How long before another there's another Trayvon to account for in the Sunshine state?by Diane Roberts / July 18, 2013 / Leave a comment
The verdict was predictable. Under Florida law, a person doesn’t have to be threatened, in order to use deadly force, he or she just has to feel threatened.
The fear need not be rational. Indeed, someone claiming to be frightened can chase another person, shoot him in the back, and claim the protection of the state’s “Stand Your Ground” statute.
We will never know who started the fight between George Zimmerman, the cop-wannabe who took it upon himself to patrol his gated community with a gun, and Trayvon Martin, the kid who was visiting his father in that gated community in Sanford.
News sites say Trayvon was killed, armed only with candy and a mobile phone. We do know Zimmerman ended up bloodied; and Martin ended up dead. And now, a Florida jury has acquitted Zimmerman on all charges. He’s a free man. Soon they’ll give him back his gun.
Reaction to the verdict was also predictable. Conservatives rejoiced. To them, George Zimmerman is some kind of hero, the guy who took down a “thug.” His characterisation of Trayvon Martin, quoted in the courtroom, “Fucking punks. These assholes, they always get away,” gave voice to an anger that’s only grown since Barack Obama was elected president.
Fox News pundit Ann Coulter tweeted “Hallelujah!” whilst Iowa Republican congressman Steve King accused the president of making the case a political issue, presumably because Obama once remarked that if he’d had a son, the child might look like Trayvon Martin.
The gun lobby was relieved: their big worry was that a conviction would “discourage” citizens from using guns to defend themselves. Reactionary radio host Rush Limbaugh not only predicted widespread rioting, he accused the left and “the media” of encouraging violence.
The rioting didn’t happen. Los Angeles and Oakland, California saw some vandalism and street-blocking, but no serious injuries. Everywhere else–Manhattan, Washington, D.C, San Francisco, Miami, indeed, outside the court house in Sanford–the protests were angry, impassioned, but peaceful.
In Tallahassee, a group of ministers, students, and activists black, white, and Latino, gathered on the steps of the Capitol to pray for both the Zimmerman and Martin families. So much for the “thugs” who threaten the American way of life.
The Zimmerman trial illustrates why African Americans wonder–as they have wondered ever since Abraham Lincoln issued the…