Even. Though. It. Was. An. Accident.
But let’s talk about Zimmerman, shall we?
Apparently, that mostly-white jury was more swayed by the scars on Zimmerman’s head than the sight of Trayvon’s corpse splayed out on the lawn of the housing development.
They cut Zimmerman a lot of slack for the fatal “accident,” he caused. Juror B37, in fact, said she believed that Zimmerman’s heart “was in the right place,” and that Trayvon’s killing was “an unfortunate incident that happened.”
They empathized with Zimmerman’s zeal for protecting his neighborhood. But the zeal that led Wilkerson to cause that fatal accident in Union County, his zeal being trying to work to care for his wife and three children, only earned him condemnation.
And he’s still doing time for it.
Now I’m not saying that Wilkerson shouldn’t have been punished. But by any stretch of fairness, seven years is unduly harsh. And what the unfairness of it all says to me is that in Florida, the lives of black men like him, and black boys like Trayvon, aren’t valued as much as those of white men like Zimmerman.
It’s a reminder that in this state, black men continue to pay for that constant devaluation – whether the price is an unduly long stretch in prison for an accident.
Or a bullet to the heart.
Tonyaa Weathersbee is an award-winning columnist based in Jacksonville, Fla. Follow her @tonyaajw. Or like her at www.facebook.com/tonyaajweathersbee.