Is This Still America? Justice for….George Zimmerman

by | Jul 15, 2013

The political perversion of the criminal justice system began early and at the top, with the President of the United States.

There are no winners in the trial of George Zimmerman. The only question is whether the damage that has been done has been transient or irreparable.

Legally speaking, Zimmerman has won his freedom. But he can still be sued in a civil case, and he will probably never be safe to live his life in peace, as he could have before this case made him the focus of national attention and orchestrated hate.

More important than the fate of George Zimmerman, however, is the fate of the American justice system and of the public’s faith in that system and in their country. People who have increasingly asked, during the lawlessness of the Obama administration, “Is this still America?” may feel some measure of relief.

But the very fact that this case was brought in the first place, in an absence of serious evidence — which became ever more painfully obvious as the prosecution strained to try to come up with anything worthy of a murder trial — will be of limited encouragement as to how long this will remain America.

The political perversion of the criminal justice system began early and at the top, with the President of the United States. Unlike other public officials who decline to comment on criminal cases that have not yet been tried in court, Barack Obama chose to say, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

It was a clever way to play the race card, as he had done before, when Professor Henry Louis Gates of Harvard was arrested.

But it did not stop there. After the local police in Florida found insufficient evidence to ask for Zimmerman to be prosecuted, the Obama administration sent Justice Department investigators to Sanford, Florida, and also used the taxpayers’ money to finance local activists who agitated for Zimmerman to be arrested.

Political intervention did not end with the federal government. The city manager in Sanford intervened to prevent the usual police procedures from being followed.

When the question arose of identifying the voice of whoever was calling for help during the confrontation between Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, the normal police procedure would have been to let individuals hear the recording separately, rather than have a whole family hear it together.

If you want to get each individual’s honest opinion, you don’t want that opinion to be influenced by others who are present, much less allow a group to coordinate what they are going to say.

When the city manager took this out of the hands of the police, and had Trayvon Martin’s family, plus Rachel Jeantel, all hear the recording together, that’s politics, not law.

This was just one of the ways that this case looked like something out of “Alice in Wonderland.” Both in the courtroom and in the media, educated and apparently intelligent people repeatedly said things that they seemed sincerely, and even fervently, to believe, but which were unprovable and often even unknowable.

In addition, the testimony of prosecution witness after prosecution witness undermined the prosecution’s own case. Some critics faulted the prosecuting attorneys. But the prosecutors had to work with what they had — and they had no hard evidence that would back up a murder charge or even a manslaughter charge.

You don’t send people to prison on the basis of what other people imagine, or on the basis of media sound bites like “shooting an unarmed child,” when that “child” was beating him bloody.

The jury indicated, early on as their deliberations began, that they wanted to compare hard evidence, when they asked for a complete list of the testimony on both sides.

Once the issue boiled down to hard, provable facts, the prosecutors’ loud histrionic assertions and sweeping innuendos were just not going to cut it.

Nor was repeatedly calling Zimmerman a liar effective, especially when the prosecution misquoted what Zimmerman said, as an examination of the record would show.

The only real heroes in this trial were the jurors. They showed that this is still America — at least for now — despite politicians who try to cheapen or corrupt the law, as if this were some banana republic. Some are already calling for a federal indictment of George Zimmerman, after he has been acquitted.

Will this still be America then?

Thomas Sowell has published a large volume of writing. His dozen books, as well as numerous articles and essays, cover a wide range of topics, from classic economic theory to judicial activism, from civil rights to choosing the right college. Please contact your local newspaper editor if you want to read the THOMAS SOWELL column in your hometown paper.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.


  1. Obama: “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” I’m betting he would, and he’d behave a lot like Trayvon Martin. Would the sultan of “gangster government” raise a son who would behave like a “gansta”? I’m betting he would. LIke father, like son?

  2. Formally, on paper, in writing, the U.S. is not a banana republic, at least not in its founding documents and basic laws. But, in the state and dynamics of things today, and of all the people, who are the origin of it all, the U.S. is, in fact, perceptibly becoming a banana republic of the lowest order. Any attempted influence to reverse that is light-years behind the curve, way too late, suggesting the kind of methods that will be needed to reverse it. Mike Kevitt

  3. “If I had a son, it would look just like Trayvon.” We should all keep repeating this until it becomes something like a lefty version of “Who is John Galt?”. I wish I could laugh like those little aliens in Mars Attacks!

  4. Mr sowell you may be right.However what about the marisa alexander case?

    Why don’t you ever comment on cases like this?This 20 years sentence for warning shots is a proof that it is still america too?

  5. Something confuses me on this case…

    It was not murder

    But it was still manslaughter and he was told to leave him alone… by the cops…

    Why didn’t he get man slaughter? I mean he doesn’t deserve more than a year, but he could of taken the punches and got that kid thrown in jail. I understand he defended himself, but he put himself in harms way and he brought a gun.

