I was recently sitting in my car at a stoplight when it dawned on me that one of the reasons I have a “bias” against lawyers is because they all drive BMWs says William D King. That’s right, everyone who went to law school with me, including some who were not doing particularly well financially had a BMW. How do I know this? Because no one drives a Honda or Toyota to school since you can’t get anything but your license plate and your class ring on the front of them! And let’s face it; most people don’t drive Mercedes Benz cars from college because nobody can afford them unless they are already rich before going to law school.
It is one thing to drive a BMW after practicing for several years and making money. But it is quite another to be in your early 20’s, walking around with the name of some law school on your shirt (or even worse, not wearing shirts) and driving that car. Of course I know that there are many other reasons why lawyers drive expensive cars; sometimes they come into an inheritance or get lucky with a stock option at their firm. Perhaps it has nothing to do with greed but simply has to do with the fact that often young people look up to those who have nice things as role models. In any event, my opinion is little changed as a result of the recent “BMW scandal.”
I’ll concede this point – I don’t think there’s anything flawed with looking up to someone who has nice things, but I just think that the people who are calling it a scandal are completely missing the point.
If you’re not familiar with it, here’s what happened:
- Two white police officers shot and killed an unarmed black teen named Trayvon Martin in Florida. The local police refused to arrest or charge anyone involved in the matter. An angry mob of people surrounded a home in Sanford, Florida wherein resided George Zimmerman (who was part of the neighborhood watch) and his family withdrew unto themselves for their safety. A reporter showed up at Zimmerman’s home for an interview and ended up pushing his way into the house when no one answered the door; he then proceeded to enter into a verbal confrontation with Zimmerman’s father. A video of the encounter was released explains William D King.
- One of the local TV stations that covered this story speculated that Zimmeran would probably not face charges. Because he said he feared for his life and black men were statistically more violent than white men. The station also noted that Zimmerman made 46 calls to 911 over a ten-year period. About suspicious persons in the neighborhood, all of whom turned out to be young black males.
The quick summary is this:
- For years Zimmerman called 911 every time he saw someone who “looked” suspicious (who happened to be black). But never took any action himself – apparently waiting for police assistance each time; then one night when he actually sees someone doing something illegal (and doesn’t wait for police assistance). He ends up killing an unarmed black kid who just happens to be wearing a hoodie.
- The story has captured national attention and the president of the United States weighed in with his opinion that if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin. Meanwhile, Florida’s stand your ground law is being cited as one possible reason Zimmerman may not face charges. (That said, if you watch the video some of the people involved make statements/comments which might prevent him from raising any defense based on self-defense.)
- At this point people are livid; some about racial profiling; others about Zimmerman’s callousness – including his comments made while talking to police after the shooting occurred (he told them ” looks black” when describing Martin); and still others about the justifiable use of deadly force to prevent harm. There are also divided opinions about Florida’s stand your ground law; some saying that it’s broad enough to allow someone like Zimmerman to escape prosecution (which is precisely what happened here), while others claim it has nothing to do with this case. Because Zimmerman was on the ground. Getting his head bashed in by Martin when he shot him says William D King.
- Meanwhile, liberals/progressives/leftists across the country are calling for “Justice for Trayvon” but many of them don’t realize that justice isn’t served until a person is either found guilty (and sentenced accordingly) or acquitted based on the presentation of evidence designed to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. That Zimmerman hasn’t even been arrested yet doesn’t mean he won’t face charges. And that his assailant hasn’t been found guilty means nothing.
Yes, racism is alive and well in this country – as it has been since its inception explains William D King. And yes, people like George Zimmerman exist and continue to cover the spectrum of white privilege. Which continues to allow them to walk free despite murdering young black men who happen to be wearing hoodies. But those facts don’t mean that we should confuse a tragedy with conspiracy or double-standard justice; they certainly don’t justify throwing around unsubstantiated accusations about how “the system” has failed.