Mark the time and remember it well, for it was at that precise moment on July 13th, 2013 that six jurors in Sanford, Florida acquitted George Zimmerman of second degree murder (and manslaughter) in the shooting of Trayvon Martin.
If you were surprised by this verdict then you simply weren’t paying attention, not only to the shoddy job the prosecution was doing in this case, but to the simple reality that in some parts of this country it is still okay for a white man to shoot a black kid and make it sound like he was the one who was the victim.
The unmistakable and undeniable fact was that if George Zimmerman had simply listened to the 911 dispatcher and stayed inside his car, Trayvon Martin would still be alive today. That the prosecution never drove home this basic fact is inexplicable. Indeed, the way they tried this whole case defied logic, starting with the insistence to charge second-degree murder when most legal analysts believed a manslaughter charge was called for (The judge threw a lifeline to the prosecution and allowed them the right to convict Zimmerman of manslaughter. However, the prosecution strategy was always for 2nd degree murder) .
But let’s put the facts of this case aside, since it was obvious from the get go that facts would not be the deciding factor. An all-white jury (save one Latina) sitting in judgment of a decidedly not black man accused of shooting an unarmed black teenager in a southern state. What could possibly go wrong?
In a word, everything.
Does anyone with half a brain believe for an instant that if a black George Zimmerman had shot a white Trayvon Martin he would be a free man tonight? That was meant as a rhetorical question. The answer is Zimmerman would be starting his 20-year prison term.
This was never about some ridiculous stand your ground law or whose voice that was on the tape. For the record, I could give a shit and the prosecution should’ve not given a shit, as well. Even a first-year law student knows that all ties go to the defense. But then a first-year law student would’ve done a much better job trying this case than Dewey Cheatem and Howe.
This was always about race. From the moment Zimmerman got out of his car and approached Martin it was all about race, particularly Martin’s race. Hoodie or no hoodie, Martin was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was an African-American in a white neighborhood. And for some that is simply inexcusable.
With all the strides that have been made in this country over the last few decades, the sight of a young black man walking down the street of a white neighborhood still sets off a certain percentage of whites in this country. They simply can’t stand the fact that black people are allowed to move around freely among them. George Zimmerman was more a hero than an executioner to them. He wasn’t just standing his ground, but all of their ground collectively.
It matters not that Trayvon Martin was no threat to anyone. His crime was that he refused to listen to a non-black man who told him to stop. And for that he lost his life. And now, thanks to an incompetent legal team and six blind jurors, his killer is free to do the same thing again the next time a black teenager makes the fatal error of believing that, even in 21st century America, he is equal to a non-black man with a gun and a giant chip on his shoulder.