Judging George Zimmerman’s Character

I Don't Know What You Are Talking About Florid... As social animals, human beings do quite a bit of character judgement. Character judgement allows us to evaluate a person’s morals and behaviors, and thus enables us to weed out anyone who poses a threat. This ability comes in handy when forming friendships, getting into relationships and meeting new people. One of the downfalls, however, is that our own biases often get in the way of evaluating another person’s character. Whatever preference we consciously or subconsciously possess regarding race, ethnicity, gender, appearance, and taste can blind us to someone else’s more unsavory traits. This is why toxic friendships and relationships exist, because someone wasn’t honest with themselves when deciding whether or not they should let a certain individual into their lives. The consequences of poor character judgement can be minor, such as hurt feelings that heal over time. Or they can be much more severe, such as bruises that take much longer to heal. Whatever the case may be, character judgement is an essential skill in terms of preserving personal peace and societal stability.   A group of people we love to judge are public figures. The term “public figure” encompasses all individuals who posses a descent amount of notoriety within society, such as entertainers, politicians, and criminals. More specifically, we like to form snap judgments regarding these public figures. Take for example, Miley Cyrus, who’s been called all sorts of deplorable things since her performance at the MTV VMA’s (which I wrote about). Whether or not the comments made about Miley are well deserved, the fact of the matter is that through social media, its become so much more easier to form a consensus judgment about a public figure before all the fact and details are made known.   Upon hearing about the George Zimmerman shooting, there were two sets of opinions that dominated the discussion. Either you believed George was within his right to question Trayvon, and therefore stand his ground when the situation turned violent or you believed the incident was racially motivated and that Zimmerman should face the full penalty of the law. Whatever the case may be, it was incredibly

Minneapolis rally in response to the George Zi...
Minneapolis rally in response to the George Zimmerman verdict (Photo credit: Fibonacci Blue)

interesting how Americans all throughout formed a snap judgment of someone who was largely unknown before the day of the fatal shooting.   The history of both Martin and Zimmerman was brought into question as we all awaited the trial. Zimmerman supporters cited Martin’s past recreational drug use as evidence of his “thuggish” ways. A number of offenses on Zimmerman’s part were also cited, among them a domestic violence case.   We’ve recently heard of the incident involving Mr. Zimmerman and his wife. Zimmerman was also seen purchasing another gun and receiving a speeding ticket. I’m not one of those people who bought into the race baiting hysteria surrounding the incident. While I did feel for Trayvon and his family, Zimmerman’s black prom date and the black children that he tutors on his spare time are evidence enough to convince me that he’s not overtly racist. However, one has to question the morality of someone who is not a member of law enforcement   yet feels absolutely comfortable carrying a gun wherever he goes and taking the life of an innocent teenager. The ill fated incident left us all wondering about the mental and emotional stability of gun owners and the race relations that are further complicated because of areas where there’s a high concentration of crime being perpetrated by minorities, like Zimmerman’s neighborhood.   I don’t know if George Zimmerman is a bad man. I know men who have been involved in domestic disputes who can blame the heat of the moment, emotional upheaval, etc, for their actions and I’d be inclined to believe them. Of course buying a gun and receiving a parking ticket are not reprehensible actions on their own, but someone who’s received national attention for murdering an innocent teenager should probably take better care of their public image. If theres anything these incidents have done, however, is focus the myopic view that some held of George Zimmerman as a saintly neighborhood watchman involved in an off shoot ill fated incident. They’ve challenged our judgement of a man who is defended by some, but vilified by most.  I’m incredibly interested, in the upcoming days, as to how the situation involving Zimmerman and his wife will evolve. Will he defend himself? Will his wife decry her soon to be ex husband? Those who agreed with the not guilty verdict are getting a dose of reality as they witness the questionable choices George is making.   I hope that whatever lesson people take away from hearing of the now infamous George Zimmerman, that it doesn’t lead them down the road of snap judgments and biased viewpoints, but towards a more analytical, more educated process of of evaluating anyone who is accused of committing a crime, whether that crime be more or less severe than Zimmerman’s. There were dozens or red flag in Zimmerman’s past, all of them indicating that he was all but a peaceful man. Those red lights should have kept him away from any position of authority within his neighborhood. They should’ve warned his wife about what he was capable of doing. Those who were too busy turning a blind eye to every red flag in George’s troubled life now have grieving parents to answer to.

 

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