Two young men, a few weeks apart, attacked by adult men. Both names exotic to white American ears. Iz al-deen Tamemi was not killed, “only” shot in the face. His attackers wore uniforms, while Trayvon Martin’s murderer was vigilante acting alone, though his behavior was sanctioned by law and he was not arrested. Iz al-deen was at a protest, Trayvon was returning home from an errand. Differences aside, I only hope the confluence of these two cases shows us that gated communities and climates of impunity lead every where to the same outcome.
The reality (Trayvon’s killer was a Latino man) is that the tendency to see someone else as a threat out of all proportion, sense, and empathy knows no nationality, ethnicity, or religion. It’s only a question of what uniform people wear, what security systems they have access to, what weapons they carry, and what laws privilege them over others or encourage their worse impulses. Add those things together and no group is immune. Take them down, disband them, and more kids like Trayvon and Iz al-deen can grow up.
Update: here is another shooting from my home state of Wisconsin, which apparently has a similar law sponsored by ALEC.