I'm not gong to condemn or praise the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. After all, the jury wasn't charged with resolving hundreds of years of complicated race relations in America, though a person watching the media coverage could be excused for thinking that was their task.
The jurors were asked only to resolve a narrow legal question and after sitting through a lengthy trial they concluded that the prosecution had not made its case. Who am I to question their conclusion?
And, anyway, a legal proceeding is a horrible stage on which to explore these kinds of issues. I don't think any part of this circus advanced the debate at all.
But let me say one thing about the whole situation that I think is irrefutable: the gun is guilty.
It seems to me that George Zimmerman probably did confront Trayvon Martin because he was black and it could be that Martin was getting the better of a physical confrontation that Zimmerman initiated. Nobody but Zimmerman knows for sure and even he might be confused. What combination of real concern and racially tinged judgment went through Zimmerman's head as he approached Martin? Could even George Zimmerman sort that out?
What we know for sure is that we wouldn't know either of their names if Zimmerman hadn't carried a gun into the situation. Somebody would have gotten beaten up, maybe both of them. There'd be a police report and, at most, a civil lawsuit and life would have gone on for both men. Add a gun, and one winds up dead while the other's life is changed forever. And now the gun will be returned to Zimmerman.
So, I don't know what this case says about race, but I don't think it's anything useful. But the whole situation is an indictment of the pervasiveness of guns in America. Guns don't solve many problems. They create a lot of them.