On Friday George Zimmerman was declared not guilty of the charges against him. Not guilty of manslaughter. Not guilty of second-degree murder. Not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin. That doesn’t mean he didn’t kill Martin. It just means the prosecution failed to prove its charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
Was Zimmerman guilty of a hateful, lethal racist act? Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t think race was the issue here. I think the issue was that Zimmerman was a swaggering little man, a wannabe cop, a self-important, self-appointed neighborhood watchman. No one asked him to patrol the neighborhood. No one appointed him or paid him to do it. He took it upon himself.
And yet none of that would have mattered if he hadn’t had a gun. He was emboldened by that gun. It made him feel big, important, tougher than those around him. It’s likely he would never have left his car and stalked Martin or anyone else without that gun.
Trayvon Martin is dead because George Zimmerman had a gun.
It’s our gun laws that need to be on trial.