If it ever were to become necessary for me to shoot someone, I sure do hope that that person has colorless skin, has no sex, nor sexual preference, and no nationality, belongs to no socio-economic class, has no political affiliations, and belongs to no religious or non-religious or even irreligious group, has no family, friends, coworkers, employer or employees, or acquaintances, and is neither homeless nor lives in a particularly controversial or racially-charged place, nor on either side of the tracks, and has no beliefs, habits, or heritage whatsoever against which one might suffer temptation to take offense, including, but not limited to a criminal record, morally questionable behavior, tattoos, sectarian clothing or regalia, socially-identifiable music, a lawn taller than allowed by the local ordinance, or any hairstyle that I’m not already on the record as liking.
And I hope that nobody is running for office at the time, and that it doesn’t happen on a slow news day, or at a time when some t-shirt and poster company’s sales are low, or when a failing newspaper is looking for one last hurrah. And I hope that at that time, there are no rebels shopping for causes, no celebrities in need of attention, no general public unrest, and that all of those people who seem to be at their happiest when they are upset about something are overseas on vacation. And I hope it doesn’t happen on anybody’s property, or in their town, county, state, country, or hemisphere—and that it happens completely without audio or video record, and without witnesses.
Otherwise, if any of the things above were to happen, there would be an awful lot of people who could stand to profit in some way or other from the whole affair—at my considerable expense.
And should that time come, I hope that I can somehow prove in my own defense that I have no convictions of any kind, nor heritage nor tradition, nor habit of philosophy—and especially, above all things, no history of ever having made any comment showing that I believe in the rule of law, in justice, in self defense, in education, in logic, in truth, in putting the cap back on the toothpaste, in not exiting through the entrance, or in any other such far-fetched and controversial thing. I hope that I can show that I have never criticized anybody for being wrong, or for being right, or for having no opinion at all, or for having too strong an opinion, or for any other reason, except, of course, for the very act of criticizing itself, which criticism seems to enjoy such popular support today. And I hope that I can prove that I have never stooped so low as to “judge” anyone in any way whatsoever, including the sinister act of directly observing obvious facts about the person, whether tall or short, patient or impatient, standing or sitting, friendly or unfriendly, and most certainly, whether endangering my life or not endangering my life. Basically, I will want to show that I am utterly free from both idea and thought so as to be uncontroversial in the extreme.
I hope that I can prove that I didn’t cross the line by “profiling” or “hating” or being “prejudiced”or, most especially, by already having my mind made up that justifiable homicide is, well, justifiable. And I’ll need to prove that I have never once imagined being assailed, nor what I might and should do on such occasion, and that I formulated neither a plan nor a philosophy on the question before the event of the shooting. Oh, and I’ll need to show that I do not like guns, have never fired or touched a gun before, do not own a gun, and that I have no idea how that gun got into my hands because I’m not an evil gun-loving person.
And I’ll have to prove that I am completely without the base and ugly human alarms that naturally arise in the hearts and minds of unenlightened people when they view others who are acting threateningly or suspiciously. Naturally, anyone would be right to assume at the onset that my heart is filled with all manner of vile and practically-premeditated evils, and that the event of the shooting offers a just opportunity to prosecute me for these evils that, in their minds, are actually more to be reviled than the shooting itself!
And finally, should such occasion ever befall me, I’ll have to find a way to become colorless myself. And sexless. Neither fat nor skinny, short nor tall. Otherwise, my guilt would be fairly obvious, to be sure. This will require some further thought, however, as the means of such a transformation escapes me at present.
So, anyway, I really hope I’ll be able to prove that I’m innocent of all such things, to the full satisfaction of any and all comers who take a notion to declare that they have a horse in this race. And if not that, I hope I can serve my country by providing in the whole affair the type of riveting entertainment to which they have become so accustomed. It would not be my first choice of outcomes for my life, of course, but it appears that nothing is so valuable here as this sort of 24/7 drama. So perhaps I’ve underestimated the societal value of the occasional sacrifice for the greater good.
They say that America is the land of opportunity. And now we see just what a great number of opportunities are afforded to so many by one single pull of a trigger! With all this excitement, just imagine the frenzy that would ensue if something really meaningful were to happen–such as our if our government were to exceed its lawful powers!
No, wait. Actually we don’t get in a frenzy about lawless government here. Nor about the constant and growing infringements on our rights. But there are lots of folks, it seems, who are sitting on ready, waiting for just such an event as the Martin/Zimmerman case to use as a stage upon which to make their appeals afresh to our already-tired society.
NOTE: Now that you’re read this post, let me point out that it is a commentary on our society, and not on the facts of the Martin/Zimmerman case. Knowing that people tend to see in a post what they want to see, I’m sure that many are tempted to take this post as either supporting or offending their favorite “side” in this case. I have argued neither for or against either. It is foolish to argue that case before the facts have been established.