Yesterday someone tried to explain to me why I should be “rooting against” George Zimmerman. That was the exact phrase he used — rooting against. God help us. This is a murder trial, not the NFL playoffs. No, I am not rooting against him, I’m also not rooting for him. I don’t know him personally, I have no stock in his fate. Despite how HLN might portray it, this is not a reality TV show. This is serious business. We surround ourselves with enough toys and colors and noises and distractions that you’d think we wouldn’t be so starved for entertainment that we’d need to turn legal proceedings into circus acts — yet, here we are. That’s what gets me about all of this. Most of these people calling for Zimmerman’s head and threatening to riot if he isn’t convicted don’t even really care about this case. You know that, don’t you? Please don’t make the mistake of taking their outrage seriously. They’re just bored and empty inside. This is simply another sideshow for them. It’s a game. Zimmerman is a trendy villain, he gives them someone who’s fun to hate.
Think about the guy who helped to whip up this frenzy in the first place, Al Sharpton. The DA wasn’t even going to indict Zimmerman until Sharpton showed up with his merry band of race crusaders and turned a local police matter into an international crisis. Sharpton is an opportunistic lying huckster, and every person in this country damn well knows it. The dude has purposely fomented racial hysteria and used it to destroy the lives of innocent men multiple times. Tawana Brawley, Duke lacrosse, George Zimmerman. The Brawley case alone should have been enough to permanently discredit him and irrevocably destroy his reputation, but instead he still has enough clout to rake in the dough and fire up the “kill whitey” mob when he needs a ratings boost for his MSNBC show. He likes to compare himself to Dr. King, but he’s much closer to Don King.
So if you want to know who I’m rooting for in all of this, I’ll tell you: Lady Justice. The legal system. The Bill of Rights. Due process. Innocent until proven guilty. I want what I always want with any trial. I want the court system to work as it’s supposed to. And that’s why I want Zimmerman found not guilty. It doesn’t matter how you feel about him personally, it doesn’t matter that Trayvon Martin liked Skittles, it doesn’t matter if Zimmerman is or isn’t a racist, it doesn’t even matter that Martin wasn’t armed. All that matters in a court of law is that Zimmerman tells a certain version of events. If his version is accurate, he isn’t guilty of a crime. If the prosecution’s claims are true, he is. The prosecution must prove their case. They must do this with evidence, forensics, expert testimony, and witness accounts. They failed. They failed miserably. All of the evidence supports Zimmerman’s side. All of the forensics come out in his favor. The witnesses for the State were an embarrassment. They have proven nothing. Period. They have to prove it and they didn’t. Not even close. Do you know why I want a man to be found innocent when the State is unable to even come close to proving him guilty? Not because I love me some Zimmerman, but because I’m selfish. Because I want all of that great due process, innocent until proven guilty stuff to be there for me if I ever need it. I don’t want to think that I can actually literally be convicted by the court of public opinion, especially because I seem to run afoul of that court on a daily basis. I want to know that if I’m ever accused of a crime, the opinions of the Internet trolls and the hysterical mob won’t matter. I want to be confident that my fate rests on facts, evidence, and forensics, not politics, race, and popularity polls. The troubling thing is that most of the folks in the Burn Zimmerman Brigade will fully admit that the law and the evidence really don’t work in the prosecution’s favor, but they still want the guy strung up by his toenails and flogged for eternity anyway. To them I ask this: Are you willing to live or die by those rules if you’re ever the defendant on the docket? If I falsely accuse you of a heinous crime, can I ensure your indictment and conviction by waging an effective social media campaign to turn the peanut allergy against you?
Zimmerman claims he was walking back to his truck when he was attacked by a 6’2″ muscular 17 year old with a penchant for fighting and a habit of confrontation. He says his head was bashed against solid pavement and his nose broken. He says he didn’t reach for his gun right away — he called for help. He insists he only pulled the firearm when Martin noticed it in the holster and tried to reach for it. If this happened as he recounts it, he is unequivocally innocent of any crime, according to the law and, less importantly, according to any general sense of what is right and just. The prosecution had to disprove his account, instead they inadvertently strengthened it. They didn’t have a single shred of evidence against him, or even one reliable bit of witness testimony. Not only should he be acquitted, it’s clear they never had enough to file charges in the first place. Now that the judge, blatant in her prejudice against Zimmerman, has ruled that the jury can “consider lesser charges,” it’s clear that the State is railroading this man by throwing everything against the wall. They couldn’t prove their case, so they changed it four times. Now the judge is allowing the jury to potentially convict Zimmerman of crimes that he was never even charged with. This is a ghastly mockery of the legal system, and it’s happening in plain sight.
If you “root” for a man to be found guilty of a crime that the State can’t prove, you root for the destruction of our entire system of justice. And, in this case, you do so for no reason other than your own amusement.