George and Shellie Zimmerman, appearing in court. Photo via.
In case you haven't heard, George Zimmerman went berserk Monday, punching his father-in-law in the face and pulling a gun on his estranged wife. Shellie Zimmerman, who is filing for divorce, called 911 screaming, "I'm really, really scared."
Zimmerman is the man acquitted of shooting Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager. When Shellie Zimmerman first began talking to the press about the divorce, she said the highly publicized trial ruined her life. But she also cited Zimmerman's verbal abuse and self-centeredness as reasons she wants to leave the marriage. "I have a selfish husband….George is all about George," she told the press. With this episode of domestic violence, she told authorities, "I don't know what he's capable of."
But we do know what he's capable of. He's capable of killing an unarmed kid and thinking the action is justified.
Barack Obama at this morning's press conference on the death of Trayvon Martin.
President Barack Obama has spoken out relatively rarely in his presidency on the big, controversial issues that dominate our headlines. In an analysis this week, the New York Times described his political strategy as a "hidden hand," saying: "While other presidents have put the bully in the bully pulpit, Mr. Obama uses his megaphone, and the power that comes with it, sparingly, speaking out when he decides his voice can shape the trajectory of an issue and staying silent when he thinks it might be counterproductive."
So it's extraordinary that Obama used his megaphone today to talk about why the Trayvon Martin case and "not guilty" verdict for George Zimmerman has led to such hurt and outrage across the country—and it's powerful the way he connected the politics of the case to his personal experiences with systemic racism.
Full text of the speech and more commentary is below.
• In an interview released Monday by the Florida State Attorney's Office, a woman told authorities that George Zimmerman had molested her for years and often made negative comments about black people. [Huffington Post]
But some people have managed to sort out their emotions into solid analysis of the verdict and trial. What is emerging is a narrative that this verdict is a high-profile example of flaws in our justice system that perpetuate racial bias.