Profiling George Zimmerman and how he killed Trayvon Martin

GZSince the controversial not guilty verdict from the George Zimmerman trial in Florida just a few days ago, there’s been lots of discussion about race, profiling, stand your ground laws etc. but very little has been mentioned about the actual killer George Zimmerman.   We know from the news and from the trial that Zimmerman wanted to be a police officer and that he studied criminal justice for a short time.   We also know that he voluntarily started a Neighborhood Watch program in his gated community where Trayvon Martin happened to be visiting his father.

These are all descriptive facts about him but the real George Zimmerman is actually a sociopathic wannabe cop who may have committed the perfect murder.   I’m convinced that Zimmerman was a sociopath because of his actions before, during and after the killing of young Trayvon.    The textbook definition of a sociopath is a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.

We know from the news coverage of the trial that in 2005, Zimmerman got into a fight with an ATF agent and was arrested and charged with “resisting officer with violence” and “battery of law enforcement officer,” both of which are third-degree felonies.   Also in August 2005, Zimmerman’s ex-fiancee, Veronica Zuazo, filed a civil motion for a restraining order alleging domestic violence.

In 2008, Zimmerman applied to become a police officer in Prince George County but was rejected probably because of his prior arrest record and domestic abuse charges, but what these events really demonstrate is his history of confrontation and inability to control his anger.  It’s obvious that Zimmerman was intent on becoming a police officer and probably became ever more obsessed with his desire upon being rejected just a few years earlier.

Some controversial and racist comments from Zimmerman’s 2005 MySpace page have recently emerged indicating that he was upset about his arrest and had animus towards Mexicans and his ex-fiancee whom he refers to as his “ex hoe”.

He speaks about what he doesn’t miss about his former home in Manassas,Virginia,

“I dont miss driving around scared to hit mexicans walkin on the side of the street, soft ass wanna be thugs messin with peoples cars when they aint around (what are you provin, that you can dent a car when no ones watchin) dont make you a man in my book. Workin 96 hours to get a decent pay check, gettin knifes pulled on you by every mexican you run into!”

He bragged about not going to jail regarding a case with an ex saying,

“Im still free! The ex hoe tried her hardest, but the judge saw through it! Big Mike, reppin the Dverse security makin me look a million bucks, broke her down! Thanks to everyone for checkin up on me! Stay tuned for the A.T.F. charges……”

A few days later, he spoke on getting his felonies reduced.

“2 felonies dropped to 1 misdemeanor!!!!!!!!!!! The man knows he was wrong but still got this hump, Thanks to everyone friends and fam, G baby you know your my rock!” 

Source (The Urban Daily)

Based on Zimmerman’s language and his boasting about being acquitted of the domestic abuse charges and having his felony assault charges against the officer reduced to a misdemeanor, he was not only elated that he was able to escape his charges but he seemed to gloat about his ability to evade justice.    This is the same state of mind that he had when he approached an unsuspecting Trayvon Martin on a rainy night on February 26, 2012.

Zimmerman was familiar with Florida’s “Stand your ground” laws from his criminal justice studies and his amateur police work.    He knew that he could not be portrayed as the aggressor because the aggressor cannot claim that they were standing their ground when they’re in pursuit of a potential criminal.

In listening to the 911 call he made, you can hear him paint a picture of Trayvon as looking suspicious, and peeping into neighbor’s windows and then eventually circling his car.    These were all lies that he told so that he could establish an alibi and a justified reason for confronting him.    Most importantly, he has a virtual witness in the 911 call operator to document his side of the story because he knows that no one can dispute his story.     The way he describes Trayvon and his actions were designed to portray Trayvon as the aggressor.

Trayvon likely never saw Zimmerman until he confronted him on the way home.    Based on Rachel Jeantel’s testimony, Trayvon was confronted by Zimmerman who abruptly asked him, “What are you doing here?”   Jeantel also said that she heard Trayvon say, “Get off!”  and then she heard a scuffle that sounded like they were on the ground and the phone went dead.

