Not Guilty

It’s a set of words all of us would like to hear if we have been accused of something.  If we are a victim, however, it can be a house of nightmares.  For example, the hundreds of rape victims a year who hear those words directed at their attacker.  It’s truly amazing that those two words hold the power to shape and direct the lives of so many people every time they are said.   

Obviously, the impetus for writing this now is the resolution of the George Zimmerman murder trial.  Before proceeding further, I would like to highlight something I wrote back on March 24th of last year:

“I’m not defending Zimmerman.  I’m not going to claim that he made the right decision, did the right thing, overreacted or anything like that.  I’m also not going to jump to the defense of Martin because I don’t know what he was doing, how he was dressed (aside from wearing a hoodie), or whatever.  Here is what I’m going to say– Zimmerman felt he had reason to be checking Martin out, whether that reason is valid or not, I don’t know and can’t know.  Zimmerman has not been arrested because it has not been proven that he murdered Martin.” — “Murder? Not yet” — Facebook note, March 24th, 2012

So now we have come to the end of the murder trial and George Zimmerman has heard those two golden words that have at once set him free and locked him in a cage with that growling lion named ‘Publicus Existimatio‘.  While he has been exonerated by the state, Zimmerman will have no such luck in the eyes of a public that had it’s mind made up by an “information service” that was more interesting in spinning a narrative than reporting simple facts long before facts appeared.  Indeed, some at the NAACP are talking about this like Zimmerman is about to made the figurehead of all evil in American race relations.  Amazing how those two words, “not guilty” have at once made him prisoner and free citizen.

In my previous post, I advocated not taking a position until the system had a chance to work and the facts became clear.  Unfortunately to some, I’m going to continue in that vein here.  In fact, I’m going to borrow a quote from Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda: “(The system is) not perfect, but it’s the best in the world.  And we respect the jury’s verdict.”  There are many claiming that the verdict is wrong and that the system has failed.  I would submit to those people that the prosecutor would disagree with you.  I turn to Florida State Attorney General Angela Corey: “We believe that we brought out the truth on behalf of Trayvon Martin.”  Notice that.  BOTH prosecutors in the case are satisfied with the performance of the legal system… and they LOST their case.

So… to the exploding twitterverse, blogosphere, Facebookville and Google+ Neighborhood, I would like to ask quite simply that people ask the question of “why” exactly, they believe the jury got it wrong?  Since none of us were witnesses to the crime — indeed, not even the bereaved family (whom I pray for in light of their loss) — none of us were on the jury, or even in the courtroom, our knowledge of the subject is going to be, by necessity, incredibly limited.  Thus, until someone can give me some concrete evidence to the contrary (to wit, none seems to exist), I have to believe that the jury evaluated the arguments presented and came to a logical conclusion that they could live with.  If you are honest enough to admit that you have an emotional intuition and that is why you believe what you believe, fair enough.  If you claim an opinion and are aware of the fact that you have no evidence to back it up, that’s great… but if you claim to know more than the people who made those decisions, you better be standing on more than emotional platforming.  What could I be referring to? (all emphasis mine)

“Today, justice failed Trayvon Martin and his family.  We call immediately for the Justice Department to conduct an investigation into the civil rights violations committed against Trayvon Martin.  This case has re-energized the movement to end racial profiling in the United States.”  — NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock

1.) No proof offered regarding the “failure” of justice beyond the presumption of Zimmerman’s guilt. (compare that to OJ Simpson’s gloves)
2.) No explanation of what “civil rights violations” they allege happened.  (Merely being followed isn’t a crime.  Not being followed by a private citizen isn’t a civil right.)
3.) The basic assumption of “racial profiling” is baseless and unprovable.

“We are outraged and heartbroken over today’s verdict.  We stand with Trayvon’s family and we are called to act.  We will pursue civil rights charges with the Department Of Justice, we will continue to fight for the removal of Stand Your Ground laws in every state, and we will not rest until racial profiling in all its forms is outlawed.” — NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous

1.) Once again, no explanation of what civil rights charges can be legally pursued…and zero guarantee that the Department of Justice would even pursue such charges in the first place.
2.) “Stand Your Ground” laws aren’t why Trayvon Martin is dead.  According to the stories to have come out of the trial, Trayvon Martin beating someone’s head into the ground is why Trayvon Martin is dead.
3.) Profiling is as old a crime-solving technique as crime itself.  If you get assaulted by an Asian person, it doesn’t make much sense to suspect the African American person next door.

