Incomplete Ethics Observations On George Zimmerman’s Acquittal

Just et me finish all this, and then I might be able to wade more deeply into the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman mess....

Just et me finish all this, and then I might be able to wade more deeply into the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman mess….

When my stomach is feeling less queasy, I will hope to set out to undertake the Augean task of assigning the various honors and indictments arising from the apparently concluded Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman Ethics Trainwreck. For now, however, in the wake of the jury’s most proper acquittal,  here are some briefer observations:

  • There was no way that Zimmerman could have been fairly and properly found guilty based on the evidence presented, and the fact that 1) the case was brought to trial by prosecutors and 2) the judge allowed it to go to the jury after the prosecution had failed its burden of proof, showed unethical conduct by prosecutors and, quite possibly, bias by the judge.
  • The jury was heroic, unless they were truly ignorant of all the distracting and misleading efforts from the media to condemn Zimmerman based on a political agenda, rather than the facts of the actual case. They had reason to fear for their lives, and reason to believe that a not guilty verdict would spark violence. It would have been easy, if wrong, for them to manufacture reasonable doubt as a utilitarian compromise, to sacrifice Zimmerman’s life and a just verdict to the safety of others and themselves. Of course, if they really were as ignorant of current events and the case as jurors in such high-profile trials usually have to be to get through voir dire, then perhaps the jury wasn’t courageous. In that case, it was just a good jury that did its duty well, and that makes them heroes too. They honored the jury system and our democacy, despite all the efforts to pollute it, some from very high places indeed.
  • Defense attorney Mark O’Mara is right. The case would not have been brought to trial if George Zimmerman was black. It is the overwhelming irony of this awful episode that it was about race in a very different way than was reported. This was the wrongful persecution of a white man (and not even all that white, but designated as a “white Hispanic’ to fit a cynical political narrative) by a coalition of law enforcement officials, public figures, the news media politicians, and race-grievance hucksters determined to turn a an ambiguous tragedy into a societal tipping point.
  • O’Mara was also right in his criticism of the news media, which could cite this episode as its low point in  incompetence and bias if there weren’t so many other equally awful episodes. It fanned the flames of racial distrust; it misreported the facts; it blatantly sought to demonize Zimmerman and portray Martin as an angelic innocent. Right to the end, it was still misreporting the case; for example, NPR repeatedly cited Florida’s “Stand Your Ground law” as a prime element of the defense’s case. It was not an element at all.
  • Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump’s  statement at a press conference after Zimmerman’s acquittal that “Trayvon Martin will forever remain in the annals of history next to Medgar Evers and Emmett Till as symbols for the fight for equal justice for all,” was contemptible, irresponsible, and unfair. There is no question that Till and Evers were murdered specifically because they were black, because of racial prejudice. There is no evidence whatsoever, and has never been any, that Martin’s death was motivated by anything similar. Crump’s statement intentionally distorts the facts, insults the jury, and slanders Zimmerman. Horrible.
  • The Left still doesn’t get it, and apparently doesn’t comprehend the criminal justice system either. Check out the fascinating post and comments here, where Barry Deutsch, a.k.a. Ampersand, holds forth. There is literally not one legally valid argument for Zimmerman’s prosecution or conviction, but the predominant one, also echoed in the comments here, is that “It’s good that there was a trial.” The theory is that Zimmerman at very least set in motion the chain of events that led to Martin’s death, and that the appearance of justice is served by showing that a black man’s death at the hands of another will be taken seriously. Wrong. Justice is never served by a show trial, and that is exactly what this argument advocates. Zimmerman was foolish. He was paranoid. He used bad judgment, and he provoked a young man into making some mistakes of his own, but he did not break any laws. Yet the adamant crowd seeking Zimmerman’s punishment still cite imaginary “facts” that were debunked long ago. Zimmerman was stalking Martin. Martin was killed for “walking while black.” Zimmerman profiled Martin. Zimmerman attacked Martin. None of this is or ever was provable….but the Left so wants it to be true.
  • Those seeking to protest the jury verdict are ethically incoherent. Americans should want a fair trial…if anything, what occurred was a fair result from an unfair trial. Protesting when a jury doesn’t condemn your favorite bogey-man is wasteful and an abuse of freedom of assembly. Are the protesters really in favor of a system where activists, the media and the government can fingers a suspect and lock him up without a trial or the presentation of evidence? Apparently. The protesters are ridiculous.

The train may still be rolling. We may get yet violence from the silly protests, and there are a host of candidates from the pool of celebrities, media figure and politicians likely to make asinine and irresponsible comments. I am not optimistic.


Sources: USA Today, New York Times, Huffington Post, Daily Mail

45 thoughts on “Incomplete Ethics Observations On George Zimmerman’s Acquittal

  1. Not that anything should be humorous about this whole trial, but did anyone catch the Stepford Wives reaction by the Prosecuting Attorneys? It was like they must mainlined some Valium.. Scared the crap out of me.

    Would like to think this circus is over, but the ethics of those in power will be put to the test.

