Here are the most sweeping and absurdly naive conclusions that an anonymous member of the Zimmerman jury delivered last night to Anderson Cooper:
1) Race had nothing to do with Zimmerman stopping, then killing Trayvon Martin. 2) Zimmerman is merely guilty of using bad judgment. 3) Zimmerman was right to carry his gun while on patrol, "because everyone in America has that right." 4) Zimmerman told the truth..."basically."
5) Even if Martin hadn't reached for Zimmerman's gun..."it wouldn't have made a difference." 6) Zimmerman was "over-eager to help people... I'd want Zimmerman on my neighborhood watch." 6) Zimmerman did not racially profile Martin. "If it had been a Spanish, white, Asian...if they'd come into the same situation, George would have acted the same way." 7) None of the jurors thought race played a role.
If this juror, who appears to be a white suburban woman, speaks for the jury as a whole, then this must have been the stupidest jury in the history of American misjustice. If this is how the jury thought, we need to blow up the entire juridical paradigm and go back to playing with fire in caves.
Or maybe we don't need to go that far nationwide -- just in Florida.
Let's review the facts, of which there are few of: a black boy is dead after getting into some sort of scuffle with a white man who shot him. Even after all the evidence we don't know who started this scuffle. We don't know who was winning it beyond testimony saying Martin "was on top of" Zimmerman.
We also don't know whether Martin "reached" for Zimmerman's gun, as Zimmerman claimed -- considering that Martin had no reason to know Zimmerman a) had a gun, or b) where Zimmerman kept his gun.
What we have left is a race issue. (Traditionally, journalists don't disclose race because it normally doesn't matter. But in this case, it does. No matter what this juror thinks.)
Consider this white woman. At one time or another, she must have put herself inside Zimmerman's shoes. She's not a racist, she likely thought. And she would have been wary of Trayvon Martin as well, she perhaps surmised. So race couldn't possibly have played a role, rolls in the conclusion.
Except that conclusion is cataclysmically wrong. Even if Zimmerman wasn't a racist, he still racially profiled Martin. The two aren't mutually exclusive.
Race did play a role. And to ignore that fact is the worst manifestation of confirmation bias: This juror didn't want to believe that race was important, so she fits all the facts into that small frame of thinking.
And then! Then she says she wants George Zimmerman on her neighborhood watch.
Lady, please. Just stop.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to New Times Broward-Palm Beach's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling South Florida's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism