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MurphTheSurf3 On July - 17 - 2013

Trayvon

“If George Zimmerman was not engaged in any unlawful activity and was attacked anyplace where he had a right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force.” (Judge Debra Nelson’s Instruction to the Jury in the Zimmerman Trial).

In the end this case was ALL about George Zimmerman’s rights and Trayvon Martin nearly disappeared. Martin was a victim of a legislative code that has now institutionalized behavior that could bring back the kind of behavior associated with the era of Jim Crow. A message must be sent that Trayvon’s death is a warning and it will be prophetic if we do not alter the course we are on as a people. It is time to take the case back from George Zimmerman and make it about all of the Trayvon Martins whose lives have been more perilous by the actions of the Florida legislature, and the actions in this court.

As of Tuesday morning, one million people had signed the NAACP petition asking the Department of Justice to pursue federal and civil rights charges against George Zimmerman after he was found “not guilty” in the murder of Trayvon Martin. Many are clear that verdict does not mean he is innocent.

The reaction has been one of outrage, anger, heartbreak, anxiety and fear. But we cannot let these emotions rule us. We are called to act. The laws that made this verdict possible need to change. The political pressure from the right, especially the NRA, that I believe affected the quality of the prosecution needs to met with more pressure to serve all of the people. And this new outrage must be put into context with all of the other outrages that have come our way from shootings in Newtown, to the gutting of the VRA, to the hijacking of women’s health concerns in NC and TX, to…..well, there is a long list.

In this we need to begin with the pursuit of justice for Trayvon Martin, and it continues with a comprehensive campaign to fight the underlying problems factors that led to his death.

The first step is clear: we must make sure that George Zimmerman is held accountable for his actions. The jury’s decision must be respected and the rule of law upheld, but that does not mean the investigation should be considered complete. The trial judge’s decision to discount debate about race or racial profiling in the courtroom and to insert (with the approval of both the prosecution and the defense) language into the jury instructions tried to set aside the open questions about Zimmerman’s motivation and intent.

We have a chance to challenge racial profiling in all its forms.  We can send a message that we will not accept this as the status quo.

We have a choice. We can be felled by our sorrows over the jury’s decision. Or we can turn our frustration into action. We can demand the Department of Justice address the travesties of this tragedy.

Sign the NAACP’s petition at www.naacp.org.

Written by MurphTheSurf3

Proud to be an Independent Progressive. I am a progressive- a one time Eisenhower Republican who is now a Democrat. I live in a very RED STATE and am a community activist with a very BLUE AGENDA. Historian, and "Gentleman Farmer."

64 Responses so far.

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  1. FerraKnows says:

    Hi Murph,

    Like CL, I also signed this on Monday. Thank you for all your efforts!

  2. choicelady says:

    As of about 2 pm this afternoon, our US Attorney’s office forwarded a message to those of us on the local civil rights hate crimes task force from the DOJ affirming that the Martin case is OPEN for investigation under civil rights and hate crimes laws. They have set up a specific email that allows anyone with more information to report it directly, no intermediaries. That’s fantastic since some people may be wary about going to the US Attorney or FBI and being seen there.

    Murph -- I got lucky and got into the NAACP site just as it first came online. I understand from emails from Benjamin Jealous that they already have over one MILLION signatures!!!

    This is an issue that is NOT going away. Thanks for your advocacy for the cause! Keep trying everyone. The more who sign, the more it helps. GREAT to have this post, Murph. Thank you very much!

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      CHOICE—- I really appreciate the good news you forwarded. Am I free to share that? It means that the issue is being named for what it is and that the federal government is claiming its place in this. Well done. I hope something comes of it.

      Did you read my comment to Ad Lib about race at another story thread? I will reprint it here as I think it says a lot to those who cannot believe how near the surface this stuff is.

      A few days ago I reported how the reaction to the Martin Verdict (because that is what it really was) in my little piece of rural America was gunshots and fireworks.

      The next day I overhead a group of my neighbors talking about how it was “open season on c**ns”.

      Today “a friend” told me that he was hoping Grubville (real name of a small town in my region) would reopen its main business now that it was clear who was in charge. That business is as the local center for KKK activity (squashed by persistent police surveillance).

      Missouri is a castle doctrine state with a “stand-your-ground” law. The state enacted a castle law in 2007 that removed the duty to retreat for persons who are attacked within their home or vehicle. The law justifies the use of deadly force when victims reasonably believe their lives to be in danger, and provides them immunity from civil and criminal action.

      However, the police and prosecutors here counseled by the state’s Attorney General have been very conservative in representing this law. As one officer I know well says that he tells people regularly that they should be very cautious in the use of their firearms. The best rule is still the one that says that force which is most justifiable is that which is a reasonable response to the force being directed at the firearms owner.

