Sunday, July 14, 2013

Do you feel lucky?

I am sure that given the Zimmerman acquittal there is going to be a great deal written about it by the pro and anti gun crowd. I felt that I needed to add my two cents into the fray, so here I go.

As the average white guy, I was shocked to see that they were even still prosecuting Zimmerman. I could not understand the motive for trying to put the guy in jail. Yes, he was useful for motivating the black base for Obama, reminding them that he was 'one of them' working against the 'crackers', thus ensuring an almost unanimous,  if not entirely racist, black voting block. He has been useful, but there was no point in the going after him - it would just make the prosecutors look foolish and petty.

But my logic was flawed. Of course they had to prosecute him. The problem is that the people manipulated stayed manipulated. The really believed the narrative that the white Hispanic guy gunned down a black kid because he was in the neighborhood. They believed they had another 'Rodney King' level racial incident and they damn well wanted their justice. So a prosecution was enjoined.

Since they make it a practice to be willfully misinformed, they will not look at the trial transcripts or read articles about it written by objective reporters and bloggers. They will not note that this 6'2" kid decided to jump this little twerp that was following him, beat the crap out of him, then died in shock when the 'twerp', in mortal fear for his life, fought back by defending himself with a gun. No, the sound bite they will go with will be very similar to what I heard on NPR this morning. It went something like this:
Despite DNA and expert testimony to the contrary,  the jury found Zimmerman not guilty of murdering a black child on his way home from a convenience store.
 Being a typical old white guy, I prefer to ignore the racial aspects of this. The issue that bothers me is a little more personal than that. It has made me re-evaluate the personal defense aspects of my own life. This is slightly more than academic to me. While I live in a Virginia county that is rather safe due to 'must issue' of concealed carry and an 'open carry' law that allows me to walk down the the street with a shotgun strapped to my shoulder, I do spend a good part of my time in the People's Republic of Maryland where things are not so safe or free.

It will come as no surprise to those that study statistics that gun violence is more prevalent in those areas where gun laws are most restrictive. Anecdotally, I can attest that holds true for Howard County MD. I recently had the misfortune of visiting the Howard County General Hospital ER at 2am on a week night. The place was very active. There were about as many cops as nurses in the ER bay, each one accompanying those under their care, either as victims or suspects. Even the dead body they rolled past me had a police escort. I would guess at least half of those being 'served' were gun related injuries. Yet guns are strictly regulated in the county. Go figure...

So how am I to defend myself in such a place. Stun guns are similarly regulated. Mace is usually ineffective and itself may be illegal. If a group of thugs decides to pound me, I have little choice but to accept my beating and hope nothing vital is damaged. In fact, that seems to be the position the government expects of citizens in these 'gun free' areas. Essentially, they limit the population to a 'defense only' strategy. Avoid dangerous situations by being aware of your surroundings and stay away from known dangerous areas. If you are attacked scream loudly, hoping that someone will call the cops and they will arrive in a timely manner (unless they are detained at the hospital). Give up all your valuables immediately to avoid getting hurt. Oh - and never, ever, ever, fight back.

Such a strategy assumes that crime can somehow be managed by the government. To some extent that is possible I guess. If you place your police in the 'trouble' areas, then they will be close enough to respond in time to help the victims and take them to the hospital. As long as the thugs behave and stick to their side of the tracks, the civilized sections of the county will mostly remain safe. It all sounds practical, reasonable, and manageable. What it is not is the expression of a free people with the right to be secure in their person or property. Yeah - it's a constitutional thing...

So I come full circle. Zimmerman was following a stranger in his community attempting to help his neighbors avoid the ravages of crime and was attacked by a young punk who thought he could get away with beating up anyone who bothered him. He chose poorly, and it is sad this life lesson had to be his last. Zimmerman's prosecution, rather than strengthening the civil society has had the opposite effect, not just because the riots that may be inevitable, but because it weakens the spirit of the personal freedom aspects of being a citizen of the United States. We are left with being 'lucky' to be in the right area of town, 'lucky' to have police nearby, and 'lucky' that the government is ever vigilant. I am just not sure I feel that 'lucky' anymore... and that's my two cents on this one.

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