The Zimmerman Spectacle Showcases a Racist System and a Hypocritical Support Base for Trayvon Martin

Column by new Root Striker Kevin M. Patten.

Exclusive to STR

Now that the inevitable and unsurprising acquittal of George Zimmerman has been handed down, scores of angry citizens will be asking, “What’s next?” It should at some point cross the minds of those rioting in Oakland and those currently “taking the freeway” in Los Angeles – the same activists who are all about “horizontal” structuring and community organizing – that Zimmerman was a man who indeed did take charge in defending his own neighborhood, one that had recently come under siege by a rash of burglaries. They’ll just have to deal with that truth as it is, and come to grips that the 29-year old, overzealous that he was, did not leave his wife and kids at home one night only to travel five or ten miles out of their little suburb hoping to find trouble, as one might expect a racist killer to do. He was only three houses away, doing something I believe he believed was moral and just.

But that isn’t the point of the Zimmerman spectacle. It wasn’t about “Stand Your Ground.” Not about self-defense. Neither was it about a fair trial. Nor is it even community organizing. To them, it’s much more simplistic and easier to digest: a bloodthirsty racist stalked a black teenager in the middle of a rainy night and found a way to kill him. Case closed, it seems.

Frank Taffe, a neighbor of Zimmerman’s, disagrees with that narrative, stating: “We had eight burglaries in our neighborhood all perpetrated by young black males in the 15 months prior to Trayvon being shot. It would have been nine--there would have been nine, but George Zimmerman through his efforts of being a neighborhood watch captain helped stop one in progress, documented in the 911 calls February 2. My house was being robbed, and George on his nightly rounds watched this burglary in progress, called Sanford P.D., waited for them, and helped ensure that nothing bad happened to my house. And it's documented the 911 call for February 2. That was my residence that George Zimmerman helped stop.”

Again, facts are facts, and they’re not intended to make the race-whores of the liberalized population foam at the mouth, nor to get myself called a “racist” for the ten-thousandth time. (You can’t really be a white person in America and not be accused of racism.) Should it be a question only of race when a quiet Florida community comes under attack by burglars who all happened to be dark-skinned? Zimmerman shouldn’t be blamed for categorizing his suspicion any more than all those street activists who now believe “white America” is disregarding the emotions involved only to quietly extol the tragic death of a young person of color. We should be offended at the suggestion that all those who thought justice was delivered are now jubilating in the pubs, waiting for the next black person to be killed so we can dance the night away once again and laugh in their faces.

Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, including that Zimmerman had tutored young blacks, had led an investigation into the beating of a black homeless man, that he was given the house keys of his black neighbor who had recently been a burglary victim – that he wasn’t even white but of Peruvian descent! – racialism happened to be the primary factor. The “dominant narrative,” spoken I suppose from the mass media, was given far and wide by people like Al Sharpton and Nancy Grace, and no liberal could escape the vortex of this perception; evidencing not a “supremacist” system (obviously extended to that system’s main outlet, the Networks) that concerns itself with apologizing and excusing “whiteness,” but more determined to excite emotional biases, and one that can effortlessly conflate situations like this into disproportionate levels of attention distracting from other – in my opinion far worse – abuses from the State.

Example: where were all these crusaders when Marissa Alexander of Jacksonville was recently sentenced to 20 years for firing a warning shot at her abusive husband, who continued to approach her inside of their home? Let down by the “Stand Your Ground” legislation, she was also let down by these same others who were far too busy equating a complicated murder trial with the epitome of racial oppression. Since that involved a black residence, it’s apparently not important enough to discuss, and can and will be used to call me and others “racist” simply for reporting on that most unfortunate verdict. It’s horrible that those of us who do suffer from a slight twinge of “white guilt” can’t ever speak about the problems involved in black communities, because somehow if we do, it’s only because we want to be looked at as heroes or to feel jaded or “anti-racist” or something else. Fine. No changing that today.

Yet at some point, as everyone knows, lead prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda would had to have asked State Attorney Angela Corey: “Can we convict him of second degree murder?” Of course not. What magic could? The chances of it weren’t ever seriously believed by anyone, and while there aren’t any laws against community watchmen following residents on their tax-paid-for city streets, there are laws against battery and attempted murder.

The real question then has always been who instigated the fight, knowing full and well that the complexities and lack of evidence would mean more division from people who search endlessly for reasons to revolt against a corrupt “system” – having no clue how to define its anatomy, or remedy a solution other than kicking over trashcans, breaking some windows, and blocking a few cars. It’s going to solve a whole lot, I’m sure. Had there actually been a video of Trayvon assaulting Zimmerman first, nobody would be offering an opinion on this case, unless they are to suggest that city organizers have no right to do their job, and that it’s totally acceptable for people to assault others for perceiving them to be a threat. Suppose then it would have been alright to confront those in the Occupy Camps who had a task of following around the numerous “infiltrators” – and thereby attack them on the basis of “what the hell is your problem?”

