George Zimmerman has been acquitted of any wrongdoing in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Across the country, protesters expressed their outrage with the Florida jury who let a man walk after shooting an unarmed child who was holding just a pack of Skittles and some iced tea. Though most protests have been peaceful, the ones in Los Angeles and Oakland did become violent. Police had to restrain the LA protesters by shooting bean bag rounds at the crowd.
I am surprised there hasn't been more violence. In 1992, after a similar verdict in the severe beating of Rodney King at the hands of the LAPD, riots broke out that practically destroyed parts of Los Angeles. For the most part, the protests in Boston, New York, and other cities have been peaceful.
But who could blame anyone for being violently angry? President Obama spoke up about the verdict and said:
I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken.
He is right. But he is also wrong. Sometimes "justice" is a joke and sometimes innocent people die because of insane, archaic laws and systemic racism. It may be legally correct to let Zimmerman off the hook for murder, but morally, it's reprehensible. Morally, Zimmerman should have at least been convicted of manslaughter and now he can just go home.
In fact, he can even get his gun back. His lawyer says he needs it "more than ever." It's an outrage. And while violence is hardly the answer and it certainly will fix nothing, it's hard to blame anyone for feeling violent and angry when the system has failed them -- and all of us -- so spectacularly.
Martin was a child who was stereotyped and targeted because of the color of his skin. He is dead because Zimmerman was prejudiced against him due to the color of his skin. Those who don't believe it would say we can't know that for sure. They might say he would have reacted the same way to a white person in a hoodie, but anyone with a brain knows that's a lie. Zimmerman assumed the worst about Trayvon Martin. He stalked Martin and started the fight. He may not have intended to kill him that night, but without his profiling, Trayvon would still be alive.
Hopefully Trayvon's parents will file a civil suit and make sure Zimmerman never has a penny to his name for the rest of his life. None of it will bring back Trayvon, but at least he will "pay."
See protests below:
Do you think the protests are justified?
Image via YouTube