So what is this thing called justice?

America is rioting.

Not all of it, of course, nor even a majority. But a large enough part of the population of major cities, supported by what I’ve heard described as “two of the biggest rock stars on the planet” – Jayzee (who?) and Beyonce (whom I have at least heard of). Newspapers are writing articles with titles such as “Thousands gather across the country to demand justice“. Here in Australia, you might be forgiven for not understanding what all the fuss is about. If you’re interested, do a Google search for “Trayvon Martin”. On second thoughts, don’t; I’ll summarise it here. It’s a simple, if sad, tale. A white guy, George Zimmerman, was driving in a gated community in Florida, US, in February 2012. He saw Trayvon Martin, a young black man (at 17 years of age, technically still a child) acting, in his view, suspiciously. Mr Zimmerman, being a Neighborhood Watch volunteer, decided on a bit of vigilante justice. Whilst the facts are not entirely clear and there were no direct witnesses, it seems that Mr Zimmerman approached Mr Martin on foot. What ensued was a fist fight, in which Mr Martin apparently got the better of Mr Zimmerman. In the last, fatal moments, Mr Martin was sitting on Mr Zimmerman’s chest, the older man on his back on the pavement, and punching him repeatedly in the face. And then Mr Zimmerman shot him. Continue reading