The final image the jury pondered before deliberation was of a young black male, naked to the waist.
The image strikes deep into the heart of the white American psyche, simultaneously evoking primal terror and profound cultural shame.
The Zimmerman verdict is just the latest in a succession of reactions reflecting the increasing desperation of an historically malignant sentiment which had been politically marginalized for a generation, but which, with the election of a black president, has become dangerously energized and re-activated.
To the perpetuators of such sentiments, that marginalization had gone on too long and the white-hot White Hate has spilled over the restrictions put in place by the Voting Rights Act, by Brown v. Board of Education, and by sister legislation which had finally begun to deal with the cancer of intolerance, of which our history of slavery epitomized.
But with SCOTUS' recent gutting of landmark civil rights legislation, along with the steady insinuating strain of gun-madness into the culture, palpable anti-woman legislation, and the brutal reassertion of the corporate-owned right-wing "conservative" mentality which looks upon the antebellum era with a melancholic fondness usually expressed by Strom Thurmond impersonators at Confederacy-Con (I hope I haven't given any corporate-owned right-wing entrepreneurs any ideas), Rebel flags and AK-47s are being hoisted for a bloody last stand.
To the increasingly marginalized ideology possessed by those who dreamt of and fought for a Whitopia, all that's left is a desperate appeal to this nation's deepest, darkest untreated fears.
And the image of a bare-chested Trayvon Martin deployed in order to evoke a specific emotional response in the Florida jury, was also deployed because the defense, wanting of any plausible evidence exonerating its client who aggressively profiled, stalked, engaged and killed a young unarmed man had no other choice. They, like the mentality they represent, had no choice.