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On zombies, Zimmerman and Marion Ross

Published 9:37am Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Column: Pothole Prairie, by Tim Engstrom

Thoughts from Monday morning:

 

Zombies attack

“World War Z” was an interesting flick to watch. I saw it Friday night at Cinema 7. I would call it a horror movie with the pace of an action movie.

There is the suspense normally found in a horror movie, but the plot develops swiftly like in an action movie. These zombies don’t stagger toward their victims like in all previous zombie movies. These undead run as fast as the living, eager to bite and infect their victims.

The living go to extremes to fend off these zombies, whether it is building big walls or throwing a grenade on an airplane or detonating nukes. I was on the edge of my seat for most of the film. Seriously, I was. The whole movie was a gut-wrenching thrill ride. I chomped popcorn like mad.

Leave the kids at home and go see it.

 

Justice fails

I was not stunned by the verdict in the George Zimmerman case Saturday. Yes, I agree with so many people in the country that justice for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin was not served. Zimmerman got to chase down a teenager, scare the crap out of him, then kill him using the Stand Your Ground law.

But what happens if both people are standing their ground? That law presumes there is always one aggressor and one victim in altercations. I believe Martin was trying to stand his ground when he and Zimmerman got into a fight, except Martin didn’t have a gun.

The law wasn’t invoked by the defense at the trial, but Zimmerman knew of that law on that night in February 2012, granting him a vigilante attitude.

If I am going to go chase somebody and end up in a fight, am I not the aggressor? The law shouldn’t allow me to stand my ground when I am the pursuer. The law, if it must exist in the first place, ought to allow me to stand my ground when I am attacked and only after no provocation. Zimmerman provoked Martin.

The reasons I wasn’t stunned by the verdict were:

A. It’s Florida. Nothing makes legal sense down there.

B. It doesn’t take a legal beagle to know that quite often when justice isn’t served in the South, it goes against the black people. Recall that two years ago Georgia executed Troy Davis despite serious doubts about his guilt. A former district judge even wrote: “Serious questions about Mr. Davis’ guilt, highlighted by witness recantations, allegations of police coercion and a lack of relevant physical evidence, continue to plague his conviction.” Did these widespread concerns stop Georgia? Nope.

A black kid is killed by a non-black man. Police conduct a lousy investigation. Prosecutors blunder the case. The all-white jury acquits. I’m not the only newspaper pundit who has pointed this out — that the New South isn’t exactly new. The tradition of screwing over African-Americans in Southern states through the justice system is a long and unjust one. Of course Florida would find Zimmerman not guilty. What else is new?

Let’s hope the federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman are filed.

 

Party pleases

Allow a few self-indulgent words this week, please: I want to thank Bob and Joyce Nixon for opening their home for a pizza party Saturday evening with Marion Ross as the guest of honor. What a lovely home you have. I enjoyed my conversation with Bob about wine while Joyce was being the lovely social butterfly she is.

I would like to name off many other people to thank, as well, but I am sure I would neglect someone. Besides, I’ll just be up-front. I cannot remember the names of everyone I met. I will thank the committee that organized the soiree. Thank you.

I also will thank Sara Aeikens for being my date and thank Leo Aeikens for being generous with his wife. By the way, my sons know them as Grandma Sara and Grandpa Leo, so they are kind of like family anyway.

I did get to meet Marion Ross, who was lovely as ever. She deemed me old enough to know what “Happy Days” was. That’s good, because I do remember “Happy Days,” “Laverne & Shirley,” “Eight Is Enough,” “M*A*S*H,” “The Jeffersons,” “Sanford and Son,” “The Carol Burnett Show,” “All in the Family” and many of those 1970s TV shows. “Happy Days” was on the air from 1974 to 1984, a pretty good run. And the reruns were called “Happy Days Again.” The reruns were our after-school entertainment in the early 1980s, along with “Hogan’s Heroes” and “The Brady Bunch.”

Now I want to meet Alan Alda!

 

Wife and kids

My wife, Lisa, and my two sons, Forrest and Jasper, have been at the in-laws in Illinois for a month. It’s not been easy being away from the family for so long, and today I finally see them again.

My wife has been at her parents’ home in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights. She is a triplet, and their July birthday is a national holiday. OK, it’s not yet a national holiday, but it’s getting there. (For the curious, she has an identical twin sister and a fraternal twin brother.)

We missed each other dearly. Family is everything.

 

Tribune Managing Editor Tim Engstrom’s column appears every Tuesday.

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