David Simon, the man behind "The Wire" and "Treme," has often commented on social and political matters, and his latest offering is as sharply worded as one would expect given the gravity of the situation. In a new blog post, Simon delineates his rage that George Zimmerman was acquitted of the murder of Trayvon Martin.
"You can stand your ground if you’re white, and you can use a gun to do it," Simon writes. "But if you stand your ground with your fists and you’re black, you’re dead."
"In the state of Florida, the season on African-Americans now runs year round," he adds. "If I were a person of color in Florida, I would pick up a brick and start walking toward that courthouse in Sanford." Simon notes that the fact that there haven't been widespread riots or acts of retaliatory violence in the wake of the verdict is proof that "these citizens are testament to a stoic tolerance that is more than the rest of us deserve."
Simon joined a growing number of entertainment heavyweights who denounced the verdict. Stevie Wonder announced he would not perform in Florida -- nor any other state in which Stand Your Ground laws are on the books. (There are at least 22 states that have similar laws, though they vary in the latitude afforded to the person making the defense.)
Beyonce called for a moment of silence in honor of Trayvon Martin at a concert that took place just as the verdict was coming down. Rihanna took to Instagram to claim that "the system is and has always been phucked."
You can stand your ground if you’re white, and you can use a gun to do it. But if you stand your ground with your fists and you’re black, you’re dead.
In the state of Florida, the season on African-Americans now runs year round. Come one, come all. And bring a handgun. The legislators are fine with this blood on their hands. The governor, too. One man accosted another and when it became a fist fight, one man — and one man only — had a firearm. The rest is racial rationalization and dishonorable commentary.
If I were a person of color in Florida, I would pick up a brick and start walking toward that courthouse in Sanford. Those that do not, those that hold the pain and betrayal inside and somehow manage to resist violence — these citizens are testament to a stoic tolerance that is more than the rest of us deserve. I confess, their patience and patriotism is well beyond my own.
Behold, the lewd, pornographic embrace of two great American pathologies: Race and guns, both of which have conspired not only to take the life of a teenager, but to make that killing entirely permissible. I can’t look an African-American parent in the eye for thinking about what they must tell their sons about what can happen to them on the streets of their country. Tonight, anyone who truly understands what justice is and what it requires of a society is ashamed to call himself an American.