I try to understand all sides of a story, so I looked through headlines about Trayvor Martin and George Zimmerman. I tried to find what the hard-core right wing sites, like Breitbart.com were saying. Perhaps Trayvor Martin was caught stealing candy from the checkout aisle while his Mom was paying for groceries. Perhaps he was sent to the principal’s office in 6th grade for disruptive behavior. Perhaps he got into a fight with a White kid in high school. But the only headline I found on Breitbart was “Media Labels Hispanic Man White in Shooting of Black Teen”. If that’s the best the right wing can come up in their mission to accuse the liberal media of being unfair to White people then Trayvor Martin must have been an angel.
Oddly enough, the best defense for the delay in arresting Zimmerman comes not from the hard right but from NPR. And the reason for the delay, according to NPR, is not that anyone thinks George Zimmerman is innocent, but that Florida’s outrageous “Stand Your Ground” law makes it difficult to prosecute anyone who claims self defense as a motive for an apparent murder.
In theory, Florida’s miserable and dangerous law, which has been adopted by 16 other states (according to the NPR story), is a double edged sword. In theory, someone who kills a White person could claim “self defense” just as easily as someone who kills a Black person. But I think supporters of the law are not so much Whites looking to kill Blacks with impunity, but rather White people who believe that Black people already kill Whites with impunity. They feel under siege in a world where liberal judges feel sorry for Black murderers and refuse to punish them for anything. If you ask them why there are so many Black people in prison, they might conclude that Black people are so murderous that even though we only incarcerate a tiny percentage of them, it’s still enough to skew the prison population. They knew a Zimmerman case would come up, but they feel it’s better than letting Black people run around raping and killing their daughters. These people aren’t White supremacists, they’re Orks who believe the lies of supremacists and the suggestions of right wing pundits and politicians.
Thanks to these paranoid, gun-slinging Orks, we have laws in seventeen states that encourage the murder of innocent young men.
With the crazy law in place, there are complications which make arresting Zimmerman tricky. But I still don’t believe the “Stand Your Ground” law is enough to let Mr. Zimmerman remain free. It seems almost certain that Mr. Zimmerman chased Mr. Martin and instigated some kind of conflict, and it appears that Mr. Martin was not a threat at the time of his death. The case might not be as easy as some think it is, but I find it hard to even imagine that a good investigation can fail to find enough evidence to take a disturbed and dangerous man like George Zimmerman off the street.
There is a petition (probably one of many) for the proper investigation and prosecution of George Zimmerman. Hopefully this will not only pressure investigators in the Zimmerman case, it will also pressure lawmakers to reconsider laws which encourage the murder of innocent people like Trayvor Martin.
Update, March 25: I said the right wing media couldn’t find any dirt on Trayvon Martin. That was true at the time, but now we know that Mr. Martin had been suspended from school. I still don’t see how that justifies Mr. Martin being hunted down by Mr. Zimmerman.