Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks.
Four years ago today, the world was in complete hysteria over the prospects of the United States electing its first African-American president, Barack Obama. Outside the fact that all 43 presidents before him were white men, his predecessor George W. Bush had run the United States into a deep economic recession to the likes that haven’t been seen since The Great Depression. With unemployment skyrocketing alongside two losing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, for the first time in many years U.S. citizens were living in a world of fear and uncertainty where it was not guaranteed that their children would live a better life than the the ones their parents left behind. After eight years of George W. Bush, Americans were desperate for change and the election of Barack Obama was a clear indication of this. Outside of Native Americans, no one knows struggle and the overcoming of it, in the U.S., better than African-Americans. If anyone could bring America back to prominence it was Barack Obama. Frankly, anyone who says Barack being black had nothing to do with voting for him is simply a liar. AND WE ALL KNOW IT! You don’t have to admit it to me or anybody else but at least be honest with yourself. In the end we got what we wanted, a black president, and here we are four years later living in a country that is arguably in worse shape than it was before Obama took office. After reflecting on the presidency of Barack Obama it would be easy to go on an anti-Obama rant but that wouldn’t be productive. So instead of focusing on the negative aspects of Obama’s term in office, let’s focus on the positives of Obama’s presidency.
Electing Barack Obama as president was the best thing to ever happen to the United States because it proved what many of us have been saying for years and that’s that we can’t vote our way out of the deep seeded problems we are facing in the United States and in the world today. Obama’s presidency proved that the only way to create a better world is to completely do away with the current world order which is based on outdated doctrines and ideologies no longer relevant to humane society.
This time around, American’s enthusiasm in this years presidential election has dropped to 44%. Even more staggering, on the side of Democratic voters enthusiasm has dropped drastically to 39% (July 2012 Gallup Polls). The drop in enthusiasm on the side of those who consider themselves Democrats can mostly be credited to the election of Obama and the grave disappointment that followed. It appears that people are finally waking up to the fact that all politicians are bullshit artist no matter what political party, race or religion they may be. The presidency of Barack Obama showed us that it is up to the youth, through organizations like Occupy Wall Street and the Zeitgeist Movement to not “take the country back” as our elders would say but to take the country forward to a more sane and just society. We can’t do anything about the past but our future is unwritten, what will you write?
In the wake of Trayvon Martin’s murder many questions have arised. Of them all, the number one question has been, why has George Zimmerman not been arrested for the murder of Trayvon. Answer, the “stand your ground law”. It is at this moment that the second most asked question is posed, what’s the “stand your ground law”!? The “stand your ground” law permits the use of deadly force without duty to retreat, when there is reasonable belief of a threat. The law also provides immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action. One of the major flaws with the “stand your ground” law is the absence of duty to retreat. In criminal law, duty to retreat is an integral part in the defense of self-defense because the burden of proof is on the defendant to show that he or she were acting reasonably. For example, in states that do not have the “stand your ground” law, if you kill an individual and now stand trial, to claim justifiable homicide on the grounds of self-defense you must show that you made an attempt to avoid the conflict and secondly made a reasonable attempt to retreat before using force. If you can not prove this, than your claim of justifiable homicide may be dismissed. Therein lies the problem with the “stand your ground” law because duty to retreat does not apply hence the name “stand your ground”. Just over a year ago in Florida, Trevor Dooley, a 71-year-old retired bus driver and 41-year-old David James got into an argument at the local park over a kid skateboarding on the basketball court. David James allegedly lunges at Trevor Dooley and Dooley shoots David in the heart, killing him in front of David’s 8-year-old daughter. Trevor Dooley never stood trial for what was otherwise the murder of David James. It must be reiterated, had Trevor Dooley stood trial he would have had to prove that he made an attempt to avoid the conflict and a reasonable attempt to retreat. Why was Trevor at the park with a gun to begin with? Was Trevor the aggressor? Guess we’ll never know because he’s protected by the “stand your ground” law. Above all the most crippling aspect of the stand your ground law, as stated earlier, is that once granted it provides immunity from prosecution and civil action.
JUSTIFIABLE USE OF FORCE
776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.—
(1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force.
This is the dilemma currently present in the murder of Trayvon Martin. Despite all the facts against George Zimmerman, he has already been granted immunity from prosecution and conviction of any type due to the “stand your ground” law. Without the pressure of mass protest on our elected officials there is essentially nothing that can be done to Zimmerman under this law and that is precisely why the law must be abolished. Since the “stand your ground” law has been enacted, in the latter year of 2005, claims of justifiable homicide in Florida have skyrocketed over %200.
Here’s a breakdown by calendar year and whether the person acting in self-defense was a civilian or a law enforcement officer:
||Justifiable homicide by civilian
||Justifiable homicide by police
|First half of 2011
Miami’s police chief made a prediction shortly before the law took effect:
“Whether it’s trick-or-treaters or kids playing in the yard of someone who doesn’t want them there or some drunk guy stumbling into the wrong house,” Chief John Timoney told the New York Times, “you’re encouraging people to possibly use deadly physical force where it shouldn’t be used.” -Tampa Bay Times
These predictions, unfortunately, turned out to be true. How many more Trayvon Martin and David James will it take until it becomes obvious that the stand your ground law must go!!
With me being a black man in America it is an understatement to say that I am upset over the murder of Trayvon Martin. But it would be absurd for me to be outraged over his murder and not be just as outraged over the thousands of murders that go on everyday in the U.S and the world. Just turn on your local evening news tonight and see for yourself. By no means am I attempting to belittle the murder of Trayvon nor the issue of racial profiling. What I am saying is that this is bigger than Trayvon and bigger than issues of race. What we are faced with here is a “humane problem” and to keep this incident confined to simply a racial issue is not only a disservice to Trayvon but also to the countless number of people who are murdered in the U.S. and around the world every year. Living in South Central L.A. murder is an everyday thing. Time and time again I turn on the news to see a mother crying on tv over the senseless murder of her child, where is the outrage? A few months ago I got off the bus on my way home from work and was harassed by some gang members. Fortunately I made it home without any incident but in South Central L.A. there are so many who don’t. Had I gotten killed that day would President Obama have addressed it on the White House lawn? Would Lebron James and Dwayne Wade have written my name on their shoes before the Miami Heat game? Would people be protesting in the streets over my murder? The answer to all of these questions is no. Chances are, you wouldn’t have even heard about it and if you did you would have carried on about your day as if nothing happened. I challenge every one of you to turn on your local evening news tonight. Watch how many people were killed today and then ask yourself, do I really care? Everyday a countless number of people are killed, most of them for no good reason. It is time for us to recognize this as a “humane problem” and use reason, logic and behavioral science to put an end to murder and senseless violence. Some say it is impossible but I strongly beg to differ. How then, you may be asking. Well that’s another blog for another time, guess you’ll have to stay tuned. With that said, R.I.P. Trayvon Martin, let us use you passing as a catalyst to put an end to senseless violence all over the world. To slightly quote President Obama, If I ever have a son, I hope he looks just like you.
Trayvon Martin 1995-2012