|I live in an ungated suburban complex of townhomes.
Last edited Wed Mar 21, 2012, 06:45 PM USA/ET - Edit history (2)
I've been here since I've moved back home to Michigan in 2008. It's a quiet place and the neighbors, for the most part, are white working class folks, many of whom are originally from within Detroit's city limits like myself.
Macomb County has gone under a demographic and attitudinal transformation over the past 20 years, in that it's become more diverse and a lot less hostile to people of color from across Eight Mile.
Let's say, knowing what I've experienced in this county in my youth, I was pleasantly surprised by the change.
Not once, since my return, have I've been subject to racial stereotyping or racist comments by angry white people. I feel very comfortable when I go out in public and not once have I been subject to an act of discrimination. The local cops seem to have it in for speeders and drunk drivers on the main thoroughfare near my home, but considering that it's right off a freeway off ramp and close to an popular night spot, their vigilance isn't unusual at all. (Macomb is full of speed traps anyway).
I get along with all my neighbors, we all get along and look out for each other.
Now the bad part: Michigan has a Stand Your Ground law much like that of Florida's. This is in place because of the Republican assholes who have run the state legislature for far too long. Concealed carried laws exist here too. Many of the same conditions that led to the senseless death of Trayvon Martin exists here in Michigan.
I'm sure that these same conditions exist in many other places as well in this country. This is not just a "Southern" problem or unique to Florida. This is an American one.
Last year, a friend of mine came by to pick me up to go into town. He's not from Michigan. While he was waiting in his car, he saw one of my neighbors walk into his house with a holstered sidearm in plain view. That sight really disturbed my friend, because he's not used to guns at all. There was no incident, nor was there any confrontation. But the sight of the weapon itself by a person who wasn't used to seeing people carry them openly caused a bit of concern.
One point, I don't doubt that my neighbor is a responsible gun owner, so this is not about guns, per se. It's something else.
The key dynamic missing here from what we have seen in Samford FL is that of George Zimmerman himself. A person full of fear and prejudice who was allowed to practice that fear and prejudice openly and with the tacit support of local law enforcement. Given slight changes to the story, this place where I live could very well be another Sanford FL, or where you live could be another Sanford FL.
We all could be living in Sanford FL.
The death of Trayvon Martin speaks to the conditions that exist in the very psyche of this country. There isn't a place where those conditions can't exist. All you need to do is add fear, prejudice and a happy trigger finger.
If these times don't compel us all to look at ourselves and drive us to find a better way to live with each other, then it'll be an opportunity sadly wasted.
This is a problem for every American to reflect upon and has an obligation to change.