Sunday, July 14, 2013

Meanwhile, in the Sunshine State

In itself, somewhat perfunctory. I had been expecting this verdict for a while. Just casually following the news of the trial, you could tell things weren't going well for the prosecution. Zimmerman's lawyers were presumably not cheap, and say what you will, they earned their fees.

Mark O’Mara, one of Mr. Zimmerman’s lawyers, said, “George Zimmerman was never guilty of anything except firing the gun in self-defense.”

This case rankles, and it's going to rankle for some time. Strangely enough, O'Mara's comment hints at why. Zimmerman's self defense claim rested on allegations against Trayvon Martin. In effect, the defense managed to convict Martin posthumously. Legally that's no more true than it is of any other successful self-defense claim. In reality, though, people will see the record that the killer was acquitted because the victim was about to beat him to death, and they'll judge accordingly. This despite the paucity of physical evidence on this point and the fact that Zimmerman was never called on to swear to it in court.

The other reason this story won't go away is, of course, race. And that remains one of the great unsettleds of life in this country. But another thing about following this case is that if you read anything about it online, you see the comment sections that go along with the story. And nearly every comment section I've seen on Martin-related stories has had comments that not only support George Zimmerman, but which express schadenfreude at Martin's fate. Need it ba asked if reactions would be the same if a white boy visiting his father had been killed? Apparently yes, it needs be.

Also I feel like I should link to this, which well expresses some things that need to be said.


susan said...

I haven't followed the case closely but I do believe you're correct in mentioning it would have been an entirely different thing had it been an armed black man stalking a white teenager. It's very sad and very troublesome.

susan said...

ps: Just read this and think it may be the most astute commentary yet.

Ben said...

Yeah, I liked that Onion story. Funny and sad for about the same reason.

As things stand a lot of right wing commentators were eager to point out that Zimmerman was hispanic, at least on his mother's side. If he'd shot a white kid they'd be making the case for deportation.