This trial is likley the biggest one of the year, it certainly is likley to be the most talked about and publicized one of the year, maybe of years to come. One thing is certain, almost everyone has heard about it and has formed an opinion about it, about Zimmerman and Martin, and about the whole incident/case itself.
I have written about this before, on the night of the trials end. At the time I was, like most others, feeling hot under the collar about the seemingly blatant failure of the justice system. But having had a while to “cool off”, I now wish to go though this again. Though some of my initial opinions will not have changed, some have.
This case, has proven to be an interesting one.
One of the most difficult parts about any trial, is getting past the emotions, and the bonds of the people in question. You see the parents, who naturally think the best of there child. Then you see the defense, the Zimmerman side, who’s family and friends also can see only the good in this person. So without the aid of direct witness’s to the crime, you only have one (the other was killed). And so without witnesses, pretty much the only thing you have to go on, is the character of the person’s in question.
The problem of course with that, is in this case, the only “character witness‘s” I seen from either side, were those that were FAR to close, to be unbiased. You need someone somewhat distant to the person’s life, to get a semi- accurate picture of them (co-workers, boss’s ect).
And looking at the case without the blinders of emotion, it also becomes not so clear cut.
One thing I have heard just recently (today on Dr.Phil), is that it is apparently against the policy’s of most Neighborhood watch programs to be armed whilst on patrol. Granted, Zimmerman apparently had a concealed weapon permit. And it is said that he was “on an errand” when the whole mess begun (not on watch, or so were supposed to think?).
Lets go though the details of the case, up until the end, where the details start to get murky.
We know that Zimmerman was driving “on an errand” when he spotted Trayvon walking down the street. Here, we have to assume that Trayvon was indeed, only walking though the neighborhood. But I really see no reason to believe otherwise.
In any case, Zimmerman gets suspicious and calls the police, informing them of the presence of a suspicious character in the area. Which is good. But now, Zimerman’s own words tell us that he decided to not wait on police to apprehend the “suspect”, but to do it himself.
And so, the case starts to get interesting. The details become muddy, like the puddles of rain water that fateful night.
We know that Zimmerman was chasing (at very least, following) Trayvon, from his 911 call, and Trayvon’s call to his cousin. Here, for me, is where things get messy.
From Trayvon’s phone call to his cousin, I am to conclude that he thought he had outrun Zimmerman, only to have him catch up and pick a fight. And from Zimmerman’s testimony, I am to conclude that Trayvon ambushed him, threatening to kill him.
And so you have to choose between the 2 sides.
I think that Zimmerman should have just kept an eye on Trayvon, and let the police do the policing. I feel that the many robberies in his area motivated him, and the presence of his gun gave him the courage and “balls” to confront this suspicious person. Unfortunately, I think that Trayvon proved a more worthy opponent then he had initially realized.
I personally, do not think Trayvon was initially, out to kill. I do not think that he threatened Zimmerman with death. I think that was invented for the trial.
I am going strictly on what Trayvon had in his possession. He had no weapon. He had an Ice Tea and Skittles. Someone who is up to no good, it seems to me, would be carrying something to defend themselves with. But being he had family in the area, maybe he felt safe, walking alone. Again, an assumption, but Skittles and Ice tea sounds like the possessions of a munching stoner, NOT a murderer.
In any case, I have no doubt that a fight ensued. And I have no doubt that Trayvon probably ended up getting the upper hand in the fight. And I also have no doubt, that Zimmerman felt that his life was threatened by Trayvon.
Which is another key thing. He FELT that his life was threatened.
We know that Zimmerman obviously got more then he bargained for, he obviously didn’t think he would be on the short end of the stick. But I do not think that Trayvon intended to Kill him. I think he pissed him off, yes. But I sense he was just going to knock him out and be on his way.
I do not think that Trayvon told him he was “going to die tonight BITCH”. I do not think that Trayvon “armed himself with the concrete sidewalk” (that is the most moronic argument I have EVER heard in my life!). And I do not think that Trayvon went for Zimmerman’s gun, I question if he knew he even HAD a gun (I know I would not go into a gun battle without a gun, let alone, NO WEAPON AT ALL). But I don’t have any doubt that Zimmerman felt his life was in danger.
And so you get into the difficult grey area. Both were in the right. Yet, both were in the wrong.
Trayvon was pissed off by Zimmerman, and so he went after him. He was “Standing His Ground” against an asshole who was provoking him. Zimmerman’s life was, in the legal sense, threatened, so he was in the right to pull the trigger. Its an interesting thing to ponder.
But to the questions that initially motivated this post:
1.) Was race a factor?
2.) Was justice served?
When it comes to race, it seems that the only opinions you are hearing (in regards to the case) are the extremes on either side. Some say race had EVERYTHING to do with EVERY aspect of the case, some say race had NOTHING to do with ANY aspect of the case. All of the people saying the above, for the most part, are coming from biased positions. For example, members of the black community, and members of the white community (to put it PLAINLY in BLACK AND WHITE).
I think that the real extent of race’s role in the crime and trial, lies somewhere in the middle.
Zimmerman may not be a racist. However, like I said in my previous post (and as eluded to in president Obama‘s surprise press release), paranoia towards members of the black community, is still very much a part of life for black people in America. So while that may not be the SOLE reason Zimmerman zoned in on Trayvon that night, its a mighty big mistake to completely throw out the possibility.
The phenomenon of mistrust if so pervasive, it might have even been subliminal, in nature. You hear something so much, that your reaction may be automatic. Keep in mind, the action of giving chase is still personal. But its the initial reaction at the sight of Trayvon, that im speaking of.
As for the question that is, were the jurors racist? Again, looking at most of there backgrounds, you know that they likley do not have much (if any) ties with the black community. And they may not be racist. But they are a part of the same culture as George. If you see a certain race always on the news for committing crimes or other mischief, you may internalize the bias without even realizing it. We all have done it at some point in time.
I think race DID play a role in the crime and the trial. But I don’t think it was nearly as prominent as some think (or feel) its role was.
Was Justice Served?
That is an interesting question. One where there really is no right or wrong answer, just personal interpretation. When it comes to me, Trayvon’s parents, and anyone standing behind Trayvon, then no, justice was NOT served. When it comes to the Zimmerman party, then yes, justice was indeed served.
That’s the interesting thing about a trial. Its not necessarily about the truth. Its about who has the bigger bag of proof.
In this case, from the beginning, it was obvious who had the bigger bag of proof.
With no direct witness’s, and the most direct witness dead, all you had was the word of the defendant. The trial had testimony of friends and family of both sides, but again, this is automatically not good proof, because they are far to close to the 2 people in question.
And so you are left with a story, and some questionable evidence that happens to back it up, and no alternate view of the situation to shed light on it either way. In this sense, the trial was an easy win for one side. Or lost before it even begun, for the other side.
So, was justice served?
In that the jury came to its conclusion and the gavel fell, Yes. Justice was served.
But was there Justice for Trayvon? No.