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In our opinion: The lessons learned from Zimmerman trial

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  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Oct. 19, 2013 8:19 a.m.

    I think the message a lot of people got from this trial is if you are forced to shoot someone to defend yourself you should disappear after. The law can't be counted on to be fair or to treat you wit common sense.

  • Self-Defense Is A Civil Right Los Angeles, USA, CA
    July 19, 2013 2:59 p.m.

    Dear UtahBlueDevil,

    Trayon Martin was not "in his own neighborhood" the night he was shot. After he was suspended from school, his father drove him the 245 miles from his home in Miami to Sanford so he wouldn't be spending 10 unsupervised days with his hoodlum friends.

    As many people have pointed out, Zimmerman was never instructed not to get out of his truck or to follow Martin. The police dispatcher merely made an observation--"We don't need you to do that." But even if the dispatcher had ordered him not to follow Martin, it makes no difference since there is no evidence that after talking to the dispatcher that Zimmerman did follow Martin.

  • Interloper Portland, OR
    July 19, 2013 2:36 p.m.

    There are several errors regarding Stand Your Ground Laws, in the piece and the comments.

    •It is false to claim Stand Your Ground is a local problem. At the behest of the National Rifle Assn., STG laws have been passed in 20 states. Two of the STG cases about to be tried in Florida have victims and facts similar to Florida vs. Zimmerman. These laws are licenses to kill, particularly if the victim is black. The white killer merely says he feared for his life and the white jury believes him, regardless of the circumstances, if the victim is black.

    •The jury in State vs. Zimmerman received STG as part of its instructions and used the statute in reaching their decision, so it is part of the case.

    •Stand Your Ground laws do not reduce violence. In fact, they increase the number of homicides and the number of killings deemed justified.

    Stand Your Ground laws are not beneficial and should be repealed.

  • Interloper Portland, OR
    July 19, 2013 2:31 p.m.

    Let's clear up some disinformation and face some realities.

    •A trial is meant to be a search for truth. What we got in Florida vs. Zimmerman was instead a coverup of the culpability of an armed vigilante who profiled, stalked and killed an unarmed boy talking on a cell phone as he walked home from a convenience store. The criminal justice system failed.

    •The jury system has usually failed African-Americans, leaving them at the mercy of an often hostile white majority.

    •Conservatives do not seem to be learning any useful lesson from the tragic death of Trayvon Martin. Instead, they are using the situation as an opportunity to taunt African-Americans and affirm their contempt for the group.

  • ErinKengaard Falls Church, VA
    July 17, 2013 5:56 p.m.

    Many excellent comments, so, in that respect, the article was useful. However, it was not an even handed article, and it was disappointing in that it made no attempt to connect points of evidence. What is the evidence that " . . Zimmerman confronted . . . Trayvon Martin .. ?" (as claimed) What is the evidence that Zimmerman started the altercation? (as claimed - unless you consider following someone as starting an altercation). My impression is that Zimmerman was following a person of suspicion - suspicion based on prior burglaries in the neighborhood and descriptions of the perpetrators. It is probable that Zimmerman did not overtake and punch that person, because the prosecution did not introduce any evidence to that effect. It is probable that at some point the two came into physical proximity and and that Trayvon punched Zimmerman, since I think it's near impossible to break one's own nose with a punch. As to Zimmerman deciding to lay down on the pavement and bang his head against it - really?

  • nic0mac bemidji, MN
    July 17, 2013 11:56 a.m.

    This case was a shining example of how the media forms a lot of peoples opinions and that they dont pay as much attention to the facts as they do to the media personalities that feed their own beliefs.
    Fact one: Stand your ground law, This was never used in the trial even though all the popular pundits keep blaming it for the travesty of Zimmerman going free.
    Fact two: The police ordered him to stay in his car, The police never did that, search the 911 transcripts and the closest that the operator came to saying that was "Ok, we don't need you to do that." which is more of a 'now you cant sue me' answer then an order that the call center operator probably couldn't legally give anyway.
    When you look at the way those 2 facts are presented along with cherry picked photos and edited transcripts then you have to find that some media reporters are going more for sensationalism then the hard truth.

  • Curly4 Duncan, OK
    July 17, 2013 11:55 a.m.

    The lessons learned from Zimmerman trial"

    What should be learned from this trial is if race goes away as an issue then the Al Sharptons will be out of a job and income. There many who fan the race issue to prevent it from becoming of no importance.
    This case was not tried under the "stand your ground" law but under the self defense law. Erick Holder's FBI investigated Zimmerman and determined it was not race biased. But Obama and Holder will have to try to manufacturer evidence so that Zimmerman can be tried again. If Zimmerman lives long enough I think Obama and Holder will have to try Zimmerman again just to satisfy the black (not PC) community.

  • The Sensible Middle Bountiful, UT
    July 17, 2013 6:50 a.m.

    One lesson to be learned here is to take away prosecution decisions from people who are subject to political pressure.

  • AlecWest Vader, WA
    July 17, 2013 1:57 a.m.

