Final Reflections On The Zimmerman Verdict

With the trial over, the jury has spoken and George Zimmerman is a free man. Some applaud the verdict and others curse the system for failing to bring justice. Where you stand on this depends partly on how you define justice. George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain who stalked a teenage Trayvon Martin and killed him when things got ugly, was tried by a jury of his peers under the criminal justice system of the United States of America. That jury found him not guilty. No matter how that verdict came down, there would have been those who were angered by it.

Zimmerman is a middle aged white guy; sure his background is Hispanic, but he looks Caucasian. Martin was a black teenaged boy. It was inevitable that the question of whether the motivation behind Zimmerman stalking Trayvon was racially motivated would come up. And it has, repeatedly, which is unfortunate because I don't think the problem here is one of race. One famous voice that dared to face the race issue was the brilliant comedian, Bill Cosby, notable here because, in case you hadn't noticed, his skin is a much darker brown than my own milky complexion. You can read his comments here

Like Bill Cosby, I agree that these events were (probably) not about race and I even agree that under the law as it is written, and with the evidence presented, the verdict was probably correct. However, Zimmerman was a cowardly shit trying to play Captain fucking America while packing a gun he should have kept in his pocket. He shouldn't have been out on patrol because of his cowardly-shitness and overinflated self-importance. Add to that the fact that the 'Stand Your Ground' law is a bad law, and a disgrace to anything the United States claims to stand for, a law that should never exist, and there you have the real problem. This bad law made it possible for a cowardly shit like Zimmerman to be out and about killing kids.

A friend or mine argued that Zimmerman was 'just doing his job' as watch captain and that Martin was beating up on Zimmerman meaning the kid had it coming. Even if you believe Trayvon was 'beating up Zimmerman', the guy shouldn't have been following him in the first place. If some guy was stalking me at night, I might be a little freaked out as well. I might even try to defend myself if I thought he represented a danger, which Zimmerman obviously did. If he'd left the kid alone, as the police dispatcher suggested, none of this would have happened. If Zimmerman hadn't been out cruising for trouble, this wouldn't have happened; he wasn't even supposed to be on watch that night. He was just patrolling on his own, vigilante style. Looking for a place to stand his ground. The player to the right has the Zimmerman call to police. Listen closely and you'll hear that, if nothing else, Zimmerman had already decided that Martin was guilty of something, so he was already pre-disposed to treat him like a criminal. He even says, "These assholes . . . they always get away."

Well, Martin didn't get away. Here's a headline for you. "Idiot trying to play hero kills kid.

My friend further argued that without laws like the infamous Stand Your Ground, that law-abiding citizens lose and the bullies always win. Oh, please . . . 

We don't have "Stand Your Ground" laws here in Canada and bullies do not "always win". That's complete bullshit. And suggesting that Martin was responsible for his own death and Zimmerman had nothing to do with it is intellectually dishonest and self-serving. The guy was stalking Martin. Whatever Martin may have done in the past (which is irrelevant since Zimmerman didn't know the identity of Martin), Zimmerman was stalking him and therefore presented the initial threat. In attacking Zimmerman, assuming this actually happened, Martin was actually the one defending himself since he perceived a threat and acted, with deadly consequence.

The one inescapable fact is this; Trayvon Martin was an unarmed kid and George Zimmerman killed him. In a civilized society, one that doesn't spend its time living in fear, this should never have happened.

While Zimmerman's defense team did not use Stand Your Ground as a defense, the judge instructed the jury that it was important to consider. Because Stand Your Ground extends beyond the home, it means that people in public spaces can choose to literally 'stand their ground', using deadly force if they feel the need, instead of just walking away from a conflict. "Stand Your Ground", especially the amendment that extends its reach beyond the home, is a bad law. And when bad laws create situations where people are getting killed, it's time to change those bad laws.

Yes, it's that simple.

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