Monday, July 15, 2013

George Zimmerman Trial--Sign of the Apocalypse? You Decide.

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I don't know about all of you, but I write as many of my blog posts for the coming week over the weekend as I can. Today I thought I'd talk about something that's been so heavily prevalent in the news: the George Zimmerman trial.

Originally, I was going to write about how this sensationalized trial might be indicative of how our society is headed toward dystopia.

There are a lot of polarizing elements to this case. Whether or not you believe Zimmerman should have been brought to trial, the fact remains that he wouldn't have been, based on what happened, if a liberal in sheep's clothing hadn't cried racist. This was a textbook case of self-defense and the fact that charges were even filed is farcical. 

There were a lot of things that disturbed me about how this case was handled. In terms of a possible dystopia on the horizon, the thing that bothered me most was the role the media played in it. Does it bother anyone else that the media, an entity responsible for reporting the news, whether judicial, political, or criminal, actually managed to change how the case was handled, tried, perceived, and even the normal protocol that should have been followed? That's a whole lot of power for an entity that cannot be easily defined, specified, or made accountable for their actions.

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Sounds a whole lot like the beginnings of a dystopian government to me. 

Let's talk about dystopian literature for a minute. What is the one common thread that runs through every dystopian story, tying it together as a genre? It's the presence of a government, state, or entity that denies basic freedoms to its citizens.

Most of us can define basic freedoms fairly easily, but I'd like to point something out. 

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When drafting the Declaration of Independence, our forefathers laid out a list of grievances they had and rights they wanted. These were the reasons they were revolting and had decided to put together their own constitution for our great country. They close it as follows: 

"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."

In the Constitution, they state that all men have unalienable, god-given rights including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

In Joseph Conrad's immortal Heart of Darkness, he goes into a discussion about how dispassionate apathy is. He makes the point--in a roundabout way--that fighting to live is the most passionate act we as human beings can be part of. Without passion, we wouldn't care enough to fight, but all of us fight back when we are attacked, don't we?

Seeing a pattern here? Fighting for the right to live, to keep breathing, is our first and most basic right. It's an act that makes us human; that makes us free. It's also the act that Zimmerman was put on trial for.

I'm sorry for the doomsday feel of this post. Originally it was going to be all kinds of gloomy as I illustrated the ways in which this case shows how quickly we're heading for dystopia. But then, just as I was preparing to write it on Saturday night, the verdict came back: Not guilty on all counts. 

While I am EXTREMELY happy on Zimmerman's behalf, it did kind of take the wind out of my post.

Now, I am well aware that plenty of people will disagree with me about this trial. It's a very polarizing issue and that's okay. I respect every person's right to their own opinions. But the fact remains that Zimmerman killed another man defending himself, and was put on trial and dragged through the mud for it. That's terrifying to me. If we cannot take a stance in defense of our own lives, how can we defend our families or our other freedoms?

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So many of us in the bookish, business, and academic communities preach forward thinking, overcoming our fears, taking risks and positive actions, and standing out in the crowd. Zimmerman could have stayed in his house that night, but when he saw what he thought might possibly be a threat to the neighborhood it was his job to patrol, he took positive action to keep his neighbors and community safe. And he was punished for it. Of course it ended in a situation that was terribly tragic all around, one that ideally should be avoided. But we don't live in an ideal world, and to punish people for taking action to protect what they hold sacred is to encourage fear of the world around us. Do we, as a society, really want to risk living like that?

Perhaps we ought to consider the possibility that dystopia may consist as much of ethical things being punished as it will of unethical things being allowed.

The tagline of my dystopian series is: Stand out or fade away... This case is an awesome example of encouraging fear, silence and non-action, and the only thing that can lead to is mediocrity. These are not the principles America--or any freedom, for that matter--was founded on.

Thank goodness our justice system is still functioning at it's core, even if it did take a while to get there. Maybe we're not standing over the chasm of dystopia quite yet.

