The Business of Fear

(Credit: AP Photo/Martin Family)

None of us knows all the details of what happened in the killing of Trayvon Martin. The details, indeed, will never be known. I am certain that even George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed Martin and who is the only surviving witness, does not remember. Memory is partial and usually self serving. Any one of us who has been in a an emotionally charged situation with another person has had the experience of the other person remembering it differently.

What we do know is that an unarmed young man was shot to death by someone serving as a vigilante—an armed vigilante.

What we have here is a mixture that is guaranteed to produce violence: racism, fear, weapons. Throw into that a “stand your ground” law that practically encourages someone to kill, and tragedies like Trayvon’s are almost inevitable.

Now we learn that this “stand your ground” law was promoted by the same group that wrote Arizona’s infamous SB 1070 anti-immigrant (meaning anti-Latino) law. Nobel laureate Paul Krugman writes about the role of ALEC, a right wring lobbying group, in promoting both laws. Krugman’s article is eye opening and disturbing.

It is bad enough there is fear, ignorance and racism in America. The fact that it is being fomented by corporate interests who profit from it is truly frightening.

I just learned that my UU colleagues in the greater Washington, D. C., area are holding a rally for justice for Trayvon Martin this Saturday, March 31. The rally begins at noon at Judiciary Square, at the corner of 5th and F Streets, Northwest. Participants are encouraged to wear hoodies.

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