My $.02 on George Zimmerman

… because we all have opinions, don’t we?

(The following is adapted by a very long and multifaceted Facebook discussion, but I repost only my own thoughts here.)

Actually astonished (and sickened) by the Zimmerman verdict; I guess I’m not as cynical as I thought. In that spirit, I look forward to future attempts at justice and would happily donate to a more competent and aggressive legal effort, perhaps a civil wrongful death lawsuit?

Because no one who tracks and kills another person is “innocent” and there should be a penalty. There were bad actors and terrible judgment on all sides, in my opinion…. except Trayvon of course, is dead and can’t tell his side. Which contributes to the injustice.

This is not a straight self-defense story, in any sense but perhaps the strictest legal one, but that’s what goes in the books. and now we have more precedent for more legally justifiable murders. Oh yes, I think he murdered Trayvon, and understand that’s not the legal charge for a reason, but that death was no accident and it sure as shit wasn’t unavoidable.

I can only hope this jury put as least as much care into this decision as I did last year on a jury considering a relatively minor robbery/stabbing case. Maybe to them, it was clear from evidence and facts. Maybe the judge’s instructions and the law led them to their unanimous conclusion.

Hope that with all my heart. I am disappointed and sad with the whole situation… but not having been in court, I do not assume the jurors specifically are agents of evil/injustice. they are just the last in a long line of evil/injustice.

I am not litigious, but I do hope a civil suit is brought. We need to keep talking about this. I do believe a RESPONSIBLE AND COMPETENT law team should be engaged for this discussion — sadly lacking thus far. And I don’t care if a firm takes it on for publicity, as long as it’s not only for publicity (see “responsible and competent”). I would not deride and deny an increased national profile as a reasonable compensation for the pursuit of justice? Even if Zimmerman’s pockets are not deep, and little to no actual money can be transferred from him to the Martin family, does anyone think the Martins want his money more than their son? Even if they never see a dime, I think they (and we, and I personally) just can’t bear the idea that their son is dead and GZ is exonerated, free and celebrating today and forever. Civil court can only pronounce financial judgment because courts can’t extract shame. Perhaps if he had demonstrated an ounce of shame or remorse, if the police had been more sensitive and responsible to the Martins, if the arrogant *joke-telling* defense lawyers hadn’t characterized an admitted killer as innocent and a victim, then perhaps millions of us would not be so outraged by his acquittal.

I think there is indeed a lawyer or firm who will recognize that this potential civil case is about far more than what they can extract from Zimmerman financially.

The most important cultural consequence to this trial, and its aftermath, is the remarkable consciousness-raising it has engendered regarding the concept of “privilege” — be that racial, gender, economic, educational, et al. I mean, everyone in America, CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE, DAMN! For all those who think this case is “pure politics” and “bullshit” — in this case as many others, the personal is political and vice versa. This one happened to catch fire, but not inexplicably for those who identify with Trayvon or his family, or feel empathy for them. If you are mad somehow that this case is interrupting baseball coverage, for example, I’m happy for you that you can opt to go back to just watching baseball, honestly, and you’re lucky that you don’t see your sons when looking at photos of Trayvon. One of the most frustrating things about cultural privilege, which so many of us obliviously enjoy, is that it’s invisible to those who have it, and it precludes empathy. The stubborn refusal by the priviledged to understand why this case inspires such outrage disappoints me, for it it’s the very embodiment of “not getting” that which you do not personally live through. Participate in this discussion or don’t, but please at least be sensitive to the fact that millions can never opt out of the issues raised.


About amywinns

Semi-snarky, semi-sincere, occasionally ranting, always paying attention. Feminist who can work a skirt and crack a joke. Grammar nerd who is also fun at parties. Mid-career writer/editor with 15 years’ experience in newspapers & magazines who now helps developers at a major media corporation communicate with the suits who write the checks. Pro-women, pro-family, pro-choice, pro-workingclass, pro-entrepreneur, pro-farmer. Like every other bourgeois Brooklynite, I choose local/organic/raw food — mostly vegetables — whenever possible/reasonable/affordable but I’m not a smug asshole about it. Hometown: Atlanta. Weird hobby: lindy hop. No pets, no kids, no thanks.
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