I am not someone who has followed State of Florida v. George Zimmerman with rapt, 24/7 attention, or even 8/5 attention. But it was easy for me to predict to a friend who asked me on Friday that there would be an acquittal. How could a jury possibly find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, after all, when the state’s own witnesses seemed to help the defendant’s case as much as the prosecution’s?
The saga had many villains and few heroes. The foremost villains were the media — for more on that, see Linda Chavez’s pre-verdict column here – and the state of Florida, which may have mismanaged the way it handled the initial investigation, and certainly acted irresponsibly in bringing a prosecution it could not have expected to win, just to appease the gods of political correctness. Neither of the purported protagonists — George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin — was heroic or villainous; the principal quality of each in the sad, tragic affair was an instinct for poor judgment.
And heroes? Hard to find any — except for the six jurors, who did the right thing in the face of what must have been significant pressure at least to “compromise” and find Mr. Zimmerman guilty of something.
It was an unedifying experience for the country. There are too many with a wedded interest in denying the fact that America offers amazing opportunities to all and that our interracial relations are today astonishingly good — but the death of Trayvon Martin and prosecution of George Zimmerman gave them the national platform. And they will not relinquish it easily.