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You Are Dumb, which is not a blog, posts new columns every weekday, except for a couple of days each month when it doesn't. It is also a Twitter feed, @youaredumb, with content in a similar vein but much shorter. My spinoff food site, Forkbastard, can be found easily enough by the clever.
Archive - Jul 16, 2013
Memo to Florida: THIS IS WHY YOU CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS.
So you know we've got to talk about the Zimmerman verdict. That's a thing that has to happen. Because this website deals with shit that is fucked, and shit is fucked.
Now, I believe in accepting the results of the American legal system, even when I don't like those results. If there's an appeals process to be undertaken on decisions I don't like, great. If that appeals process works, even better. But the final decision is the final decision.
Don't get me wrong. I despise the American legal system in its current state. It's a hodgepodge of overworked public servants, overpaid lawyers, and everyday morons. The civil courts are entirely pay-to-play at this point, and the criminal courts are rapidly being converted to the same thing. Add this to the fact that they're charged with enforcing the laws of many deeply fucked up states, and you've got a recipe for injustice on a massive scale.
But since we won't be reforming the system in my lifetime, and the alternative is massive anarchy, we have to take the results we get. And the result we got is that what George Zimmerman did in Florida was legal. And that shit is fucked.
I've seen a lot of the counterarguments by Zimmerman supporters on Twitter, and they fall into two basic categories - what Zimmerman did was legal even if that shit is fucked, and what Zimmerman did was legal and how dare you suggest that shit is fucked. The latter group are more commonly known as "racists".
Why are they racists? Let me break it down for you. The night of Trayvon Martin's death, a time traveler jumps into Sanford, GA and prevents George Zimmerman from leaving his house. What happens? Trayvon Martin walks back from the convenience store, eats his Skittles, drinks his Arizona Iced Tea, and watches the game. Nobody gets assaulted, nobody gets tackled, nobody gets shot.
George Zimmerman initiated the chain of events that led to Trayvon Martin's death. This fact is not in dispute. George Zimmerman walked because in Florida, initiating the chain of events that leads to you killing someone is not illegal. In Florida, if you can convince a jury that you might have been attacked by the person you provoked, forcing you to kill them in self defense, well, that's OK. So since the jury decided that might have happened, let's say that it did.
Now, there are two ways George Zimmerman could have provoked Trayvon Martin. One way would be aggressively, accusingly, and based entirely on the fact that people who look like Trayvon Martin don't belong where Trayvon Martin was. In other words, a paranoid, possibly racist, neighborhood vigilante. That kind of person could easily provoke a young kid into attacking.
The other way he might have provoked Martin is in a completely innocent, understandable, reasonable manner, asked him who he was and where he was going, at which point Martin erupted into a violent rage and attacked Zimmerman. People who think this might have happened have decided that Trayvon Martin was the kind of person who would do that, and they've decided that for one, and only one reason. He was a young black man. Oh, and in Geraldo Rivera's case, the secondary reason of him wearing a hooded sweatshirt with the hood up in the rain, which only violent thugs do.
That this is apparently legal in Florida* is now settled law. But the only way for it to be RIGHT is for Zimmerman to either have been justified in suspecting Martin, which he wasn't, or for Martin to have reacted with unjustifiable animal violence the instant Zimmerman opened his mouth, which beggars non-racist belief. Since day one, we have all done this math. We've figured this out. And that's why we wanted George Zimmerman to be guilty. Because he was wrong, and he hurt someone. And in a proper, just legal system, being wrong and hurting people should be discouraged and punished.
And in the American justice system, it can be rewarded. And in the American social system, millions of people, including notable pundits with a national audience, can blame a dead kid for his own death based solely on his appearance, without repercussions. And then those millions of people can add insult to injury by going to see Grown Ups 2 instead of Pacific Rim, because idiots are consistently idiotic.
*Unless you're a black woman being beaten by your husband and you fire a warning shot into the wall - turns out that's illegal in Florida and gets you a mandatory minimum of 20 years, which is why I despise the American legal system.)