Of all the stories that I’ve only been half-following because of SXSW, the one that frustrates me the most is the case of George Zimmerman, who, by most reasonable accounts, chased down a 17-year-old kid walking back from the store with candy and a drink and shot him in cold blood. The kid, Trayvon Martin was a stranger to Zimmerman, but he was black, and so the police are simply just not arresting Zimmerman, and allowing the “self-defense requires me to chase down an unarmed teenager and shoot him even though the 911 operator asked him not to” excuse to stand. This, even though Zimmerman is clearly a paranoid public menace and strikes me as highly likely to reoffend. Colorlines has rounded up the evidence, and insofar as it’s possible to be more upset at the cold-blooded murder of an unarmed teenager, this will do it. Now, Zimmerman needs to go to jail for life simply for the reason of justice, but it’s increasingly obvious that it’s also because letting someone unhinged and armed like this roam around free is a really stupid fucking idea.
There’s the 911 call itself, which makes it really clear that Zimmerman was following and scaring Martin, and then when Martin did what you do when you’re being menaced—run—Zimmerman used that as an excuse to kill him. Someone who would do that is a dangerous fucking person, and likely to reoffend. There’s also the fact that Zimmerman calls the cops constantly—seriously, it’s like every time he sees a black man—totaling 46 calls to the police since January 2011, meaning Zimmerman’s calls to the cops were 2.5 times as frequent as actual crimes in the neighborhood. Additionally, Zimmerman was already causing complaints from his neighbors because, despite his posturing as some kind of citizen cop, he actually reads like an asshole whose paranoia caused him to harass his neighbors.
At an emergency homeowner’s association meeting on March 1, “one man was escorted out because he openly expressed his frustration because he had previously contacted the Sanford Police Department about Zimmerman approaching him and even coming to his home,” the resident wrote in an email to HuffPost. “It was also made known that there had been several complaints about George Zimmerman and his tactics” in his neighborhood watch captain role.
Now that Zimmerman is emboldened in his paranoia by having the cops basically bless his behavior by not arresting him, I can’t imagine this situation getting any better. If justice doesn’t compel the police department, then concerns about future violence should. Additionallly, the levels of paranoia on display from Zimmerman suggest that one can’t rule out some kind of paranoia-inducing mental disorder, which is clearly going to go untreated if he isn’t dealt with. But the ugly fact of the matter is that right wing idiocy and paranoia has gotten so out of control that it’s hard to tell if a paranoid delusion like Zimmerman’s is due strictly to ideology or if there is a mental health component to it.