    Criminal justice is not nor has it ever been perfect. And in criminal cases, the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt rests with the prosecution - with reasonable doubt left in the hands of a jury. If anyone has a better idea, please, let's hear it.

    None of us were "there" when the Zimmerman/Martin confrontation took place. And yet, a number of us (on both sides of the argument) were quick to become armchair jurors. Be honest with yourself ... did you already have a verdict in mind before the jury came down with its verdict?

    When O.J. Simpson was found not guilty of murdering Ronald Goldman and Nicole Simpson, there were no protests in the streets. And the Department of Justice didn't even lift a finger to prosecute O.J. for violating Ronald's and Nicole's "civil rights." I'm assuming for a moment that they DID have civil rights. Bottom line? Everyone (including the government) accepted the jury verdict insofar as the criminal charges were concerned -- and moved on with their lives. Why should it be any different with the Zimmerman case?

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    July 16, 2013 11:58 p.m.

    Topgun

    Thank you for your open mindedness and your insights, given in a NON-inflammatory way. How completely refreshing!

    I too am concerned about all the suppositions of how the Martin and Zimmerman met, which are being treated and published as facts, when they are just guesses. Admittedly, up until I read your comment, I was more distressed about those who claim that Zimmerman set out to kill Martin, or that he initiated the confrontation, as this article suggests. But really, all are guesses, and tend to be dangerous assumptions.

    Regarding profiling, you are right on there too. We all do it, but I don't think it means we are all haters. Hate and fear are not the same thing. Hate must be conquered from within. If hate is absent, fear can be overcome by building bridges through noninflammatory communication, such as yours. Only those who don't hate, can reach across those racial lines of society and heal the divide.

    Those who seek to divide us, are always driven by hate. It would be tragedy after tragedy to let haters win.

  • LetsDebate PLEASANT GROVE, UT
    July 16, 2013 11:45 p.m.

    @LDS Liberal

    What reason would you have to:

    go out to West Valley,
    with a gun,
    and follow someone suspicious?

    Has anyone in West Valley asked you to help protect them from a spate of burglaries, as that Sanford community asked of GZ? If not, why would you go to West Valley and follow someone suspicious, as GZ was expected to do by his fellow community citizens? Are you trying to suggest your hypothetical random bizarre excursion to West Valley would be the same as what GZ did? That's a rather illogical comparison.

    Do you have a legal right to carry a concealed weapon, as GZ did?
    While walking in your own neighborhood, as you have every right to do, has someone broken your nose and pounded your head on the cement? If they did, were you foolish enough to allow it to continue unchallenged to its potentially lethal conclusion without fighting back? If you fought back, even if it resulted in the death of your attacker, I would hope you could mount a solid self-defense claim, as GZ was able to do, and rightfully so.

  • topgun U.S.A, CA
    July 16, 2013 10:05 p.m.

    Someone clarify why everyone states, as if it's a fact, that Trayvon punched Zimmerman first? I was under the impression that this was according to Zimmerman's testimony. I'm quite sure I will say that I was attacked first when trying to prove I acted in self-defense.
    Disclaimer, I'm a black male. I do understand that Trayvon was profiled (don't have much of a problem with that, i profile all races and looks of people too). Anybody that disagrees that he was profiled is in denial or just plain lives in a bubble.
    I don't have a problem with the jury because they did their job given the evidence they were given. No one was present at the time of the altercation. 2 differing accounts were given about who was on top of the other. Can everyone stop jumping to conclusion that Trayvon attacked Zimmerman first because we'll never know what happened (reasonable doubt for the jury).
    About the argument that most violent crimes being committed by blacks. I'll like to see the socio-economic status of the criminals. I believe there will be a correlation but hey what do I know.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 16, 2013 8:44 p.m.

    So,

    If I go out to West Valley,
    with a gun,
    and follow someone suspicious,
    and a fight ensues,
    and I shoot them,
    I would be not guilty?

  • SoCalChris Riverside, CA
    July 16, 2013 7:55 p.m.

    Something should be put to rest. The 911 dispatcher who spoke to Zimmerman didn’t tell him to stay in his car. Zimmerman said he was following a suspicious person, and the dispatcher told him, "We don't need you to do that." That's it. No command, even if the dispatcher could do such a thing. Zimmerman lost sight of Martin, so he got out of his car. He had as much right to be there as Martin.

    But even if he was stalking TM, Zimmerman a right to defend himself once Martin was pounding his head on the concrete. Zimmerman held off 45 seconds before pulling his weapon. If you don't understand how long that is, take a look at the clock in a cage fight sometime.

  • dave4197 Redding, CA
    July 16, 2013 7:36 p.m.

