Today George Zimmerman was acquitted of the murder of Trayvon Martin. I happen think the verdict was a travesty, but I didn't sit on the jury or hear the instructions the jury received, so I'll not judge them. I followed the case in the media like most of you. And had I a vote based on what I know the result would have been guilty. The best thing you can say about the case is Zimmerman lost a fight and used a gun, which to me makes it murder. I do not believe Zimmerman a monster, an endemic racist or another Tony Soprano. You don't join the neighborhood watch to do evil. I think Zimmerman is a coward and a fuck-up and that Trayvon Martin died because of Zimmerman's weaknesses. That's not so different from many of us, only Zimmerman fucked up with a gun. Mistakes with a gun are the primary reason for murder in America today. So how did a fuck up turn into a killing?
Early impressions of Zimmerman were of a sincere guy who wanted to be a cop, but I got the feeling the police thought him more Paul Blart than Dick Tracy. There had been break-ins in his neighborhood, and he wanted to be the hero who caught the bad guy. This is pretty common among young men, we think we need to do something special and if only we do we'll be recognized as special ourselves. I still feel that way sometimes. I've seen no evidence of profound bigotry in Zimmerman, but there is a very common 'first impression' bias against black people that's much more subtle. You're open to liking, welcoming and working with black people once you get to know them, a subtle form of racism that many if not most white Americans share. So he see's this kid walking in his neighborhood, who is black, wearing a hoodie and has his hands in his pockets. He fits the profile. So Zimmerman calls the cops. And if it stopped there nothing bad would have happened. He'd have done his neighborhood watch duty if he stayed in his car. Even if he'd followed from a distance because Martin would have gone in the front door of his uncle's home. No incident But he didn't, he wanted to make a difference, so he ignored the instructions he'd been given and confronted Martin.
Here it turned ugly. Martin knew he was innocent and became angry. Ever been falsely accused before? I have and it pissed me off royally. Words were exchanged and a fight started, though it will never be known for certain who threw the first punch, I'd bet on Martin. He was the aggrieved party at that moment. Whoever started it Zimmmerman lost the fight. So he pulled his gun and used it. Trayvon Martin fell dead on the ground.
Yesterday, in effect the jury decided that in Florida, if you lose a fight go ahead and go ahead pull your gun. Unless there are eyewitnesses to prove the opposite, all you have to do is claim-self defense. You've already got injuries you can point to to back up your 'fear'. You're covered. They guy you were fighting will never kick your ass again. I look forward to seeing the "Zimmerman defense" used in further cases when someone is shot after a fight, a pretty common event outside bars. I expect more shootings as there is already evidence of increased shootings in 'stand your ground' states. Should be interesting. I also look forward to Zimmerman speaking at Tea Party and Gun rallies where he will be feted about his courageous victory over a black kid armed with a sidewalk and a bag of skittles.
Oh, but wait, better not try the Zimmerman defense if you're black. This very day a black woman was sentenced to twenty years for firing warning shots over her abusive husband's head, a man who was there in defiance of an existing restraining order. Justice in America may be blind, but it sure as hell isn't color blind.