Tuesday, July 16, 2013


The George Zimmerman trial was almost surreal. The circumstances surrounding the death of Trayvon Martin remain murky, after having been manipulated shamefully by both defense and prosecution. Technically the trial was nevertheless orderly and the outcome came as no surprise, given the shaky evidence and the "performance" of some of the witnesses called upon by the prosecution.

The death of Trayvon Martin remains a tragedy. The verdict will not lift the shadows that hang over George Zimmerman who will carry the mark of Cain for the rest of his life. Both the victim and the survivor lost at the end. One lost his life, the other lost his future.  In the end there was an acquittal with no survivors.

The trial was essentially faulty in philosophical terms because it ignored the elephant in the courtroom:  race.  The underlying problems relate to prejudice, racial profiling, fetish (the "hood" considered as a cause for alarm bells to go off ), and a travesty of facts. Trayvon's sad end cannot hide the brutal fact that 90% of black murder victims are killed by other blacks. Zimmerman's narrative remains open for interpretation, but the jury came to a conclusion which makes common sense given the parameters which were imposed upon their deliberations.
As was foreseen, the reactions in the media and in public opinion are emotional and often off track.  Objectivity is almost absent from the general conversation. Agreement and criticism should adhere to the proven facts at hand rather than being taken hostage of emotions which are understandable but misguided. The former will not bring Martin back and they end up making Zimmerman, who was acquitted, a fugitive for life. 

In reality racism should be on trial. This vicious undercurrent continues to plague the American society (it operates elsewhere as well) which too often mistakes lofty goals and legislation for change.  I don't know if Zimmerman had a racist "agenda" and I personally doubt it. The over- reactive self-defense laws in Florida are more to blame than any other cause. The President was right to point the finger at the "candy gun shops" which flourish all over, mostly in the impoverished South which suffers from a total breakdown of education and social structures primary among minorities. A geographical crime map should not overshadow the fact that the epidemic is spreading. Chicago is becoming a killing-field and Newtown is part of the affluent North-East corner.

I hope that this sad ending for all will not lead to generalizations which end up creating empty, often demagogic slogans.  By the way, if Zimmerman would have been found guilty by the jury, my judgement would have been the same. The criminal justice system works and proven malfunctions are the exception, not the rule. One should not defend or denigrate the system given that one is satisfied with the outcome or not.  Justice is not a vendetta and we will never know Trayvon Martin's story.  By leaving it to rest will only honor his memory.

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