So many high profile trials turn into media events, with grandstanding lawyers and flaky judges, and I’m hoping for something more sane and sober for George Zimmerman’s trial. Well, assuming it goes to trial. There’s still a possibility that a magistrate will toss the case because of the “kill at will” law.
Last night I did a bit of browsing through comments threads on right-wing sites, and the consensus is that as soon as Zimmerman is found innocent the entire state of Florida and probably other places will be consumed by race riots. Some are also certain that Zimmerman’s new attorney, Mark O’Mara, already is getting death threats, although there’s been not a word about that in the news.
Both the prosecution and Zimmerman’s new lawyer have said that further facts about the case will not be made public before the trial, which is as it should be, so I think further arguing with righties about who might possibly have done what is even more pointless now than it was before. So let them believe that all the witnesses swore Zimmerman was getting beat up by Martin and that voice identification technology is worthless. I have some hope that the trial could get the story straight.
I also agree with Joan Walsh:
Thereâ€™s an element of hysteria that makes me think that right-wing whites are afraid that if black people get any real power in this country, theyâ€™ll use it to treat whites as badly as some whites have treated them. Foxâ€™s Sean Hannity and Bill Oâ€™Reilly emerged as shrill Zimmerman defenders, as though he was a white Everyman being menaced by a mob simply for defending himself against a dangerous black man â€“ the facts of the case be damned. â€œFirst they came for George Zimmermanâ€¦â€
I have been impressed by the fact that the movement to defend Martin mostly stayed away from demands for vengeance or punishment. For the most part, people were demanding information about the apparently shoddy police procedures; some, like Sharpton, advocated that Zimmerman be arrested. Sure, people seized on and promoted any evidence that made Zimmerman look guilty. Thatâ€™s part of making clear that an injustice has occurred. But the loony right focused on four New Black Panther buffoons and their racial threats rather than the reasonable demand for answers by Martinâ€™s parents.
Righties will no doubt swiftly remind us of the New Black Panthers (who are they, four guys in Pittsburgh somewhere?) issuing a bounty for Zimmerman, and Spike Lee’s boneheaded tweeting of George Zimmerman’s address that wasn’t even the right address. But on the whole most people have just been calling for the criminal justice system to take the shooting seriously. Now that it has, I hope everyone can be patient and go back to making fun of Mittens.
See also Jonathan Capehart.