    Thank you, editor, for a good opinion, an insightful opinion. My assessment is similar to yours. The event was and is race based, although Zimmerman may be a tolerant, not racist person, the event as it unfolded over the past year was and is racially prejudiced. The press talked it up from day one. Now after a year and after a trial, there are complaints, demonstrations, and violence. Justifiable or not by you or me, it's happening, and I for one don't fault the african american community for any non violent demonstrations, they've been hurt. About the stand your ground law, I'm with Eric Holder because he states my strong opinion, this kind of law legalizes an overboard response to a street fight up to including murder. Zimmerman over-reacted, period. That law protected him, and that law in fact was a criteria from the judge to the jury, and that law and laws like it need to be toned down. If deadly force is used, the user must demonstrate the need, and in Zimmerman's case he would've had a headache. No justification for shooting a gun.

  • Jack Aurora, CO
    July 16, 2013 6:50 p.m.

    I get the distinct impression that some here have some deep-seated need to be told what to do and think that others should also. Zimmerman was under NO legal obligation to take the police dispatchers advice. They cannot order someone to do anything. I heard in another comment board that the dispatchers asked him if he could still see the suspicious person, and when Mr Z could not, then exited his car. I wasn't in the courtroom so I don't have first hand knowledge, and I would venture a guess to say that most on this board weren't in the courtroom so they don't have first-hand knowledge either.

    Don't project your need to be ordered to act or not to act on me or anyone else. You are welcome to your needs, but I don't share them.

  • Truthseeker2 SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA
    July 16, 2013 6:25 p.m.

    I can relate to this story in many ways, as a victim of crime, as a witness to a potential crime as an alert neighbor, as a jury member and as a parent of sons. But I've never ever had to worry that the color of my son's skin or the clothes they wore put them at higher risk for being a victim of others.

    I'm not making a judgement about whether Trayvon was a victim of racial prejudice or just the unfortunate victim of Zimmerman's overzealousness. Racism is alive and well in this country, despite the progress that has been made. I was appalled by what George Zimmerman's brother said after the verdict. I was also disturbed by the jury member who seemed to put Trayvon and Zimmerman as equal victims. Sorry, no. Trayvon lost his life.

    But I think we need to open our hearts and our minds and listen, do some soul-searching and work to make things better.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    July 16, 2013 6:14 p.m.

    Zimmerman engaged in poor judgment, when against the advise of the 911 operators he left his car to continue following Martin.

  • Axlotldnewt Homestead, FL
    July 16, 2013 5:30 p.m.

    Oh good grief. If I hear one more invariably rightwing justification for pointless murder, I might seriously vomit.

    Everything about this case is designed to throw up a smokescreen in a murder with no nearby witnesses...and none of it relevant. The races of the people involved are not relevant. What they were wearing...is not relevant. Their school record, whether they've ever smoked pot, what their mothers think of them...are not relevant. Who was yelling was not relevant. How the media portrayed it is definitely not relevant. How the black community responds - is not relevant. It's ALL a smokescreen, and the prosecution fell into the trap of even debating it.

    Let's talk about what is relevant. Zimmerman followed this kid around, got out of his car, an altercation ensued - we don't know who started it, but if it wasn't Zimmerman, Martin wouldn't have been entirely unjustified after being followed by this weirdo. So then Zimmerman shot him. The entire incident was Zimmerman's fault, and he walked.

    Absolutely pathetic... and so is every single person trying to justify this kid's death by a thousand extenuating, irrelevant circumstances. There is no excuse.

  • BYUtah Fan Herriman, UT
    July 16, 2013 4:35 p.m.

    If Trayvon had kept his fists in his hoodie and not tried to turn Mr. Zimmerman's head into jelly, he would be alive today. He jumped the wrong guy and paid with his life.

  • Tonopah New River, AZ
    July 16, 2013 4:24 p.m.

    Florida's Stand your Ground law might be a bad law -- or not -- but come on Nightshade, do your homework -- that law was *not* invoked in this case and had nothing whatsoever to do with the case or its outcome.

  • postaledith Freeland, WA
    July 16, 2013 4:16 p.m.

    I feel that George Zimmerman should be investigated by the Justice Department for possible civil rights violations.

  • no fit in SG St.George, Utah
    July 16, 2013 3:46 p.m.

    If George Zimmerman had profiled, followed, and murdered a black teenage girl, would the Jury have ruled in the same way?
    Would Zimmerman's past criminal history, then been introduced into this case and the following trial?
    Just wondering.

  • Nighshade Acton, MA
    July 16, 2013 3:34 p.m.

    The jury system is very good law and it has spoken. FLA's Stand Your Ground law is very bad law--and it has also spoken. So we take the good with the bad. Someone may have gotten away with murder; he won't be the first or the last. Sometimes we can win, sometimes not. We don't really know what happened that night--and the prosecution failed to prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt. Time to move on.

  • Nighshade Acton, MA
    July 16, 2013 3:27 p.m.

    The jury system is a very good one and it has spoken. Florida's Stand Your Ground is very bad law and it has spoken. I guess we have to accept the good with the bad and move on. Maybe Zimmerman got away with murder but he won't be the first or the last. I don't see it as a racist decision. The jury did the best it could with what it was given. The prosecution couldn't prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • m.g. scott clearfield, UT
    July 16, 2013 3:22 p.m.

