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.