Her testimony clearly demonstrates that Zimmerman was the aggressor who approached Trayvon without introducing himself as Neighborhood Watch.    He never introduced himself because he wanted a confrontation!   Zimmerman knew in advance that he had a loaded gun and he knew that he needed a reaction from his “suspect” to justify shooting him.   His approach to Trayvon was similar to how a “dirty” basketball player will foul and harass another player to get a violent reaction from them.

So he confronts Trayvon and probably pushes him and that’s when he says, “Get off!” but he wasn’t saying “get off” as if Zimmerman was on top of him, he was saying “get off” much like black people might say if someone grabs or pushes them by saying, “Hey get off me man!”.

Once they’re engaged in a scuffle, Zimmerman who outweighed Trayvon by almost 50 pounds probably let him get a couple of punches in, including one to the nose.    He knew that he had to have some bruises and scars from the encounter to make it seem as though Trayvon attacked and nearly killed him.   Zimmerman probably never threw a punch, but he wrestled with Trayvon because he wanted ALL the evidence to demonstrate that Trayvon was the aggressor.

Once he got Trayvon into a state of rage, where he wasn’t backing off or defending himself he knew that he could shoot him in so called self-defense.    Zimmerman was probably struggling for his gun as they were wrestling and Trayvon began to yell for help.    It’s obvious that Trayvon was the one yelling for help because the screams stop abruptly after the shot.   If Zimmerman was the one yelling for help, he would have continued screaming in shock of shooting his attacker.

This may seem controversial, but keep in mind that Zimmerman is a wannabe cop who knows the law.    He also did not have life threatening injuries that would indicate he was completely in fear of his life.   He also refused medical care and simply wanted a doctor’s note for his job the following day.    Zimmerman probably thought that he would make a positive impression on the local police and his neighbors by killing a potential criminal.   He also hoped that he would be hailed as hero and that his hopes of finally becoming a police officer would come true.

The entire shooting may not have been premeditated but it was certainly calculated which made it so difficult to try in court because most reasonable people would never assume that someone could deliberately orchestrate a murder that seemed so random; but a sociopath like George Zimmerman knew that from the moment he stepped out of his car with a loaded gun.

 Fast and Frivolous…

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Today the Republican led Congress voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for allegedly withholding requested documents related to the clandestine Fast and Furious gun walking program.    The events that led to this vote are complex and convoluted, partly because of the secretive nature of this operation that may have caused the death of an ATF agent.

The facts regarding the death of the ATF agent Brian Terry, supposedly by one of the guns that were surreptitiously sold to the Sinaloa Mexican drug cartel by the ATF are quite dubious.    In 2006, under the Bush administration, an operation was set up to intentionally sell guns to the cartel, in hopes of tracking the weapons and connecting them to the cartel.

The ATF entered the serial numbers of the guns into a database called eTrace which allows the electronic exchange of traced firearm data in a secure internet-based environment with Mexican and other international law enforcement officials.    The ATF discovered in December 2010 that Agent Brian Terry while patrolling the Arizona border had been killed by one of the guns that was sold to the cartel.

The Fast and Furious gun walking operation did not receive public scrutiny until after the death of the ATF agent, however, once this information was made public it was discovered that the Bush administration had operated 2 other gun walking programs into Mexico dating back to 2005.

The ATF began Project Gunrunner as a pilot project in Laredo, Texas, in 2005 and expanded it as a national initiative in 2006.   Project Gunrunner was also part of the Department of Justice’s broader Southwest Border Initiative, which seeks to reduce cross-border drug and firearms trafficking and the high level of violence associated with these activities on both sides of the border. (Source: Wikipedia)

(Fortune Article disputing Fast and Furious facts)  http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2012/06/27/fast-and-furious-truth/?hpt=us_c2

The Congressional Investigative Committee led by Republican Darrell Issa received over 7000 subpoenaed documents from AG Eric Holder, but continued to press for additional documents in an effort to needle the Attorney General and hold him personally accountable for a program that was started under the previous Republican administration.

In response, President Obama claimed executive privilege in an effort to thwart the investigation and prevent private executive communications from becoming public or becoming available to a politically motivated Congress.

This Republican Congressional vote of contempt and the Fast and Furious investigation is simply a divisive attack against President Obama’s chosen Attorney General.    Republicans such as Issa and NRA congress members have recently been making ludicrous claims that the Fast and Furious program was somehow a deliberate attempt by the Obama administration to gin up support for more gun control.

