It’s hard to know exactly how to frame the George Zimmerman “Not Guilty” verdict in prose. Did he “get away with it?” Did he “walk?” Or was it a “close call?” Should he be relieved, smug? Should he wipe his brow and wonder how he’s a free man today? And now the media, who has without a doubt very purposely and methodically instigated this issue from day one, continues even in the aftermath of the verdict, now trying to rub salt in the wounds of Trayvon Martin’s family and supporters with the fact that Zimmerman will actually get the gun he used to kill Trayvon Martin back. In his hands. Ready for round two.
Some say “Why not?” He was found innocent of the crime, and if there is no murder, there is no murder weapon. He gets his gun back and lives to “neighborhood watch” another day. On the other side of the fence, we see everything from outrage to outright violence (some Tweets from obvious Martin supporters have indicated that Zimmerman should get his gun back and then promptly stick it in his mouth).
And then there’s the legal analysis. From the talking heads on the news networks, people like Greta van Susteren that made their careers off of high-profile trials like this (a la O.J. Simpson) explain how the justice system has done its job, all the while straddling the fence between one side or the other. Such is the nature of their business. Even the prosecution, while disappointed, acknowledged the jury had spoken and it is what it is. And the overwhelming majority of Trayvon’s supporters expressed their outrage in a completely legal, peaceful, and distinctly American manner. There was a flurry of violent Tweets and social media, but we’d like to remind everyone that the mainstream media, once again, couldn’t wait to get hold of those Tweets (a relative drop in the bucket in the ocean of social media) and publicize them. The media should be guilty of trying to incite a riot, because that is precisely what they want. They want that timeless news story, that major event, like the 1992 riots in Los Angeles, something to get America back on the track of remembering that we all hate each other again. That’s what they do, and they should be ashamed of themselves. The reaction to the Zimmerman verdict has been one of peace so far, and while it is still early, we expect that not many people are going to be rioting in the streets during Sunday church service, so if there is going to be a violent, uncivilized reaction to all of this, it is going to not be a knee-jerk reaction. And most riots are indeed knee-jerk reactions.
The shame in all of this is not the verdict itself, but the fact that Zimmerman is getting away with it. Did he set out that night to kill Trayvon Martin? We certainly doubt it. Did he profile him? Well, sure he did, but probably no more than Americans everywhere do at all hours of the day. If it is a crime, then it is as prolific as speeding and littering. There aren’t enough jails to house everyone in America that profiles. And when someone says the word “profile” the insinuation is automatically a white person doing it to a black person. Well, that is part of the problem with the racial divide. It actually works all the way around. White people profile Hispanics too. Black people profile Hispanics too. Black and white people all profile Muslims. And, yes, black people profile white people. Maybe not in the same kind of manner… but they still do. They might not profile like “this thug is going to rob me” but they profile white people like “they are out to get me,” “they want to hold me down,” or “they hate me because I’m black.” Yes, you can actually profile someone by assuming that they are profiling you. You can actually be a racist by claiming racism. So, profiling is not the crime. The crime is, unfortunately, being really ignorant. And that is the crime here that is going unpunished.
In America, an actual act of aggression (violence) determines the lines of self-defense. Yes, Zimmerman probably had no reason to be following Trayvon or messing with him at all. Yes, you can make the argument that they both had the right to be standing where they were. The reality is that if you antagonize someone and you have a gun, you can’t shoot them unless they attack you. You might have been the reason they attacked you ultimately, but in America, and specifically Florida in this case, we determine the aggressor by who physically attacks first. In a society absorbed now with “bullying,” we still don’t blame the aggressor on who psychologically starts it. So, it becomes a matter of physicality. Did Zimmerman say something or do something that caused Trayvon Martin to attack him? Almost definitely. But he did it with his mouth, not his fists. Once Trayvon crosses that line and physically attacks Zimmerman, he then has every right under our laws to fire away in self-defense. That doesn’t make it especially a good idea, but that’s what he did, and that’s how we got here. Was he justified? In the eyes of the law, yes. In the eyes of anyone with common sense, no, not at all.
And so, the crime that really cost Martin his life was that Zimmerman walked out of his house with a gun for no reason to begin with. We addressed this way from the beginning. This is not about gun control. Zimmerman can have a gun all he wants. But why has he gotta go toting it around the neighborhood? Why not just stay in his home? Or his car? Talk to the police. Maybe follow him if he really thinks he did something wrong just so he won’t get away. But why the direct confrontation? And, at the end of the day, do you really think Martin would have killed Zimmerman in the confrontation with his bare hands? Would not a little a*$ beating at the hands of the teenager have not been a little easier than all of this drama? But he had a gun, and he used it. Which was his legal right, once Trayvon laid hands on him.
Technically, Zimmerman acted legally. But the fact that he is an idiot is not getting addressed. Unfortunately, there is no law against stupidity in the United States of America, and Zimmerman did indeed “get away with it.” So, to everyone out there, black, white, Muslim, or Martian, let this be a lesson to each and every one of us. This is not about the law. It is about common sense.
Keep a gun for your protection if you feel it is necessary. If someone attempts to come in your house, shoot them. You have our blessing. No questions asked. If they are standing on the sidewalk in front of your house and you see them, maybe you wait and see what they do next. Maybe barrel’s blazing is not always the immediate answer. But if they cross in, take it to that next level, you go for it. That’s your legal right, but it is also a common sense issue. They are invading your HOME. We get it. Blow them away. But when you take your gun and you go out into the street… your legal rights might be intact, but now the common sense is on you. Do you shoot someone because they shoved you? No. If they pull a gun on you, fire away. If they pull a knife, we can see that. If they pull Skittles, maybe you should either run or stand your ground. It’s also possible to pull a gun and not fire instantly. The police do this all the time. It’s complicated, we know, but it’s not really when you stop and think about it. No gun, no murder. No murder, no trial.
Zimmerman is the reason this all happened. That is 100% in stone. He is exonerated of the legal charges against him, but he has committed a crime, in our opinion, be it not a legal one, and that has gone unpunished. Unless you consider what he has already gone through and the terrible way he will have to walk through life from here punishment enough.