In Case You Missed Yesterday's Trayvon Martin Rally

Comments

1
Is that a white woman carrying a sign that says "end racists killins" (sic)?
2
Chris Rock was on Aisha Tyler's podcast recently. He talked about his background and that his mother went to a segregated school and he was subject to racial slurs as a new kid in school in NYC. That was sobering to hear because I kind of think of him as a contemporary even though he's about a decade or so older than me.

There are deep wounds in the context of race relations and the process to remedy / heal those wounds is still, unfortunately in the early stages.

That said, I'm not sure this case should be the lightening rod of "injustice" that the media seems to want to make it. The legal system worked pretty much how it should have and evidence and logic prevailed over emotion.

"While it appears that, under Florida's maddening stand your ground law"

You might want to check on that. I don't think that the stand your ground law was at issue in the trial or the jury deliberations. Rather the jury was instructed on basic self defense, which every state has a similar version of. Once the defense entered a sliver of evidence on self defense, the burden shifted to the state to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that Zimmerman was not in imminent fear of serious physical harm or death and that the use of force was not justified or commensurate.

From all accounts, this was a politically motivated prosecution to bring heightened murder charges when the evidence just wasn't there. Had the case been charged as manslaughter originally, the context of the trial and outcome may have been different. However, in any event, the prosecutors had the burden to prove each element of the crime beyond all reasonable doubt and from most accounts on the substance of the trial itself, they utterly failed to do so.
3
@Babygorilla, There's so much wrong there.

1. A lot of people are saying the legal system worked the way it should, i.e. the laws that existed were carried out under the standards the state must meet. That's not correct. Even under FL's ridiculous law, it is absurd to start the clock for self-defense after the moment of confrontation, and not at some prior moment, i.e. when Zimmerman chose to follow a teen who he suspected of nothing more than burglary, get out of his car with a loaded gun, approach him on foot, and start an altercation.

Whatever sliver of self defense had to be raised, by his own admissions Zimmerman shouldn't have been able to assert it.

2. Regardless of the legal issues, saying "the legal system worked properly" is colossally missing the point. This kid was objectively doing nothing wrong, when a creepy, racist armed man followed him with his car, even as he ran in fear. The armed man exited his car, started a confrontation, then fatally shot the unarmed kid who very reasonably feared what this racist nut might have in store for him.

The outrage isn't that the legal system failed, it's that someone who seems culturally white is going to walk scot-free after killing an unarmed black teenager. The outrage is that despite the objective imbalances in power at play and all of the actions of Zimmerman, it was always really the dead kid's responsibility to prove that he wasn't somehow fundamentally dangerous to the world in general, and a grown, armed man in a car specifically.
4
Colin:

I agree that Zimmerman should be facing a sentencing hearing right now.

The problem is that there just wasn't sufficient evidence for the jury to consider the scenario where the "racist" man had the victim running in "fear." If there had been, the prosecutors may have been able to make a compelling case for murder two.

However, any decent prosecutor would have understood that that manslaughter was the absolute outlier as far as severity of charges go for a conviction based on the evidence. And they would have geared all their focus and presentation toward that charge. And if they had done so, they would have presented a much stronger case and may have gotten the conviction that this case called for.

Why they charged and pressed for murder two is beyond me. Other than the aforementioned political motivations. It completely sabotaged the state's case and the cynic in me thinks it was intentional.
5
"Stand your ground" had nothing to do with anything and as a juror, given the facts we know occurred, there really was no option but to acquit. George Zimmermann is most likely a miserable excuse for a human being, but following someone and verbally confronting them while carrying a licensed firearm is not a crime. There were no witnesses to who started the fight and, while in a situation he most certainly brought on himself, Zimmermann was likely acting within the bounds of self defense. The trial would have played out the same in any state, including Oregon. It has nothing to do with Florida, it has nothing to do with "stand your ground".

