Why Black Folks Tend to Shout

What to make of a third violent incident involving the man who killed Trayvon Martin

Very few black people were shocked by the lamentable return of George Zimmerman to the headlines:

Mr. Zimmerman, 30, was charged with domestic aggravated assault, domestic battery and criminal mischief after he and his girlfriend, Samantha Scheibe, had an argument at their home in Apopka, northwest of Orlando, said Chief Deputy Sheriff Dennis Lemma of Seminole County. Ms. Scheibe told investigators that she had asked Mr. Zimmerman to leave the residence, and that he had begun packing his belongings, including two firearms, before growing agitated and turning violent.

Deputy Lemma said that Mr. Zimmerman had “broken a table and, at one point, pointed a long-barreled shotgun” at Ms. Scheibe, who said he had aimed at her for about a minute. Later in the altercation, the authorities said, Mr. Zimmerman forced Ms. Scheibe, who was uninjured, out of the home before obstructing a doorway with furniture.

“He just pushed me out of my house and locked me out,” Ms. Scheibe told a 911 dispatcher.

Zimmerman has a somewhat different version of events:

In his own 911 call before the deputies entered the home, Mr. Zimmerman said that Ms. Scheibe was pregnant with his child and that he wanted “everyone to know the truth” about Monday’s episode.

“I never pulled a firearm. I never displayed it,” he said. “When I was packing it, I’m sure she saw it. I mean, we keep it next to the bed.”

He also said Ms. Scheibe was responsible for the broken table when she started “smashing stuff, taking stuff that belonged to me, throwing it outside, throwing it out of her room, throwing it all over the house.”

It may well be true that, against all his strivings, trouble stalks George Zimmerman. It may be true that George Zimmerman never pointed a shotgun at his girlfriend's face. That Ms. Scheibe smashed a table, took his stuff, started throwing it and then called 911 on herself. That she was simply being poetic when she said "you pointed your gun in my freaking face and told me get the fuck out" and then added "he knows how to do this. He knows how to play this game." 

And it may be true that in September when Zimmerman's estranged wife, Shelly Zimmerman, claimed that he had punched her father and threatened them with a gun she was embellishing*. That when she called 911 and said "I'm really afraid. I don't know what he's capable of. I'm really scared," she was suffering some form of hallucination. That Zimmerman had not smashed his wife's iPad. That it was his wife that assaulted him with it. That Shelly's father had challenged Zimmerman to a fight.

And it may well be true that Trayvon Martin was empowered by a heretofore unknown strain of marijuana which confers super strength. That in a fit of Negroid rage, a boy with no criminal history decided to ambush a hapless neighborhood watchman. That the boy told Zimmerman, "You gonna die tonight, motherfucker," punched him, banged his head against the concrete repeatedly and then reached for his gun. That in killing the boy, Zimmerman rid the world of a gun-runner and drug dealer

And it may well be that George Zimmerman is yet another victim of the nefarious forces of  black privilege. That he is helpless against the hordes of hyper-violent blacks, crazed women and the machinations of Eric Holder. That George Zimmerman continuing to live armed is evidence of sane public policy and a polite society. 

Only God knows what George Zimmerman did on that rainy night in Sanford. God is not in the habit of talking—because we are not in the habit of listening. 


* Correction: An earlier version of this post referred to Shelly Zimmerman as George Zimmerman's ex-wife. We regret the error.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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