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Blogs

The US’s second ‘Rodney King moment’

15 July 2013

2:03 PM

15 July 2013

2:03 PM

Was it right for the middle aged part-Hispanic male George Zimmerman to shoot the young black male Trayvon Martin, regardless of whether or not he had just had his head kicked in by him? The ‘not guilty’ verdict has granted the USA another Rodney King moment, although race may not have been a crucial factor in the shooting, merely one factor. The defence, of course, argued successfully that race was not a factor at all; but that notwithstanding I would guess that Zimmerman’s suspicions would have been less pronounced had the person he saw peering through windows in his gated community been an elderly white lady, for example, rather than a young black male. And statistically he would have been right to be less alarmed had this been the case, although even to say this patent fact leaves one open to accusations of racism.

It would seem that Martin was a bit of a baddun, frequently suspended from school, possibly involved in theft, certainly an afficianado of dope – although none of this, of course, requires him to be killed. Zimmerman meanwhile, who claimed (and there is not much reason to disbelieve him) that Martin broke his nose and inflicted upon him various other cuts and lacerations. He also seems to have been one of those rather scary neighbourhood watch people, obsessively vigilant, perpetually inflamed. And he had a gun. I don’t think people like that should have guns. I’m not convinced anyone should have guns. But that’s me all over, whining white liberal.

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