Many conservatives seem to think so. But are they letting leftists dictate their conclusion? Are they not guilty of the same rush to judgment that made liberals convict Zimmerman before the facts, and merely reacting to that injustice rather than to the actual elements of the case? Is it not possible that they are themselves victims of a toxic environment that polarizes all things racial?
It is a fact that many, if not most conservatives have already concluded that George Zimmerman is innocent of any crime in connection with Trayvon Martin’s death and should be acquitted if justice is to be served. Indeed, this opinion was formed long before the trial began as a reaction to the outcry of liberals that Zimmerman was guilty -- and guilty of being white – and that the crime was murder, and must be punished. But just because a lynch mob has formed to condemn Zimmerman in advance of the facts, does not mean one must conclude that Zimmerman is innocent of Trayvon Martin’s death.
The political melodrama that surrounds, and often overwhelms the judgments in this case reflects a culture war that has been roiling in this country for decades. It is a war in which the liberal ethos of “political correctness” requires that whites are bad and blacks are victims. Right-thinking individuals are justified in rejecting this poisonous standard. But in the interests of justice, the political melodrama should also not be allowed to obscure the reality of this trial: it is about the death of an unarmed 17-year-old, who was not a felon, who was on a neighborhood run to get Skittles, and whose life has been extinguished. Given that the young man was unarmed and that he inflicted very superficial injuries on his adversary during their scuffle, Zimmerman’s claim that he was in fear for his life has to be taken with a grain of salt, to say the least.
What we have learned through the process of the trial thus far is that the only surviving witness, Zimmerman, is not credible. He has lied on several revealing occasions. First about not having any money to post bail when he had $150,000 in his account. Second, about not being aware of the Stand Your Ground Law, when he had taken a class that discussed the law. Third, and most importantly, about Trayvon jumping out of the bushes to attack him -- because those bushes don’t exist. So, one has to ask, did he also lie about returning to his vehicle and that only then was he attacked? Or was he still following Trayvon, provoking the alleged attack?
Most disturbing to me is the interview Zimmerman gave to Sean Hannity before the trial began. Sean asked him if he regretted anything he did that night. He said no. Sean rephrased the question and asked him if there was anything he did that night that he would do differently. He said no. Then Sean asked him to explain why not. He said, “it was God’s plan.”
I thought to myself, even if I had been jumped and beaten until I was scared for my life as Zimmerman claims, now that I knew my victim was an unarmed 17-year-old with no criminal record, angry that I had followed him, wouldn’t I have had some second thoughts? Wouldn’t I have felt I should have phoned 911 from my vehicle and left it at that? Wouldn’t I have wished that I had been more careful with my firearm and aimed it away from his chest? Or not carried it at all that night? Wouldn’t I have been full of remorse that I had taken a man’s life?
Might it not be possible that the toxicity of the racial environment also affected Zimmerman so that he saw in Trayvon an image from the melodrama and not the actual young man who was walking in front of him? Might Travyon have been a victim of the same racially poisoned atmosphere then, as Zimmerman appears to be now?
We’ll never know. What really happened that night is buried with Trayvon Martin. We cannot hear both sides and split the difference or reject one and embrace the other. What we do know is that a young man who was unarmed and guiltless of any crime is dead. And shouldn’t there be some penalty to pay for that?
Here is what I think as a result of these reflections. The Stand Your Ground Law should be rewritten to apply only to home invasions since then it is clear that the intruder is the aggressor and the response is self-defense. Second, Neighborhood Watch guards should not be permitted to conceal and carry. If you are carrying a weapon it changes your attitude and can well lead you into dangerous situations (such as following someone who doesn’t want to be followed) that you would otherwise avoid. And worse it can lead you to take the life of someone who whatever he did, did not deserve to die.
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