I would make a real shitty lawyer; it’s 4am and I’m awake, heart bleeding over the George Zimmerman verdict. Maybe one day I’ll learn to shake these kinds of injustices off with a shrug of the shoulders, but today is not that day.
Most believe Zimmerman was found not guilty because there wasn’t enough evidence to prove otherwise. Here is all the evidence I need:
He killed a kid.
Do I believe that he had malice in his heart, and sought out a young man in the name of racism and hate?
Do I believe he planned to intentionally murder?
What I do believe–and what is FACT–is that, as per Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, an armed Zimmerman took it upon himself to play guard dog and approached/followed/encountered Martin by choice.
If I see a person I deem “suspicious,” I stay away from him/her because I am afraid.
Unless, of course, I have my gun and state law to protect me.
There are consequences for our actions; even my two-year-old knows that. But today, a jury of our peers has allowed Zimmerman to walk away with a “My bad” and not so much as a manslaughter conviction.
“Innocent until proven guilty.”
“Too many loopholes.”
“So many unanswered questions.”
No one asked for my opinion, but it’s my blog so you’re going to get it: a jury of our peers, the American justice system, has failed us today.
And it’s not the first time:
Sure, that last one is but a character from To Kill a Mockingbird, but it serves as a metaphor of how prejudice infiltrates the justice system.
And infiltrate it did, friends. Which is why this case garnered more attention than other murder trials.
“Monday morning quarterbacks” are claiming that the media blew up this case for the sake of ratings. Apparently a Mexican killing a black kid makes for stellar news. I certainly see the manipulation; from the very beginning, the media portrayed Trayvon as a gangster, bad student, gold-teeth-wearing, pot smoking no good kid. The hype got so out of hand that my friggin’ priest started perpetuating that image of Trayvon.
So we should applaud the system for “working” in spite of this?
Strip away the media influence, and ignore the fact that Trayvon was an African American. At the end of the day, and especially at the end of the trial, what more do we need to know than a grown man killed a child?! A child who was walking alone at night and was probably pretty afraid when a big dude rolled up on him in the rain.
What is the difference between driving a car while under the influence and carrying a gun and provoking a situation where you have to use it?
Oh yeah, the latter is legal.
George Zimmerman is guilty. He may not have planned to kill, but he is guilty. He had the right to carry a gun and use it in self-defense, but he purposely instigated the need for said defense. What happened today set a very basic precedence, at least in Florida: a person can incite another to the point of violence, and when, for lack of a better phrase at 4 in the morning, shit gets real, it’s completely reasonable to end it with a gun.
George Zimmerman is Eddie Haskell; faux-martyr in the neighborhood watch; victim in court.
Even though he walks free today, I have faith in another kind of justice system. In a different jury. Call it karma, call it Judgement Day, but Zimmerman can’t wash off this stain.
I’m awake too. Your students would have been lucky to have you in class to talk to about this on Monday morning.
You’re sweet, Jean. Thank you.
Juliet Neary says
I see so many people posting about the weakness of the prosecution’s case, overcharging by the state and other “reasons” why that man is walking around, free, and someone’s CHILD is dead simply for walking while black. It makes me want to scream, cry and vomit.
I think what makes me even sicker is that some are pretending this has nothing to do with race. Moreover, what the eff, Florida: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57433184/fla-mom-gets-20-years-for-firing-warning-shots/
Stephanie, thank you for posting this! I honestly am still in a state of shock. I once held a shred of belief that the system was blind, but as an educated, law abiding, tax paying African American citizen. I no longer feel safe in America.
First the Cheerios incident, and now this. I can’t even post my thoughts on my blog without having someone follow up with a “the race card was thrown around too much” comment. And now she’s on twitter telling everyone I called her racist. HUH? I’m honestly considering taking a break from blogging. I can no longer deal with this level of crazy.
Trayvon Martin is dead. George Zimmerman is free. No matter how you look at it, a 17-year-old child was murdered and his murder was NOT punished.
Oh, Reese, my heart hurts for you 🙁 If there is anything I can do, just say the word. Hang in there, Mama! xo
Bad Word Mama says
I live in Florida, actually only an hour or so from Sanford. I remember hearing about the shooting after it happened. It was on the news constantly, before the trial I thought for sure who was the guilty party. The trial was aired everyday on multiple channels, I decided I wasn’t going to watch the trial because I was so upset after Casey Anthony went free. I started watching GZ trial on the 4th day when Rachel Jeantel was on the stand. I was addicted after that. The State’s witnesses seemed they were for the Defense. I was in awe! I feel for Trayvon Martin’s parents. I couldn’t imagine losing one of my children. None of us actually know what happened that night. But, from the evidence or lack of evidence the State had and also the law here in Florida, the jury made the best decision they could. I believe their hands were tied because of the law. I have very mixed emotions about the verdict. I truly thought he would have been charged with Manslaughter at least. I mean a child did die! I had a horrible time sleeping last night. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Only GZ knows the truth and has to live with that every day of his life. Time to change the channel and move on. Thanks for posting this, I was going to write my own blog about it, but I don’t think I have the energy, the whole thing was just so draining.
