The Trayvon Martin case: Why Frank Taaffe is as scary as George Zimmerman
UPDATE 07/22/2012, please see end of post, as well as the new post.
Okay reader, this post is going to be so far from my usual subject matter that even my one and only may not read it. However, it does relate to science in the media as the subject matter covers sociological issues that are finally being highlighted since the tragedy of Trayvon Martin’s death. Anyway, I simply must get something off my chest regarding this case that has deeply disturbed me. And I think my worry about this thing stands regardless of whether charges are ever filed against Zimmerman and/or whether he’s convicted.
That thing is otherwise known as Frank Taaffe, friend and defender to George Zimmerman.
Taaffe appeared on the scene a few days after the Trayvon Martin story hit the mainstream media. His job? To throw on a cheap jacket and present himself to every news crew that would have him in an attempt to paint Zimmerman as a “stand-up guy”. Some, like Zimmerman, might see virtue in Taaffe’s steadfast support of his friend. To me, however, he was the herald of a horrible revelation…a representaton of a widespread and deeply ingrained belief system that not only judges people by their race, but also sees nothing wrong with it. In other words, until Taaffe burst in front of the TV cameras, there was perhaps some teeny tiny glimmer of hope that Zimmerman was a lone-wolf racial profiler; an aberration in what was reported to be an “integrated” community. Instead, Taaffe has been demonstrating quite clearly that Zimmerman lived safely nestled within a culture that sees nothing whatsoever wrong with racial profiling.
The first time I had the distinct displeasure of seeing Taaffe on television, he was spouting off about how the shooting of Travyon Martin had nothing to do with race, but that:
“…this is a perfect storm. Once again there are documented crimes in our neighborhood that have been perpetrated by one group of young black males.”
What leaves me incredulous is that Taaffe doesn’t see that he cannot claim that Zimmerman’s actions nothing to do with race while then indicating that Zimmerman’s actions were prompted by alleged burglaries committed, allegedly, by black males. Even worse, his comments strongly indicate that Taaffe and Zimmerman had had a prior conversation or two about these “young black males”. In general, Taaffe seems blissfully unaware of the contradictions in his own statements, claiming that;
“George [Zimmerman] is a congenial, amiable, admirable person,” he said. “He had a passion and a care for this neighborhood to ensure the safety of everybody here…”
Apparently, Taaffe does not consider 17-year old black children in the neighborhood to be worthy of Zimmerman’s “passion and care”, as he goes on to say of Zimmerman:
“I think he had fed-up issues. He was mad as hell and wasn’t going to take it anymore.”
Taaffe seems almost proud of his buddy Zimmerman for his anger issues. And he should know, because as time has marched on and Taaffe has continued his media quest, you can see him progressively radiating anger. In this interview with Nancy Grace, he is petulant, defensive, and extremely angry. His face is beet-red by the end of the interview, as Nancy Grace dares to question his statements. Meanwhile, Daryl Parks, a lawyer for the Martin family, shows admirable restraint in listening quietly while Taaffe pontificates. In contrast, the instant Parks begins to speak Taaffe starts yelling and cuts him off.
Now that my reader is up-to-date on Taaffe’s “perfect storm” in the media, I am going to attempt to explain why I think he is every bit as disgusting as Zimmerman himself. Zimmerman’s actions, which I believe to be contemptible and indefensible regardless of what happens in a grand jury room, could for a brief moment be viewed (admittedly naïvely) as the work of an angry, ignorant, and cowardly individual. What Taaffe did was to kick the door open on how widespread Zimmerman’s thinking actually is. He is representative of what many in the community obviously believe, which is that you’re not a racist if you think “young black males” walking look suspicious, as long as some other “young black males” have committed some sort of crime nearby. Most terrifying is that Taaffe states these views consistently and repeatedly, and he sees nothing wrong with it. He is a window into the soul of many Americans, even now, even in 2012.
One final note. I saw a post on Facebook today that said something to the effect of, “Anyone who refers to themselves as a ‘neighborhood watch captain’ should be admitted to a psych ward regardless of any crimes they committed”. I tend to agree. The leader of our neighborhood watch is named Beryl. She is approximately 115 years old and does not suffer fools gladly. Her secret weapon for neighborhood harmony? The tater tot casserole. And I wouldn’t have it any other way, despite the fact that there have been several burglaries, a hostage situation involving a machete, and a stolen car in my neighborhood over the past two years.
Thank you, reader, for allowing me to get that off of my chest.
Hello reader. If you have been following the comments section, you are aware that I had posts from Vincent Taaffe (Frank Taaffe’s son), as well as Frank Taaffe himself. After considering some of the accusations being made by both of them, I have chosen to delete the comments at this time. It seems that there is a great deal of strife in the Taaffe family and I do not want exacerbate the situation in even a small way.
With that said, if Frank Taaffe would like to address the content of my original blog post while omitting any jabs at his son or any other family members, he is welcome to do so.
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