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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Trials and The Elephant in the Room

I have wanted to write this a few times, but delete it thinking my blog is for family and adoption issues, not U.S. Race Relation issues or trials in the court. 

But, I have been so astonished over the last couple of days reading comments, finding out more details on what happened, and feeling very sad for a jury that did their very best under the circumstances.

Today, as I was driving down the street, I saw a young black man wearing a dark hoodie, head covered, talking on his cell phone with a drink in his hand.  And you know what?  He could have been Trayvon Martin.  And he has the right to walk down the street!  FREELY! Without worry!


I have served on a jury before. It was for an "attempted murder" trial.  The defendant was a black man in his 40's.  The victim was a black man in his 40's.  It didn't make the news.  Not one little line.

The jury is given information that is much more limited than the general public hears.  In sensationalized cases like the Trayvon Martin case, there was opinion being thrown out all over the internet, mostly inaccurate.  People hear something and run with it, rushing to judgment!
But in our country, we must remember and be thankful.... we are INNOCENT until PROVEN guilty!
The burden of proof lies with the prosecution!  If you want to be mad at somebody, be mad at the prosecution for not doing their job! Or did they? 
Their star witness was a self professed liar.  Her testimony disqualified for any honest juror. So,  the phone calls were evidence.  After listening to the recordings of those calls.... they cancelled each other out. 
Both men were spewing judgment towards each other.

Both mothers claimed it was their son's voice on the recording..... that cancels out their testimony.

And what was left?  Mr. Zimmerman, with a bloodied face and wounds on the back of his head that would show somebody was on top of him banging his head into the ground.... and a young man, Trayvon Martin, who is now dead.

There was no question he was shot.  There was no question who shot him. The question was, did Mr. Zimmerman shoot him in self defense, or was it murder.  That was the question.
For it to be murder, there had to be intent.  The prosecution simply did not prove intent.

When I served on the jury for the trial I was chosen for, the outcome was the same.  We found the defendant not guilty.  There were no riots.  There were no bottles thrown, or calls for justice. We were not accused of being racist.  There were no calls from the Justice Department saying "something must be done!"  It was over. The jury had spoken, and I believe we were right.   Just because somebody dies, or nearly dies, that does not mean the person who caused the death or near death should spend time in prison!
You are allowed to defend yourself!

The only complication in this case that I can see is that Mr. Zimmerman did not do what the 911 operator asked him to do.  I believe he was wrong, but  I also believe Trayvon Martin was wrong to confront him.  He should have called 911.
Both of these men seemed to have anger management issues.

And now, there are  the "calls for justice" and those who drum up "race relations" trouble every chance they get, especially if they smell a hint of racism, are beating the drums of trouble.  Don't forget though, that 11,000  African Americans were murdered in the last 19 months.  ELEVEN THOUSAND!  Where is the outrage for them?

And that statistic only covers African Americans killing African Americans. 
I guess, if it is black on black murder, does it not matter to those who scream about injustice?
What could be more unjust than losing your life at an early age because somebody else didn't think you deserved to live?

So was this case about "civil rights" and "race"?  I really do not believe it was.  I believe it was an isolated case of an over zealous, police wannabe, who met up with an angry young man who was struggling.  NOBODY won!  Everybody Lost!  Let's learn from it.

As Americans, we need to be very careful what we wish for.  Getting mad at a system that assumes you are INNOCENT until PROVEN guilty is insanity.    Does the system work perfectly? No it doesn't.  There are many innocent people in prison, and there are some who are not in prison that should be. 

Imperfect though it is, our system works.  We need to respect it.

3 comments:

Dawn said...

Amen. Finally a post on this incident that makes sense! Thank-you!!!

Annie said...

I didn't want to read this because I didn't want to disagree with you - and I'm so glad it isn't happening....I agree with you totally.

I'm angry that the media decided to MAKE this a civil rights issue. As the juror said, she thought the same thing would have happened if people had acted the same way regardless of race, and that race wasn't the motivator. But, because it is an accident of the case, that doesn't mean someone should be persecuted (rather than simply prosecuted.)

The other night at dinner we had a discussion - Craig was admonishing the boys - whatever you do, if someone in authority asks you to stop - the police, for sure, but also a security guard, anyone in authority - you STOP, and behave respectfully, no matter how they act. You have no idea what is going on. For all you know someone with your description just stole something. You don't know; so behave respectfully and do what they say. You can save complaints for later.

Then, as I was washing dishes, there was a discussion about the case and some woman claimed that "white families" don't have to have those discussions with their sons. I wanted to scream - of course we DO!!!!!

Christie Minich said...

Annie, you crack me up! :)

Oh YES we do have those discussions! Absolutely! We have had them with our sons, and we also have them with our daughters.
Very similar to what you were discussing with your children.

I remember several years ago, when our boys were about 13 and 14, we were coming out of a store, and 2 of them raced to the van to see who could make it first. This woman was getting out of her car and saw these two huge teenage boys running towards her and she screamed. They stopped immediately and she said she was a school teacher and they had better be glad she didn't have a gun or she would have shot them!
Yes! At 4:30 in the afternoon! Two guys with glasses dressed in jeans and tennis shoes, with collared shirts!
Needless to say, they told her they were very sorry to have frightened her, and we went home talking about what a different world we live in, where people are afraid of young people. How sad.

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