Who are these people which in terms of equality of conditions take upon themselves the responsibility to take care of others? They end up being the typical cops and firemen of our communities. They are good guys and we all know who they are. Surely they could not be messed up people. They are Andy Griffith and Barney Fife or like Dogberry and the watch who speak truth and solve problems despite (or because) of their ineptitude.
But at least Andy Griffith had a badge, and he was usually wise (with the help of Aunt Bea).
However, with Mr. George Zimmerman, one wonders of the self appointed good guy. He seemed to lack such wisdom that he couldn’t even follow the advice of a “911″ operator to stand back. Unlike Andy Griffith he had no badge. In fact he was the type who couldn’t even make it through a community college government class, but nonetheless he was one who was motivated to look out for the rest of us. Is he as harmless as a genuine concern for the community seems to be? Not to jump ahead of the facts of the investigation in the facts of the Trayvon Martin case, but surely also disturbed by the mob nature of justice demanded here and now element that has emerged in the response to this sad event, I still wonder who is this self appointed community protector? Mr. Zimmerman seems to be no Andy Griffith, and it would be a shame if his apparent overzealous evil made insignificant the function of our good local Dogberries.
I am reminded of Byron Bunch (from Faulkner’s “Light in August”)—veteran of wars and a man of honor—who takes upon himself the role of one who will maintain order in the local community. He is, as a consequence, also one who becomes a royal pain in the ass. Why is he right? And why should he be its defender? In terms of the novel, it is because he says so, and everyone else thinks he is harmless. The only wisdom which could moderate the execution of justice that Byron sets in order would stem from Gail Hightower, but Hightower is a character so stoic in his rigidity as to be impotent. Gail Hightower lives in the past, and Byron wants to make a name for himself here and now. Byron is generally harmless until controversy happens, and his “one and only book” learning and simple experience with war gives him the apparent right to act with indiscriminate prejudice.
But comparing Byron Bunch to the facts we know regarding Mr. Zimmerman and his shooting of Trayvon Martin seems to be an insult to Byron Bunch. Nonetheless, we must keep in mind that we don’t know all the facts of the real current case of the sad fate of Trayvon Martin. I, for one, am willing to let the procedures of criminal justice play out (all the while, I am thankful that strong spokesmen for the African-American community made this case so public).
Who knows what motivated Mr. Zimmerman, and at the end of the day he may be exonerated, but the “Malvolian” demand for justice (whether of Mr. Zimmerman against strange people in his neighborhood or of the “outrage” that must see Mr. Zimmermann pay here and now) seems to be too much for credibility if one wants to uphold the rule of law.
No one at this point knows the facts of the sad fate of Trayvon Martin. The Florida state police and the FBI have now begun investigations. One can be sure—unless one thinks all of these institutional law enforcement institutions are corrupt to the core—that we will get to the bottom of this sad story.
So this was my response to the President’s call for “soul searching” or whatever words he used in his press conference the other day.
I still wonder what of the self-appointed protectors. Who are they and what is their alleged virtue?