I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and seeing, so I played it twice more. My ears were not deceiving me. Once again, Geraldo Rivera was blaming an unarmed teen for his violent, and apparently slow and painful death. Dr. Bao already confirmed that it took Trayvon Martin anywhere from one to three minutes to die after being shot in the chest. Try holding your breath for three minutes, and see how pleasant that feels. Now try to imagine what it’s like to have your heart pumping for that length of time until there’s no blood left within your ventricles.
I’m digressing, as I often do when I’m pissed or disgusted. This is about Geraldo Rivera, and the most absurd thing I’ve heard a grown man say after Mark O’Mara’s proclamation that George Zimmerman never would have been arrested and/or tried for killing Trayvon Martin if he was black. Yes: Because the US justice system is renowned for its lenience towards black men.
Watch this clip:
“That this will mitigate any possible outrage”? I mean, I know that you’re a washed up journalist with a failed career that will only be footnoted in history as the guy who opened Al Capone’s vault containing absolutely nothing, and consequently got punched in the nose by some nameless guy who by mere virtue of striking you in the face has become a hero to many; but are you on crack? Is your career so much in jeopardy that you have to resort to making such inane, incendiary remarks as these, Geraldo? I suppose it is. When you cannot make it on the merit of responsible journalism, I suppose the next logical step is to transform yourself into some sort of lapdog for the Right Wing. Glenn Beck did it, Elisabeth Hasselbeck is doing it… I guess I can’t fault you for trying to feed your family, even if your methods are eerily similar to those of a vulture. You disgust me. Feasting on the dead body of a teen aged boy so you can fund your carefree family trips to the Turks and Caicos.
Geraldo isn’t reading this, but you are MOM Squad and Random Readers. What do you think about what he said? Let’s paint a picture of the same scenario, including an entirely different set of characters.
We now know that Trayvon Martin was 5’11’ and 158 lbs when he was murdered. The illogical racist factions who have given him Green Lantern superhuman abilities to grow and shrink as needed when it suits their whims have to put the assertion that he was this hulking frame walking down the street to rest. Geraldo himself says in this clip that Trayvon was 6’2”. That’s a misleading statement at best, and a straight out lie at its core.
Geraldo then goes on to claim that those six jurors – five white and one Hispanic – would have shot Trayvon just as quickly for being in fear of their lives. It didn’t matter that they might have instigated the fight, all that matters is that THEY were afraid, and that THEY had every right to be if this hulking 6’2” guy was pummeling them into the concrete.
But what about Trayvon Martin’s right to fear?
All animals, including human beings have a fight or flight instinct. That’s what they taught us in middle school biology. When sensing danger, you have two choices: flee or fight. Either one may improve your chance of survival, which is the point. When Trayvon Martin saw some “creepy ass cracker” following him, he chose to flee ducking through houses to avoid him. When his pursuer caught up with him and undoubtedly frightened him, he chose to fight and that was absolutely his right to do so. The fact that he was able to overpower George Zimmerman at all at any point in that confrontation is testament to how much fear he must have felt. It takes an intense amount of adrenaline to enable a 158 lbs boy to overpower a man ten years his senior with at least another 90 lbs to his advantage. That’s what fear does: it gives you strength in the short term.
However, according to Geraldo and others of like mind, Trayvon Martin was not merited any sense of fear… because he was a young black boy walking in an unfamiliar neighborhood at night. And this is how they might have killed Shaq.
Stay with me.
Shaquille O’Neal is 7’1” and weighs 325 lbs. I don’t know how tall he was at 17, but it’s fair to say he was probably the same or similar height that he is today, given the timeframe in which a child’s platelets fuse and determines their height as adults. At 17 years old, he would have made a far more imposing figure than Trayvon Martin.
Shaq spent his early teen-aged years growing up on an army base in Germany. It’s safe to say that he would not be familiar with an area like Sanford, FL. Let’s assume that Shaq was invited by a friend to come visit his gated community. Shaq’s friend (we’ll call him Rick) is unable to pick him up from the airport.
Shaq: Hey dude! I’m at the airport. Can you or your folks come get me?
Rick: Aww, man! I’m sorry bud. My dad took the car out to go golfing and won’t be back until 3 am.
Shaq: Okay…. so what do I do?
Rick: Can you catch a cab? Here’s my address.
Shaq: Yeah. No problem. See you soon.
Shaq arrives at the gated community, but then discovers that he’s written down the numbers in the wrong sequence. He’s standing in front of the wrong house. The cab driver has already left. No worries. He’ll just walk around the neighborhood and look for the house with the blue flamingos in front. Rick’s mom likes blue flamingos. Suddenly, it starts to rain. Shaq pulls his hoodie over his head and slowly makes his way around the neighborhood. He’s tired and jetlagged from flying 10 hours from Germany to Florida.
Suddenly, a car approaches him. The driver, one of these six jurors, sees this guy they’ve never seen before. This big, black, scary, hoodie wearing boy walking around the neighborhood in the rain. Does she stop to ask him if he’s lost? Does she call her onsite security? Does she call the cops? No. According to Geraldo Rivera, she shoots this kid for being lost. She shoots Shaq because he looked scary and she was “standing her ground” as sudden irrational fear creeps over her. She shoots Shaq, and we’ve lost one of the greatest basketball players, funnymen and entertainers that ever lived. And that’s a depressing thought. Thank God Shaq grew up that big and black in Germany.
Who knows who Trayvon Martin might have become?
Shame on Geraldo, and shame on Fox News for continuing to give him a platform to spew such fear mongering and imbecility. I would like to close by saying that he was wrong about White women and illogical thought processes such as these, but given the outcome and judgment of this trial and the recent antics of Juror B37, it’s hard to say that in confidence. Perhaps he knows this demographic better than I. Still, I remain an optimist.