Saturday, July 20, 2013

Justice for Trayvon?

It's a news item today that there are over 100 "Justice for Trayvon" rallies going on around the country.  Those people are foolishly wasting their time.  Here's why:

1) There can be no justice for Trayvon.  Trayvon Martin is dead.  Nothing living people do can affect him, and will have little effect on his family.  What all these people are rallying for is in fact their displeasure at the court's ruling that didn't reflect their own opinion.  They may express "support for the family" and a desire for the "spirit of the law" to be upheld, but really what they are is a mob trying to rule.

2) The law has no spirit.  The law is as it is written and must be interpreted by the courts to ensure the original framers' intent for the law's scope and power to be brought to bear.  If these people are dissatisfied with how the law was interpreted and enforced, a rally isn't going to have much effect on that.  When dissatisfied with laws, get yourself elected and start working on improving the laws.  That's how the system works.  Holding up signs and shouting doesn't work.  Ask any number of students in Tiananmen Square.

3) There are a remarkably small number of people directly accountable for how the Trayvon Martin case has shaken out: George Zimmerman - and I would certainly hate to be Zimmerman right now - the judge and jury, and Martin himself.  And of course, Martin has gone to where questioning, evidence and human justice do not matter.

Even with the trial now over, and I watched a very short postgame assessment by none other than former President Jimmy Carter that suggested a possible criminal retrial was not possible, Zimmerman isn't out of the woods yet.  There could be such a thing as a civil trial that comes back to chew Zimmerman up, and hard.  That's what happened to OJ Simpson in the aftermath of his troubles: did he kill his ex-wife?  No one knows for sure, but in the civil trial the bereaved family managed to convince a jury that Simpson was culpable, and hammered him with, as I recall, a $30M damages charge.  I wonder how big a bill the family will try to lay on Zimmerman.

It's gotta suck to be George Zimmerman right now.  He even said, in so many words, "I'm truly sorry."  In the racially-charged aftermath of this controversy, former leader of the NAACP CL Bryant has singled out such mouthpieces as Jesse Jackson (whom I have met) and Al Sharpton (whom I will not) as "race hustlers," leaping onto Martin's dead coattails to raise their own profile.  He might be right.  My take on that is this: if you're not directly involved, hush.

And that goes for me, too.  I'm done.


  1. While I generally agree with your opinions on this, it is possible that some good will come of further discussion and analysis. For example, while I generally support gun rights, it does seem to me that people like Zimmerman should not be carrying pistols, and perhaps some changes in the laws might be in order. I have long maintained that people carrying guns to address problems cause more problems than they fix. This is another example.

  2. I'm not sure I understand what you mean when you say, "people like Zimmerman." Do you mean civilian security agents?

    A complicating factor of all of this is the combination of Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law and Zimmerman's role as a civilian security agent. It puts him in a quasi-law enforcement role. It makes perfect sense to wield deadly force to protect your own home and Zimmerman did live in that neighborhood, but he wasn't defending his own home.

    Like a plane crash, none of this comes down to a single factor. It's the result of a chain of decisions and conditions. If Zimmerman hadn't had a gun, we might be reading about "Justice for George" rallies instead.