Welcome to THEJNSREPORT’S: The Stand Your Ground Law & It’s Implications
By now everyone in the U.S has probably heard of the Stand Your Ground Law (unless you live under a rock) which was brought to public consciousness with the high profile murder case of George Zimmerman who gunned down 17 year old Trayvon Martin in his father’s neighborhood in Florida back in 2012. George Zimmerman a disgusting excuse for a human-being whose prejudice & racist attitude coupled with the use of the “Stand Your Ground Law” allowed him to basically get away with murdering an African American kid. Make no mistake, a 17 year old is still just a kid. This was a grown man with a hatred of people of color and the desire to become law enforcement who failed to become an officer of the law despite his numerous attempts.
His unhealthy obsession with becoming a police officer drove him to study criminal justice and self defense in particular because he wanted to have a legal means of killing people of color. Despite all the facts of the case America’s stubborn racist mindset and rigged judicial system along with “Lord Voldemort” himself Mark O’Meara convinced a jury that only one person was allowed to use the Stand Your Ground Law when the confrontation occurred between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.
Due to his death at the hands of George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin was unable to testify that he was stalked, attacked, wrestled to the ground as he fought valiantly for his life and ultimately shot at point blank range by George Zimmerman in the dark of night while rain fell.
Without rehashing all the details of that night the implications are clear. If you are a person of color and in particular an African American male/female child or adult, young or old, your life can be taken (without remedy) by anyone be it an ordinary citizen or a police officer. Open season was declared with the not guilty verdict. How did America allow this to happen? The answer is America has always allowed this to happen. Her soil is saturated and drunken full with the blood and bodies of innumerable African American people while the judicial system regards their lost lives as foot notes not worthy of mention and rightfully taken by anyone who sees fit to do so.
People can point to the “holocaust” it’s survivors and the descendants of survivors with empathy and remembrance along with monetary compensation for them to help with their recovery from those concentration camps. Under former President Obama, America gave $12 million dollars to “Jewish” holocaust survivors and/or their descendants. What do people point to when it comes to the innumerable number of African/Afro – American lives lost to slavery, rape, murder, public lynching, Jim Crow, & convict leasing programs not to mention the mass incarceration of Afro-Americans brought on by the Clinton era? Nothing…not a peep.
“Stand Your Ground” is just another legal affront to African American people and should be stricken from the law books. One should not be afforded the protections of Stand Your Ground” when initiating a conflict and then claiming self defense to justify murder. Do you notice when a person of color tries to use “Stand Your Ground” that defense isn’t allowed? What are we to do? As it stands we’re currently damned if we do, double damned if we don’t. Perhaps with backs to the wall the answer is (if there is no legal recourse or protection for African-American people) to arm yourselves anyway. Personally, I think it better to have a chance at self defense than no defense at all. Fuck a system that doesn’t give a shit whether you live or die so long as money can be made off your talents, your labor, your physical body, your life, your property, and your intellect. This onslaught can’t go on unchecked and unchallenged.
What I know from experience is that it’s only when you stand up for yourself that people respect you. What incentive is there to change anything if the people affected aren’t willing to fight for the change?
Welcome to THEJNSREPORT’S: The Cost Of School Bullying
In recent headlines we heard about a student Abel Cedeno from the Bronx who stabbed and killed a fellow student Matthew McCree and critically stabbed another student Ariane Laboy over alleged bullying. The family of the victim Matthew McCree is seeking justice in a city and world that values life (in particular Black life) less and less everyday.
What I heard on the evening news compelled me to write on this because the family of the alleged killer acted as if he was an innocent victim. I heard a man standing with the killer’s mother say on camera that they believe he will be “acquitted” as if he was wrongly charged with the crimes he’s been charged with.
Astonishment overtook my mind hearing those words uttered. We all as children at one point or other in our lives have gone through bullying. However, killing fellow schoolmate (3 years younger mind you) and attempting to kill another can’t be condoned as the answer to bullying.
Growing up in the Bronx and going to High School there, metal detectors was an tacit way of life. I didn’t know what it was like to attend High School and there not be any metal detectors and body search before I even made it to first period. There were warning signs prior to this tragic turn of events. What disturbs me even more was the killer’s sexuality was brought up as a valid justification for his willful act of committing murder and attempted murder.