Of course the President had to weigh in also. Soon after the fateful night, on March 23rd, Obama precariously stated that a hypothetical son would have assuredly looked like the dead 17 year old. Really? All black people look the same? Who can’t immediately notice the hook in the water, fishing for those who will for the sake of some kind of perceived justice not heed to it and extrapolate the racial sentiment to its furthest limit, especially now that his Justice Department ponders federal charges? Balkanization in the past meant that two opposing and completely incompatible groups were separated by region. Neo-Balkanization today means that despite the many similarities that could be shared between white and black America (in fact all people), it will separate itself with piety, misconceptions, hate – and all while Obama and the New World Order snidely carry out their murderous war on the black population of Libya and other ethnicities the planet over.

The conversation about the trial shouldn’t have ever been about “race vs. race”; instead it should have focused on the role of the community – so precious to these fools causing a mild ruckus – and the exchange of their authority over that of the police’s, so hated by them as well. As YouTube commentator “PainLessRisen,” a black activist who also supported Zimmerman solely on the grounds of self-defense, recently said to all those in the streets: “You need to grow up,” urging that if they do tear up their neighborhoods, “do not help them rebuild.” Perhaps if Trayvon Martin had been in charge of watching the neighborhood, the deceased would have had a different pigmentation. Ah, but then nobody would have heard about it, and no trashcan tonight would feel the lynch mob’s wrath.

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Kevin M. Patten's picture
Columns on STR: 16


mhstahl's picture

I'd like to offer a counterpoint, Kevin.

First, I thought this comment was interesting:

"The real question then has always been who instigated the fight, knowing full and well that the complexities and lack of evidence would mean more division from people who search endlessly for reasons to revolt against a corrupt “system”

Is the "system" not , in fact, corrupt? I would suggest that it is outrageously so, and while setting alight trash cans, as you write, certainly won't decontaminate it I, for one, am not surprised by unrest amongst those who feel it's pointy end most chronically.

Additionally, we know who instigated the fight, George Zimmerman when he got out of his vehicle on a rainy night for no good reason(street signs are, at least around here, designed to be viewed from vehicles.)

I would also point out that indeed and in fact there are laws "against community watchmen following residents on their tax-paid-for city streets" in Ohio it is called "menacing", and you only need act in such a way as to put another person in fear of physical harm-I believe this falls under simple assault in Florida, Zimmerman being armed would make it aggravated assault.

I have no idea why he was not charged with such a crime, other than that the system is, as I mentioned, utterly corrupt; I assure you that if prosecutors truly wanted George Zimmerman in prison he would be there now. Cui bono?

Don't forget, Fl. prosecutors hate the "stand your ground" law...

From a libertarian standpoint, such a pursuit is an initiation of aggression to which the other party is fully justified in responding. End of story. Do not pass go, etc..

Zimmerman did that-his intent does not matter. If a stranger got out of a vehicle to follow me on a rainy night I would be concerned for my safety without question. I assure you that I would take some action to rectify the matter-probably by confronting my pursurer- very likely with my hand on a deadly weapon.  If it had happened when I had just turned 17, I would have been utterly freaked out.

I would note also that, "and that it’s totally acceptable for people to assault others for perceiving them to be a threat" is exactly self-defense, and it is totally acceptable, both in law and libertarian non-aggression theory. Was it disproportionate from Martin in this instance? We really do not know, but there is something to be said for not injecting yourself into an unpredictable situation where you place another person, rightly, on the defensive without cause, as Zimmerman did. You might get your ass kicked...rightly.

What we do know, or at least should know, is that this man, because of his actions and dubious statements, is a perfect poster child for anti-gun rhetoric and the over the top defense that he has been almost universally given by pro-gun folks is nothing but a gift to those who would criminalize actual self-defense. Go read some of the pro-Zimmerman comments under any big article about this case and see if you can keep your lunch down...

Personally, not being a big believer in the "system" at all, I'm happy with the outcome. Zimmerman will be looking over his shoulder for the rest of his life, and will need to provide for his own security, rather than living in protective custody in prison on the Martin family's dime.  Imagine if such were the penalty for all violent crime? It once was....crime was rare. Laws and courts are not the answer.

But that's just me.


daeuri's picture

After reading mhstahl's counterpoint, I thought there were some points that needed to be addressed. I offer the following from the point of view of a Black man and an Attorney.

