Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:July 16th, 2013 08:21 EST
Does George Zimmerman`s Not Guilty Verdict Make Racial Profiling and Vigilantism Legal?

Does George Zimmerman`s Not Guilty Verdict Make Racial Profiling and Vigilantism Legal?

By John G. Kays

Yes, George Zimmerman was acquitted; the letter of the law was satisfied, but not the spirit of the law. Those who say race is not an issue in the shooting death of a young black man, Trayvon Martin, must be living on another planet. In this case, race is the central issue; Zimmerman`s acquittal may have been inevitable, but George can never be free anymore. 

He`s unleashed the furies of national racial divide and is doomed to a life of looking over his shoulder in fear of retaliation, an Old Testament Eye-For-An-Eye template of justice, ala John Brown`s Abolitionist raid on Harper`s Ferry!

Was George under the influence of racial profiling that February night in 2012, when he stalked Trayvon in a gated-community in Stanford, Florida? I believe he was, but that`s impossible to prove, and that`s part of the reason why he got off.

In this case you can`t prove Zimmerman was possessed with malice in his heart, and actually actively engaged in Racism, there`s not enough tangible evidence. And with the very corrupt, yet legal vigilantism, implied from Florida`s Stand Your Ground law, this man can hide under the skirts of a sanctioned killing, given there were no credible eye-witnesses.

For the most part, the reaction to the predictable, yet unsettling verdict Saturday night was peaceful; it is odd, however, that some violence broke out (breaking windows and stopping traffic) in the Crenshaw District of Los Angeles, not in Stanford, Florida.

A reason, that might be cited, is that Crenshaw saw some heavy rioting in 1992 when white police officers were acquitted for the beating of Rodney King, where it was obvious racial profiling took place. The two cases have eerie similarities, which brings some focus on these riots (although not rationalizing them).

The hardest notion one must come to grip with, has to do with the fact that the Zimmerman trial took on an abstract quality, as if driven by the forces of 200 years of painful American History, where race issues have been a hidden force behind the scene, boiling over from the Civil War, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, and even the achievement of an African American becoming our President of these United States. The trial was not what it was intended to be; it took on a higher meaning, such as a Medieval morality play, Pier`s the Plowman.

As I said, it`s difficult to explain, yet we all see it, it`s the American Experience presented as a display of pageantry, a sequence of symbolic revelations, heart-felt displays of values, often questionable for traces of racism, lingering in society from an era when slavery was still used as an engine of the white privileged, who used the Black Man to further their own power and economic gain (the plantation owners of the deep South). This is crazy, but it rings true!

In Sandy Banks` editorial (Heartsick and numb over Zimmerman verdict), appearing in the Los Angeles Times last night, a Facebook post was mentioned which really resonates with me: "Don`t forget to set your clock back 50 years before you go to bed tonight."

This not guilty verdict reversed some of the historical gains made by Blacks; it`s a step back in time for them, even if it`s only symbolic, which I don`t believe it is. The step-back to an acceptance of racial profiling is REAL!

The ultimate consequence of this unsavory verdict, is that Americans are more divided (on racial issues) now than they have ever been, since Secession anyway. The greatest tragedy, is that the event and trial took on more meaning, (perceived as an American symbolically-charged, historical morality play), than it should have. No reversing it now, the damage is already done.