If we as a society can use the excuse that one’s sexuality ought to be justification for the taking of another’s life then anyone can use that as a defense. For example what if the family of this 18 year old were on the other side of this and their son’s life would have been taken by a “heterosexual” student? Would we be saying that this killing was acceptable? Would they be happy to hear someone say they believe their son’s killer would be “acquitted” of all charges? Sexual orientation was a part of this tragic tale but shouldn’t be the main focal point. Bullying and it’s repercussions should be the focus as well as accountability. Our choices as human beings matter.
Another point worth mentioning is that students who attended school with both the killer and his victims have said he was bullied by other students not necessarily the victim Matthew McCree who was also 3 years younger than his killer Abel Cedeno. The local news reported that Abel Cedeno’s lawyer said this was a case of self defense. I’m wondering what scenario (or lie) they’ll tell to try and justify this case of murder and attempted murder.
What message does this send to the rest of the kids in school if he’s not held accountable for his choices and actions? Reducing the charges of murder against Abel Cedeno is just the latest slap in the face of black people across the country. This should be a slap in the face of all America when we say kids killing kids is not okay nor should it be justified away. I wonder now what Matthew McCree would say in his own defense if he were alive to tell us what Abel did to him.
We’re still looking to the sky for answers and strength but at some point if things don’t change, and if people aren’t held accountable for their actions, we won’t see heads bowed or eyes looking to the sky any more. We’ll see blank stares and hearts of solid ice acting in retribution because their voices aren’t heard and/or don’t seem to matter to this world. Their lives are being taken for granted.
Self defense has become the defacto code word for “hey he was just a N….. or some black guy/kid, what’s the big deal?” Then comes the character assassination to add insult to injury and devastation. This is a case of ultimately one kid killing another younger kid in perhaps misplaced anger and frustration but does that mean we excuse it simply due to age or sexual orientation?
In what will go down in history as the most effective and blatant modern-day fleecing of America outside of the Federal Reserve & “Income Tax”, Floyd “Money” Mayweather & Conor McGregor demonstrated to the entire world yet and still, why America is the greatest nation on earth. Mayweather & McGregor gave the fans of both MMA & Professional Boxing what they wanted to see.
All the subplots attached matter least when we take into account that those subplots would never have come to fruition if the amount of money to be made didn’t rival that of the largest fight purse ever to date. McGregor, I believe truly believed his physical talents from his MMA career would be more than enough to beat the undefeated and aged legend Floyd “Money” Mayweather.
After having watched the fight for a second time from start to finish its abundantly clear that the viewing public were willfully had. Yes this fight was more entertaining because it went longer than anticipated. Mayweather also fought counter to his known defensive brilliance walking Conor McGregor down while taking his best shots & not being phased. He did show however, that the 2 year layoff as well as “Father Time” had indeed caught up with him to a certain degree. Floyd turning has back repeatedly to McGregor had myself & family scratching our heads if not screaming at the TV, “What the hell are you doing Floyd?!”
Skip Bayless thought (much like all the classic stereotypical haters of greatness in their delusional world) that McGregor would have beaten Floyd if not for stamina issues. Last time I checked stamina is part of fighting and the book was already out on McGregor that if you can get him fatigued he isn’t as invincible as he seems. The “game plan” Mayweather Sr. & Junior pulled off shows everyone yet again just how brilliant and beyond his contemporaries Floyd actually is.
Floyd didn’t need to train as hard as say for a Tripe G or Canelo but against a novice boxer 12 years his junior known as a “Knockout Artist”, He slowed down enough to make Conor McGregor appear far more competitive than he actually would have been had he fought Floyd several years ago. Despite his slowing down at 40 years of age Mayweather’s stamina was vastly superior to that of McGregor who literally had to be saved from being put down on his “shield” by a vintage Mayweather drubbing in which McGregor could only stagger and absorb shot after unanswered shot to the face with Floyd prepared to grant McGregor his wish.
Pride, money, and legacy were all on the line for Mayweather who stood the most to lose but the most to gain with another staggering Mollywop of a pay-day looming for dispatching a cross promotional fighter of legends from two different worlds of combat sports. Where else could such a spectacle take place in which both combatants would be paid well in excess of $100 million each?
