Friday, July 19, 2013

Justice for Trayvon

"Justice for Trayvon" has been done. If you don't like the verdict, that does not mean it wasn't justice.

I waited until the verdict was in before commenting on George Zimmerman's trial for killing Trayvon Martin. I have been on a couple of juries and know that a lot goes on in a courtroom that isn't well reflected in news reporting. In this case, I further felt that left-leaning news outlets were whipping up the story, playing on racial tensions and politically correct memes, and in general being a bunch of jerks. I figured I would have a clearer picture of the case after the jury spoke. It looked to me like Zimmerman was not guilty of what he was charged with. He looked guilty of first degree stupidity maybe, not murder, but I was not sitting in the jury box.

The media circus was the least of it. I sensed, or suspected, a political overtone to the prosecution. If  the case was as insubstantial as it appeared to be, then it looked to me as if the defendant was being railroaded. That impression increased as the case progressed.  It smelled to me like a show trial; they used to have those in the USSR. They are out of place in the USA. I point to several troubling aspects:

If the above is true and as reported, and if it is as it seems, it stinks to high heaven. It smells of unequal justice and pandering.  Early indications were that the state would not bring the case to trial because the case it had was weak. But that would never do, so people got busy stirring the pot. You can find further details of the matter here and here.

I think justice was served despite it all. The jurors properly performed their civic role and duty, even if no one else did. Trayvon Martin's killer faced the law and the case failed. It looks awfully like this prosecution would not have taken place without extraordinary efforts to assure there would be a trial, which is worrisome.

The impression of a politically driven prosecution is only strengthened by events in the trial's aftermath. What seems like the whole of the political left is howling that justice was not done. There is talk at the highest levels of government about going after Zimmerman again.

A further disturbing aspect of all this is the left's willingness to whip up the emotions of the unthinking by portraying Zimmerman as a fiend. To read some accounts in the press, you would think the very vapors of hell swirl around him.

In an unusual statement for a prosecutor to make, Florida prosecutor Angela Corey has publicly called Zimmerman a murderer, this after his acquittal. That claim seems to rest on a new principle in law, that one is not presumed innocent even after being found not guilty. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's DOJ has set up an email tip line for informants, hoping to turn up something the DOJ can somehow use to charge Zimmerman with a federal hate crime.

The whole story just gets weirder the longer you follow it. Here we have high officials, together with a chorus in the press, demonizing the defendant, questioning the workings of the justice system and looking to get Zimmerman some other way, because the verdict of "not guilty" did not suit them.

"Justice for Trayvon" has been done. If you don't like the verdict, that does not mean it wasn't justice. What happened looks very bad, an unarmed black youth got shot, an event that fits in very well with an emotional narrative long held by some, and deeply felt. Tragic the event surely was, but sometimes a shooting is only a shooting and the ordinary rules of justice apply, or should.

A hopeful aspect I see in all this: The longer the witch hunt goes on, the more chance for the facts of the case to be aired to the public. The facts will not sustain the leftist narrative, which rests on emotion and past grievances. The jury really had no other option open to them, given the facts of the case and a just reading of the laws. In that most people will eventually recognize the truth even when it conflicts with what they want to think, the more airing this case gets the better.

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