Summer's here and the time is right for neither dancing nor fighting in the streets down in Florida. George Zimmerman--accused of second degree murder in the killing of Trayvon Martin--is about to go on trial for same.
For the 7 people in America that don't know the story, On February 26th, 2012, Martin, an African American teenager, left his dad's house to go to the store to buy an iced tea and a bag of Skittles. Zimmerman, a self proclaimed but not actual member of the local Neighborhood Watch, started following Martin by car and then foot--for reasons not ever fully explained anywhere. What happened next is the crux of the trial, but what is known is that a police dispatcher suggested to Zimmerman not to follow Martin, Martin did phone a girlfriend to tell her he was being followed and Zimmerman did shoot Martin dead.
That Martin was unarmed and did not approach an armed man that shot him first would tend to indicate that this is an open and shut case. But because Florida has a "stand your ground" law, that will be Zimmerman's defense, even though he has waived the right to a hearing before a judge on whether or not that statute applies--Zimmerman's attorneys feel that the "stand your ground" defense is better argued in front of a jury than a judge and so off to trial they go.
Zimmerman's defense got some rather bad news right from the git-go. Judge Debra Nelson has ruled that Zimmerman's attorneys won't be able to mention Trayvon Martin's drug use, suspension from school and past fighting during opening statements (as Zimmerman himself knew none of this as he was following Martin and Martin isn't on trial, Zimmerman is). This is an enormous blow to Zimmerman's defense.
Why would something as utterly irrelevant as Martin's pot smoking (pot makes whom more violent, exactly?) suspensions from school (not at the time) and fighting (common among teens) be an issue when Martin had no criminal record? Jeez, Louise, I wonder what on earth they would use such information for?
Let's cut the shit once and for all here--Zimmerman's defense begins and ends on the idea that Trayvon Martin was the stereotypical caraicature of an African American teenaged male. A dangerous, hip hop lovin', chronic-huffin', pants on the ground gang bangin' thug. Which means that any "clear thinking person" would be terrified of same and have the right to ventilate same by firearm.
In short---1)George Zimmerman, like any sane person, would be scared of this kid and 2) Being scared really sucks and makes you feel awful, so 3) Of course it's OK to shoot the kid. In the minds of the terrified reactionary, "being frightened" justifies "standing your ground", even when you are chasing someone, not standing anywhere.
Fact is, Trayvon could have been 7'' tall and weighed 400 pounds and out on parole and Zimmerman still wouldn't have a case. But because he and his attorneys are banking on at least a few people in the jury being scared ninnies, that's the defense. And as Zimmerman found out when he raised a ton of money for his "defense", this kind of thinking is endemic to people that react to information as opposed to absorbing it.
That America's "conservatives" lined up behind Zimmerman in near lockstep speaks volumes about the tie that binds them.
Armed man shoots unarmed man that he was clealry stalking. Can't get more cut and dried than that. But when the victim is part of a population segment that has another population segment pooping its Depends, it is not. This is gonna be an interesting, if possibly revolting summer in the USA.