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The politics of leaving well enough alone


In February, 2012, George Zimmerman got away with murder. That is a generalized public perception, particularly among African Americans. Trayvon Martin is dead from a bullet put into him by  Zimmerman, and Zimmerman was acquitted of manslaughter in Florida court for killing Martin.

This week, Zimmerman gave a rare interview regarding his case. In it, he strongly criticized President Barack Obama for harassing him by raising racial tensions and friction in Florida and nationwide by saying that ‘If he had a son, it would look like Trayvon.’ To Mr. Zimmerman, President Obama was to blame for sticking his nose into a state criminal matter and thereby caused him to have to constantly be on his guard for fear of some negative public action towards him. In Zimmerman’s twilight zone view, it was the president’s fault that his life had gone sour, and additionally, even though the recent Department of Justice review found not enough evidence to prosecute Zimmerman for violating Martin’s civil rights, Zimmerman said that the Justice Department should never have investigated him. If anything, Zimmerman said, it was his civil rights that were violated.

If ever there was a case of fallacious logic which could be used to train students in critical thinking, this is it. Zimmerman, armed, decided to follow a young Black man into a gated housing community because he thought the young man looked like trouble. An altercation with the young man ensued, during which time Zimmerman “stood his ground’ and fatally shot the young man in order “to protect his own life.” Zimmerman’s actions singularly led to the death of this young man. The president was not around.

Many people believe Zimmerman should now be, at least, rotting in prison for several years as a consequence of a sequence of events he initiated, and for which he was responsible. That, however, is not the case. Zimmerman got off scot-free, and Trayvon Martin is dead.

Based on his own words, Zimmerman is convinced he did nothing wrong and deserves no punishment or accountability. Others, like President Obama, are in the wrong, according to Zimmerman. In his jaundiced view, it is Obama and others like him who have made life a bit uncomfortable for Zimmerman in Florida, not his own actions.

In the words of the Black vernacular, ‘he’s got some nerve.’ An arrogant, cheeky bastard some would say.

As far as the public knows, no one in Florida has yet tried to assault Zimmerman for daily reminding people of justice denied. His recent statements, however, may just unleash something very bad against himself in that strange state. It is a truism that eventually people get tired of being sick and tired, with no relief in sight.

This is no prediction of calamity for Zimmerman, nor any statement wishing any harm to befall him. It is, however, a reminder that sometimes one should just leave well enough alone and keep quiet about escaping the guillotine. Most times it is just better to let sleeping dogs, bears and other muscled things, keep sleeping.