Slate gets it right on Zimmerman

GavelLeft-of-center Slate Magazine published a thoughtful take on the Zimmerman/Martin case. Author William Saletan decided to watch all seven hours of closing arguments and came to this conclusion:

The problem at the core of this case wasn’t race or guns. The problem was assumption, misperception, and overreaction. And that cycle hasn’t ended with the verdict. It has escalated. …

It happened because two people—their minds clouded by stereotypes that went well beyond race—assumed the worst about one another and acted in haste. If you want to prevent the next Trayvon Martin tragedy, learn from their mistakes. Don’t paint the world in black and white. Don’t declare the whole justice system racist, or blame every gun death on guns, or confuse acquittal with vindication. And the next time you see somebody who looks like a punk or a pervert, hold your fire.

The entire article is worth a few minutes of your day.

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  • Adison

    Zimmerman followed Martin after being told by police to leave him alone. We don’t get to hear Martin’s side of the events. As much as the defense or the author of the original article may have tried to paint a personality for him of judging Zimmerman unfairly they cannot know what he did or thought because he is dead. Switch the roles around and see how you feel about the events, be honest, if you see the situation differently it will show you why this has been an issue. It is no secret that our justice system has issues when it comes to race. There is a measurable difference on how our legal system treats people who are black and people who are white.

    • Duane

      The measurable difference you speak of is the result of a tendency among young black males to commit crimes, usually against their own race.

      The problems with the justice system are more difficult to measure, because you usually can’t know what a police officer or judge thinks when he decides to apprehend, arrest or convict. I think that sometimes there is a problem, but it is not as big a problem as the attitude among most inner-city black kids that doing well in school and staying out of trouble is tantamount to being an Uncle Tom, being “white inside.”

      THAT is racism.

      • Adison

        I think that racism is treating someone as less or unfairly different due to the color of their skin or cultural ancestry. We all have a part of us that treats and judges others differently simply because they are not perceived as the same as but we need to recognize that in ourselves and work to mediate it. If you want a good look at how our justice system can be biased look at death penalty rates for black to white when involving similar crimes. If we can simply recognize those stereo types and accept that especially in a place like a courtroom that there is a need to be impartial then we can look at ways to examine it further. That is why I support a conversation on this topic in this forum because I think there is a need to examine how we prosecute the law in regards to race.

        • Duane

          I have not seen an analysis of such rates for death penalty. If there is a difference when the crimes are indeed similar, then I agree that there is a problem. Be careful to make sure that the ‘rates’ you talk about are percentages of death sentences per 10,000 convictions and not numbers per 100,000 people. One is valid, the other is bogus.

          At the same time, we need to understand the reasons why crimes are committed by both blacks and whites and why blacks commit crimes ten times as often as whites. Part of it is that blacks grow up in incomplete families with Mom’s dead-beat druggie boyfriends instead of law-abiding dads who take care of their families. And part of it is growing up in neighborhoods where doing well in school or even keeping a job so you can buy your own stuff makes you a pariah.

          But why is that? It happens in white neighborhoods, too. My daughter-in-law grew up like that. But why does it happen so much more in black neighborhoods? And why do so few grow out of it like my son’s wife is doing?

          • Adison

            I think that the answer to why it happens so much more in black neighborhoods can be found in figuring out how black and white neighborhoods formed. I don’t know and I think that would be an important historical study.

          • Duane

            But blacks sixty years ago were largely family oriented, monogamous, law-abiding and out-of-wedlock births were low. Those same neighborhoods are now pretty much made up of never-formed families, broken families, bed-partner-of-the-week, kids with no father in the home, welfare-dependent criminals and welfare-dependent victims.

            I think that a large part of it is the social acceptance of out-of-wedlock birth and welfare dependency. It is now not only OK to have a baby outside marriage, it is the new norm. And there is no shame in being on the dole, in fact, the beggars are now demanding more and more.

            We facilitate and even encourage self-destructive behavior when we pay people to not work, have babies and form dysfunctional families.

            And as time goes on, it spreads to the white, Asian and Hispanic communities. An article twenty years ago pointed out that it had already affected much of the white population in England. When forty percent of births are to unmarried women, you have created a permanent under class. They are conditioned to accept and even demand continued support that only keeps them on a new government plantation.

            Slaves used to pick tobacco and shoe horses in return for their daily food and shelter. Now they only have to protest when incited, picket when paid and vote for whichever government masters promise the most bread and iPhones.

          • Duane


            I found something interesting related to this topic. Go here and read.


          • Adison

            Cool thanks I will look in to it.