Typically, incoming administrations will extend a certain amount of gravitas to the defeated party and not pursue contempt votes or criminal charges.    When President Obama took office in 2008 with a Democrat dominated Congress and Senate, he could have easily called former President Bush and Vice President Cheney before a congressional committee on charges of war crimes for lying about weapons of mass destruction and misleading the country into the Iraq war that cost nearly a trillion dollars and cost over 4500 young soldiers their lives.  Instead he chose not to pursue criminal charges for the good of the country and for the sake of civility within our union.

Republicans in Congress have clearly not extended President Obama the same amount of respect and they have demonstrated that they will use any contrived conspiracy or so called scandal to disgrace the President and his executive staff.

Why Race Still Matters…

                                                                                          I’ve been a suspect my whole life.    As a black man you learn very early in life that you’re guilty by association no matter how well behaved or well dressed you might be.   I can recall nearly being shot by a police officer in downtown Pasadena, CA a few years ago, simply because I stepped off the curb to enter a car that was waiting for me on the street.   My buddy and I were confused about why we were being pulled over, when there were other cars clearly waiting in front of the restaurant as well.

We were both incensed about the police officer’s explanation and felt that we were simply being racially profiled because we were in a predominately white part of town.   My friend Les Monroe who was driving was so incensed that he nearly floored his SUV and fled the scene, but I quickly urged him to stop when I saw the police officer reaching for his gun.

When we exited the car, I approached the officer and began to chastise him for harassing us and endangering our lives because of some minor violation that we unknowingly committed.     As I continued to chastise the officer, a small crowd began to gather at the site of a black man publicly confronting a police officer.   Most people that walked by probably assumed that we deserved to be pulled over because we were black and had most likely committed some type of crime or offense.

 I urged the officer to summon his Captain immediately so that I could file a complaint for racial discrimination and harassment.    Once the Captain arrived the situation began to dissipate, I discovered that the officer was a rookie and was probably seeking to impress his partner by pulling over a couple of black guys.     We were eventually issued tickets for a curb violation, which was mysteriously tossed out prior to our court date.

This story is not uncommon for most men of color.   I don’t know any African-American who doesn’t have a racial profiling story and that’s what makes Trayvon Martin’s tragedy so emotional for black people.   We’ve seen this movie before and the ending is always the same.    Young black male, wearing a hoodie (in the rain), walking back to his parents home to watch the NBA All Star game is somehow deemed suspicious by a wannabe cop who confronts him and eventually shoots him at point blank range.

Trayvon’s tragic death has raised awareness about racial profiling, but I feel that it’s only temporary because we’re all guilty of profiling.   Whenever I’m in an unfamiliar neighborhood or I see people, who appear to be “shady”, I’m going to be a lot more alert and aware of my surroundings… it’s called having “street smarts.”    However, Trayvon was simply minding his own business and was not posing a threat to his killer George Zimmerman.     Trayvon was not trespassing on his property or making physical threats towards him, which means that Zimmerman stalked him, confronted him and killed him.

I don’t believe that racial profiling will be eliminated because I can’t stop “being black” nor can I be held accountable for the actions of people who may look like me.   I just pray that Trayvon’s family will see justice and that an eventual arrest and conviction will give them some solace in this tragedy.

Red Tails, more than just a movie?

Like most of my friends and family I was anxious to see the highly anticipated movie Red Tails.  Not since Color Purple have I seen so much fervor for the release of a “black movie”.    As a college student I spent most of my college career working part time at a local airport for USAir Express, where I essentially did everything except fly the planes!    

When I was growing up, I remember my Mom working for the now defunct Piedmont Airlines, which was eventually acquired by USAir.   I’ve always had an affinity for aviation and even today I’m still in awe when I feel the rush of takeoff on my flight.   

I was never really enthralled with the idea of being a pilot but my goal as a young college student and part time Airline worker was to eventually matriculate into sales and/or marketing within the airline industry.    Although I had spent a lot of time around planes and working within the airline industry, I never saw any black executives or marketing professionals who could potentially serve as role models for my career aspirations.   

