Friday, July 19, 2013

Ruminations on a Verdict

Late Saturday night, I posted on Facebook that the George Zimmerman verdict was "Emmett Till all over again." Reaction from my friends was mixed, to put it mildly. Eight or nine of my friends liked the status, but those that disagreed were not afraid to comment. Eventually, I backpedaled; I admitted that the Till comparison was over the top, but I still believed the jury made the wrong call. Mea culpa or not, an awkward silence hovered over the rest of my weekend.

Treyvon Martin's murder 15 months ago was no cut-and-dry homicide, and the ensuing media circus constantly reminded us of that observation. For the prickly debate about gun control and race that Martin's death fueled there has been an undercurrent of idiocy, of poor decision-making, of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Martin's death provoked a national discussion on race relations that wasn't wholly necessary, and only fanned the fire of the never-ending debate on gun control. At the same time, George Zimmerman will forever be perceived as a trigger-happy goon who got off scot-free, anointed by a jury that not only ignored his abuse of power a neighborhood watchdog, but also his wife's act of perjury. What a mess.

Other notes:

+ The bankruptcy of Detroit is as pitiful as it was inevitable. NBA great Dave Bing entered a very bad situation when we was elected mayor, and despite some minor gains he situation was just too insurmountable. The lack of economic growth was one thing, but the corruption was another (thanks, Kwame Kilpatrick). This once-great metropolis is now a black hole, sucking nearly the entire state of Michigan into its malaise. (For those of you that aren't familiar with this sorry situation, this article should bring you up to speed.) It'll only get worse before it ever gets better.

+ My congratulations go out to my friend Claire Mulaney on being hired to write for "Saturday Night Live" next season. Apparently, I've been on the Chicago improv scene long enough that I can (sort of) brag that people I've hung out with can --and have-- made their comedy dreams come true. Do your brother John proud.

Next week: the year in music, 1993.



  1. You really think the jury made the wrong call? I suspect that you have never been on jury duty before. I've spent a year of my life on jury duty, including Murder 1 and 2 cases. People on jury duty take their jobs very seriously and work with the evidence that is shown to them. Their job is to find the defendent guilty or not guilty of the charges, not to find a way to punish them. The prosecution had no case here, which is why they were reluctant to press charges to begin with.
    It's my personal opinion that one should always be able to defend oneself against aggressive and paranoid drug addicts who want to pound your head into the concrete. Trayvon wasn't only high on cannabis--google "skittles and watermelon punch" for the rest of the story that didn't fit the media's agenda.

  2. Maybe we should stop glamorizing thug gang culture?

    Don't tell me for a second that Zim wasn't provoked or that it wasn't a scary situation. If it happened to you & in your neighborhood, how would you react? People form neighborhood watches for a reason: the police can't be everywhere all the time. This wasn't some cheery kid coming home from clarinet practice - it was an almost legal adult-delinquent with a record. Maybe kids today need to learn how to act more respectful to their elders instead of acting like punks with free reign. You can't be shouting profanity & slurs into the darkness like there's no consequences.

    The jury followed the law. The Emmett Till reference is pushing it way beyond & is apples to oranges.