The verdict is in, and George Zimmerman was declared “not guilty” .  The six person jury which made that finding is as quirky as the “stand your ground” law that loomed so large in determining this verdict.  Finding 12, unbiased peers might be more complicated and costly, but it would also be less likely to succumb to personal prejudice or pressure.  Had this trial happened in virtually any other state, the least that could have happened to Zimmerman would have been manslaughter.  Initiating a conflict in which someone wound up dead would, at the very least, brought about that level of accountability.

Through the lense of the media, it is not possible to determine whether justice was done in this case or not.  The parts of the trial that can’t be covered are exactly the places where the facts lie.  But the riots that were predicted by right wing media disc jockeys didn’t materialize.  That’s a good thing.  And I think the discussion of disenfranchisement, which will be quite passionate for quite some time, will result in progress.  The only way things get better is when there is enough attention paid to them to point out that there is a problem.  With the political climate being what it is, I expect to see some changes come about as a result of this case, especially related to the kinds of laws that relate to similar situations.  And that is a good thing too.

Letting people vent leads to healing.  Now, more than ever, affirming the principle of free speech that we have in this country is crucial.  It’s time for those who were hurt by this verdict to speak their mind.  They have every right to do so.

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About LS

I'm 56, happily married for 25 years, B.A., M.A., career educator with experience in education as a teacher and administrator, native Arizonan living in Pennsylvania, working on a PhD and a big fan of the Arizona Wildcats, mainly in football and basketball.

12 responses

  1. Joe Blackmon says:

    But the riots that were predicted by right wing media disc jockeys didn’t materialize

    Oh Really
    Protesters ran through Los Angeles streets Monday night, breaking windows, attacking people on sidewalks and at one point raiding a Wal-Mart store, while others blocked a major freeway in the San Francisco Bay Area

    Somehow, “I told you so”….just doesn’t cut it.

    Now, someone who had class and honor would admit what they blogged about was wrong and that the riots did in fact happen. Of course, we’re talking about you and you have no character, probably because of who raised you, and you’re a left winger so of course you won’t appologize.

    I’m glad people are hurt by this verdict. I’m glad you, Dwight, and the other race baiters are up in arms over what you believe is injustice. I’m glad that the jury rendered the verdict it did and that Zimmerman is a free man.

    #notguilty #youmadbro

  2. Lee says:

    What transpired in California last night was not even close to what the right wing media deejays predicted. Their claims, and your opinion, are both dead wrong.

    I had intended to just erase your hateful, bigoted, ignorant remark, but I think it is better for readers to see that you don’t have truth on your side, and you have to resort to name calling and accusations to make a point. Your difference of opinion would have been welcome but the hatred you spew for people who don’t see things your way is not.

  3. Jack Matthews says:

    Well, I’d like to ask Joe which attribute of the fruit of the Spirit he was trying to emulate by insulting someone’s parents and making a statement like, “I’m glad people were hurt by this verdict.” I don’t think it is as obvious as you might think. Now if you’re just trying to be a stupid, ignorant, jerk, well, I got that. 🙂

    If the kind of “freedom” that Zimmerman is now experiencing defines the concept, then I think I’ll pass on that. Living out the rest of your life in hiding, fearing recognition and having to face up to what you’ve done is not my idea of freedom, but you can think that if it makes you feel better. However, justice is probably far better served by Zimmerman having to live in hiding and fear, thinking every day about the poor decisions he made that led to the death of Trayvon Martin, than it would have been by the mere slap on the wrist he would have gotten if he had been convicted of manslaughter.

  4. Joe Blackmon says:

    Racist? Oh, that’s right. Believing the George Zimmerman acted in self defense makes people racist. And of course you can prove that.

    Spewing hate? You betcha.

    “It’s not happening like they and you said it would” I said there would be violence if GZ was declared not guilty. Guess what? There’s been violence. Also, you said the riots would NOT happen and they most certainly have.

