Yahoo News asked Sanford, Fla., residents and others across the nation to react to the not-guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman case and cultural issues surrounding the trial. Here's one response.
COMMENTARY | Late Saturday evening the jury went home. But the questions still remain. The unanimous verdict of six women jurors ended the trial; perhaps now, as a nation and as a people, we can set aside the rancor that has gripped us since the shooting.
What occurred in Florida on the February night a 17-year-old lost his life was a terrible accident, or it was the result of events in the dark that escalated out of control and ended very badly. The jury has found that it was not a crime.
All charges against George Zimmerman have been dropped. The judge told him, "You have no further business with the court."
I gasped at the announcement, but there was no surprise.
Had I been serving on the jury, I am quite certain that I would have had a hard time bringing in a verdict of "not guilty." But I know I could not have voted for a guilty verdict either. I have heard the words "reasonable doubt" far too often; there was much more than reasonable doubt in this case.
There were, undoubtedly, errors of judgment that night; actions were taken based on fear or underlying hatred, perceptions were skewed because of bias and distrust; perceived menace perhaps prompted threats and unnecessary, ill-advised force. There is only one person who really knows the truth.
However, the grace with which the families, both the Zimmermans and the Martins, reacted to the verdict gives me hope that perhaps we can restore some sanity in our lives, in our neighborhoods and in our society.
That is not to say there was no wrongdoing that night. But the jury found that the evidence could not support a murder charge, or even manslaughter. Trayvon Martin lost his life. George Zimmerman's life has been forever altered.
Perhaps the focus now should be on preventing the other killings that occur every day, far too often, in every part of our country. Any killing is cause to reflect, to assess our values, and to resolve to try to make things better.
- Society & Culture
- Crime & Justice
- George Zimmerman