What we do know is that one night an unarmed teenager with no history of violence walked home from the store after buying some candy. What we know is that a stranger with a gun, expressing an immediate hostility that’s clear from the gunman’s own recorded words, and despite later claims of being “terrified” and admonitions by a police dispatcher not to get out of his car and follow the boy, got out of his car and followed the boy. We know that five minutes later the armed man shot the unarmed boy to death, something the defendant would identify as “God’s plan” on a subsequent television interview. Note that so far we haven’t even had to use the words “African-American” or any of the defendant’s vivid euphemisms. Over a month-long trial this factual landscape remained unchallenged by even the defense attorneys because its geography was beyond challenge, leaving us to consider how deep into the trees a jury must go to miss this forest, and how many thousands of years of ethical development it takes to conclude that with every unfolding second, Zimmerman assumed some growing degree of responsibility for whatever the outcome might be of a situation that he alone created.

By the standards of Tombstone 1881 not to mention the nitwitteries of Florida 2013, the utter absolution of Zimmerman in light of such circumstances can only be a kind of civil atrocity.

What we do know is that one night an unarmed teenager with no history of violence walked home from the store after buying some candy. What we know is that a stranger with a gun, expressing an immediate hostility that’s clear from the gunman’s own recorded words, and despite later claims of being “terrified” and admonitions by a police dispatcher not to get out of his car and follow the boy, got out of his car and followed the boy. We know that five minutes later the armed man shot the unarmed boy to death, something the defendant would identify as “God’s plan” on a subsequent television interview. Note that so far we haven’t even had to use the words “African-American” or any of the defendant’s vivid euphemisms. Over a month-long trial this factual landscape remained unchallenged by even the defense attorneys because its geography was beyond challenge, leaving us to consider how deep into the trees a jury must go to miss this forest, and how many thousands of years of ethical development it takes to conclude that with every unfolding second, Zimmerman assumed some growing degree of responsibility for whatever the outcome might be of a situation that he alone created.

By the standards of Tombstone 1881 not to mention the nitwitteries of Florida 2013, the utter absolution of Zimmerman in light of such circumstances can only be a kind of civil atrocity.

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