Iâm sure youâve heard plenty of fire-breathing, aneurism-causing opinions on George Zimmermanâs killing of Treyvon Martin by this point, so I wonât offer another one. But if youâll indulge me for a few seconds, Iâd like to cut through the hysteria and offer a few calmer thoughts about what actually happened that night in Florida:
*George Zimmerman was Hispanic, not white non-Hispanic, not âself-proclaimedâ Hispanic or âhalfâ Hispanic. He registered to vote as a Hispanic. He was Hispanic. Hispanic-Black animosity has been an increasingly big problem in the United States in recent years, and this case is an example of that.
*Zimmerman, an overly-zealous neighborhood watch captain, reported Martin to the police with the explicit reasoning that he was âsuspiciousâ and appeared to be on drugs (Martin was, in fact, high on marijuana when the incident occurred). In all honestly, Zimmerman probably did racially profile Martin, especially since two black men had burglarized a house in the neighborhood less then three weeks previously.
*Zimmerman was told not to follow Martin by the police.
*Nobody but Zimmerman knows exactly what happened next. Based on the evidence presented at trial, what probably happened was this: Zimmerman followed Martin with a gun. Martin was scared-it was late at night, and a crazy man was following him-so he attacked Zimmerman in an attempt to take him by surprise, and succeeded in getting on top in the fight. Zimmerman was now overpowered and scared, and fatally shot Martin.
*If that set of facts is true:
-Zimmerman is not a murderer in the common sense of the word (to take anotherâs life out of malice toward that individual). I doubt that he intended to kill Treyvon; he probably had delusions of being a Defender of Justice who would make a citizenâs arrest to prevent Martin from getting away.
-Zimmerman is still morally (and should be in some way legally) responsible for Martinâs death. Thereâs a reason why we let trained police - flawed as they can be at times - handle law-enforcement confrontations rather than untrained gun-toting wannabe sheriffs whoâve watched one too many westerns. Tragedies like this happen when people take the law into their own hands, and Zimmerman should have known better.
*The race riots and alleged acts of criminal violence that have occurred since Zimmermanâs ânot guiltyâ verdict are beyond preposterous. The verdict resulted from a horribly bungled prosecution that overcharged Zimmerman with murder and then failed to produce the evidence to back up their charge, controversial self-defense laws in Florida, and the randomness of a particular jury. A random Mississippi jogger (just to pick one example) has nothing to do with that.
*There is a lesson to be learned from this tragedy, but I think it has less to do with the evils of racial profiling than the insanity of becoming a self-appointed Justice League hero with a gun as your superpower. When you bring a gun to a confrontation that you provoked, and the gun goes off, you bear the lionâs share of the blame.
Youâre not freaking Batman, fellow George Zimmermans. Get a grip.