In February 2012, neighbourhood watchman George Zimmerman shot and killed an unarmed black teenager by the name of Trayvon Martin. A year and a half later, a jury, acquits Zimmerman on the grounds that they believe it was self defence, in one sense, acting as his accomplice. We all know the story.
What we don’t really talk about is that along with the racial element of this tragedy exists an economic and public policy one. What neither side of the debate seems to mention is that the housing crisis and subsequent recession had a lot to do with why this happened in the first place. Recall that Zimmerman’s reasoning for calling the police that evening was in large part due to burglaries that had occured in the neighbourhood. Zimmerman reasoned that since the alleged burglars were black males, that this black male in question just had to be one of them. Setting aside the fact that such was not the case (absolutely no evidence ever came to light that Martin had committed any crimes in the neighbourhood), we can infer that the burglaries were strongly connected to the fact that the Retreat at Twin Lakes had many vacant homes, a direct result of the housing crisis and Great Recession that begin in 2007/2008.
Anatole Kaletsky’s Capitalism 4.0 , a spot on analysis of what caused the international credit crisis, reveals to us that the housing collapse was a result of deregulatory practices pushed by conservatives and Republicans, thereby ending the “Great Moderation”, when economic Keynesianism had a grip on the economy and shielded us from this kind of crap.
Combine this with good old Republican/conservative racism; no sane person can believe that Zimmerman would have found a young white male with blond hair and blue eyes “suspicious”, their penchant for all inclusive gun ownership; Zimmerman had a prior record that should have disqualified him from owning a concealed weapon, and their paranoia reflected in their insistence on the need for vague and inane “Stand Your Ground” laws, and it’s very easy to decipher the social ills that led up to this tragic event and many others like it.
I am thoroughly convinced that had right wing policies not been allowed to make a mess out of our country, Trayvon Martin would still be alive today. I wonder how many others have died because we let stupid people like the Tea Party be taken seriously by other stupid people who can’t handle racial, religious, or cultural differences.