South of Farragut West

photo by sneakerdog

Steven Garbin has a small, unexpected encounter  on the DC Metro platform with a Zimmerman protester that helps shape his view about the world he lives in.


I had been to the Mad Hatter, for drinks, and then to Shake Shack, for fries, before I passed the homeless people sleeping inside the entrance of the Farragut West Metro Station. There were three of them, all facing a concrete barrier, their backs shielded by tattered windbreakers and a shopping cart. I walked past them and then through the turnstile with the friend I was visiting for the weekend. We were headed to his apartment in Crystal City. It was 1:38 AM.

Our platform was crowded and, naturally, we had apparently just missed an Arlington/Alexandria bound train (Crystal City is just south of the Pentagon). The journey home would require patience.

I was about to succeed in accomplishing a catnap—while standing, a horsenap, perhaps?—when I heard a solitary voice from the platform on the other side of the metro tracks: “TOO MANY OF MY BROTHERS HAVE BEEN LOST. THERE MUST BE JUSTICE AND I WILL CONTINUE TO SPEAK FOR JUSTICE. IF YOU HAVE SOMETHING THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO SAY, PLEASE SAY IT. IF NOT, I WILL CONTINUE TO SPEAK.”

Hours earlier and a number of miles south of Farragut West, the verdict had been handed down in George Zimmerman’s trial for the murder of Trayvon Martin—that Zimmerman killed Martin is a fact, the trial simply determined the sort of killing that went on and in this particular case it was determined to be the legal sort of killing. Although I expected public demonstrations, I did not expect to see one. Nor did I expect it to come in the form of an extremely articulate young woman preaching from the northbound platform of the Farragut West Metro Station.

Then came the inevitable shout in disagreement. From a man several yards away from my friend and I. We looked across the tracks and—shit. She was running up the stairs. She was coming to our side of the tracks.

The man who had shouted to her wanted to continue with a raised voice. She waited for him to finish and then calmly said, “I disagree with everything you said, but there will be no fight over what you said. Not here. Not tonight. My train is coming, I have to go.” With that, she sprinted back up the stairs to her train on the other side of the platform.

Three minutes later, at 1:52 AM, I boarded a train and hurtled through the underground in the opposite direction. But at 1:49 AM this past Sunday, hours after the Zimmerman verdict, I was glad to know that I live here, where people like the woman from Farragut West live.

About Steven Garbin

Steven Garbin graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill and currently lives in Pittsburgh, PA, where he grew up. His website is and you can find him on Twitter @StevenGarbin.


  1. Kirsten (in MT) says:

    “the trial simply determined the sort of killing that went on and in this particular case it was determined to be the legal sort of killing”

    Not exactly. The trial simply determined that the sort of killing that went on in this particular case was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt to be the illegal sort of killing. Slight, but significant difference.

    • Steven Garbin says:

      Hi Kirsten,
      Since this wasn’t a legal-centric piece I chose my words for stylistic reasons (avoiding a “not illegal” double negative, etc). I do appreciate the legal precision – in that sense it is, as you said, an important distinction. Thank you for reading and commenting!

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