Sometimes S… Happens: The Trayvon Martin Shooting and the Zimmerman Verdict

Leave a comment

Criminal trials concern the guilt or innocence of a person who has broken state or federal law. The defendant is considered to be innocent until proven guilty. The prosecution’s responsibility is to convince the jury through the evidence at hand that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. A verdict of “not-guilty” does not imply innocence; it means that the jury did not find there was evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to convict the defendant.

This is basic law that the liberals who claim that the George Zimmerman verdict was about racism miss. The issue is not the race of the defendant or of Tra

George Zimmerman

George Zimmerman (Photo credit: ChrisWaldeck)

yvon. Martin. The issue is not whether the killing of Mr. Martin is a tragedy–obviously it is a tragedy. A young man’s life was taken–that is always a tragedy whether it occurs in China, England, the United States–anywhere. Two paths crossed that led to disaster and pain for the family of the deceased. Mr. Zimmerman, who does not seem to be a sociopath, has a conscience–and he will have to live with what he did the rest of his life. The issue in the trial was whether Zimmerman met the criteria for Florida’s “Stand Your Ground Law.” The defense failed to show this, and thus the only responsible verdict for the jury to reach is “not-guilty.” In a different state with different laws Mr. Zimmerman may have been justly charged. Given Florida’s law, the trial of George Zimmerman became a Soviet-style show trial that thankfully did not lead to a miscarriage of justice.

Personally I find Mr. Zimmerman’s actions before the shooting overly-aggressive and reckless. He kept following Mr. Martin when the police told him to stop. He left his car, thus making the situation more volatile. I think he realizes now that his actions were wrong–but if it is true, as multiple witnesses said, that Mr. Martin (who was not the saint the media portrayed him to be) began to pummel Mr. Zimmerman so that Mr. Zimmerman believed his life to be in danger, Zimmerman’s firing the fatal shot was not legally wrong.

The mainstream media’s race-baiting, and in one network, an edited audio track, are unethical actions that only stir dangerous passions. Mr. Sharpton’s usual agitation came into play–and his stirring up the pot of hatred arguably led to the brutal murder of an Orthodox Jewish man in New York a number of years ago. I would not have thought any differently about the case if it had been a white man that Mr. Zimmerman killed. The left is truly racist–in its labeling of Mr. Zimmerman as a “white Hispanic,” and in its continual exploitation of African Americans for its own agenda.

The left is obsessed with race–they see it everywhere, in every incident involving an African American. The American left treats African-Americans like children. Instead of allowing self-improvement, liberals supported a nanny state that only made African Americans more dependent. Liberals support abortion which, as a percentage of race, kills more of the African-American unborn than in any other group. Some wealthy liberals enjoy their gated communities while the poor blacks they have exploited to gain more power suffer and die under incentive-stifling liberal programs. By stirring up African Americans in cases such as the Martin case, liberals fuel the racial divisions that help keep them in power. Liberal academics get a good feeling of superiority in supporting “social justice” (i.e., socialism and the automatic assumption of guilt of anyone in a Zimmerman-like case).

Mr. Obama’s behavior has been particularly poor. His taking a side in a legal case was unethical. People complained when Mr. Nixon declared Charles Manson guilty–now liberals prefer to support Mr. Obama’s irresponsible actions. If the rumor is true that justice department officials engaged in anti-Zimmerman protests, most likely under at least tacit White House approval, the Administration has engaged in obstruction of justice.

Now there is a cry among liberals to try Mr. Zimmerman under federal civil rights laws. That may well happen–and then the result of the show trial might be a subversion of justice.

Sometimes s… happens. As a former EMT, I know how easy it is to be on a bad call–many little things add up to disaster. Police officers tell me the same thing. The Zimmerman shooting of Mr. Martin is similar–too many bad things happened, bad decisions on both sides, that led to a horrific tragedy. The Martin family can take action under civil law if they wish, but a federal criminal trial would mean double jeopardy (and while I understand why the laws were passed, it is cases like this that are politicized that reveal the injustice of those laws).

Mr. Zimmerman may have had character flaws that led him to a tragic decision to keep pursuingĀ  a young man in his neighborhood. But his decisions, as bad as they were, were not violations of Florida law. Thus, the jury did the just and honest thing. Bless them for not yielding to public and media pressure.

Evil as Utter Irrationality

4 Comments

St. Augustine of Hippo as pictured during the ...

St. Augustine of Hippo as pictured during the Renaissance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The shootings at Aurora, Colorado reveal the irrationality of evil acts. I do not know whether the shooter is mentally ill–that will be determined in a psychiatric evaluation–but in the U.S. legal system he is held responsible if he knew the difference between right and wrong when he committed his crimes. What strikes me about this tragedy is its utter senselessness. This reminds me of Augustine’s notion of evil–that turning away from God, one’s highest good, is a supremely irrational act. It is as irrational as Esau’s giving up his birthright for a bowl of soup. Killing one’s fellow human beings (apart from situations of self-defense) is ultimately irrational, even if a killer goes through a reasoning process in planning a murder or murders. Sometimes it is difficult to find the causal chain of reasoning that a person used to justify and plan a murder. I cannot understand what the motive of the Aurora shooter could be. Whitman at the Texas tower–I can understand his actions because a tumor was pressing on the emotional centers of his brain, causing the rage that led him to shoot multiple people from the tower at the University of Texas. In the Colorado case, there seems to be no reason at all for the man to shoot and kill twelve human beings and wound 59 others. Perhaps he was angry with dropping out of graduate school, but how many people in that theater had anything to do with his graduate school career? A few years ago a graduate student killed his adviser, and that, while an evil act, makes some sense. The current situation makes no sense, and reveals evil at its most irrational and dehumanizing. If the shooter did this for attention, he is like a child wanting attention who pushes his baby sister in the water–what the shooter did was childish in the most negative sense. The sheer spitefulness, selfishness, and pride of evil are clear–“I’m going to get the attention I crave by murdering people”). Other people are only “living tools” (Aristotle’s definition of a slave) to the spree killer. They are used to satisfy his own selfish goals. Conscience by this stage has been seared “as with a hot iron,” to use St. Paul’s terminology.

These factors mean that trying to make sense of the incident, at least in terms of the murderer’s motivation, is only helpful in a trial setting. Saying that he was a “loner” is irrelevant, since many people are loners who never commit crimes. My head spins when I think about this case and how stupid human evil ultimately is. What needs to be done is to pray for the victims killed and their families, pray that the wounded will fully recover, and pray that even in a fallen world, an event like this will not be repeated.