The medical report released by George Zimmerman's doctor indicates that he suffered injuries to his face and head on the evening in which he shot and murdered Trayvon. The coroner's report on Trayvon Martin's body indicates that there was bruising on his knuckles consistent with being in a scuffle. Zimmerman was also on medication which can cause agitation and mood swings.
Predictably, for those who believe that Zimmerman is a martyr and victim, this new information will be taken as "proof" of his innocence. I am more interested in how those who championed Trayvon Martin respond to this newest bit of information. Will they rally? Or has Zimmerman-Trayvon fever already been expended?
I have never been one to leave a battle once it has been joined. My concerns about these types of highly charged symbolic politics and cause celebres have been consistent--what happens when the 24 hour news cycle has exhausted itself? It is typical that folks are on to the next one so to speak; they enjoy being part of a bigger spectacle and "movement;" but, matters still remain unresolved.
Walter Lippman observed decades ago that the "newspaper man" is most interested in selling exciting stories. Editors and publishers frame stories for maximum appeal--as opposed to a deep and compelling pursuit of the truth. This is no less true in the age of new media and cable news.
In all, I would suggest that the deliberations surrounding George Zimmerman's murder trial should be focused on proximate and distal causes, the chain of events which led him to hunt down and kill a person, one guilty of no more than walking down the street.
The immediate cause of Trayvon Martin's shooting by George Zimmerman was a fight and scuffle in which the latter was clearly being bested by a superior pugilist. The second proximate cause, and the one most important here, was George Zimmerman's refusal to follow the police dispatcher's order to remain in his vehicle. The more macro level and prime element of causality in Zimmerman's killing of Trayvon Martin is a society that devalues the lives of young people of color, deems them always suspect (on an almost existential level) of crime and criminality, and empowers honorary whites--and those acting in the name of white authority--to shoot down and kill black men on a whim.
I would hope that the jury is capable of applying a bit of common sense as they work through this chain of events. I would also dream that the members of the jury can practice a bit of empathy, putting themselves in the shoes of an innocent teenager walking home at night, being stalked by a racially obsessed stranger who is intent on (quite likely) doing you harm. You fight for your life, you see that this faux-cop vigilante has a gun, terrified, you try to get control of the weapon lest he kill you. Too slow, there is a noise. You look down. Scared, extremities weakening, getting cold, adrenaline wearing off, you realize that you are going to die.
Your murderer George Zimmerman is shocked that guns apparently really do in fact hurt and kill people, he acted on his fantasy, playing Dirty Harry, but it is you who are dead. Zimmerman will be nauseous in the days to follow as he reflects on that night. Your parents will be scared and then heartbroken as your body lays unclaimed in a morgue on the slab. Zimmerman's defenders will rally, sending him hundreds of thousands of dollars for he is a stand-in for their aggrieved white victimhood in the face of "black crime" and "young hoodie thugs."
Trayvon Martin had every right to stand his ground in self defense. George Zimmerman instigated this whole deadly scenario. But history teaches us that in the United States black people do not have such a right to self-defense. From the Black Codes, Jim and Jane Crow, slave passes, racial profiling, and now to "stop and frisk," standing order number one is that African Americans must submit to white authority until given permission otherwise. The most basic rights of political belonging and citizenship, freedom of movement and safety in one's person, are contingent and circumstantial for black Americans.
George Zimmerman will walk free--do not be confused, he is not innocent by any stretch of the imagination. I hold little hope that the jury is capable of thinking through the steps which led a vigilante to kill an innocent person beyond the most immediate and final act, where self-defense by Trayvon Martin is interpreted as violent, unwarranted assault by the George Zimmerman faction, those who idolize him, and wish they could have acted as he did that faithful evening.
The question remains: what will the defenders of Trayvon Martin do now?