Zimmerman verdict evokes divided opinions across the country
by Don McKee
July 17, 2013 12:04 AM | 869 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Don McKee
Don McKee
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From east to west and north to south, editorial pages are either defending or denouncing the “not guilty” verdict in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla.

Excerpts from some of the editorials:

Augusta Chronicle: “The very people who bitterly complain that George Zimmerman stalked Trayvon Martin now seem intent on dogging Zimmerman, even after a jury acquitted him in what everyone concedes was a fair trial. They say they want justice, but only if it leads to the outcome they expect. The justice system spoke for itself, and Saturday found Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter.”

Chicago Tribune: “The first tragedy of the Trayvon Martin case is that it didn't have to happen. George Zimmerman didn't have to trail the teenager through the darkened streets of the gated Florida community, didn't have to get out of his truck. He was told not to. But he did. ... The nation should respect the jury that found Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder. Without enough evidence to challenge Zimmerman's version of events, jurors had no choice but to acquit. We saw a criminal justice system that is designed to protect the rights of the accused, that rightly sets a high bar for a criminal conviction.”

San Francisco Chronicle: “The acquittal of Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed the unarmed Martin during a scuffle Feb. 26, 2012, was an affront to the sensibilities of Americans who could not accept the death as an act of self defense. The verdict was distressing, but sadly, wrenchingly, not unfamiliar.”

The Washington Post: “Jurors listened attentively and deliberated carefully, and the rule of law must be respected. But the central tragedy of this case — the death of a 17-year-old boy who had been on a simple errand to get snacks — remains. Mr. Zimmerman could have done what police told him to do and stayed in his vehicle. No one would have heard about him — and Trayvon Martin could have been able to get home on that rainy Sunday evening.”

The New York Times, Charles M. Blow: “In a way, the not-guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman for his killing of Trayvon Martin was more powerful than a guilty verdict could ever have been. It was the perfect wrenching coda to a story that illustrates just how utterly and completely our system of justice — both moral and legal — failed Martin and his family.”

McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Gregory Clay: “The verdict is in for the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case. What did we learn? Being a vigilante is a dangerous hobby. Juvenile bravado can get you killed. Mark O’Mara is a hell of a defense attorney. We also learned that the jury had no choice but to vote ‘not guilty.’”

(All of which underscore that this tragic case has riveted the attention of this country and will not soon disappear from public discourse.)

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