“We lost a young man due to senseless violence, but justice did not prevail.  Last year we pushed for the arrest of George Zimmerman and a thorough investigation and trial.  Today, we are still called to act.  No one should be allowed to use this law to commit a senseless crime again.” — NAACP Florida State Conference President Adora Obi Nweze

1.)  The question was not the sense of the violence, but whose.  According to the jury, it was Martin’s.
2.)  Zero proof offered that justice failed.  Only rhetoric
3.)  The state did not initially WANT to pursue a trial because of how little there was to build a case on… and only did so because of outside pressure.  The NAACP wanted and pushed for the arrest, investigation and trial of George Zimmerman — and they got it.
4.)  According to the Jury, the law was not abused and George Zimmerman is not guilty of a crime.  Again, the presumption of guilt.

((All above quotes courtesy of CNN))

My question is a simple one.  All of these above individuals had no involvement or personal stake in the case.  All have stated very hard and clear opinions.  None offered any proof, evidence or logic.  If there simply isn’t any, why is the opinion so set in stone?  I’ve yet to hear a single person offer a reasonable and provable explanation as to how what we have seen is a greivous miscarriage of justice… and it would seem that none is forthcoming.

On top of all of this, it boggles my brain as to how a local murder case in central florida gained so much more traction so fast when the trial of a serial killer by the name of Kermit Gosnell would have gone completely under the mainstream radar if not for concerned activists.  Is it because the accused could pass for being caucasian?  Possibly.  But the answer to that is beyond the scope of this writing.

All of this has been an effort to get people to take a second and ask themselves just why they are so sure that the jury got it wrong.  I don’t know if anyone will actually ask themselves that question… especially because the answer will tend to make a lot of people rather uncomfortable.  Personally, I have yet to find a reason to question the integrity of the jury or the efficacy of the trial.  Until that time, my opinion on the verdict has to remain a solid “meh”.



~ by xristosdomini on July 14, 2013.

4 Responses to “Not Guilty”

  1. It’s really not very complicated. A man with a gun stalked and killed a man without a gun. That is as simple as it gets. The questions of whether the unarmed man was stalked because he was black, or whether he was up to no good, or whether Zimmerman was 40% caucasian, or any of the peripheral issues–are of secondary import.

    It wouldn’t have mattered if Martin was actually armed. It wouldn’t have mattered if he was up to no good. It wouldn’t have mattered if Zimmerman had been an active member of the KKK. The fact is, the jury and judge came to the conclusion that it’s legal in this country to hunt somebody and kill them.

    So Martin pounced on the fellow and tried to hurt him. Maybe tried to kill him. Is that not a rational reaction to being stalked by a man with a gun? The rule of law has failed here. The rule of law has failed because it’s created a wild west legal system where might makes right. If Trayvon Martin tried to kill Zimmerman it’s because Martin tried to stand his ground while being pursued by a fool with a gun.

    I rather wish that Martin had in fact had a gun, and had killed Zimmerman when he was being chased. That would have at least been a sensible test of the absurd “stand your ground” laws. Maybe in that scenario Martin would have been jailed, maybe not. There’s a point for legal debate and self-defence. But Zimmerman didn’t stand his ground. He chased down a man and killed him, and you applauded him for it.

  2. You have raised a number of issues. I’m going to tackle them one by one.
    1) The “stalking/hunting” issue is rather suspect. The official story offered is that Zimmerman got out of his vehicle to follow Martin (not illegal, though unwise), lost Martin and in returning to his vehicle was attacked. The state cannot prove otherwise, nor can anyone else. That means that, short of presuming guilt with no proof, we have to assume that that is the truth.

    2) The court has categorically NOT concluded that it is legal to hunt someone and kill them. That is flat out misuse of the “Not Guilty” verdict. All the court has decided is that there is not enough evidence to support a charge of Second Degree Murder or of Manslaughter. In lieu of evidence supporting a criminal charge, the accused has been released.

    3) The “rational reaction” argument for Martin’s reaction is also suspect. Why? Because you have projected that Martin was aware of Zimmerman’s gun before the confrontation… which is a proposition that even the state never raised. With that being the case, we have to assume that it is false.

    4) The rule of law has not created a Wild West “might makes right” system. The Stand Your Ground law (__which was never at issue in this trial__) is intended to level the playing field between aggressor and victim. If you are being followed by someone (which is not illegal), the answer is to go to a police station, if possible, or a highly public area — making you an unattractive target. The thing people forget — if Zimmerman DIDN’T have a gun, we would be talking about Martin getting charged with assault and facing 5 years in the pen… at least.

