Zimmerman Case: Missed opportunities and wrong lessons

What happened on the night of February 26th, 2012 was a tragedy. It was a preventable tragedy,  that did not have to happen.  It did so now at the conclusion of a trial that should have never been brought to court, we examine what happened, the missed opportunities and what it says about our present society. 

I won’t go over the case, since the facts are out there for anyone to find, and digest.  I will instead speak of the missed opportunities that could have turn this preventable tragedy into something positive.  

I will start with Trayvon Martin‘s, hence forward TM, family.  No parent should have to deal with the death of his child, that is specially true under the circumstances that TM died.  It is a natural reaction to want the person who killed your child to pay for it.  Yet, as hard as it is we need to realize that things are not always so clear-cut as that.  

Had TM died in the commission of a crime, or the victim of a crime himself  then it is clearer, not easier to accept perhaps, but clearer.  In this case TM’s was shot while he was doing something that he should not be doing and that is a fact.  Supporters of TM have tried to portray him as trying to defend himself from GZ, but cannot say what exactly it is that GZ did to warrant TM’s reaction to GZ’s actions that night.

Many will point to the fact that GZ profiled him,  but missed that GZ called the police before he even knew what race TM was.  As a minority myself, I do realize that we are under more scrutiny that Whites or Asians for the most part, we get profiled more often than others.  At the same time I am not a hypocrite and I understand why that is so,  minority males and females commit a disproportionate amount of the crimes.  That is a fact, and it not just Whites profiling black or minority youths but all are doing ,  it is a matter of survivor in some places.   We can sugar coat the reasons for why this is as it is, poverty, education, single parent families but it does not change the facts.  I can cite the statistics but what would be use as they are not important to what I am trying to convey.  

We live in a cyclical society,  now being an outlaw or living outside the societal rules is in.  Don’t believe me, let’s go back in time.  In the 1870’s being a gunslinger in the Wild West was written about, fantasized about,  it was seen as almost noble.   But it passed, the reality was not as noble as the writers of the time made it out to be.  Flash forward to the movement of propriety which culminated in the Prohibition Act.  As a result of which being a gangster or bank robber was glorified.  Al Capone, Meyer Lansky, Lucky Luciano, Baby Face Nelson, John Dillinger were household names and they were all criminals.

After the WWII, being a criminal was not longer  something noble or inspiring, and that feeling led to the what I will call the Norman Rockwell years, the suburban expansion.  Law and order were king again.  This lasted until the late 60’s when rebellion against the societal norms, starting eroding the law and order and led to the chaotic 70’s and early 80’s.  The cycle started again and now, though I am thinking are on the downward slope law and order are making a comeback.  

What started with the gangster culture and evolve into Hip Hop culture, is dominant again.  Committing petty crime, using drugs and indiscriminate sex are once again seen as aspiring and desirable.  But as time has proven, it cannot be maintained, as those that accept these  lifestyles have a short lifespan.  It is this rebellious nature that produces TMs by the thousands and not just black  but other groups as well.

Sultan Knish‘s David Greenfield explains it as the nomads invading and destroying the settlers,  here and excerpt:

The chain of events doesn’t make much sense to the elites, which is one reason why they assume that the explanation must be racism There weren’t a lot of New Yorker readers cheering as Charles Bronson‘s Paul Kersey stalked the subways and parks of the city blowing away hoods. The perfect target audience for the Death Wish movies or for Goetz saying “You don’t look too bad, here’s another” was that bottom half of the middle class that didn’t have enough money to leave the city and didn’t have enough liberalism to accept the violence as their just due.

But the case isn’t about race either. It’s about a struggling middle class in a precarious economy trying to hang on to what it has. And it’s about a culture of dropouts from the economy who celebrate thuggery and then pretend to be the victims. It’s doubtful that anyone in Zimmerman’s neighborhood who weathered multiple break-ins has much sympathy for the Martin family. And that’s one reason that the prosecution hasn’t found any useful witnesses.If Trayvon Martin had been the clean-cut innocent kid that the media tried to pretend he is, the reaction might have been different. But he wasn’t. The gap between Martin and Zimmerman wasn’t race, in other circumstances most liberals would have called both men members of minority groups, it was aspiration. 

Please read the whole thing, it puts the case in a different perspective and it explains much about the actions of the main characters, Zimmerman in particular. Read the rest Here;

I agree with him but to a certain point, his explanation is overly simplistic and it does nothing to explain why TM’s death became such a rallying cry.  The missed opportunity for the family to turn this tragedy into something more powerful and that would transcend racial and ethnic lines.

Unless you have convinced yourself that GZ acted completely separate from his nature,  you would be safe to assume that TM started the altercation.  Not only that but being a brash 17 year-old he did not stop when witness John Good, saw them and told him to stop.  From TM’s own texts it would not be a stretch to think that GZ was not bleeding enough for him, he had a little sadist streak on him.  The point being TM decided that he would teach GZ a lesson for his perceived disrespect, whether he did it for just watching him or because he thought that GZ was a creepy ass-cracker or homosexual as Rachel Jeantel testified too.

There was a time when we would decide to settle differences at the end of a sword,  ten paces apart or with a duel at High Noon, but those times have past, that is no longer acceptable and obsolete, old-fashioned.  Now, a drive-by or jumping the person are common ways to resolve differences with violence but with very little honor. This is one of the opportunities that was lost, an opportunity for parents and specially the Martin’s to teach about the not just their kids but kids through out the country and the world that was watching the futility of trying to settle petty disputes with violence and what the consequences of doing so could be.

Rather than the blithering about the Stand your Ground laws, that had nothing to do with case, or the differences in the treatment of people in the justice system that would not have prevented the incident, talk about what did, the shallow thinking that permeates our young of self gratification at any cost.  Preach to parents about their responsibilities, kids about resolving conflicts without violence and how ignoring rules can lead you to become just another cold slab on a steel table.  This is a teachable moment if we take the right lessons from it, too bad we are teaching the wrong lessons again, guarantying that their would be many other TMs in this country.

The other major lesson that should be taken from this, is one for all who are given the opportunity and priviledge  of representing us in government.  You were chosen because at some point in time you convinced enough people that you had the integrity, honesty, moral fortitude and ability to make decisions that would affect all of us.  All of us, whether we choose you or we hate it you and did not.  As such we lent to you the power to make such decisions, hard decisions that could have great impact not to bow down to special groups that most likely did not choose but was against you the whole time.

This case has shown gave us a terrible lesson, if you follow the law you will pay the consequences of that.  Chief Lee was fired not because he was a bad Chief of the Police but because he would not bow down to the politicians who essentially told him break the law even if we try to fix it later.  Serino the Lead Investigator was demoted for the same reason, they did not compromise their oath of office and do the politically expedient thing.  Others did not bother and did what the mob wanted for all the wrong reasons but they could not be denied.  Mayor Tripplet, City Manager Bonaparte, States Attorney Bondi and Governor Scott, all you are in your positions because of the voters who put their trust in your abilities, you abrogated your duties because it was too hot in the kitchen,  you should all be ashamed of yourselves.

You all provided us with the wrong lesson that you all are bendable with wind and have no integrity in you.  Doing the right thing was a hard decision but it was what and why the people put their trust in you, to make the hard decisions that affect all of us.  If there is any more violence or destruction of property this is in your hands as you promised the mob a lynching and may not have suceeded.

The jury is out deliberating  as I write this, will justice be done or will the wrong lessons be cemented with a guilty verdict.





  1. Pingback: Zimmerman Case: Missed opportunities and wrong lessons | State of Florida vs. George Zimmerman

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