National Burn It All Down Day

Meow.

Krakoom!

Meow.

Krakoom!

Meow!

I woke to two sounds. To my cat, sitting on my chest meowing as if to say “wake up and feed me ya lazy bum”. This was a new experience for me. Although I’ve had Cassie for more than 8 years, she never sleeps in my room with me. Mostly bc I didn’t want cat hair all over my clothes, but also, I like my sleep. The idea of having a four-legged feline alarm clock wake me every morning isn’t appealing. Still, I just got her back from the veterinarian after having a serious health scare and I wanted to monitor her closely. So I bit the bullet and let her into my sanctum (which she promptly took over, taking half the bed at times, and leaving me with only two pillows, rather than my customary three). Her comfort is important and she seems to appreciate having me at her beck and call.

The other sound came from my laptop. You might be thinking that the sound ‘Krakoom’ on a laptop was a bad thing, but it is not. Those ‘Krakooms’ are nothing more than the sound of thunder from a Youtube video playing ‘Soothing Thunderstorm’. I find the sound of thunder and rainfall relaxing; the sounds enable me to relax and drift to sleep with ease. Without such sounds, I find it difficult to sleep. I hear the crickets outside. I hear the snoring of the dogs one room over. The traffic on the street near the house can be heard. Such sounds…such erratic sounds annoy the fuck out of me, making it difficult to relax. Such is the curse of having good hearing. Good hearing is a good thing in the right context. After all, I’ve been complimented on my hearing multiple times in the past by guests at my bar (back when I was gainfully employed). Patrons appreciate having someone who overhears-however unintentionally-their drink order and begins preparation before they’ve even said ‘hello’. But that’s a radically different context than trying to sleep. When it’s time to sleep, I need no extraneous sound. I need the equivalent of white noise-a consistent, soothing sound.

Cat fed, I proceeded to feed myself. And check the dogs. And hydrate myself. Once those tasks were done, I began to ponder what to accomplish today. Before making a ‘to do’ list, though, I decided to open Facebook and see what was going on with my friends and in the world.

That would prove to be a mistake.

Because three stories in and I was reminded how little African-Americans are valued in this country.

Three stories in an I’m reminded how little justice there is for African-Americans in the United States.

Three stories in and I’m ready to declare today ‘National Burn It All Down’ Day.

BLACK-LIVES-MATTER

First up, I read about the latest news involving one the most punchable faces in the U.S. No, not Martin Shkreli. No, this is the punchable face who, with gun in hand, decided to play neighborhood watchman/racist vigilante back in 2012. This self-styled watchman racially profiled and followed a hoodie wearing, Skittles and iced tea carrying 17-year-old black kid by the name of Trayvon Martin. By the time their interaction was over, Martin was dead and George Zimmerman claimed he shot the teen in self-defense. A jury would later declare Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter, a decision that would royally piss off African-Americans (and decent people of other races) across the country. Since then, Zimmerman’s name has been in the news several times, most notably regarding his penchant for domestic violence. He recently  made the news again when he announced he was going to auction off the gun he used to murder Trayvon Martin. Gunbroker.com, the first site scheduled to auction the gun, pulled the listing before it was scheduled to begin. Zimmerman then set up an auction at United Gun Group, which saw several fake buyers pushing bids into the multi-million dollar range under such names as ‘Donald Trump’ and ‘Tamir Rice’. UGG chose to pull the listing as well, which, if this were a truly just world, would have left our vigilante murderer up shit creek without a paddle, but noooooooooo, he had to go on and successfully sell the “American firearm icon” for $250,000:

The gun used to kill Trayvon Martin has been sold for $250,000, according to the shooter, George Zimmerman, who notes that he reneged on an initial deal when a higher offer was received.

Speaking for the first time since listing the weapon for sale, Zimmerman continued his attack against the Black Lives Matter movement, presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton and the parents of Trayvon Martin.

“I was tired of Hillary Clinton’s anti-gun rhetoric,” Zimmerman said via a Skype interview with 13 Action News. “She had recently made comments about, not comments, she had recently lied about the situation.