    And let’s not forget that they only reason this went to trial is because of race baiters like Sharpton and Jackson. The cops knew this was an open and shut case of self defense, which is what everone who looked at this without trying to find racism saw it. The DA knew it and was fired for it. So, left wingers waste taxpayer money because this white man (who is Hispanic but don’t let the facts get in the way of race-baiting) shot someone who attacked him.

    So thankful for the pain and anger this has caused nationwide to the people looking for an excuse to cry “racism”. Because, to anyone with sense, race did not play a factor in this case.

    • Lee says:

      I guess we can add hallucinations to the list of Joe’s problems. Where did anyone here say that believing Zimmerman acted in self defense makes them racist? I don’t know what you said, specifically, about violence in the wake of this verdict, but your extremist disc jockey buds claimed that riots would break out everywhere, especially in Florida. There was more violence and anger from the tea partiers when Obama won re-election that there has been over this verdict.

      You said, “So thankful for the pain and anger this has caused nationwide to the people looking for an excuse to cry “racism”. That’s a despicable, degrading statement, produced by hatred and bitterness, which are not Christian virtues. And I see, from the reaction of readers on other sites where you lurk, as well as this one, that it is recognized for what it is.

    • Colby Evans says:

      OMG! What kind of person would be thankful for pain and anger caused by a jury verdict in a trial where a 17 year old kid died? Why not just go stomp on the kid’s grave, and spit on his parents? Would that help you feel better too?

  5. Lee says:

    Claiming that African Americans would go on a violent rioting spree in the wake of this verdict is racist, and bigoted. Believing that the not guilty verdict in the Zimmerman case was correct does not make you racist. I want to make that clear.

    Extremists in action after the re-election of the President:
    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/08/tom_head_civil_war.php
    http://now.msn.com/donald-trump-calls-for-revolution-against-obama
    http://thecontributor.com/rush-limbaughs-epic-post-election-meltdown

    Seems like there was a lot more anger, and a lot more calls for revolution and violence after the election. Comparatively, the African American community, as well as the overwhelmingly large number of Americans of all races and backgrounds who disagree with the Zimmerman verdict and believe it was a complete travesty, have behaved quite well.

  6. Jack Matthews says:

    Your point about the rhetoric after the election is well taken, well said, and is an excellent comparison. Some of those right wing media types that you mentioned, along with people like Donald Trump and Michelle Bachmann, came awfully close to crossing the constitutional line with their calls for revolution and civil disobedience. It happened again after Sandy Hook, with all the talk from them, and from the NRA leadership, about acquiring guns to “defend themselves against tyranny” and the calls, once again, for civil disobedience, and for states to resist enforcing federal gun registration. I’ll bet Joe approved of all of that, And yet, from those who have expressed their disappointment over the Zimmerman verdict, there has not been any advocating of civil disobedience, resistance, or of going after Zimmerman in hiding. Their reaction to those few who decided to take advantage of the situation is a clear indication that those who predicted there would be widespread violence and rioting were wrong. And that includes Joe.

    The whole situation is tragic. The lives of two families have been permanently disrupted, and a community in Florida has been further divided and polarized. The hope that the justice system was becoming more color blind has been dashed. The racial divide has become deepened and widened. On top of that, I can’t even begin to express the contempt and disgust I feel about someone publicly proclaiming that they are “thankful for the pain and anger” this has caused. A salt spring can’t produce fresh water,(James 3:12) and that kind of attitude is clear evidence of a salt spring.

  7. Lee says:

    Comments on this blog are now being moderated. You are welcome to express your view, and to disagree with anything that is stated, whether it is in the blog or with one of those who comments. But there are some things that won’t be tolerated. If you have to resort to name calling, i.e. “race baiters,” or “you have no character because of those who raised you,” then you’ve conceded your point, and forfeited your right to participate in the discussion. A contemptible, hateful statement like “So thankful for the pain and anger this has caused nationwide to the people looking for an excuse to cry ‘racism'”, speaks for itself when it comes to the character of someone who would say something like that. I’ve left those posts up so that readers can see this for themselves.

