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Opinion

Opinion

Editorial: Verdict is in

The jury has done its job in a widely debated Florida shooting case. It’s time for the media and the nation to move forward.

July 16, 2013

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A Florida jury has reached its decision in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, but, for better or worse, this case will continue to reverberate across the nation.

After hearing what was described as “wildly conflicting” testimony about the events that led to Martin’s death, a jury of six women decided it didn’t have enough evidence to convict defendant George Zimmerman of any wrongdoing. In addition to the obvious loss of 17-year-old Trayvon, the notoriety of this trial will have a long-lasting impact on the Martin family. Although he now is free, Zimmerman also will draw continued focus and scrutiny.

It seems likely that many cases similar to the one in Florida are handled by local authorities with little national attention. This case gained notoriety not only because it involved a black teen and a Hispanic man, but because it attracted the attention of groups and individuals who sought to use it to make a broader point about racism in America. That attention was further heightened by national media outlets, including several television networks that chose to offer gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Zimmerman trial.

Martin’s death was a tragedy, perhaps a tragedy that signals a broader problem of racial bias in the nation’s law enforcement system. Unfortunately, conflicting testimony and evidence in this trial makes it difficult to draw broad conclusions.

Supporters of Zimmerman and the Martin family will continue to hold differing views about the verdict, but the jury that weighed the conflicting evidence has reached a decision. It may not be the final word on this tragic case, but the nation should accept the verdict and move forward.

Comments

Brock Masters 9 months ago

weren't ^^^^^ introduced.

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Mixolydian 9 months ago

Can we just all go back to the simpler times of judging people based on their income?

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Steve Jacob 9 months ago

I did not follow the case before the trial, but when on the second day the one witness that saw any of the fight said Martin was on top of Zimmerman hitting him, the trial was over and had no idea how this went to trial.

As the one person on CNN who was on the jury said, Zimmerman should not have gotten out of his truck after calling 911, but his heart was in the right place and Martin probably threw the first punch.

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fmrl 9 months ago

We have reached a point now where the majority of Americans no longer consider the mainstream media to be credible.

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cowboy 9 months ago

I find it disgusting that all the respectable closet racists are asking the country to accept the verdict and move on. A black victim of a wannabe vigilante acquitted by a group of southern white women. I am quite surprised there has not been a greater uproar i.e. riots or disturbances. That speaks well of the community. I would not be near as gracious had someone murdered my son for walking with skittles.

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oneeye_wilbur 9 months ago

The lawyers picked the jury!

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Bryan Moore 9 months ago

The real issue here has never been race. The issue is the gun laws. In Florida all that is required is "perceived" danger to use deadly force. This law makes it where if you don't like someone just get them to a secluded place where there are no witnesses and shoot them and then whack yourself about the head and body with a something that will leave a mark and say "they attacked me and I feared for my life" so I shot them. As long as they are dead your story is all that is needed to walk free. You can start the altercation and if you are not the Billy BA you thought you were and it goes bad just shoot the other person, you were "in fear". This law literally makes the winner of a no witness life and death struggle the righteous party because it is only their story that is heard.

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fmrl 9 months ago

It is just disgusting how the mainstream media focuses attention on a case like this while there are hundreds of cases at any one time that are of greater importance. You will never see a report on black-on-white crime which is epidemic and race based. Look at the Duke lacrosse rape story for example which turned out to be false. Fewer than 10 black women are raped yearly by white men while there are over 30,000 thousand reported rapes yearly of white women by black men. The msm will never report these Justice Department statistics. There is an entire industry for Sharpton and many others who never miss an opportunity to tell blacks that they are victims. This does them no good at all.

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mags_and_k 9 months ago

The verdict is the only one that could have been reached. It has NOTHING to do with racial profiling or anything else. What is put in question is Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law. Period. Zimmerman was in fear for his life at the moment Martin was on top of him beating him and smashing his head into the pavement. All evidence led to the fact Zimmerman felt his life was in danger and took action to save himself. Under Florida law he was within his rights.

Change the law, don't punish or pass judment on those forced to uphold the law. All evidence brought to court supported Zimmerman's right to defend himself in whatever means he had. Agree or disagree, every one needs to stop making it what it was not. Sad story indeed. Sad loss of a young life. But Florida Stand Your Ground law is all anyone should be questioning/judging at this time.