    Edgar, You assume a fact not in evidence, which is that Zimmerman provoked the incident. Unless you consider following someone a provacation, which I don't. Evidence indicated that it may have been Martin who instigated the first physical action against Zimmerman. In any case, this case, unlike O.J. is lacking in much evidence, (but has lots of supposition). Supposition is not strong enough in any court for a conviction beyond reasonalble doubt.

  • kanak.attack Provo, UT
    July 16, 2013 3:03 p.m.

    @UtahBlueDevil

    Three weeks prior to this Zimmerman had witnessed a similar black male peering into windows in the neighborhood. A few days later a home was robbed. Witnesses said they saw two black males in the area at the time of the robbery and a black male was later arrested after police discovered the items in his backpack. Within just a year prior to the Zimmerman incident the police had been called over 400 times to that neighborhood. There had also been nearly 20 thefts and burglaries, a shooting, and several attempted break-ins. You ask me what I would have done? Well at that point I would have been pretty suspicious that this was another criminal in the neighborhood looking to rob someone and I was going to do everything I could to make sure the cops could nab the guy; whether that be following him on foot or yelling at him to stop running.

  • kanak.attack Provo, UT
    July 16, 2013 3:01 p.m.

    @UtahBlueDevil

    First of all, your argument has nothing to do with the subject of the article which is "Profiling". I was making the argument that it wasn't because Trayvon was black that Zimmerman decided he was a suspicious person. He fit the description that witnesses had given of the burglars that had been seen three weeks before and he was walking right next to homes instead of the sidewalk which is rather suspicious all by itself.

    Second, Zimmerman was never given a "police order". He was talking to a dispatcher who has no authority over any possible crime situation AND Zimmerman had every right to get out of his vehicle to talk to whomever he wants or to see wherever it was Trayvon had ran to.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    July 16, 2013 2:18 p.m.

    What's wrong with profiling? Happens all the time, and we all do it. I for one look skeptically at a person of Arab decent every time I get on an airplane. Profiling? Yes. Racist, no. I am realistic to the fact that persons of Arab decent hijacked planes and flew them into the twin towers and Pentagon. Do I look at them as criminals? No. Just a little more skeptically than normal.

    When this editorial says that there is doubt about Zimmerman's story, it shows a tendency to bend the news. There is not doubt that the injuries on Zimmerman's face and back of his head were a result of the beating given to him by Travon Martin. That is not in dispute.

    Next time the learned editorial staff of the D News gets together and concocts and editorial such as this, maybe it will re-write it until it makes sense.

  • fredsgirl1 usa, MA
    July 16, 2013 2:03 p.m.

    I have read in on this string that wearing a hoodie makes you suspicious. In the Autumn chill here in New England, I often wear a hoodie. Does this make me, a 69 year lod white female, a possible suspect? What you wear does not make you a suspect. What you do does. Zimmerman was not a suitable candidate for being a member, let alone being the only member, of a community patrol. This whole community patrol thing needs to be looked at closely, and strictly regulated.

  • SoCalChris Riverside, CA
    July 16, 2013 1:51 p.m.

    DEAinATL,

    I wasn't glued to the trial and I don't know exactly what evidence came in and what didn't. I do know the prosecution offered Zimmerman's interview with Hannity. I do know that Zimmerman has claimed somewhere along the line that Martin asked him if he (GZ) had a problem and then said well you do now and then threw a punch. But above and beyond that we do have the circumstantial evidence-- that Zimmerman's head was bloodied on both sides and Martin's knuckles were injured. And we do have 45 minutes worth of screams that ended with the gunshot and the testimony that Martin was straddling Zimmerman MMA style. Sure sounds like Martin was the aggressor. It goes without saying that it's a tragedy a young man died, but we don't know for certain that GZ did anything wrong.

  • fredsgirl1 usa, MA
    July 16, 2013 1:47 p.m.

    This verdict is a wakeup call for all of us. There needs to be a strict competency and examination of citizen patrol candidates. Zimmerman should never have been out there, let alone armed. I seriously question his motivation for wanting to be there. I think he is a bully and a coward, hiding behind the legitimacy of the citizen patrol to cover his need to dominate and beat down anyone who would not have enough credibility to stand against him.

    There are many Zimmerman’s out there, too many. Someone’s eagerness to serve should show a need to question why they would want to put them in that situation. More so, they need to prove that they have the training, knowledge of the law and martial arts skills to take care of themselves. I do not think they should be armed. Communities need to really think it through before they even hint that they are in favor of such a patrol.

    Black brothers and sister, I think this whole situation in outrageous and beyond what this white woman is will accept as a part of life. I'm on your side.

  • JerryBall San Francisco, CA
    July 16, 2013 1:33 p.m.

    Gives new meaning to "An eye for an eye." Because someone pokes your eye, that gives you the right to gouge their eyes out and kill them?" Revenge to the ultimate finality.

  • DEAinATL Atlanta, GA
    July 16, 2013 1:16 p.m.

    "The only evidence we have is that Martin started the altercation and pummeled Zimmerman while on top of him on the sidewalk. Zimmerman endured the beating for 45 seconds, an eternity in that kind of situation, before using his weapon."

