In Florida this week as the announcement came that a jury had found George Zimmerman not guilty of the murder of Trayvon Martin, Facebook and Twitter, as well as some streets, exploded.
This has been a polarizing issue from the beginning, and the nation’s first black president has not helped. In fact with his statement “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”” and with his Justice Department making noise about filing federal civil rights charges, this Administration has only served to pour fuel on an already explosive situation. All of this before the case even came to trial. After Florida police determined there was not sufficient evidence the prosecute Zimmerman, Obama’s Justice Department sent federal investigators to Florida. We found this week that the Justice Department also used federal funds (a.k.a. taxpayer’s money) to finance protests clamoring for Zimmerman’s arrest.
Not that our media have helped. NBC was caught editing the audio recording expressly for the purpose of making George Zimmerman (a man, by the way, with his own multi-ethnic background) sound like a white racist. We were constantly subjected to pictures of a young 12-year-old Trayvon, who was substantially different than the actual 17-year-old. The media didn’t tell us that earlier in the evening, Trayvon Martin apparently had tried to buy a “blunt,” or a small cigar filled with marijuana or that Skittles and Arizona Watermelon iced tea are used to make an urban drug drink called “Lean Purple.”
Don’t get me wrong. None of that means that Trayvon Martin deserved to die. Nor did any of that, if true, give George Zimmerman the right or responsibility to pursue Martin, especially after the police told him not to.
But we’re not getting the whole story, and emotions are being manipulated.
In the end, the Florida court found that there was not sufficient evidence to convict Zimmerman. Some legal experts suggest that the prosecution was overreaching with the charge of 2nd Degree Murder or the later move for manslaughter. Could Zimmerman have been convicted on a lesser charge? Perhaps.
Let’s be clear. There are no winners in this case. Yes, George Zimmerman was told he was “free to go.”
Do any of us really believe he’ll ever be “free” again? He still faces the possibility of a civil suit. That’s if he survives the death threats surfacing on Twitter.
The news is full of the typical suspects making their typical outrageous statements just as it is full of armchair jurists and prosecutors telling us what went wrong (or right).
But, what do I do when I have African-American friends on Facebook stating that they fear for their life because of the verdict?
It would be easy for me to say to them that they’re being silly. That they have nothing to worry about. But I can’t do that. I’m not an African-American woman (although I will admit to having played one on some automated political surveys last fall).
But, I’m not in their position. I don’t have their perspective. Their fear is very real. The anger is real. I can’t deny that.
There is no happy ending. No clean ending to this story. A 17-year-old is needlessly dead; a family is without their son.
Likewise, the court of public opinion will always consider George Zimmerman to be guilty.
Is he? I don’t know. The court says no.
But what we know for certain is that the media and to a large part the Administration is guilty as sin for taking a tragic situation and exploiting it into a media circus.
And worse. We watched.