Racism within the airline industry was not uncommon in the late 80’s and early 90’s; I was the only black Agent and probably the first that the airline had ever hired for my airport.     I can recall the first African-American Mayor of Greenville, NC seeing my face at the ticket counter, he seemed surprised and bewildered at my presence, stating “Oh they let you work at the counter too?”    

When I left college I took a job as a Ramp Agent at the Greensboro, NC airport in an effort to work my way up to achieve my goal of becoming an airline executive.   When I arrived for the interview I could see that the receptionist was amazed and flabbergasted that I was black, I guess I sounded professional and “white” enough on the phone to elude her defenses.     I eventually met with the Manager who liked my experience and my ambition and offered me the job a short time later, where I was the only black Ramp Agent.

I was excited to work around the big 757’s and other jumbo passenger jets and was always intrigued and proud to see an occasional black pilot in the cockpit.    While I was watching the movie Red Tails, I felt that same since of pride, seeing capable black men given an opportunity to fly and to fight.   The most compelling scenes in my opinion were the well orchestrated aerial fight scenes.   I thought the Director Anthony Hemingway did an excellent job of blending the CGI fighting scenes and making the movie- goers feel as if they were in the cockpit, without any cheesy special effects. 

Many of the negative comments that I’ve seen on Facebook about the movie involve the interracial relationship that ‘Lightning’ had with an Italian woman and also the sometimes ‘corny’ dialogue.     While I was surprised to see an interracial relationship develop in this movie, I eventually accepted the premise that they simply loved each other and that the storyline was an homage to how differently black men were treated abroad compared to the discrimination they faced at home. 

I also thought that Terrance Howard and Cuba Gooding did a great job portraying the strong black role models that the fighters needed to maintain their sense of duty and their willingness to fight despite the racism they were subject to.     Terrance Howard did an excellent job of bridging the primary themes of the movie, which were racism, politics and war.   His character represented respect and authority for the black fighters and challenged the idea that black fighters were inept and cowardly.  

The most inspiring aspect of the movie was their patriotism and their ability to compartmentalize the racism and stay focused on completing their mission.   Overall, I thought it was entertaining and occasionally informative, I would definitely pay to see it again.

 Barrington Ross

Faux News: The Cult of Ideology

Fox News, also known as Rupert Murdoch’s propaganda machine claims to be “Fair and Balanced”, which seems like the most ridiculous moniker for a news network like Fox. Fox and their biased reporting first came to my attention after watching Michael Moore’s documentary, Fahrenheit 911. Moore illuminated Fox’s role in prematurely reporting G.W. Bush’s controversial victory in the Florida 2000 elections.

To most people this would have gone unnoticed, but in retrospect, this premature reporting seems consistent with Fox’s attempt to influence our elections and further control the minds of their minions. Prior to Fox’s emergence as a conservative news network, most people relied upon CNN as their primary source of political news coverage. But over the past 10 years, Fox became a powerhouse by capitalizing on the conservative movement and shrewdly differentiating themselves from CNN and MSNBC and in the process developed a cult like following.

One of the attributes of a cult involves subtle brainwashing and propaganda, which is something that Fox has perfected. I was watching Bill O’Reilly’s show recently and he was delivering his usual dismissive and caustic commentary about the “Liberals, Bill Maher, Obama, etc.”, but I noticed that as he spoke, the background graphics changed like flash cards with every buzzword he delivered. With each point, he would look in the camera and say things like “Socialist Plot” and a picture of Bill Maher would appear. As he continued his buzzword laden rant, whenever he mentioned “Government Takeover” a picture of President Obama would appear.

To the avid Fox News fan, this would have been totally normal, but to a casual observer it was extremely odd to see this kind of blatant brainwashing taking place. I immediately thought of those strange 1960’s Sci-Fi movies where people were kidnapped and brainwashed by constantly bombarding them with mind control videos. Clearly, Fox is employing these types of psychological techniques to further invade the psyche of their already devout viewers. The objective of this type of programming is to create a chasm of ideology between conservatives and “others”.

By creating a cult of ideology, Fox is able to espouse their views and provide a forum for the GOP, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and their constituents to subvert the current President and provide legitimacy to asinine issues such as President Obama’s birth certificate and his faith. Fox News knows that it’s easy to convince believers who are ready to believe, but now their network is facing a backlash.