    There was in fact no evidence as to how the confrontation started, other than Martin's cell phone exclamation "get off me." Zimmerman didn't testify; the hearsay recitals of his self-serving statements to investigators aren't "evidence." No witness testified to any version of how the confrontation started.

    I don't know what happened that night, I wasn't there. But to justify or vilify the verdict as if arguing a referee's call is beknighted. Martin would be alive if Zimmerman hadn't mistakenly suspected him of wrongdoing and put into play the series of events - after that, nobody knows what happened except Zimmerman, and he declined to testify.

  • Tonopah New River, AZ
    July 16, 2013 1:10 p.m.

    The self defense rules used in this trial were the same as those used in any other state (the more unique "stand your ground" Florida law was *not* used in this trial). The author is full of it.

    The community involved had recently suffered 8 break in burgleries and formed a neighborhood watch as a result of insufficient law enforcement protection. As the prosecution admitted, "most" of the 8 were perpetrated by young black men (they could not point to any of the eight that were not). Common sense suggests that the neighborhood watch (and the police) should be looking in particular for young black burglers (or are we so PC that we skip common sense?). There was no evidence or reason to believe that Zimmerman started the physical altercation but maybe Martin did (he referred to Z as a "creepy a$$ cracker") and Z took some shots to the face before he found his head bouncing off the concrete. The police did not initially arrest Z because the evidence supported self defense. Only after Al Sharpton and the media got vocally involved did political pressure (not facts) result in an arrest. Al (Tawana Brawley) Sharpton is the villian here.

  • thatthatguy Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 16, 2013 12:41 p.m.

    I think this is a good article that succinctly covers the important points. There wasn't evidence that Zimmerman was guilty of a crime, and thus had to be found not guilty. That's how the justice system works.

    I can understand why Zimmerman did what he did. There had been break-ins in the neighborhood. Seeing someone wandering the neighborhood alone, at night, is enough to make him suspicious. I get that.

    On the other hand, Martin had every reason to be scared too. He was approached by a stranger who had been following him, on a dark street, in the rain. If he saw that Zimmerman was armed, that would be enough to make him feel like his life was in imminent danger. It's easy to imagine that Martin was acting in self-defense also.

    If the law says it's better to let a guilty person go, rather than punish an innocent, shouldn't Zimmerman have given Martin the same courtesy?

  • larri3 Farmington, UT
    July 16, 2013 12:05 p.m.

    One of the worst DN editorials I've read. There was absolutely no evidence that Zimmerman had a racist bone in his body. He is the product of a mixed race marriage, he had dated at least one black woman, he had mentored black children, he mounted a campaign to demand justice for a black victim of a crime. "Stand Your Ground" played no part in this case; it was a simple case of justifiable homicide for self-defense. The true lessons that we should have learned in this case:

    1. Don't attack somebody who follows you in a strange neighborhood.
    2. Don't assume that your victim (Zimmerman in this case) is unarmed.
    3. Don't assume that reports from news media are accurate, especially from media outlets that have proven they are not objective, hide the truth when it doesn't suit their purposes and edit news to promote their view.
    4. Vote against anybody who overrules an investigation for political purposes.
    5. Realize that racial profiteers such as Sharpton and shameful politicians such as Obama will seize every opportunity to promote themselves.
    6. Be thankful that there are still some jurors who will rule on facts and the law.
    6.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    July 16, 2013 12:05 p.m.

    % kanak.attack....

    "Bingo! Of course he calls the cops and of course he has to get out of his vehicle to get the address of where Trayvon is hanging out. Case closed."

    Exactly... he did these things against police orders. He was told to stay away. You can't just skip that part. What, we get to cherry pick parts of the story that suit our desired version of the truth. Trayon did have a contributory role in this... he should have simple told Martin that he lived there... which he did. But he decided to confront the guy who was following him through his own neighborhood.

    You have a tough guy sounding name.... someone starts following you around your neighborhood and how... what would you have done? Called the police.... he probably should have.... But lets be clear, Trayvon was just as legally right to confront the person who was following him through his own neighborhood. Stupid.... but it was within his rights.

    A kid was killed when two people did two really stupid things. What exactly would you do if someone started following your kid in your neighborhood..? He was told to stay away... really simple.

  • bbob_1 wake, NC
    July 16, 2013 12:00 p.m.

    The author of this article ought to get his/her facts about the "backdrop" correct. The claim that "this case must be viewed against the backdrop of Florida's unique "stand your ground" law allowing the use of deadly force when someone feels in imminent danger." is false on many levels. Florida's law is not unique. During the last couple of decades, more than thirty states have used statute and case law to expand the "castle doctrine", thus legalizing the use of deadly force while defending oneself from attack outside the home. Additionally, deadly force is, and has always been, legally justified where no retreat is possible and you are defending a threat to your life. Being pinned to the ground by an assailant precludes retreat. Having ones heat slammed into the pavement is life threatening. If Zimmerman's account of events is true, then the use of deadly force would have been justified in all fifty states. There are no laws other than the death penalty that require a person to submit their life to an assailant. All jurisdictions allow defense as needed to avoid serious bodily harm that may result in death.

