It’s amazing, a terrible disappointment, really — all the profiling that went on and is still going on of George Zimmerman in the murder case against him.
Zimmerman, according to various political activists, all sorts of commentators, academics and others, had to be guilty of murder because, after all, a black teen was killed and he was white. Or part white. A “white Hispanic,” some reporters called him.
Not only that, of course, but he traipsed around with a gun at night aiming to protect his neighbors. It’s understandable some won’t clap at that, but why would anyone without deep down prejudice suppose his doing it and following someone was proof of second-degree murder in a deadly shooting that followed?
Some of the early misgivings about the criminal justice system were understandable. Given all the unspeakable grievances African-Americans have endured in this country, it is hardly a puzzle many would want more than the initially meager investigation after the shooting of an unarmed black teen.
What’s not understandable is an ipso facto judgment of a racist killing, such journalistic outrages as NBC doctoring a tape to further that view or otherwise reckless journalism that went out of its way to make Zimmerman look bad while playing biased games about what race he was.
Yes, Zimmerman comes from a white father and a Hispanic mother. But President Barack Obama comes from a white mother and a black father, and I bet you never see the day when reporters call him a “white African-American,” least of all in some context where “white” might imply culpability to some. Oh, and by the way, Zimmerman also has black forbears and relatives.
Facts of that kind eventually emerged in some of the press. We did get a big investigation. A trial was conducted. An FBI report has been made public. And if this is what you go by — the facts — Zimmerman is not left looking either racist or guilty.
On the race question, he has those black kinfolk, he has black friends, he once protested the beating of a black man and he has tutored black children. In 35 interviews, FBI investigators found no neighbor or co-worker who recalled his ever expressing racial hostility.
There had been a number of burglaries in the neighborhood, some understandably nervous neighbors applauded Zimmerman as a volunteer and he had received 14 weeks of training in a police program. It’s logical enough to believe Trayvon Martin attacked him out of dislike of being followed, which is no excuse. Martin was more physically fit than Zimmerman, one expert testified. In text messages the judge would not admit into evidence in the trial, Martin apparently showed great enthusiasm for fist fighting.
One witness thinks he saw Martin on top of Zimmerman. A forensics expert says the fatal shot appears to have been fired at someone on top of Zimmerman. We know from injuries that Zimmerman’s head was slammed against the concrete sidewalk. We know there was no evidence of Martin having been hit at all.
Does it strike you as irrational conjecture, then, that Martin started the fight? Does it seem inconceivable that he slugged away at Zimmerman from on top of him? Even if you do not believe Zimmerman’s story that Martin saw his gun and reached for it, it is it preposterous to say Zimmerman felt his best chance to keep on living was to use his firearm?
If you concede that there is at least a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman started the fight and shot Martin while thinking he himself was in no serious danger, you have to agree that the jury was right in saying Zimmerman was not guilty by reason of self-defense.
The death of Martin was a dreadful thing, but, on a different scale, so is the racial profiling of Zimmerman, the talk of retaliatory justice, the eagerness of some to put him in double jeopardy through a phony federal criminal charge and a hateful, arrogant, leftist bigotry that is just as real as any other bigotry.
Jay Ambrose is a columnist living in Colorado.