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Zimmerman, Two Americas, and the End of Justice

How you see the verdict reveals which America you are in.

By Petrarch  |  July 16, 2013

So George Zimmerman was found innocent of all wrongdoing by a jury of his (female) peers, and can now legally walk the streets a free man.  It's pretty unlikely he'll ever dare to try that, considering the death threats he's received from professional football players and the Racist Reverends down to local street thugs.

Which raises an interesting question: If a black man had been charged with murder, found "not guilty," and released, would the white community be coming 'round with torches to string him up?  Actually, once upon a time this happened with some regularity: it's called "lynching" and is generally considered to be evil.  Why is it OK when black Americans, 99.9999% of whom have never even met George Zimmerman, threaten the same thing?

The plain fact is that there are two Americas, and the two Americas look on the sad story of Mr. Zimmerman and the late Trayvon Martin in two fundamentally different ways.

Six Good (Wo)men And True

One America, the America in which your humble correspondent is a proud citizen, believes in the right of the accused to be "innocent until proven guilty," and considers it the responsibility of the jury to consider the facts of the case before them and of the law as it applies to those facts.  In this view, it is wicked and un-American to consider wider political, social, cultural, or other influences; the only relevant issue at hand is what happened in this one specific event on trial and what the law has to say about it.

From this perspective it is crystal clear that the jury properly did their job.  Trayvon Martin had every right to walk the streets of Sanford, Florida; so did George Zimmerman.  We can never know who confronted whom as there were no witnesses, but it's a fact that Mr. Martin had no injuries other than the bullet wound that killed him, whereas Mr. Zimmerman had injuries consistent with being assaulted.

Obviously Mr. Martin was in no condition to attack anyone or to defend himself after he was shot, and there wasn't anybody else around, so he must have been the first to use physical force on Mr. Zimmerman since nobody else used any force on him.

Therefore, with Mr. Zimmerman proven by his wounds to have been lying on the ground with his head being bashed into the concrete, is it reasonable for him to have considered his life to be at risk?  We'll never know whether his life really was at risk, but that's not what the law says.  If a reasonable person would have considered themselves to be in deadly danger, then he has the right to defend himself - which is what he did.

The bottom line: Trayvon Martin did nothing worthy of death, but George Zimmerman did nothing worthy of prison.  It was all the result of terrible misunderstandings and bad judgment on the part of both parties.

We can what-if all day.  What if Zimmerman had stayed in his car, as the police advised (but did not command) that he do?  What if Martin had run straight home and gotten off the street?  What if the police had taken Zimmerman's report more seriously and cops had arrived before the deadly meeting had time to occur?

But what happened, happened; and what happened was no crime.  The jury recognized the truth of the facts set before them and the individuals involved, and made a just decision.

Two Americas Can't See One American

The other America doesn't see it that way.  They look at this sad story and can't see two flawed human beings, subject to bad judgment but lacking in evil intent.

Instead, they see a Political Paradigm.  They see a Young Black Man and an Armed White Man, resulting in a Dead Black Man and a Free White Man.  They see nothing more than a stereotype in which Evil Whitey ruins the life of yet another innocent Black.

In other words, they refuse even to consider the content of the character of the human individuals involved, and consider only the color of their skins and the groups to which  they belong.  They don't demand individual justice, indeed they reject the concept: they demand group justice.  George Zimmerman is nothing more than a symbol of past oppression, and he deserves punishment not for his own actions but for history.

Of course, this is the very opposite of justice, and it leads directly to great evil.

The Nazis blamed the very real struggles of 1920s Germany on the Jews, and then applied collective punishment to millions of Jews who, individually, had harmed no one at all.  The Serbs and Croats of the former Yugoslavia chose to look at each other as Serbs and Croats instead of as the individual friendly neighbors they'd been for decades and started slaughtering each other.  Same with the Hutus and Tutsis of Rwanda and countless other mass murders and genocides down through the centuries.

In a sense, the other America's reaction to the trial is leftism in a microcosm.  In the left's worldview, there is no such thing as justice for individuals, there is only "social justice" for entire groups.

The Road to Hell

This applies to far more than criminal trials.  Traditional America views justice as protecting the wealth of the individual who earned it; modern leftism demands the "social justice" of taking wealth from those who have it and giving it to those who have not, merely because the one has and the other has not.  Traditional America expects government officials to provide equal justice under law to all citizens; modern leftism expects the emphasis to be on equality of results, and if that means treating different individuals differently based on political considerations, that's fine.

When the Soviet Union starved and murdered the middle-class farmers known as "kulaks" in the 1920s, they didn't view or judge them as individuals.  They simply condemned them en masse as representatives of an "oppressor class."  We understand from news reports that if the Racist Reverends had their way, Zimmerman would be condemned as a member of an oppressor class regardless of the facts before the court.  They want him condemned in spite of the fact that he's not really a white man anyway!

There will always be evil people regardless of race, creed, or color, and society must do its best to root them out.  But once a large portion of society becomes comfortable with condemning people for who they are as opposed to what they actually did, that way leads murder, genocide, and war.

A government that truly cared about America and Americans would make every effort to return to the principles of individual justice espoused so memorably by Dr. King.  A government, media, and others that want to destroy America and everyone in it instead use this sad event to whip up hatred between people who've never met and who know nothing about each other.

In Egpyt, Syria, Iraq, and Pakistan, we find Muslims murdering each other over what seem to us to be subtle differences between Shia and Sunni doctrines.  When a Shia kills a Sunni, individual details don't matter, what matters is that they belong to different groups.  Is that what the leftists want for America?

Americans who sent gun sales soaring after both of Mr. Obama's election victories and the many people who're moving into gated communities seem to think so.  Whether Obama decides to try to pry guns from people's hands or they merely think he will, the way things are going there will be no shortage of cold, dead fingers to pry them from.