The Third Shift

A vagabond who's made his home in the Pacific Northwest.


A Florida prosecutor filed a murder charge on Wednesday against the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed unarmed, black teenager Trayvon Martin in a case that has captivated the United States and prompted civil rights demonstrations.

George Zimmerman, 28, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Martin, according to Angela Corey, the special prosecutor appointed by Florida’s governor to investigate the racially charged case.

Corey said at a news conference on Wednesday that Zimmerman turned himself in to authorities, who then arrested him. He remains in police custody.

READ MORE: Trayvon Martin shooter arrested, charged with murder

Nearly two months later is better than nothing. I’m more interested in what happens to the law enforcement apparatus that botched basic procedure in Sanford.

Adding to the uncertainty and flux was the sense among some residents that this secured community was no longer so secure. There had been burglaries; at least seven in 2011, according to police reports. Strangers had started showing up, said Frank Taaffe, 55, a marketing specialist, originally from the Bronx, who works out of his home in the Retreat. He made it clear that he was not talking about just any strangers. “There were Trayvon-like dudes with their pants down,” Mr. Taaffe said.

From this lengthy but worth reading NYT piece on the Martin case. As Ta-Nehisi Coates noted, it’s amazing how much at ease Frank Taaffe is with casual racism, but that would not make him the first nor the last. It is why I remember my mother telling me I was lucky to have my father’s complexion when I would complain about not looking more like her.

Situations like these remind you that it’s not even been 50 years since black folks became full people in the eyes of the law (the Voting Rights Act), never mind the unspoken and de facto discrimination that still goes on.

It Is Never About Race. All those people arguing down through the years that the Civil War was about dueling conceptions of nationhood, or a clash of incompatible economic systems, or the ramifications of the 10th Amendment were all arguing, after all, that It Was Not About Race. Massive Resistance in the South in the 1960’s was about resistance to overweening federal power because It Was Not About Race. The Wallace campaigns, and the politically profitable adoption by modern conservatism of the leftover tropes and trappings of American apartheid was about the embattled white middle-class in the North and not About Race because It Is Never About Race. Ronald Reagan kicked off his campaign talking about states rights in Philadelphia, Mississippi, not far from where they dug three civil rights workers out of a dam, because he wanted to show that a new paradigm had been established in American constitutional history, and it was not About Race because It Is Never About Race. Amadou Diallo was Not About Race. According to the Equal Justice Initiative, which tracks such things, dozens of children are currently serving sentences of life without parole, of whom two-thirds of them are children of color, as a result of laws passed by legislators wanting to look tough on crime, and those statistics are not skewed because of race because It Is Never About Race. George Zimmerman saw a black kid with a hoodie and gave chase with his gun in his hand. But that was not about race, because Joe Oliver and the Sanford police and the oh-so-very fair-minded media are telling us, hell, don’t worry, It Is Never About Race.

Charles P. Pierce.

The ‘Color-Blind’ Delusions of the Trayvon Backlash - Esquire

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