A lot of narratives of the Zimmerman case deal very rightly with the fact that African Americans are at risk in a racist America. On the right, apparently the narrative is "What a tragedy" if the throwback at Redstate is representative.
But suppose Zimmerman had been found guilty - then what?
To quote Clarence Darrow:
It is often said that the accused should be given an immediate trial; that this and subsequent proceedings should not be hindered by delay; that the uncertainties of punishment furnish the criminal with the hope of escape and therefore do not give the community the benefit of the terror that comes with the certainty of punishment that could prevent crime. I can see no basis in logic or experience for this suggestion. It is based on the theory that punishment is not only a deterrent to crime, but the main deterrent. It comes from the idea that the criminal is distinct from the rest of mankind, that vengeance should be sure and speedy and that then crime would be prevented. If this were true and the only consideration to prevent crime, then the old torture chamber and the ancient prison with all its hopelessness and horror should be restored. Logic, humanity and experience would protest against this. If there is to be any permanent improvement in man and any better social order, it must come mainly from the education and humanizing of man. I am quite certain that the more the question of crime and its treatment is studied the less faith men have in punishment.And:
Justice is not the function of the state; this forms no part of the scheme of punishment. Punishment is punishment. A wife and helpless babes may be left in want when the state lays its hand in wrath upon the man. Under the law of natural justice the child has a right to support and care from the father, who is responsible for its life. Still, the state, not with a prior right, but with a greater power, takes the father from his child, kills him or pens him, and turns the child into the byways of the world, giving it only the heritage of the father's shame. It is no answer to say that such a father is of no value to the child. Many a kind, indulgent father has violated the penal codes of man. Many a father has been sent to prison because he so loved his child that he committed crime."Justice" in the context in which we live in the United States would be a horrible game, if "justice" for Travon Martin and his family means the destruction of another family. Even with George Zimmerman walking away, even if there is no Federal or civil litigation, is this man's life whole?
From the nature of things there can be no justice in punishment. Justice imposes relation between act and consequence. The judgment of man is utterly powerless to pass upon the merits or elements of a human soul. But justice from the state to its citizens imports some ratio between the rewards, opportunities and punishments meted out to each. As to rewards and opportunities, the state does nothing except to assist the strong to despoil the weak. It furnishes no opportunity for its helpless, no chance for development and life, and gives no rewards for meritorious conduct, and makes no allowance for resisting temptation from crime. But aside from all this, within the realm where the state pretends to do justice, there is no equality meted out between its various members. The code is unyielding, the positive dead letter of the law is man's highest and profoundest judgment as to the conduct of his fellows.
But what of Travon Martin and his family? "Justice" can't be done - their family cannot be made whole. Nothing the state can do can resurrect Travon Martin. We can prevent future Travon Martins by changing the odious political landscape in Florida, and the horrendous "judicial" system we have in this country.
YES the racial injustice is infuriating and upsetting. I've sat on a jury, when there was no racial element to a case but there was police misconduct, on the other hand.
I don't know what went on with the Zimmerman jury, but what I do know, is that even if the defendant is guilty, the defendent's "justice" is at the mercy of all kinds of prejudices of the jury, (such as in the case I sat on, a naive belief that for some reason a cop wouldn't lie on the stand). And should the defendant be found guilty, it is taken as axiomatic that the state should make - who? - whole by inflicting injury on the defendant, as Darrow noted. This is true regardless of the ethnic identity of the defendant, but of course in America hits minorities more often and worse, especially in the South.
There is no justification for the fact that there is no official declaration that George Zimmerman wrongfully killed Travon Martin. But regardless, the way things are today, in no way would "justice" be done for Zimmerman and Martin just as in no way "justice" isn't done for any of the incarcerated and the victims of crimes.