Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Aftermath of Zimmerman Trial

Fallout from George Zimmerman Not Guilty Verdict

Even though the trial has ended, the news media cannot stop talking about the George Zimmerman trial. Though in the first couple of posts I exhibited disdain for the media circus surrounding the trial, I am actually delighted the news is still covering the case, because now they have gotten to what this trial really symbolized: race relations and gun control. The big topic after the “Not Guilty” verdict surrounded Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. According to the Washington Post, the “Stand Your Ground” law allows a person to “prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.” It basically means that a person is allowed to use deadly force (even if they could run away), even outside of their home, if they believe someone is trying to kill them or seriously harm them. Though Zimmerman’s defense did not argue his innocence based on this law, it is easy to make the connection between Martin’s murder and this piece of legislation. Bill Baxley, the Florida state representative who co-sponsored this law, defended “Stand Your Ground” on CNN this morning saying that this law should stay on the books because the Zimmerman trial was not about this law. 

I personally do not know how anyone can say there is no connection between Zimmerman’s trial and this law. Even though the defense did not bring it up in the courtroom, it is clear that if Zimmerman wanted to, he could have used this law as his defense. Zimmerman pursued a man who was not trying to invade his home or anyone else’s and killed him in “self-defense” after instigating the confrontation. Actually in thinking about it, it seems that because of “Stand Your Ground,” Zimmerman should have definitely been guilty. According to this law, a person has a right to stand their ground and not run away if they feel threatened even outside their home. Under this law, it seems like Martin would have had the right to confront Zimmerman if he felt threatened that Zimmerman was following him. It also appears that he would he been justified to be on top of Zimmerman and knock him against the concrete if he in fact implemented “Stand Your Ground.”
At least the Attorney General, Eric Holder, understands the excessive amount of violence this law could cause especially now that Zimmerman got acquitted of the charges. Even though Governor Scott of Florida convened a special session and deemed the “Stand Your Ground” law to be a just and good law, maybe the attorney general will do a better job of alerting the public to the idea that this law could cause more harm than good.

The other big development in the aftermath of the George Zimmerman trial involved one of the jurors. Anderson Cooper was able to secure an exclusive interview with one of the jurors (looks like Jeff Zucker will be able to get the ratings he could never obtain as head of NBC). During this interview, the juror, who did remain anonymous by sitting in the dark, spoke about some mundane things that happened during her time as a juror such as her relationship with the other jurors and how there was almost a hung jury because one of the jurors wanted to leave for personal reasons. The juror did make one interesting comment regarding the case. She told Cooper that she 100% believes that she and the other jurors made the right decision and that Zimmerman was not guilty. When Cooper tried to get her to elaborate, the juror further explained that though she did not think Zimmerman was right in his actions leading up to him killing Martin, she does believe that he was justified in pulling the trigger once the confrontation occurred. 

Ok I need to take a step back from this for a moment. I agree that based on the lame ass case the prosecution put on, I do not fault any of the jurors for acquitting Zimmerman; however, if the anonymous juror’s true reasoning for acquitting Zimmerman was her explanation above, then I am flabbergasted. That reason makes no sense to me (and I think to any sane person that reasoning would seem counterintuitive as well). If that is her reasoning, how is that different from a stalker/victim relationship. Let me explain....under this juror’s explanation, a stalker would be able to follow another individual. If that person felt threatened and decided to confront the stalker (which is legal under “Stand Your Ground”), the stalker would then be justified to kill the person he stalked because he felt in danger by the confrontation. I feel like I have fallen down the rabbit hole.

At least the other jurors seemed to have better reasons to acquit Zimmerman. After this interview, four out of the five other jurors released a statement saying that the juror on Anderson Cooper 360 did not speak for the group.

It has been five days since the verdict and already so much has happen. It will be interesting to see where this goes next. Until next time…

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