On Saturday, July 13th, George Zimmerman was found not guilty of all charges in the death of Trayvon Martin. Even though the judge stated that the jury could charge Zimmerman with a lesser count of manslaughter, when all was said and done, they felt that he had not been culpable in the crime (due to the fact he was acting in self defense) to be charged with any count. As news spread, protesters and supporters of George Zimmerman both took the streets to express their emotions on the attack. From outrage to joy, the verdict sure did spark a lot of emotion, and it led to the NAACP demanding Zimmerman be tried for violating Trayvon Martin’s rights by the Department of Justice.
As I sat reading the coverage online, I couldn’t help but think how divisive this trial has become. It is neither Zimmerman or Martin’s fault that this divide exists, its been there since slavery, but the case put a magnifying glass on the issue. Most of the comments that I read were divided along racial lines, with those who were not African American siding with Zimmerman and those who were siding with Martin’s family. As they fought on forums, blogs, and comment sections of news articles, one thing was clear. No matter how much we like to think we live in a post-racial society, we don’t. These people were continuing to use race as a divisive tool. I grant you there were some who really were just outraged or overjoyed by the verdict who were expressing their opinion, but these individuals were few and far between.
They weren’t the only ones though. The media immediately began to speculate whether or not the Department of Justice would press its own set of charges against Zimmerman for violating the rights of Trayvon Martin. One by one, articles emerged that said that this was highly probable, and many who wanted to see Zimmerman convicted seemed happy at the potential news. They said that they hoped he was tried again, and some even became mean and angry in their comments.
To me, I think that they should realize that, even if they think Zimmerman was wrongfully acquitted, the American justice system did what it does. It gave Zimmerman a trial in front of a jury of his peers who decided his fate. The jurors were in isolation, as to not be influenced by the media, and they, in their best efforts found Zimmerman not guilty. Just because the issue involved a crime between two individuals of different races doesn’t mean the federal government needs to get involved though. After all, where was the outcry that Casey Anthony violated Caylee Anthony’s rights when she was found not guilty in 2008? I didn’t even hear the media hint anything about a possible Department of Justice charge, and this was because the crime that committed happened between a mother and daughter who were of the same race. The only reason this possibility is being mentioned is due to the fact that the shooting occurred between two individuals of different races.
So where do we go from here? The D.O.J. is going to decide on whether Zimmerman will be tried or not, and no one knows what the outcome of their decision will be. In the meantime, we have learned, as a nation, that there is a lot of work to do to make us a country that is less racially divided. If we can find a way to do this, we may be able to learn more from this tragic incident than we could have ever imagined.
May God Bless America,
The Generation X Conservative