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Rod Liddle

The Zimmerman jury should have done its duty and ignored the evidence

20 July 2013

9:00 AM

20 July 2013

9:00 AM

I wonder what possessed the jury in the Trayvon Martin case to return two not guilty verdicts when they knew the trouble it would cause. One never ceases to wonder at the self-importance, the narcissism, of those people who always believe they know better than the rest. An important section of the American population — perpetually outraged black civil rights leaders and their faux-left-wing whitey hangers-on — had been absolutely clear about the case: George Zimmerman, the ghastly white neighbourhood watch person, was guilty of the murder of Trayvon Martin — and not just murder, but racially aggravated murder at that. The jury knew this and yet knowingly and wilfully acquitted Zimmerman.

Since the verdict, all hell has broken loose, and at least one jury member has mumbled something a little shamefacedly that rather than doing as she had been instructed by the civil rights lobby, she had instead paid a lot of attention to something she referred to as ‘the evidence’ of the case — hence the acquittal. Some excuse. She had listened, for example, to the various witnesses — witnesses for the defence, of course, because the prosecution was unable to provide a single witness. Lots of people claimed to have seen the young black kid attack Zimmerman, smashing his head against a paving stone and breaking his nose. But they were all probably racist too.

The juror quoted in the American press nonetheless stated that all of her fellow panellists believed Zimmerman felt himself to be in danger of losing his life, including the black lady jurist. But that’s the way whitey works these things, co-opting some Uncle Tom to give the verdict the thinnest sheen of respectability. The civil rights lobby and their fellow travellers knew two things: Trayvon Martin was black and unarmed, aside from a packet of the sweets known as Skittles, and George Zimmerman was white (as near as makes no odds) — so murder it must be, no argument. Who needs the facts?

And so, whipped up by the likes of the Reverend Al Sharpton, the veteran semi-literate black demagogue, various inner cities have seen peaceful, and often not very peaceful at all, protests. In Los Angeles a Walmart was trashed, and rather than offer a mild rebuke to the rioters, the city mayor said that the Trayvon Martin case ‘has ignited passions’. So that’s all right then.

Cops were attacked in that other old civil rights redoubt of Oakland, former home of the exciting Black Panther movement, and there’s a been a little bit of bother in San Diego. The US government now seems determined to bring civil rights charges against Zimmerman, and his family have been subjected to hate mail and death threats: ‘Everyone with (his) DNA should be killed’ was one salient observation.

Was there a racist element to the killing? The jury did not think so. Zimmerman said he thought Martin looked a bit suspicious, hanging around his gated community, so it would not surprise me if his colour was one of the things which registered a chord of disquiet within Zimmerman’s mind, along with Martin’s age and apparent unfamiliarity with where he was.

This would be a form of scarcely conscious supposedly racist ‘profiling’, which the prosecutors may now attempt to get to grips with for a follow-up case against Zimmerman, seeing as how the jury this time around got it so badly wrong. Of course Zimmerman wouldn’t be alone in feeling that pang of suspicion and worry when, late at night, he saw an unfamiliar black face in close proximity. One senior US politician has confessed precisely the same feelings: ‘I hate to admit it, but I have reached a stage in my life that if I am walking down a dark street late at night and I see that the person behind me is white, I subconsciously feel relieved.’ That was the patently racist scumbag the Reverend Jesse Jackson speaking, incidentally. But even this much was disputed by the jury; Trayvon’s race did not come into it at all, they seemed to believe. The thing which seemed to clinch it for them was the repeated beating of Mr Zimmerman’s head against a paving stone, and the lacerations and bruises which were a consequence.

The horrible thing, I think, is that the civil rights lobby seems intent upon pursuing a sort of lynch law — the irony of which does not seem to have struck them. In traditional left-wing absolutist fashion, the actual facts of the whole matter — what went on — are of no concern and of no import whatsoever. The only thing to consider is: black and unarmed, white and armed. There is no room for all that extraneous detail the jury had to listen to — you know, the evidence.

And the hypocrisy is horrible too. Trayvon Martin’s death was indeed tragic — and avoidable had America been a little more sensible about who they allow to have guns. But each year from 1980 to 2008, there were 9,000 African-Americans murdered — and, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 93 per cent of them were black-on-black killings. Where were the riots and the fury after these killings occurred? Meanwhile, black-on-white killings now comprise more than 8 per cent of the total number of homicides in the US each year — the figure, and proportion, has been rising. No protests, no fury. Just silence.

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