Scapegoating Zimmerman

“Then he shall take the two goats, and set them before The Lord at the door of the tent of meeting; and Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats, one lot for The Lord and the other lot for Azazel. And Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for The Lord, and offer it as a sin offering; but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before The Lord to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel.” (Leviticus 16:7-10 RSV)



George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin in the chest and killed him on 26 February. Mr. Zimmerman was not charged and his actions remain under investigation by local and now Federal authorities. This has led to an outpouring of anger and several demonstrations by those who believe the American justice system has a strong racial bias against African Americans. Not all of this protest has remained within the bounds of civility. The New Black Panther Party has put a $10,000 price on George Zimmerman.

The President has done nothing that would lead to calm or pacification. He informed us that if he had a son, the boy could look like Trayvon. His campaign has sought to monetize the tragic shooting by selling Obama Hoodies for campaign money. He reminds us to search our souls over this as we rummage in our pockets for the $40 tab for one of his hoodies. Even the Commander-In-Chief wants his take from the till on Justice For Trayvon™ (and I’m not just being snarky about the trademark).

Sadly and predictably, 75% of America wants George Zimmerman dragged forth and shot this afternoon. Just kidding, folks. They weren’t quite that forthcoming and honest. CNN polled on whether George Zimmerman should be arrested and75% of those asked agreed. Better that than get the Scarlet Letter R (RACIST!) tattooed on your forehead.

Arresting George Zimmerman may or may not be the legally sanctioned and appropriate course of action. If the people investigating find reasonable evidence that the shooting of Trayvon Martin was not a defensive action or that if George Zimmerman had no legitimate reason to feel he was in mortal danger, he needs to be booked for manslaughter at the very least. Let the system operate and do its job.


Scapegoating George Zimmerman to prove we’re all too big for bigotry accomplishes absolutely nothing. It proves absolutely nothing. Let’s say Repair_Man_Jack is so !RACIST! that he will only order White Pizza at the local Italian Restaurant (adding pesto or tomato sauce would make it Pizza of Color which would defile his highly attuned palate.) RMJ could fool you all be demanding that George Zimmerman be waterboarded for Trayvon. “Dunk ‘em for diversity,” RMJ always says!

The immediate tendency to demand “justice” despite an incomplete grasp of the facts can only lead to travesty. Googling “Duke Lacrosse, Mike Nifong” and then reading a few of the links tells you far more than I could by belaboring the point. Try “Sharpton, Brawley” if you still remain unconvinced.

I’ll make one more point out of respect for the dead. I find it irrelevant outside the setting of a trial whether or not Trayvon Martin was more likely to end up in Harvard University or Folsom Prison. His initial beatification was somewhat nauseating in a Crystal Mangum sort of a way. But as someone completely unassociated with George Zimmerman’s legal defense team, I really don’t care why Trayvon Martin wasn’t in school for ten days. People with no personal dog in this fight should allow the dead their peaceful sleep.

In conclusion, nobody will really fix American society by joining The New Black Panthers’ in their jihad against George Zimmerman. If you were racist beforehand, you’re still a bigot whether they arrest Mr. Zimmerman over this sordid affair or not. More to the point, you will not make anyone who believes you are a racist think better of you at all by demanding Zimmerman’s head on a platter. Display equipoise and let the investigators investigate. Scapegoats do not work any sort of biblical magic in the modern world.



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