Trayvon Martin should make us question what kind of society we live in

A short excerpt written by me, September 11, 2011

What does Safety Mean?

…To the people of South Park- it means going out on patrol to make sure their homes and garages don’t get busted into.

via What does “safety” mean?.

I was George Zimmerman. After repeated break-ins, I would don a bright green vest, take a large Maglight flashlight and strap a 9mm pistol on my side and go for evening walks in my neighborhood. We don’t have “gates” to “keep the undesirables out”- but we’ve had a lot more security systems and cameras installed in our neighborhood.

One neighbor has managed to video record two criminal acts (the theft of packages from a porch and an attempted break-in to the vacant house next to them) neither of which has led to an arrest.

We’re not living in a perpetual state of fear, but, we’ve come to accept the idea that whatever isn’t chained down, locked, alarmed or monitored has become fair game for others to steal, damage or destroy.

This isn’t the America of  Mayberry R.F.D. and it’s not quite “Escape from New York” either- but the geography of “safety” seems much smaller today than it was when I came into this world in 1962, despite the Cuban Missile Crisis and the killing of our President than today, when a “neighborhood watch captain” is able to get out of his vehicle and then shoot an unarmed teen because he “looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something.”

The illusion of safety, the illusion of order, the illusion of a civil society is slipping away from us and while people are being galvanized one day to seek out Joseph Kony, the next we’re focused on Trayvon Martin and all the while the crimes that make all this possible are continuing merrily along.

Our country has become a mockery of a free society. Our beloved “democracy” is a farce. Our righteous proclamations to other countries of what is fair and proper come not from a morally protected high ground built on a foundation of “doing the right thing” but from having bigger bombs and being the only ones to actually use them. America has lost the right to call itself the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Our elections are anything but free- estimated to cost $10 billion this cycle. Our prison system is overflowing with minorities and under-educated, ill-prepared second-class citizens while Wall Street has created a new class of robber barons, of whom virtually none  have gone to prison. Our country is deep in debt, our states, counties and cities are unable to fund the systems we’ve put in place and record numbers of Americans have lost their jobs, their pensions, their homes and their dignity.

I am not going to go into guilt or innocence of George Zimmerman, it’s almost as futile as discussing the thought of Sarah Palin as a viable vice president. What we have is nothing more than a gross caricature of a country that used to be considered a shining example of all that could be right in a nation. A country that was founded with these most powerful words:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

There is a famous child’s fable about “The emperor’s new clothes”- are we willing to admit our country is now ruled by a different standard? That the self-evident truths are entirely fictional? Why do we pledge allegiance to a flag of a country that’s as far from united as we’ve become, which stands for nothing other than the power of the almighty dollar (which in itself has become a fraud thanks to the huge gap between rich and poor). Our ideals were nice, our execution of them of late has become criminal.

The future of our country was wearing a hoodie. He’s dead now. The guy who shot him is still walking free. What happened to those “certain unalienable rights” – I miss them. You should too.

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