There are a few lessons to be drawn from the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case in Florida, but not nearly so many as every wandering mind in America seems to think.
“Hard cases make bad law” is a legal maxim which dates back to 1842. It is as true today as it was then. Cases with a great deal of publicity, strident opinion, and generous misrepresentation of facts give people with no stake in the case a vehicle to push irrelevant social or political agendas. They do it by warping the law so that the next poor bastard who has an ordinary case gets the shaft.
So to every person who says that the not guilty verdict in Florida proves that:
(a) There is Justice in America, and I knew all along that he was innocent,
(b) There is No Justice in America and everybody knows that he is guilty, guilty, guilty,
I have an epiphany for you.
Just for you.
Are you ready?
Here it is:
You are the product of the bad educational system, you are overly suggestible or you are just damn dumb.
This shooting is one entry on the ledger, one piece of violence among lots and lots and lots of pieces of violence which we have ignored while we have been looking down a tunnel at this one.
In this particular case, a jury heard all the legal evidence in a case which was well-controlled by a judge who was not hunting headlines. The jury applied the law to facts. They were the only people who had the power to determine the facts. I have no idea how I would have voted had I been on that jury. I wasn’t there. I didn’t hear the evidence.
A couple of people who I pray perceive my epiphany (see above) are Al Sharpton and Michael Moore. Mind you, I really like Michael Moore. The last political rally I attended was one of his, and it was really kickin’.
They are sponsoring “Justice for Trayvon” rallies all across America. One goal is to urge the United States Department of Justice to prosecute Zimmerman for a civil rights violation and thereby get, well, “justice for Trayvon.”
Sorry, guys, you’re not going to get “justice for Trayvon.” Since Cain whacked Abel, no homicide victim has ever received justice. They are dead. Maybe their family will get something in the way of restitution or compensation, but don’t count on it, and if they do, even that is not “justice.” The deceased is still deceased. In my belief system, they get eternal justice no matter what, but you, me, the Department of Justice, Al Sharpton and Walt Disney have nothing to do with it.
Here’s another bit of news: Dealing with people charged or convicted of crimes is a very pragmatic affair. Seldom do police or prosecutors become wounded by the lack of justice and now seek to restore the cosmic balance. Rather, we want to undo the harm to the extent we can, provide a negative consequence to deter people from committing crimes in the future and put the really bad people somewhere that the population upon which they can commit crimes is limited to other really bad people.
But justice? Nobody knows how.
So rally on! The First Amendment, sacred in my heart, says that you can. But don’t be dumb about it. Rally for “We need to do XYZ differently.” Don’t pretend you’re doing justice.
Florida’s so-called “stand your ground” statute was not invoked in this case. It was tried as a straight self-defense case. I’m sure that there are four people down in Florida are bothered all to hell that Stevie Wonder won’t appear there until they change their statute.
Well, I won’t go to New York until they change a whole bunch of theirs. So there.
Does anybody care? Didn’t think so.
Why, you may wonder, is the Second Amendment community NOT praising Zimmerman for successfully “defending himself.” That one is easy to answer: It’s because gun people know that Zimmerman is an idiot. He was a desperado wannabe, the kind of pistolero who who gets a stiffie when he watches Tombstone.
This doesn’t have a whole lot to do with the self-defense, but it does have a lot to do with the responsibility which goes hand-in-hand with the right of a citizen to carry arms. Just as the Second Amendment recognizes a pre-existing right to self-defense and right to arm oneself for self-defense, so does it incorporate the solemn responsibility to avoid unnecessary conflict. And any conflict which you can avoid with a net reduction in harm to people should be avoided.
Several minutes before the shooting, Zimmerman called 911 and reported Martin as a possibly dangerous person worthy of attention by the police. Maybe he was right and maybe he was wrong, that doesn’t matter for what he did next. Oh, it also doesn’t matter that the dispatcher told him to stay away. If a person carries a firearm, they should not have to be told to avoid a confrontation.
Zimmerman had perceived Martin as a threat. Therefore, there was a potential for conflict. As long as Zimmerman had a firearm, any conflict in which he engaged could be a lethal event. Absent an unavoidable threat to life, permitting that conflict to occur was reprehensible and inexcusable. It may not have been illegal, but it still was WRONG.
Simply put, Zimmerman is not a person who can be trusted with a firearm. He has proved that he is a dangerous idiot.
This nation keeps breaking Rule Number One: “Keep your eye on the ball.”
“The Ball” here is the amount of violence in society. It is the ever-increasing prison population and the influence of drugs. And it is the cowardice and laziness which keep citizens from dealing with any of that. It is so much easier to watch MSNBC or CNN or FoxNews and enjoy your flavor of indignation. Then, you can pretend that you’re doing something useful without ever leaving home.
No, prancing around singing songs and slinging signs are not “useful.”
Wow, we are gullible.