      Now, the state legislature is moving to direct that all police officers and prosecutors represent and enforce the law as it has been done in Florida- the widest possible interpretation.

      An attorney here in Missouri was interviewed by a local station. He is a civil rights advocate. He said that he has been approached by a number of black leaders who have expressed their fear that this is step one in a process that will create a new Jim Crowism.

      I have to say that my impression is that many of my white neighbors feel far freer today to talk about how “they” are out to rob, rape, and kill us and that “we” have a right to arm ourselves and use those arms before “they” get a “drop on us.” And now the law is on “our” side for the first time in a long time. The stories about Holder’s, and Obama’s reaction are paired with stories of Jackson and Sharpton.

      Today, at a store I have supported and defended from a Wal Mart challenge, the owner showed me a “Missouri is a C**n Hunting State” shirt that some of his customers want him to sell. He asked what I thought. I asked if he planned to have a full line of hoods and white sheets as well. He nodded his head and threw it in the trash. He is a good guy but others are not. I expect to see those shirts on the street.

      • choicelady says:

        Hi Murph -- yes, I did read this on the other post, and it’s sickening. I am scared that people feel both embattled and empowered to kill Black people with impunity now. The disgusting attitudes towards the Obamas -- in particular the characterization of them as ignorant thugs or ‘hos’ -- says we have really lost our minds. I shudder to think what is looming on the horizon for people of color.

        Here is the statement. It is public though not yet picked up be media (why does that not surprise me…) but certainly NOT confidential.

        —--

        Federal Investigation Regarding Trayvon Martin

        “As the Department first acknowledged last year, we have an open investigation into the death of Trayvon Martin. The Department of Justice’s Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation continue to evaluate the evidence generated during the federal investigation, as well as the evidence and testimony from the state trial. Experienced federal prosecutors will determine whether the evidence reveals a prosecutable violation of any of the limited federal criminal civil rights statutes within our jurisdiction, and whether federal prosecution is appropriate in accordance with the Department’s policy governing successive federal prosecution following a state trial.”

        Because of interest in this matter, the Department of Justice has set up an e-mail address to receive correspondence concerning the federal investigation.

        Sanford.Florida@usdoj.gov

        Unfortunately, the Department will not be able to respond to all messages received.

        ———--

        Feel free to share this far and wide with people who need to know the DOJ is paying attention.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          Thanks for this. I have copied and pasted it into my archive.

          Frankly I find its tone very encouraging.

          Your read on my experience is one with which I agree- if one can hate, without impunity, the President and First Lady, then no one is off limits. A couple of people have asked about the safety of myself and my fellow progressive living here in the wilds….well, that is where our being known as practitioners of the 2nd Amendment comes in handy.

          • choicelady says:

            LOL!!! That’s the part the RW don’t understand. As you and FerraKnows below both note -- lots of us have experience with and possession of firearms. Why? to protect us against RW extremists THAT’s why.

            I am totally in favor of gun laws but am NOT anti gun. Not in this society!

            • FerraKnows says:

              Hi Choice--I’ve been a POV member for a couple years, but haven’t posted much. At least not for while.

              I really enjoy trap & skeet (mostly skeet), with a bit of pheasant hunting from time to time. But at some of the events I would attend, I noticed a lot of boasting (by some) about their arsenals--along with their veiled, and not-so-veiled, reasons for having them. That’s when I decided to “upgrade” my collection. Would rather have ’em and not need ’em than to need ’em and not have ’em.

              Also, thanks for understanding my usage of the term “Martinize.” I struggled with it at first, but I wanted the shortest route to making my point.

          • FerraKnows says:

            “A couple of people have asked about the safety of myself and my fellow progressive living here in the wilds….well, that is where our being known as practitioners of the 2nd Amendment comes in handy.”

            Murph--I can relate. Even though I live in Chicago, I have been a 2nd Amendment practitioner for decades. More importantly, I have a Florida Concealed Weapon or Firearm License. I’ve had it for several years. I obtained the license because I use to travel a lot. And, my lifelong experiences have convinced me that there were/are a lot of Zimmermans out there just waiting for their opportunity to “Martinize” me. But that’s not my point.

            The point I want to raise is Zimmerman’s televised lie about “stand your ground.” He claimed he never heard of it. I knew he was lying before any trial evidence to the contrary--testimony provided by his college law professor. I knew he was lying because George Zimmerman and I possess the same permit!

            The application (and subsequent license) comes with extensive literature, which covers the Castle Doctrine… aka, no duty to retreat… aka, stand your ground. Further, the firearms training course we were required to take included comprehensive instruction on stand your ground, and its various iterations/monikers. Why the prosecution did not include this, and hammer it home, is beyond me?! I have my suspicions, though.

            My soul aches for the Martin family.

