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Putting the Facts and Race in Perspective in the Zimmerman Acquittal

Emil Photo Again Edited 61b7dabb61239

Still have a problem with the Zimmerman acquittal in the Trayvon Martin killing?

The basic facts still don’t add up to me either.

You’ve got an armed rogue volunteer vigilante obsessed by a racial stereotype of a hoodie-wearing black teen.

Could be a choir boy (he wasn’t, but we don’t know that from looking at him). The teen is armed only with Skittles.

The vigilante, an adult, is told by a dispatcher to walk away and leave it to the professionals.

But the vigilante seeking heroism disobeys. The adult pursues the teenager.

Put yourself in the teenager’s shoes: Some old dude is stalking you. You’re freaked out. You’re visiting from somewhere else and being suspected of some wrongdoing that never has even crossed your mind. Should you have changed the hoodie and put on the Sunday clothes?

And what do you do when this strange man accosts you because of your clothing, your look? You defend yourself.

A fight ensues because the vigilante is looking for one, and you’re a teenager.

If you’re the pudgy adult vigilante, whose trainer essentially called soft and un-athletic, you’re getting beat up pretty good by the teenager. So you go for the equalizer — your gun.

Later, you cry self-defense.

But so can the boy.

Unfortunately, he’s dead. And now we aren’t sure who’s crying for help based on all the tapes played back in court. There’s confusion, nothing is clear cut. It was a sign to me last week that the defense had a slight edge.

Still, beyond a reasonable doubt, the boy is dead. The vigilante killed him. Someone should pay for that, right?

But none of that seems to count.

The vigilante walks because of Florida’s self-defense law that allows him to use deadly force. The prosecution also failed to meet the high standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt” for either second-degree murder or manslaughter.

The verdict does not give us justice, just a blueprint for more of the same.

George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin, fill in the blanks.

New names, new instances. Coming to a Nancy Grace program soon. (She needs the ratings.)

Until we control the use of racial profiling by law enforcement and their surrogates, people of color in Florida—especially our youth—are not safe.

A Zimmerman acquittal only gives justification for the next vigilante to claim self-defense.

And there likely will be many more of those cases to come.

Good citizens shouldn’t act like the vigilantes they despise. Instead, they need to funnel their anger over the verdict into a call to action to reform state and local laws.

Self-defense and gun laws like those in Florida only enable vigilantes to terrorize and turn innocent situations into racist tragedies.

It’s interesting that George Zimmerman is looking for sympathy and understanding, with his family pointing out he’s not white, he’s Hispanic. But Zimmerman’s race is irrelevant. His profiling of Trayvon by race is. And we know what he thinks of African Americans in hoodies.

He thought perp.

That was Zimmerman’s “crime.”

He just wasn’t on trial for that.

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