  2. Jack, you might be happy to know that this liberal (a.k.a. me) has never, throughout this entire train wreck, thought that they had enough evidence for a guilty verdict. I actually get it. This time.

  3. This is the Red State revenge for the OJ verdict.

    Both were infuriatingly irksome to the opposing party; narrowly legal in the “letter not the spirit” sense of the law; and wildly at odds with decency.

    Jack, you really must stop this silly “if he was white” line of argument. There is no racial equivalency between minority and majority cultures, and in particular between black and white in this culture; you simply can’t substitute one variable for the other and expect logical connections to obtain.

    Minorities always understand majority perspectives far better than majorities understand minority perspectives. It’s obvious: why should I, as a white male in the majority (for now), understand what it’s like to be female, or black, or Russian, or handicapped, or any other minority trait in the US of A culture? It is commonsense, but you can check it by talking to whites in Nigeria, Peruvians in Japan, or women in professional sports. The phrase “if George Zimmerman was black” is as logically valid as “if pigs could fly.” He isn’t, and there’s a world of difference. And from a false premise, any logical argument obtains.

    Here’s the story line: An armed person stalks an unarmed person. A death results. No charge is made for weeks. When it is, many people believe the unarmed person is the aggressor, and the one with the gun was defending himself. A jury agrees.

    Add that this happened in Florida, not Wisconsin.

    Translate Version A with the white person armed, and the black person unarmed.
    Translate Version B with the black person armed, and the white person unarmed.

    And you think the two versions are equivalent? Equally common? Equally likely in this society? I’m sorry, but men just don’t bite dogs nearly as often.

    Not racial? Sure, and neither was the OJ acquittal. The bloody glove obviously proved OJ didn’t do it.

    I’m not saying the verdicts weren’t both narrowly legal – but let’s not confuse a technical verdict with a much broader sense of outrage that justice was taken for a terrible ride.

    • “The Red State Revenge for OJ Simpson?”
      What a terrible analogy. Simpson’s wife and beau were deliberately targeted and killed, by whoever did it (personally, I think it was OJ). Had Zimmerman intended murder, he could have walked right up to Martin without saying “Boo,” without phoning it in to the police, and pulled the trigger.
      Obviously, that’s not what happened.

      • Jack, the analogy applies only where I said it did, not to all aspects of the case. Of course, we all know OJ did it – no argument there. My black friends will admit it too, quite easily.

        But at least it was personal. OJ was guilty as sin and should have been convicted. But a crime of passion is, humanly, understandable – we have to be held accountable for letting our passions get the better of us. But Zimmerman didn’t know Trayvon. It was purely impersonal – a case of aggravated profiling, based on perceptions, fears, and overly aggressive pursuit.

        I’ll hardly argue one is legally more or less defensible than the other. But I find that seeking trouble, flirting with trouble by pursuing unarmed perfect strangers with gun in hand, is a lot socially scarier.

        We all have trouble with relationships; we are not supposed to act out. But we all like to think we can live in a society where you can go to the convenience store for a candy and a coke, and not get killed. George Zimmerman can relate to that, because that’s why he joined his neighborhood watch – because of precisely that kind of fear.

        The tragedy was that he became the instrument of the very evil that he was trying to prevent. And he should have been held accountable for that, just as much as OJ should have been held accountable for what he did.

        • Then they’re being as silly as you are. The only parallel is the fact that both cases were racially charged, which they became AFTER the events themselves.

          Ginned up, I’d add, by the news media.

    • Here’s one thought about the “racial” angle, as perpetuated by the Career Racists like Al (taxes? Libel judgment?) Sharpton and Jesse (Baby Mama on the payroll of my “non-profit”) Jackson. First, let’s ignore the fact (just as they do) that 94% of blacks are murdered by other blacks. But let me ask you: when a white commits a heinous crime against a black, what charge is often suggested? That would “hate crime.” Now, when Blacks commit equally heinous acts against whites, how often is “hate crime” suggested as a charge? In fact, can you name any blacks who have been charged with hate crimes for acts against whites? I know of none. So, in one way, you are correct. There is no racial equivalency between minority and majority culture, at least, when it comes to hate crimes. Apparently, they can not be committed by blacks.

  4. A conviction would have been unsafe.

    There are a large number of cases though where self-defence was far more probable, and convictions were secured.


    And some where it’s far less, but a conviction may well be unlikely in view of this caselaw.

  5. I’ve been checking Salon as I usually do the past couple of days, but I can’t even look at it now without wanting to vomit. I’ve never in my life seen such blatant race-baiting, though I am at least grateful that in my generation it is starting to fall on deaf ears… Much like with so many other issues, it seems like the ‘grown-ups’ are fighting proxy wars for the old conflicts of the ’60s and ’70s, while the rest of us just roll our eyes and return to our lives. People call us kids apathetic, but I just think we refuse to partake in culture wars when we weren’t even alive to see the beginning.

