Okay, so here’s the deal: I often write notes before my current-event-related posts to the effect of, “I don’t like writing about politics, but the one thing burned my biscuits so badly that I need to write a blog post about it.” or whatever. I have realized this isn’t exactly true, and thus there will be no more caveats of that nature.
So, having said that…let’s talk about this Martin/Zimmerman fiasco.
I’m not going to tell you my opinion on this issue as it truly, truly doesn’t matter. What I do want to comment on is the apparent misunderstanding about how the American system of trial by jury works.
Juries exist to decide if, based on presented evidence, a person is guilty of the crime(s) with which they are being charged. They do not exist to exact vengeance upon someone, nor to force their own moral standards on the rest of the court. Their one job is to make a decision concerning the evidence given and criminal charges.
In the United States, in case you were unaware or conveniently forgot, those being charged are innocent until proven guilty. This means that the burden of proof falls on the prosecution. In this case, George Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter (source). That means that, unless the prosecution was able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Zimmerman had approached Martin with the intent to harm or kill him, he would be considered innocent of the crimes with which he was charged.
No one has questioned that Zimmerman killed Martin. In fact, Zimmerman admitted to killing Martin. He claimed self-defense, the prosecution claimed otherwise. The prosecution was then responsible to prove that he killed Martin maliciously rather than in defense.
The jury had to decide whether Zimmerman was guilt of the charges the prosecution laid against him. They were not deciding if Zimmerman had killed Martin, if Zimmerman was racist, or if Zimmerman deserved the punishment that would be given presuming he was found guilty. They were deciding if, considering the evidence provided to them, there was reasonable doubt concerning the allegation of second-degree murder and manslaughter. Apparently, there was.
So, please stop picking on the jury. Stop picking on the court. I don’t know what happened to Trayvon Martin that night and I have no idea if Zimmerman had malicious intent. But, what I do know is that, using the system that our government has provided for us, the jury made a decision based on the evidence was given. And that’s all that can be asked of them.