July 1, 2013

A Comment on the George Zimmerman Murder Trial

Trayvon Martin Protest - Sanford
Trayvon Martin Protest - Sanford (Photo credit: werthmedia)
It's very disheartening to me the incredible extent to which the unspoken operating assumption that pretty much any black male is prone to near instantaneous violence figures so prominently in this case.  Trayvon Martin, a not quite 17 year old teen doing NOTHING but walking down a street, is stalked by an adult male who is carrying a gun, eventually confronted by that adult and shot to death.

The ensuing debate about stand your ground and self defense that commences never once addresses his right to self defense, never addresses his fear for his life, never assumes that he had a right not to be harassed or followed by a man who was not law enforcement and had NO BASIS in law or any other authority to confront and question him for WALKING DOWN A STREET.

In my view, because there is such  a willing acceptance that any black teen male can turn into an ambushing, MMA rage berserker, Zimmerman's account is barely questioned.  The police didn't pursue it, didn't preserve evidence, didn't even notify Martin's family until days later.  And this case is only at trial because the community went to extraordinary lengths to demand a proper review of the facts be done.

Remember in the 80s and 90s when there were these cases of women killing their children and blaming the crimes on black assailants or black car jackers?  Those women were relying on a public to run with  a stereotype of black males for their believability.  I think Zimmerman is relying on a similar underlying stereotype to make his actions that night seem reasonable, despite the many inconsistencies in his account.

The trial continues and I've no idea how this jury of 6 women, 5 white and one black,  is interpreting what they are hearing. I have two sons who I'm raising to be good upstanding citizens.  But if we live in an America where you can be followed for walking down a street and then shot to death, even arming my sons with good values and good character will be no defense against a tragedy and injustice like this.
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