Not Guilty ... the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial is reverberating around the country. Those who felt Zimmerman was guilty of “something” found no satisfaction in the judicial system, while those who championed Zimmerman’s right to self defense proclaimed victory. The rhetoric from both sides remains as vitriolic as it was leading up to the case. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? What happens next?
From the left were cries of civil rights violations. I’m as left as it gets, yet I don’t see George Zimmerman as a racist. I see him as a wannabe cop who found himself in a situation he couldn’t handle, whatever happened regarding a fight. Everything leading up to that confrontation was Zimmerman’s fault. Not illegal, but wrong. To my mind, the situation he put himself in was NOT a justifiable reason to use his licensed and registered gun to kill someone. To my mind, this was manslaughter.
That said, it wasn't my mind that counted. The law states it's what was in George Zimmerman's mind at the time he chose to shoot. Maybe he did fear for his life ... if we have to swallow that as "proof" of his being not guilty (the shooter's explanation), what a Pandora's box of future justifiable homicides that defense opens.
From the right were cries of victory, some so reprehensible, they beg the confrontation and riots they perhaps were hoping for. From SUFA (that conservative blog I recently left because they changed the text of my posts), upon the verdict, came these pearls from the lunatic running things there now: “NOT GUILTY! JUSTICE IS SERVED” ... followed by (the same moron typing): So will the barbarians riot?
Only on blogs, behind fugazy screen names, speaking from keyboards within the safety of their homes, can imbeciles like that act with such false bravado. I’m sure that same apparent champion of racism was fine with the Rodney King verdict, where there was a video showing a dozen cops watching two cops pound a black man (visually a lot harder than George Zimmerman claims he was being pounded, even though the lack of bruises on Trayvon Martin’s hands, as well as the lack of bruises on Zimmerman’s face, suggest nothing near a “pounding”).
So it goes.
My son Dustin and his girlfriend Madalynn spent Saturday night with us at casa Stella, and we were all glued to the television when the verdict was announced. I couldn’t help but feel sympathy for what Zimmerman and his family had to be going through waiting for the verdict, forgetting for a few minutes what Trayvon Martin's parents have had to go through since their son was killed. Yes, it was a tragedy for everyone involved, but as I’ve often stated, you don’t get to shoot someone because you “might” have been losing a fight. The "fight" itself was settled when Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin. No matter what happened during the fight (and it never appeared to be life threatening to me), Zimmerman and his weapon ultimately won the fight.
A gun versus Skittles and an Iced Tea is not a fair fight.
The fact it was all avoidable had Zimmerman done any number of things he was supposed to do (wait for the police he’d already called, identify himself, leave his gun in its holster, etc.) makes his not guilty verdict all the more difficult to swallow.
The letter of the law let him off the hook ... but that required ignoring so much of what preceded the actual shooting, as well as his inconsistent statements and out-and-out lies about what happened, I find it very difficult to accept the verdict as justice. Juries have been known to get it wrong in the past ... and yes, the O.J. Simpson verdict immediately comes to mind.
Pundits condemned the prosecution for pleading their case to the emotions of the jury, something Ayn Randers upchuck over (pleading to emotion). The problem those same pundits fail (or refuse) to acknowledge is this: The only words anyone had to go on were those of the shooter, the only one left to tell HIS side of the story (no matter how many different ways he told it). That assumes HIS version was absolute and correct. The prosecution was correct in pointing out how it was assumptions on the shooter’s part that brought the case to trial in the first place.
The Zimmerman precedent now permits people of any color to shoot one another when they’re losing a fight. I’m not a Mike Bloomberg fan, but his statement about the verdict was spot on: “One fact has long been crystal clear: ‘Shoot first’ laws, like those in Florida, can inspire dangerous vigilantism and protect those who act recklessly with guns. Such laws, drafted by gun-lobby extremists in Washington, encourage deadly confrontations by enabling people to shoot first and argue ‘justifiable homicide’ later. The tragic death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed child attempting to walk home from the store, will continue to drive our efforts to change those laws.”
Having recently read Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys and the Dawn of a New America, a masterful non-fiction account of how four blacks were erroneously accused of raping a white woman ... where three of them were murdered by the authorities and the fourth survived being shot by the racist cop masterminding their persecution, it appears the dawn of a new America remains on hold.
The uglier aspect to all this is how people will react. Everyone prefers peaceful resolutions to the injustices anyone experiences, but in an America where 1% of the population calls the shots, does anyone really think writing their legislators will change things? Will voting for the two parties that have left us where we are now really change things? Have they?
That is not to suggest the Zimmerman situation was anything near as outwardly racist as what the Groveland Four went through ... except for the outcome (dead black men) and the verdict(s).
I waited a couple of days to digest this verdict; to read what others had to say after discussing it with my younger son, his girlfriend, and my wife. We all feel the same way, essentially what prosecutor John Guy asked the jury at one point in his rebuttal closing regarding what George Zimmerman did by following Trayvon Martin and eventually killing him. “What is that? Is that nothing?”
My son Dustin answered it best. “But he killed someone.”