Fox’s ratings have declined over the past two years and they’ve seen the departure of their premier Right Wing Nut, Glenn Beck. Beck was forced out of his position due to declining ratings and outside pressure from activists on their advertisers to get rid of Beck and his polarizing show. Jon Stewart a frequent critic of Fox News, has surpassed Fox News in his ratings because he appeals to a more centric audience.

At the height of the 2008 Presidential election, Fox enjoyed phenomenal ratings by capitalizing on the anger of the Tea Party and the overall opposition to President Obama’s election. However, they have lost viewership because of their wholesale support of the Tea Party, including organizing events for the nascent party. As support for Sarah Palin and the Tea Party has quelled, Fox’s ratings have also fallen.

Young viewers are more likely to watch Jon Stewart’s tongue-in-cheek political commentary and lampooning of both parties as opposed to Fox’s rabid pontification of GOP ideology. Fox in their attempt to align themselves with the GOP has sealed their fate with the rise and fall of this party and has seriously damaged their credibility as an objective news organization that claims to be “Fair and Balanced”.

Barrington D. Ross

http://www.yankeepie.wordpress.com

25 Years of Hip-Hop and Its’ Impact on Race Relations.

Most people over 35 can remember the early days of hip hop music, when all the fly guys wore freshly cut flattops and all the fly girls wore geometric cuts and huge door knocker earrings.   Twenty five years later we look back on Hip-Hops’ inner city origins and reflect on how a gritty, street inspired musical genre became a global cultural phenomenon, impacting on race relations around the world.

I can remember vividly attending my first hip hop concert when I was in high school, starring Run DMC, Whodini, LL Cool J and an unknown clique at the time, called the Beastie Boys.   I recall the pitch black coliseum, buzzing with anticipation for the first act to hit the stage and then all of a sudden, a pulsating bassline began to thump and the crowd went crazy!

The entire stadium was still completely dark and all you could see were three colorful spotlights rhythmically following three white kids on stage as they surfed around on their skateboards.   At that moment, I realized that hip hop had transcended race and that a new tipping point in race relations had begun.

The evolution of hip hop from simply being a musical form to a cultural lifestyle is the most compelling aspect of its transformation.   Hip hop, before it was commercialized was defined as the style, the clothing, the dancing, the graffiti and the attitude, which we now refer to as swagger.   Rap was the art form by which hip-hop enthusiasts and musical artists expressed themselves.  The burgeoning popularity of Rap music, catapulted local New York “ghetto superstars” such as Doug E. Fresh, Grandmaster Flash, MC Lyte, Salt and Pepa, and Kid and Play into household names within the African-American community, thanks to urban radio stations and local record stores.

Many critics in the mainstream media dismissed hip hop and rap music as an urban fad that lacked originality and sustainability.   MTV in its earlier days of broadcast refused to play hip hop artist’s videos, but eventually relented, recognizing the growing presence of the genre and in 1988, created Yo! MTV Raps, hosted by the colorful Ed Lover and Dr. Dre.

Prior to all of this, Rap music remained a secular music, wildly popular among young African-Americans and had very little crossover into mainstream America.   Many of my white friends from high school rarely listened to hip hop and many of my black friends rarely ever listened to rock and roll or punk rock.   Which meant that the one thing that was supposed to unite us, was actually dividing us.

Like most high schools, students gravitated towards other people who had similar interest in music.  Which meant that if you were a hard core Rock & Roll dude, you weren’t interested in hearing the new LL Cool J cut and were less likely to befriend someone who didn’t share your taste in music.

But now 25 years later, as a result of the evolution of hip hop, kids no longer separate themselves based upon the type of music they listen to.   The norm in most schools is to have a diverse group of friends from different races and backgrounds who ALL listen to hip-hop, as well as rock and pop.

Hip-hop has supplanted Rock and Roll as the biggest selling music genre, with mega-artists like Jay-Z and Lil Wayne easily outselling their musical rivals.   But hip-hop music itself has changed and bears very little resemblance to the classic, heavy bass laden tracks with witty rhymes and clean lyrics that I grew up listening to. However, that’s the beauty of the genre, is that each generation places their own stamp on hip-hop culture and ultimately determines its direction.

