As the Department of Justice explores bringing charges and President Obama laments that “a jury has spoken”, the fact remains that George Zimmerman is a free man. Not just free from confinement but free to do exactly what (temporarily) endangered his own freedom. A jury has indeed spoken but regardless of the technicalities of the law concerning murder and manslaughter a stark truth endures – George Zimmerman could have just stayed in his car.
Instead of staying in his car, George Zimmerman racially profiled Trayvon Martin and decided to not only project ill intentions onto Martin but disregard the expressed instructions of the authorities he was in communication with to wait for the police to handle the situation.
The police would have shown up sirens flashing, Martin would have in all likelihood complied with any request from the clearly identified and actual authorities, he might have even been handcuffed. Then it would have become evident through basic police questioning and investigation that Martin was guilty of having a sweet-tooth but innocent of any home invasion and that he was just another young black man falling victim to American racial anxiety. Martin would have likely been scared, maybe even pissed off, but he would have gotten to home. He likely wouldn’t have been lying dead in the grass – everything he had and everything he ever would have stolen by George Zimmerman like a thief in the night.
Now Zimmerman is free to do it all over again. In fact, he could do it again with the very gun he killed Trayvon Martin with. And should, in the future, George Zimmerman become part of some “neighborhood watch” and have a racial panic attack one evening he might get out of his car again. And if, while pretending to be some sort of police officer, Zimmerman should begin to lose a fight with a”suspect” he was chasing around in the dark, well he’ll just have to start shooting.
Photo by amberjstevens released under Creative Commons License