Home » Uncategorized » But the jury was following the law part 2

But the jury was following the law part 2

Sometimes I write nuanced posts assuming readers will magically know what I mean. The intent of my July 15 posting of various hundred+ year-old laws that required the on-the-spot murder of innocent African-Americans by ordinary citizens was to chastise those among us who in various ways justify the Zimmerman verdict relying on the “law” and/or the judge’s instructions. The “law,” more specifically the laws in play in the Zimmerman trial are not edicts from some supreme supernatural power; they are a reflection of the Florida legislature and voting citizens. Laws that promote private handgun ownership, concealed carry, stand your ground, etc., (many of which are heavily influenced by powerful gun lobbies) are reflections of social norms and/or powerful and influential special interests. Given the laws in many states, and the instructions given to juries on self-defense and “reasonable doubt” it was unlikely Zimmerman would be convicted. But laws are not sacred. It was also the “law” that denied black people the use of most public facilities; the opportunity to eat in restaurants; rent hotel rooms; vote; or attend public schools. It is also the law that provides the road map and justifications for black males being disproportionately arrested, tried, and convicted on drug crimes despite the fact that proportionally speaking, Blacks no more than whites, and whites no more than blacks, commit drug crimes. It is also the law that denies same sex couples equal rights, and that increasing denies women control of their own bodies.  So, applying Florida self-defense laws (including the stand your ground provision) does not convince me that justice is served. Sadly, on many issues of race (and gender) in America, the “law” is no defense against injustice. The history of racial animus by some against black and brown people in the United States, the impact of gun laws and urban gang violence, coupled with other laws like stand-your-ground that operate to embolden racial profiling suggests that increasingly there is no place for black men to live, nowhere, no community, no neighborhood, that our innocent black sons are not more likely than everyone else in this county to be profiled, stopped and frisked, demonized, followed, stalked, devalued, terrorized, killed with impunity and denied the protection of the criminal justice system.


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