Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Justice for Tryavon

The criminal trial has been conducted.  Justice, theoretically, has been served.

So, why now the protests?  Why three nights of people gathering--thankfully, for the most part, peacefully?

When the first round of "Justice for Trayvon" marches and gatherings took place, the call was for the arrest of George Zimmerman and the need for a trial.  At a minimum, this was needed.  Justice demanded it.

Well, the trial was held.  The evidence was presented.  The jury returned the verdict: Not guilty.  Certainly not of second degree murder.  And then, it was concluded, not of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

But this was not enough.  Protests erupt again.  Why?

Well, it's certainly not because there was a trial.  It's certainly not because the evidence was presented.  In my estimation, it's because the "correct" verdict was not brought forward.

I was intrigued by the comments of the anonymous juror who came forward and was interviewed by Andersen Cooper.  She reported that Zimmerman was guilty of bad judgment, but was not guilty of the crimes he was accused of.

I concur.

  • Zimmerman used very poor judgment by getting out of his car.  But this was not illegal.
  • He used poor judgment by not listening to the police dispatcher when she told him, "We don't need you to do that."  But this was not illegal.
  • If--we don't have proof of this, but for the sake of argument, let's say Zimmerman did this--he approached Trayvon and verbally confronted him, Zimmerman used bad judgment.  But this too is not illegal.
And here is where the physical evidence becomes important.  Even the juror says the physical evidence shows this: Trayvon hit first.  There is really no doubt about this.  Trayvon had bruising and an abrasion on his knuckles.  This is first rate evidence that he used his fists on something.  Zimmerman had bruising on his face--and then consequently on the back of his head--bruising caused by Trayvon's fists.  Zimmerman had no bruising on his fists which means--even though he supposedly had some martial arts training--he never landed a punch.  There is further physical evidence to show this in that Trayvon's only injuries were the bruising and abrasion on his hands and his gunshot wound.

As the juror said, it then became a matter of whether or not Zimmerman feared for his life.  That's a call which cannot be made by an outsider for different people experience fear differently.  The juror believe there was no doubt Zimmerman feared for his life--five others agreed.  Acquittal.

In our legal system, you cannot convict someone on bad judgment.  You can only convict if they have broken the law or shown malicious intent to harm someone.  Neither of these things were proven beyond a reasonable doubt.  The prosecution had a very, very weak case.  They knew it.  Those who have followed this trial with reason and thought instead of emotion knew it.  But in our society, emotion normally overrules reason.  Hence the protests.

No doubt, someone will point to my station as a white person who is writing from a position of white privilege.  It is one's estimation of such things, but don't let your emotion carry you too far on this charge.  Remember, I have a vested interest in what happens to and in the black community.  I have a vested interest in challenging racism.  I have two black daughters.  (Actually, they are bi-racial, but no one really wants to listen to me when I decry these dumb a$$ distinctions and simply want to call my own children human.  Some people always want to make distinctions and point to skin color.  Forgive me for wishing to change such matters, not by words, but by actual deeds in having a family of mixed skin color where we make no distinction but love one another despite differences.)  I work diligently toward a society where people are not judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.  And their actions prove their character.

In this trail, two very flawed characters came into conflict.  Tragedy ensued.  Even more tragedy is occurring now.  If I am fortunate, lessons will be learned.  But I am afraid the same sort of mentalities will continue to pervade our culture.  Worldviews will not change.  People will see only what they want to see.  Assumptions will remain unexamined.

But I will be d@mned if it causes me to change course in what I am working toward--to paraphrase St. Paul--a place where there is no distinction.  Where all are recognized as children of God where there is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, black or white, brown or red, for all are one in Christ.  

No comments: