Anger Is Not Enough

Until we knew who the Koch Brothers were, we had no idea where to focus our anger at their actions. Until we understand the causes of Trayvon Martin’s death by gunshot, we have no more idea where to focus our anger than we did at the terrible legislation that the Kochs have purchased to their benefit and our detriment.

It’s not enough to be angry.

Have you ever noticed that when you’re really angry about something WRONG, just WRONG, many people will attempt to say that you can’t possibly be angry, because your reasons are incorrect, specious, non-existent or “you’re just being unreasonable”? [emphasis added]

Witness the idiot Geraldo Rivera, blaming the “hoodie” — or hooded sweatshirt — that the victim was wearing:

Fox’s Geraldo Rivera: “I Think The Hoodie Is As Much Responsible For Trayvon Martin’s Death As George Zimmerman”
March 23, 2012 8:36 am ET
by Media Matters staff

On the March 23 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera reacted to the killing of 17-year-old, unarmed Florida resident Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watch member George Zimmerman by claiming, “I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman.

Rivera said: “I believe that George Zimmerman, the overzealous neighborhood watch captain should be investigated to the fullest extent of the law and if he is criminally liable, he should be prosecuted” but went on to claim Martin “wore an outfit that allowed someone to respond in this irrational, overzealous way.”

No: your ANGER is real. The problem lies in where that anger is channeled and focused. If this goes in one way, Zimmerman will be “lynched” in the media (too late), the courts and in prison. If this goes in another way, it will be shown that he was completely justified and what the hell are all you stupid liberals (spoken with an N-word inflection) upset about? It isn’t real. Now shut up and get back to restocking those Wal-Mart shelves.

But it is not honest nor prudent in any sense to behave as though the anger is not real, nor that it is not justified. It is.

This is not an easy case, when we begin to examine its causes and effects. It is not merely the simple narrative “shot for being black” although that is an important part of it. We need to be angry at the roots of this tragedy, of which the last sentence forms a significant part — one whose history and ugly realities are so well known and widely discussed by those far more qualified than I that I will leave the “shot for being black” portion of the discussion to the reader.

We also need to be angry at the National Rifle Association, who have gone far beyond their mandate to protect the Second Amendment “right to bear arms,” and have nearly skipped across the rocky fence on the shoals of sanity to “the right to arm bears.”

For pushing these insane “concealed carry” and “stand your ground” laws to expand the freedom to bear arms. In the bad old days of the West, many localities were forced to adopt “no guns in town” ordinances, and no one felt that any Sacred Constitutional Rights were being violated.

Alexander Hamilton- Aaron Burr dueling pistols
Final score, Burr 1, Hamilton 0

It was a practical need to keep drunken cowboys from playing with guns, and I don’t know about you, but there is NOTHING in life that scares me more than a drunk with a gun. I’ve worked as a bouncer, and I’ve done security guard work, and I’ve seen a lot of hairy stuff, but there is nothing scarier than a drunk with a gun. Ted Nugent, maybe, but that may well be redundant.

And we need to wonder at the city fathers, who have been so unable to quell crime (here in Eugene, they don’t bother sending police for property crimes, and if somebody smashes in your windows, and steals your car stereo, just call your insurance company, or call the police and get told that) that neighbors are forced to band together in “neighborhood watch”es, to protect their homes and property, and WHAT THE HELL ARE THE POLICE DOING THAT’S MORE IMPORTANT THAN THAT?

It is a fundamental breakdown of the Social Contract. And we need to blame them.

And, if we were unwilling to pay taxes for proper policing, we need to blame ourselves. And if the police feel that they are at “war” with the community they police, we need to blame ourselves and blame the police, TOO.

Or the “zero tolerance” brutality of school rules and regulations all over the country — many, ironically, paranoid reactions to the Thurston, Oregon and Columbine, Colorado school shootings, using those wonderful guns the NRA loves drooling over and stroking lovingly — which had Trayvon Martin on the streets, required by law to be in school, but required by school rules not to be in school for five to ten days (reports vary) for excessive tardiness, or, something — as the Glenn Beck responsible journalists suggest — darker, forgive the inadvertent pun.

