The Zimmerman Verdict

by Phil Huckelberry

There’s a man free in Florida today. He’s a stupid man, a racist, a product of the culture which surrounds him, a culture which made him feel scared by a young black man and yet emboldened by a small black gun.

If all of the people who are furious about one verdict would step back and redirect their energy toward confronting  the culture, we would all be better off.

But it sure feels like that’s too hard. It’s a lot easier to decry racism generally without confronting one’s own tendencies. It’s a lot easier to “blame Florida” as though that can somehow explain it all away.

Here in Chicago, several dozens of young black men are murdered annually. They too are victims of the culture which surround them. Within that culture, it is considered acceptable to leech money away from poor communities and toward wealthier ones. It is considered acceptable that children grow up without fresh produce available for miles around. It is considered acceptable that neighborhood schools are closed down and the ghettos are further ghettoized.

If George Zimmerman deserves to be in jail for taking the life of one young black man, then what about your alderman? Your state representative? How about the mayor, every bit the racist, but who is emboldened by far more than a single small black gun?

Does anyone seriously think that if George Zimmerman had been convicted it would have magically solved the problems around us?

Stop crying and organize. And when I say organize, I don’t mean incoherent rallies where you show up to feel good about how you’re not a racist and your friends aren’t racists either. I mean organize to take throw these racist scum men and women out of office.

Or is that too hard?


Times Square Protest: photo courtesy of


23 Comments on "The Zimmerman Verdict"

  1. When you refer to “incoherent rallies where you show up to feel good about how you’re not a racist and your friends aren’t racists either,” do you mean the sort of event that is pictured in the photo accompanying your article?

  2. Don Fritz | July 15, 2013 at 4:49 pm |

    Has the author ever met Zimmerman? Does He know him intimately? Was He at the trial to hear all the evidence? Are people from Florida just stupid? I still believe in a jury of our peers whether I agree or not with the verdict. The more obvious question is if firearms weren’t so easily accessible to people like Zimmerman, maybe it would just been a tussle with both men just bruised, not one dead and one on trial for murder.

  3. david grimesey | July 15, 2013 at 5:11 pm |

    I have a lot of thoughts on this and even though Zimmerman and his brother are idiots, from what I saw in the trial, Treyvon was not totally innocent neither. I, like the jury, just have questions that were not answered.

    • Кристопхер Гомез | July 15, 2013 at 5:57 pm |

      Technically and by legal standards, Zimmerman made the initial assault by stalking Martin – esp. after being instructed to break pursuit.

      Zimmerman had it in for Martin before this trial took place. The fact that Zimmerman blatantly ignored the advisement of the dispatcher, whom has full police power to manage a situation over the phone, shows that Zimmerman had murder on his mind with malice of intent.

      Zimmerman is guilty of at the very, very least, assault of a minor, child abuse, harassment and maybe sodomy of a minor.

      • What legal standards are you talking about? A 911 dispatcher’s advice is not absolute jurisdiction in ANY case, let alone one where some suspicious kid with a hoodie and a rap sheet is walking through a crime infested neighborhood at night. How in any way does it show he had MURDER on his mind? There is not one piece of evidence that exists to show such a ridiculous idea. Sodomy of a minor? Give me a break.

        • What exactly made Trayvon “suspicious”? The fact that he was black? Is a hoodie some kind of criminal symbol or gang sign. What rap sheet? And even if there was one Zimmerman had no way of knowing that when he decided to pursue him. Are all young black men assumed to have a rap sheet? It was not a “crime infested’ neighbourhood. Your bigotry is showing, pull it up.

        • No mam, Trayvon Martin did not have a rap sheet!!! Zimmerman did, he was charged before with some other stuff!!!! Do your research before posting. I probably would have followed Trayvon in my car, but I would not have got out and chased him when he ran.

  4. Christie Conlon | July 15, 2013 at 5:12 pm |

    If the prosecution had taken a different approach in prosecuting Zimmerman, perhaps Zimmerman would not be a free man today. It is obvious that Zimmerman is an angry person, and unfortunately, Trayvon Martin was an angry person, too. If Zimmerman had handled the situation differently, in a positive manner, the circumstances would not have ended in tragedy. Zimmerman definitely instigated the confrontation and that is what needed to be addressed and focused on.

  5. Jessie Elizondo | July 15, 2013 at 6:13 pm |

    My congressional district’s representative is black. My city’s mayor is black. All but one city council member here is black. I think they are doing they best job they possibly can. You generalize way too much about my local government.

