The Zimmerman Case: I’m Not Sure We’re Entitled To An Opinion

Before nodding off to sleep last night, I checked in with Facebook.

“Not Guilty!”

“Please pray for these poor parents!” (insert picture of Trayvon’s parents)

“Don’t worry. Justice will eventually be served!”

“Finally! A not guilty verdict!”

There were status updates for the verdict. There were status updates against the verdict. But many of my Facebook friends had an opinion and they weren’t shy about voicing it.

But me? I don’t have an opinion. I don’t feel like we are entitled to an opinion. Except for George Zimmerman, that is. Because he was the only person who lived to tell about it. Which is incredibly sad. Because I would love to hear Trayvon Martin’s side of the story.

So, here’s what I/we know. A young man was walking through a neighborhood. Another man, concerned for the safety of his neighborhood (or so he says) , deemed the situation suspicious. An altercation ensued. A death occurred.

That’s it. That’s all we know. Because every eye-witness account is contradictory. Because there isn’t conclusive evidence either way. Because every family member and every friend of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin thinks their friend or family member is innocent.

We could listen to evidence and opinion and conjecture all day/week/year long. But we’d never hear the real story, what really happened. Even if we heard it from Zimmerman and Martin themselves, we’d have to sift through their words to guess at whose version is the truth.

Sound bites on the nightly news. Op-ed pieces floating around the internet. We never get the whole story. We get sensational headlines. (Who even reads the entire article anymore?) We get biased interviews. We get rants and raves from attention seeking journalists, experts and by-standers.

I feel for the jurors. The incredible burden of finding the truth. Their task was beyond difficult and heart wrenching.

I feel for George Zimmerman if he indeed, feared for his life and felt he had to pull the trigger. A man is now dead at his hands. What a burden to bear for the rest of his life.

And I feel for Trayvon Martin and his family. A life cut short. A grieving family. Their burden is beyond comprehension for most of us.

Burdens all around.

But no opinion here.

I’m not sure we’re entitled to an opinion.

 

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “The Zimmerman Case: I’m Not Sure We’re Entitled To An Opinion

  1. I’m not sure about that, either. Just kinda sittin’ here this morning, unsure about everything. I didn’t think they had sufficient evidence to convict, though. That poor boy’s parents.

  2. Perfect.
    So sad. So intensely sad.

  3. My opinion: There’s reasonable doubt. That’s our justice system, the best in the world. I hope the masses learn, accept and respect the verdict and each other. And on that note, I like this article a whole lot. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/ct-met-schmich-0714-20130714,0,7944688.column. I agree with you we’ll never know the whole truth..the media just stirs up with sound bites. It seems like the news is all about making us angry these days rather than reporting the facts.

  4. Rob

    I have to agree with “My Odd Family”. I am a court watcher, and I spent as much time as I could spare watching the actual trial, which is quite a lot of time.

    Under Florida law, and the case put on by the Prosecution; that jury couldn’t come back with any other verdict because of reasonable doubt. There were definitely mistakes made by the Prosecution, not to mention disgraceful conduct when it came to providing the Defense with discovery.

    Has justice been served? Legally, yes; however, socially and morally is another question all together. I believe in equality, and equal justice under the law; but, I don’t think as a society we are quite there, yet.

    Some people want to avoid race in the equation, but I have to wonder if Zimmerman would have followed Trayvon Martin if he was a white teenager. Would Zimmerman have gotten out of his car if he didn’t have a concealed weapon? What if….

    I can’t imagine the pain that the Martin family has gone through; and with such dignity and grace – the outcome of the trial on adding to their grief.

    Zimmerman’s family has endured some pain and heartache of their own, but nothing compared to losing a child.

    I think it was a thoughtful jury, and they seemed to follow their jury instructions quite literally. They deserve respect for the difficult job they had before them. They considered the evidence and the law, in spite of the Prosecution’s play on emotions in the final minutes, and they came up with a verdict. That is our system.

    We have the best justice system in the world, but it is imperfect. If people in Florida are unhappy with their laws, they need to vote for legislators who share their values.

    Maybe you’re right, and we shouldn’t express our opinions. Thankfully, we live in a country where the law allows us to speak freely.

    The 24-hour talking heads? Well, it’s their job to be interesting, and even entertaining. We can take most of what they say with a grain of salt, if they are just expressing their opinions.

    I will join you in praying for the Martin family.

    (I’m sorry, I know I am long-winded. I need to learn to write shorter comments.)

  5. I also find these tragic events impossible to classify as anything but that – tragic for all involved, and no way really, ever, to know what happened.

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