This week has been so packed with important, groundbreaking and openly discriminatory news that is has been overwhelming. But there is one underreported thing from the start of George Zimmerman’s trial on Monday that leaves me so angry, outraged and sad that it bears mentioning.
Many places have reported with shock that Mr. Zimmerman’s defense counsel included a knock-knock joke in his opening statements. And it was offensive bullshit, so it’s understandable that people are talking about it alongside Don West’s shitty treatment of Rachel Jeantel in an attempt to make the super white jury think she’s not worth listening to.
But what still makes me feel ill when I think about it is the assertion West made in opening statements that the murdered teenager was not actually unarmed. Dead high schooler Trayvon Martin purportedly “armed himself with a concrete sidewalk and used it to smash George Zimmerman’s head.”
George Zimmerman, we were told, was simply a helpful citizen who was savaged by an out-of-place black kid. He had no choice but to shoot and kill this minor. This idea makes me so angry still that I want to smash things into little pieces.
I cannot believe anyone could be so transparently dishonest to try to contort the simple concept of weaponry and being armed in such a way that no one can ever be “unarmed” because there is always something that can be claimed as a weapon, including the ground you stand on. This is not just insulting, but asks us to throw out any legal standards of proportional response. It asks us to use the self-defensive, desperate tactics of victims as an excuse for their attack or murder.
This asks the jury to ignore the vast differentials in power and physical threat that exist here. Mr. Zimmerman used his vehicle, his age, his assumed justification as a neighborhood vigilante to intimidate and frighten a young man who will now never see adulthood. He’s now using the claim of injuries after he stalked and harassed Trayvon Martin to excuse his murder.
I desperately want to be wrong, but I have strong suspicions that Mr. Zimmerman will not face conviction and prison for profiling, stalking and murdering a minor. This makes me so helplessly angry it brings tears of rage to my eyes. I want to be wrong. I want there to be justice for Trayvon.
BREAKING NEWS EDIT: Turns out that husband’s department is already funded through June 30th, leaving them unaffected by the shutdown. Why they were unable to figure this out before and announce it is mystifying, though.
It seems more or less certain now.
On Monday, when someone calls my husband’s office, emails him or checks the department’s website, they will not be able to get information on the programs that feed children in Utah. Instead, there will be a message along these lines:
Due to the shutdown of the Federal government, this office is now closed.
I have no idea what the full ramifications will be on school districts, poor schools and neighborhoods, and the children who rely on these programs for healthy nutrition, but it is sure to be ugly.
And while most of the news media I see insists on talking about this mainly as a true good-faith negotiation between the parties about cuts to avoid a shutdown, I find I’m really starting to agree with Rachel Maddow on several points.
- Speaker of the House John Boehner is either bad at his job or confused about what his job actually is*
- Many within the Republican party actually want the government to shut down and are working very hard to make sure that negotiations fail**
- Conservative lawmakers don’t care about hurting women, if they can appease the anti-abortion donors by cutting non-abortion services in the name of a pro-choice ideology
I’m tired of people being allowed to lie about the games being played when they’re holding my husband’s job along with millions of others hostage. I’m tired of people pretending that defunding Planned Parenthood is about abortion (given the already heavy regulation of where funds can be used) instead of providing medical services like cancer screening, pre-natal care and contraception in communities with no other option. I’m tired of the hyper-conservative wing of the Republican party (including our own Mike Lee, Jason Chaffetz) pretending they don’t represent the whole of their constituency (me).
* Hint: it’s providing leadership to conduct the affairs of government rather than shut it down through games, it’s passing a budget since minding the purse-strings are pretty much the main job of the legislative branch, it’s making sure that you keep your separate party interests molded into a solid agenda rather than being ruled by divisive elements in your own party, it’s making sure you actually show up to work on a regular schedule and work to pass real legislation and not empty gestures of defiance. Whatever your opinion of former Speaker Pelosi, she ran bills through that body like nobody’s business. The Speaker’s constitutional job is to run the House, not to be obstructionary in order to prevent the current President from winning re-election.
** Evidenced by the cheers at news of failed talks as well as Representative Ryan’s remarks that his odious, Medicare-killing budget wasn’t a budget, but a cause.
Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, FUCK, FUCK, FUCK, fucking dipshit assholes who care nothing about women’s dignity and freedom. I have to get that out of my system first thing.
I wrote a nice, sensible, sourced post about some distressing trends in a rational and calm way. I’m done with the calm measured response because there is no reason to give any benefit of the doubt to states that are so fucking preoccupied with controlling women’s reproduction that they give an implicit okay to murder.
I talked about South Dakota previously, but now Nebraska and Iowa have decided to push similar measures that go a step further. (No really) These proposals do not limit the excuse to blood relatives (and similarly attached persons) of the fetus, but extend this to any third party. Which would theoretically have excused Mr. Roeder’s heinous crime in Wichita.
Claims that these laws are merely to protect the pregnant women are bullshit distraction tactics. Laws already exist to allow self defense to prevent bodily harm to yourself (which falls under the category of attacking women whether or not the intension is to terminate their pregnancies). In essence, if this were truly how the bills were written, it would merely make illegal things illegal again.
This is a favorite tactic when proposing laws intended to do much more than their stated scope (see the recent U.S. House’s actions aimed at “preventing tax dollars from funding abortion” which was handily taken care of long before my birth through the Hyde Amendment in 1976.) The whole point of these recent actions in state legislatures is to put such fear and uncertainty into physicians that they stop offering necessary and (theoretically) legal services to women altogether.
I hope these measures fail to become law, but that’s not the point. That individuals who are state officials and representatives dare to imply justifiable murder toward their brave, law abiding medical personnel, we have a fucking problem.