Saturday, July 13, 2013

George Zimmerman Trial - the Jury's Out

In the final day of the George Zimmerman Trial closing arguments were (from defense) that Zimmerman was attacked by Trayvon Martin who he killed him in self defence; and (from prosecution) that Zimmerman was a racist, vigilante, wanna-be cop who profiled Trayvon, attributed criminal intent that didn’t exist, followed him and created a situation where he could kill him.

Reading about the evidence Zimmerman himself has given it’s hard to believe that a verdict wasn’t reached in a few minutes, but the jury deliberated for four hours before going into recess. 

Zimmerman’s intent, his heavily racist filters, and his self illusion were pretty clear even from the first police interview right after he killed Trayvon. The most damning piece of evidence he gave was that he knew everybody in the community, that Trayvon had never visited it once, and that nobody in the entire community had ever seen him. This was the first time, he alleged, that Trayvon had ever walked through, and he clearly had no business being there because he was walking slowly and it was raining.

Since this was the first time Zimmerman had ever seen Trayvon, how could he have had time to ask every single resident if they had ever seen him? 

The reality is that Trayvon’s father lived in that gated community with his girlfriend. Trayvon had gone to the store to buy some candy and a soda. He was ambling back. He had destination and clear intent and nothing about it was criminal.

It’s not a very rational man who can tell a story like Zimmerman’s that’s so ludicrous and so believe it to be credible that he would offer it to the police as a legitimate self defense story. 

The history of the actual community itself is important too. According to Robert Steuteville, quoted in, It started out being white; that was the point of the gate. It’s only six years old, but property values have declined seriously with the downturn. One resident was quoted as saying that owners were forced to rent out to “low-lifes and gangsters”. Ironically he was referring to Hispanics, African Americans and Asians. 

Was Zimmerman trying to prove that he was one of the good guys? At some level it seems likely. Was he succeeding in people’s eyes? Not everybody’s. One resident was quoted as saying that he was a busy-body playing wanna-be cop. That he was playing that role is obvious. That he made an ordinary kid into a criminal in his head with no rational grounds to do so is obvious. He chased that kid and got out of his car to follow him on foot, despite being told by police dispatch that he must stay in his car.

By his own assertion he’d dealt with police on many occasions so it’s impossible that he didn’t know he mustn’t get out of his car and play cop.

This is clearly a guy with a huge agenda, living in a fantasy world in his head. What about his parents? His father Robert Zimmerman recently epublished a book entitled Florida vs Zimmerman: Uncovering the malicious prosecution of my son George. In the introduction he says: 

“[In reading my book] You should come to understand that there are wholly unethical opportunists, including those in government, the legal profession and the media, simply for their own self serving interests [sic]. These individuals routinely utilize race to incite and agitate hatred and divisiveness for their own rewards.

…America is a wonderful land of opportunity. However as you read these pages it should also become clear that America has changed. Unfortunately many citizens now associate being American not with hard work, integrity and personal responsibility but with individual entitlement and continued demands for political correctness.” 

In his opinion the only racists in America are the African Americans.Which makes them complete monsters because they have no grounds for their prejudice. Now that's illusion for you.

Robert Zimmerman makes his wife out to be a saint and himself to be a hero, but he does it in such a self effacing way it’s nauseating. He says he never experienced racism his whole life except for one incident – therefore it didn’t exist. Which is kind of similar to the argument his son used. I’ve never seen this guy here before therefore he’s never been here. Zimmerman senior makes a very big deal out of the ‘truth’ that neither he nor his saintly wife nor his saintly, kindly son ever even noticed the color of a person’s skin. Just what was in their souls.

With a father so embedded in self-illusion it’s not hard to understand how George Zimmerman was out of touch with reality. That a child’s life got sacrificed to this kind of mentality is horrifying. If the jury doesn’t convict, it won’t be for lack of a solid case against Zimmerman. 

Sadly, a conviction won’t help Trayvon’s parents with their pain. But it will at least illustrate that some tiny, tiny bit of progress has been made on this horrifically long, incredibly arduous road towards a more rational society in America.  If Zimmerman isn't convicted it won't stop the journey of those on the road, but it will make it just that much harder.

I'm reminded of the words of a song Great Day which Dinah Washington sings divinely:

When skies were dark came Noah's Ark, Amen
When lions roared came Daniel's Lord, Amen
The Lord helps those who pray
And on judgment day
If you believe he shall receive you, Amen

When you're down and out, lift up your head and shout
There's gonna be a great day
Angels in the sky promise that by and bye
There's gonne be a great day
Gabriel will warn you some early morn you
Will hear his a rootin' tootin' 
It's not far away, hold out your hand and say
There's gonna be a great day
There's gonna be a great day