There goes Kerry Sanders of NBC, informing Meet the Press viewers that all of the immediate reaction to the George Zimmerman verdict is simply an expression of anger that the black community in Sanford didn’t get the outcome they wanted.
Decoded, it’s Kerry Sanders of NBC telling white viewers black people expected something they didn’t deserve (wink, wink). But don’t worry, white people, because the outcome is somehow just.
This was a jury of six, six women, five of them mothers. Five of them white; one of them described by the prosecutor as either black or Hispanic. Two of them, gun owners. After they left, outside there was a fair amount of noise outside the courthouse that could not be heard up on the fifth floor. The jurors did not hear that.
The rally was primarily, at those who were most vocal were those who were disappointed with the outcome, complaining that they felt that the system had not delivered a verdict that they wanted. This is a community here of about– well, if we do the breakdown here, it’s 78% white, it’s 17% Hispanic, and it’s 11% black.
How someone can cover this trial for all this time and deliver such a trite summation is truly beyond me. How difficult is it to understand these basic facts? A 17-year old kid walking while texting and talking to his girlfriend after buying Skittles and iced tea at the local convenience store is dead in his grave. He is dead in his grave because a bigger guy with a gun and an attitude decided there was something suspect about a black kid walking home. He is dead in his grave because that bigger guy with a gun decided to follow him against police instructions.
Zimmerman was acquitted and Trayvon convicted because Florida law basically says you can do whatever you want to if you fear for your life, even if that fear is purely manufactured in your paranoid brain.
The verdict they wanted? Hell, at one point there wasn’t even a possibility of a verdict. This trial almost didn’t happen. The reason it did was because there was a loud outcry across this nation about how it could possibly be that a kid who posed no threat to anyone was deemed a threat and then shot. Let’s just be straight up here: The only verdict anyone wanted is one that says it’s safe for kids to walk the streets at 7 pm on a rainy night.
That verdict was not delivered. Instead, George Zimmerman will be free to roam the streets of Sanford with his teenager-killing gun and take aim at another one. Charlie Pierce:
But, sooner or later, what American society has told him he can do, what it has now made possible, is that George Zimmerman can load his piece, tuck it into the back of his pants, climb into his SUV, and cruise the rainy streets of Sanford in the night, all of his senses a’tingle, all his instincts honed, on the lookout with his hunter’s eye for assholes and fucking punks. There’s one down the block. What the hell’s he doing here? Asshole. Fucking punk. Better pull over and check this out.
Nothing good has come of this whole situation. Nothing.
The verdict they wanted was for white America to tell black America that their kids weren’t going to be moving targets for cowboys with guns stuffed in their pants. They wanted white America to tell black America that prisons aren’t just for black kids. They wanted the same justice routinely accorded to white victims. They wanted the criminalization of black kids to end. They are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins who love their kids the same way white people love their kids and they want to be treated as equal citizens under the law and in society.
National protests should not have been necessary for this case to come to trial. Our collective conscience should have prevailed and law enforcement officials should have felt compelled to properly investigate and prosecute the case against George Zimmerman, not as some kind of symbolic gesture toward collective outrage, but because it’s just that a man with a gun who shot an unarmed kid doing no wrong should be held accountable for his death.
In the end, to this jury in this courtroom, dead black kids tell no tales. I’m sure all the white folks watching MTP this morning can heave a collective sigh of relief that the scary angry black folks didn’t rise up and riot after the verdict, but his report did no justice to injustice. In the end, the bullet in Trayvon Martin’s chest mattered less than the scratches on George Zimmerman’s head. There’s a verdict there, but it’s one no one should want.
Crossposted from CrooksandLiars.com