I don’t know who it was screaming on the tape. The screams make little sense in either interpretation. Why would Martin be screaming like that if he was winning the fight? (He didn’t have a mark on him.) But if Zimmerman was the one yelling, then why does it stop right after the shot is fired?
It’s a mystery. We don’t know what happened. We have reasonable doubts as to what happened.
The case should have never seen the inside of a courtroom. To say there was tremendous political pressure to get the case into court would be an extreme understatement. The president himself actually went on TV and said that the victim was like the son he never had. So much for an impartial jury.
But this thing had such a huge race card on it from the beginning, that it was as unprecedented as it was outrageous. First, networks began endless coverage where they berated Zimmerman as a racist, saying that he called Martin a “coon” (not true). Then the media dug through his past with a backhoe (and the president, by the way, personally ordered an FBI investigation to see if the crime was racially motivated; the FBI said they couldn’t find anything), in a desperate search for racist gold, and found absolutely nothing. In fact, the more they dug, the more they found evidence that Zimmerman was unusually un-racist. He had mentored a black teenager, and had even tried to raise money for a black, homeless man. Some racist.
The only racial thing they were able to dig up was that, in the years leading up to the shooting, Zimmerman, as the embattled neighborhood watchman for a subdivision (in struggling Sanford, Florida, average income: $20,000/year; %20 of people below the poverty line) which had been completely overrun by increasingly terrifying home invasions, had called police about once a month, and that many (but by no means all) of those phone calls were about black suspects.
He had been encouraged by the police to set up the neighborhood watch program and had been told to never to approach the suspects. This explains why he did not simply pull up in his truck and identify himself as neighborhood watch right away. He had been through this drill many times. He calls the police, and by the time they arrive, the person has taken off. “They always get away.”
And we know that, at least this time, once the kid ran, Zimmerman pursued him. Of course, Zimmerman’s recreation of events is a complete fabrication. One can notice, in particular, the extreme difficulty Zimmerman has placing himself near the body (even, amusingly, describing in the reenactment some bizarre fall where he was punched but then spins several feet forward), though never quite able to place himself all the way over there. He was, after all (and infamously), instructed not to follow. Of course, this is Florida, where it’s not illegal to follow someone with a gun strapped to your side. And we also know that if someone was falsely accused of murder because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, any rational person would lie to avoid being framed.
What’s troubling, though, is how well Zimmerman lies. Clearly a cop wannabe, he tells the story as if he had taken a master class in, to use Dave Chappelle’s old joke, sprinkling crack on black people. He knew just what to say. Yes, I concede, the whole thing is very shady. But do we really know that Zimmerman murdered Martin?
We know a little about Martin, too. I’m not trying to throw mud on his grave, but let’s face it, text messages show that he bragged about recently winning a fight, was asking about getting a gun, and his school records show that he brought weed to school and had been caught with burglary tools in his book bag. Not exactly your average student. While he certainly he didn’t “jump out of the bushes” (there were no bushes), is it so inconceivable that he might have thrown the first punch?
We know that he had a long time to go home and chose not to. He must have circled back. We know also that Rachel Jeantel is lying as much as Zimmerman, as both their timelines omit the all important two minute gap before the fight. To say her incomplete, inconsistent, vague, mumbling “I heard wet grass” testimony was weak would by a major understatement.
The two minute gap, for its part, mystified all analysts. It is a baffling period of time, in which nothing seems to occur, and in which Zimmerman and Martin end up nearly back where they started (if they ever left), but this time colliding. At the end of it, as if straight out of a Hitchcock film, we hear an audio recording of a life and death struggle, and then a shot. But the recording raises more questions than it answers.
In the end, all you really had was a case with almost no actual evidence against Zimmerman. In fact, a great deal of the prosecutor’s evidence actually helped him tremendously, such as the police report which said that one witness told them that Zimmerman was on the ground begging him for help. (In the police investigation, the witness later waffled on this point, though eventually, despite clearly being very stressed out about possible retaliation against him for his testimony, he confirmed in court that the man who called out to him was wearing Zimmerman’s clothing.)
The media, though, was just happy to have the story, and one network in particular, MSNBC, was completely outrageous in their obvious agenda to bag a “white” supremacist. (Zimmerman is only half white, looks hispanic and was raised by an all-Hispanic family where he learned English as second language.)
