concerned letter from a distraught member, re: trayvon martinSubmitted by GUS818 on Fri, 07/19/2013 - 10:43
About me: I have been supporting Ron Paul since 2007 and before that I was a brainwashed neo-con supporter. The Daily Paul has been an essential website in my awakening into being and solidification as a libertarian. I don’t often post but I have in the past, most recently the Monday after the George Zimmerman verdict.
I cant wait for the attention on the Trayvon Martin case to die down. The trial has been used as a means to divide the populous, which partisans are taking advantage of to solidify the legitimacy and growth of the state.
Additionally, I want the attention to go away because the Daily Paul’s participation in the spectacle has astounded me. Not only do your reactions support a police state mentality, your exaltation of Zimmerman and celebration of the verdict have been drenched in demagoguery and unwarranted harshness. You are actively contributing to the divide of the people and falling on the side of tyranny.
Regardless of whatever stories or “facts” you believe in surrounding the death of Martin, there are certain truths that cannot be denied that place Zimmerman as a violator of liberty. Firstly, let us all agree, that self defense is a pillar of liberty. Had Zimmerman been just strolling down the street minding his own business and been attacked by Martin out of the blue, without a doubt Zimmerman would be justified in killing him. Of course this was not the case, but let us give Zimmerman the benefit of the doubt and pretend that the story his defense used during the trial is the complete, truthful account of events. Zimmerman was driving in his car and saw Martin walking down the street. Zimmerman slows down and starts following him at night, in the rain. Martin sees that Zimmerman was looking at him and continues towards his destination. Zimmerman doesn’t say “excuse me young man, I want to talk to you.” He doesn’t even say “hey what are you doing?!” Zimmerman pulls his car over and keeps an eye on Martin. He then drives towards Martin again. No one else is around. Martin, taking a short cut, is able to get out of the site of Zimmerman. Zimmerman stops his car, gets out and continues to follow Martin on foot. This is aggressive behavior! After perceiving the escalating threat, Martin, a young man not an old woman, decides to confront this stranger who has been following him back to his home. After strategically positioning himself, Martin, taking no more risks, launches his attack. Zimmerman, unable to fend for himself, takes out his gun and shoots Martin dead.
No matter how you spin it, Zimmerman was the instigator. Had he not been following Martin, the 17 year old would have made it home safely. Zimmerman, even if he was well-intended, handled the situation with no respect towards Martin’s dignity as a person. Not only did he profile Trayvon based on his appearance, he treated him as though he were already guilty of a crime. This attitude is repugnant to a free society. Because of his misdeeds, a young man was shot dead, perhaps Zimmerman is not guilty of second degree murder, but how can you think the law should not hold him at least partially responsible? Let me get this straight: you can threaten someone, and when they fight you, you can just shoot them if you are loosing and get away scot-free? (such provocative behavior by a CC-er will surely be capitalized by the gun control crowd, after all it’s much less likely that Zimmerman would have gotten out of the car and followed Martin had he not had a gun)
Alas, to my horror, too many Daily Paul users think not just that, but also deem Zimmerman a hero, a great citizen and man. One person declared they wished Zimmerman would be neighborhood watch of his neighborhood!?! (apparently killing someone who is staying inside the gated community you are supposed to protect is a sign of good watchman-ship) This is a man who never became the cop he dreamed of being, so instead he carries a gun around and chronically reports things to the police. He is a self-appointed neighborhood watchman! These are the qualities of a man hungry for power and looking for trouble. I’m sure he’ll get a job offering at the NSA in a few years.
Moreover, the Daily Paul response has been toe-in-line with the talking points of the right-wing when it comes to the issues of drugs and race. You’d think these folks have never heard Ron Paul denounce drug-war propaganda or racial discrimination. Too many of you are participating in the vilification of this dead teenager based on selected internet posts and marijuana use! Also astonishing is the completely unnuanced and insensitive dismissal of the relevance of Martin’s race to the national discussion. Astonishingly, those of you who declare Martin’s race irrelevant are also the same ones attempting to legitimize Zimmerman’s actions because Martin fit the profile of wanted criminals, of which being black was an essential ingredient. He was being profiled and followed because he was young black man wearing a hoodie, forget the fact that it’s February and raining and the 21st century and the gated community has a significant population of black people. I mean it’s not like Trayvon was walking around a village in North Dakota where black people are only seen on television. Then many of you troll, “well Zimmerman is half-Hispanic so..” as if Hispanics can’t be racist. It’s not about Zimmerman’s race and it’s not about whether he is a racist, it’s about Martin’s race and whether it is just another coincidence that a young black male has been presumed to be criminal and shot dead for it. Black people experience America very differently than people of other races do. Martin’s death became a national story; it took on a higher meaning for black people—because they know all too well what it means to be looked at walking down a street and deemed suspicious. And they are frigging tired of it and they have a right to be! Your inability to understand that is atrocious. What’s next? Will they Daily Paul mock people in the Islamic world for protesting US imperialism?
When I tried to make these points, I was met with vitriolic denunciations and name-calling. Among other things, I was accused a “Democrat,” an “idiot” and an Al Sharpton echoer. I was not personally offended, just very disappointed: this close-minded hostility does not belong on the DailyPaul! These are the very “mob-rule” tactics that you denounce the left for adopting. Both sides are guilty of demagoguery and manipulation. As libertarians, we ought to transcend the partisan fray. We ought to understand both sides and point out the truth in both. We ought to frame the issue in Natural Law. We ought to protect the second amendment by punishing those who abuse it. We need not buy into the racial politics of the left but we ought to acknowledge the legitimacy of the origins of their grievances. And we ought to always insist on the dignity of the individual as an individual. You may still be glad Zimmerman was acquitted, but don’t pretend that it would be un-libertarian to think otherwise.