    Blacks and whites alike are appalled that their children are divided by status rather than race. Evangelicals are afraid of their children accepting gays as friends, neighbors, and fellow congregants. Doves are confused by our acceptance of the MIC, while hawks are offended by our disdain for adventurism. Put simply, the world is turning, and as long as people choose to cling to the old paradigms and conflicts, they will be left behind.

    • Personally, I would have tried a case for manslaughter rather than murder. There’s no evidence that Z ‘stalked and killed’ M, but Z obviously escalated the situation, and drew a lethal weapon to deal with an unarmed attacker. But they tried the case for murder, with no evidence of intent, and that is why they failed.

      • My late thirties son totally bought into the media analysis of the Zimmerman case. He was livid about it when Zimmerman hadn’t been charged. I told him let’s see how it plays out in court. That’s what courts are for. I’m not going to check with him now that a verdict is in. But as does Chase, my son does call out baby-boomers for, in his opinion, still re-fighting the Vietnam War, abortion, the Clintons, etc. ad nauseum. My point is simply that I’m not sure thirty and twenty year olds are necessarily too smart to buy the lefty media’s BS. I’d be delighted if they turn out to be. That would be great.

  6. Charles Green, I don’t know where you live, but it obviously isn’t in one of the larger cities. If it is, you must live in a sterile, protected environment, such as the one that the Reverend Wright resides in as a gift from his congregation. As a refugee – for the sake of survival – from Chicago’s south side shooting gallery I have a totally different perspective.

    For several years I was on a steering committee sponsored by the Chicago Police Department – a forerunner to their CAPS (Chicago Alternative Police Program) program. We were able to keep the local gangs and crime under control in the beginning because we all knew if we didn’t become the eyes and ears of the police department, as I believe George Zimmerman was doing, our neighborhood would deteriorate (which it eventually did, from apathy). And, as a younger woman, I watched carefully and on occasion, physically chased young males I saw doing harm – I could do so without the fear of being beaten or shot at that time. Since police can’t be everywhere or see everything, the difference between a safe community and crime-ridden one is the vigilance of the residents and the cooperation with the police.

    I also want to point out to you that the “candy and a coke” he went to purchase were in fact Skittles and watermelon juice cocktail, two of the three ingredients for creating, with the addition of Robitussin, a street drink called Lean or Purple Drank.

    • Wikipedia has a different combo of ingredients, unless kids are using any type of sugar candy and soda to do this. At best, though, this is a guess that he was going to do this. And, even if it was his intention, I guess my response would be “why does that matter?” In any event, thanks for the note on purple drank. Yet another piece of evidence that I am completely out of touch with today’s youth.

      • It only matters to the extent that it shows the initial dishonest framing of the confrontation as being between a harmless, innocent child and an adult. The childish photo of Martin was used to gin up the lynch mob, along with the idea that he was just carrying “candy.” The race-agitators makes symbolic use of the Skittles, and when the drug implications came out, the response was “what difference does it make?”

        • Ugh Jack. And what does it difference does it make then that Zimmerman had three prior arrests for violence? I thought justice was supposed to be blind to anything but the events of that day. Lots of kids drink soda and eat candy. I have two of the same ingredients to make purple drank in my purse btw. But I don’t think anybody would jump to that conclusion if my bag was searched.

            • Having evidence of burglary tools and jewelry in your backpack is prejudicial. Having evidence of candy and soda only is evidence of being a kid. It’s not prejudicial of anything since huge percentages of kids do that every day. If Martin had sudafed on him, then you could make that leap,

              • That’s right, and most legal analysts are predicting exactly that. The civil suit will play out with similar national attention, and Zimmerman’s team will be forced to trash Martin’s character and deal with the likelihood that he was the attacker. It would be unusually wise and restrained parents who could resist the lure of a big damages pay-out for the good of the country and their son’s reputation—we’ll see.

                • Well, unusually wise and restrained for THIS family, at any rate.

                  I mean, the mother had trademarked her son’s name/likeness – what do YOU think the odds are that she’ll refrain?

                  If Zimmerman wanted to be a massive ass in retaliation for a civil suit, I’d suggest a counter-claim for emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of income due to the notoriety he has gained.

                  But that will only happen if his lawyers were in a fraternity in law school whose motto was “Murum aries attigit”.

              • I’m not arguing that Martin was a sweet choir boy — see other threads where I acknowledge his past. I’m talking about candy and soda. I don’t want people assuming that those two things on a kid (items that are purchased daily for no other high than a sugar high) are evidence of crime. That’s just ridiculous.

                  • The most likely motives of any kid after smoking pot would be the munchies. Quite consistent with Skittles and a soda, and far from suspicious.

  7. Sorry, I thought the above would be a photo and not a ink. However, the link works and represents my thoughts on the matter.

    Jack said, “… but wow, the stuff I’m reading on Facebook is jaw dropping.” I’m guessing my FB post last night meant that criteria?

  8. I’m mostly on board with you here, but you’ve missed something, and you’re far from the only one: that Zimmerman followed Martin is contested by Zimmerman, whose account is consistent with the evidence.

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