Trials are not meant to provide moral closure. They deal in facts, and there simply were not enough to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Martin had every right to be where he was but Zimmermann had every right to follow and verbally confront him. The question of the trial begins when the first punch was thrown, and we'll never know who did that. Sidewalk beatings can shatter skulls and put people in comas or worse. Whatever caused them to be in that situation, we'll never know, but they were in that situation and from a legal standpoint, he reasonably acted in self defense.

The prosecution did overreach as well. Proving murder was a huge task. They should have gone for manslaughter but they wanted the big verdict. It was an unfortunate decision.

There was a failure of the legal system here, but it wasn't the courts -- it was the police. Their shoddy, likely racially prejudiced investigation in the immediate aftermath left us with the dearth of facts we have. The same trial with the races switched likely would have ended the same, but the same incident with the races switched would have had a very different police response.
6
I look at a crowd of nearly all white people (judging by pictures) and I reflect upon Frederick Douglass:

“The general sentiment of mankind is that a man who will not fight for himself, when he has the means of doing so, is not worth being fought for by others, and this sentiment is just. For a man who does not value freedom for himself will never value it for others, or put himself to any inconvenience to gain it for others. Such a man, the world says, may lie down until he has sense enough to stand up. It is useless and cruel to put a man on his legs, if the next moment his head is to be brought against a curbstone.”

The black community doesn't seemed too concerned about yet another young black man dead. Is there any way we can move forward as a society? Can white people do anything to "fix" a community that seemingly doesn't care about on-going injustice perpetrated upon it?

When I think about the black community, and how it demonstrates it’s culture to Americans, I again think of Frederick Douglass:

“Men are so constituted that they derive their conviction of their own possibilities largely from the estimate formed of them by others. If nothing is expected of a people, that people will find it difficult to contradict that expectation.”

I imagine that if we met Trayvon Martin when he was a very young lad, our estimates of a young black child might very well be jail time, food stamps, and death from a bullet. This is reflected within their community as well: even the young Trayvon might have known his fate was sealed, that injustice during his life was guaranteed. And yet, the black community does not stand on its legs, it does not fight, at least not with the same veracity or vexation as previous generations have demanded.

Then I think, if I were a black man (well, as a man regardless of my skin color) if I and my community were repeatedly denied justice, and I faced an entire uphill battle for the smallest amount respect, then how would I organize and fight against such an overwhelming oppressive society? Again, I find answers within Frederick Douglass:

“In your hands that musket means liberty; and should your constitutional rights at the close of this war be denied, which in the nature of things, it cannot be, your brethren are safe while you have a Constitution which proclaims your right to keep and bear arms.”

It is a shame that tools of liberation are now the modern tools of their own oppression. If only they turned their weapons on those who oppress them, until then....
7
I was at the park and saw the demonstration.
By accident, really.
I just wonder why everyone is so damn sure this was a racist killing anyway? Are you able to read what was in the dumbass' heart when this went down?
I can only imagine the uproar if it was a white guy that killed the poor kid though.
8
Gee, glad to know we decided that murder isn't "murder" so much anymore. Consider: what was determined more or less could lead to the following;

If George Zimmerman is in some neighborhood, walking back from a store he recently purchased some snacks in, and there's some self-nominated neighborhood watch dick around who happens to dislike hispanics...
Said dick can call the cops, complain about how hispanics "always get away," and follow George, despite being told by dispatch repeatedly that he should definitely not give chase.
When George decides he's had enough of this fucking weirdo following him simply because he's hispanic, his actions toward neighborhood watch dick will give adequate reason for something that later isn't even able to be considered as manslaughter, for some reason. Because even though dick has a gun, he is somehow the victim.

The verdict happened because the defense was able to change the conversation. Good for them: hope I get them on my side if I ever do something entirely indefensible. But really: the law took a fucking dive, and to claim that this somehow proves "the system works" means you're not really paying attention.
9
"The black community doesn't seemed too concerned about yet another young black man dead."

You've got to be fucking kidding me.