I have been watching the Zimmerman/Martin tale unfold. I am not a lawyer. However, I do know something about the process. Here is my opinion.
We don’t know what happened.
Secondly, there is a lot of emotion regarding what happened. Understandably so. I personally believe that race is still a big problem. However, at this point, a lot of the emotion around the assumption that Mr. Zimmerman considered race in his killing of Mr. Martin does not contribute to at this point to the adage, “innocent before proven guilty.”
Third, the emotion surrounding this case at this point, only serves to take us away from what really matters.
Courts have been established to only answer specific questions. In fact, when you are taught to write briefs of court decisions, you have to present the question that that particular court sets out to answer.
This provides some focus. In my mind, there are two questions to be answered.
The first one, did Mr. Zimmerman kill Mr. Martin in self-defense as defined by law.
The next question is contingent on the aforementioned question being answered negatively.
Did Mr. Zimmerman use race as a motivating factor in killing Mr. Martin.
It is not illegal for a person to be a racist. The First Amendment assures us of that fact. However, the Supreme Court in Wisconsin v. Mitchell upheld increasing sentencing based on racial discrimination. This was a 9-0 vote…yes even conservatives voted in favor of it.
Nothing else matters in terms of the justice system.
I am not advocating guilt or innocence of either Mr. Martin or Mr. Zimmerman. What I am trying to say is that we need to let the facts stand for themselves, and we frankly don’t know what happened. If you maintain that you do know what happened, you are not being completely honest with yourself. That, however, is understandable, just be aware of it.
The fact that Mr. Sharpton is calling for an escalation is unacceptable. So is the bounty that was placed on Mr. Zimmerman’s head. So is the tweeting of addresses. I call for all this to stop. We live in the day of CIVIL disobedience and the rule of law. I am not calling for any of the protests to stop, but this vigilantism has to stop. It will only hurt the progress of justice for minority violence.
I also call upon the media to stop sensationalist reporting. Mr. Zimmerman may be a monster, but at this point, we don’t know. It has come out that the Today Show, edited the Zimmerman 911 call to show that he said, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.” However, what really was said was as follows:
Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.
Dispatcher: OK, and this guy–is he black, white or Hispanic?
Zimmerman: He looks black.
This needs to stop.
It needs to be noted that prosecutors are “rated” on how many cases they win. If they don’t believe that they can’t win, they will not pursue charges against that individual. In this case, on the surface, that appears to be so. Is it possible that the prosecuting attorney is a racist? Yes. However, at this point, we don’t know.
The real issue that isn’t really being discussed is that according to the Bureau of Statistics is 2006, the Department of Justice said that 94% of all murders of black people were commited by black people. This is a travesty. This needs to stop. African Americans will not truly see equality until they stop this.