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Ray Parker 9 months ago

Revealing the content of their character, a group of black youths beat, stomped, and pistol-whipped a Hispanic man near Patterson Park Sunday while saying, "This is for Trayvon." A 34-year-old white man walking to a bus stop in Milwaukee, WI Sunday evening was beaten and kicked by a dozen black teens “for Trayvon.” While police retreated leaving vehicles trapped by a violent mob, white filmmaker Christian Hartsock was beaten and kicked at a Zimmerman acquittal riot in Oakland, CA, to the utter disinterest of police and nearby news media. These are a racist hate crimes. Where is the DOJ? Meanwhile, we now know that Martin was a dangerous, aggressive, violent drug dealer and junkie and burglar and vandal who was kicked out of his high school. The Skittles and Arizona Watermelon Fruit Juice Cocktail drink he carried that night are ingredients that, when mixed with dextromethorphan (DXM) cough syrup, create “Lean”, a concocted high which can cause psychosis and aggression over the longer term. Martin’s liver showed damage consistent with DXM abuse, confirming he was capable and likely to conduct a violent, deadly attack on Zimmerman.

Lean ingredients

Lean ingredients by parkay

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Pastor_Bedtime 9 months ago

I posted this on the other thread and I'll repeat myself here: I'm sure you Zimmerman supporters out there would have a different reaction if it were you, or your offspring on the receiving end of unwarranted scrutiny, harassment, interference or impedance while peaceably conducting your or their own business ~ whatever that may be ~ by a neighborhood busybody with control issues and a loaded gun. And unfortunately, this verdict may very likely embolden fellow low-information gun-packing vigilantes ~ would-be Wyatt Earps ~ looking to take back the streets by accosting anyone they decide to single out, no matter the reason. And if their perceived authority is questioned or their orders ignored, deadly force is permitted.

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Joe Hyde 9 months ago

If neighborhood watch George Zimmerman had complied with the police dispatcher's order to stay in his vehicle but try to keep the suspicious person in sight until marked units arrived, within minutes Trayvon Martin would have undergone an ordinary field interrogation by uniformed officers and found to be a legitimate neighborhood visitor: a teenager walking back to his buddy's house after buying himself a can of ice tea and a bag of Skittles.

If Zimmerman had just stayed in his car, done as he was told by police when he phoned in the report! But no: his ambition, his ego, and that heat he was packing made him deaf to the dispatcher's command. Result? He approaches Martin on foot, in the dark, closes the range and spooks Martin into a defensive reaction, then he kills the kid when the fight he provoked goes against him.

I do NOT understand the logic of this not guilty verdict. Boy, am I glad I don't live in Florida. A jury finding like this puts in jeopardy the life of every pedestrian visiting a neighborhood in which he/she does not reside.

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seebarginn 9 months ago

I must have missed something in the last year or so, because I don't recall the activities of the USA and its citizens grinding to a screeching halt because of this trial. In fact, no tragedy has ever had that effect on this country--not even the JFK assassination or 9-11. What I hear in the insistence on "accepting the verdict and moving forward" is an effort to shut down dialogue on the trial itself and its wider implications, and I say "Hell, no" to that stupid and dangerous perspective.

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5thStPhoggers 9 months ago

Neighborhood Watch means you WATCH! Then you call 911. It doesn't mean you follow someone, with a gun, force a confrontation and then shoot somebody when you're getting your ass kicked. Did the jury consider that Trayvon may have feared for his life or feared serious bodily harm? Does he not have the right to "stand his ground?" I guess old' George took care of answering those questions by killing the only other person who really knows what happened. And, because of that, the jury believed his story . No way he should get off scot free. If the roles had been reversed, the investigation wouldn't have been botched, Trayvon would've been jailed immediately, the jury wouldn't have believed his story and he would've been convicted. And George gets to keep his gun. Insanity-doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different outcome. Karma-doing the same thing again and again and getting yours.

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 9 months ago

The Constitution Second Amendment says "A well-refluated milieia"

That is what it says.

This self-apointed vigilante got out of his car with a loaded deadly weapon with the intent of stalking his prejudices, a young black man wearing ha hoodie and deliberately intending to confront him.

The Second amendment says "a well-regulated milieia."

A confrontation occured and the young black man is dead. The intent of Geroge Zimmerman was to kill anyone he in his wisdom that was a threat to break into a home.

The Second Amendment says "A well-regulated militia>"

George Zimmerman created this situation, in violation of the Constitution of the United States.

It says "a well-regulated militia"

He is guilty of violating the Constitution, the civil rights of an unarmed teenager.

He should be in prison for causing this event, whatever you want to call it.

