MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
In case you have been out of the news loop due to the summer holiday season, George Zimmerman is currently on trial for his vigilante killing of Trayvon Martin. As we know, Martin's "crime" appears to be that he was a young black male wearing a hoodie.
But, apparently in the eyes of at least some of "shoot to kill" Americans, taking out one of the "others" -- those who fit a pernicious stereotype -- is acceptable as "future crime prevention."
A longtime retired BuzzFlash reader from Florida wrote an e-mail to us that sheds some light on the concept of the condoning of "preventive" murder:
Well now this is interesting. We played our hearts tournament tonight. 16 couples. Of course the conversation came around to George Zimmerman. It was hard not to notice the line was divided between Republicans and Democrats. The Republicans thinking George is a hero who took a thug out of society, most saying even if Trayvon didn't do anything that night, he would have later. The Democrats think George murdered a 17 year old unarmed kid on his way home.
This was an unscientific sampling and generalized personal account to be sure, so it is not fair to demonize only Republicans as supporting the concept of "one less young black male, the better off we are." (However, one can argue that the modern Republican Party is built upon two things: 1) a populist neo-Confederate Tea Party racism at the grassroots; and 2) sheer billionaire and millionaire greed at the top.)
But let's not look at an acceptance of "preventive killing" as solely a partisan distinction. The Obama administration drone strike that took out a 16 year old American citizen in Yemen because he was the son of a US citizen cleric (also killed in a separate drone strike two weeks earlier) appears to fall into the category of "bloodline" killing.
Many years ago (2001), BuzzFlash was horrified to read a column in the National Review by a since fired writer, John Derbyshire, implying that Chelsea Clinton should be slain because she came from "bad seed." Derbyshire opined that long gone Chinese clans had it right: kill off the whole family of an opponent so no enemy can arise to avenge the defeated opponents:
Chelsea is a Clinton. She bears the taint; and though not prosecutable in law, in custom and nature the taint cannot be ignored. All the great despotisms of the past — I'm not arguing for despotism as a principle, but they sure knew how to deal with potential trouble — recognized that the families of objectionable citizens were a continuing threat. In Stalin's penal code it was a crime to be the wife or child of an "enemy of the people". The Nazis used the same principle, which they called Sippenhaft, "clan liability". In Imperial China, enemies of the state were punished "to the ninth degree": that is, everyone in the offender's own generation would be killed, and everyone related via four generations up, to the great-great-grandparents, and four generations down, to the great-great-grandchildren, would also be killed. (This sounds complicated, but in practice what usually happened was that a battalion of soldiers was sent to the offender's home town, where they killed everyone they could find, on the principle neca eos omnes, deus suos agnoscet — "let God sort 'em out"...)
Our humanity and forbearance, however, has a cost. The cost is, that the vile genetic inheritance of Bill and Hillary Clinton may live on to plague us in the future.
Derbyshire, by the way, was not fired from the National Review for his musing about the assassination of Chelsea Clinton. He was fired for a virulently racist column he wrote about advice that he would give his teenage children about blacks. His admonitions included such warnings as:
Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.
Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks.
Derbyshire may represent an extreme racist and condoner of killing one's perceived enemies, but George Zimmerman pulled the trigger for him and those who share his beliefs.
And let's not fool ourselves, there are many Americans who might vote to convict Zimmerman (because they know that what he did was wrong), but in the back of their minds still emotionally feel sympathy for his assumed motivation. Much of white American Exceptionalism and racial superiority has been built upon the Pat Buchanan assertion that whites are just basically a smarter, more moral race. Following this line of thought, immigration was fine as long as it was white and European. But the growth of multi-racial and developing world immigration "pollutes" the blood line of the United States, if you see whites as more "civilized."
A lot of Americans know it is not politically correct to agree with Buchanan, but deep in their well of emotions empathize with his outlook.
That may explain the feelings at a hearts tournament among senior citizens in Florida, and why "preventive" murders are enabled by elected officials who pass NRA "shoot to kill" and concealed-carry laws -- and why our foreign policy accepts the killing of scores and scores of Muslim civilians through drone and other military strikes with relatively little public opposition.
The "other," even if a child or young person, may grow up to threaten us.
One can persuasively argue that our military policy in our wars for oil has been, as John Derbyshire so infamously quoted, "let God sort 'em out."
When you develop a post 9/11 society grounded in fear, this is the unconscionable result: domestically and abroad.
No longer is it only James Bond who has a license to kill.
(Photo: Kell Bailey)