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Left Said, Right Said >> Opinion
If you didn’t hear about it when it started gaining attention during finals week or Spring Break (if you did, what were you doing paying attention to politics during either period?), the sensation of the Trayvon Martin case is currently gripping the country. You might be asking yourself, why should you care about a 17-year-old from Florida? But you see, dear reader, the facts of this case are not as simple as the “if it doesn’t fit you must acquit” of the O. J. Simpson trial or Casey Anthony’s negligence. No — for you see, according to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, this is the racially motivated act of violence of the century, akin to the barbaric torture and killing of Emmett Till 57 years ago.
Got your attention? Good. Now let me explain how this entire case is a completely inappropriate rush to judgment. When first reported on, the Trayvon Martin case was presented in one way and one way only by every major news channel (except Fox): Trayvon Martin — a 17-year-old black “child” according to many news outlets — was walking home with iced tea and Skittles when he was followed and then attacked by George Zimmerman, an overzealous white neighborhood watchman with a history of thinking every black person is suspicious. Using Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law as reasoning, Zimmerman proceeded to shoot down the defenseless and completely non-aggressive Martin in cold blood.
There are numerous problems with this version of the story. First, in their rush to portray this incident as a continuation of the days of Jim Crow, Jackson, Sharpton and the media have conveniently glossed over the fact that Zimmerman is, in fact, Hispanic. So much for demonstrating that the Old Confederacy still lives on. Second, most media has failed to report that Zimmerman, the supposed murderer, sustained injuries to the back of his head and to his face during his encounter with Martin. According to Zimmerman, these injuries were sustained while Martin was beating him, pounding his head onto the pavement and yelling “tonight you die” — circumstances that would seem to suggest that Zimmerman had reason to fear for his life. Finally, but most importantly, I hope that I don’t have to remind any of you that every citizen of the United States has a constitutional right to be presumed innocent until they are completely and unequivocally proven guilty. By trying Mr. Zimmerman in the court of public opinion so extensively, especially considering the facts of the case seem to have been lost in translation, most of the country — perhaps even you, or if not, probably someone you know — has already come to inappropriately pass judgment on him.
Is George Zimmerman guilty? I don’t know — and neither do you. Every single citizen of the United States is entitled to presumed innocence until proven guilty and trial by a panel of impartial peers; without such a right, our society would quickly degrade into lawlessness, anarchy and the tyranny of the mob. So the next time you hear something about the Trayvon Martin case, stop and consider that without all the facts, you have no right to impugn Mr. Zimmerman until murder is proven. Because if you convict him wrongly today, who or what do you expect to defend you if you are wrongly accused tomorrow?
Daily Nexus conservative columnist Jeffrey Robin is thankful that at least Fox News has maintained its journalistic integrity.
In Response, Left Said:
The way my counterpart writes, it’s an amazement that the world doesn’t descend into “lawlessness, anarchy and the tyranny of the mob” every Tuesday morning as you’re reading the Nexus. Convicting someone in the public consciousness is one thing, but we’re dealing with a case where there would be no investigation whatsoever if everyone hadn’t gotten so angry about this. We’re dealing with a case where the State Attorney assigned to Sanford, Florida, directly overruled a request to press charges upon George Zimmerman.
The police video that is purported to show Zimmerman’s head injuries has been called into question, but even if it is valid, that’s evidence that should be brought into a court of law — not just circled around news websites and conservative blogs. It also doesn’t excuse him for pursuing an innocent young man (after being told not to by a 9-1-1 dispatcher) and likely attacking him in some way given the evidence. Zimmerman’s claims of what Martin shouted somehow seem less credible than the young woman who Martin called to say he feared for his life.
People are right to be pissed off. Because if you ignore the potential murder of a young, unarmed teen today, who or what do you expect to press charges against the attacker if your son is gunned down in the street (with an iced tea and a pack of Skittles), “dear reader”?