Why Comparing Zimmerman to Alexander Makes You Appear Out Touch With Reality
“White Florida man shoots and kills a black child and gets no punishment. Black Florida woman shoots a warning shot in self-defense and does not injury anyone and gets 20 years.” This is the headline that has been circulating social media as the verdict that set George Zimmerman free, and it is a catchy one. Make no mistake about it, for most people, who followed neither the Alexander nor the Zimmerman trials where it really mattered (in the courtroom), this headline seems to suggest some sort of racial inequality where a white man can kill and get no punishment and a black woman cannot even defend herself without going to prison for 20 years. And rightly so, because that is exactly what the media has fed into the minds of most people who neither care enough, nor have the time to sit through and watch a trial and follow the evidence to make a determination of what actually happened.
Why is the Alexander case not a sign that the system cannot work for black people? Why is it that Alexander did not get the benefit that Zimmerman got of obtaining a not-guilty verdict from a jury when she did not actually kill or physically injure anyone? Let’s look at the evidence presented:
Alexander had been living in the residence with her then husband for about two months. Admittedly her husband was a wife beater and had no qualms initially saying he would beat her although he later retracted his story to say that he testified to that in deposition just to protect Alexander who he learned could be put away for a long time. So on that fateful day when the events Alexander committed the crime that she was found guilty off took place, Alexander and her husband have some sort of discussion that may or may not have turned physical either on Alexander’s part or on her husband’s part. During the altercation Alexander leaves the area and goes into the garage where her car is. She is not being followed in any way, or threatened as she retreats. She gets to the garage, retrieves a firearm, returns to the place of the altercation, and shoots either directly at the husband and his kids, or into the ceiling. Some weeks later, after being released on bond and having a restraining order against her, Alexander meets her husband and punches him in the face, resulting in a black eye. So now, how can so many people suggest that self-defense should have worked for a person that left the altercation, armed herself, and returned to fire a shot endangering the lives of three people, and that self-defense was completely unjust for the following case:
Zimmerman was a man in North Florida who had somewhat of a cop complex. One day while running some errands he noticed a black male wearing a hoodie that he thought was suspicious in his neighborhood. He called police to inform dispatcher of what he had seen. He was told not to follow the man, but he did it anyway. So, armed with his firearm he tries to find where the person he considered a suspect went when all of the sudden the person finds him. The following dialogue ensued:
Person: What are you following me for?
Person: You got a problem?
Zimmerman: No, I don’t have a problem.
Person: You got one now.
After which the person punched Zimmerman in the face, knocked him to the ground, and began pushing his head against the concrete, striking him in the face from a MMA mount position, and ultimately tried to reach for Zimmerman’s gun while saying “You’re gonna die tonight, motherfucker.” How is it, that a man who was actually physically beat, indisputably beat, without any evidence that he attacked, confronted, or struck the alleged victim in anyway, cannot benefit from self-defense, but at the same time you believe that a woman who left the incident, armed herself, returned to the incident and then shot should somehow have gotten the benefit of self-defense? Specially when the woman had no injuries to sustain any sort of self-defense theory.
The truth is, the system did not fail Trayvon, and the system did not fail Alexander, perhaps the system worked much too well in both instances. The jury got it right with Alexander when they decided that you are not allowed to leave the place where the confrontation is taking place (if you believe her story), arm yourself, and then return to the area to shoot at somebody. Is that reasonable? Heck, I’d say so. The moment you leave the area where you have reasonable apprehension of harm, your privilege of self-defense ended. Had Zimmerman gotten beat up, went to his car to arm himself, and returned to the scene to shoot at Trayvon the masses would not be pretending that self-defense should have applied to him.
So next time you get the urge to claim that the Alexander case is an example of how our jury system discriminates against black people because you feel self-defense should have protected her, and in the next thought you get the urge to post about why Zimmerman should not have been found not guilty based on a self-defense theory, I would suggest it is time to look deep into your soul and figure out why you can form and accept two so logically inconsistent results without even a doubt arising in your minds.