How is it in any teenager’s interest to be tossed on the streets with no place to go, sticking out like a sore thumb, automatically suspicious as a school-age kid not in school? And who lets these jerks off the hook?

School is not a privilege. School is a mandated “right” — in the sense that it’s a “right” to go to prison for egregiously breaking the law. Having betrayed the CORE mission of education — which my taxes support, even though I have no children in school — the schools not only do not teach “citizenship” or “civics” or whatever you call our Jeffersonian necessity of an educated and involved populace, without which the Republic DOES NOT FUNCTION — having betrayed that core mission that my taxes are meant to pay for, schools demonstrably don’t seem to be teaching much anything else very well, save for the endless meat-wagons producing the few professional football, basketball and baseball players, and a nation of cripples enriching a very happy Sports Medicine surgical and rehabilitation community.

We need to focus our anger on them.

And we need to focus our anger on gutless state legislators who talk tough — believing themselves to be “cowboy movie” legend Ronald Reagan*, who was only in one Western, and as second-banana to Errol Flynn in “Santa Fe Trail,” which is in the public domain and ought to make for great mashup material — and pass stupid and dangerous laws against women, against public safety, against science and education, against regulation and voting rights, against common sense and reason, so that:

As an unarmed teenage boy criminally betrayed by the ineffectual school system wanders the streets with no place to go, a “neighborhood watch” citizen with death in his hand (thanks to a criminal betrayal by the state legislature) stalks him, because his neighborhood is under siege because the police aren’t doing their job, and the neighbors are literally left to their own devices.

And in this case, the device was death and the senseless destruction of not one, but TWO lives, and pointless sorrow and pain to all those connected with both human beings.

[* As Rick Santorum — who ought to speak the language with some degree of facility before demanding that Puerto Ricans do — styled Ronald Reagan during Santorum’s clueless Gettysburg Address.]

We do not know what the specifics of the case are, but we DO know those who enabled and unknowingly abetted this crime.

For crime it is. And the anger is real.

But anger is not enough.

And, oh yeah, yesterday I bought myself a hoodie.



UPDATE 8:20 AM PDT 24 March: Geraldo Rivera, rather than accepting the scorn of the blogosphere at the absurd “rape defense” (she was wearin’ provocative clothes, so she wuz askin’ fer it!), doubles down in prototypical Faux Nooz™ manner:


His hoodie killed Trayvon Martin as surely as George Zimmerman did.

Remember when my friend and colleague the estimable Juan Williams got fired from NPR for saying that Muslims formally garbed freaked him out at airports? Juan is among America’s sharpest commentators. He wasn’t justifying his reaction, he was copping to it. Maybe shock therapy or a semester of sensitivity training could change it, otherwise It is what it is….

To which one can only shake one’s head and murmur, tastefully: What a dumbass. (And he drags in fellow Faux-holer Juan Williams’ similar scandal, because, I guess, two wrongs make a Rightie.)

Well, he’s certainly found his true journalistic home, at least.

For the generalized racism and hate-speak displayed by Fauxholes, see Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs.


A writer, published author, novelist, literary critic and political observer for a quarter of a quarter-century more than a quarter-century, Hart Williams has lived in the American West for his entire life. Having grown up in Wyoming, Kansas and New Mexico, a survivor of Texas and a veteran of Hollywood, Mr. Williams currently lives in Oregon, along with an astonishing amount of pollen. He has a lively blog His Vorpal Sword. This is cross-posted from his blog.



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About Hart Williams

Mr. Williams grew up in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. He lived in Hollywood, California for many years. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Santa Fe Sun, The Los Angeles Free Press, Oui Magazine, New West, and many, many more. A published novelist and a filmed screenwriter, Mr. Williams eschews the decadence of Hollywood for the simple, wholesome goodness of the plain, honest people of the land. He enjoys Luis Buñuel documentaries immensely.
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