George Zimmerman is free. He is now free to return to his normal life. Recent polls show that the country is almost equally divided, with half believing that justice was done and half believing it was not.
Does the American judicial system achieve justice? Probably not, probably never. It is an imperfect system, made imperfect by the imperfect human beings who originally conceived it and the imperfect human beings who presently carry it out.
Justice should always be the goal. It should always be something aimed for. Justice should be desired by every good human being who walks this earth. Justice is something that exists in the vicinity of God.
Half the country believes that justice was not done in the George Zimmerman case and the evidence for that belief can be found in a silk-lined coffin buried six feet below the ground. There is no doubt that Trayvon Martin is dead and that he was killed by George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman was tried and found not guilty. All the rules of the criminal justice system have been applied, the justice cycle has ended and George Zimmerman has been found not guilty.
If your definition of justice is that one fairly goes through the judicial system, then the verdict is by default just, guilty or not guilty. But that definition, which many people have, would mean that the hundreds of convicted murderers that have been proven innocent and released from prison due to the work of the Innocence Project, had justice done when they were found guilty in a court of law. However, justice can never be done when an innocent person is found guilty. Thus the imperfect nature of the American criminal justice system. Imperfect in the sense that the stakes are made in terms of justice. Sometimes guilty people are set free and sometimes innocent people are convicted.
George Zimmerman was found to be not guilty by the Florida criminal justice system. The imperfect system does make mistakes and it is perfectly reasonable to consider that a mistake was made in this case. Perhaps a mistake was made, perhaps it was not. The prosecution in this case, is guilty, guilty of malfeasance. It must be noted and has been noted by a number of people whom I respect, that the prosecution did indeed do a very poor job. Perhaps the medical examiner is the best example. Was the M.E. prepped for his testimony? Obviously, not. In fact the medical examiner stated that he called the prosecutor’s office a week before he was to testify, to ask them what they were going to question him about and what pictures he should bring and be prepared to discuss. He said that they only spoke for 45 minutes and that very little was discussed. If you’ve heard the testimony of the medical examiner, then you must agree that he should be fired immediately. He was the antithesis of a professional.
The prosecution appeared to be unprepared and poorly organized. If they had done a better job, perhaps George Zimmerman would have been convicted. Of course, if Zimmerman had been convicted, it still doesn’t mean that true justice would have been done.
What I am basically saying here, is that there are two kinds of justice. One kind is true and absolute and that type of justice follows rules that are beyond those created by mere humans. The second type of justice strives to achieve the first type but calls its results “just” regardless of the outcome. All that must have been done is for the rules to have been followed. Right or wrong, innocent convicted, guilty go free, makes no difference as long as the rules were followed.
So in the Zimmerman case, depending on what type of justice you are describing, perhaps justice was done and then again perhaps not. We can look at this in a very complex way but then again we are more likely to lose our way in the sheer complexity and minutia that will then obscure our vision.
If we put this very simply, it comes down to this. Is it okay to shoot and kill someone so as not to lose a fight? To go along with that we must add those factors that are to be associated with combatants in a fight. The biggest of those, is fear. Is it okay to shoot and kill someone if you are afraid? Then we get to: how afraid? Is it okay to shoot them if you’re really, really afraid but not okay to shoot them if you’re just a little afraid?
We can of course make it much more complex. Like, is it okay to shoot someone if you’re really afraid and they throw the first punch but it’s not okay, if you’re really afraid but you throw the first punch? And from there if we consider other factors it just becomes exponentially more complicated. But let’s keep it simple: is it okay to shoot someone if you are losing a fight?
George Zimmerman was at least as responsible for starting this fight as Trayvon Martin. George Zimmerman, admittedly followed Trayvon Martin by car and on foot. Be reasonable people. If you do that to another person, when you finally confront that person, the one that you have been following through the darkness of the night, please expect to be confronting an angry, frightened human being.
And also remember, that it was your action of following that person, that caused that person to be frightened and angry. There’s your act of aggression.
The Florida Stand Your Ground law, is like a doorway to hell. To keep that doorway closed, everyone in Florida should automatically be licensed to carry a gun. If Trayvon Martin had a gun that night he might very well be alive today. But let’s forget Trayvon Martin and talk about Trayvon You. That’s you, in a situation like Trayvon Martin. That’s you walking down the street with no gun, either because you don’t have one or you forgot it at home or it’s in the shop getting repaired. It’s the night. There’s darkness. There is a misunderstanding. There is a confrontation of some sort. There does not have to be a fight. Perhaps you are walking through the darkness, and bump into a darkly cloaked figure. They think that you are a serial killer or a rapist. They are scared to death. You bump into them rather hard. Perhaps, though completely unintentionally, they were knocked to the ground and hit their head on a concrete sidewalk. Boom, they pull out their gun and shoot you.
I deliberately made that example slightly ludicrous, however you know what? It really could happen. It could happen to you or perhaps even worse to your child or mother or wife. It’s not at all ridiculous. Trayvon Martin simply walked to the store to get some skittles and something to drink. He probably didn’t need the skittles and he probably had something to drink at home. But being a teenager he went to the store to have some fun. He died on the way home. It was kind of just a big misunderstanding. But the Florida legal system said it was okay for George to kill Trayvon because George Zimmerman was afraid for his life.
I’m sending a call out to you men out there. Men who have really been in a fist fight. Now there’s lots of men who talk tough but they really aren’t tough and they’ve never been in a fight in their life. I’m not advocating fighting, I’m just suggesting that fighting is almost a part of growing up male. So for you fighters out there, did Zimmerman’s reaction in that fight remind you a little bit of a coward? Did the guy freak out when he got into a real-life fight? I mean he was fighting a kid, who just three weeks earlier was 16. Hey you adult guys out there. You 27 and older adult guys. You 27 and older adult guys who have been in fights. What are the chances that you kick the ass of a kid who was 16 three weeks ago and you outweigh by 50 pounds?
Perhaps more importantly, what are the chances of him beating you to death with only his fists? Was George Zimmerman’s life ever really in danger? I had to laugh when the defense attorney in his closing summation, said to the jury “Trayvon Martin was not unarmed. He was armed with a concrete sidewalk.” Well then I guess all of us are always armed with concrete sidewalks, paved driveways, brick walls, telephone poles, etc.
Right now everyone’s praising the defense team in the Zimmerman case. They sure enough won the battle with the prosecution. I’ll give them that. But that victory was sort of like the Green Bay Packers playing your seven-year-old sons’ peewee football team. I mean the Packers would win all right and the defense sure enough did beat the prosecution.
The Zimmerman defense team pulled it together and beat the “Peewee Prosecutors,” 35 to 0. However, should they play a real prosecuting team like the “Juan Martinez Maulers” I would expect them to lose and lose big time.
To Mark O’Mara (and may I also say ” top o’ the mornin’ to ya “) and to Don West I would like to conclude the following.
You were victorious over the least not the best.