  • SoCalChris Riverside, CA
    July 16, 2013 11:53 a.m.

    The real lesson that should be learned is that you need to be conscious of when you might look suspicious. Trayvon should have been aware of how he might come across that night. It would have been so easy to diffuse a bad situation by either avoiding it or saying something in a friendly way. It's possible TM was fully aware of how he came across and was just looking for trouble. If I happen to be walking somewhere late at night I try to avoid any kind of situation that might cause someone else some fear and if I believe someone might be apprehensive I'll say something.

    Right after 9-11 my wife and I flew to NYC from Orange County. My wife looks like she could be from the Middle East. It didn't offend us in the least that she was given a little extra scrutiny boarding the plane. In fact I found it comforting. I understand this might be a sore spot with Blacks, but, as has been stated, unfortunately a disproportionate amount of crime is committed by young Black males. There needs to be more understanding on everyone's part and less offence taken.

  • Madness7 Coupeville, WA
    July 16, 2013 11:47 a.m.

    Several facts have gotten lost in the discussion of the Zimmerman/Martin trial:

    1. Zimmerman's organization was not a real neighborhood watch sanctioned by the national organization. If it had been a group sanctioned by the national organization, the carrying of a weapon would have been prohibited.
    2. Had Zimmerman, as requested by the police dispatcher, stayed in his car, there would have been no confrontation.
    3. Zimmerman, by his own admission, never identified himself as a neighborhood watch person nor as anything else. In other words, Zimmerman himself was a suspicious person.

  • JanSan Pocatello, ID
    July 16, 2013 11:42 a.m.

    I read this newspaper all the time and I must say that I am really disappointed in this article. The jury gave it's verdict, what right does this person have to say that all of these jurors are incompetent to come up with the correct decision?
    When OJ was not convicted we had the same stuff.
    When ever there is black vs white or white vs black then it always seems that the jury got it wrong!
    It is like saying "alright well, this is a black young man vs a white(?) Latino so the black young man must be not guilty! Facts don't matter into the equation at all. If Zimmerman was also black, or TM white there would be no story here!

  • kanak.attack Provo, UT
    July 16, 2013 11:10 a.m.

    I'm sorry but whoever wrote this article is listening to the wrong talking-heads on t.v and in our government. Not to mention is disregarding some very important facts of this case that caused Zimmerman to be suspicious of Trayvon.

    First of all, profiling is something we do everyday and is needed for any intelligent person to make an educated decision on how to act in situations. The lies that have been told about profiling being wrong is just plain ridiculous. If a police officer is told that a suspect has white-skinned male with brown hair and is wearing a black jacket does he go looking for a brown-skinned female with black hair wearing a dress??? No! The same goes for Zimmerman who was acting as neighborhood watch. Several burglaries had happened in his gated community and witnesses had described the suspect as dark-skinned, wearing a hoodie. Well lo' and behold who does Zimmerman find wandering the neighborhood late at night? Bingo! Of course he calls the cops and of course he has to get out of his vehicle to get the address of where Trayvon is hanging out. Case closed.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 16, 2013 11:08 a.m.

    Exactly! This is what everyone is so upset about. Even though both sides unnecessarily escalated things resulting in a tragic death, the fact remains that it feels like this all started because a black teen was considered suspicious despite just walking through a neighborhood carrying a phone and convenience store items.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    July 16, 2013 10:57 a.m.

    Another lesson to learn: Do not buy Skittles at 7-11 and walk home--if you are black.

    As Justice Holmes said, "I do not do justice; I enforce the law. They are not the same thing." The law prevailed, but not justice.

  • riverofsun St.George, Utah
    July 16, 2013 10:56 a.m.

    A large number of citizens in America appreciate this opinion piece written by the Deseret News.
    It shows a perspective on this situation which many people, for whatever reasons, tend to overlook.
    As time goes by, documented legal facts that are no longer controlled and hidden in the Florida courtroom by George Zimmerman's attorneys, will be published for the public to study and explore. America will see the truth about George Zimmerman, a man who has had numerous negative encounters with law enforcement.
    And........ a man with extremely questionable skills in telling the truth.

  • TaipeiModerate New Haven, CT
    July 16, 2013 10:54 a.m.

    Deseret News shouldn't have an editorial like this unless its writer has legal background. First, stand your ground wasn't an issue in the case at all.

    Second, no evidence was presented at trial of racial profiling. Evidence was presented that Mr. Martin was profiled because of attributes of recent criminals in the neighborhood, but not his race.

    Third, (significant) evidence was presented that Mr. Martin committed a felony assault against Mr. Zimmerman.

    Fourth, the case was likely won on account of Florida's unusually high burden of beyond a reasonable doubt placed upon the prosecution to rebut defense evidence of self defense. If the case had gone the other way, an appellate court would have been forced to reverse because the prosecution did not meet this burden. Zimmerman will likely prevail in a suit against the SA's office as well for this reason.

