I consider myself a Liberal with a capital “L.” I lean left. Far, far left. In my view, society has an absolute obligation to provide an adequate level of support and care for those who cannot provide it for themselves. I believe health care should be a right, not a privilege guaranteed only to those with the good fortune to have extraordinary wealth. I believe a woman’s body is her own and the state has no business telling her what to do with it. It is my sincere belief that no country, including the United States of America, has any business invading another one, especially under the pretext of some bizarre principle of preemptive protection. I am an advocate of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and would heartily endorse nationalizing pharmaceutical companies and health insurance.
Based on my “belief credentials,” you might expect that I would join in what appears to be a huge groundswell of liberals expressing outrage at the jury’s acquittal of George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin. You might expect to hear my voice among those who say our system of justice was manipulated to trivialize the death of a Black boy in favor of a Hispanic man. You might assume I would join the liberal hue and cry demanding that Federal civil rights charges be brought against Zimmerman If you expect and assume those things, you will be disappointed. With all its flaws and failings, I believe our judicial system is, at its core, built on solid principals and should be allowed to work as designed.
While I think Zimmerman is probably an aggressive racist, I don’t know that to be true. I don’t know what really happened that night when he shot Martin. I don’t know who screamed. I believe Zimmerman should not have followed Martin. I believe he should not have been carrying a gun. If Zimmerman hadn’t been carrying a gun, it’s possible he would have been the one who died. Or maybe nobody would have died. But I don’t know. But six women who were given the responsibility to listen to the evidence and make a determination of guilt or innocence made the call. They listened to every word of testimony. They were in the courtroom. Based on what they saw and heard, they found Zimmerman innocent.
I find offensive the calls for a Federal investigation of Zimmerman, the obvious purpose of which would be to “make him pay” for what is assumed to have been a race killing.
Don’t misunderstand. I didn’t like the verdict. I thought Zimmerman should have been punished for what he did; I thought he deserved to be imprisoned. But what I think doesn’t really matter at the end of the day. What matters is what the jury thought.
I actually believe in the concept that a person should be found guilty only if the jury believes, beyond reasonable doubt, the case made by the prosecution. If the State fails to prove its case to the jurors, who are presumed to be “reasonable persons,” beyond reasonable doubt, the jury is obligated to acquit the accused. And if that happens, the case should be closed. The State should not be permitted to manufacture other charges or to put a different slant on the matter with the objective of finding another way to put the accused behind bars.
For those who would accuse me of being willing to see justice go undone in this case, I would respond by saying “justice was done.” It just wasn’t done in a way that pleases me. And that’s OK, because the measure of justice is not whether it pleases me.
And for those who are calling the verdict unjust and who are calling for the State to pursue other charges against Zimmerman because the jury’s verdict didn’t go the way they wanted, let me ask this question: should we give like opportunities to persons convicted of crimes? Seriously, shouldn’t “justice” work both ways? If a person who is found innocent should be subjected to further prosecution because you didn’t like the verdict, shouldn’t a person who is found guilty have the same opportunities?
“Your Honor, the verdict in this case, which found me guilty of murder, did not meet my standards of righteousness, therefore I demand a do-over with a different jury, a different team of prosecutors, and a different charge; next time, let’s change the charge to failure to stop and render aid.” Obviously, this is ridiculous. So is the idea that the State should be permitted to use that tactic to pursue “justice” when the results of a trial are not satisfactory to the State.
Finally, to those who are calling for Zimmerman to be retried on different charges in order that Justice be served, ask yourselves if you would be calling for a retrial after you, personally, had been found innocent of charges levied against you. I believe the concept of double jeopardy should apply both to retrial for the same crime and to trumped up charges in lieu of prosecutorial success.