Zimmerman Not Guilty, What Now?!

ImageI can understand a lot of people’s frustration; the outcome is not what some expected but from a legal perspective one could argue that it was inevitable. I listened to the hearings whenever I had free time and the outcome was somewhat predictable. In many other states Zimmerman would have been found guilty, but with the way the laws are written in Florida, it was hard for the prosecution to ever eliminate ‘reasonable doubt’. In this case many would argue that ‘Not guilty’ does not mean innocent – it just means there wasn’t enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a ‘reasonable doubt’. In a case that was poorly handled and investigated by an inept police department thus lacking hard evidence, a case that was highly politicized, and hijacked by social groups on both sides (NAACP, NRA etc) – a circus is what ended up being presented. I know a lot of people are giving examples of other cases such as the Marissa Alexander “Warning Shot” to highlight a double standard. However, every case is different and to create false comparisons can actually be a bad thing. So what happens now? First and foremost is that we acknowledge and respect the law regardless of the verdict given. We do not riot or go after Zimmerman, we do not attack the jurors or drag Obama’s administration into this – we simply strive to change the laws if we do not like how they are written.

I think its a dumb law that found Zimmerman innocent and not race, poor jury selection or bad lawyers – lawyers on both sides were impressive. I think it was the legal definition of “Stand Your Ground” and “Self Defense” that made it hard to prove guilt. I know some people are running to race and racism, but I think to do so would be to undermine the substance in this case – the fact that an innocent human being’s life was taken should be substantive enough without both sides bringing racism accusations into our conversations. So what happens now? We strive to make changes to laws we do not like – laws that sometimes find innocent people guilty and guilty people innocent. You can prosecute as many people as you like; defend as many people as you like – but as long as the laws remain odd, archaic, politically inspired, and sometimes outrageous – outcomes like this will always be the norm whether or not it’s the Rodney King beating or OJ Simpson, Sean Bell or Trayvon Martin. Sometimes what’s morally right is never in sync with what’s legally right – even if all the jurors wanted him to be guilty deep down in their hearts, the law insisted otherwise – and yesterday’s case was a great example of that. So we should not target Zimmerman or his lawyers; we should not target the jury, witnesses or prosecution. We should target the laws that acquitted him. 



Kwapi Vengesayi

Twitter @kwapiv . http://www.facebook.com/kwapivengesayi

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Kwapi Vengesayi

Kwapi Vengesayi is the creator and executive producer of the regionally acclaimed Shades of Black Show. Also known for his open, honest, engaging and sometimes funny written social commentary, Vengesayi is the author of two Amazon category bestsellers—books that tackle various topics relating to relationships, social issues, life and more. Outside of the Shades of Black Show, academic institutions, student organizations and other entities have brought him in on other projects as a consultant or guest speaker as they seek his knowledge and experience with regards to increasing student involvement and engagement.

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2 thoughts on “Zimmerman Not Guilty, What Now?!”

  1. Kwapi, this comment is worrisome :
    ” the fact that an innocent human being’s life was taken should be substantive enough without both sides bringing racism accusations into our conversations.”

    Why do we presume Mr. Martin was innocent? The case lacked evidence, and what little did exist, indicated that he confronted and instigated a physical assault on man (whom to him was unarmed, unless he knew Mr. Zimmerman had a gun? Doubtful).

    The only sad thing about this, is that it pinpoints how reverse racism, double standard racism and true racism still exists. It exemplifies identity politics and how we will thwart logic and reason in the name of personal vendettas – those born out of ignorance not withstanding.

    Mr. Zimmerman seemingly did nothing wrong, and got beat up for it.
    I applaud laws like those in Florida as I’d rather he protect himself then be another black on white (oops sorry hispanic) crime that goes unnoticed because what it’s all ‘reparations’ for slavery?


    1. The law is counter intuitive and illogical in some cases “I pursue someone that was minding their own business, get into a confrontation with them, and then claim self-defense” – that doesn’t make sense – when it is clear the shooter could have avoided the confrontation all together, when it is clear that the shooter was advised by dispatch not to pursue, when it is clear that the victim was innocently minding their own business, when it is clear that the shooter carried a weapon as a neighborhood watchman and yet the neighborhood watch are not permitted to carry weapons – that to me is no longer self defense – the law’s weaknesses were revealed in this case – other states like Michigan are already looking into reviewing their own “Stand Your Ground” law because they saw its flaws.

      A fight breaks out, but who is the aggressor? Because surely both of them can’t claim self defense, one person had to initiate the aggravation or instigate – is it the person who was stalking or the one who confronted the stalker?! – because legally speaking, Trayvon Martin could have shot Zimmerman and claimed he was “Standing His Ground” because Zimmerman was following him. Do you see why I’m saying this law is absurd? How do you define “feeling threatened”? It’s opening Pandora’s box to more shootings and killings with people claiming I was “Standing My Ground”. After all, the law says you don’t have to retreat even if you could have – that’s just stupid. I feel that the law should say you can use lethal force only AFTER exhausting all other options to flee or avoid confrontation – stalking someone then getting confronted by the person then killing them shouldn’t be considered standing your ground.

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