    It is understandable that the Deseretnews wanted to push a politically correct angle on this. However, it is irresponsible in light of the black-on-hispanic and white assaults that have occurred as a result of this verdict already.

  • Remery El Centro, CA
    July 16, 2013 10:47 a.m.

    The Chief Persecutor I mean Prosecutor was indicted by a criminal Grand Jury for falsifying the Affidavit for the arrest warrant. If there wasn't enough evidence for an arrest warrant, you are naive to expect a conviction.

  • SoCalChris Riverside, CA
    July 16, 2013 10:36 a.m.

    DN, I believe this is the first time I've been disappointed in one of your editorials. This case deserves an honest assessment of the facts not political correctness.

    Where is the evidence that Zimmerman "confronted" Martin rather than just observed him? Where is the evidence he was guilty of "poor judgment"? Zimmerman thought Martin looked and acted suspiciously and that was probably a reasonable conclusion under the circumstances. It's reasonable to observe someone and/or call the cops if you believe someone is up to something, especially if you're part of neighborhood watch program.

    The only evidence we have is that Martin started the altercation and pummeled Zimmerman while on top of him on the sidewalk. Zimmerman endured the beating for 45 seconds, an eternity in that kind of situation, before using his weapon.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 16, 2013 9:47 a.m.

    "Lady Justice" wears a blindfold as she holds the scales of justice. Using race does not serve justice unless race was the factor that caused the death.

    Testimony showed that Martin was walking close to houses in an area that had had criminal activity. Zimmerman was serving on a neighborhood watch. He was obligated to watch everyone in his neighborhood. He did not recognize Martin as someone from the neighborhood. Was the "profiling" generated because Martin was black or was it generated because Martin was walking somewhere that didn't fit the neighborhood, i.e., he was not using the sidewalk. Yes, it was raining and some think that Martin was just trying to stay dry. We'll never know.

    Where is the outrage when Zimmerman has been called a "white Latino"? If the race of Martin should have played no part, then why is it appropriate to use Zimmerman's race, and then to call him a "white Latino"?

    Zimmerman was found not guilty. Everyone involved will live with the memory of that night. Martin cannot be brought back. Martin was a human being. Zimmerman is a human being. Leave race out of it.

  • Swampie Los Angeles, CA
    July 16, 2013 9:37 a.m.

    1) Mob rule is bad; cool, calm, judicial review is good.
    2) Better to let one guilty man free, than to convict an innocent man.
    3) Facts, evidence and proper procedure make a case, not hysterical shouting and rioting!
    and finally
    4) Vote the lazy, ineffective politicians out of office, and get some one who will write and pass good laws in the seat of Government.
    Thank you

  • shadow01 ,
    July 16, 2013 8:46 a.m.

    What is really a shame is that this trial was so biasedly presented to the public by the media. From the onset Martin was portrayed as an innocent child. Only pre and early teen photos were shown depicting him as an innocent. Eventually one photo showing a darker side surfaced but it was quickly pushed under the rug. Heaven forbid that anyone would dare make him out to be the instigator. Whether or not he was an innocent I don't know and to be factual neither do the rest of us. It was a shame that a young man died. It is always a shame when violence leads to someone death.
    With one mother saying that was her son's voice on that recording and the other saying no it was her son's. Witnesses such that they were could only say what they think they saw.
    Only two people know what happened. One is dead and the other didn't testify.
    Get over it America. If you really want to protest protest an injustice, protest the incessant gang violence that takes many more innocents from us without even a whimper from the media.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    July 16, 2013 8:46 a.m.

    " I'd be sadly disappointed in them if they did not follow people who acted suspiciously"

    Ah yes.... walking through his "own" neighborhood while being black.... very suspicious. Heaven forbid. Perhaps he should have been wearing a sign saying "I live here - not casing the place".

    I think Martin does have responsibility if he was walking around acting all "gangster"... just like if white kids were walking around looking all red-knecked. The thing most people in prison have in common is not the color of their skin, but their economic status and education level. That factor crosses all ethnic boundaries.

    But yes, people will be suspicious of people wearing baggy cloths, or "wife beaters" and lots of tattoos, or skin headed and wearing mostly black. It is a fact of life. And our kids need to know what it means when they emulate these "styles".

    But this would have never happened if Zimmerman had followed the dispatchers direction to not follow. He had done his job, identified what he thought was suspicious activity. He should have disengaged as instructed. Martin should not have confronted him... and Zimmerman should not have been following him. He was told not to.

  • Edgar Samaria, ID
    July 16, 2013 8:33 a.m.

    " In the end there seemed to be plenty of evidence to convict Zimmerman of poor judgment, but not enough to convict him of a crime."

    That statement is what has me puzzled about the outcome of this trial. I know there has been second guessing across the country about the jury's decision and the debate will continue for a long time. But as much as my personal feelings say that justice was not done, the fact is that justice was done. A trial was held and a jury of his peers decided George Zimmerman was not guilty of the crimes he was charged with. Just like the OJ Simpson trial, there will be many, perhaps myself included, who will forever assume the jury got it wrong. But that is the system we have and it was put into action, just as planned.