“She has been stumping around for a false campaign for the Trayvon Martin Foundation. She lied, saying that I killed him when he was walking home in his daddy’s neighborhood. Which, if anyone watched more than seven minutes of the trial, they would know that is false,” Zimmerman said.

Apparently Zimmerman subscribes to the write your own history school of thought, bc he seems to deny the events that happened. He did indeed kill Trayvon as the latter was walking home in his father’s neighborhood. Yes, there were other events that occurred, principally, Zimmerman profiling and stalking Martin. And Martin, feeling unsafe, attacked Zimmerman, which IMO was justified (I mean come on, strange guy following you around?). And poor, poor Zimmerman just had to use his gun to murder a kid. You know for “self-defense”. Yeah see, when you’re acting as neighborhood watchman and you profile someone you’ve fucked up already. Then when you proceed to stalk them, YOU’VE created a situation (and he was advised to stop following Martin, but chose to ignore that advice; guess he was looking to kill him a black boy).

Captain Punchable face wasn’t content to rewrite history though. He also had to continue slam the parents of Trayvon Martin:

Zimmerman also launched another attack at Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin’s parenting and added that had he known that that day in 2012 would lead to his killing an unarmed teen, he would have stayed in bed.

“Of course, I would have done anything to not have to take a life in self-defense,” Zimmerman said. “I would have done anything for Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin to have actually taken an interest in their child. … They had no interest in their child. I wish they would have. I wish they would have raised them right. I wish I never had to. I would have stayed in bed if I would have thought I would had to take a life in self-defense. I don’t think anybody in their right mind would ever want to be in this position.”

I’m sure Fulton and Martin sat down over a cup of tea with Zimmerman to discuss how they raised their son. Uh-huh. This fucker has no clue how they parented him. And let’s not forget who murdered whom! If attacking parenting styles is fair game, then Zimmerman’s parents raised a murderous thug. Trayvon Martin meanwhile, never killed anyone. Between the two of them, I know who the better person is. And unfortunately, he’s dead. If there’s any justice in the world [there’s not, unless you’re a cishet, able-bodied, christian white male; I’m just trying to build myself up with a nice dose of false hope], one day Zimmerman will become well acquainted with the inside of a prison cell for a very fucking long time (I just hope that doesn’t happen bc he’s assaulted another girlfriend or killed another black person).

Having read that story, I was in table-flipping mood. Come to think of it, someone needs to invent a de-stressing room. A place where people can come in and demolish or destroy to their hearts content, to relieve anger and outrage. A place where you can flip all the tables you want, smash all the useless curio cabinet figurines that just take up space in a house, or break windows. There’s even a sledgehammer if you want to break down some walls. And you do not have to clean any of it up.

Anyway, I was scrolling down Facebook thinking that I’d find a story about something less rage-inducing, but oh no. That was not to be, bc apparently the theme of today is ‘there’s no justice in the world’. Certainly not for Freddie Gray, Jr, as one of the officers charged in his death was found not guilty:

When Judge Barry G. Williams found Officer Edward Nero not guilty of all charges Monday in the case involving the death of Freddie Gray, Nero put his head in his hands and sobbed.

Nero was charged with second-degree assault and two counts of misconduct in office, as well as reckless endangerment for putting Gray in the arrest van without a seat belt.

Williams spent 20 minutes explaining his ruling in a packed courtroom where Nero had been on trial for the last week, having opted for a bench trial rather than a trial by jury. The judge explained that in order to charge Nero with assault, the state must have proved beyond a reasonable doubt that there was offensive physical contact with Gray, and in order to charge Nero with misconduct, the state had to prove that Nero corruptly committed an unlawful act or corruptly failed to do an act required by the duties of his office. Then, in order to convict on the reckless-endangerment charge, the state had to prove that Nero acted recklessly. Williams essentially found that the state did not prove its case on any of these charges.

