Another Trial or Two
The man on the bottom, whose head had been slammed into the concrete sidewalk, whose nose was broken by the fists of the man on top, had no gun. The man on top continued the assault. He continued it after the man on the bottom lost consciousness. He continued it and the man on the bottom sustained brain damage. The man on the bottom died.
At the trial, the man on the top, seen by eyewitnesses, would be convicted of murder or, if you prefer, depending on intent and other factors, manslaughter. Would that be expected? Would that be fair, provided the evidence was presented at trial? Use your imagination.
Or, imagine the man on the bottom did not die, but just had the head injuries described and no brain damage, just the unfortunate victim of assault. It probably happens every day somewhere.
Does it matter if the man on top is black? Does it matter if the man on the bottom is black? Does it matter if both are the same race? Does it change your answer if they are not of the same race?
If the man on top was convicted, whether of murder or manslaughter or assault, would you expect protests? Does your answer depend upon the race of the assailant or of the victim or of both?
There was a trial already, of course. The man on top was Trayvon Martin. The difference from the actual incident is that the man on the bottom did not succumb, but rather had a gun. The scenario I laid out was what could have happened without that effort at self defense by the man on the bottom, George Zimmerman.
Or, here is another test for racism — what if Trayvon was on the bottom? What if Trayvon had a gun. What if Trayvon used it for self defense? Use your imagination, again.
Would the result be different? The answer ought to be: “No, the result would be the same on the same facts regardless of the race of either man.”
Aren’t blacks entitled to self-defense? The answer to that question is certainly: “Yes, of course black persons are entitled to the same jury instruction about self defense.”
Would there be protests if Trayvon had been acquitted due to self defense?
Race is involved in the protests, but was not involved in the trial, and should not have been.