Slogging through the swamps of our media, I am assailed by this question. Often, this is in the form of some poor TLC drivel note even worthy of ridicule. What brings it to mind today, however, is a number of recent conversations I have had. It bothers me to no end that items that would generally fit the description of local news end up becoming the topics of discussion dominating the proverbial water coolers around the country. Among these are the Zimmerman case. The basic facts of the case are that an armed man saw a black teenager, followed him, then killed him. These basic facts would seem to require an overwhelming amount of contextual mitigation to overcome. I can only assume that the context that would convince a jury of reasonable people included whatever weapons the boy carried (and here I don’t mean “boy” in terms of a male person not yet of voting age, I mean it like a fine gentleman like Mr. Zimmerman means it: one of those people), the verbal threats that no doubt lasted the duration of the stalking, and the completely unprovoked assault that must have occurred at the close of the undefined stalking period.

I only wish someone could present me with a non-absurd scenario in which the above could have happened.

I somehow doubt that will ever happen.

But if nothing else, this story has taught us a lesson. In conjunction with the story of the woman whose warning shot at an abusive husband cost her a 20 year sentence, this story has shown us two key facts about Florida justice:

  1. If you pull a gun on someone, shoot to kill.
  2. Don’t be black.

Words to live by.