The blueprint of “Money” Mayweather will be studied for years to come and whether another superstar fighter is able to capitalize to the extent that Floyd “Money” Mayweather has remains to be seen. One thing appears to be sure at least if you believe Mayweather’s post fight interview in which he stated that was his last fight. He pulls of his final heist as a master class lesson on boxing and saunters off into the sunset having accomplished his goal of 50 and 0 with more total prize money won than any other athlete in the history of sports to date without any endorsements to speak of.
Haters will decry this last fight as a “farce” because they didn’t get to see their ultimate wet dream come to fruition i.e Floyd losing a boxing match. Fight fans and purists will recognize that this was everything they hyped it up for and worth every penny charged especially when considering how much they hated the Mayweather – Pacquiao fight.
Lastly, everybody won. The fans won getting to see the fight they wanted in a timely fashion. Mayweather won both at the bank and inside the ring. McGregor won with his largest pay day ever outside the sport that’s made him internationally famous & wealthy even though he lost the fight. Boxing won because for now the argument about whether an MMA fighter could beat a professional boxer in the boxing ring has been definitively answered, and the IRS won because they will receive their cut of all that generated fight revenue plus the back taxes owed.
MMA fighters won because they now have another avenue opened up to them to make potentially way more money fighting at another discipline if things don’t work out in MMA. It’ll mirror WWE wrestlers who ended up leaving the WWE to pursue a career in MMA. Either way it seems everybody won. Again I ask you where else could such things happen? Answer… only in America.
Welcome to THEJNSREPORT’S: THE HIGHER EDUCATION GAME
Years ago when my siblings and I were growing up, we were told that the way to get ahead in life and avoid jail was to follow the paradigm of go to school, get good grades and a good education. This would lead to a decent if not well paying job in order to support yourself and your family. College was something I heard mixed reviews about. Some said that it was too expensive and the focus of our generation should be on learning a trade skill where one could earn an average to above average salary working with one’s hands.
Others said studies show that a college degree would allow it’s holder to earn upwards of 4 to 10x the earnings of a non college graduate over the course of a career. It seemed like the logical choice was clear unless you took into account the socio – economic background of the person seeking upward mobility. America is the land of opportunity no doubt, but there are rules and systems in place that don’t necessarily allow for a level playing field where the brightest, or best, or most talented thrive.
The trap or dilemma I thought about most as a young adult preparing to enter the world of the working class was based on what industry I wanted to enter and knowing there was an opportunity cost. The opportunity cost basically said “If you choose this path, this is the amount of debt you will owe which inherently makes you a slave to whichever profession you choose. This is because unlike unsecured debt, a student loan has to be repaid and can’t be gotten rid off simply by declaring bankruptcy.
The way I see higher education today it’s nothing more than a giant racket and the costs continue to sky rocket. What happens when a student assumes too much debt and decides the career path they had chosen previously they no longer want to pursue? There’s a huge decision to be made no doubt. Either enter the profession chosen and spend the first five years (at least ) of your immediate future repaying student loans until you can actually start saving all those payments and interest, or choose another path and potentially owe for the rest of your life a massive student loan debt that follows you everywhere you go affecting everything you have a need to apply for be it housing, a car, or anything requiring a credit check.
Thinking down the line it became clear that once you become engrained in a culture five or even ten years in, the likelihood of you switching careers or the desire to leave would be lost to routine, comfort and being settled. This doesn’t mean that change won’t happen. It can happen whether we’re prepared for it or not. A company can go out of business or an industry can relocate over seas. Either way it will force those of us affected to pick up the pieces and figure out the next phase of life. One thing I’ve come to understand is this, no matter how educated or prepared we think we are at various stages of life, things can and do change. I think we can never stop learning and never stop looking for ways to gain knowledge without paying through the nose for it.
Welcome to THEJNSREPORT’S: Power Dynamics A Hypothetical Exercise
Recently, while having a brief discussion about the roles of the sexes in society and throughout history, a question was posed in which it was asked what would happen if roles were reversed between men and women in a corporate environment with women as the predominant sex and in every key position of authority?
What effect would that have on men? I immediately thought the results would be the same as when men are the predominant sex. All the negatives that come with a corruption of power would be the same as they are with men. This is because I fundamentally believe that all human beings are fallible.
