Posted by: CeCe | July 21, 2013

Rant on

Okay, just a couple warnings: First, I haven’t written a blog for a couple weeks, so I may be a little rusty.  Second, this is a rant.  It may make a few people angry, and that’s fine, you have a right to be angry.  I’m angry too, and frustrated, and sad.  Why?  Because I’ve been seeing so much utter crap in my Facebook news feed, and I think it’s past time for me to say something, because some of this utter crap has been coming from people whom I love and respect very much, and I haven’t said anything to most of them, because I don’t want to offend them.  I try very hard not to offend people (though somehow I wind up doing so anyway)… but this time, I’m done trying, because this is something that is important to me.

Ever since the verdict of the George Zimmerman trial (which is only peripheral to this rant), there have been a lot of people posting things that they believe are related to the issue.  For example, I’ve seen Roderick Scott, the 42 year old black man who was acquitted in the shooting death of Christopher Cervini, a 17 year old white boy in my feed several times now.  There have been attempts to draw a parallel between this and the Zimmerman/Martin case, since the shooter and victim were of different races, with the comment that there were no “riots” when this happened.

Sigh.  Okay, first of all, the last time there was a major riot having to do with a trial was after the cops who beat Rodney King were found not guilty.  That was in 1992.  That means that this was twenty-one years ago.  Let me say this again: That was twenty-one years ago!  There have not been any riots in this case.  There have been nation-wide protests, yes, but they’ve been mostly peaceful.  And guess what.  They have every right to protest.  Yes, there were a few broken windows in Seattle, about two dozen people arrested in Los Angeles and Oakland, and a report about a grandmother being punched by a protester in Houston (and, by the way, I watched the video; she was not punched at all, nor was the car blocked in any way until she rolled down her window and started saying something to the protesters, at which time the car was swarmed.  Which brings up the question, what did she say to them?), and that’s it.  There haven’t been any riots.  At all.  It’s all been remarkably peaceful, all things considered, despite some journalists attempting to tie all reports of violence to Trayvon Martin rallies, like the violence in Chicago (which has been on the rise for years now and has nothing to do with this case).

Now, back to the whole Roderick Scott thing.  There are several differences in the case.  Let’s examine them step by step:
1.  Roderick Scott was arrested right away and charged with murder.  Sanford police waited 45 days before bringing charges against Zimmerman.
2.  Cervini, Scott’s victim, was with two others, and they were breaking into cars.  Martin was not doing anything illegal at the time of the shooting (except when he allegedly attacked Zimmerman), and he was alone.
3.  Martin was shot at about 7:15 in the evening.  Cervini was shot at about 3:30 in the morning.
4.  Martin was on his way to his father’s girlfriend’s house, where he was staying.  Cervini was out breaking into cars.
5.  Scott warned the boys that he had a gun and the cops had been called.  There is no indication that Martin knew Zimmerman had a gun until he was shot.
6.  Scott warned Cervini to stand still and stop charging him, or he would shoot.  There is no indication that Zimmerman warned Martin in the same way.
7.  During the course of the case, absolutely nothing was said about Cervini’s past.  Had he been a juvenile delinquent before the morning he was shot?  We don’t know, because nothing was said.  His texts were not entered into evidence.  His school record was not brought up.  Meanwhile, Zimmerman’s defense attempted to paint Martin as a thug.
8.  George Zimmerman had a violent criminal record; he had been found guilty of assault, domestic violence, and resisting arrest, while Scott had no record.
9.  Cervini’s accomplice(s) had criminal records.  Martin had no accomplices and no criminal record (though he had reportedly been suspended from school a couple times.  But then, so was I, and for one of the same reasons [skipping school], and I could very easily have been suspended for smoking on campus, being caught with a baggie that was suspected to contain traces of marijuana, and defacing school property, much like Martin).
10.  Cervini was tested for drugs and alcohol, and popped positive for alcohol and amphetamines.  Martin had THC in his system, but that does not mean that he had recently used.  Cervini’s two accomplices admitted that the three of them had been drinking heavily, and Cervini was well over the legal limit.