MSNBC actually ran a segment where each African-American, on-air personality recounted their own experiences with being wrongly pursued by police and security guards. (The commentator Toure complained about white ladies fearing him on elevators.) Okay, so this proves what happened that night? I mean, none of these people were talking about being pursued by George Zimmerman personally.
That’s not journalism. That’s an African American media lynch mob fueled blatantly by the same confirmation bias they were claiming to be the victims of. Toure, for his part, instead of debating Piers Morgan (whose contention was merely that the media should reserve judgment until it had all the facts), simply denounced Morgan, and, astonishingly, practically stated that convicting Zimmerman was part of a larger, American, historical narrative that was more important than his individual right to a fair trial.
The most annoying part of the coverage, though, was endlessly hearing about the “white privilege” in the education and court system. So, let me see if I understand this: Michael Jordan’s kids get a worse education than, say, some dirt poor, white kid living in a trailer? “Oh, but Michael Jordan is rich,” they would probably say. And I’d say, “Exactly.” It’s based on what school district you can afford to go to. These commentators are apparently not sophisticated enough to understand the difference between correlation and causation. There hasn’t been a white conspiracy to stop black people from moving into nice school districts in quite some time.
And if only white people can get an education in this country, then why is it that Asian people actually make more money the white people? Why don’t people from India (they can be quite brown) have this problem? Are you actually suggesting that people from India can’t get a good education in America? What the fuck are you talking about? Go look at the honor roll in any fucking school. I can tell you right now what it’s gonna say: “Patel, Patel, Patel, Patel…” These Indians seem to be doing surprisingly well in this whites-only education system. Maybe it’s because, and this is just a crazy long shot here, they have tiger parents who put a lot of emphasis on education? And as far as getting into college, universities routinely angrily demand the right to move African-American applicants to the top of the list. Are these the white people that are trying to stop them from getting an education?
But the media wouldn’t have conceded any of that. Not while they were too busy telling us about Saint Rachel Jeantel, who I actually saw compared to Harriet Tubman in one blog. Listen. I have some sympathy for Jeantel. After all, her friend did die while on the phone with her (or right after). It’s hard not to feel sorry for that. But, let’s face it, she’s not exactly a likable person. If those cameras hadn’t been in there, that judge would have thrown her ass in jail for contempt of court. NOBODY, in any courtroom in the world, (not just racist America, but Africa, too) is allowed to act like that in court. She was disrespectful to the proceedings, and her testimony was filled with child-like deceptions, such as repeatedly refusing to speak loud enough to be cornered into a definitive answer, or just changing her story from her police deposition. I wouldn’t make fun of her apparent learning disability, but her tweets in the run-up to the trial often spoke of getting high, drinking, and even one announcement that she was planning on drinking and driving that night. It’s inarguable: she’s an idiot.
And when some guests and commentators in the media dared to point that out, they were silenced, being called elitist or even racist. “That’s her culture!” they were told. “You just don’t understand the culture!” Really? Her culture is to drink and drive, and then brag about it in a tweet, even though she knows she’s in the biggest trial of the decade, and everyone’s watching? Culture is about, among other things, music and language and clothing. It has NOTHING to do with being an irresponsible idiot. I reject the stereotype that there is anything inherently irresponsible, rude or law breaking about African-American culture. All cultures have people who want to be responsible and play by the rules, and people who don’t.
Others in the media pointed out how, in a separate case, a black woman had been sentenced to twenty years for merely firing warning shots at her abusive husband. These people neglect to mention, of course, that this woman confessed to leaving the house, getting a gun from the garage, and coming back in blasting, which hardly counts as self-defense in a trial. Now, if that had been Zimmerman, he would have probably told the police that the gun had already been in the house, that the other person reached for it first, etc., etc.
The point is that, if you’re talking to the police, and you tell your story in a way where you have not technically broken any laws, and they have no other evidence, and you stick to that story, and you hire two high priced attorneys, then you’re probably gonna walk free. That’s something which the woman in that other case did not understand.
It is something, however, that O.J. Simpson understood. People want to say that if Zimmerman was black, he’d be in jail. Oh really? You’re telling me, that Johnny Cochran, in his day, would not have won that case? Are you joking? Johnny Cochran WOULD HAVE KILLED HIMSELF if he ever lost such a slam dunk case.
After all, there is, without question, such a thing as “rich man’s justice” in our system. But “white Hispanic man’s justice”? Give me a fuckin break.