Not a single one of us is above reproach or incapable of corruption. It is what it means to be human, to make mistakes, to become seduced by power. My friend who posed the question, suggested that I’d be wrong and that it’s more likely that women would have the ability to get men to tap into their feminine side more and be more compassionate and thereby would be better leaders in the roles traditionally held by men.
I admit it sounds appealing to wholeheartedly believe that. However, it’s not practical because power in anyone’s hands male or female is capable of corrupting them more often than not. I asserted I knew this from personal experience working in a corporate environment in which I, as a male was the sex in the minority employed there. I saw power exercised when wielded by women was in fact no different than how it is wielded in a male dominant corporate environment.
Would there be sexual harassment in a women dominant office? Yes. Would there be targeting of one of the few males working in the entire office? Yes. In my opinion power is transcendent of sex.
What do you think? Would women do better than men if the roles were reversed?
This past February THEJNSREPORT was blessed with the opportunity to visit our beloved mother in Florida and celebrate her milestone 70th Birthday. What a special blessing it was to see the greatest example in our lives of perseverance, selflessness, sacrifice, discipline, dedication, wisdom, intelligence, love and strength reach her 70th year.
Sitting at her breakfast table eating meals she prepared for us while listening to mom recount moments in life in which God answered prayers and helped her lead our family through some tremendously difficult times left us in awe of the woman we know as our mother. I mean I could have been a total stranger listening to the various stories she had for us from times in our childhood we may or may not have remembered and still would be in awe of her. We were just amazed at how far she came to where she is now and how strong of a person she is to hold our family together.If you are fortunate enough to have your family especially your parents, tell them that you love them and how much they mean to you as often as you can. Save the most precious memories of the times spent together to reminisce on as time goes by. We love you mom and are so grateful to God that he gave us you as our mother. Long live the Queen!
For most people lets face it MLK Jr. Day has become a day in which not a lot of emphasis is really put on celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s life.
It’s a day where the kids get to be home from school relishing a 3 day weekend of binging on junk food, watching TV, playing video games, and/or going to the movies while the mainstream media plays either an excerpt or the entire “I have a Dream” speech (depending on the network) in remembrance of Dr. King.
Most people say a few words about how great the “I have a Dream” speech is and was and what the dream speech means today. As a black man living in NYC modern day I see that the dream still hasn’t been realized and I’m not sure that it ever will be just based on the past few years happenings.
As a black man living in a “post MLK Jr. America” I keep thinking about the lack of leadership we have in the black community today. At the same time I wonder why is it that America so readily celebrates MLK Jr. but acts as if Malcolm X never existed or shouldn’t be in the same breath as MLK Jr. Personally I believe we should be celebrating both of these iconic black leaders not just one.
We can agree that both of these great men were critical to the mindset of waking up the world to the plight of black people living the daily grind and constant uphill battle facing us as a nation and people living in a country that practices the opposite of what it preaches. From slavery, to segregation, to Jim Crow, to Civil Rights Era, to modern day slavery reincarnated as the American Prison Industrial Complex the reality is America still is what it always was.
The reason why MLK Jr. is celebrated is because he was the less threatening of the two leaders within the black community. The belief that passive nonviolence would eventually overcome the atrocities we face continually, while being told to wait for justice that almost never comes, was more appealing than a man waking up to the reality of his plight in a system that is designed around his oppression, suppression, theft of his property, ignorance of his/her rights & labor being supplied without the commensurate compensation if at all.
Malcolm X’s “By any means necessary” meant there would be active resistance when necessary in the defense and protection of one’s life, family and/or property. History has shown that nothing has ever been achieved through just passivity alone. It takes action, it takes being willing to die for the rights and freedoms this country is supposed to afford all it’s citizens even if that fight is against fellow citizens who refuse to acknowledge that not just they, but all of human beings deserve the same respect and rights afforded to some.
Tell us what’s really changed since the days of MLK Jr. and Malcolm X with regards to the plight of black people living in America today.
We watched in horror as a cowardly low life cop wannabe reject got away with the murder of a 17 year old Trayvon Martin using a law that only afforded the killer (Zimmerman) the application of the law of stand your ground. The victim’s last screams for help were stolen as was his young life and claimed by his killer George Zimmerman to bolster claims of self defense. No weight was given to the fact that Zimmerman was in fact the aggressor or that Trayvon Martin also had a right to stand his ground. The only problem was there no video evidence to show us what exactly happened and the knowledge of the law and the media vilification of a 17 year old allowed a murderer to go free recast as the actual victim. This is some America.
