We're all waiting anxiously for the jury's decision in George Zimmerman's trial. I've followed the trial as avidly as most. However, in these last days, my anxiety over the outcome has waned. It's waned because I've realized that the justice that Trayvon cried out for and deserved has already been done.
We may not know whether Zimmerman will be convicted and be going to prison for killing Trayvon. What we do know is that the presumption that was first applied to this case - the presumption that it's okay to shoot a black kid walking down the street and no questions will be asked - was rejected.
Think about this. Initially, Zimmerman was going to walk away from this incident unscathed. It was going to be assumed by the police that either Trayvon deserved what happened or, at the least, it was a perfectly understandabe, if slightly regrettable, mistake that Zimmerman made.
And people stood up and said NO. And because people stood up and said no, there was an actual investigation into the killing, Zimmerman was arrested, he was charged, and he was prosecuted.
No one can foretell how a jury will read the evidence presented. We all know that trials do not always result in justice. Sometimes the innocent are convicted and sometimes the guilty are found not guilty. And the same might happen in this case, whichever Zimmerman is. So although so many will become more emotional about the verdict in this case, whichever way they believe and whichever way the jury decides, I think we need to keep in mind that the real goal - that of holding the life of a young black man as valuable as that of other people, and providing him with the same level of dignity, of respect, of investigation, of prosecutorial vigor - has already been accomplished. We have won.
Neither you nor I will ever know the actual facts of what occurred that night and even the jury can make only an educated guess. I can easily envision two scenarios, one involving Trayvon initiating the first physical contact, one involving either both parties or Zimmerman initiating it.
Under neither scenario do I see Zimmerman having planned the killing of Trayvon. I doubt he was "hunting" him to kill him. However, under both, I see Zimmerman's own personal ego, carelessness, negligence, and lack of thought and common sense being the direct cause of the altercation that happened. And for that, whether he seriously believed his life was in danger at the time he pulled the trigger or not, he should pay a price.
The initial facts seem pretty clear. Zimmerman followed Trayvon. Trayvon realized he was being followed and had no idea who was following him or why. He got creeped out, as I believe every single one of us would have. In fact, he got scared. He found a place to hide out for awhile. Then, he ventured back out, hoping he'd lost the guy and hoping to get back home safe. Unfortunately, his effort resulted in him meeting up with Zimmerman once again.
At this point, Zimmerman might well have been so angry at Trayvon for having "gotten away" from him previously that he wasn't going to let it happen again, and so attacked Trayvon. Or the meeting might have been so unexpected by both of them while the adrenaline and fear levels of both were sky high that neither saw a way out other than a fight.
It's also possible that Trayvon saw no way of getting away again - or might have seen that Zimmerman had a gun - he might well have thought HIS only option was to go on the offensive. It's possible that he did indeed attempt to disable Zimmerman, thinking his own life was on the line. His adreneline would have been sky high, his fear level at this point sky high. He has no idea who Zimmerman is, no idea the cops have been contacted. I've been in those situations, and in those, you just react.
So we'll never know. I find it hard to believe Zimmerman thought he had no option but to shoot and kill the boy, particularly knowing the cops were on their way. But the jury has to choose between those various scenarios, and Trayvon isn't there to present his story of what happened. And if they choose the scenario that Zimmerman initiated the fight, they all have to decide the evidence proves that scenario beyond a reasonable doubt. Or if they decide that Trayvon might have, whether out of fear or not, but that Zimmerman's shooting of him was still not justified under the circumstances, they have to make that decision unanimously beyond a reasonable doubt as well. That's a high bar.
Remember, if found not guilty, Zimmerman will not be found innocent. He will only be found not guilty - which means the jury did not believe BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT that he was the initiator of the altercation or that they could not determine that he was not justified in shooting his gun. It does NOT mean they believe Trayvon was the initiator. Or that they believe Trayvon was a "punk" who deserved this. It simply means they were not able to agree that they didn't have a reasonable doubt that it was Zimmerman.
Something went wrong with my computer and I wasn't able to access Dkos for the last couple of weeks and so have followed other sites. Reading the comment threads regarding this trial on those sites has truly made me sick to my stomach. I can not believe that so many people are so ignorant and just plain evil that they've resorted to the kind of name calling and victim bashing as they've done to this poor unfortunate young man. If anyone believes that racism has even been tempered, they need to just read one of these threads. My heart goes out to every person of color, be they black, brown, the dreaded Muslim, or anything else other than the lily white, as reading those threads has given me a slight understanding of the horrible amount of discrimination they have to live with every day of their lives. It's there, in front of them, every day. While they (as so many of us do just to survive sometimes) can try to avoid it, close their eyes to it, try to let it roll off their backs, it's still always there and always affecting them to some degree. They can avoid reading the crap that's written most of the time if they try, I hope, but they can't help but know it's out there - all the time.
What has struck me is a total lack of understanding of someone like Clarence Thomas and his ilk. How can people like that stand to be anywhere in the same vicinity, politically, as people like these commenters? How can they not want to use the positions they've reached to try and staunch some of the effects of these racists assholes? How can anyone try to claim affirmative action is no longer needed when the proof of discrimination is screaming at them constantly from these assholes?
But that's all a bit off the subject of George Zimmerman. I just wanted to put out there that, as we're sitting waiting for the verdict in this case, we need to keep it in perspective and recognize that the verdict itself is relatively irrelevant to the case. The fact that is was investigated, he was arrested, he was charged, and he was vigorously prosecuted means we've already won.