Lance Scranton: A lesson from the trial of George Zimmerman
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.