            • choicelady says:

              Welcome, FerraKnows -- we’ve not met, but I agree with your position. I am also stunned by your revelation -- that came out ONLY from the firearm trainer -- that little George lied because it’s part of the permit process. No one made THAT point, did they.

              I don’t want to trivialize Trayvon’s death as I know you are not, but your description of being “Martinized” made me laugh out loud for its incredible wit AND its awfulness.

              I have a couple of friends who’ve challenged the Aryan Nation, skinheads, Christian Identity who are in hiding, armed to the teeth, because those folks are seriously after them. I was visiting one when the house was surrounded, and I was damned glad there were guns! My out loud statement about going to the car to get them ENDED the people creeping through the trees. They’d apparently not expected that we’d be armed, too. So guns? Not a problem per se. Nope. Not in this society.

  3. SueInCa says:

    Murph I signed it on Monday, also signed a Credo petition that was similar. Also signed a petition for Marissa Alexander..

    When I first got the petition, I tried for several hours to get in to sign it and the site timed out over and over. I hope that means they were deluged with good people trying to sign it.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Meant to say yesterday that we have missed you at Vox of late. All ok?

    • choicelady says:

      Hi Sue -- I am not familiar with the case. Can you elaborate?

      • SueInCa says:

        CL here is a link to a story about it. Same prosecutor as Zimmerman, black woman gets 20 years for not killing anyone, Zimmerman walks.

        http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/07/18/marissa-alexander-20-year-sentence-george-zimmerman-prosecutor-angela-corey

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          I do not trust the prosecutor. I think she set things up with her reelection in mind (and I think the jurors did the same, taking the way out provided by the law and the jury instructions).

        • choicelady says:

          Thanks -- knew the story, not the woman’s name.

          Stand your ground is for white males only.

        • AdLib says:

          Sue, yes, this story is getting a lot of attention now as it should. It’s like a fish hook in my brain now, that juror claiming that race had nothing to do with their decision.

          The FL legal system (it’s all around the US but in FL it seems so extreme) is all about race! These two cases prove it and prove that the SYG law is all about race too!

          This has gone too far to be allowed to continue. “Enough!”, indeed!

          • SueInCa says:

            You always know the mark of a coward. A coward hides behind freedom. A brave person stands in front of freedom and defends it for others
            Henry Rollins

          • SueInCa says:

            Yes that is what puzzles me about these people actually thinking Americans are exceptional. Perhaps it is the same blindness that makes them hold on to their prejudices…..and when people of a foreign country point it out, they are the bad guys. SMH

            • AdLib says:

              Agreed Sue, these desperately insecure white people NEED to feel that they and America are superior so they NEED to ignore or hate anyone or anything that dares to pop their bubble.

              It is the concept they need as a security blanket, they have little interest in truth and what is just, they’re just shivering cowards who are capable of nasty things if they get scared enough.

          • SueInCa says:

            Enough indeed. I agree and when I read Murph’s comments about his area’s reaction, it simply validated it all. “Open season on Co(ns”? Cannot say it any plainer than that. I told Murph that I feel kind of isolated here in CA because that ideology is not prevalent.

            • AdLib says:

              Sue, while there is a degree of racism here in CA (as I mentioned in my comment to Assumed), that kind of open racism is foreign to me too.

              Those people are just as nasty as Islamic terrorists IMO, they are unAmerican and jihadists as well.

              Americans look at the ME, at Egypt and Syria and shake their heads like we’re superior and yet we have racial insurgents scattered around our country, committing murders of innocent people.

          • choicelady says:

            I saw a LTE in the Sacramento Bee this morning that was identical to posts on a couple of blogs -- word for word, idea for idea -- that screams BOILERPLATE from some group. It disavows the idea that there is any guilt for anything, no gun issue, no race. Cannot tell for sure who put it out, but there is a large machine on the Right that cranks out such letters and gets shills to post or print them.

            This is the new meme: just poor judgement by both Zimmerman and Martin. That’s all. So sad.

            Pernicious in the extreme since there are horrific injustices that must be addressed, and this gives comfort to the indifferent who don’t wish to be engaged.

            My organization is putting out a ‘mini study guide’ on what needs to be revived in our congregations on this issue. Several clergy -- mostly white -- preached in hoodies again this week. We will NOT back down.

            • MurphTheSurf3 says:

              I have seen a similar letter on line.

            • AdLib says:

              CL, yep, it is part of the RW machine to manufacture “thoughts” for their drones to have and propagate. Of course they want to campaign on the murder of Trayvon as a good or at least, not-bad thing, racism is now a core value of the GOP.

              However, they’re not changing any minds, just reinforcing self-justifications for their base to keep being openly racist.

              Love the preachers in hoodies, what a smart and strong way to get the point across.

              Not surprised your org is diving right into the middle of all of this, you and they rock!

