I know that Martin's death was tragic; a young man's snuffed out so needlessly. I agree with Gary Younge that "it appears that the only reason the two interacted at all, physically or otherwise, is that Zimmerman believed it was his civic duty to apprehend an innocent teenager who caused suspicion" by his presence in the wrong place at the wrong time. And I know that neither I, nor most of the people angry at Zimmerman's acquittal, know much more than that.
So, I urge you to do as I have done, and read about what the court actually heard, about Zimmerman's defence in court, about what Zimmerman actually said to the 9./11 dispatcher. Read about his campaign for justice for Sherman Ware (a homeless black man beaten by a cop's son). Read about Zimmerman's multiracial family, about his low-income multi-ethnic neighbourhood plagued by anti-social crime. Read about who Zimmerman is, who he votes for. Finally, try and find a way in which on the evidence we have (and despite a jury who wanted to convict him and a judge who bent over backwards to thwart the defence case) that Zimmerman can have been convicted beyond a reasonable doubt.
The more you read, I think, the more you'll see the inadequacy of reducing the story into the two simple unambiguous elements of black victim and white perpetrator.
In fact, if Zimmerman had been the victim in a different situation, the heroic anti-racists would not have had any trouble claiming him as black.
Finally, there is of course another element to the story that gets spoken more rarely. Gary Younge and others have suggested it is now open season on black boys in Florida. But of course it has been open season on black boys in Florida - and all over urban America - for many years now. Not many of the shooters are Neighbourhood Watch members and not many are NRA members; most of the shooters are black boys or black men. This is an important tragedy, but one too complicated and intractable for the simplistic heroism of the Twitter campaigners.
Some of the more bullshit-free pieces about the case are: "You Are Not Trayvon" by William Saleton (my favourite)*; "Law and Justice" by Andrew Cohen; Jonathan Turley's legal commentary**; and Jason Riley's "Race, Politics and the Zimmerman Trial" (although I don't agree with all of that)***. One other text I found refreshing and compelling was from a more surprising source: Rush Limbaugh. Here, he argues that the class and not race was at the heart to the killing: "I think the precarious economy -- hardworking people trying to hold onto what they got -- is the key to this." While my explanation of why the economy is precarious is profoundly different from Limbaugh's, he's right about that.
Credits: *David Adler; **Glyn Welshbeard; ***Sohrab Ahmari.