And so the verdict on the Martin-Zimmerman case has come in. Mr. Zimmerman has been declared Not Guilty of the Murder 2 – Manslaughter charge. And whlle I can sit on and near social networks and the commentary that will be more plentiful than the usual Sunday chatter – I think its good to get out something a bit more sound. And hopefully get a few of you to think about the law and how we come across cultural decisions as a matter of character and country.
First off, the legal issue at play that’s making folks stand on the ends of their hairs. Mr. Zimmerman being found Not Guilty. Now, this means simply, that of the Murder 2 – Manslaughter charge, there was not sufficient evidence by the prosecutor for the jury to agree with that charge. It does not mean that Mr Zimmerman didn’t kill Mr. Martin. It meant that there was not enough proof for the specific charge that was levied – that Mr Zimmerman maliciously meant to injure or kill Mr. Martin.
Now, it was proven that Mr. Zimmerman killed Mr. Martin. There was a sense of fear by both men. And that fear led to an altercation that was instigated by Mr. Zimmerman. The depth of that struggle was not able to be determined in complete detail. And it was for this part of the case that Mr. Zimmerman gets the nod towards why he was found Not Guilty. There was enough doubt placed towards the idea of intent to hurt that it made most of the case for the defense.
Followers of this case are hurt and challenged by the ruling. Hearing Not Guilty sounds like Mr. Zimmerman gets off on this. He doesn’t. Mr. Zimmerman will have to respond to the potential of a civil trial, the attempts on his life, and the character re-building he will have to undergo. If culture doesn’t see active growth points from him, its very well that the psychological toll will do much more damage than spending time behind bars would.
To those followers, I’d urge a patient outlook towards this. While a guilty verdict would have felt redemptive for Mr. Martin and the many young men who have lost their lives in race-challenged contexts. It would not redeem Mr. Martin’s life. By all accounts, Mr. Martin lived as he should. He had a mostly respectful outlook towards his parents and other community leaders. Even the trace amounts of marjuana found in his system spark nothing more than a kid that’s had contact with the challenges of his age. If anything, his death brings forth the conversation that minority groups have forgotten how to have. How do we address issues of in-equality in justice, punishment, and public thought? To this end, it will be half a generation, and probably a few more similar contexts before we come to that kind of answer.
Personally, I’m glad that the case is over. I do think that Mr. Zimmerman could have been subjected to more charges, thereby giving the jury an easier means to color their final opinion. But, I also understand the degrees of law when it comes to murder and self-defense cases. This is hard for many people to get. It feels like law is supposed to be cut and dry, but our founding fathers made a sensible positional play for the judicial system. There is law, interpretation of the law, and the justice the law executes. There wasn’t enough to execute Mr Zimmerman on the emotion many might feel. There was not a sufficient enough description of the events to guide the intrepretation of the law to a different ending.
Yes, Mr. Zimmerman finds himself not guilty of the charge. But, for Mr. Martin, redemption has to come not from our emotions wanting justice, but for the law clearly speaking towards the wrongs that are clearly seen by a jury in a court of law.
It might not feel good. But, this is the law that keeps us tethered to this land.