I guess I can't say that I'm shocked by this ruling, but the banality of evil is making a real comeback here in this summer in 2013. Gary Younge, a Chicagoan writing for the Guardian, pretty much nails it:
Open season on black boys after a verdict like this
Calls for calm after George Zimmerman was acquitted of murdering Trayvon Martin are empty words for black families
Let it be noted that on this day, Saturday 13 July 2013, it was still deemed legal in the US to chase and then shoot dead an unarmed young black man on his way home from the store because you didn't like the look of him.
The killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last year was tragic. But in the age of Obama the acquittal of George Zimmerman offers at least that clarity. For the salient facts in this case were not in dispute. On 26 February 2012 Martin was on his way home, minding his own business armed only with a can of iced tea and a bag of Skittles. Zimmerman pursued him, armed with a 9mm handgun, believing him to be a criminal. Martin resisted. They fought. Zimmerman shot him dead.
Who screamed. Who was stronger. Who called whom what and when and why are all details to warm the heart of a cable news producer with 24 hours to fill. Strip them all away and the truth remains that Martin's heart would still be beating if Zimmerman had not chased him down and shot him.
I'm finding the immediate commentaries after this appalling ruling to be outrageous, if darkly humorous: "If you have happen to a black man in Florida, I mean sure, a white guy can shoot you because he doesn't like the way you look. But hey, let's stay calm, and be cool about it."
I've no love for violence, whatsoever, but wouldn't be too surprised if appeals for "calm" in the face of this extraordinarily antagonistic ruling fall on deaf ears. You don't stick a fork in someone's eye and then ask them to be cool about and calm about it. That is exactly what local officials and the media are forced to do here.
This ruling is a travesty. I'm 800 miles away, and was not immediately impacted by this whole sad episode, but in the words of Marcellus Wallace in Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, I'm feeling: "pretty fucking far from okay."