Over the course of the past year I have considered the event that resulted in the death of a 17-year-old boy.
The trial presented undisputed evidence of the event that resulted in an acquittal. It is difficult for me to understand how a person who stalked another when directed not to do so can be exonerated. Not until I heard the jury instructions did it become clear.
As I understand the Florida Legislature's law regarding second-degree murder and/or manslaughter, the jury was limited in many ways in rendering a decision. The jury could only determine the state of mind of the defendant at the time of the shooting. They were instructed not to consider the precipitating events.
The fact that Zimmerman determined that the hooded boy sauntering across the gated grounds was suspicious because he was aware of previous crimes committed by teens was beyond the scope of the decision.
The fact that the 911 operator instructed Zimmerman not to pursue the hooded figure, and he nonetheless did follow on foot was not a consideration for the jury.
The fact that Zimmerman could have waited on the police to respond to his report but decided to exit his car and follow the hooded figure on foot was not a valid consideration.
All of these instructions were in strict accord with Florida law.
Zimmerman was not accountable because when Martin apparently realized he was being followed and turned to challenge Zimmerman and Zimmerman determined he was in grave danger and shot and killed Martin. It was all according to law.
What is happening in this country?
Why are legislatures making violent crimes excusable?
Why are the causes of confrontations like this one justifiable and a jury is not able to base the verdict on all of the actual events? Why were the circumstances from Martin's view not considered?
Why does the Florida law preclude consideration of the fact that the 17-year-old, candy-bearing boy was equally in fear of his life?
The issue is beyond black and white as far as I am concerned.
So long as citizens of the United States continue to elect lawmakers who are willing to enact such ill-conceived laws there can be no real justice for anyone.
If I can take the law into my hands, follow another person to the point that the subject of my pursuit turns on me, and then I can shoot him and face no consequences by explaining that I was in fear for my life this country is in very real trouble.
What was explained as the limit of the law to the Florida jury is a huge example of the decline of respect for the "rule of law." This sort of court system is hopelessly unable to provide justice for anyone.
Of course, Zimmerman should have been held accountable. Go into any school yard and watch the teacher apprehend the instigator of trouble. The victim is not punished because he fought back.
In a system where countless convoluted laws negate consideration of all of the factors in a case, there will not long be respect for the system.
The day will come when that system collapses under the weight of its own ignorance or indifference to the quest for true justice. True justice can only be based on all the evidence, not just momentary extracts of events.
Shame on the Florida Legislature and the Florida courts for their laxity in upholding unhampered pursuit of truth to determine guilt or innocence.
How many goofy laws are on the books in Pennsylvania? Is anyone looking? An avoidable death that goes unpunished is in and of itself a crime.
When will citizens hold the real culprits accountable: Ill-conceived state legislation passed by unthinking officials.