First, the Menacing statute cited, regardless of the fact that it was an Ohio statute, requires more than a person feeling threatened. It requires that the person accused know that their actions would result in someone feeling threatened. Even if Florida had a Menacing law, the state would have to prove that Zimmerman knew that his actions were causing Martin to feel threatened. Given Zimmerman's role in the neighborhood watch, and the neighborhood's recent history with burglaries committed by male blacks, you would have a daunting evidentiary hurdle to overcome.

Second, Assault requires a threat, by words or by deeds, to apply physical force with the apparent ability to do so. Zimmerman obviously had the means to initiate violence, but the problem here, as with the government's case, is that there was no evidence as to how the fight actually started. Zimmerman driving a car while armed is not an assault. Getting out of the car while armed is not an assault. Further, there was no evidence that Martin knew Zimmerman was armed until after the fight commenced.

Third, the "instigation" analysis obscures the more important concern about the "initiation" of force. The reason why the State of Florida didn't charge Zimmerman with Assault, aggravated or otherwise, is because any claim of assault goes to Zimmerman's claim of Self Defense. If Zimmerman was found guilty of Murder or Manslaughter, it would have been because it was determined that he was the aggressor in the fight. By being found not guilty of Murder and Manslaughter, it was determined that Zimmerman acted in lawful self defense, which meant he did not commit an assault. Martin may have felt provoked by Zimmerman's actions, but those actions did not justify a physical confrontation. That is the end of the story. Instigation is the kind of word one uses to express a belief in how something happened in the absence of actual evidence.

Fourth, we should not celebrate, nor take solace in, the idea that Zimmerman will have to fear for his life because some people are unhappy with the outcome of his trial. Both he and the State received due process, and judgement has been rendered. People should not feel emboldened to impose their own special brand of justice on Mr. Zimmerman no matter how frustrated or hurt they may feel. Mr. Zimmerman doesn't deserve to be in prison. He tried to protect his neighborhood, which he had done on prior occasions, and in turn, he had to defend himself from being killed. Had he failed, the nation would have never been exposed to the spectacle of demagoguery surrounding race relations and stand your ground laws that have taken up a disproportionate amount of our attention.

Mr. Martin's death is a tragedy, but in a nation where 94% of the homicides of Blacks is committed by other Blacks, I think we have allowed one tragedy to obscure our view of much greater tragedies that go unacknowledged.

tomcat's picture

From the Point of view of a White man and a European with no Ideas about specialties of the
US-judical system:

First.., Second..., Third...

Prove what some person really felt or knew or thought etc. from this persons individual perspektive
(more or less impossible) or prove what this person should have felt or known or thought etc. by common sense ?
(Lets have a controversial discussion about the definition of "common sense")

No bad intentions, just stupidity and weird emotions-> not guilty ?

You always need 100 % proof-> a bunch of reliable witnesses or a videotape or better both ?
Otherwise no one could know what really had happened and the defendent will automatically receive the benefit of
the doubt.-> not guilty ?

Do you have the right to free yourself from the unwelcomed Attention of another person be it a wannabe lover or
a Nerd roleplaying a policeman, and if so, up to what point(if this person wont stop following you up after
you asked him/her to leave you alone)does this behaviour become Harassment, Stalking, or a Threat ?
But to feel harassed, stalked or threatened is always subjective and thus difficult to prove-> not guilty ?

When it comes to a trial, its all up to the dialectic skills of the lawyer and the stupidity and ignorance
of the judge and the jury.

Quote: "Fourth, we should not celebrate, nor take solace in, the idea that Zimmerman will have to fear for his life because some people
are unhappy with the outcome of his trial. Both he and the State received due process..."

But why not ?
If you support a neighborhood watch because the people are dissatisfied with the services of the police why not
support a similar solution if people are dissatisfied with the judical system ?

Martin looked suspicious(Okay..) and starting from this vague Impression you often (also here in an Article on STR)
find people making up wild fantasies about themselves and their families beeing raped, maimed and killed.
Deductive reasoning to make an elephant out of a mosquito.Hysterical Paranoia.

And I always thought that this simpson-cartoon "Homer and the Revolver"is meant to be Satire.
Seriously, if this country is such a bad place that this kind of paranoia is justified by reason,
instead of joining a neighborhood watch I would look for another place to live.

Martin was just walking along, nothing else.Shouldn't have mattered what he looked like, let alone some fantasized
"maybe" Horror-Scenarios.
If the area where it happend was really so full of crime, Martin as an-despite his looks- innocent citizen had good
reasons to be afraid if someone was following him up.
And, while any decent lawyer defending his client will of course deny it, Zimmermann should have known that.