Prosecutors and defense attorneys continue questioning prospective jurors in the Second Degree Murder case against George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. Clips of the process have appeared on news channels and if I was facing a jury trial, I would be contemplating life in prison, my innocence notwithstanding.
Like many things handed down to us more than 2 centuries ago, trial by a jury of your peers has become as meaningless as it is dangerous. When our current jury system was first conceived, it was thought to be not only a benefit to the accused but a check on the judiciary. Most people back then were farmers or shop keepers of similar backgrounds whose lives were more alike than they were different. Black people were still thought of in the same vein as furniture.
A great many of us today would be hard-pressed to find 12 people in a jury pool who were both similar to ourselves in any meaningful way and were unable to avoid jury duty. Questions asked by prospective jurors revealed an ingrained ignorance of the law, an inability to process information from the 24-hour news feed and dogmatic predispositions (prejudice).
One lady concluded that Trayvon Martin must have gotten in with a bad crowd because of pictures of guns and pot-smoking on his phone. Never mind that that information was released by Zimmerman's defense attorney was later retracted as false. Never mind that it doesn't matter if the victim was a white priest or a black prostitute. Another woman said that Martin must've been out looking for trouble, never mind that he was walking down the street with an iced tea and Skittles while George Zimmerman was cruising the neighborhood with a 9 Millimeter semi-automatic gun in his pocket.
One deep thinker commented on one of my posts that Martin should have called the police, just as did Zimmerman. While being a clever adaptation of the theme, "The black guy is always responsible for getting shot", it makes no more sense than any of the others.
Zimmerman had all the time in the world to make his call, the incident only began after he called 9-1-1. Martin, as any other teen-aged boy would, thought that he could out run, out-wit or out fight the weird guy following him. It is not in a teen-aged boy's DNA to call the police because he is being followed, especially not when he's talking to his girlfriend on his cell phone.
According to Sanford, FL police, Martin's death was "ultimately avoidable by Zimmerman, if Zimmerman had remained in his vehicle and awaited the arrival of law enforcement..." Why is that so difficult to understand? Why should it matter if Martin was white, black, Chinese or Chasidic (religious Jew)? Why should it matter if he was on suspension from school, smoked pot or was addicted to Skittles? He was a teen-aged American kid walking down the street of an American town with a can of iced tea and bag of candy.
That's not, however the way George Zimmerman saw it. In his words Zimmerman called Martin a "real suspicious guy" and said that "he looks like he's up to no good or he's on drugs". George Zimmerman had drawn some damning conclusions based on NO INFORMATION WHATSOEVER and it's reasonable to extrapolate from Zimmerman's words to 9-1-1 that he had formed some intent in his mind before he got out of his truck, against the advice of police.
It's amazing how people who normally expend little to no mental energy going about their lives are racking their brains to rationalize that an unarmed teenager is responsible for his own death. I can't imagine that one of them would feel the same way if it were their teenager.
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