An appeal to reason

Don't get caught up in misguided hysteria after Zimmerman verdict

Who’s hounding whom now?

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 on Saturday found Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter.

As we warned in an editorial Saturday, those who tuned in to the former mainstream media were exposed to a perverted view of the case that presented the prosecution in an unrealistically favorable light – and were likely shocked by the outcome as a result.

The case was not only riddled with conflicting evidence and reasonable doubt, but also arguably some pretty compelling evidence that Zimmerman was being beaten before shooting Martin – which would buttress Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense. As other news outlets reported long ago, the physical evidence indicated wounds on Zimmerman’s face and head – and on Martin’s knuckles.

If there is any reasonable belief that Zimmerman was defending himself – and there is – then the jury was duty-bound to acquit him.

Even in the face of such facts, the former mainstream media just couldn’t resist selling the story line that this was a racial incident reminiscent of America’s inglorious past. Many in the left-wing media seem to want that past to be true today. They want to believe the worst in America. They’re not interested in the evidence. It gets in the way of a good, self-loathing story.

There was no evidence that Zimmerman had any racist tendencies whatsoever. In fact, there was evidence to the contrary, with one black witness calling Zimmerman a friendly neighbor. FBI reports say the police concluded Zimmerman was an “overzealous” neighborhood watchman who exhibited “a little hero complex, but not as a racist.”

Indeed, the only racist intonations in the trial came from Trayvon Martin himself, who used a racial slur in describing Zimmerman to a friend on the phone just before the fateful encounter.

These facts, and many more, not only point clearly to a verdict of not guilty, but also bring into question the pretext for the charges. As strongly as Mr. Martin’s supporters feel about the verdict, many folks believe just as strongly that this case was filed as much for political reasons as legal.

Yet, even after the verdict, some still want to hound Zimmerman, urging the U.S. Department of Justice to put him on trial again for violating Martin’s civil rights – again, in the face of absolutely no evidence of racial motivation.

This mob-like pound-of-flesh incitement on the part of some is causing a hysteria that leads to civil unrest and irrational statements such as one protester’s lament of “58 years, and nothing’s changed.” That’s just lunacy. And it’s a particularly perilous genre of fiction.

Leaders appealed for calm before and after the verdict, while not really achieving it. What we might want to appeal for is reason.

George Zimmerman is not a cop, and he should’ve left law enforcement to the law enforcers. He should never have followed anyone as he did. But our hounding him makes just as little sense. The jury has spoken.

Neither this case nor its conclusion have anything relevant or coherent to say about race relations in America.

Unfortunately, the reaction to it does.

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