  6. No matter what the people of Florida seem to think, a white person is not in danger just because he happens to be walking on the same street as a black person. If Zimmerman would have been following me I would have worried as well—and I am white!—how much MORE should a black teenage male worry when he is being stalked in this racist world!—and then to find out that he had a gun?—I would have done my best to take Zimmerman out as well! If you need a gun to protect yourself from a KID THAT HAS NO WEAPON, maybe the neighborhood watch is just not your thing. Watch UFC or boxing or something and daydream about being a tough guy—but don’t stalk people like you are some badass if you can’t win a fight fairly (neither of you using weapons). Cowardly move by Zimmerman.

  7. David Wilcox | July 15, 2013 at 7:30 pm |

    “Does anyone seriously think that if George Zimmerman had been convicted it would have magically solved the problems around us?
    Stop crying and organize. And when I say organize, I don’t mean incoherent rallies where you show up to feel good about how you’re not a racist and your friends aren’t racists either. I mean organize to take throw these racist scum men and women out of office.”

    Thank you, Phil!

  8. David Strand | July 15, 2013 at 8:07 pm |

    I as a Green disagree. I feel you undervalue emotional response. Feelings are not to be so easily dismissed in response to a tragic injustice which for once was given enough attention to kindle a deeply felt outrage in both those usually unaware or blind to such injustices in our system as well as in those generally inured to such feelings due to enduring or witnessing systemic racism everyday. I don’t want us to stop crying. I don’t want us to stop feeling. I want us all to continue to feel because without people feeling and identifying with the sting of injustice there will not be the energy that is required to move towards more justice. And that in turn will involve the organizing of which you speak which I’ve never met anyone who does it without being driven in part at least by emotional response to the issue around which they are organizing. The rallies I have seen may be spontaneous and diverse but are hardly incoherent. In many places names of others are being raised whose lives have ended too soon but never made the national news. There are local elements to the protests as people respond from the context of where they are. I don’t think anyone is saying that if this specific case had been decidedly differently that all problems would be solved. That is not the point. Rather, this case has captured the nation’s attention and brought focus to concerns that are all too often swept under the rug and I welcome the response as the response is a necessary step for change!

  9. See the following for a more tactical approach: repeal Stand Your Ground!

    • wildlifer (@thewildlifer) | July 16, 2013 at 1:41 am |

      The repeal of SYG wouldn’t effect the verdict in this case. Self defense law dates back to 1877 that gives right of lethal self defense when reasonable fear of bodily injury or death exists.

  10. Charlotte | July 15, 2013 at 9:03 pm |

    I believe George Zimmerman is innocent, The Jury believes he is innocent, and I believe he is entitled to have a free life. If somebody who is 5′ 11″ tall jumps onto me and bashes my head onto the concrete, I hope I have a gun. If I don’t I hope somebody will help me.

    • If someone has a gun, and I am unarmed, and they come at me, I will bash their head onto the concrete.

  11. The judge in the trial let the cop interrogator, Chris Serino, tell the jury that he “believed” Zimmerman and the prosecution did not demand a mistrial. The prosecution should have appealed.

  12. If Zimmerman was following me, I would have either called 911 or ran. I would not have punched him in the face and beat his head into the pavement. Trayvon was the aggressor. Zimmerman was the neighborhood watch. The media twisted everything and now the entire country is in an uproar. In Chicago, many people are shot every weekend. Where is the concern?
    Move on.

  13. Florida is guilty

    No, repealing Stand Your Ground wouldn’t reverse the verdict. But it might stop the next murder.

  14. Will Plank | July 16, 2013 at 1:56 pm |

    Here’s an idea. Instead of looking for a reason why the people who think this trial is important are wrong, maybe you could listen to what they are actually saying. I don’t think I’ve witnessed a single person saying that the entire problem of racism in America today begins and ends with Zimmerman, or with Florida or whatever it is you’re accusing us of thinking.

    In particular, I would like to point out that trivializing this event is a fairly tone-deaf way of trying to show people you care about racism. When it looks for all the world that the defense need only show a jury of mostly white women a picture of a black male with his shirt off, to get them to think, “I woulda killed him too,” to let a killer off the hook, then that is probably not the time to talk about voting. This tragedy didn’t unfold in the way that it did because there aren’t enough Greens in office. It did so because we still live in an incredibly racist society.

    People all across the country are uniting behind this mockery of justice to stand against racism. But Greens have this problem where any time a lot of people care about something, we start talking about how it’s a “distraction” from something else. Even here, where the supposed “distraction” is what actually focused the country’s attention on the real problem, we still accuse people of being distracted. This is not the way to make a difference in the world.

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