Saturday, April 7, 2012

I Don't Want to be Zimmerman or Martin

Dear Senator Ofalec (formerly known as McConnell):

I wrote a few days ago to tell you how threatened I feel due to the Stand Your Ground/License to Kill laws that your party (abetted by ALEC and NRA) brought to us, especially after seeing the way your base has defended the murder of Trayvon Martin with no proof that he did anything other than present an appearance that a disturbed Zimmerman didn't particularly like. Yesterday, it all came home for me when, once again, I was assaulted on the road by someone who didn't like the appearance of my bumper sticker.

This guy focused on an anti-war bumper sticker. And, this time, the man screaming at me was a passenger. There were three lanes of traffic, with a row of cars between us, and he was waving both arms out the window so I could see that he did not have a gun in hand. Still, because your party has filled my society with hateful, ignorant people who believe they have a "right" to assault and kill, this screaming maniac scared me. I'm pretty sure people in cars around us--especially the ones between us--were uncomfortable as well.

Here's the problem. The last time someone chased me for blocks to scream at me, I called the police. A horn and middle finger don't feel threatening. Paragraphs of hatred, pointing fingers, and clenched fists are different. I didn't dial 911 from my car since I was able to pull off the road and escape without physical harm, and I didn't press charges. But I did make a report later so it would be on record in case this was a pattern or this out-of-control man eventually hurt someone. When I expressed concern for wasting police time over this incident, I was told not to worry about that and to call from my car if it happened again, especially with the same person.

I can't decide what to do about this new case. Do I become a Zimmerman and phone the police every time a right-wing lunatic verbally assaults me on the road? If so, you might need to earmark some federal dollars to assist LMPD with extra staffing. This wasn't the same person, but the problem is the same, compounded by the confusion I told you about the other day. Whose ground were we on? I live nearby and I attended a neighborhood watch meeting where I promised to be on the alert for problems. Men who chase down disabled old women to scream at them on the street qualify as problems to me.

What if these men also live in the area and think that disabled, anti-war women and people who support President Obama are problems? Which of us has the right to kill the other? More importantly, which of us do you think will kill the other - the red-faced, screaming maniacs who include in their tirades something about the first amendment giving them  the "right" to chase down and scream at people, or the anti-war person who believes the bumper sticker is her expression? (Sadly, the fact that both men managed to mention their first amendment rights while screaming at a stranger on the road makes me believe they must be Republicans whose understanding of the second amendment is equally flawed.)

Again, I ask, does knowing that your party produces hatred and ignorance at this level make you feel good about yourself?


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