Innocent of What?
“The System Failed” chanted protesters when the Zimmerman verdict came down. My own first response was somewhat less eloquent: “Motherfucker!” I shouted to my radio at 4:30 this morning.
I tried to console myself with the thought that George Zimmerman will have to live the rest of his life with the guilt and knowledge of what he did. It’s one of the reasons I’m against the death penalty: murderers should live and suffer guilt. But we all know I’m fooling myself: sociopaths don’t experience guilt.
George Zimmerman went looking for trouble, and he found it. Or rather, caused it. Even if Trayvon did beat up on him (doubtful), it was he who was self-defending, not the sociopath who set the whole thing in motion with his paranoia and racism.
Yes, it was racism. But no, that doesn’t make Trayvon Martin a modern day Medgar Evers, as some are claiming. They’re turning the case into a civil rights tragedy, grouping it with of all those who died for the cause of freedom. Unfortunately, Trayvon was a victim, like Oscar Grant in Oakland, shot in cold blood by a cop who was jailed for a year. Or like Amadou Diallo in the Bronx, and Abner Louima in Brooklyn, and dozens of others we can name from recent times, and hundreds, thousands, throughout history.
I remember when my kids were teenagers and we had my generation’s version of The Talk: not about the birds and bees, but drugs. Now The Talk for black parents is about how to keep their kids from being killed by cops and vigilantes on the streets of Amerika. Again, I understand why black people want to turn Trayvon into a civil rights martyr, but, sadly, he was a tragic victim.
George Zimmerman’s brother wasn’t in the courtroom when the verdict was read: he was in New York preparing to speak to the media, by his own frank admission. He actually said this, said he wanted to be in New York so he could speak to the media. (Weren’t the media hovering in Sanford?) He must be planning to launch some kind of relevant career on the back of his brother’s fame. As a politician no doubt.
How could the jury find Zimmerman innocent? Innocent of what? Why were there only six on the jury? I suspect it’s more difficult to get 12 people to agree unanimously to any verdict. And six women! Surely some of them were mothers? It’s a true heartbreak, and simply unfathomable to me.
The whole thing lends new insight to the joy that black people felt about the OJ verdict. With our allegedly enviable democracy, with all the high ideals built into the legal apparatus, will this country ever become a place of true justice?
Later the Same Day:
This verdict seems to be consuming the country as much as OJ’s did. My chosen media is KPFA, a leftish radio station in the Bay Area, where experts and non- are calling in. Naturally, this is inspiring more commentary of my own.
For instance: one caller suggested that minority parents not let their kids go out wearing hoodies. Jesus Christ! That is exactly like telling women not to bare their legs or show cleavage so they won’t be raped. Hell, I’ve worn a hoodie! It’s a freaking sweatshirt with a hood on it. Nobody should be shot for wearing one!
Another thing: Up above I expressed disbelief that the six-woman jury did not feel more compassion for another woman’s child. But I’d temporarily forgotten that white women, of which I am one and can shamefully attest, fear young black men on the street–and five of the six were white. I’d give anything to know how the lone black woman fared, what she thought and felt and if she was able to contribute much to the proceedings.
Demonstrations are happening all over the U.S. this day. 3:00 in Oakland. Listen to local radio or search online for information.
- Trayvon Martin killing: Anger as George Zimmerman acquitted (metro.co.uk)
- US justice; racist (acatheunderground.wordpress.com)
- Jury Acquits George Zimmerman of Murder in Trayvon Martin Shooting, NAACP Seeks Federal Civil Rights Charges (latinospost.com)
- For Sabrina Fulton — March 29, 2012