Tuesday How To: Not Get Shot In Florida
It seems to help if you’re white.
Why do I mention all of these things? Because they are all really conversations about the same subject; the value of specific groups of people in society.
Why am I talking about this today? Because this happened. It’s always about race and if I ever forget that I could die.
Notice the headline? “Loud Music Shooting Case.” Guess what? It wasn’t about the fucking music. In Florida, just this year we also have this and this. There are a couple of things you should notice. The Christian Science Monitor article makes a point to follow the facts; George Zimmerman killed an unarmed teenager with mitigating factors right at the front. Stating that Zimmerman “wanted to be a police officer and mentored an African-American boy,” because apparently failing to be a cop and knowing a PoC overcomes the force of a bullet. The local article makes sure to put hate crime in single quotes. Because, you know when someone shouts racial slurs, shoots a black man in the face, leaves him on the ground, calls 911, sits down to finish his fucking dinner and then tells the cops he “only shot a nigger,” it’s totally not a hate crime.
The lives of PoC in America do not hold as much societal value as those of White Americans and we never have. The story of America is the story of racial tension, from before our birth of a nation (see what I did there?) until right this very second. Walking in certain place while black was illegal and punishable by death under statute in living memory.
Here’s how this works. A white person kills a black person and they excuse it by saying they felt threatened. No matter what the black person has done, the white person feels threatened. So George Zimmerman stalked and murdered a child because he felt threatened. Michael Dunn, shot at a car full of black people and now claims they had a gun, although no gun was found at the scene. Then he drove away like nothing happened. He drove away, because he did not value the people he just tried to kill. He drove away because he thought he would get away with it.
The Racism Playbook is pretty standard by now. You can see it at work with the Trayvon Martin case. It is the entire reason the defense team continues to attempt to find something that will make this child’s death his fault by demanding records of pretty much everything he ever did, said or wrote.
He said he felt threatened! It makes sense! Just look at the crime statistics! OK, let’s look at the goddam statistics. As an aside, “just look at the statistics is #2 on the List of Things You Should Avoid Saying To Or Around Isobel Because She Will Answer You And You Will Be Sorry. We could probably abbreviate that title to Are You Sure List or the Be Careful What You Wish For List. It means pretty much the same thing. What’s #1 on the list? “What do you think?”
|Offense charged||Total arrests||Percent distribution1|
|Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter||8,341||4,000||4,149||105||87||100.0||48.0||49.7||1.3||1.0|
|Motor vehicle theft||50,902||32,575||17,250||658||419||100.0||64.0||33.9||1.3||0.8|
|Forgery and counterfeiting||53,791||35,239||17,695||295||562||100.0||65.5||32.9||0.5||1.0|
|Stolen property; buying, receiving, possessing||71,727||47,434||23,191||542||560||100.0||66.1||32.3||0.8||0.8|
|Weapons; carrying, possessing, etc.||117,820||68,453||47,515||859||993||100.0||58.1||40.3||0.7||0.8|
|Prostitution and commercialized vice||44,090||23,555||19,227||255||1,053||100.0||53.4||43.6||0.6||2.4|
|Sex offenses (except forcible rape and prostitution)||52,891||38,422||13,189||729||551||100.0||72.6||24.9||1.4||1.0|
|Drug abuse violations||1,171,866||783,564||371,248||8,275||8,779||100.0||66.9||31.7||0.7||0.7|
|Offenses against the family and children||87,586||56,973||28,183||1,848||582||100.0||65.0||32.2||2.1||0.7|
|Driving under the influence||924,210||788,175||111,480||13,618||10,937||100.0||85.3||12.1||1.5||1.2|
|All other offenses (except traffic)||2,693,823||1,794,893||837,095||42,869||18,966||100.0||66.6||31.1||1.6||0.7|
|Curfew and loitering law violations||59,164||36,271||21,343||829||721||100.0||61.3||36.1||1.4||1.2|
Keep in mind that these statistics make it clear that crime is overwhelmingly likely to be committed by white people and that is taking into account that these are just arrest statistics. Black people are overwhelmingly more likely to be arrested for violent crimes than white people.
This is the greatest flaw and shame in our society. We simply value PoC less and do everything we can to lay blame when said people are victimized by whites. This is especially common when the victims are black males and the assailant is white.
This is a systemic problem but it is most common here in Florida. Why? Castle Law, which pretty much sets this state up as hunting season for anyone seen as threatening and puts the burden of proof on the victim. This is especially convenient if the victim is dead.
Let’s make this clear. This isn’t one incident or three incidents of people being killed for walking, talking or existing while black. This is the state of Florida opening and recently affirming hunting season on PoC.
Now to the question, the most important question. What are we going to do about this?