I can't say I was overly surprised by the not guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman... I was mildly surprised that the jury did not reach a verdict of a lesser charge, such as manslaughter, but upon consideration, it was an all-white, six person jury living in a municipality that ran Jackie Robinson out of town for the crime of participating in spring training while being black.
The right-wing attitude towards George Zimmerman evolved over the course of the year since he shot Trayvon Martin. At first, the righties made a big deal about George Zimmerman being a Latino who registered as a Democrat, in a ham-fisted attempt to start a "Democrats are the real racists" dialogue (and to drive a wedge between Latinos and African-Americans). Eventually, though, their true feelings became apparent, and they embraced Zimmerman as a hero... after all, he lived every racist's dream, he killed a young black male for no reason (and now he's gotten away with it). Just about two years ago, right-wing radio bloviator Neal Boortz articulated the right-wing racist's fever dream:
This exhortation explicitly foreshadowed George Zimmerman's pursuit and slaying of Trayvon Martin. Martin's death by gunfire occurred in the context of ALEC sponsored "stand your ground" laws, which have resulted in a 300% rise in killings claimed to be "justifiable" in the state of Florida in the five years after the law was put in place. To my mind, "stand your ground" laws serve only to increase the lethality of fights- why injure someone, who can press charges against you, when you can kill him and claim self-defense? Without a need to retreat before using lethal methods of self-defense, you can initiate a hostile encounter with a kid, shoot him, and have the crime go largely uninvestigated (Martin's body lay in the morgue, labeled as a "John Doe" for three days after his mom filed a missing persons report. While Zimmerman's defense team did not use the "stand your ground" law as a defense, the police investigation of the killing did not proceed in a timely fashion because Zimmerman claimed the killing was justifiable and the police couldn't be bothered to arrest him.
With the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the right-wing blogosphere is salivating at the prospect of riots, to the extent that one Youtuber tried to pass the 2011 Vancouver hockey riots off as a Miami post-acquittal riot (the video has since been taken down). Why would right-wingers want such riots to occur? First of all, they want to be able to claim the moral high ground, to portray African-Americans as violence-prone thugs (Zimmerman's brother has already engaged in character assassination of the kid George killed). More alarmingly, the right-wingers desperately want riots to occur so they can live their George Zimmerman fantasy, to shoot African-Americans with impunity. The fact that the protests regarding this verdict have been peaceful must be galling to the right-wing nutjobs.
So, what of George Zimmerman now? I pretty much believe that the popular concept of karma (which is inaccurate, but that would be a blog post in and of itself) is nothing more than wishful thinking. Now that he has been acquitted, I believe that Zimmerman can look forward to a life on the wingnut welfare gravy train. I can see him getting speaking fees for addressing NRA conventions, and securing a stint as the keynote speaker for next year's CPAC. Fuck, I can even see Fox News bringing him on as a "self-defense" expert. George Zimmerman has passed into the status of folk hero (for a taste of his "heroic" status this is a bizarro exercise in mythmaking)... he pulled off the right-wing racist fantasy. As an added bonus, he can also be considered a "good" Latino who has escaped the "democrat plantation". Zimmerman has pretty much become a big hero in Wayne's world, a world largely motivated by spite, violent tendencies, and race-baiting. While the average human being may look on him with disgust, Zimmerman will make the transition from the swamps of central Florida to the wider fever-swamps of right wing celebrity.