A veteran civil rights attorney confronts the injustices of the controversial Trayvon Martin case and America’s dubious post-9/11 gun laws.
Today Show legal analyst Bloom (Swagger: 10 Urgent Rules for Raising Boys in an Era of Failing Schools, Mass Joblessness, and Thug Culture, 2012, etc.) picks apart the unsuccessful prosecution of gun-toting Floridian George Zimmerman for the shooting of African-American Martin, wherein Zimmerman claimed self-defense and invoked the much-ballyhooed “stand your ground” law. The author argues convincingly that not only was race (and a racist jury) a factor in the failure to convict Zimmerman, but the state prosecution simply bungled what should have been an open-and-shut case against the overzealous defendant. Bloom pulls no punches in scrutinizing every misstep and missed opportunity of the state prosecution. She also paints a global picture of the controversy surrounding the not-guilty verdict for Zimmerman, in that it was a clear-cut case of blatant racial profiling to just about everybody around the world except the majority of those on jury duty in that Florida courtroom. Bloom also does a close reading of American self-defense laws and how the many restrictions on these laws were given short shrift by the inept prosecution. The weaker elements of Bloom’s book come in the last 100 pages or so, when she’s already solidified her arguments pertaining specifically to the Zimmerman verdict and her attention begins to ramble into more peripheral issues surrounding the trial. She takes brief critical looks at everything from the NYPD stop-and-frisk laws and racial profiling to the consequences of not talking about race in cases where racial bias is obvious. Although this is all welcome and informative, the author eventually takes on a bit more than she’s able to effectively handle in just over 300 pages.
A much-needed factual antidote to the mainstream media coverage of Trayvon Martin’s tragic story and the travesty of the George Zimmerman trial.