What are your feelings about the Zimmerman verdict?
(I fully realize that this is a potentially divisive and polarizing post, and that many people may disagree with what I've said. Please feel free to leave your feelings here, even they are in opposition to mine. I will not discriminate against you for your opinions. I may disagree with you, but I believe in fighting like hell for our god-given rights, including freedom of speech.)



In a world where collective hives are enslaving the population and individuals have been hunted to the verge of extinction, Maggie Harper, and independent 21st Century woman, must find the strength to preserve the freedom of the future, but without the aid of her memories.

After experiencing a traumatic time loss, Maggie is plagued by a barrage of images she can't explain. When she's attacked by a creep with a spider's web tattoo, she is saved by Marcus, a man she's never met, but somehow remembers. He tells her that both he and her creepy attacker are from a future in which individuals are being murdered by collectives, and Marcus is part of the rebellion. The collectives have acquired time travel and they plan to enslave the human race throughout all of history. The flashes Maggie has been seeing are echoes of lost memories, and the information buried deep within them is instrumental in defeating the collective hives.

In order to preserve the individuality of mankind, Maggie must try to re-discover stolen memories, re-kindle friendships she has no recollection of, and wade through her feelings for the mysterious Marcus, all while dodging the tattooed assassins the collectives keep sending her way.

If Maggie can't fill the holes in her memory and find the answers to stop the collectives, the world both in her time and in all ages past and future will be doomed to enslavement in the grey, mediocre collectives. As the danger swirls around her and the collectives close in, Maggie realizes she must make a choice: stand out or fade away...

7 comments :

  1. It was not his job to patrol. Zimmerman thought of himself as "the law" this man was not "the law" he saw someone who "looked like he shouldn't be there" (which is racism and maybe classism, too) and followed him up the street (even after police told him to desist). If I was being followed up the street in the night I would have absolutely no choice than to have a confrontation (or let a strange man follow me to my house and ...who knows... kill me, rob me, rape me... I would need to stop and fight, that's not an option. I think "he looks like he didn't belong there" was a disgusting rationale. Now we can stalk and shoot people because they "don't look like they belong in our neighborhood". That's terrifying.

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  2. When you put it like that, it does sound scary.
    Anymore it seems that the media's job is to make people afraid.

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  3. The whole gun control talks that go on really have made me think of dystopian books I've read. And like you more and more I see things that make me think we're heading into one of those types of societies. As you said, the media made this into more than it actually was. Actually, as a member of the Neighborhood watch where houses had been broken into recently by young black men, it kinda was Zimmerman's job to patrol. And it wasn't the "police" that told him to stop, it was basically a "secretary" that worked a desk at the police station. And actually following someone on a public street is not stalking or illegal.

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    1. I could declare myself the Neighborhood watch and go profiling/killing people? THAT sounds dystopian.

      (And it was 911 dispatch.)

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  4. First of all, if Zimmerman saw someone that "didn't belong" he should've of called the police and let them do their job. But he didn't. He wanted to be a hero. His only crime is STUPIDITY. He did something stupid that got someone else killed and, in my opinion, served his time. Was this racial profiling? How could you say it is? Does saying someone "doesn't belong" automatically translate into racism? If that's the case, then we are already in a dystopian society.

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  5. The gun laws in this country scare me. At any time someone could lose their lives to a self righteous vigilante. In any case it's never easy to justify murder. Even in self defense, it's hard to justify it when someone's life was lost to something that could have been prevented.

    As far as the laws in this country, I feel they are outdated. Until something tragic happens to you, it's hard to understand that the law rarely works for you. I was sexually assaulted years ago by a fellow classmate and what I learned from that incident is that the law was. Written by white men, for white men. When our so called laws were written women were inferior and minorities were less than human.

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  6. In addition, I don't think I'm overly sensitive. I just have met the system at work first hand. It was devastating going through what I've went through and I got no justice. I'm white and I don't of myself as a liberal or a conservative. I'm that the law worked for George Zimmerman but at the end of the day there are two parents who will never see their son again while some idiot with a gun sees himself as an American hero. He's no hero of mine!

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