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MUHAMMAD: Vigilante Zimmerman — 'Have Gun-Will Travel'

Askia Muhammad | 7/17/2013, 3 p.m.
Askia Muhammad

The not guilty verdict in the second degree murder trial of neighborhood watch vigilante George Zimmerman has almost rendered him in the modern mold of the legendary 1960s TV gun-fighter Paladin. I say almost, because except for the gun he used to murder an innocent teenager and perhaps his superhero fantasies only in his own mind, Zimmerman in no way resembles the suave TV gun-for-hire, who could quote classic verses of literature as quickly as he could shoot down a bad guy.

Paladin’s uniform was all black, from hat to boots. His symbol, seen on his holster as well as on his business card was a chess piece – a white knight. The message on his card was simple and to the point: “Have Gun-Will Travel.” What that meant was, the chivalrous assassin was armed, and available to go to wherever trouble beckoned him.

Despite what the law and the jury may have decided, the Zimmerman verdict in his assassination of Trayvon Martin is preposterous on its face because even if his character was dropped down from the choir of angels, he had no business following, stalking, and then getting out of his car to confront the boy who had done nothing wrong except look like people this perpetrator hates, and who he thinks always get away with crimes. All the while, knowing he had a loaded gun in his waistband.

For me, I don’t care what Zimmerman thought about his life being in danger after he went out of his way to pick a fight with an unarmed person, while he had a loaded automatic pistol with a bullet in the chamber ready to fire, in his possession. There’s no chivalry to be found anywhere in that behavior. You can’t even call it self-defense in my opinion, if someone is the aggressor and provokes a fight with someone else.

So now, even though this sort of nerdy vigilante will spend a long, long time in a “velvet prison” – that is confined and in hiding for his own safety – there are plenty of other people who think like him, who will now be emboldened to confront young Blacks, because they think the courts are too lenient, in order to deliver their own form of “street justice” to Black people because the law and the precedence in this case allows White folks to “stand your ground” and use lethal force when they fear for their own safety.

Yes, I played the race card because the issue of self-defense which saved this White murderer from conviction was null and void in the verdict of another high-profile Florida shooting incident: the case of Marissa Alexander.

Alexander, a Black Florida woman, was sentenced to 20 years in prison – 20 years for crying out loud! – in 2012 for shooting what she described as warning shots into a wall during a confrontation with her abusive husband. Alexander’s lawyers claimed self-defense in the case, and said her husband had a history of abuse in their relationship.