    5) I applauded nothing. As I said towards the beginning of this post, I have no interest in attempting to defend, justify, exonerate, canonize, or any other verb you would care to add. Zimmerman has already been acquitted by the court… so trying to do any of the above is like trying to fit wheels to a tomato — time consuming and pointless. My point is not to judge the end result. My entire point is that the people who have been involved in this process in a very personal manner (Florida AG, Prosecuting attorney, jury, judge, etc) and, as such, have first-hand knowledge of the inner goings-on, have come to a conclusion and are satisfied with it. The rest of us can either (A) accept it or (B) get bent out of shape over it WITH NO SUPPORTING EVIDENCE.
    I have no interest in the specific outcome of the trial (no personal stake), what I have far more interest in is the way the people around me handle the situation. Until there is some kind of real evidence that there has been a miscarriage of justice here, I have no alternative but to reconcile myself to the jury’s decision.

    • That’s not really true, though, is it? I haven’t raised many issues. Just one. A fool with a gun, following somebody. That’s as far as it goes. That’s as far as it needs to go. Whatever happens after that is the responsibility of that fool. Martin didn’t have to be aware of the gun, or aware that Zimmerman was returning to his car. He just had to be aware that he was being hunted.

      If there is a story of racial inequality here, it’s not about Zimmerman deciding that most blacks are criminals; it’s about whether blacks are free in this country, or still have to kowtow at the whim of the Massa when he comes after them. Why the hell should Martin have abased himself when some lunatic decided to follow him home? What should he have done? Stand and cringe until given permission to leave?

      Personally, you say, you have no reason to question the integrity of the jury or the efficacy of the trial. In civilised countries, killers are punished. It really is as simple as that, and your muddled appeal to the sanctity of some provincial court’s ruling or the minutiae and technicalities of its absurd laws raises the question…why? You claim to have no vested interest in the outcome of this trial, so why are you so desperate to defend a killer and the system that retroactively sanctioned his actions? You’ve put a lot of effort and thought into just saying, “Meh”. Tell us what you really think.

  3. “I haven’t raised many issues. Just one.” If you are willing to suffer a massive over-simplification of a complex issue, then yes. The problem is that your overriding worldview has a few serious flaws in it that sees an idiot with a gun as the ONLY issue… and then proceed to change subjects and issues. As I have said, the “punishment missed” is only relevant if you assume that Zimmerman is guilty of something worthy of punishment… and according to the Florida State Government, there is not enough evidence to convict him of that. So, rather than get my nose in a twist over a decision, I would much rather worry about living with it. For what it is worth, this is exactly why I “haven’t” committed any large number of words (to my knowledge) about my opinion of the OJ Simpson murder trial. My opinion, quite frankly, is irrelevant.
    “The whim of the Massa”… you mean the Hispanic Neighborhood Watch volunteer?
    “Why should Martin have abased himself when some lunatic followed him home?” (1) That never happened. The fight happened on the sidewalk in spitting distance of Zimmerman’s truck. (2) I didn’t realize going to a police station or public place when you think you are being followed (something I have had to do before) counted as abasing yourself. (3) If Martin had kept walking, then Zimmerman drew his gun and shot Martin, that would be murder. We know from Zimmerman’s injuries, that didn’t happen.
    “In civilized countries, killers are punished.” Wrong. In “civilized” countries, “murderers” are punished. There is a difference, unfortunately. “Murderer” is defined as “one who commits murder”. Unless you have some kind of concrete proof that Zimmerman is guilty of Murder, the court has decided that there isn’t enough evidence to convict him of Murder.

    As I have said, I have no interest in defending Zimmerman. I have no interest in proclaiming Martin a wide-eyed, innocent, young flower child either. Why? That isn’t my place. And I thank God for that. What I really think is that everyone needs to take a load off and examine why they think what they think… because the people who were given charge to make a decision about whether or not there was “enough” evidence to convict Zimmerman for murder said that there wasn’t.

    Once again, the “Not Guilty” verdict doesn’t mean that the court doesn’t believe Zimmerman killed Martin. What it means is that there simply isn’t enough hard evidence to convict a man of Murder. I will point out, I have not defended Zimmerman in any material way. Legitimately, all I am saying is that people really need to can the angst until they have done some soul searching.

    I will say I find it interesting how many people who oppose the death penalty due to the risk of a few people being wrongly convicted are so convinced that George Zimmerman is “obviously” worthy of spending the rest of his life behind bars.

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