I could say I am disheartened, disappointed or surprised by the racial divide that became evident when Zimmerman was found not guilty but to do so would be in ignorance of data and facts.
What seems apparent here is that if an African American falls at the hands of a non-African American, then he must be found guilty automatically otherwise it is a travesty of justice.
And yet when people use the phrase “travesty of justice” in America, they forget that justice in America relies on a few key tenets:
1. The accused is innocent until proven guilty.
2. Guilt must be established through the presentation of a sufficient burden of proof by the prosecution.
3. The ruling by the Supreme Court that the constitution prohibits criminal defendants from being convicted on any quantum of evidence less than proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
Remember the OJ Simpson trial? Despite the fact that law enforcement had a record of prior acts of violence by him against his wife and despite the finding of his DNA at the crime scene, the prosecution was unable to convince the jury beyond a reasonable doubt and he was found not guilty.
America’s justice system is not perfect nor is it infallible
However, despite inherent weaknesses created by flawed human beings, it is still the best system in the world and in the complexities of today, the system did the best it could with the information, processes and laws that it has.
We need to continue to work together to look past color, creed, religious beliefs or any other differentiator to ensure that our justice system serves everyone to the best of its abilities. Playing the race card or highlighting any other difference between individuals does not strengthen us – it divides us and weakens the justice system as a result.
And then there is the media
In addition to this, the media did a terrible job of creating a racially charged trial as noted here. NBC intentionally modified the 911 tape to make it appear that Zimmerman was racially profiling Martin, the Associated Press intentionally chose photos that accentuated the youth and innocence of Martin and the thug-like appearance of Zimmerman and ABC intentionally “redigitized” photos of Zimmerman to make it appear that he sustained no injuries in the altercation.
The media has long ceased to be a presenter of information and this trial confirms that they have now fully morphed into a manipulator of opinions via falsehoods and intentional spreading of misinformation.
And then there are the guns
On top of all of this, we must never forget that in a society that believes that arming itself is the means to self protection, there will always be unfortunate occurrences such as this one.
If Americans insist on the right to bear arms, there will always be a certain percentage of people killed as a result.
If a person is legally armed with a legally registered weapon and feels threatened, they will use the weapon to protect themselves or their loved ones. You or I would do so without hesitation – this is human nature.
And someone will die as a result.
If you don’t like that, then get rid of the guns.
Otherwise, sadly, such events will continue to happen and we need to stop acting surprised or affronted as a result.
How about our ESP?
Not to sound flippant, but it has been amazing how millions of Americans have been able to piece together the exact events that transpired that night even though witness testimony is scant and contradictory.
People claim to know exactly what was said between the two individuals, what each person was thinking at the moment, what each person’s intentions were, etc.
If people have such skills, I would suggest that they turn their talents to solving the other problems in the world instead of stirring up hatred via armchair legal diatribe.
Speaking of problems - how about inner city violence?
While it is sad that a life was lost that night, look how many young people (especially African Americans) are killed in inner city violence on an almost regular basis in cities like Chicago.
How about the heart wrenching stories of young children killed in the crossfire between gang members? Why isn’t that story gripping America? Why aren’t more African American leaders screaming for society to do better in such situations?
Do you know why?
Because to demand better in inner city America doesn’t serve the purposes and needs of certain individuals.
These individuals seek out others who are looking for something to be angry about, to be affronted by or to be able to cry victim about.
They are happy to inflame the affronted (under the guise of helping them), whether it is to serve their own needs as some politicians do, to prop up ratings as news media does, or to serve someone else’s self-serving goals on the backs of the angry who don’t realize they are being played. Sometimes even Presidents play the game.
Angry people don’t realize that their simmering anger is being used against them, at their expense, as I wrote about here Anger: Setting Yourself Up For Manipulation.
When people are that angry, they don’t want facts. They won’t listen to reason.
They want blood.
They call it “justice” but they want blood.
When blood spilled is in their favor, they revel in their sense of justice.
When it is spilled in a manner that doesn’t meet their needs, it is called a travesty of justice.
Justice is ultimately defined by perspective.
What they don’t see is that their demand for “justice” may produce events that may get beyond everyone’s control.
And once that happens, everyone loses.
Well … not everyone.
There are many who benefit from such unrest.
When someone incites you to unrest or hatred, do you know if they are serving your needs or if you are helping them achieve theirs?
How do you know?
In service and servanthood,
Addendum – July 14, 2013
George Zimmerman’s brother discusses the trial result.
A lawyer shares his thoughts on the verdict - The Embarrassment Of The George Zimmerman Verdict.
Addendum – July 17, 2013
I really like how former Governor Mike Huckabee summarized this:
Zimmerman is not a hero. He was a young Hispanic man who believed he was in danger, and used a gun to end what he felt was a threat to his own life. He's going to spend the rest of his life second-guessing his decision to get out of his car that night when he spotted a young man he thought might be part of a crime wave in his neighborhood. And Trayvon Martin is not a hero. He was a young man whose life ended way too soon, maybe because he decided to confront a man he believed was showing him disrespect.
But if there are no heroes, there are some villains. The media deserve to be excoriated for their role in inventing many parts of the narrative before the facts and evidence were even presented. Thank God the press is not a true "fourth branch of government." They emphasized a race factor because Trayvon Martin was black, but they were blatantly dishonest in not acknowledging that George Zimmerman was Hispanic. The facts in the case, as presented in court under oath, were far different than the heated comments that were spewed by the media and the professional agitators, who called more attention to themselves than they did to the tragedy.