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The Highway to Hell

Posted Jul 15 2013 4:04pm
William Blake (1757-1827)

But, sooner or later, what American society has told him he can do, what it has now made possible, is that George Zimmerman can load his piece, tuck it into the back of his pants, climb into his SUV, and cruise the rainy streets of Sanford in the night, all of his senses a'tingle, all his instincts honed, on the lookout with his hunter's eye for assholes and fucking punks. There's one down the block. What the hell's he doing here? Asshole. Fucking punk. Better pull over and check this out.from What George Zimmerman Can Do Now by Charles P. Pierce****

So, last night. Henry, Oliver and I walked Valentine over to a friend's house as the sun was setting. We hung out for a while and then walked home. On the long stretch of La Brea, on a Sunday night, there were the usual cars, people walking out of restaurants, buses stopping to pick up lone people at bus-stops. We walked by several homeless camps, sleeping bags laid out, a shopping cart piled to the brim with what looked like crap but was probably essential. I yelled at the boys to slow down on their skateboards, to watch the edge of the street, to not get too far ahead of me. At Wilshire and La Brea we waited for a light and then walked through. We heard sirens in the distance, but we always hear sirens in the distance. This is Los Angeles, home to millions. And then they came. The sirens grew louder, and then they stopped. A police car raced by us, and then another. No more sirens, but lights flashed. Oliver yelled, Look how many! and we turned around as more cars raced by us, three, four, ten, twenty, forty, fifty. Look! Maybe that's an Undercover one! Oliver yelled as a huge black sedan, flanked by police rushed by. We stood there and watched them. We watched like we were at a tennis match, our heads back and forth. There was very little sound, except for the whoosh (the ball hits the racket, the player grunts). Where are they going? Henry asked. Oliver, being Oliver, yelled, They're on the highway to hell. When no more came we continued our way north, to home. We learned that there were protests in Hollywood, that marchers were heading north. We learned that earlier in the day, the police in tactical gear had been shooting beanbags at protesters that had gotten violent in the Crenshaw district, less than three miles from my home. My sons' friends who live in that district posted Instagram photos of events unfolding in their neighborhood. Nothing substantial did happen, but we saw it about to happen and we saw the response and it was silent and methodical and very, very powerful.

I wondered how, if I were caught up in an angry mob, I would convey my solidarity with the protesters. How I could possibly convey my feelings of shame about the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman verdict. How I could possibly convey my conviction that violence is never right. I am white. I am privileged, as are my sons, my daughter, and my husband. How could I convey these convictions without seeming like I have them out of fear or self-preservation?

Here's the thing. This culture of violence, of guns, of those who think people kill people and not guns, who believe that their liberty and freedom is at risk unless they can kill, or have the option to kill, is madness. It's insane madness. It's the highway to hell.

****Read that whole article by Pierce that I quoted from above. It'll knock you off your perch to the floor.
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