Trayvon Martin, Witness John Good, and America

I know the White Man Has Spoken and that the trial is pretty much over since what he said he saw, as the media have been loudly reminding us, backs up what George Zimmerman says what happened before he was, well, forced, in self defense, to kill Trayvon Martin.

We can all go home now. Nothing more to see here. The only question is why did they wait so long before we saw anyone with genuine authority to speak, and not waste precious court and TV time with those… women who say they also saw the scuffle and, most important, with that borderline human being who, when not speaking in Ebonics, mumbled in the sub-language, and who gave us attitude, and just lied.

But wait.

There are some questions…. that won’t go away.

OK. John Good was reportedly closer than any other eyewitness to Trayvon and Zimmerman fighting. But even he says the dark of the evening and the rain prevented him from getting a clear picture of what happened. But from what he could make out, what he saw was Trayvon on top and Zimmerman (the “lighter” of the two) on the bottom. He said something too about seeing the color of Zimmerman’s jacket down there: it was either red or white. He’d also heard the person at the bottom calling for help. But two people testified before that, these also relatively close to the fight, that they believed it was Zimmerman at the top. I know. They’re only women, one who spoke that awful tongue of those illegals, but they did see what they see. And it’s not like there was one woman saying it. They also testified that they “saw the person on the top stand up and walk away,” as a recent article in the New York Times puts it. Good didn’t see the closing moments of the scuffle. He went back inside to call the police and that’s when he heard the gunshot.

The media have surmised Good was a better witness for the defense than he was for the very prosecution for whom he was supposed to represent. They say it’s because the prosecutors knew what he would say would be damaging to their case, he being the infallible White Man Who Has Spoken, but at least they could have some control over it. I know it broaches blasphemy to even remotely question the irrevocable powers of such a towering figure, but should not they have let Good be a witness for the defense? That way they would have had an excuse to be more aggressive in their questioning of him.

“So then, how do you explain these other witnesses (here they could’ve downplayed that they were mere women) saying they saw Zimmerman on top? Could it be possible that each was on top alternately, that they were rolling around, and that the voice you heard was Trayvon’s at the time he was on the bottom? And Zimmerman’s jacket? Red? Or White? They’re too stark in difference for you to be so confused about that, don’t you think? Are you color blind? And if so, how can we be sure who you saw on the bottom or top since you just identified them based on color? You say you used ‘common sense’ to draw the conclusion that it must have been the person on the bottom calling for help. Aside from the fact that that person could have been a rolling-about Trayvon on a dark and rainy night that would not allow you to see exactly who was in that position at that time, should we let a man we feel is a killer walk based on your ‘common sense’? Especially when others (see how we still don’t have to note they were mere women) saw someone walking away? Could it be that both combatants screamed, Zimmerman when he was on the bottom, and Trayvon when he walked away after kicking worthless ass and turned and saw the wanna-be cop packing? And judging from your 9-11 call, Mr. Good, that we’ve all just listened to, maybe you were too shaken to see what you think you saw.”

As any lawyer or cop can tell you, sometimes there’s nothin’ more dangerously inaccurate than a mothafucka telling you what he swore he saw. A lot of those prisoners that DNA tests have freed from death row were put in jail in the first place because someone purportedly witnessed them do it. I know this from personal experience. Back in the seventies as a senior in college, I was accused of doing something I didn’t do based on the testimony of some idiot who “saw” me do it. I had to pay $100 (a lot of loot during those times) to get out of that.

Attorneys, good ones at least, establish doubt. That’s what the Zimmerman defense was trying to do with the One They Had Tagged as Sub-Human. “Why should you believe a word she says, the few you understand? And she’s uppity. Snapping at us, sneakily calling us ‘creepy-ass crackers, and comin’ up in here with jeans.” Never mind that she, by being the last person to talk to Trayvon, ably supported the prosecution’s claim that the boy was being followed and that Zimmerman approached him. By the by, I think that scholar John McWhorter was on to something when he told CNN recently that the girl had a strong command of English on the terms she used it. McWhorter is a celebrated linguist and a conservative albeit admittedly a black guy who, even with those credentials, can’t touch the authority of the One Who Had Already Spoken, And Especially With Such a Serious Demeanor, but it’s not as if McWhorter’s among the worst of them and that should count for something. Anyway, the black teenager who was on the phone with Trayvon called the defense “retarded” for advancing the theory that Trayvon was somehow the stalker that night and that he was hiding in the bushes, waiting for Zimmerman. But…I’d say that was retarded too. A lot of people would.

Well, that is, until the White Man Spoke and pretty much put all that was said before he did to rest.

They keep asking if this trial is about race. Well, duh. And it’s about race just as much, if not more, outside that courtroom than in any goings-on inside of it.