Monday, July 15, 2013

Perps' Profile

It was a stunning verdict. So stunning, in fact, that it took me a couple of days to come to grips with it. I had to allow the shock to envelope me as I worked through stages of disbelief, outrage, sorrow, embarrassment, incredulity, sympathy, shame and more...Finally, today, the emotions began to sort themselves out to the point that I could begin seeing the implications of the jury's verdict head-on.

I knew I wasn't alone in how I was reacting, but for once, I didn't watch the weekend morning talk shows. I just couldn't listen to any more at that time. Predictably, Melissa Harris Perry "quoted W.E.B. Du Bois in a monologue, asking, 'How does it feel to be a problem? To have your very body and the bodies of your children to be assume to be criminal, violent, malignant.'...'In this moment, black families are holding their sons and daughters closer to them,' she said. "A verdict which...feels very much as though it is saying it is acceptable, it is ok, to kill an unarmed African-American child who has committed no crime.'"

That was the crux of it, and yet, the perpetrator walked free. George Zimmerman set the stage for what he wanted to do: murder someone. As we all know, he was told not to follow Trayvon, but the real telling moment was when he asked the dispatcher to call him when the police arrived. If he had stayed in his vehicle, and given the police its location, there was no need for a phone call. But that wasn't what George Zimmerman intended to do, because "These assholes always get away."

Trayvon Benjamin Martin, who his mother heartbreakingly described on the witness stand as "in Heaven," was profiled and stalked, just as surely as the sun rises and sets. In George Zimmerman's estimation, Trayvon "didn't belong" in that neighborhood. Profiling was nothing new to Zimmerman, who, over the course of eight years, called the Sanford Police Department 46 times to report suspicious activity - by black males.

The fact that Zimmerman was not a member of an organized neighborhood watch group making him nothing more than a vigilante didn't influence the jury.

Zimmerman had a history of violence against a police officer and a former fiance.

Whether it was that history of violence or his own psychological profile that led to Zimmerman's rejection for a police career isn't clear.

What is clear is that the justice system failed Trayvon, and failed all of us. Whatever the situation that night, Trayvon didn't need to die that night, had he not met up with a sociopath. I'd wager we haven't seen the last of George Zimmerman, karma being what it is.

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