The Whole System Needs a Douche!

Each month we at Boom Bap Radio will bestow  the award of “The Douchey McDouche Bag” award on the biggest dickheads in the news.  This category is not limited to politicians or entertainers or even athletes – there’s room for everyone on this bench.

However, each month one person stands out as the absolute winner of our coveted prize.

The award is based on the name I gave a menial worker from a big box department store, who insisted that my item was no longer in stock without looking. This douche actually made me order the item online and had a whole five minute explanation of why the product was not available days after Christmas. Evidently it was shipped back to some remote warehouse – over the hills and far, far away.

Imagine my surprise when about an hour later –while walking to the other end of the store I found piles of my item, neatly stacked and very much available.

So this one goes out to that collared shirt wonder, who obviously knew nothing, but before he knew a whole friggin’ lot –Douche Bag!! Hey dickwad - this award  goes out to you  – You Douche!!!

The July 2013 Douchey McDouche Bag Award

Trayvonprotest

In July 2013, when a jury of six found trigger happy, neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman, not guilty of murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, we searched the stars for someone, anyone who was specifically tied to the ruling and made us get that douchey feeling we get each month when we point out injustice.

Was it the jury, which somehow magically, channeled feelings in the heart of a gunman who killed a teen?

Was it the defense attorneys, who so smugly defended a man by victimizing the character of a dead teenager?

How about the prosecutorial team, which presented a case that failed to highlight obvious facts and allowed an armed man to leave his vehicle against police orders, attack and kill that teenager – all in the name of self-defense?

In the debacle that was the month-long trial of George Zimmerman, there were many, many douche bags from which to choose but in the end, the sum was worth way more than the individual parts.

In the year’s most important trial, it wasn’t just the actors who mimed their way around the courtroom and ultimately acquitted someone who blew away the future of a young man he hunted and bagged because he was scared.

No, it was actually the system that allowed the miscarriage of justice to become a reality.

So for the first time in Boom Bap Radio history, for the month of July 2013 we bestow our Douchey McDouche Bag Award upon the entire American Justice System.

That’s right from the same wonderful system that brought you great historical injustices like the re-enslavement of Dred Scott, the Scottsboro Boys convictions and no indictment in the police beating of Rodney King, our vaunted Justice System brought us the not guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman.

As part of the high profile trial, our criminal justice system continued to perpetuate an old agenda of separate but not equal, and in doing so, continued to build two different America’s in the “land of the free, home of the brave.”

The 2013 trial of George Zimmerman joined a long, long legacy of inequity through the courts, which in July assured that young, dead , black, Trayvon Martin would find little protection, relief or justice from the vaunted American justice system.

Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26, 2012 as the youngster returned to his father’s condominium to watch the end of the NBA All-Star Game. Martin, who did not live in the development, was visiting his father and reportedly left to get refreshments at halftime of the contest.

Upon his return, he was confronted by Zimmerman, who against the orders of a police operator, followed Martin and questioned the youngster, who he assumed was either attempting to rob a housing unit or on drugs.

Trayvon-Martiniconicshot

Martin, who wore a hooded sweatshirt that night, ended up in a physical altercation with the armed stranger and a scuffle during which, the 29-year-old, neighborhood watch captain shot and killed the unarmed teen.

Martin, who was not breaking into an apartment and was not under the influence of drugs, was found to possess only a bag of candy and a soft drink.

On July 13, 2013, after a few hours, a jury in Florida ruled that Zimmerman was justified in shooting the teen because he was scared and felt like his life was in danger after the confrontation turned violent and in the favor of Martin.

The verdict, which was announced late on that Saturday night, was one of the most shocking and racially polarizing events of the year.

Although Zimmerman is part Hispanic, his white lineage set the tone for the verdict and was a stark contrast to Martin, who was black and forced to seemingly defend his stature and demeanor from the grave . As has consistently been the case throughout U.S. history, a “white male” suffered no consequence for killing a black male. In addition, the black, male again played the role of aggressor, despite being unarmed and ultimately dead.

Aaaah, such is life as a black, male in the 50, nifty, United States.

In the end, this very important trial was more a reflection of a flawed U.S. Justice system than just a murder trial.

The verdict brought about a week of acrimony and mindboggling responses from participating attorneys and jurists alike. The situation devolved into a week of public protests across the nation.

