One of the Zimmerman jurors now says that he “got away with murder.” Um, wasn’t that kind of your job, to keep that from happening?
Sean Hannity has been bashing President Obama for saying that he identifies with Trayvon Martin. But, as Jordan Chariton points out at Salon*, it’s Hannity who wants us to think of Obama when we think of Trayvon (and not in a good way):
“One development that might not have been so predictable, though, was the emergence of Fox personality Sean Hannity as not just a Zimmerman supporter, but an obsessive one who would adopt the cause as his own. I worked in cable news for years, including at Fox News. Sean Hannity’s coverage in the past year has been more than shocking, and has gone beyond his typical conservative bluster. It’s been dangerous.
“So, what’s the real reason behind Hannity’s impassioned defense of Zimmerman? I’d suggest he would have never covered the story as hard if not for one man, for one cause: taking down Barack Obama. Hannity’s short-term mission is to rile up the base against Obama for the 2014 midterms, and with the last few months’ scandal-palooza dying down, using a tragedy as his new tool in the arsenal to paint Obama as the most divisive president in history is just what the showman ordered.” Emphasis added.
* “Hannity’s Zimmerman Obsession: What’s really behind it?”
From “The Truth About Trayvon,” Ekow N. Yankah*, NYT:
“The Trayvon Martin verdict is frustrating, fracturing, angering and predictable. More than anything, for many of us, it is exhausting. Exhausting because nothing could bring back our lost child, exhausting because the verdict, which should have felt shocking, arrived with the inevitability that black Americans know too well when criminal law announces that they are worth less than other Americans.
“The anger felt by so many African-Americans speaks to the simplest of truths: that race and law cannot be cleanly separated. … We are tired of pretending that ‘reasonable doubt’ is not, in every sense of the word, colored.
“I do not have to believe that Mr. Zimmerman is a hate-filled racist to recognize that he would probably not even have noticed Mr. Martin if he had been a casually dressed white teenager.
“Imagine that a militant black man, with a history of race-based suspicion and a loaded gun, followed an unarmed white teenager around his neighborhood. The young man is scared, and runs through the streets trying to get away. Unable to elude his black stalker and, perhaps, feeling cornered, he finally holds his ground — only to be shot at point-blank range after a confrontation.
“A young, white Trayvon Martin would unquestionably be said to have behaved reasonably, while it is unimaginable that a militant black George Zimmerman would not be viewed as the legal aggressor, and thus guilty of at least manslaughter.”
* Yankah is a law professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University
From “What If Zimmerman Had Been Indigent,” Matthew Yglesias, Slate:
“What if George Zimmerman had been poor? What if his legal case hadn’t attracted national attention and raised over $300,000?
“What if Zimmerman, like most criminal defendants in the United States, was relying on a public defender with little emotional or financial investment in winning the case and no resources with which to pursue a robust defense even if he’s been inclined to do so. Wouldn’t that defender have told Zimmerman that the smart way to avoid a second-degree murder sentence was to plead guilty to manslaughter and work out terms of incarceration that would be less onerous than what he’d end up with if he fought and lost?
“Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is a very difficult evidentiary burden to meet if the state is facing off against a competent, well-financed, and highly motivated defense team. But all these people sitting in America’s prisons…aren’t losing at trial. Instead 97 percent of federal cases and 94 percent of state ones end in plea bargains. People ask me sometimes why nobody’s gone to jail for crimes related to the financial crisis. It’s a complicated question, but obviously part of the answer is that you’re not going to resolve a criminal fraud case against a multi-millionaire by railroading him into a plea agreement.”
George Zimmerman was in trouble with the law before he murdered Trayvon Martin (resisting arrest/assaulting an officer, restraining order protecting former girlfriend), and I’m convinced he will get himself in trouble again because that’s just how and who he is. He’ll do another stupid and evil thing, and he won’t get away with it.
I take comfort in the fact that O J Simpson got away with murder, but is now in prison in Nevada — for a long, long time — for other crimes.
You can’t keep a bad guy down, you can just eventually lock him up.
“I’m not surprised the jury didn’t convict Zimmerman of 2nd Degree Murder. I am surprised it doesn’t qualify as manslaughter. The law in Florida has some peculiarities which heavily favored Zimmerman. But this was a situation he created through actions that I don’t think anyone can credibly argue weren’t reckless and showing extremely poor judgment. If a kid who was literally minding his own business ends up dead as the result, it’s hard for me to see it as a just outcome if there’s no criminal culpability whatsoever.”
Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo
This is how I feel too.
I didn’t think he’d be found guilty of second-degree murder, but I thought maybe on manslaughter.
I haven’t followed the Zimmerman trial closely, but I’m a big fan of Josh Marshall, and I wanted to share this.
From “Trayvon’s Dead Body,” Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo:
“I didn’t know this until just now. But yesterday MSNBC momentarily aired a courtroom image of Trayvon Martin’s dead body at the crime scene. It was seemingly accidental and they quickly panned away. Our video team saw it but didn’t run it, which was totally the right decision by every standard we’ve always followed. I didn’t see it myself or even know about it until a few moments ago when Gawker ran the image.
“I’m sure it makes me sound a bit naive saying this but I was shocked when I saw it. Of course, I’ve seen dead bodies before. And I’ve seen countless crime scene photos of dead bodies. In terms of who’s guilty and who’s innocent, it is well worth noting just for the record that seeing a dead body is inherently inflammatory and disquieting. It’s not probative at all in terms of determining guilt, which is why there’s usually a lot of jousting in a courtroom about what jurors get exposed to.
“But I wanted to share a personal reaction when I saw it. I felt guilty journalistically that it hasn’t been seen. Not guilty as us, TPM, but guilty in terms of journalism in general. We’re not going to run it because we’ve always had a pretty conservative editorial standard about running images that show gratuitous violence or death, dead bodies, etc. Whatever the merits of that standard, it’s probably not the right decision to depart from it now in this one case at the end of a trial we have not covered closely. And in any case, it’s already published if you want to see it. Before I link to it, seriously, think it over before you click. It’s upsetting. Here it is.
“But back to the image itself. Seeing it, for all the tabloid coverage and endless CNN cable news coverage of the case, a big part of me feels like the real story here has been glossed over. Whatever the ins and outs of the legalities here, the odds of this happening to a white kid are just very slim. I knew that an hour ago. But I’m confronting it in a different way now.”
From Charles Blow’s lovely column (“A Mother’s Grace and Grieving”) at the NYT about Trayvon Martin:
“He was a smart boy who had taken advanced English and math classes, and he planned to go to college.
“He was a hard worker who earned extra money by painting houses, and washing cars and working in the concession of the Pee Wee football league on the weekends. He also baby-sat for his younger cousins, two adorable little girls, ages 3 and 7, whom the family called the bunnies, and when he watched the girls he baked them cookies.
“The only fight his mother could ever recall his having was with his own brother when Trayvon was about 4 and the brother was 8. They were fighting for her attention, and it wasn’t even a real fight.
“To believe Zimmerman’s scenario, you have to believe that Trayvon, an unarmed boy, a boy so thin that people called him Slimm, a boy whose mother said that he had not had a fight since he was a preschoooler, chose that night and that man to attack. You have to believe that Trayvon chose to attack a man who outweighed him by 100 pounds and who, according to the Sanford police, was wearing his gun in a holster. You have to believe that Trayvon chose to attack even though he was less than a hundred yards from the safety of the home where he was staying.
[I]t is important to not let Trayvon the person be lost to Trayvon [the] symbol. He was a real boy with a real family that really loved him.”