For all the devotion to the U.S. Constitution, and particularly the Bill of Rights, by Americans inclined to uber-conservative sensibilities, the trial to determine the guilt or innocence of George Zimmerman should be an abomination. Indeed, Amendment VI has been adulterated by conservative mainstream media and their racially prejudiced pundits to sway the court of public opinion and inform that in America’s criminal justice system racial animus and bigotry belies the Founder’s intent in devising what should guarantee that the accused “shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial.” In the Zimmerman trial, yes George Zimmerman is on trial, with valuable assistance from conservative media the defense has put the homicide victim, 17 year old Trayvon Martin, on trial for what many observers believe is “walking while Black” in a white neighborhood. However, the real trial is whether or not the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the National Rifle Association (NRA) have successfully convinced Americans that armed vigilantism and bastardized racial frontier justice is the law of the land in 21st century civilized America.
The intricacies of what occurred after self-appointed neighborhood watch captain and alleged Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) devotee George Zimmerman armed himself, got in his vehicle, stalked, confronted, and killed Trayvon Martin are insignificant because for all intents and purposes, Zimmerman defied police instructions and hunted Trayvon Martin. By his own admission, Zimmerman informed police the problem, in his mind, was “there’s a real suspicious guy…he’s up to no good. He’s just walking around, he looks black…late teens.” Zimmerman continued “These assholes they always get away…Shit he’s running.” The police dispatcher asked Zimmerman “are you following him?” Zimmerman replied “yeah” and the dispatcher plainly said “we don’t need you to do that.” But Zimmerman could not comply because he pre-determined a real suspicious guy (read Black) was an “asshole” because he “looks Black” and is “just walking around” in a white man’s neighborhood and started running when he realized he was being stalked. That should have been the end of the trial because Zimmerman armed himself, chased down Trayvon Martin, and eventually shot and killed the unarmed teenager.
However, the crux of the trial was focused on Trayvon Martin’s “thug” quotient well before the night he was murdered, as well as myriad other attempts by the defense and conservative media pundits to convict Martin for the crime of walking while Black that gave Zimmerman justification to chase, stand his ground, and use lethal force to kill Trayvon. It is classic NRA rhetoric that “a good guy (read white) with a gun is the only thing that will stop a bad guy (read black) with a gun,” except in this instance only the alleged good guy (read white) had a gun. However, it was irrelevant because in America a young African American teen is automatically the bad guy and according to ALEC’s so-called “Castle Doctrine” any American is “justified using lethal force and has no duty to retreat if they are in a place where he or she has a right to be and think force is necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.” Trayvon Martin was tried, convicted, and executed by George Zimmerman who thought Trayvon was in the “commission of a forcible felony” of walking while Black in a white neighborhood, and no reasonable human being can argue otherwise.
It was asserted that Trayvon Martin was fighting for his life prior to Zimmerman ending it, and it is a fair assumption that since he was in a place he had a right to be that he had no duty to retreat even though Zimmerman said “he started running;” apparently to escape Zimmerman’s intended commission of a forcible felony. Remember, Zimmerman armed himself with a loaded firearm, convinced himself Trayvon “was up to no good,” and chased down the teen before confronting and killing him. Still, the defense and conservative media spent no small amount of time besmirching Trayvon Martin, and his friend Rachel Jeantel, in an attempt to shift the trial’s focus and convince jurors that Zimmerman was the victim and African Americans Martin and Jeantel were on trial.
Melissa Harris-Perry asked a pertinent question regarding Trayvon’s Castle Doctrine rights in defending himself from an armed assailant; “why wouldn’t he have a right to stand his ground? Is that not racialized? Do black boys get to defend themselves?” The answer is no, not in America; because the assumption is that African American males are criminals as evidenced by the defense and conservative media’s persistent assertion that Zimmerman is the victim and Trayvon Martin was a thug.
The Zimmerman trial is a microcosm of the pathetic state of this nation and demonstrates that conservatives, ALEC, and the NRA are driving the lawlessness targeting African Americans; especially African American young men and in no small part drives the for profit prison industry ALEC is wont to enrich. As the trial comes to an end, it appears most Americans forgot the outrage shortly after the Trayvon killing at the American Legislative Exchange Council’s “stand your ground” laws in dozens of states, or the National Rifle Association’s push to put more guns in the public’s hands because “good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns.” Subsequently, as the trial of a bad guy with a gun (George Zimmerman) who stalked and killed a unarmed African American youth without a gun comes to an end, the defense and conservative media framed the trial as whether or not George Zimmerman was victimized by an African American teen whose only crime was walking while black in a white neighborhood.
It is tragic that the trial morphed into a slanderous assault on Trayvon Martin’s memory, but this is America where a segment of the population pants for race war and are on the watch for more Trayvon Martins to stalk and kill. Don’t believe it? It is hardly a coincidence that as the Zimmerman trial comes to a close, a Ku Klux Klan affiliate in Connecticut, the United Klans of America (UKA), deposited notes on residents’ driveways that said, “NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH: You can sleep well tonight knowing the UKA is awake!” One hopes it is not a product of “racially-coded neighborhood watches” or “sympathetic racist supporters” of George Zimmerman, but it smells like reassurance that armed white males are ready to protect white Americans from young African Americans “walking around looking suspicious.” Unfortunately, after conservatives portrayed Trayvon Martin as a thug who got his just desserts, and a white supremacist group advertised their intent to begin armed patrols in Maryland, the chance of more unarmed African American males being stalked and killed in “stand your ground” scenarios are on the horizon, and sadly no American will remember that ALEC and the NRA are the force behind it.