You’re absolutely right that this is draining and the law basically tied the jury’s hands. I don’t blame the jurors; I blame the law. And George Zimmerman. Unfortunately, that gun gave him a sense of entitlement and authority that he didn’t earn, nor did he deserve. He certainly deserves manslaughter, but you’re also right about something else: he has to look in the mirror and relive that night every day for the rest of his life. Still, it won’t be half of the pain he caused Trayvon and his family. Thanks for weighing in, I appreciate it.
Nicely done, Steph. You’ve gotta believe in karma in these situations.
I believe! I believe!
Jumpin' Jack Flash says
I didn’t really follow the case that closely, other than a few segments that I caught on Piers Morgan Tonight. And of course Piers just used the situation to continue his crusade for banning guns in America. Anyway, I certainly agree that the tragedy could have been avoided had George Z. stopped following Trayvon as the police requested. I also think that Trayvon being a black male and wearing a hoodie caused George to identify him as “suspicious.” Would George have made a fuss over a 17-year old white girl walking with an umbrella? Probably not. Even though Trayvon was only 17, I think calling him a “kid” or a “child” is slightly misleading. I visualize a 3rd grader when I hear the word “child” or “kid.” I don’t think George was in a confrontation with a physically weaker, helpless person. However, it doesn’t seem that George was being battered to a pulp to the point where his life was in danger that he needed to shoot the young man. And we know the cops were on the way. So even if you are getting your ass kicked, you know the cops are in route and if you can just hold on a few minutes it will be OK. Was it necessary to kill him? Then again, in the heat of the moment, who knows what you would do? Our court system is designed to avoid jailing innocent people at all costs. In other words, we would rather make the mistake of letting a guilty person go free rather than jailing an innocent person. We don’t get it right every time.
We don’t get it right every time. But we are quick to the point the finger in this country. Good point about the language, though; Trayvon wasn’t a helpless child. He was, what? 6 ft? Athletic? Strong? That said, I don’t care. He was 17. Period.
Juliet Neary says
Regardless of what you “visualize,” Trayvon Martin was a CHILD. That’s what we call people who aren’t yet 18, in this country. And that child should have been safe to walk around in his own neighborhood, without some tiny-penised asshole killing him.
Jen Holweger says
I agree with everything here, as usual. I think one of the main things for me is how this man, who shot and killed a CHILD, didn’t seem remorseful even once. Even a little bit. Sure, he had this “law” on his side, but that doesn’t clear your conscience, buddy. Sickening.
Karen Hug-Nagy says
That was great and hit right to the point. I feel the same way too. And what kind of example are we setting for others out there watching. Thanks for sharing, so well written.
And please don’t forget to add Micheal Jackson – pedophile to the list of free criminals.
Contrary Mom says
My jaw would be on the floor if Zimmerman had been found guilty. That’s sick, our justice system is broken. And my heart is broken for Trayvon Martin’s family.
Chris Carter says
Yeah…. I am pretty freaking dumbfounded with it all. Now the streets are filling up with protestors everywhere… I knew that would happen. I hate everything about this case.
Same here, Chris. The aftermath is going to be nasty. And I can’t even fault the jurors; they were upholding the law. That horrible, ridiculous, violent law. But a law nonetheless.
I’m ashamed to say I haven’t been following any of this, but your take on this and your writing skills pack such an awesome punch. Your passion for what you believe in is shining through and you have a gift for presenting it in such a classy way, Steph–you wow, my friend.
Deb @ Urban Moo Cow says
I hear you, lady. It’s really just ridiculous. Imagine if it had been a black man who killed a white/Hispanic kid?
I don’t think the media had anything to do with it. In the narrow confines of the courtroom where the jurors were asked to make a judgment on the moment TM might have been on top of GZ, well, yeah, he pulled the trigger in “self-defense.” But the laws allowing him to carry a concealed weapon, the laws allowing him to feel an inflated sense of vigilante importance, the underlying racial profiling and hatred… those are truly what make my stomach hurt.
Keep speaking out.
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