Tag Archives: news

Re: Trayvon Martin and the American judicial system

Okay, so here’s the deal: I often write notes before my current-event-related posts to the effect of, “I don’t like writing about politics, but the one thing burned my biscuits so badly that I need to write a blog post about it.” or whatever.  I have realized this isn’t exactly true, and thus there will be no more caveats of that nature.

So, having said that…let’s talk about this Martin/Zimmerman fiasco.

I’m not going to tell you my opinion on this issue as it truly, truly doesn’t matter.  What I do want to comment on is the apparent misunderstanding about how the American system of trial by jury works.

Juries exist to decide if, based on presented evidence, a person is guilty of the crime(s) with which they are being charged.  They do not exist to exact vengeance upon someone, nor to force their own moral standards on the rest of the court.  Their one job is to make a decision concerning the evidence given and criminal charges.

In the United States, in case you were unaware or conveniently forgot, those being charged are innocent until proven guilty.  This means that the burden of proof falls on the prosecution.  In this case, George Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter (source).  That means that, unless the prosecution was able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Zimmerman had approached Martin with the intent to harm or kill him, he would be considered innocent of the crimes with which he was charged.

No one has questioned that Zimmerman killed Martin.  In fact, Zimmerman admitted to killing Martin.  He claimed self-defense, the prosecution claimed otherwise.  The prosecution was then responsible to prove that he killed Martin maliciously rather than in defense.

The jury had to decide whether Zimmerman was guilt of the charges the prosecution laid against him.  They were not deciding if Zimmerman had killed Martin, if Zimmerman was racist, or if Zimmerman deserved the punishment that would be given presuming he was found guilty.  They were deciding if, considering the evidence provided to them, there was reasonable doubt concerning the allegation of second-degree murder and manslaughter.  Apparently, there was.

So, please stop picking on the jury.  Stop picking on the court.  I don’t know what happened to Trayvon Martin that night and I have no idea if Zimmerman had malicious intent.  But, what I do know is that, using the system that our government has provided for us, the jury made a decision based on the evidence was given.  And that’s all that can be asked of them.

Dear People Who Are Complaining About Certain Hunger Games Actors’ Skin Color

Dear People Who Are Complaining About Certain Hunger Games Actors’ Skin Color,

You are entirely ignorant on several levels.

First off, since you had some preconceived notions about what the characters should look like before seeing the movie, I’m going to assume that you have read the book.  Considering this fact, I am shocked at some of the comments that have been made about the race of Rue, Thresh and Cinna in the movie.

Let me clear something up for you: Rue and Thresh were both black in the book.  No, really.  Here’s a quote from when Katniss is watching the reapings in other districts:

And most hauntingly, a twelve-year-old girl from District 11. She has dark brown skin and eyes, but other than that, she’s very like Prim in size and demeanor.

And, again, when Katniss is in training:

She’s the twelve-year-old, the one who reminded me so of Prim in stature.  Up close she looks about ten.  She has bright, dark eyes and satiny brown skin…

And about Thresh:

The boy tribute from District 11, Thresh, has the same dark skin as Rue, but the resemblance stops there.

Suzanne Collins wrote the above words in the very book upon which the movie you’ve been  complaining about is based.  If you are on the side of the few who thought “dark brown skin” meant “tan”, let’s not forget than Katniss and most of the people from the Seam have olive-toned skin.  She would have probably mentioned the similarity rather than emphasizing how dark the District 11 tributes’ skin is.

Also, Katniss explicitly states multiple times the Rue’s stature, her size and her demeanor remind her of Prim – not her actual appearance.  Nowhere is it stated that Rue is blonde, white, has blue eyes, or looks exactly like Prim.

As for Lenny Kravitz playing Cinna, I’ll admit it wasn’t my first choice.  But that had nothing to do with Kravitz’s skin color.

The book does say the Cinna has brown hair and green eyes.  But that’s all.  And, while it would be rare for Cinna to have dark skin and green eyes, it’s not out the realm of possibility, and it’s certainly nothing to complain about.

Quite frankly, I find your lack of critical reading skills appalling.  Beyond that, I can’t believe that this topic has become a springboard for such hateful words to be slung at actors because of their skin colors.  The fact that the actress who plays Amandla Sternberg is black did not affect her ability to act as a charming, adorable and convincing Rue.  Dayo Okeniyi was an excellent Thresh, and it had nothing to do with his skin color.  And Lenny Kravitz did a good job as kind, calm Cinna, even though ethnicity isn’t fully explored in the book.  The actors performed wonderfully and their skin color – whether it was what you had pictured or not – did not affect this.

I hope you all figure this out soon.




Dear #OccupyDallas

Dear #OccupyDallas

To adapt a worn-out Internet meme: Protesting: you’re doing it wrong.

I absolutely agree that the outsourcing of jobs and various other practices commonly performed by corporate America are unfortunate and have certainly contributed to our hardships as a country. However, I am concerned with your lack of proposed direction.

A protest generally works in this way: A hates the way B does something, so A lets B know that he isn’t going to take it any more. A tells B that he should change in ways which will make A happy.  B may or may not comply.

For instance, people protesting the current war might do something like this:

A protest village in London, June 2010

You’ll notice that their signs plainly state what makes them unhappy and what changes would make them happy.  This is where you have failed miserably.

There are hardships.  The American economy has been poor for years. Companies are sending jobs overseas because they can’t seem to see beyond their shareholders.  This is all very true, and it might even be something to get worked up about.  However, declaring yourself the 99% and marching with no demands helps no one, including your own cause.

The problem here is that no one knows what you want.  We all recognize that you hate that the 1% controls things.  We know that many of you haven’t been able to find jobs or have had to suffer without cable for two years.  We understand that corporate greed seems to run our country.  However, you have come to the table with a thousand complaints and not one solution.

How in the world do you expect to get what you want when even you don’t know what that is?

There is no way to make your current movement happy.  Every movement should have an objective of sorts and the only one yours seems to have come up with is, “The majority of us does not agree with the minority, but the minority has more money!” which is less of an objective and more of a rambling T-shirt slogan.

The fact of the matter is that you will never succeed if you continue on in this manner.  The success of a movement is determined by the reaching of certain goals.  You lack discernible goals and will therefore find it difficult to ever feel that this movement was successful.  As of right now, it just sounds like you’re a group of people whining about first-world problems while you secretly hope for government-mandated wealth redistribution (which, by the way, never works out quite the way people think it will).

Please stop protesting until you can intelligently define your terms.  After that, you may proceed in your demonstrations.  This is, after all, the land of the free, where people can speak, write, act, protest, run their businesses and make money in just about any way they please.