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When Deadly Aggressors Act in “Self-Defense”

July 20, 2013

The George Zimmerman verdict declares that Zimmerman was the victim who simply had to shoot his “assailant” directly in the heart in order to save his own life.

This is an exact reversal of this case’s truth: the killer is transformed into the aggrieved with the victim now responsible for his own death.

Where have we heard that before?

It obviously matches the classic batterer’s defense: “she made me do it.”

It also mimics the justification that aggressor nations give for their unprovoked aggression upon other countries: “they started it; we’re only doing this in self-defense.”

It also reminds me of that classic line from the Vietnam War: “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.”


This verdict’s logic duplicates exactly the logic of aggressors and abusers because it justifies aggression by oppressors. Analogously, our government is trying to tell us that those who reveal the truth about government and corporate crimes and corruption are the real criminals whereas those that are exposed in government and corporate America for their crimes by these whistleblowers are the aggrieved victims.

People who get confused by the misleading claims made about what Trayvon did or didn’t do, should or shouldn’t have done, should take note: Trayvon never got to see the second-half of the NBA All-Star Game and never got to do anything else in his short life because an assassin named George Zimmerman, who targeted Trayvon for wearing a hoodie and looking like he “didn’t belong” in the gated community, executed Trayvon. That assassin is now free, his lies sustained, his murder weapon to be returned to him, and his murderous actions justified.

What impact will this verdict have on other would-be George Zimmermans who can claim when stalking someone and killing them that the other person “made them do it?” This verdict says that if you’re the victim of someone like Zimmerman, whether you fight back or not, if he kills you or maims you, that it’s your own damn fault because all he has to do is claim that he did it in self-defense. This verdict concentrates so much of what is wrong in our nation and the world today: falsehoods are transformed into truth, truth turned into lies, exploitation into beneficience, injustice into fairness, selfishness into the height of altruism, victims depicted and treated as the aggressors and aggressors turned into angels.

How upside down and ugly is that? What kind of people would we be if we let this horrid logic – in both its domestic and its foreign affairs form – stand?


Dennis Loo is Professor of Sociology at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He is a Harvard honors graduate in Government and received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the author of “Globalization and the Demolition of Society” and Co-Editor/Author of “Impeach the President: the Case Against Bush and Cheney”. Website: Dr. Dennis Loo


2 Responses to When Deadly Aggressors Act in “Self-Defense”

  1. Bill Weaton on July 25, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    The political dimensions the trial took on were sad and revealing. The gun culture aligned itself with Zimmerman. Sean Hannity became a cheerleader for Zimmerman. And the right-wing generally enthusiastically approved of the killing because it fulfilled (in their minds) their disturbed fantasy about the need for every American to be packing. Zimmerman shamefully said it was God’s plan. There should have been a outcry at that point by even the most ardent second amendment supporters. But… not surprisingly, there wasn’t!

  2. Thomas Parslow on July 25, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    These stand-your-ground laws are deeply flawed and at least one defect was obvious in the Zimmerman trial: the putative true victim had no voice — was not able to testify — because he was dead. Somewhat paradoxically, Zimmerman, without taking the stand and being cross examined, was able to plead self defense. How much credibility should a jury give to a self defense plea by a claimant (defendant) who will not testify? Tragically, Trayvon Martin was killed for the crime of looking like someone George Zimmerman was afraid of.

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