Do you see now, how different these two cases are?  The only similarities are that the shooter and victim were of different races, and the victim was an unarmed teenager.  However, one of Cervini’s accomplices had been arrested once for holding a knife against the throat of a ten year old, and was in fact on probation at the time of the shooting (and had been on probation at least once before).  Now don’t get me wrong, it is still sad that Christopher Cervini was killed, and I feel terrible for his family.  However, if he had not been out drinking and breaking into cars at 3 in the morning, he would still be alive.  Zimmerman said that Martin was “walking slowly” and “acting high”, which made him a suspect.  Being high is certainly a crime, but the only person Martin was harming was himself.  Walking slowly is not a crime.  Maybe he was walking slowly because he had smoked a blunt and he didn’t want to go home reeking of marijuana.  Stupid, yes.  Illegal, yes.  But a crime worthy of being shot and killed?  No.  If it was, then there are a whole lot of people that didn’t deserve to see their 18th birthday, myself included.

Now let’s talk about another case that I’ve seen in my feed, the one involving 13 month old Antonio West who was shot and killed by a 17 year old and a 15 year old during an attempted robbery.  There’s no denying that this was a horrific crime, and the two boys in question absolutely deserve to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law (which won’t involve the death penalty, because the state in which this took place does not allow juveniles to be sentenced to death).  But here’s the biggest difference in this case: The police department worked hard to find out who the suspects were, and arrested them within days.   In this case, justice has been served.  What is there to protest?

Another case that’s been brought up is the one in which a black woman, Mona Nelson, was accused (and convicted) of kidnapping and murdering 12 year old Jonathan Foster.  Horrific crime, most definitely.  Why didn’t we hear about it?  Why wasn’t it national news?  Probably because these things happen all over the country, on an almost daily basis.  It was a terrible, terrible crime, absolutely heart-breaking.  But.  She was convicted.  What is there to protest?  She was guilty, she was found guilty, and she was sentenced.  The case of 20 year old Megan Williams, a black woman, who was tortured and sexually assaulted over the course of a week by three white men and three white women wasn’t national news either, even though the perpetrators allegedly told Megan that it was happening because she was black, they targeted her because she was black, and they allegedly repeatedly called her a “ni**er”.  And for the record, there were no “riots” over that case, either.

Now, to bring me to my point.  We need to remember that it wasn’t so long ago that black people accused of a crime against a white person wouldn’t have even made it to trial; they would have been lynched.  White people accused of a crime against a black person also wouldn’t have made it to trial (or would have been found not guilty, no matter what they had done), but for a very different reason.  There was a serious disparity in how white people were treated by the legal system, versus how black people were treated.  And this was so recent that many African-Americans alive today are only one or two generations removed from it.  And you wonder why they get up in arms about things that remind them of those times?  As a white woman, I can honestly say that none of my ancestors in recent history were slaves.  Some of them owned slaves, much to my shame, but they were not slaves themselves.  None of my ancestors were sent to schools with sub-par curricula, old textbooks, and buildings that were falling apart because of the color of their skin.  None of my ancestors were ever told that they couldn’t eat at a restaurant, use a bathroom, or drink from a water fountain because of the color of their skin.  So I have no idea what it’s like growing up black in the United States or anywhere else, and if your skin is white, neither do you.

And I believe the latter is an important point to make, not because I want to guilt anyone for things that they personally had nothing to do with, but because white people need to understand this.  Nothing has ever been denied us because of the color of our skin.  We’ve never been denied justice because of the color of our skin.  We’ve never had our children killed because of the color of their skin, and had the perpetrators go free because of the color of their skin.  And don’t even think of bringing up OJ, because we all know he was guilty as sin, and the only reason he was set free was because he was rich enough to afford an excellent defense attorney, not because he is black.  So yes, many African-Americans are still bitter over past injustices, and I can’t blame them.  I would be too.  And it would be very hard for me to not see the Zimmerman trial as a brutal reminder of more horrible times, even though race probably had nothing to do with it, and even though it’s entirely possible that Zimmerman really did believe he was acting in self-defense.

Granted, I do believe we’ve come a long way, because now when black people are accused of crimes against those of other races, they actually do stand trial, and so do white people.  But it wasn’t that long ago that the opposite was true.  Remember that.

Final note: This may wind up being part one of many, because I keep seeing more things like this in my news feed, and I think they’re important to address, but this post is already long enough.

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