Divided along racial lines from the start, folks supporting Zimmerman, hailed the former neighborhood watch participant as the mascot for self-defense. Those supporting murdered teen, Trayvon Martin, hoped a murder charge would send zealous Zimmerman to jail for the rest of his life.

 As both sides dug in and prepared for the historic trial, an unmistakably funky smell could be detected wafting from the Sunshine State.

It wasn’t that residual funk from hanging chads leftover from the 2000 presidential election or even some ill stink from Andrew Jackson’s Trail of Tears. Nope, it was the stench that emanates from under the robe of Lady Justice when it’s time for a douche. The type of stank that lets a killer walk free.

This stink began in 2012 at Def-con 5, when neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman left his vehicle to confront a teen he thought looked drunk or was on something.

Moments after the scuffle produced one thunderous gunshot and a dead teenager, the first obvious crack in the system emerged as a douche-worthy stench drifted out of Sanford, Florida, shortly after police briefly interviewed and release the gunman.

It grew even smellier as Tracy Martin searched for his son, who never returned from the store, and down-right funkdified, days later when the body of the teen was discovered in a Sanford morgue, cold and unidentified.

That same smell became odious when more than a month went by before a national public outcry forced the authorities in Sanford to arrest and ultimately indict Zimmerman, who was walking around freely despite having shot a teen to death.

The Sanford Police Chief was dismissed due to his inactivity and Zimmerman was ultimately arrested and charged with second degree murder.

During the weeks that led to his arrest, groups raised money to pay for his defense in the courts, which led to the arrest of his wife after she failed to divulge the $130,000 escrow put aside for the former neighborhood watch captain.

Zimmerman ultimately was made to sit it out in jail, where he took full advantage of the old, three hots and a cot, by packing on more than 100-lbs while in the pokey.

More than a year later, oooh wee – the trek to Funkytown continued as the nation held its collective breath and awaited a verdict that would reflect our faith in the justice system – or not.

More cracks were evident as both sides searched for a jury of peers for the gunman and the young man he’d shot to death.

Proceedings began with the questioning of potential jurors. All questioned were informed of the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law and other local facts, unique to states like Florida.

In fact, now nearly 150-years after the states were separated due to civil war, laws continue to differ from state to state. American Justice has always been relegated and defined by the state in which you get arrested.

Even major things, like, um , freedom, were defined by states. You were free in much of Delaware, but a block later if you were spotted over the Mason-Dixon Line, you’d better get ready to be beaten and work for free. You’d think all of this would have been repaired years ago, but obviously, not so much.

For instance, in Florida, the jury is only comprised of six people, unless the crime is deemed a capital offense. Because Zimmerman was not being charged with a capital offense, the jury was also instructed about “justifiable homicide.”

Justifiable homicide is a killing where no criminal liability can result, such as when someone acts in self-defense to protect himself or another person. In the end, six jurors were chosen, all women; five, white and one, Hispanic. Four alternates were also chosen.

As the trial began, the system and all of its inconsistencies were on parade.

The Prosecution opened the case and stumbled its way through presenting an accurate picture of the victim. It seemed as though this team, which had spent much of its career probably gaining convictions for a person like Trayvon Martin, had no idea how to present his story.

Flight School Cadet

 Who was he, how did he feel?

 Who did he aspire to be?

 Why was there no mention of the “physically imposing” teen saving his father’s life from a burning house when he was nine-years-old; or that he tutored kids in math, or even that he studied flight at the George T. Baker Aviation School each day.

Nope, Martin was seen as a “hood” or a thug, who somehow was not supposed to confront the stranger who left his car, with a weapon after following him across a court yard.

When you’re used to blindly tossing the key away on people who look like Trayvon, I guess it’s a little difficult to finally have to defend one.

You know you’re in for a crappy ride when the defense is so cocky it opens its case with a really bad knock-knock joke.

After watching the prosecution open the emotional case with impassioned pleas and visual aids, douchey defense attorney Don West started doing a stand –up comedy routine at a murder trial.

“Knock, knock.”

“Who’s there?” he quizzed.”

“George Zimmerman.”

“George Zimmerman – who?”

“You’re on the jury,” West said with a smirk.

No one laughed, but it set the tone for an arrogant and douchey posture adopted by the defense team, which seemed to say, “Don’t worry Georgie, we’ve got it in bag. You’re playing with house money. You’ll never get convicted in Florida – you’re not black.”

