Florida’s Reality Show Kangaroo Trial Achieves Maximum Effect
A spectacular bevy of ridiculous bullshit has gone down in the now-approaching 17 years I’ve penned this column. I have been forced to write about more than a few of them—the last one being the whole Donald Trump pay-attention-to-me-I-have-money-and-a-tv-show-otherwise-I’m-the-guy-you-try-and-avoid-while-getting-on-the-subway-screaming-that-aliens-have-lodged-a-brain-washing-device-in-my-rectum media blitz. Normally I think everything is entertaining; mostly kids falling down wells or dogs dragging seniors from burning buildings or wells, but rarely is any of it news. But this whole George Zimmerman trial has to be news, right? It is on television all the time; and I mean ALL the time. It’s like the Olympics without all the talented shut-ins on steroids.
So, let’s see, we’ve already covered the outcome of this on the 28th of March, 2012 in a rather spiteful piece called LOOK AWAY DIXIE LAND on how embarrassingly terrible the South always seems to be when things like this “happen”—what with all their silly laws that allow people to shoot other people for “feeling threatened.” By the way, that is the law; this Stand Your Ground thing is so off the charts goofy it deserves to unearth the level of crap we have endured now for well over a year and in our faces for the past weeks.
Way back when, before Al Sharpton got involved, this was not self-defense or race profiling or gun control or even (gulp!) politics, whether Floridian or national. This was and still is about a law that allows a man to kill another man at his discretion.
Outside of the poor souls that live in Florida, no one should give a shit about their laws anyway, unless they want to challenge that law as unconstitutional, which it may or may not be. Let’s face it; killing people on a whim was very popular in 1788, when the thing was ratified. Dueling was all the rage then, until it reached national status—kind of like a Zimmerman Trail circa 1804, sans cameras, lawyer-experts or HLN. When Alexander Hamilton, a founding father of the nation and a recent Secretary of State, shot the sitting vice president to death because Aaron Burr was pissed about being framed as “voluptuary in the extreme,” only then did the whole dueling craze pass into oblivion.
For the record, the word “voluptuary” (the kind of accusation people understood as reasonable cause to be blasted in the chest with steaming hot lead at 20 paces) was a 19th century slight intimating that a person of repute was far more interested in money and sex than high-minded human endeavors, which is now considered high compliment among rappers, professional athletes, bishops and 83 percent of Congress.
But, I digress, as is my wont here when procrastination beats actually putting into words that George Zimmerman was completely within his rights under Florida law to shoot a kid—a kid, mind you, armed with nothing but Skittles—in the heart at point-blank range, simply because he was getting his ass kicked.
And that’s the nut for me; Zimmerman is innocent of whatever happened in Florida, where killing is a way of life, like orange picking and dying in a retirement home, but he’s still a pussy.
Jesus, man. Do you have any idea how many ass-kickings I’ve received? And many of them have not been solicited; the way Zimmerman apparently felt the need to do. I hardly had to be chased down to get my beatings. In fact, it was mostly the other way around. And for the record, if I were being chased by that asshole, you can bet if he caught up to me, I would not be hanging around asking what it is he might think in his muddled I-need-to-be-important psyche. I might go at him like a wild banshee and sort out the consequences later.
For poor, young, black Trayvon Martin, the consequence was death.
And, by the way, I am not saying race was not a factor. Of course it was. Everyone admits the crimes in the area Zimmerman was patrolling were being committed by mostly, if not all, people of color. And by “patrolling,” I mean running around acting like he was some kind of de facto authority with his CB-radio and his gun and his little pick-up truck, trying to act like Chuck Norris or some other middle-aged goofy white guy the television culture has elevated to the level of folk hero.
The black kid running with the hoodie and the macho talk about “creepy looking crackers” and Zimmerman, in hot pursuit, intoning about “fucking punks always getting away with it” all plays a part. But the most pertinent is a man and a boy (male testosterone on heavy display) doing everything in their power to provoke, instigate, grandstand and put themselves into a position where violence ensued.
It’s pretty much a stark metaphor for human civilization and not so much a far cry from Hamilton’s fatal shooting of Burr all those years ago, and everything in between.
And here is where we get to why any of this got to trial in the first place, and why it has been rolled out like a reality show. The state of Florida wants this to go down with some kind of ancillary nod towards decorum. You can’t have all these shootings go on without someone getting their dander up. Throw them this dog & pony show for a few weeks, allow some cameras and commentators in, and then when the guy walks, and there are few riots here or there—one can only hope—then it’s back to business and nothing changes.
This is how it goes in the South: “Lynchings? Oh, they’re horrible, but a legal and perfectly honorable way to make sure black men don’t, you know, look in the general direction of a white woman or dare to take a sip out of a fountain marked for whites, or, apparently, walk down the street with some candy and soda. Sorry, it’s the law, have a nice day.”
In the end, whether South or North, this is the model of how we handle things in this country—a little show piece and then back to the business of bullshit. It is a rare delight, however, to have our steaming pile paraded the way it has in this “trail” hour after miserable hour and day after miserable day to help us fully understand how truly brutal the human condition can be.
What should happen is someone should sue the state and drag Jeb Bush—goddamn it if only George Senior had kept the thing in his pants, we might have avoided some serious crap these past decades—into court and pound him incessantly for signing such an unconscionably asinine bill into law.
The villain here is Florida and Bush and whatever local yahoos cobbled these suggestions of free-wheel killing on a “feel” to “feel” basis.
George Zimmerman is not the problem. He is the proverbial pimple on the monstrous ass of this lunacy. He is a lesion on the rotting husk of a dying man. He is mucus. He is pus. He’s our chubby symptom.
Oh, and as a postscript to this madness; over 70 people were murdered by gun violence over the holiday weekend in Chicago, Illinois.
When is Al Sharpton heading up there?
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James Campion is the Managing Editor of the Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of “Deep Tank Jersey”, “Fear No Art”, “Trailing Jesus” and “Midnight for Cinderella”