One of the reasons that hip-hop has continued to evolve is the introduction of successful rap artists such as Eminem, the Beastie Boys and the much ridiculed Vanilla Ice.  Each of these artists helped to push hip-hop into the mainstream and demonstrated to suburban white youth with lots of expendable cash, that hip-hop had no boundaries; and it would be this group of eager, hip-hop wannabes that would turn rap music into a multi-billion dollar business.

No longer were rap concerts a predominately black event, young white hip- hoppers who had spent their allowances on the new Ice Cube tape, were anxious to see him perform on stage as well.  Today, rap music and hip-hop culture have invaded every corner of the world.  It’s not unusual to hear rap music in French or Spanish, or see a Japanese breakdancer.   All of this, makes me wonder if the early New York Rap promoters that staged impromptu concerts in the park—had any idea that they were giving birth to a musical revolution that would help elect our first black President and break down racial barriers around the world.

Barrington Ross

Facebook and Its’ Role in Social Revolution 2.0

                                                                                                        “Power to the People!” is a phrase that’s synonymous  with social revolution, but with the upsurge in social media resources such as Facebook and Twitter being utilized by young protesters in countries such as Egypt, Iran, China and Columbia, a more fitting slogan might be “Power of the People!”    I recently read a book entitled The Facebook Effect, and in its’ opening passages, the author described how a nascent political movement in Columbia called “Un Millon de Voces Contra las FARC” (“One Million Voices against the FARC”) which started out at as a Facebook Cause page with 20 friends, became an international cause célèbre within two weeks attracting over 100,000 members.   

In light of the on-going Egyptian protests against President Mubarak and his administration, it’s clear that social media is playing a key role in the protesters ability to effectively organize; which is why the government terminated internet access for a period of 24 hours, sending ripple effects throughout the world and affecting global financial markets.   In just 18 days, young protesters who are rebelling against a false democracy, high unemployment and a President who has reigned for 30 years, were able to force Mubarak and his cabinet out of power. 

The power of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter was also behind the recent social upheavals in Iran.    The Iranian government was strongly criticized for attacking the young protesters and attempted to block all internet access and text messaging.   However, the anti-government protesters were able to circumvent the blockade by using mobile phones to post videos of the violence on Youtube.  Tehran largely banned international and Iranian media from freely covering the massive wave of protests over alleged fraud in the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.

Social media has become the primary outlet for young protesters around the world, which is a stark contrast from the West, where we typically utilize Facebook and Youtube as a convenient means of keeping in touch with friends and posting silly messages or videos online.

Sites like Facebook and Twitter offer many tactical advantages to protesters, including the ability to quickly mobilize without government interference.    They also provide them with a means of stealth communication without fear of reprisal in most cases and the ability to reach a mass audience within seconds of posting.     These are critical advantages because they force the targeted governments into the precarious position of attempting to control free media.  

China recognized the gravity of attempting to control free media many years ago, when they discovered that many young students were visiting Internet cafes and posting messages online that were critical of the Chinese government.     Although China has taken a more proactive stance against free media and routinely snoops on unsuspecting users as a means of attempting to control free speech.  

However, it’s inevitable that in a Communist country the size of China, young clandestine protesters will find a way to make their voices heard, despite the governments staunch efforts to restrain and filter their message.   Just imagine how much more volatile the Tiananmen Square revolt would have been if they had access to social media sites such as Facebook, FourSquare or Twitter.

One of the driving forces behind the Egyptian protesters outrage is the extremely high unemployment rate among people under 30, which is currently 25%.    In Iran the unemployment rate for people under 30 is a staggering 50%, which makes for a volatile atmosphere whereby young people are frustrated and feel compelled to rebel and take to the streets.  

Social media will continue to play a pivotal role in social revolutions around the world.   In many developing countries, youth are harnessing the power of social media and using it in a collective manner to topple oppressive regimes and demand that their grievances be addressed.     I’m sure the founders of Facebook, never imagined that their college social network start up, would one day be a catalyst for change in countries such as Egypt, Iran, Columbia and China.

Power of the People!

Barrington D. Ross