I have been trying to wrap my head around this entire phenomenon for a few days. Tons of people that I once thought were rational have been falling for the "justice for Trayvon" noise. As far as I can tell, the narrative was established (racist white man, "gated community", black child, shot down in the street, racial profiling) was so good that as it started to fall apart, people were so far into it that they couldn't bear the idea of backing out. Some of them could be handled with rationalizations (Zimmerman is "white enough") or changing the definitions of words (innocent child = pugnacious 17 year old).
But there is some stuff that you just can't ignore. Like Zimmerman's injuries. Like the timeline. How do you get past those and say that you have no reasonable doubt that Zimmerman was a murderer?
The trial was brutal for these people. Now almost all of them are saying "The prosecution fucked this up (maybe on purpose because racism) and should have just charged him with manslaughter." But if you look at what they were saying before the trial, most of them were screaming murder.
By the end people who couldn't just pretend that their imagination trumped evidence were reduced to saying that he should be prosecuted for getting out of the car. That Trayvon was 'scared' and therefore had the right to lash out physically AND deliver a brutal beating. The implication made here is that approaching a black teenager creates an unreasonable likelihood that he will viciously attack you. How exactly this is less racist than presuming Zimmerman's innocence is something I can't fully fathom.
I don't really have a political ideology, but seeing how every liberal is on roughly the same page on this made me think that I might have become a right winger. I tried reading National Review and Free Republic and found that they were right on in all the Zimmerman stuff but that I still didn't agree in most other areas. Even liberals that I have always thought were the opposite of kool-aid drinkers, like David Simon and the writers of the Daily Show, somehow watched that trial and thought that the evidence was strong enough to send this guy to prison.
I'm sure I have blind spots. No doubt someone could find something that I believe in contrary to the evidence. But I really hope that it's something good, like reason or science or human kindness, not that a specific man should be imprisoned as a symbol of everything I hate. That's just sick.