Conversely, Rachel Jeantel, the last person to speak with Martin, is black and was tried in such a fashion when the critical witness was put on the stand to recount her conversation with her dead friend.

Jeantel, who was chatting with her friend when a “creepy cracker” began following him with a gun, was chided for having a southern accent – which is usually fashionable in the south; for being combative and for not being a bright and bouncey witness, despite losing a close friend to a senseless shooting.

Instead of Jeantel’s testimony enlightening the jury and providing critical clues into Martin’s mindset and thoughts as the event unfolded, the defense was able to put the 19-year-old Jeantel on trial.

Maybe Jeantel’s lack of a sunny smile and perfect diction was because she already knew what time it was? Her friend was going to die in vain and somehow she was going be blamed, for not being “a good witness,” as opposed to the creepy, gunman who killed a kid.

Finally, the 19-year-old was convicted of not leaving the jury in a feel good place.

Hey, maybe she should just be grateful…at least she doesn’t have to get her food out the backdoor of a restaurant or sit at the back of the bus anymore – whoo hoo!

The douche parade was defined by the media coverage, which seemed to be stuck on proclaiming that Zimmerman was “not white” and that Martin was so much stronger than the gunman, smoked marijuana and bragged about knocking out another unarmed teen.

Can someone please check the law books for the “one drop” rule and cue the patented description of every African-American male as: “a big, black guy.”

The same media, of course didn’t want to remind anyone about Zimmerman’s acceptance of $130,000 in donations to his PayPal account and why his wife lied about it and later was given her own court date for perjury. Or even that Zimmerman had a past with calling the police or that he had taken special training regarding the “Stand Your Ground” law and lied about it.

So, predictable; so douchey; so American.

As the trial came to a close on a Friday, America again dug in its collective heels and braced for the verdict, which many felt would shape the future of the American Justice system. In the end, it seemed to continue the status quo, which has haunted this country for its entire existence.

Status Whoa

Announced on a weekend evening, the verdict seemed another sneaky attempt to brush Trayvon Martin’s murder under the rug and another attempt for white Americans to firmly place their heads in sand when it came to the country’s long running racial problems.

This tried and true American technique for dealing with racial strife has worked for over 400-years, so there was no reason to believe it wouldn’t work again. However, something was different this time.


 

First off, President Barack Obama called Martin’s death a “tragedy” for the country and sought to calm the outrage of the thousands of protestors. Obama later gave a special press conference on the verdict and its impact and stated: “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.”

The President looked to bring context to the reaction to the verdict and protests, by reminding the public that the verdict is defined in the African-American community through circumstances and history of dealing with an American Justice System that often finds us targeted and prejudged as criminals.

“The African-American community is also knowledgeable there is a history of disparities in the application of our criminal laws, from the death penalties to the enforcement of our drug laws,” President Obama stated. “It would be productive for the justice department to get together with governors and mayors to train at state and local levels to reduce the mistrust in the system.”

President Obama also pointed to a need for American society to embrace African-American boys and show them they are valued as Americans.

While many expected the Black community to unleash its frustration on its own neighborhoods by way of violent riots, like in the past, this unjust verdict only seemed to galvanize resolve.

However for those who served as actors in the open miscarriage of justice, it was business as usual.

Zimmerman Defense Attorneys Don West and Mark O’Mara basked in the glow of a victory, like coaches after a Super Bowl win. The two peacocked through post trial interviews by fielding questions and exchange quips with media with an arrogance that matched their statements of confidence in the gunman’s innocence.

“It made for the type of verdict we had to have,” said O’Mara after the verdict. “Obviously we are ecstatic with the results. George Zimmerman was never guilty of anything except for protecting himself in self-defense.”

The defense team then went after their counterparts on the prosecution, describing them as a “disgrace to the profession” for not fully disclosing the information on the dead teen’s cellular telephone.

The contents of Martin’s telephone fit the strategy of the defense which seemed to be from the Old Great American playbook – put the victim on trial. Both O’Mara and West realized they didn’t have to defend George Zimmerman as much as they had to try a young, black teenager in a system built to imprison him.

As a week peaceful protest began all across America, the summer’s heatwave failed to stop the expression of disgust from many in the public, who exhibited their displeasure and disbelief from Florida, to Los Angeles to Cleveland, Newark and New York City.