    In many other cases like this they still get jail time, and come on, a year isn’t going to end his life. And most people with a year can get off in 3-5 months anyways.

    just a thought

  6. He wasn’t told not to follow Trayvon. He was told he didn’t need to. A difference between an order and a suggestion.

    It wasn’t manslaughter; it was a homicide justified by self-defense.

    “…he could have taken the punches…” At what point would one resort to self-defense, then? When one’s skull is fractured? At the first appearance of blood? When knifed. Or shot?

    If someone is assaulting you, Miss La Fiore, you have the right to defend yourself. Period.

  7. Or are you saying I do not have the liberty to walk around my own neighbor without getting stalked?

    I believe your right go as far as until they effect others and that is why we have laws on going out and being a vigilante.

    and if I was being a guy who thought I should go be the town watchman and carry a gun, and someone attacked me I would shoot them. This si why we have laws that require training.

    I shouldn’t be allowed to go out on the street and kill anyone who attacks me if I go around looking for a fight. So I can protect my neighborhood. I am not an officer of the law.

    If someone comes to you, or assaults you or tries to kill you you have the right to defend yourself.

    But that’s the whole point of those lesser sentences. Self defense while breaking the law is manslaughter.

    A better question would be. Do people have the right to take a gun out fo their home with the intention of using to to defend themselves? And going somewhere they know they might have to use it?

    I’m all ear for arguments why that is acceptable to go vigilante with a gun and not expect to shoot someone.It doesn’t mean he’s guilty, he’s not. But he still broke the law and that’s important to not overlook. Or people all over the place are going to know that if you go around getting people to start attacking you, you are allowed to kill them.

    However you should be allowed to walk around with a gun, and while not looking for anyone kill someone who attacks you. As long as you don’t go trying to provoke violence.

    Notice i AM agreeing with you but I’m thinking of my law studies not “murder” of course he’s Innocent .

  8. There is no such thing as “the liberty *not* to be followed.” And there are no laws against following someone.

    “Stalking” is a legal term, specifically defined, and involves harassment:

    “Stalking is a distinctive form of criminal activity composed of a series
    of actions that taken individually might constitute legal behavior. For example, sending flowers, writing love notes, and waiting for someone
    outside her place of work are actions that, on their own, are not criminal. When these actions **are coupled with an intent to instill fear or injury**, however, they may constitute a pattern of behavior that is
    illegal” (

    Whether or not you think you oughtn’t be allowed to defend yourself against someone who attacks you is irrelevant. The law says you are.

    Moreover: “Self-defense is a defense to certain criminal charges…It is a general rule that a defendant who acts in Self-Defense may only use force that is reasonably calculated to prevent harm to himself or herself” ( &

    Stop shooting from the emotional hip, ma’am.

  9. Ditto

  10. Zimmerman didn’t break the law. 1) justifiable homicide (re: self-defense) is a defense against the *charge*; and 2) Z was found not guilty (of breaking the law).

  11. Oh no George Zimmerman is going to have to watch his back for the rest of his life? What a shame. And that picture! Brutal! I’m sure it’s much, much worse than Martin’ autopsy photo. What a bunch of frightened, angry and hate filled douche bags you all are.

  12. Sentences like this ” But, in the state and dynamics of things today, and of all the people,
    who are the origin of it all, the U.S. is, in fact, perceptibly
    becoming a banana republic of the lowest order” just makes you sound like a stupid person trying to sound smart (which just makes you sound stupid…A vicious cycle, I know!). Seriously though; it does. No offense.

  13. Ok, try this: Formally, the U.S. is not a banana republic, but a republic with the potential of all the greatness it has achieved, plus endlessly more in the future. But, the people were talked out of the thinking behind that formality, and into the opposite thinking. The language of that formality is, unfortunately, loose enough to condone it. So, the people are acting the opposite, dragging themselves down, by their choice, to the level of a banana republic, with no bottom in sight. Any attempt at change is way behind the curve, requiring very hard, determined effort to get ahead of the curve to get people to refocus on their potential.
    Thanks, Guster. I know I’m a lousy writer. I should appreciate it when somebody tips me off about it, when he’s trying to be constructive.

  14. Your argument consists of 1) tacit approval of lynch mob mentality; 2) an irrelevant comparison (one could say the same about a photo of an abused wife who had shot & killed her brute of a husband as he was beating her); & 3) ad hominems.

    I call this the argument from demagoguery.

    dem·a·gogue (dµm“…-gôg”, -g¼g”) n. 1. [Someone who relies on] impassioned appeals to the emotions and prejudices of the populace.

  15. Really “tacit approval of lynch mob mentality”? You mean like when people decide to take the law into their own hands? Do you even read what you write? You’re a one in a million my man.

  16. What you describe is a vigilante mentality.

    vig·i·lan·te (v¹j”…-l²n“t¶) n. 1. One who takes or advocates the taking of law enforcement into one’s own hands.

    That’s necessary but not sufficient for a lynch mob mentality. Such mentality also requires acting on a collectivist premise.

    And every individual is one in a million–or rather, one in 6 billion or so.

    Even collectivist demagogues.

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