Archive for July, 2013

Roxanne Jones, a former ESPN editor, wrote an article for CNN, (see
http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/09/opinion/jones-zimmerman-trial ) in which she said in part, “We should not have to wear a Trayvon T-shirt to an awards show or attend a pep rally to remind America that when an unarmed child is confronted and gunned down in the street by a grown man who’s trained to kill, that’s murder. End of story.”

No, not end of story. It’s not that simple. Yes, it’s killing, but not all killing is murder. Murder by definition is wrongful killing. If one is acting in self-defense, most societies, including ours, don’t find that wrongful, and so it is not murder. Whether Mr. Zimmerman was acting in self-defense is a question for the jury; if they think he was, they’ll find him not guilty. Mr. Zimmerman won’t get that benefit if the jury thinks he started the physical altercation with Martin, ie. if they think he assaulted Trayvon. But without witnesses to the beginning of the physical struggle, that will be hard to prove.

This is a tragic story. I feel terribly for Trayvon’s parents; nobody should have to bury their child. But given the evidence (or lack thereof) presented about who started the physical altercation, along with the uncertainty about who cried for help and the injuries Mr. Zimmerman suffered, it will be hard for a jury to see Zimmerman as not acting in self-defense and to convict him of 2nd degree murder. (Manslaughter might be a closer case here, but that’s not the point of this post.)

For those who think this case is strictly about race, I would direct them to the Aaron Hernandez case. That is another case of a Hispanic apparently killing a black man. I don’t see any similar sympathy directed toward the accused there. Too many people have viewed the Zimmerman case strictly through a racial lens. I The jury needs to stick to the facts and the law.


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