Zimmerman, who flashed a smile of relief after the reading of the verdict went into hiding and looked forward to retrieving the murder weapon – his Kel Tec-9 pistol.

Team Douche for the Defense of Zimmerman even went as far as to proclaim he may need to again strap on his gat because now there “was even more reason (to do so) now.”

But, the gloatfest didn’t end with the words of O’Mara and West or with the retrieval of his now infamous weapon by Zimmerman.

During the tumult of protest and outrage, two jurors came forth to explain the verdict and cement their place in history.

Don’t Trust Those B’s

First up was “Juror B37,” who justified the verdict and acknowledge Zimmerman’s lack of good judgment during the altercation, but ruled for an acquittal because she had no doubt the gunman “feared for his life,” during the scuffle with the unarmed teen.

She was later quoted on a news program stating: “I think George Zimmerman is a man whose heart was in the right place, but just got displaced by the vandalism in his neighborhood.”

“I think his heart was in the right place,” she was quoted as saying. “It just went terribly wrong.”

That B – uh, 37, later announced she planned to pen a tell- all-book. However plans for such a manuscript were later thwarted.

No one understood how any of those factors or what her uncanny ability to read the heart of Zimmerman had to do with an unarmed teen being shot to death for walking home, but that didn’t stop the diatribe of the jury.

Another jurist, this time the loan minority on the panel, “B29” acknowledged the jury allowed Zimmerman to “get away with murder,” because they had to go with the evidence presented.

B29 said she initially lobbied to convict Zimmerman of second degree murder, but gave up on the pursuit when she realized there was not enough evidence to convict him of murder or manslaughter.

During all of the protest speeches and outrage, Martin’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, stood as calming forces of dignity.

Accompanied by their attorney, Martin and Fulton toured the talk show circuit and weighed further legal action, while calling for peaceable demonstrations.

Luckily few of the demonstrations held in that week after the verdict ended in violence or destruction, setting a new course for how racial grievances are handled by the public.

Stevie Wonder continued the protest by vowing not to perform in Florida or any other state with a “Stand Your Ground” law.  Singer Lester Chambers of the Chambers Brothers was attacked during a concert in San Francisco when he dedicated a song in memory of the fallen teen.

Radio host Tom Joyner offered to help Jeantel to graduate from high school and attend a Historically Black College or University for free.

In fact, the Zimmerman trial and the vastly divergent reactions to the acquittal along racial lines goes to the heart of America’s racial problems, which have never been discussed and serves as a silent backdrop to everyday life in this country for African-Americans and all people of color.

 

The trial affirmed that there are two America’s with two different POV’s .

In fact, a survey conducted by Pew Research Center stated that only 5 percent of African Americans were satisfied with the court Ruling.

A staggering 86 percent of African-Americans surveyed were dissatisfied with Zimmerman’s acquittal. Forty-nine percent of whites surveyed were satisfied with the acquittal, while only 30 percent of Caucasians were dissatisfied with the verdict.

Shocking!!!

The 50’s and 60’s were about stomping out all of the overt racism that was created by the Black Codes, Jim Crow and segregation. However, the remaining bias has been hidden and often dormant in the collective reveries of many white Americans. Many people who either are aware they have racist tendencies or who believe they do not need to follow the advice of the President and do some soul searching.

The polarizing acquittal of George Zimmerman from a jury of mostly whites seemed to pick-off the scab that had covered our enormous wound from America’s overtly racist past.

In the end, Trayvon Martin left this world because Zimmerman, our March 2012 Douchey McDouche Bag winner, felt scared when he began losing a fist fight with a person who had only been out of middle school for three years.

While that makes Georgie a Douche Bag and a murderer, it is the Justice System itself that allowed him to be a free man and in doing so, continues to perpetuate the divisions that keep us polarized as Americans.

For its role in that longstanding practice and of course its ability to let men of color feel less safe we gladly award the American Justice System our Douchey McDouche Bag Award for July 2013.

Until the courts, in all states, are calibrated to mete out consistent justice we will remain a land governed by laws, but fueled by assumptions.

Whites assume all Black men are dangerous criminals.

Blacks assume the historically white leaning legal system will never bring us justice

Although some believe the protests were unjustified, maybe they can be the first steps in what needs to be a system overhaul

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