I clicked this on twitter last night. This guy is right on the money – with this part at least.
You Are Not Trayvon Martin
His death wasn’t about race, guns, or your pet issue. It was about misjudgment and overreaction—exactly what we’re doing now to the verdict.
Trayvon Martin is dead, George Zimmerman has been acquitted, and millions of people are outraged. Some politicians are demanding a second prosecution of Zimmerman, this time for hate crimes. Others are blaming the tragedy on “Stand Your Ground” laws, which they insist must be repealed. Many who saw the case as proof of racism in the criminal justice system see the verdict as further confirmation. Everywhere you look, people feel vindicated in their bitter assumptions. They want action.
But that’s how Martin ended up dead. It’s how Zimmerman ended up with a bulletproof vest he might have to wear for the rest of his life. It’s how activists and the media embarrassed themselves with bogus reports. The problem at the core of this case wasn’t race or guns. The problem was assumption, misperception, and overreaction. And that cycle hasn’t ended with the verdict. It has escalated.
Going out and shooting someone because you think someone else was shot by a vigilante has got to be about the most stupid thing ever.
I almost joined the frenzy. Yesterday I was going to write that Zimmerman pursued Martin against police instructions and illustrated the perils of racial profiling. But I hadn’t followed the case in detail. So I sat down and watched the closing arguments: nearlyseven hours of video in which the prosecution and defense went point by point through the evidence as it had been hashed out at the trial. Based on what I learned from the videos, I did some further reading.
It turned out I had been wrong about many things. The initial portrait of Zimmerman as a racist wasn’t just exaggerated. It was completely unsubstantiated. It’s a case study in how the same kind of bias that causes racism can cause unwarranted allegations of racism. Some of the people Zimmerman had reported as suspicious were black men, so he was a racist. Members of his family seemed racist, so he was a racist. Everybody knew he was a racist, so his recorded words were misheard as racial slurs, proving again that he was a racist.
This guy was at least honest enough to do his research, and form his opinion on the facts – though he doesn’t seem to quite grasp just how thoroughly the prosecution was debunked. That’s fine – he’ll get there if the above is any indication.
What bakes my noodle is how on earth so many people can still hold to a story that has been so publicly, and so effectively debunked. Not only that, but then use that debunked story as justification for all sorts of things, including putting a hammer in the head of a waiter.
Who wins when people run around screaming about the lack of justice in a case where justice was clearly done, and done well? And does doing that really show that anyone has learned the lessons that should be learned from this incident?