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Consequences of Zimmerman Verdict

Posted by Steve Markowitz on July 18, 2013

George Zimmerman’s acquittal for the killing of Trayvon Martin has consequences.  The most obvious relate to Zimmerman and the Martin family.  Zimmerman avoided going to jail.  However, he will never be able to escape the “legacy” created from his confrontation with Martin.  For the family of the victim, they were devastated by the results of the trial for reasons that any parent will understand.

There also consequences for the greater society.  In the short term this focuses on the protests across the Country for those disagreeing with the jury’s decision.

In addition, there are longer-term consequences for the verdict and the reactions to it.  One is potential damage to our judicial system when so many are unwilling to accept a verdict coming from a fair and open trial.  The Country has not seen a similar phenomenon nationally for decades.  While many believed O.J. Simpson was guilty of murdering Nicolle Simpson and Ron Goldman, his acquittal was accepted as a necessary part of our justice system.

Another long-term consequence of Zimmerman’s acquittal, but with potentially positive results, are the discussions beginning throughout the Country on the difficult issues of race and race relations.  While many of discussions are filled with emotion and some even lack logic, any discussion on complex societal issues must begin somewhere and even less than optimal discussions are better than none at all.  Should those discussions evolve from the Zimmerman-Martin tragedy, the greater good may still be served.  This posting includes some of to race related discussions already occurring.

Below is a link to a video of a discussion between Fox News’ and attorney Greta Van Susteren and Jasmine Rand, an attorney for the Martin family.  While Van Susteren offers a coherent discussion relating to the Zimmerman jury’s decision, Rand’s argument is not only illogical, but incoherent.  It includes: “I have a greater duty beyond being an attorney, and that’s to be a social engineer.  And when the law doesn’t get it right, I believe that we have the right to peacefully, and morally, conscientiously object to the decision of the jury.”  Using Ms. Rand’s bizarre logic, “social engineering” can be used to subvert the rule of law when one disagrees with it, a dangerous and slippery slope used by tyrants and despots throughout history.

Another relevant discussion (argument?) occurred with CNN’s liberal commentator Piers Morgan and conservative African-American talk show host Larry Elder.  Morgan proffered the view shared by many liberals that the killing of Trayvon Martin was the result of deep-seated American racism and implied that people of color are at substantial risk of being murdered by lighter skinned Americans.  Elder took offense and reminded Morgan that last year 480 African-Americans were killed in the city of Chicago alone, with three quarters being unsolved.  He also said to Morgan:

  • Where are the cameras, where are the shows?” [Concerning the Chicago killings] “It’s outrageous to act as if black America should fear some non-black guy stalking some black kid at night.  The likelihood of a black person being killed by a non-black person is extremely remote, which is why this became a big national issue in the first place.
  • “I’m just bothered by how you are handling all this.  You think you are doing something for black people but you’re not.  You’re making black people feel as if they are under siege and it’s not true, it’s an outrage!

Elder also chided Morgan for treating “black people like children”.

Many who take a strong and unbending position on the Zimmerman case, on either side, have used the tragedy to promote their agendas.  The reality is that a young man was killed in an altercation with another man.  Many questioned whether Zimmerman broke the law and the pressure of those concerned lead to a trial.  The vast resources of the state of Florida were used in an effort to get a conviction.  A trial was held and a jury found Zimmerman not guilty.  Those that do not accept the jury’s decision now seek ways to abrogated it.

A Blog reader sent in the very poignant comments of former NBA superstar, Charles Barkley whose comments include:

  • Barkley“Well, I agreed with the verdict.  I feel sorry that young kid got killed. But they didn’t have enough evidence to charge him.”
  • “I just feel bad because I don’t like when race gets out in the media because I don’t think the media has a pure heart, as I call it.  There are very few people have a pure heart when it comes to race.  Racism is wrong in any, shape, form — a lot of black people are racist too.  I think sometimes when people talk about racism, they say only white people are racist.  There are a lot of black people who are racist.  I don’t like when it gets out there in the media because I don’t think the media has clean hands.”
  • “And let me tell you, Mr. Zimmerman was wrong to pursue — he was racial profiling.  I think Trayvon Martin, God rest his soul, I think he did flip the switch and started beating the hell out of Mr. Zimmerman.  But it was just a bad situation.  And like I said, the main thing I feel bad for, it gives every black and white person who is racist a platform to vent their ignorance.”
  • “That’s the thing that bothers me the most because I watched this trial closely and I watch all these people are television talking about it.  A lot of people have a hidden agenda.  You know, they want their racist views, whether they are white or black.

All of America would do well to listen to Mr. Barkley.  He not only states a reasonable position on the trial and its verdict, but more importantly on race and race relations in America.  Mr. Barkley could also give Pres. Obama lessons in logic and how to be president for all Americans.





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