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”.