Please keep an open mind as you watch the George Zimmerman Trayvon Martin trial live on HLN

George Zimmerman, whose fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin has begun and you can watch the whole thing live on Headline News. Set your recorder or watch it unfold as it happens. The network puts its broadcast on "pause" during breaks, so you won't miss a thing.

However, allow me to ask you to be cautious while watching  this.

1. Don't pay any attention to the network's commentators during the breaks about what they think is important, or

George Zimmerman (left), Trayvon Martin (right)

George Zimmerman (left), Trayvon Martin (right)

explaining what is going on. Put yourself in the place of the jurors, who have been instructed by the judge not to listen to anyone else discuss the case, to ignore anything you see or read on TV, the internet or any recording device. The jurors won't have outside help in making up your mind; nor should you.

2. Respect the jury's verdict. Even if you listen to every last word of evidence, you are not in the courtroom and you will not be sitting in on the jury's deliberations. You may disagree with the verdict. But if our  system of justice is to work, we have to respect the jury's decision. I may have been the only columnist in the nation, make that the world, who did not comment on the O.J. Simpson verdict. That's not because I didn't have a private opinion, but I kept my opinion to myself.

3. Learn some interesting facts and details about how our criminal justice system works. It's real and it's fascinating. And it can be far removed from what you see on TV series.

4. Please keep an open mind. Whatever your politics, whatever your ideology, whatever your race, please do not prejudge before you see the evidence.

5. Pray that justice is done.

Order my new historical novel, Madness: The War of 1812, from Amazon 

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