    But considering the quoted statement, even in light of Florida's Stand Your Ground law, isn't the fact that Zimmerman provoked the incident proof that he was responsible for the death of Travon Martin? If not second degree murder, wouldn't manslughter at least be appropriate?

  • JP71 Ogden, UT
    July 16, 2013 7:59 a.m.

    This case has brought to light the trend to use race as a crutch for personal issues. If people don't get what they want they blame the government, their parents, race etc. This is a product of our entitlement society. The reaction to the Zimmerman case is a modern lynch mob. The court of public gossip didn't like the verdict so they will get him one way or another no matter if it's right. This is the mob mentality in full force. No federal charges will be brought against Zimmerman because there is no evidence to convict Zimmerman.

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    July 16, 2013 7:58 a.m.

    "It is proper to confront attitudes based on skin color that influence judgment."

    Do you mean the fact that even though 93% of all murders of blacks are committed by blacks, a tragedy involving a Hispanic male and a black male is evidence of white racism because it is convenient to the narrative of the Obama Department of Justice and Al Sharpton?

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    July 16, 2013 7:15 a.m.

    I am disappointed in the Deseret News as part of editorial is based on assumed facts. Where is the evidence that Zimmerman started the altercation? Yes, he may have followed Martin to see what he was up to, but there is no evidence that he initiated the contact. Second, the defense did not rely on the stand your ground law. That law says you do not have a duty to retreat. The defense asserted that Martin was on top of Zimmerman and had expert witnesses that supported Zimmerman's claim. It was a straight self defense claim.

    Yes it is true that that certain ethnic groups are looked at with more suspition than others. However, statistically these groups also commit more crime. (Hispanic males are also viewed as potential threats and one could argue that the assumptions in the editorial are evidence of that). There real story here is that we should all avoid altercations because they can have tragic outcomes. The second, lets stop beating the racism drum.

    While society needs to overcome its biases, those groups needs to step up and address the issues which lead to high crime rates.

  • 1hemlock Tooele, Utah
    July 16, 2013 7:14 a.m.

    Stand Your Ground, while discussed by the media had no part in this case (yet). Unfortunately statistics show that most crime is generated by black young males. Taken as a whole, including Chicago, where so much so called "black on black" crime takes place is included in those statistics. 92% of crimes against blacks is committed by blacks. How is an outsider (ie not black) to look at those statistics? It only happens in Chicago? Unfortunately again the question is why do so many young black males feel they need to do crime on any body, which "sets" people up to be suspicious of black young men? The poverty answer is incomplete as there are more poor white people in America. Does the fact that 70% of black children are born to unwed mothers related to this? Hard questions that are NOT asked because of course you will be called a racist. But we have people that cannot see the forest because of the trees. They are "in" the demographic but cannot find a solution but are unwilling to allow anyone to comment objectively on the problem. Bill Cosby has commented and has been criticized.

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    July 16, 2013 6:27 a.m.

    And why are young black men treated with suspicion? Anyone ever seen the statistics on race based crime? African Americans make up only 14% of the population but they commit over 50% of the violent crime. This isn't racist, this is simple fact. From The Color of Crime web site citing FBI statistics:

    "Blacks are seven times more likely than people of other races to commit murder, and eight times more likely to commit robbery."

    Is this racist? Facts are facts.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    July 16, 2013 6:06 a.m.

    Profiling - racial or not - is a problem... it is part of human nature. People are "profiled" daily on their race, their religion, their weight, how they dress, the car they drive, this list goes on and on. Sometimes those profiles are correct... sometimes not. Regardless, it is a problem that entangles society as a whole.

    And while victim in this case surely didn't deserve the "profiling" he received, he is also partially responsible for creating the environment he found himself. I tell my own kids that how they present themselves is their responsibility, and that they have to take some ownership on the message they send to other people about who they are.

    For example, my boys have had to wear collared shirts to school - no t-shirts - because I want them to show the teachers they respect the environment they are in. They are not a school to play, but to learn. How we present ourselves tells people what we want them to know about us.

    My oldest loves to wear hoodies... but he is white... and it doesn't carry the stigma with it does if my less complexionly challenged child did... which is not just.

  • Self-Defense Is A Civil Right Los Angeles, USA, CA
    July 16, 2013 1:17 a.m.

    There was no evidence presented at trial that Zimmerman started any altercation. The altercation began when Martin punched Zimmerman in the nose. Frankly if my neighborhood had neighborhood watch volunteers I'd be sadly disappointed in them if they did not follow people who acted suspiciously--i.e. looking around as if they were casing the joint.

  • Self-Defense Is A Civil Right Los Angeles, USA, CA
    July 16, 2013 1:12 a.m.

    There is no evidence that Zimmerman "confronted" Martin. It is also not illegal for a neighborhood watch volunteer to profile someone who fits the description of the people who had burglarized the neighborhood.