Saturday, April 14, 2012

Trayvon Martin; the next Rodney King?

Now that George Zimmerman has been charged, hopefully some of the hysteria will die down. Or perhaps not. CNN and other news outlets have resorted to airing tidbits about Zimmerman's incarceration or details about how he cries in jail; a blitz meant to feed the sadistic schadenfreude of the masses. But given the way this case has evolved what we've seen thus far may be dwarfed by what is yet to come.

Prosecutors may have indeed overcharged Zimmerman. Second degree murder requires the intent to kill -- a dubious leap of faith that even the most damning of evidence so far does not support. Plus, the Florida law, which appears to have been written by mentally disturbed second graders, allows gun owners to shoot people if they mistake someones waving hello for an act of aggression that makes them "feel threatened." This brings us to a very important question given the hysteria surrounding this particular case: what happens if Zimmerman is acquitted of the charge.

Given the emotions that have built up so far, will we see another Rodney King type outbreak of unrest spreading all across America? Lets hope not. Yet the potential for such flair-ups is arguably even more pronounced today in the era of social media than it was back then. Racial tensions remain in many places, and having a black president in office has brought out many hidden prejudices that I never knew existed. Making matters worse, many people are using the case as a poster child for hidden agendas. Blacks seem intent on insisting it was racially motivated, and are using it as a parable to the injustices they face. Young lobbyists will fiercely fight on the other side trying to make this a justified killing seem justified. As is the case with life, reality probably rests somewhere in the messy middle with no black and white, good guy bad guy answers.

Thus we arrive at the million dollar question! If the outcome is messy, or the verdict not what many believe it should be, will those who have staked so much on this issue be content to let it rest?

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