We watched in horror as the news media showed the bullet riddled body of a young 18 year old Michael Brown Jr. laying dead in the street of Ferguson, MO for at least several hours. The officer responsible for his killing able to lie and give an account of what he said led to him shooting an unarmed teenager as many times as he did when he was in no threat of danger to himself. Eyewitnesses were dismissed as confused or mistaken as to what actually happened and with no video to show the public of his tragic last moments, both the judicial systems refusal to indict an officer and the power of the blue wall protecting their own once again meant there would be no justice.
We watched as another officer shot a 12 year old Tamir Rice to death literally in 2 seconds based off some asshole calling the police acting as if a child playing with a toy gun was a grown man walking around brandishing a real gun. We watched as Freddie Gray’s spine was severed at the hands of the police in Baltimore before he was loaded into the back of a police van. They claimed he had a weapon when he was arrested and was arrested for simply running when he saw those who would ultimately take his life.
The fact that he ran was used as justification for his arrest and subsequent death. They can claim he broke his neck inside that van all they want but the video showing his arrest clearly shows he was unable to stand up on his own two feet let alone walk as he was dragged in obvious agony to the back of a police van before he was loaded inside.
The accounts of the officers as far as what transpired after he was inside the van we can take with a grain of salt. Cops lie and routinely lie especially when it comes to their accounts of what happens when they interact with the public at large. The prosecutor Mosby never had a chance to get justice for Freddie Gray because there is no independent prosecutor to prosecute police officers when they run afoul of the law themselves.
They are above the law and every time they kill a citizen of the U.S in unjustifiable cold blood and they aren’t prosecuted and found guilty, reinforces the idea that the police are above the law. They not only get paid leave after they kill, they get to go home spend time with their families, and whine about how unfair their treatment is by the media and anyone questioning them. Meanwhile they continue to have jobs afterward and probably get promoted.
We watched as police officers murdered Eric Garner on video and no one was punished for his death even though there was clear video evidence of wrong doing. No indictments. How does that work?
We watched as a police officer Michael Slager murdered Walter Scott on video unbeknownst to the officer who then planted a taser on or next to Scott’s body after he shot him to death to claim Scott went for his taser so he had to shoot him. Without that video from a bystander we would only have heard the officers account and the public as well as the judicial system would have believed the officer. As for the victim Walter Scott, his account wouldn’t be believed even if he had lived to tell it without video corroborating it.
We watched as the killer of Jordan Davis (Michael Dunn) got convicted not for his murder but for the attempted murder of his three surviving friends. How crazy is that? Even the ballistics showed Michael Dunn a liar and was not in any imminent threat of grave bodily harm from the teenagers he met and exchanged words with over loud music. They were all unarmed young black teenagers and tragically one of them lost his life and received no justice. Save for his friends surviving, Michael Dunn would be free today just like George Zimmerman.
We watched in horror as the news reports came out about the historical Black Church Massacre in South Carolina where Dylan Roof murdered nine congregation members including the pastor of the church after sitting among them for over an hour. His motivations were clear and that he was able to not only walk away alive after committing the heinous acts he did but was rewarded with Burger King tells us everything we need to know about America. I’ve yet to hear of a case in which a black suspect is wanted for killing that many people and is taken first of all ALIVE, and secondly to Burger King to eat afterwards courtesy of law enforcement. Roof’s conviction and death penalty sentence is one glimmer of hope for an ocean of black victims still waiting for justice.
We witnessed all these things while America watched it’s first Black President at the end of his second and final term in office. I can’t even recall a memorable speech the outgoing president made with all these killings of unarmed black people by fellow citizens and/or police alike. The only one that comes immediately to mind is the president saying if he had a son he would look like Trayvon Martin. It’s that kind of Duh moment that just leaves one shaking his/her head like What? As January 20th rapidly approaches and America ushers in the Trump Era I think it sufficient to say we have very far to go if we’ll ever see dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. realized. I don’t think I’ll live to see it come to fruition in my life time.