Now that George Zimmerman has been acquitted of culpability in the death of Trayvon Martin, I think I should provide my thoughts. Most notable, of course, is all the rioting that went on last night. I tell you: that black community! What a bunch of uppity people! Oh, that’s right. There were no riots. That was just in the minds of bigots like Bill O’Reilly. Here’s a typical bigot tweet from Robert Stacy McCain, “If #Zimmerman is acquitted, black people will riot. If #Zimmerman is convicted, white people will grab a beer, change the channel to ESPN.” Those people riot but we just chill. And notice that it is black people who want Zimmerman convicted and white people who want him acquitted. It is all about race. (What I find interesting is that McCain is a “mainstream” conservative, yet he isn’t embarrassed; he hasn’t deleted his tweet.)
The verdict does not come as a big surprise. I figure the incident went down more or less like the defense said. Zimmerman was following Martin. Eventually, Martin noticed. At that point, Zimmerman might have even turned around. Martin might have approached Zimmerman. Or not. Regardless, I suspect that Martin said something like, “Why are you following me?” This quickly escalated from words to pushing to an all out fight. Martin was beating Zimmerman in the fight. So Zimmerman pulled his gun and killed Martin.
Even before the trial, it was clear that the problem was not especially Zimmerman but the evil law that allowed him to walk around with a gun and kill anyone any time he felt “threatened.” I wrote about how bizarre it all is:
There is some talk that there will be a federal civil rights trial. That seems unlikely. But a civil trial probably will happen. I do hope not. I am totally against these double jeopardy loophole trials. Again, the issue is the law, not that Zimmerman managed to use the law to his advantage.
As far as the verdict goes, I feel much the same as I did after the O. J. Simpson trial: Zimmerman is clearly guilty but I don’t think the jury was wrong to acquit. The question is where we go from here. Will this cause Florida and other states to reconsider their “stand your ground” laws? I am extremely cynical when it comes to gun laws. I suspect that this case will not create the slightest push for reform. It is much more likely that people will continue to use these laws to knowingly get away with murder. I very much hope that I’m wrong.
Despite the fact that Zimmerman seems to have no gift for public speaking, I’m sure we will quickly see him on the lecture circuit. He will be in high demand at pro-gun as well as general conservative events. The trial tarnished his image to some extent. In order to get him off, his defense team had to paint him as a bumbling fool. But I don’t think that’s a big deal. Most people will remember him as the courageous white man who stood up to the scary black man. I’m sure Zimmerman could get $5,000 per show. It will annoy me greatly to see that. But mark my words.