arteejee

A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Disappointed, but not Surprised…



…is my reaction to the verdict handed down on Saturday, July 13, in the George Zimmerman trial. Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin has sparked the expected outcry from both sides. Rallies condemning the verdict were held all over the country the next day, with some reports of violence and vandalism, but not as much as we could have expected given the circumstances.

Naturally, anyone with an opinion could not couch any of their criticism in circumspect or diplomatic terms. Words like outrage and atrocity were heard on the left. None could beat Ann Coulter's vulgar, tasteless tweet, “Hallelujah!” reaction to the verdict. Ms. WASP is an embarrassment; I wonder if she realizes that the man she is cheering for is actually part Hispanic, an ethnic group which she has been fond of denigrating lately.

As always, President Obama has been a voice of calm reasoning in this storm. He has called on the country to reflect on the incident and to work together to stem the tide of gun violence. Easier said than done.

By my count, this is at least the second time in my adult life that we’ve been reflecting on the violence inherent in our American society. Remember Bernhard Goetz, the Subway Vigilante? He faced a slew of charges for opening fire on a group of teenagers in a crowded New York City subway car. Goetz was eventually acquitted of attempted murder, but found guilty of illegal possession of a weapon, which is more justice than Trayvon Martin is getting.

All of the critics share the same dilemma: they know exactly what happened on that rainy night in Sanford, Florida, but none of them was there. One participant, a child, is dead. The other did not testify at his own trial. So why the hell do the rest of us act all superior and insist that we know what exactly happened?

Was or was not Zimmerman instructed not to leave his car when he reported Martin walking through the development? Did he or did he not believe the young man was a “punk” who would get away, as he was overheard to say by the 911 dispatcher? What did he say to Martin that made the young man confront him? Did Zimmerman taunt him with a racial slur? 

Whatever it was, it was enough to make Martin forget everything his parents may have taught him about reacting in anger to a white man. The rest of us do not really know the answers to these questions, and pending a multimillion dollar book deal for Zimmerman, we may never know. Even then, who’s to say that Zimmerman the memoirist will be entirely truthful about Zimmerman the wannabe vigilante?

The verdict will have some unfortunate consequences. It should put to rest the thinking that America has entered the post-racial era just because an African-American is in the White House. It may force black American parents to redouble their efforts to teach their children to beware of “whitey”, hardly the lessons which we need to be teaching in the name of tolerance and understanding.

This isn’t the way America should be.

In the end, I don’t envy Zimmerman. He may not have spent any time in jail, but he got a life sentence just the same. For the rest of his life he will have to be looking over his shoulder for anyone who feels that justice was not served, and they are the ones who will feel it is their obligation to avenge Trayvon Martin. This will most likely cause Zimmerman to suffer delusions of paranoia against the entire world, but that’s okay, because he will be prepared for the worst case scenario.

You see, the state of Florida returned his gun to him. 
 
(Thank you for reading.)

3 Comments:

Blogger Bob Slatten said...

It just saddens me.
If Zimmerman had LISTENED to authorities this never would have happened.

July 16, 2013 at 8:20 AM  
Blogger Nadege said...

Great post!
Guilt is a horrible burden to live with.

July 16, 2013 at 10:07 AM  
Blogger todd gunther said...

Hi Bob! Thanks for the comment. It is a very sad situation. So many lives ruined because of someone's thoughtlessness.

Thank you Nadedge.If Zimmerman still has a conscious he'll be haunted by his actions for a long time.

July 17, 2013 at 7:18 AM  

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