At the risk of sounding like one of those idiots on the web...

This post is going to be about George Zimmerman being found not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin. But not completely.

Let me start off by saying I did not follow the trial closely. I did, however, read a few AP articles over the past week or so. About the only thing I can say with certainty is that I was neither in the courtroom nor on the jury. So I do not have the benefit of all that testimony and evidence. And neither did you (unless you were there).

But the comments I have read on Facebook? They are all over the place. Based on various comments, George Zimmerman could have been a racist (a Hispanic man can be racist against a black man), a vigilante, someone trying to protect his neighborhood, or someone trying to defend his life. He could have started the fight, or he could have been the one fighting back. He may have been following neighborhood watch guidelines, or he could have been overstepping. I think he had some sort of a record, but not sure. Trayvon Martin could have been walking along minding his own business, or he could have picked a fight with a man who was following him. Trayvon may have been high; he might not have. He may have had some type of a "record" but that is pretty irrelevant to what happened that night (he was not on trial). Whatever really did happen, this much is true: a young man (teenager) is dead and another man will have to live with that for the rest of his life. Both families have been and will continue to be affected. And, sadly, since race is involved, I am sure there are those who will "want justice" who will do some less than peaceful things.

As I have said before, I just don't think I could sit on a jury; not only am I bad at picking out lies, I also fear that I would not be able to sift through the testimony and evidence well enough to come up with the "right" verdict. I am certain I would not be able to sit on a jury for murder (in any degree or form). The weight of that would be overwhelming. But regardless of how I feel about this particular trial (and I never made up my mind, though I will say that a gun was involved bothers me and leans me slightly more in one direction), I was not the one left to decide. How can I criticize the jury when I did not have the benefit of the testimony, evidence, and arguments? How can any of us criticize them? As I understand it, they were not necessarily saying he was innocent; they were instead saying there was not enough evidence to prove he "demonstrated a depraved mind without regard for human life" (second degree murder) or that there was "an intent to commit an act that was not merely negligent, justified, or excusable and which caused death" (manslaughter). Even though the jury may not have been convinced he acted in self-defense, they apparently could not necessarily prove otherwise.

Of all the high-profile trials and crimes I have read or heard about, there has been only one to this day that I have felt very strongly about: Jonny Gammage. The shortish version of the story is that a not-large black man was pulled over by police in a Pittsburgh suburb for driving a jaguar erratically (the car belonged to his cousin, former Steeler Ray Seals). What happened when he was asked to get out of the car is unclear. What is certain is that there were, at some point, five white police officers involved. When the confrontation/altercation was done, Jonny Gammage lay dead. Although I also do not think it would be fair for me to criticize the jury's not guilty verdict for the officers in that case (only three were tried), because, again, I was not in the courtroom, there is little anyone can tell me to convince me otherwise that when one weaponless man goes up against five cops and said man is dead, something is terribly wrong; self-defense is not an option. If there would have been only two officers involved, I would probably feel the same way; it is about the numbers. In fact, race has very little to do with it for me (but, unfortunately race may very well have been a big factor). You can say what you want about the Zimmerman case; there were no winners, but it was one person against another and only the two of them know what really happened in that tragic story. You weren't there, and I was not there. And we were not sitting on the jury, with the weight of that task on our shoulders.

And we all need to remember that.


bluzdude said…
I agree that we, as in those outside the courtroom, do not get the full picture of the evidence or testimony, therefore we cannot make a fully informed opinion on these high profile court cases.

All I have to say is that you shouldn't be able to tail someone, harass them, stalk them, goad them into a fight and then claim self-defense. Apparently, that's the law in Florida now.
Facie said…
Well, you know more about what happened than I do. I know Zimmerman noticed Trayvon and followed him. As I also understand it, Z called 911 and was told to stop following him (I am paraphrasing). And I do think Z continued to follow him. What happened after that is where I have heard various reports. If what you say is true (and I am not saying it is not; I don't know), then from the outside, it sure seems bad, and I can understand the anger of many Trayvon supporters.

You have to wonder what went on in that courtroom. I often wonder about that with the Jonny Gammage case. I would have convicted the officers without a trial, but that is not the way it works. And I guess those jurors heard and saw things that we cannot imagine.

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