Without diving into whether the Zimmerman verdict was decided correctly or not (I personally don't think that there's any question that it was, but there are others who are just as sure that it was not, so let's skip that entirely), there's an entirely new topic: Zimmerman's post-hearing life.
With Zimmerman having been declared a thought criminal / Official White Person (of Hispanic and black heritage) / George Bush stand in / Emmanuel Goldstein for all of polite society, his life is now exposed to an insane level of scrutiny. The fact that he was pulled over for speeding and issued a warning is considered breaking news.
Yesterday we heard that he was arrested for threatening the wife who asked for a divorce with a gun.
Twitter exploded with comments judging both Zimmerman and those who might – possibly – council waiting for more information to judge.
(2/2) . . . whether Zimmerman ideologues will start attacking his wife, domestic violence law, etc. I suspect so.
— Popehat (@Popehat) September 9, 2013
I almost tweeted back at Ken "I'm sure the allegation is true. Couples in the middle of a bitter divorces NEVER place fake 911 calls", but I didn't.
I should have.
The allegations yesterday:
- Zimmerman was stalking his wife.
- Zimmerman punched his father-in-law in the nose.
- The father-in-law's nose looked so bad that an ambulance might be needed; it could be broken.
- Zimmerman repeatedly touched his gun while saying "come closer".
- [ implicitly ] her 911 phone call was factual
- Zimmerman was arrested.
- Zimmerman and his wife were dividing marital property and she showed up at the house when she was not expected.
- Zimmerman did not punch his father-in-law in the nose.
- The father-in-law's nose was unmarked
- Zimmerman had no gun on his person or in his car
- [ implicitly ] the 911 phone call was full of lies
- Zimmerman was not arrested.
Everyone who's been through high school literature likes to talk about Emmanuel Goldstein when it's a member of their own cultural tribe that's being persecuted, but it's a lot harder to note that the person being vilified by the combined mechanism of the state, the media, and popular opinion might be innocent when it's a member of the other tribe.
When the telescreen tells us that a gang of black youths went "wilding", people on the left see innocent kids caught up in a witch hunt, but people on the right believe Big Brother.
When the telescreen tells us that a white Hispanic with a gun assaulted and battered his wife and father-in-law, people on the right see an innocent man caught up in a witch hunt, but people on the left believe Big Brother.
It's hard, I know. I'm firmly in one cultural camp, and I've got a knee-jerk reaction to these things. We all do.
My suggestion: we, as a society, would be better off if we all toned down our immediate rush to judgement, and maybe even routinely tried to construct alternate hypothesises to explain what the telescreen tells us.
If you are in the cultural right, the next time Drudge tells you about a flash mob of 100 black youths raiding a convenience store, consider that it might be perfectly true. …or it could be an exaggeration, and it was two kids, both white, who did it.
If you are in the cultural left, the next time Kos tells you about a white guy who called a black kid a racist name before punching him it might be perfectly true. …or it could be an exaggeration, and it was a fight over a parking space where both parties are to blame.
And so on.
You'll fail. I know this because I fail. But worse than repeated failure is believing the narrative from your own cultural camp with out question.
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