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In essence you can be safe in America as a young black man... as long as you are not too "street" even as a teen, even if it's just clothes and a little rap music.

13 year old Darius Simmons was a 6th grader, while moving a garbage can in front of his home his neighbor, 75 year old John Henry Spooner confronted him with a shotgun and accused him of stealing from Mr. Spooner's home. Darius, who was in school the time of the robbery, denied being involved with the theft. John Henry Spooner then shot Darius in his chest, while his hands were raised.

After police arrived, Darius’ body remained on the sidewalk while police questioned his mother, Patricia Larry, in a squad car for approximately two hours.

During the police investigation of the shooting, they searched Ms. Larry’s home. Finding nothing, they proceeded to arrest Darius' older brother for having truancy tickets.

John Spooner was granted a $300,000 bail, (only $30,000 would have to be posted for him to be free). Bail is uncommon when the charge is murder in the first degree.

This all took place in 2012 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Mr. Spooner's trial is to begin next month.

See what I mean? A backwards hat! Forget it!

Oh, and you need to not make any sudden moves, respond to all potential "Authority" figures (even those with no license under the law to have authority over you... OK who are we kidding: White Men) with the utmost deference. You must not resist or "give them any lip" ... might even help to call them "sir" or "officer" as needed. I'd also suggest "massa'" but they'll think you are mocking them so don't go with that one even though it's the same basic principle. Keep your head down. Move meekly. Do as they ask. Furthermore, you must be perfect an honors student with no goofy friends who use street slang, no suspensions, heck no detentions-- because anything "bad" about you invalidates your claim to walking freely without being shot. And your claim to defending yourself.

Even then it might not be enough.

Maybe Professor Gates gave too much lip? Maybe that striped polo shirt is the only reason he is alive today!
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Comment Preferences

  •  "How will I keep him safe?" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Move to Hawaii , things are different there .

    The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. David Morrison

    by indycam on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 09:29:18 AM PDT

  •  This is a shame in America that (4+ / 0-)

    such diaries are necessary to protect our youth...
    I applaud your efforts but deeply ashamed that it has to be posted.   The right to freedom of expression is just void in these cases.   Civil rights just thrown to the wind.  Again, I am ashamed.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 09:33:31 AM PDT

  •  *unintelligible roar of rage* (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    futurebird, Praxical, Calamity Jean

    Aside from the horrible racism/profiling/crazy old white dude with a gun/a SIXTH GRADER GETTING MURDERED aspect of this, what makes me so livid is this American obsession with our things, and how it's okay to kill people over our stuff.  Literally, in this case, garbage, because I have no idea what else the guy could have thought Simmons would be taking from him if he's rolling a garbage can onto the curb. I'm okay with self-defense if it's true self-defense, or if you're defending another person's life. But if it's just the junk you've accumulated over your miserable life, call the goddamned cops and sit the fuck down. Jesus.

    @micaelalee But only slightly. MT @DorothyParker I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

    by micaela g on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 10:09:59 AM PDT

  •  This applies widely. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Yes, it's most obvious and dangerous to YBM, but any and all people of difference are at risk in this culture, moreso than in the past millenium. Being gay or trans, being a stoner, being "Mexican" (which means any flavor of Hispanic), being poor, especially a poor woman, you can be wounded or killed with impunity.
    And this trial demonstrates just how little recourse you have if you are on the downside of that kind of event.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 10:14:36 AM PDT

  •  Move to Canada? nt (0+ / 0-)

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 10:17:14 AM PDT

  •  The trial begins today (0+ / 0-)

    Opening arguments begin in John Spooner trial

    Again a crazy guy who should not have a gun, probably another white racist and complete misbehavior and incompetence by the cops.

    Uncanny timing.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 10:18:00 AM PDT

  •  Nobody is safe in the United States. (0+ / 0-)

    40,000 people are killed in vehicular "accidents" every year. Even though only 10.8% of all trips (people going from point A to point B) are made on foot, 13.5% of those deaths involving vehicles are of pedestrians. People are getting run over by cars on a continual basis and this despite the fact that people perambulating is forbidden along many roads and highways.
    If one considers that liberty is intimately related to mobile creatures going where it suits them, then the residents of the U.S. do not enjoy liberty. No longer is it be possible for people on foot to traverse the whole continent. Cages on wheels are now the accepted mode of transport. Jaywalking is against the law because people who own a car or have hired one have property rights, which trump human rights, and always have.
    If Zimmerman had simply run over Martin and said he couldn't see him in the dark, there would have been a lot less fuss and bother.
    I am not sure the racial explanation is helpful. There might be some consolation to the relatives in thinking that their skin pigmentation over which they have no control is to blame. But this explanation does nothing to make people outfitted with lethal weapons (cars and guns) more careful in their interactions with other people.
    Why do we dismiss vehicular deaths as accidental?  Because having the majority of the population encased in cages on wheels is consistent with the culture of obedience.  After all, the license to drive is conditioned on a driver being agreeable to being stopped at any place and any time and required to show his papers. Not to mention that vehicles are closely restricted as to where they can travel, despite being "sold" via advertisements in which cars cross streams and end up on mountain tops.
    That young people are wishing up and no longer acquiring cars at the rate they used to is not good news for the culture of obedience. Even "stop and frisk" has not succeeded in persuading young people to stay off the streets. Instead OWS has made being a pedestrian into a civil action.
    Dubya was right when he said the U.S. is an ownership society. Owning things, including other people, has always served as a sop to distract from the fact that human rights are ignored.
    We don't need an equal rights amendment. We need a guarantee that human rights will be respected, at least by our agents of government.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 10:49:39 AM PDT

    •  "I am not sure the racial explanation is helpful." (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      I'm certain ignoring race is unhelpful.

      I generally agree with you about the violence of cars. But that has nothing to do with what I'm writing about here.

      I'm writing about the impact of racism. Not some generalized angst over the violence of American culture.


  •  emigrate to another country (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    unfortunately, I only see things getting worse in the short term.

    As the angry WASP male demographic shrinks, they will get angrier at their perceived loss of the privileges they believed to be their God-given right as real 'Merikans (the non-white, non- Anglo-Saxon, non-male, non-Protestant contingent doesn't count) and they will lash out ever more violently.

    They know their time running the show is over, and it makes them desperate. Desperate to keep those they see as their natural inferiors under their thumb, by whatever means necessary. Force is the only thing they know--to them the world is a dangerous place, and it is kept in order by using overwhelming force against anything they fear.

    This man no doubt felt an existential threat to his America--what with an ever-more-diverse demographic, culminating in the election of a black president--and Darius Simmons became the physical embodiment of that threat, who had (no doubt in his mind) dared to deprive him of his hard-earned property. So he struck back against that threat by blowing away a kid who was taking out the garbage, who had his hands up and was probably scared shitless.

    There must be hundreds of stories like Darius Simmons', and Trayvon Martin's, all across America every year. Probably many of them go unreported or uninvestigated. If this helps raise awareness of the problem, even a little bit, among the comfortable, complacent majority, then maybe some small good will have come out of Darius Simmons' death.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 11:10:26 AM PDT

  •  Stay out of black neighborhoods (0+ / 0-)

    where almost all young black men get shot in America

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 05:16:21 PM PDT

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