I understand, logically, why this happened. The prosecution failed to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. I understand that this doesn’t mean Nero did nothing wrong. I also know there are other officers who are being similarly charged. But seeing him effectively exonerated for his role in the death of a man who should still be alive is just another emotional data point in support of black lives not mattering in this country. It’s just a reminder-again-that justice for African-Americans is pretty much a ‘doesn’t happen’ kinda thing. Over and over again, we hear stories of police officers not facing the consequences of their actions and it’s a reminder of how much the justice system does not value the lives of black people. Even in a situation like this, where it appears the system functioned the way it was intended (though I’m not entirely certain that’s the case, as bias has a way of creeping in at any point in the process), the fact still remains that the end result is a cop who is not held accountable.
If you thought I needed that Smashing Room after the first story, I seriously needed it after this one. But wait. There’s one more shitty story that nicely reinforces the pervasive climate of anti-blackness in the USAmerican criminal justice system. And this story gets bonus points bc it treats a middle school student like a criminal. Over a sixty-five cent carton of milk. That he gets free bc he’s on the school’s free-lunch program!

According to the news station, the incident happened May 10 at Graham Park Middle School in Triangle, Va., after Ryan went back to get a carton of milk that comes with his lunch.

A Prince William County police officer assigned to the school accused Ryan of stealing the milk. The officer reportedly grabbed Ryan, who told the news station that he pulled away from the officer’s grasp.

“I yanked away from him; I told him to get off of me because he’s not my dad,” the middle school student said.

The officer then placed Ryan in handcuffs and took him to the principal’s office, where he was searched for drugs, Ryan’s mother told the news station.

Ryan was then not only suspended from school but also charged with larceny, and he has been ordered to appear in juvenile court.

“This is ridiculous … this is beyond embarrassing … he’s at home for 65 cents,” Shamise Turk told the news station. “I’m angry, I’m frustrated, I’m mad. It just went too far. They are charging him with larceny, which I don’t have no understanding as to why he is being charged with larceny when he was entitled to that milk from the beginning.”

This is fucking outrageous from beginning to end. The thuggish cop shouldn’t have mandhandled the kid. Even *if* he’d stolen it, there’s no need to get rough with him. It’s a carton of milk that costs less than it take to make call on a payphone. But he *didn’t* steal it, of course, which means Captain Aggressive Asshole jumped to a conclusion based on something. I can’t imagine what prejudice he might hold that would lead him to assume criminality on the part of a black child. Any guesses?
I can’t believe the situation wasn’t rectified at the principal’s office where it should have been easy to look up the kid’s name and see that he’s on the free-lunch program. But no, can’t do that. That would make too much sense. Gotta check him for drugs. As if there were any reason to think so…oh wait. Forgot. Too much melanin in him. We all know black people do all the drugs.
And then the situation ramped up even further! Larceny charges? How the fuck did things get this far? Why was he not given any presumption of innocence? Why was he presumed guilty by school officials? Why are they acting as if the theft of a .65 cent carton of milk is something punishable by anything other than “stay for detention”? Why didn’t some adult say  “This is ridiculous. Here’s .65 cents for the milk. Let the kid go back to class bc this is a bullshit waste of time hassling him over something like this.” Oh, wait. I keep forgetting. Melanin. He’s got too much. If he’d been white, the cop probably would have walked over and asked if the kid needed help carrying his tray of food.
See why today is National Burn It All Down Day?

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National Burn It All Down Day
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4 thoughts on “National Burn It All Down Day

  1. 4

    We need an Angry Dome. Kind of like Thunder Dome except with stuff instead of people.
    Zimmerman’ll go to prison. But someone will be hurt or killed to get him there. It might be a domestic violence incident, it might be road rage. But he’s going to hurt or kill someone and he’s going to land in prison…and then all the enablers, all the weirdos and crazies that have been feeding his delusions of heroism and entitlement are all going to have the nerve to act surprised…
    …they’re going to pretend they never saw it coming.
    All the evidence is there, but they’ll pretend it wasn’t. Everyone who was close to him and wasn’t already nuts could see it, but the enablers will pretend it was a surprise.
    On that day, I’ll probably be breathing fire.

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