We need to move on

My Thoughts

Dr. Bill AtwoodJuly 16, 2013 

The verdict has been handed down and George Zimmerman was found to be not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman killed Trayvon to be sure but the circumstances of the death of the 17-year-old were the subject in the Florida trial.

The parents of Trayvon insisted they did not want the trial to be about race. Zimmerman certainly did not want it to be about race. The national media, reverend's Al and Jessie wanted it to be about race and the president was even involved and now we hear that the Department of Justice spent money to help fund marches in favor of Trayvon.

The real issue in the trial was the rule of law. The jury found, after hearing the evidence, that the state did not meet the standard to prove that Zimmerman committed a crime. The jury found that Zimmerman was within the scope of the laws of Florida to stand his ground and to defend himself even to the point of using his gun.

We can discuss the trial and the evidence that we have heard about and we can make suppositions about who was screaming for help on the 911 tape, of if Zimmerman was really threatened by Trayvon. The law in Florida states that if one feels threatened of being seriously injured or feels that they may be killed by an assailant a person has the right to defend themselves.

I don't know about you but I would feel threatened if a muscular kid was on top of m, pounding my head onto the sidewalk. I think most of us would feel scared and if we had a gun, probably would have used that gun as well. We don't know until we are in that situation.

The verdict and the reaction to the verdict is what I wish to address. It is how the system works. When you are at a ball game and the umpire makes the call, that is the call. Usually the ump is correct but sometimes the guy was safe and the ump said he is out. The player is out. The same thing with trials. Usually the jury gets it right but sometimes the jury gets it wrong. The verdict stands. Our constitution protects us against "double jeopardy." Zimmerman can't be re-tried for this because of the Constitution. Now we are hearing that Eric Holder's office may want to file civil rights violations against Zimmerman. This sounds like a punishment phase being led by the folks in Washington who are pandering to a certain segment of the population.

Zimmerman took his chance with a jury of his peers. If a deal had been offered as they usually are, Zimmerman could have copped a plea, done some time shorter than he faced and been done with the trial phase of this incident. He decided to fight because he truly felt that what he did was the right thing to do according to the rule of law. Now some want to try him according to their emotions. Cute, good-looking, young Trayvon was killed in an encounter that we all wish had never happened. A 17-year-old died as a result of a combination of many events and actions that occurred over weeks, days and hours leading up to the encounter.

The national media decided to have a feeding frenzy and finally the Sanford, Florida legal folks felt the national pressure to charge Zimmerman because of people's emotions. NBC was shameful in their reporting when the doctored a phone call between Zimmerman and the police dispatcher and made it sound like Zimmerman was profiling Trayvon. Zimmerman only stated Trayvon appeared to be black after being asked by the dispatcher to identify the young man by his skin color. The edited/altered tape gave a different impression to the national audience.

President Obama told the nation that Trayvon could have been his son. I will give the president the benefit of the doubt that he was speaking in terms of age and appearance of the young man in the same way that many of us have said, "It could have been my kid." What the president did was help stoke the flames of emotions on an incident that really did not deserve the attention it garnered.

Now we must deal with the aftermath of the trial and verdict. Some want the government to pursue Zimmerman on the civil rights violations because their emotions are demanding that something be done. Something was done — a trial in a court in front of a jury which rendered a unanimous verdict of not guilty followed the rule of law. The court decision was based on the evidence presented by the state of Florida and defended by a lone citizen in accordance with the rule of law as described by the Constitution.

We need to move on and celebrate the rule of law and we should pray for the soul of Trayvon.

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