“Kopkind’s political camp for journalists and activists began this year on the evening that, in Sanford, Florida, George Zimmerman was found not guilty for killing Trayvon Martin. …Twenty-six years ago, another mostly white jury acquitted another white man, Bernhard Goetz, of maiming four young black men on a New York subway. One of the men had said, “Give me five dollars”; Goetz was scared, he had a gun, so he began shooting. It was rumored the other men had screwdrivers, but even Goetz told police he thought their only weapon was their presence. He claimed self-defense anyway. After the verdict, Andy wrote in The Nation:
The defense contended that we all live in an urban jungle, where only the law of lions and wolves applies. It is an attractive but incomplete metaphor. Some beasts are more equal than others in this part of the forest, and the most successful predators don’t always have the sharpest teeth. Or the sharpest screwdrivers.
People here prey with land and laws, with college degrees and stock exchange seats. They kill with redlining and maim with snobbery. They mark their territory with sweetheart deals, political patronage and special favors. They use wealth as a weapon, race as a prison, status as a stick. Those who created that kind of jungle cannot now in good faith blame the ones least fit to survive for their pathetic strategies and bad manners. There was a bitter bumper sticker popular years ago, when Native American rights were in the news: “Custer Died For Our Sins.” This time Goetz was tried for our sins – and found innocent. It must not have been a fair trial.
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The Kopkind Colony.
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