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jhawkinsf 9 months ago

This was a highly publicized trial. Despite that, I was unable to watch the entire trial. I didn't have the opportunity to hear every word, see every facial expression. I didn't hear all the arguments made by the various experts. Most important, I saw none of voir dire, when pre-existing bias would be eliminated by defense, prosecution as well as by the court itself. In other words, despite the fact that much of this trial has been open to us all by way of the media, not all of it has been.

At this point in time, absent significant additional information, I'm unwilling to substitute my judgement for that of the jury precisely because they had access to significantly more information than I had access to.

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btsflk 9 months ago

This unfortunate situation has facets connected to racism.

Why are people buying guns and getting concealed carry permits in record numbers? Many are realizing that whites are no longer the majority in this country and afraid darker skinned electees may treat whites like rich white men have, in the past, treated non-whites. They are scared.

Ditto with efforts at voter supression. Past efforts have made it easier for minorities and the disenfranchised (poor) to vote and look what happened. A semi-black president. Voter supression is an effort to put the genie back in the bottle.

Custer's last stand?

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tomatogrower 9 months ago

Here's the video that Mr. Pitts is referring to. If you did this experiment over and over in different cities, the results would be the same. Would Zimmerman have followed a white kid in a hoodie? Black men are getting pulled over all the time, only because they are Black. It's their reality, so why do you question it? In large cities, they have a hard time getting a cab. I always think a cabbie's Karma will catch up with them when they are robbed by a white guy. But the white guy will probably be able to bargain down to a misdemeanor, unlike the black man. I used to work with a woman who is a well educated, professional Black woman. She was enjoying herself on vacation two different times, and was told by some white people she should get a job. So, Blacks should work 24/7, and never take a vacation. Black men should never take a taxi, but never drive a car. Granted, Martin's parents probably thought life had changed, so they didn't teach him to shuffle and say yessir and nosir when a creepy guy in a car is following him, but they were wrong. Make sure you teach your boys to run to the closest house and call the police, instead of being macho. Girls know to do this, but guys get a bit cocky.

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Steven Gaudreau 9 months ago

I meant confront Zimmerman.

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Steven Gaudreau 9 months ago

Hey bts, who said Zimmerman accosted Martin? Undisputed evidence proved, based on phone calls and upheld in court, that Martin had a four minute window to walk home instead of waiting around to confront Martin. Did you know Zimmerman mentored black youths? Did you know Zimmerman dated a black girl? These are all facts. This tragedy was not about race. Don't believe everything you hear on tv.

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ChuckFInster 9 months ago

Selective outrage brought to you by the media. Take the emotion out of this case and it should be pretty clear the correct verdict was reached.

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boiled 9 months ago

This was a tragedy for everyone. Unfortunately some have been using this to promote their agenda. In the end, for me at least, it succeeded in putting media bias and incompetence under the white hot spotlight. The state of the media is despicable, right up to local media. The KC star? I don't now nor would I ever pick it up.

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grammaddy 9 months ago

I bet if every member of every minority in this country suddenly purchased a firearm, there would be some common sense gun control.

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btsflk 9 months ago

Hmmmmm, this sounds like Georgie's brother's advice for everyone to take a deep breath and step back. You mean like his brother did(n't)?

I heard over and over about Georgie acting in self defense. I believe a teen ager walking alone at night when accosted by a stranger, has a right to self defense also. But I never heard one word about Travon acting in self defense, seems only Georgie had that right.

As for misinformation concerning the facts, the facts will never be known, we only hear one side of the story. The other side was silenced. I guess how incensed one becomes over media coverage depends on what side of which story one is on. Although I believe media coverage is excessive on most everthing, it's another result of corporate control. Big business, they all have to be there first with the best coverage. Don't expect it to change.

Of course this has elements of racism, as well as gun control.

We should all pack, giving us the right to bully and insult others, and should they resist, we can stand our ground, and shoot them. Guess the one with the gun has the right to stand their ground. If they both have guns???

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FastEddy 9 months ago

Martin’s death was a tragedy, perhaps a tragedy that signals a broader problem of racial bias in the nation’s law enforcement system. Unfortunately, conflicting testimony and evidence in this trial makes it difficult to draw broad conclusions.

As I stated in the Pitts opinion piece, this is the not a case to study for any perceived racial bias in the legal system. The available evidence clearly supported Zimmerman's story and "not guilty" was the correct verdict given the evidence. The media is to blame for making this a national issue with their false reporting and flat out misinformation concerning the facts. This editorial correctly advises to "accept the verdict and move forward".

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