The verdict is in for the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case. What did we learn?
- Being a vigilante is a dangerous hobby.
- Juvenile bravado can get you killed.
- Mark O’Mara is a hell of a defense attorney.
We also learned that the jury had no choice but to vote “not guilty.”
The prosecution didn’t prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt; Zimmerman’s defense team was more masterful in presentation, more adept at story-telling and more effective in cross-examination. Three aspects of the defense’s case were in the fore: When Police Detective Chris Serino testified that he found no significant inconsistencies in Zimmerman’s statements to police, as Juror B37 told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday night; when O’Mara mounted the life-size test dummy to demonstrate how Martin supposedly bashed Zimmerman’s head against the concrete, as Zimmerman claimed, and the most riveting - when Zimmerman neighbor John Good testified he’d seen a black man on top of a lighter-skinned man “just throwing down blows on the guy, MMA-style.”
Good’s testimony was earth-shattering. A most tragic case essentially was over after that, based on law.
As Harvard law school professor Alan Dershowitz said on CNN’s “State of the Union with Candy Crowley” on Sunday: “I think this is a fairly traditional case of self-defense. It’s a horrible tragedy. It reflects the racial divide in our society. There is no reason this young man should have been killed. Zimmerman may have been morally at fault for racially profiling and following him, but under the law of self-defense, if he was on bottom and he was having his head banged against the pavement and was in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily harm, he had the right to respond the way he did.”
That seems logical. Remember, Juror B37 also told Cooper that she believed Martin threw the first punch.
However, there is one issue in this case that’s similar to some of its predecessors to many in the black community: That is, Zimmerman was viewed as an outsider. That’s the source of much of this visceral outrage. If Zimmerman were named “Smith” and black, would there be mass protests nationwide? No way. The facts of life are these: Most black males in this country are killed by other black males within their own communities. Most of the assailants are between the ages of 15 and 34.
Why aren’t the protesters marching about that from San Francisco to New York? If NAACP president and CEO Ben Jealous employed even one-tenth of his unbridled passion and energy to black-on-black crime as he has to the Martin-Zimmerman case, perhaps we could accomplish something here.
Let’s not forget that even Rev. Jesse Jackson himself admitted to racial profiling. The year was 1993. The reverend shocked the world when he made this statement on stereotyping: “There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start to think about robbery and then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.”
So, let’s be real: Who’s fooling whom here.
Lastly, there’s one other thing: Knee-jerk critics who have compared Trayvon Martin to civil rights martyrs Emmett Till and Medgar Evers are simply disingenuous.
But, then again, we learned many disingenuous aspects about America during this case.