Yes, this IS really a behind-the-scenes question, in addition to whether Racism was an Influence in the Trial. Personally, I think this was just one more case of the Media taking a case–a Tug-of-War, between two Families perhaps–and creating a Circus. Just think of all the Participants that we literally all know quite intimately, as a result? Kathleen Parker’s column, “TV cameras in courtrooms can influence reality”, in the Northwest Florida Daily News, points-out how nonsensical Court Cameras can be: http://www.nwfdailynews.com/opinion/columns/kathleen-parker/kathleen-parker-tv-cameras-in-courtrooms-can-influence-reality-1.171370?ot=hmg.PrintPageLayout.ot&print=nophoto.
Ms. Parker is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post, and I believe that she presents this situation quite well. Most of us have, and will, never spoken at a Press Conference or participate in such a very serious situation, and with all of the cameras in the Courtroom. To me, it is analogous to a Congressional Hearing where our Congressmen seem to be distracted by the actual participants who are present, as they are truly focused on, and speaking to, the folks-back-home through the TV cameras. How do my nails look?
Race was not a factor in this Trial…much! Well, the Judge Debra Nelson had advised the Attorneys, for both the State and Mr. Zimmerman, that Race was not to be introduced into the case; however, it could be discussed in context. Well, think again!
The Miami Herald polled it’s readers about whether the numerous texts and pictures on Mr. Martin’s cell phone should have been released to the Internet. The Defense Team had released the material before it asked the Judge to introduce them as evidence, and they were turned-down. The damage, however, had already been done. So, the Herald’s readers, in Mr. Martin’s hometown–approximately 250 miles from Sanford–where George Zimmerman lives, agreed that the pictures and texts should have been released–95% did! What kind of “home field advantage” is that?
The real culprit in this Tragedy is the State of Florida and it’s Ridiculous Gun Laws. The State has more concealed weapons than any other, and the Stand Your Ground “Law” (an EXCUSE, really). was first passed in the Sunshine State. Then, the NRA introduced it, virtually as a word-for-word template, into a number of others. Even the Courts do not seem to know how to interpret our Gun Laws and, thus, Judges feel their hands are tied; but, meanwhile, outright killers go free, while apparent innocents are jailed. But, although George Zimmerman has been found to be “Not Guilty”, there sure is very little evidence, at least in my opinion, that shows him to be “Innocent”.
Initially, I wanted to Post a piece that that would not include Race, except maybe fleetingly; however, as I thought about it, there is no possible way to separate This Case and Racism. White People who may seriously believe that they are not Racists, refer to Blacks as “Those People”. The Miami Herald poll demonstrated this, and I believe the Juror who was interviewed on TV (and shown many times), claimed that Mr. Zimmerman was just “doing his job”. What job?
Lastly, if you recall Judge Nelson’s Instructions to the Jury, under Florida Law, there is almost no way that the Jury could have returned a Guilty Verdict. A person in a confrontation, has every right to protect themselves–even though they provoked the incident. Ready to move down here, huh? Remember that many People have at least some Bigotry, perhaps against other Races, and their biases can come into play–even though they truly believe that they are acting honestly. I do expect to Post a piece soon which will describe the R-Word–Racism.
This Case might not be over yet. There have been enough irregularities in the handling of this case–such as the forensic evidence which was not collected at the Crime Site and the 44 days before Mr. Zimmerman was arrested–that the Department of Justice is considering bringing Civil Charges. So, if DOJ goes that route–either hang on tight…or be ready to pull the plug on your TV.
NOTE: Some might believe that I have demonstrated Bigotry since I prefer to use the term “Blacks”, rather than African-Americans; however, I have a couple of reasons for doing so. I have had a number of Black Clients, Friends and Colleagues who are from the Caribbean or South America. They chose not to be referred to as African-American, perhaps because they did not grow-up in the U.S.. Likewise, I know a blue-eyed, blond-haired White Lady from Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia), who jokes about truly being an African-American–which she is!