The Zimmerman Verdict

17 Jul

After the initial feigned media shock after six jurors acquitted George Zimmerman of murdering Trayvon Martin, we have seen legal analysts slam the prosecution and praise the defense team, a juror already go out and make herself available for interviews, and protesters calling on the federal government to step in.  In my opinion, what’s been missing is a real look at what the consequences of this verdict are.

 

What I immediately heard is “Both sides had their day in court, and the defense won. The system worked.”  However, just because a jury came to a verdict, even if the prosecution made many mistakes along the way, that does not change the fact of what this jury did.  That does not change the fact that justice was not served.  A seventeen year old child died, one that was under 6 feet, 158 pounds, not an imposing figure by any stretch of the imagination, by the gun of a fully grown adult male.  One that had followed him, in his role as neighborhood watch, because he looked suspicious.  Meandering about the neighborhood, George deemed Trayvon suspicious.  Nevermind that this was a child walking home at a completely reasonable time between 7 and 8 at night, and nevermind that perhaps he was cutting through yards, looking a bit lost because, not only was he looking for his dad’s girlfriend’s house, but it was raining, only natural for someone to make some missteps looking for the shortest route.  What ever could have suggested to George Zimmerman that this child was suspicious?  Looking in windows? Could Zimmerman be certain beyond doubt, certain enough to track Trayvon down with a gun, especially since nothing Trayvon Martin did was against the law? Well, since the juror that came public said that race wasn’t a factor, it couldn’t have been because Trayvon was black.  Any juror that looks at a crime, in these United States of America with our storied, ever continuing inability to get beyond the discrimination and racism that was branded into our nation from its birth, especially a violent crime where the murderer and victim are different races, and says race wasn’t a factor in the crime, is not fit to deliver sound judgments. 

 

But George Zimmerman persisted, following him in his car, not asking him if he could help him find some place or any other innocuous question that any sane interlocutor asks when he or she tries to disrupt a suspicious activity.  He followed him in his car, tracking Trayvon down as he wound his way home, calling 911 even, and despite being told not to continue following Trayvon, took it upon himself to hunt this boy down in his own neighborhood.  Why did Trayvon warrant this suspicion? What did he have to do with any of the burglaries that this so called neighorhood watch was trying to avenge? Completely oblivious to this backdrop, Trayvon continued walking home, becoming unnerved by the feeling of being followed.

 

George Zimmerman ignored the 911 operator’s instructions, ultimately leaving his car with his gun, demonstrating his readiness to use deadly force against this boy who just minutes ago he had called an asshole.  Without any provocation, without any suspicious activity at all, without any indication that Trayvon represented any sort of a threat to the neighborhood, George Zimmerman went from a neighborhood watch to neighborhood judge, jury, and executioner, labeling this innocent, oblivious boy an “asshole,” tracking him down, grabbing his gun, looking to it to provide the punishment for Trayvon’s capital crime, walking home while black.  

 

The rest is not clear but it’s history.  There was an altercation, yelling and fighting, Trayvon appeared to have hit George hard in the nose and I’ll concede for the sake of argument had gotten on top of Zimmerman and was most likely winning the fight.  Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin.  And six jurors deemed that this was acceptable.  Self defense, they said was what made it justified.  But defense from what? A svelte 17 year old boy, armed only with his fists? Let’s say he broke Zimmerman’s nose, let’s say he was kicking the crap out of him even, is that a crime that deserves the death penalty? The jury decided yes.  

 

Self defense means, plain and simple, that George Zimmerman’s life was in jeopardy, which it clearly was not unless one can die from a bloody nose and head scratches, and that the victim, Trayvon, was on the verge of committing a horribly violent offense.  What this jury decided was that Trayvon Martin deserved to die, because HE, not George Zimmerman was the real killer, HE was not a victim, but a villain, and George Zimmerman made this world a better place by removing this dangerous boy from the world.  Trayvon Martin asked for his fate by not running away but instead fighting back, nevermind that perhaps seeing the man that’s been tracking you down like a dog step out of his car with a gun might trigger some fear and self defense reflexes, but the jury did not recognize his right to self defense, why?  Why should Trayvon have to be the bigger man? At 17, his brain isn’t even fully developed, yet faced with a stalker with a gun closing in on him, he needs to be the cooler head?  

 

The jury decided that George Zimmerman’s right to not lose a fight to a black child was legally justified, sanctioning the American people’s right to murder unarmed children, should they even faintly emit a whiff of suspicion, either by action or by the color of their skin.  By labeling Trayvon Martin as culpable for his own death and deserving of his fate, the jury firmly established a precedent that the difference between victim and villain is decided neither by one’s actions nor use of a deadly weapon, but by the color of his skin.

 

I vehemently believe two things: George Zimmerman is guilty of second degree murder and that no one should be surprised he was acquitted, even of the lesser manslaughter charge.  Here’s where definitions are important  Second degree murder in the state of Florida is the killing of another person that was not premeditated but was carried out with a depraved mentality without regard for human life.  Manslaughter is merely the unlawful killing, not in self defense for example, that was not premeditated nor with a depraved mentality.   

George Zimmerman could not have had less regard for Trayvon’s life, hunting him down like a dog, ignoring professional law enforcements pleas to let up, grabbing his gun to go confront this 17 year old “asshole.”  Facing an unarmed child, suffering merely a broken nose and head cuts at worst, he maybe called for help, maybe not, but what’s undeniable is that he had enough freedom of movement and presence of mind to make the decision to grab his gun, and shoot Trayvon Martin.  And while he may have been calling for help, after the shot he must have inexplicably calmed down and waited quietly for authorities, because I would think if I had been on the brink of dying and but for my quick thinking and a pistol I made it out alive, I would have kept screaming help, not knowing if I had killed him or merely slowed him down, but surely in a panic, and ran to the nearest neighbor’s.  So I find it hard to believe that he had exhausted all his options of self defense.  Instead he elected to kill.  Because Trayvon was black.  Because he did not care about Trayvon’s life. And in this country, there is no greater damnation than being black.  Black people are disproportionately incarcerated, relegated to poor schools, polluted cesspools of neighborhoods riddled with asthma, obesity, and other avoidable ailments, and legally neglected and damned to high suspicion from the moment they step out of the house.  For that reason, no one should be surprised that our prosecution friendly country that, for any other case, routinely ignores “innocent until proven guilty beyond any reasonable doubt” when a black man is the defense, decided that George Zimmerman’s right to shoot first was greater than Trayvon Martin’s right to get home safely.

 

 

 

 

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