Lance Scranton: A lesson from the trial of George Zimmerman

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Lance Scranton

Justice means to deal with somebody or something fairly. This past week has seen an onslaught of differing views about the not guilty verdict of Floridian George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of murder and/or manslaughter. I followed the case with interest because of the tragedy, but also to monitor just how effectively our media informs us.

I’m not a news junkie, but I read most of my news and save opinion for the television shows. I suppose The Weekly Standard and National Review identify me as conservative, but I get just as much news from USA Today, The Daily Kos or The Huffington Post that inform my perspective on life in the United States.

What I hoped for from the beginning was that justice would be served on both sides of the tragic events that cost the life of a young man and put the life of another on hold for more than a year.

It’s too difficult to try and pinpoint with any accuracy the reported intentions of either man because the media portrayal of each was difficult to muddle through.

Trayvon Martin was young and George Zimmerman wasn’t much older on the fateful night that articulates more about our country than about justice. One side wants to blame guns and violating civil rights, while the other relied on presenting a case to prove that Zimmerman indeed was acting in self-defense.

The truth is that something ignorant and dangerous happened on a night when two people acted on stereotypes that went beyond race and caused a tragedy. When we see the world in terms that are too simplistic, we see our justice system as racist, or blame guns for people’s actions and think that acquittal means justification.

I’ve learned that first impressions are powerful but often incorrect and sometimes even dangerous.

At least, that’s what I think.

Comments

Brian Kotowski 1 year, 3 months ago

I too, am conservative, and encountered an excellent analysis at the liberal Slate: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/frame_game/2013/07/trayvon_martin_verdict_racism_hate_crimes_prosecution_and_other_overreactions.html Hard to argue with his characterization of Zimmerman as a reckless fool.

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Becky Plummer 1 year, 3 months ago

One could also conclude that you need to becareful who you get into a fight with on the street because they may be armed.

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Brian Kotowski 1 year, 3 months ago

They BOTH got in over their heads, and needlessly so. Neither one of them was doing anything wrong.

Zimmerman should never have left his vehicle. The police arrived about 60 seconds after he fired the shot. Had he let the cops handle it, the kid would be alive & GZ wouldn't have a target on his back. But he decided to be a hero, and both he & Martin instinctively assumed the worst about each other. One is dead, and the other will probably need to wear a bullet proof vest for the next decade.

The jury ruled correctly. And Zimmerman is an idiot, regardless.

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