Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Why Zimmerman Will Be Convicted

The truth sometimes seems preposterous, (e.g. the September 11th Plot; the manifold, profound, and unanimous evil of the Bushies; the gutless naivety of Obama, et cetera), but part of being a grown-up is the ability to distinguish preposterous, self-serving bullshit, from statements of fact. This is called ‘judgment’ and we need to bring it to cases like the George Zimmerman’s.

While it may be difficult to knowprecisely what happened between Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, since we only have audio for most of it, the version of events rehearsed by his father, the
former judge should be put next to preposterous in the dictionary.

“Trayvon Martin got on top of him, and just started beating him….In his face, on his nose,
hitting his face on the concrete. After nearly a minute of being beaten, George was trying to get his head off the concrete, trying to move with Trayvon on him, in the grass. In doing so, his firearm was shown. Trayvon Martin said something to the effect of, 'You're going to die now,' or 'You're going to die tonight' or something to that effect….."

A somewhat redacted but no more probable version of this was also given by Zimmerman’s putative lawyers on CBS This Morning and elsewhere. Assuming that none of these officers of the court is simply making this story up, what seems plain is that this is not a description
of actual events, rather it is the Steven Segal movie running inside George Zimmerman’s
dimly twisted head.

But life is not a movie. People do not usually announce ‘You’re goingto die tonight’ in the moment before a corpse is created. This doesn’t mean there is never evidence about states of mind. And in this case there is abundant evidence about George Zimmerman’s state of mind immediately before he shot Trayvon Martin. (It is demonstrably not so that there little evidence in this alleged “he said-she said” case – there is remarkably complete a sound track.) So comfortable was Zimmerman talking to the police dispatcher, for at least the 47th time, that he was literally thinking out loud into his cell-phone, and that is how we know that he was
maliciously disposed toward Martin going into the situation. He clearly told the dispatcher that “These assholes always get away.” Less clearly he seems to have called Martin a “Fucking coon.”
George Zimmerman, who has a police record of violence – George Zimmerman who made a richly documented habit of reporting black males ‘on suspicion,’ had, this evidence attests, already decided before confronting him that Trayvon Martin was a subhuman, guilty of
something for which he needed to be apprehended and punished. And then, ignoring the suggestion of the police dispatcher, he set out to apprehend and punish. At some point after he shot Trayvon Martin he apparently made up the preposterous story being retailed by
his mouthpieces. It will be interesting to see how much, if any, of this story was actually being told at the crime scene, and how it has evolved since.

We will do well to remember why some readily believe that which many others find blatantly preposterous: often it is because it dovetails with their prejudices. It is of course
understandable why Judge Zimmerman believes his son’s ridiculous lie. And it is also regrettably understandable how two shysters would profit by giving it credence. But it gets really woeful to think about why the beat police, the police chief, and the prosecutor should have apparently believed it on the scene. (Was there no skeptic among them?)

Finally it’s pretty easy to see why George Zimmerman thought this story would be believed. Given the troubled racial history of the Sanford police department it might not even have been a dumb play. Then again, most people are all too eager to believe such stories here in America.
There is a fairly long (and also recent) history here of people committing crimes and then trying to pin the blame on nonexistent scary black men – the furrier who killed his wife in Boston, the woman who drowned her kids in South Carolina, et cetera. (Try Googling “fake carjacking” and see how surprisingly common this ploy is.) What’s different in the Trayvon Martin case is that, A. there’s a lot more documentation of events leading up to the homicide, and B. the homicide victim and the alleged assailant are the same person.


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