Shortly after George Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges in the killing of Trayvon Martin, Slate’s Dave Weigel tweeted:
The outrage in 2012 was that Zimmerman wasn’t being tried at all. He was tried. This is how the system works.
— daveweigel (@daveweigel) July 14, 2013
This is not true. If you put a dollar in a vending machine and order Skittles, you’re not supposed to get a bill from the IRS. Similarly, if you walk into a store to buy a kitten, you’re not supposed to be shot dead. Even if the vending machine is programmed not to give you what you ordered, and even if the pet store is required to assassinate its citizens, this is not how these things are supposed to work. Our criminal justice system is tiered and subject to revisions and appeals because these laws are often unconstitutional and, counterintuitively, illegal. Illegal laws can stand for generations, but it doesn’t make them any more legal. A system that produces results on laws like Dred Scott or Stand Your Ground is not a system that works, and reducing it to that zero point, like Weigel, doesn’t make you wise. It makes you monstrous, a living relic of the past that we’ll eventually try to whitewash away like so much of the rest of it.