Few things have dominated the news over the last few days like the Zimmerman trial verdict.
It's been picked apart from every angle. Yet, a couple things appear clear. There is no dispute that the jury, faced with reasonable doubt, had no choice but to acquit Zimmerman. Whether or not that constituted justice is the point in debate, but the system isn't about justice, it's about a process that presumes the innocence of anyone charged with a crime and forces the state to prove otherwise.
Since one of the parties in this tragic confrontation could not testify -- being dead -- and there being no witnesses, it became very difficult to prove what the state believed happened.
Many factors combined to create this tragedy. There is no question that the victim, Martin, was racially profiled, which lead to Zimmerman following him. Racial profiling is a deep-seated problem that must be addressed, and will probably take at least one more generation before it, too, like outright racism, becomes totally unacceptable behavior and begins to fade into history. There is work still to be done here.
At that point, however, how the confrontation unfolded that led to Martin's tragic death is anybody's guess, which led to the jury's reasonable doubt.
But you can add to the tragedy the concept that a person has a right to use deadly force if they are frightened enough to feel threatened. Some people are frightened more easily than others. The relatively new Stand Your Ground vigilante laws are becoming virtually open season on other human beings whenever someone with a gun gets scared. That shouldn't be enough. There's a line there on the use of deadly force that needs to be much clearer than it is now.
But through all this, all the controversy, all the anger and bitterness by partisans on both sides, there has been one shining light. The Martin family has shown true class. They have quietly sought justice through the system. Despite their loss and their disappointment in the verdict, they have maintained the highest levels of dignity and honor. They have faith in their God. They have appealed for calm.
Their behavior, we believe, has gone a long way toward keeping the lid on what could easily have become an explosive situation. They are to be commended for rising above their grief and showing a path that leads upwards, away from tragedy.
-- Kelly Everitt