Actually, I'm not trying to discuss Zimmerman without discussing Zimmerman. In fact, I'm not even sure what that means, and I'm not inclined to expend energy trying to figure it out.
No, this thread was started as a result of a conversation (some joking around and a little wager) I had with a friend here. The result was pretty much as expected, with the highly predictable rhetoric. I confess I was a little supprised there weren't more tirades regarding my being a racist. Perhaps, unlike me, people were too busy roleplaying.
I sometimes wonder why people even want to start up conversations about such controversial subjects? Does anyone think anyone has ever changed their mind about something because they lost an argument? I just do it for amusement. Still, I wanted to share something I started writing (for another venue) -- It' still in the beginning stages, so don't be hatin' on me cause I can't write, ok? And if you're prone to believing all the worst about someone when it fits with your world view, please don't feel obligated to change your mind.
I was thinking of starting with the phone call Junior makes from jail, telling Mommy and Daddy the mean ol' cop stopped him for speeding even though he wasn't going that fast (he was only going three miles per hour over the speed limit.) Because he didn't have his drivers license with him, the mean cop put him in jail. Predictably, Mommy and Daddy proceed to tell all their friends what the mean cop did to their little angel, and everyone agrees "the cops in this town are all a bunch of assholes." Of course if Junior was black, the cops in that town would all be "a bunch of racist assholes." Nobody considers the possibility little Junior was actually going 13 miles per hour over the speed limit (instead of the "three" her reported), and that he wasn't put in jail because he left his drivers license in his other pants, but because his license was suspended for a drunk driving conviction. No, because people who aren't into personal accountability are always quick to believe the worst about police officers and ministers --and sometimes teachers. (An earlier conversation with the parents might have gone like this: "Little Junior was cussing out the teacher." - "What did the teacher do to get our little angel so upset?")
Yep, no proof required, go ahead and spread that rumor.
Now school's out, and the same cop that arrested Junior goes to sit in the school zone, in the area where a large number of kids walk. He sets up in plain view of everyone coming from any direction as a deterrent to speeding in the vicinity of the children. Most of the drivers give him a surly look -- he's the cop who's there trying to write speeding tickets, right? Of course they don't consider that if he was trying to write speeding tickets, he'd probably find a better hiding place, and all he's trying to do is keep some dumbass for running over a kid.
Sitting there with nothing better to do, he might be amenable to chatting with the children as they pass. When I was that age, if a police officer deigned to speak to me it would have been the high point of my day. (Maybe just a reflection on how boring school was?) But now, all the children who walk past go to great pains to avoid eye contact with the cop. No doubt they got that from their parents (or whomever they live with) -- cops are the bad guys, cops want to take you to jail, cops want to shut down daddy's meth lab, etc.
Since nobody ran over any kids on his watch, the cop then goes driving around and ends up making a few more traffic stops. Since he's out there paying attention, he's observed the same phenomena that I have regarding race and driving. While most people speed, he's observed that the ones who speed fastest are predominately black. That isn't to say all black people speed, or that no white people speed, but it doesn't matter, nobody can say the ones speeding fastest are black because that would him up to charges of racism. Though I have no proof, I suspect this phenomena is mostly limited to blacks who were brought up in the United States, should anyone be interested in my take on the nature vs nurture thing.
At the same time, this cop's police department probably has an unwritten (but highly enforced) rule handed down by a judge or prosecutor or police chief that says he can't give anyone a speeding ticket unless the person is going at least x-miles per hour over the speed limit. Maybe x = 5, or maybe it's 7, or maybe it's 10. I can't say, each department is different.
So, when some law abiding resident complains about people driving too fast through his neighborhood (40 miles per hour where conditions are not really safe to go the posted 30 mph) and the cop doesn't do anything about it, he's an asshole, right?
