In fairness, only one legal story dominated the week. The Zimmerman verdict provided a new twist daily. It even got Kim Kardashian involved, which was a relief to the unwashed masses waiting to hear how a spoiled sex-tape star would react to a verdict at the intersection of race and gun policy.
But the most newsworthy verdict in years was not the only thing happening this week, regardless of what CNN would like you to believe…
1. I wonder what item one will be?
Let’s walk through the way this story morphed throughout the week:
SUNDAY — Zimmerman is not guilty. To borrow from an observation I made earlier this week, this can be summed up by “Grr! Murderer!” vs. “Derp! Self-Defense.”
MONDAY — WTF? This guy wants to go to law school? This case becomes the most recent shiny object to distract Kim Kardashian.
TUESDAY — Okay, maybe the prosecution totally botched this case. This one juror seems to think so. This is just about bad lawyering and a lack of presented evidence, not any of that other stuff.
WEDNESDAY — The rest of the jury thinks that one juror is lying.
THURSDAY — Oh, right, someone was tragically shot, so maybe we should keep this in perspective.
The weird case of Juror B37 (BINGO!!!) was the oddest development of the week. While I actually joined the masses who thought the juror’s plan to cash in on a book was in bad taste, after most of her fellow jurors came forward to call her a liar, I’m actually intrigued to understand exactly what everyone in the jury box was thinking.
Elie managed to get himself in front of a camera (shocker, right?) to discuss Florida’s wacky laws. A Florida lawmaker told him that Florida is just taking a bold stance in favor of letting people fire blindly into a crowded mall if someone slaps them across the face and challenges them to a duel.
In all seriousness, the fact that proponents believe we need laws to guarantee the right to shoot into crowded areas is troubling. Remember, officers from one of the most highly trained law enforcement outfits in the country tried to shoot someone in a crowd and only managed to shoot nine innocent people. This is why people are concerned over the idea that Tommy Triggerfinger is getting broader authority to do the same thing.
There was also that sideshow about whether or not there would be a riot. I sum up the reaction of that segment of the population thusly:
The riot issue is kind of emblematic of how a lot of people don’t understand why people are upset about this case. It’s not so much about this particular trial as much as the conditions that caused this kid’s death. The impulses that cause Zimmerman and others to profile black teens for harassment are the same impulses that make people fearmonger over rioting. Or to employ the term “outrage” over the response to the verdict to suggest out-of-control, irrational anger. Those impulses are on full display in the aftermath of the verdict, and the state of Florida is doubling down on the idea that people with those impulses should be given greater leeway to employ deadly force.
2. Wait, maybe there was rioting. Oh, no, that was just Detroit being Detroit.
Yesterday, Detroit became the largest U.S. city to file bankruptcy, with more than $18 billion in debt, around 36% of residents living below the poverty line, and the highest violent crime rate of any major city in the country. All this and Chicago is better at hockey.
As Dave Weigel of Slate put it:
Detroit now officially worse than the dystopian future Detroit of “Robocop.”
— daveweigel (@daveweigel) July 18, 2013
By the way, they’re remaking RoboCop because Hollywood has so few original ideas it has to remake an already perfect movie. Here’s how great that movie is: Detroit is building a statue of RoboCop. When complete, it will join Philadelphia (Rocky Balboa) and Jefferson City, Missouri (Rush Limbaugh) as cities with statues of fake people.
Detroit is run by former Jones Day partner Kevyn Orr, who was named the emergency manager of the city back in March. The emergency manager is a special job that the people of Michigan rejected in November that the Governor revived immediately as part of his “Silly Voters: Lawmaking is for Lobbyists” campaign.
Orr is aided by Detroit’s bankruptcy counsel, Jones Day. In their defense, the decision to hire Orr and to procure Jones Day were handled separately, with Snyder seeking permission from Jones Day to interview Orr.
A lot of people, like this guy, are using the bankruptcy to blast liberal governance, noting that Detroit is historically governed by liberal Democrats. As Matt Yglesias pointed out over Twitter, every major city is run by Democrats and only this one is bankrupt, but that’s a serious point and that’s not the actual goal for these trolls.
Detroit has a lot of problems, but contrary to the narrative we’ll hear all weekend about liberals and unions destroying a once great city, the source of the problem in Detroit has a lot to do with placing totemic faith in GM and Ford to keep the city running. While other cities, like Pittsburgh, faced economic pressure, they looked outside the core industries for answers. Detroit kept hoping the auto industry would save them, even while that industry moved jobs elsewhere to take advantage of the lowest common denominator in wages and regulations. All the while, the city (including to some extent those liberals and unions) kept acting like the auto-fueled gravy train was right around the corner.
The American auto industry has gotten its bearings back. Hopefully that can carry over to Detroit before the Lions win the Super Bowl. No one should have to wait decades.