhood Watch – drew down on the kid and shot him. Zimmerman supposedly was “in fear of his life” which makes it ok in Florida to kill somebody. Irony does abound amidst tragedy.
Now, the kid was going to the 7-11. He was after a can of soda and a bag of skittles. Anyone is normally allowed the right of self-defense; the idea is appropriate self-defense, balance. Somebody cuts in front of you in a line at Walmart, you probably don’t get to use the excuse that you capped the motherfucker because he was an immediate threat. Zimmerman had been told by the police that they had dispatched a car, and to not pursue him. Zimmerman in fact ignored the order from the police, provoked the kid and killed him. Thuggish behavior of a white wannabe against a black teenager…maybe his pants were too low? He was wearing “gang colors”?
In 1842 a mob of clowns in Boston – Brookline, actually – burned an Ursuline Convent because there were Catholics there. Teaching Catholic stuff…the response of the Bishop of Boston was to call his fellows, the Jesuits, and have them start a high-school and college in Worcester, a joint called College of the Holy Cross. I was kind of surprised to read a piece on Huff Po that managed to list the top ten Irish schools and skipped us; we were diverse, of course. We had 27 black students, Irish Jocks, Italian Jocks, Polish Jocks, some Hispanics, two Greek kids and three Jews.
The Great Draft Riots of New York City made famous in The Gangs of New York were provoked by the idea that Irish immigrants were treated terribly and now were being drafted to free slaves while the Micks were being treated at least as badly by the Nativists. This has continued – I was told in a bit of openness by a professor that the reason I didn’t get into a prestigious graduate school was because the chairman had said that he already had enough Irish-Catholics. That was 40 or so years ago, and probably is not so obvious now, but it’s still there.
The Italians, the Poles, the Blacks, the Jews and the Hispanics are all facing the same thing. As generations become accepted, they then become more and more like the intolerant bastards that stood in their way. Hell, while I suspect Zimmerman might be Jewish given the name and ethnicity attached, he’s probably big in the local Tea Party and may even be getting toasted at the local VFW for showing that kid…
I am Kilrain of the 20th Maine and I damn all gentlemen
Whose only worth is their father's name and the sweat of a workin' man
Well we come from the farms and the city streets and a hundred foreign lands
And we spilled our blood in the battle's heat
Now we're all Americans
I am Kilrain of the 20th Maine and did I tell you friend I'm a fightin' man
And I'll not be back this way again, cause we're all goin' down to Dixieland
WHEN THE FUCK DID IT BECOME ALL RIGHT TO KILL CHILDREN BECAUSE THEY LOOK DIFFERENT? THEY”RE KIDS!! If A GAGGLE OF EMOS OR GOTHS HAD BEEN WANDERING DOWN THE STREET, WOULD HE HAVE FOLLOWED THEM?
Now, in Ulster, there was a tradition of the Protestants controlling the cops and having an auxillary, the B-Specials who were empowered to go into the Irish neighborhoods and “keep the Paddies in line.” Yeah – that worked fine until 1968 –then things changed in a mass explosion of violence, hatred, blood and atrocity, in the name of keeping the strangers down because they were dangerous.
For 150 years in South Africa, it was possible for a white settler to shoot a kaffir (black) or mixed race person. South Africa’s treatment of the Indians resulted in a fellow named Mohandmas Ghandi becoming radicalized.
There is no excuse for this idiot. There’s a prima facie case to indicate that there is at least a problem with civil rights abuses – no equal protection under the law. Any cop worth his badge should have run him in for any number of things up to and including murder. Certainly hard to prove equivalency of force to threat – however, if Zimmerman found himself driving through a Black neighborhood, would they be entitled to shoot him because he was suspicious?
This is what the bastards have wrought. We are back in Emmett Till territory. We’re back to the burning of convents/mosques and we’re less civilized and tolerant than Ulster or South Africa.
If Florida doesn’t act decisively to prevent this sort of crap, then in the dock of God’s justice, Zimmerman should be joined by Wayne LePierre and the Board of the NRA, Rick Scott, and the Tea Party. When Anne Coulter advocates less craziness, you know you have a problem.
Well, when political leaders with a rock solid 30% of the country behind them and the rest of us staring in disbelief, well, strange and sad things happen. No terrible beauty born, just the center not holding…by the way, if Barrack Obama is a Muslim, going to the Dublin City Pub, hoisting a Guinness and singing Danny Boy would probably be considered apostasy. Drinking alcohol is a violation of Sharia of course, and Islam requires adherence to the rules in a way that would make my Nun-programmers in the 50s and 60s think about the advantages of liberty and freedom.
That said, we need to open our hearts and minds to some of the stuff in the Bible that doesn’t lend itself to believing God is blessing your righteous cause so go smite the sinners, the heathen, the others.
And, Trayvon Martin joins a long line of young people gone for no reason except ignorance, hate and stupidity by ingrate-inbred-liars and thieves. A line that includes Kevin Berry, Steve Biko, Emmett Till and Jesus Christ.