Will George Zimmerman’s trial for the killing of Trayvon Martin and the all-too predictable acquittal change anything?

Will it prevent racial profiling in the future? No. Will it keep guns out of the hands of reckless and feckless flakes? No. Will it ensure that from now on gun licenses are administered more closely? No. Above all, will it prevent such needless killings from happening again? Certainly not.

It would have been encouraging to imagine that the loss of Martin’s young life would change something, but it won’t. That is the real calamity of this familiar American tragedy.

Both the prosecution and defense have insisted that the case had nothing to do with race — but that is a legal fiction that is hard to credit. Race is such a toxic issue that both sides risked everything if they introduced the topic and let themselves open to the accusation of playing the race card. Race is, however, the key to understanding why this killing has received such widespread attention not only here but across the world.

The United States itself has been on trial. It is a shame the nation has been represented by such a wretched example.