  8. Lee says:

    Well, the jury verdict notwithstanding, protest and discussion surrounding the Zimmerman case looks like it is going to do some real good after all. Here are some examples of some excellent responses that have appeared in recent days. The first two pieces listed here deal with perception from a racial perspective that we really need to understand. The third piece deals with focusing the anger and disappointment on results that will bring real change:
    http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/16/opinion/obeidallah-racial-sympathy/index.html?eref=mrss_igoogle_cnn
    http://www.universityherald.com/articles/3898/20130716/zimmerman-trial-verdict-anthea-butler-american-god-aint.htm
    http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/17/opinion/belcher-trayvon-martin-voter/index.html?hpt=hp_t4
    1. It is virtually impossible for people who are not members of a minority group in this country, and particularly for those who are not African American, to understand what effect prior history, and following that, a century and a half of second class citizenship and the poverty that resulted, have had on the African American community. And if our only response is going to be the accusation that “they” are “playing the race card again,” then we clearly don’t understand, and nothing will get done.
    2. Anthea Butler does an excellent job of pointing out the places where conservative Christianity parts company from the values it claims are derived from Biblical authority. We have created our own version of Christian faith, intermingled its values with the cultural and social applications we have come to accept, and consider all of that together as true faith. Anthea tells us where the practice of that kind of religion is inconsistent with what it claims, and what the Bible says it should be.
    3. Ultimately, there is nothing that can be done about the verdict. There may be civil rights charges, and if I were a betting man, I’d be pretty sure there will be a civil suit. But the best way to channel the energy going into protesting this verdict is to put it in a direction where it will result in changes, and that’s the ballot box. Turning the energy of the anger and disappointment over the verdict into turning out votes will make a real difference, as the 2012 election proved.

    Hey, Jack, if you see this, give a shout back. I have a legal question for you. What are the odds that a civil rights charge against Zimmerman would stick, or that Trayvon’s parents would win a civil suit?

  9. Jack Matthews says:

    Civil Rights violation would be hard to prove, in that it would require witnesses to testify to specific actions which took place at the time of the shooting. There aren’t any of those.

    The civil case would be much easier. For one, instead of a public defender, the Martins would have the services of a well paid, high quality legal team that they would be able to raise just about any amount of money to pay for. The focus would be that Zimmerman had a gun, and Martin wound up dead from a gunshot from it. All of the self-defense, stand your ground aspect of the criminal case would not matter. Florida is one of those quirky states which has a lot of laws written to protect the wealthy. but if two people get into an altercation, one has a gun, and the one that doesn’t winds up dead, it is pretty hard to prove you weren’t responsible for it. Zimmerman’s admission that he shot Martin is a huge step in establishing the burden of proof in a civil trial.

  10. K Gray says:

    See, now you have expectations that the civil case may be much easier because all the stand your ground stuff doesn’t matter. This expectation sets up disappointment, cynicism and even anger if it doesn’t happen.

    But what is the truth? How would a civil case proceed in Florida? What’s the procedure? What are the elements and defenses? Let’s have an informed citizenry, not an inflamed one.

    The analysis I’ve read from several Florida legal experts (from U. Fla. and U of Miami, and public defender) iss that the civil case has a very slim chance and must survive a pretrial immunity hearing first. As for federal prosecution, the Justice Department has already conducted an exhaustive investigation to determine whether Zimmerman killed Martin out of racial hate (hate crime) and found no evidence for that. So they would have to establish a different basis for federal jurisdiction and “compelling federal interest.” I think Pres. Obama was trying to temper the public’s expectations on that.

    I’ve read a few articles saying “the civil case should be easy” or “of course there’s a federal civil rights violation.” Most of those authors are not lawyers, judges or experts of any kind; one is selling an e-book on Trayvon Martin! We just have to do better than that.