|Pic courtesy Facebook. Not sure who actually created it, but it wasn't me and I can't take credit for it.|
First, and most importantly, my deepest condolences go out to Trayvon Martin's friends and family. I can only imagine, but I expect that the pain of today's slap in the face is exceeded only by the pain of Trayvon's actual killing.
The defense team, gloating in a press conference after the verdict, opined that they were glad that the verdict hadn't "turned a tragedy into a travesty".
However, when you see past their lawyers' version of the Snoopy Dance, you see that that's *exactly* what happened.
The investigation and prosecution were tanked from the outset by the Sanford (FL) PD and the state's attorney in Seminole County, and that seemed to impact the quality of the case presented to the jury.
The defense also put Martin on trial. Not an unheard-of tactic, but given the nature of the crime, one that ripped open wounds, not just among Martin's family and friends, but all across the nation.
I don't have the educational or professional background to do a full dissection of this case and verdict here (other than to completely disagree with it, I truly don't have much to add in terms of technical analysis of the verdict), but do have a few observations:
1. Practical understanding of "self defense" now includes "created a conflict and confrontation with someone who wasn't bothering anyone, and used that confrontation to rationalize executing that innocent person" in Florida, and any other areas with similar "kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out" laws and attitudes. Including Arizona.
2. It is now a matter of law, and practice, in Florida that one can use fear of someone, whether or not that fear is rational, as an excuse for killing that someone.
3. Zimmerman may have used an irrational fear as motivation to confront and kill Trayvon Martin, and as a shield from being held accountable for the killing. However. the "not guilty" verdict may end up being the worst thing that could have happened for him.
Now everyone he ever comes into contact with, even if the other party initiates the contact, has a rational, and well-documented, reason to fear him.