            • SueInCa says:

              TeaBillies are handed their talking points almost every day. I see it all the time on FB, blog comments et al.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Glad you hung in there. The site has been overwhelmed with responses…a good sign. I have signed the Alexander petition and contributed to her appeals fund. Did not know about the absurdity of her case until it got connected to Trayvon- I hope some good comes from this.

  4. Kalima says:

    Hi Murph, just wanted you to know that after six times, I had to give up because it wouldn’t accept my postal code over here.

    Know that I feel just as strongly about this as all of you here do.

    I did however sign this so if anyone else would like to do so, please do.

    Justice for Trayvon Martin: No More Stand Your Ground

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/563/278/407/

    Cheers!

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Hey there Kalima,

      Sorry about the NAACP limitation.

      But your alternative is a good one.

      I just signed it. Thanks. The more voices raised on as many platforms as can be launched the better.

      Hope all is as well as it can be.

      Murph

      • Kalima says:

        Thanks Murph.

        Very busy as we are moving into new place on 11th of August. Madhouse here, but life goes on.

        No problem, sometimes there are just things that I can’t sign.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          Moving….how exciting….from what to what? if you do not mind sharing.

          Thanks for the signature and the lead.

          • Kalima says:

            Old house was torn down and bought property next door as well. So moving from a temporary basement apartment since April 1st, to our new and bigger house at the same location in August.

            Had lots of stuff after living in old house for over 30 years, threw or gave half of it away before our move here, and still have too much “stuff”. *sigh*

            • MurphTheSurf3 says:

              Moving is really all about letting go- even if it is only next door. Good luck with it all.

  5. Done. Thanks for the link Murph.

  6. Nirek says:

    Thanks for the link, Murph.

  7. Sabreen60 says:

    Done! Thank you Murph.

  8. kesmarn says:

    Done, Murph! And thank you for supplying the link.

  9. PatsyT says:

    Hi Murph, That link did not work for me. Maybe hackers again?
    I did sign this Moveon petition a few hours after it came out. . http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/open-a-civil-rights-case?source=mo&id=71225-9173405-biNRNpx
    Is this the one?

    Then I got this notice about the moveon site today.

    Dear MoveOn member,

    Anonymous attackers just tried to shut down MoveOn’s site.

    Over the weekend, someone unleashed millions of artificial requests at our servers, preventing legitimate traffic from getting through, and temporarily shutting down our website. It’s what’s called a Denial of Service Attack, and this was the largest one we’ve ever faced. Over 15 years, through wars and heated elections, we’ve never seen anything like this.

    It was the equivalent of someone firing a shot-gun through our window—clearly aimed to intimidate us and interrupt our work. Tens of of thousands of MoveOn members and other visitors were unable to organize on our site—sign petitions, plan events, run campaigns—for hours as our ace tech team raced to fight the attack and get the site back up.

    We’re back up and running with new defense measure in place, but while this was the biggest attack we’ve faced, it won’t be the last. We must quickly beef up our defenses so MoveOn members can keep running campaigns that speak truth to power without fear.

    Will you chip in $5 today to help make sure MoveOn is on and strong enough to withstand the next attack when it comes?

    Yes, I’ll chip in to defend against anonymous attackers trying to shut MoveOn down.

    While we were under attack, MoveOn staff couldn’t access some of our most essential tech tools. Over 45,000 MoveOn members were unable to reach their petition signers and campaign data. Over 300 groups met this weekend to kick off a massive anti-fracking campaign—and all those groups were briefly locked out of our systems.

    Paralyzing MoveOn for a few hours was a big blow. Taking us out for a day would be a disaster. Our 8 million members are everywhere, fighting bravely to change this country, working on timely campaigns—they can’t wait for the tools and back-up we provide. We need to be ready for the next attack—and we will be.

  10. cyrano1 says:

    DONE!!!

    My comment: “A nation of laws can’t survive regionally supported vigilantism -- which in this case proves Florida officially legalizes stalking, racial targeting, and excuses those who kill when making unsubstantiated claims of “self defense”. Please do your part to help move us towards providing equal justice for all of us.”

  11. BourneID says:

    Good morning MTS,

    You are proud to be an Independent Progressive, and i am proud to be your friend. You appeal to our better instincts with the same care and genuine concern that inspire us to move outside of our own safe places and do what is right. We must speak with one voice to bring our country back to its full greatness.

    This is not our Last Hurrah. If we are to presume that there was some purpose in Trayvon Martin’s death, then we must make certain the short life of this young man and all of the thousands of others we lose to gunfire every day become more than a footnote in this chapter of our history.

    Thank you, as always, for mapping the right direction for us to follow.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      It is our duty to assign greater purpose to this tragically wasted life and action like this takes us down that road.

      I thank for joining in doing this. Your good words are also very encouraging. I have gotten some push back from some on my mailing list but I have pushed right back. It is amazing how even those who pride themselves on being informed have gotten so much of this wrong.


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