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Katie Ryder: A Note to Zimmerman’s Facebook Defenders

July 15, 2013

The problem with the 'but this is the law' response.

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Marchers in New York City following the Zimmerman verdict. Photos by Katie Ryder.

by Katie Ryder

To everyone pointing out that they believe George Zimmerman’s acquittal was “correct” insofar as it strictly relates to “the law” and so “disappointed” in “smart liberals” for getting carried away:

1) We have some basic misunderstandings about the English words self defense.

2) “The law” is multivalent. Quite literally: We all understand that the laws and rulings of the state of Florida may fall into conflict with the United States constitution.

3) If a ruling were to be correct in accordance with a law, and people were to find either or both to be unjust, they may respond. Sloshing “this is the law” through the marbles in your mouth as an answer to public complaint is ostentatiously incoherent in a system defined by laws that change, in a society dependent on the opinions of its citizens.

4) Grow up. Be honest about the world you see around you.

Katie Ryder is New York-based writer and a contributing editor to Guernica.

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5 comments for Katie Ryder: A Note to Zimmerman’s Facebook Defenders

  1. Comment by James on July 15, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    I’ve never in my 40 years witnessed such disgusting callousness from people of my white race. Justifying the killing because maybe he had committed petty theft in the past, maybe he would in the future, maybe he smoked weed. Our past three presidents did drugs. What made Trayvon beyond redemption, especially among the class of people who wear religion and flags so prominently on their bodies and Facebook posts? Suddenly, there are no sinners except the black boy in a hoodie, carrying all the sins of humanity on his back and to the grave.

  2. Comment by Marc Brazeau on July 15, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    Here, here.

  3. Comment by jesse on July 16, 2013 at 12:25 am

    I think the reason that people bring up the law is because Martin’s supporters tend to be shockingly ignorant of both the law and the evidence at hand. When you’re ignorant of key elements of the case, I’m not going to believe in your ability to determine whether the verdict was unjust or not.

  4. Comment by Mark on July 16, 2013 at 8:21 am

    I enjoy reading Guernica because its articles are well thought out, in depth, and informative. I clicked on this expecting the same and was sorely disappointed. Instead I found an unsubstantiated rant (can someone please explain how point #2 is relevant) against people who believe that the verdict was just.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I consider myself to be a moderate liberal, and while I’m not saying what Zimmerman did was right or just, I am saying that he acted within the boundaries of Florida’s stand your ground laws. I abhor the comments from people like Ted Nugent that falsely criticize Martin, but I don’t think that the answer to preventing further deaths is to blame Zimmerman or the people supporting the court’s decision. Rather, I feel the most effective course of action would be to talk to your state representative or senator (if you live in Florida) and get the law changed (which I think should happen).

  5. Comment by GatheringStorm on August 2, 2013 at 11:56 am

    “Self-defense” means defending yourself.

    Self-defense has many, many meanings on many levels. For the time being, we defend ourselves on a “micro” level, a’ la G. Zimmerman. At some point, the “macro” switch will have to be flicked and this country will implode.

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