So, back to the major streets and this cop who's supposed to be enforcing traffic laws to try to make it safer for the public makes 10 traffic stops for speeding. Five people (two black, three white) were going x mph over the limit, and five people (three black, two white) were going 2x mph over the limit. If he issues citations to the 2x crowd, what happens? According to Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Al Gore, and virtually every news outlet in the nation, he's racist and "targeting" blacks. So, in order to avoid these accusations, what does he do? Probably lets more blacks go with a warning then he does whites. Ironic, isn't it, that the goal of traffic enforcement is to promote compliance with laws intended to make the streets safer, but in letting people go, he's actually reinforcing the idea in their minds that even if they get caught, there are no consequences.
Or perhaps the real irony is that the guy who isn't issuing speeding tickets to blacks because they are black is the guy who's always being accused of racism.
And when it gets dark and he stops the car that went past him at 3x over the speed limit, the first thing the driver says is "you just stopped me because I'm black" and the cop wants to say "no you stupid fuck, it's dark and you went by so fast I couldn't see the color of your car, much less the color of the driver through the tinted windows" but instead he answers politely "no sir, the reason you were stopped is because...." and maybe the driver doesn't get a ticket because he's black, whereas if he was white he would have, just to keep the numbers looking good for Jesse Jackson. And in the final accountability, I wonder how many people are dead as a result of people who put their own political agenda over the public's safety.
Oh, but no time to think about that, because the cop now gets a call regarding some woman screaming to her neighbors to call the cops because her live-in boyfriend is beating her to death. It's an address he recognizes, and hopefully tonight he'll be able to put the dirtbag in jail. But alas, when he arrives, she realizes the implications of losing her (a) only source of income; or (b) her only source of dick; or more likely (c) only source of drugs -- so she claims nothing happened and the neighbors were lying. Same story as the previous eleven times. And since there was no victim, there was no crime. And next week, when the boyfriend finally puts her in the hospital or beats her to death everyone will say "the cops have been there a dozen times, but they never did anything."
Occasionally, if a cop knows as soon as he leaves the beating will continue, he might get creative and arrest the guy for something not related to the beatings he can't prove have taken place. A legitimate arrest, of course, but on what some people might consider a bullshit charge, like failure to have the address changed on his drivers license within the designated time frame of moving. He might have saved the woman's life, at least for one night, but the common perception is he's an asshole for arresting the guy on a bullshit charge ... After all, "all the cops in this town are a bunch of assholes" -- right? Or, if the guy is black, change that to the cops being "racist assholes."
Then it's on to the next call (because the good calls usually start coming in after dark) - one dirtbag stabbed another dirtbag. It's not life threatening, but still, it's a stabbing. Pretty cool, huh? The cops chase down the one what done the stabbing as well as taking care of the one what got stabbed, and guess what? After all is said and done, the guy who got stabbed doesn't want to press charges. Instead, him and his homies will take care of it themselves. Well, in our present system, the prosecutor will not prosecute a case without a victim, and if the victim doesn't want to testify, then that means there's no victim and no need to waste time on a case that can't be won. So, the cops have to let the dirtbag who did the stabbing go, and the officer whose call it was goes off to do a bunch of paperwork while waiting for his next call, or for another car to go speeding past at 3x over the speed limit.
Oh, and the victim's mommy tells everyone her baby was stabbed and the cops didn't do anything. Because they're all a bunch assholes. Or maybe racist assholes.
As for getting fired, it hardly means the cop actually did anything wrong. Usually, it means just the opposite. There's the one cop who got fired for not giving preferential treatment to a local star football player. I know two more who were fired after arresting one of the mayor's friends. You can tell which cops in a department are doing their jobs .. it's the ones with the greatest number of complaints made against them. And here's another irony for you. Because of the large numbers of people who make up false accusations against police officers, they're putting a strain on the resources that should be investigating legitimate complaints. Kinda ironic, ain't it?
Oh, but please don't change your world view because anything I said here might be true. I'm sure the cops in your town really are a bunch of racist assholes.