So this seventeen year old thug went to the store to buy some skittles and a civic minded vigilante followed him, provoked a fight, began losing said fight, and then quite reasonably drew his gun and murdered the child. In order to stand his ground. Oh yeah, the kid was black. As I understand this played no role anyone’s motivations: it’s not why Zimmerman followed him, it’s not why the police let things lie for a month or two, it’s not why a subsection of the public pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into a murderers bank account. If Zimmerman’s lawyer is too be believed Trayvon himself may have been unaware he was black. This was just some hilarious three’s company-esque misunderstanding that happens all the time in neighborhood watch circles.
And in fairness, Trayvon was under the influence of a terrifying cocktail of THC and skittles, so he almost certainly would have gone home and watched infomercials while texting friends about the wonders of food dehydration. Was George Zimmerman supposed to stand idly by and let innocent people be mildly confused? He should be commended for bravely getting out of his car to follow a nefarious hooded child instead of just running him down on sight.
I apologize if that reads unduly glib, but I’m trying to put myself in the mindset of someone (six someone’s actually) who could find George Zimerman innocent of all wrong doing. Not simply murder, but of criminal culpability to any degree. Are you fucking kidding me? This wasn’t a miscarriage of justice, this was pregnant justice being kicked down the stairs because indecency didn’t want to pay child support.
A gated community is not the Thunderdome, those who enter don’t defacto surrender their rights to free passage and personal safety. Yet Florida, in its infinite wisdom, has decided the right to swagger and harass while armed, and respond with lethal force if challenged, is more important than a child’s life. And that is the chilling part, the judgment, by the letter of the law, wasn’t indefensible. Zimmerman’s actions were thoughtless, brutal, racist, and inhumane…but by Florida standards plausibly not against the law. This is what happens when your largest voting block is octogenarian swamp people.
So what comes next? It has been decided that Zimmerman technically broke no law.
Law, however, is convention, not divine interpretation of morality. That an act was lawful doesn’t exculpate a person from the moral weight of it, nor does it remove societies obligation to seek redress. It used to be legal to own people, to simply concede that process has been completed so justice must have been served is to allow evil to exist unchallenged. A civil trial will likely ruin Zimmerman and drive him underground (until his multi-million dollar book deal kicks in) but it does nothing to safeguard the next Trayvon. Is there enough public discontent to overturn the structural inequalities that led to this, or do they smash a few windows, pen a few editorials, and then back to business as usual? The world watches America. Get your shit together.