Regarding "The Trayvon Martin verdict" (Our Views, July 15):
The editorial boggles my mind. I must have slept through the civics class in college a few years ago during the discussion of our criminal justice system. Am I to believe that a selected and properly seated jury is only there to confirm preconceived notions and foregone conclusions about a case?
A jury was selected, with the approval of both the state and the defense. A qualified, experienced judge presided. Exhaustive evidence was presented by both the state and the defense. Neither side was hindered in presenting evidence except where existing law would have been violated. After closing arguments the judge charged the jury.
The jury had every shred of evidence, their notes and the direction of the court available to agree upon a verdict. After 15-plus hours of deliberation, the jury announced it had agreed upon a verdict. The verdict is now known around the world and is the root of protests, violence and arrests - all because preconceived notions and foregone conclusions were not confirmed by the jury.
The closing sentence your editorial prompts the following: A driver who goes to sleep and crashes into an individual or another car, causing a death, from all appearances did not commit a crime, but also caused a tragedy. Am I not correct? Lady Justice is blindfolded for a reason.
Fortunately for George Zimmerman, none of the Tampa Tribune editors sat on the jury deciding his case. In the face of evidence strongly supporting the contrary, the editors launched into vigilante journalism, infusing their opinions with unsupported and unlikely suppositions. Their contempt for both George Zimmerman and the verdict was not even thinly veiled.
The last paragraph summarizes their bias clearly: "Their (the jury) judgment may be appropriate, however unsatisfying. Yet the fact remains: A teenager is dead for no good reason. Zimmerman may not have committed a crime, but he caused a tragedy."
No, dear editors, trials are about justice first, regardless of anyone's satisfaction. An imperfect justice system determined there was no proof that a crime was committed, however unfortunate the outcome. And certainly it is arrogant for you to condemn Zimmerman as the single cause of a tragedy as if Trayvon Martin played no role in his own demise.
TampaGive us the facts
Regarding your editorial of July 15: The judgment may be appropriate? George Zimmerman may not have committed a crime? Why do you question and equivocate? The jury's decision was appropriate. Zimmerman did not commit a crime. Again, the media, including the Trib, has not performed its duty. As with President Obama, no investigation of Trayvon Martin was ever conducted by the press.
Was he the choir boy he has been made out to be? Why was his website taken off the Internet? Why weren't the photos he put on public display on his website and Facebook ever shown by the press - photos showing his physique, tattoos, posing with money? Why wasn't his school record discussed? What was he carrying in his backpack the day he was suspended from school just before he went to Sanford? Was that his first suspension?
This information, at first seen on the Internet and mentioned in the press, mysteriously disappeared from the public view, while much of the attention of the press concentrated on demonizing Zimmerman. So Trayvon may not have been the innocent child portrayed by old photos. Yet, you water down the decision that Zimmerman committed no crime, that the jury's finding "may have been appropriate." I don't call that responsible journalism. Please first give us all the facts. Then you can express your criticism of the jury and the judicial process, which worked perfectly in this case.
Paul S. Frappollo
The ugly truth
Regarding "Verdict protest draws 200" (front page, July 15): One of the 200 protesting George Zimmerman's not-guilty verdict in Tampa said "the reality is there is no value of African life in this country." Truth be told, he is right. But the ugly side of that truthfulness is that the "value of African life" has little meaning even within the black community and culture. The greatest threat to a black man's life is another black man, not neighborhood watch volunteers like Zimmerman.
What do Horsley Shorter, C. J. Mills, Kwame Doster, Osh Williams and thousands more like them have in common? They are black men who were murdered by other black men. What else do they have in common? The "Justice 4 Trayvon" crowd, the Uhurus, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, "social justice" advocates, Curtis Stokes and the NAACP, and other groups ad nauseam don't give a damn about them or their family members, that's what. Where were the "Justice 4 Kwame" demonstrations? Where was the press conference with Sharpton and Jackson when Osh Williams was murdered by a black thug? C.J. Mills' killers still haven't been caught - where is the outrage from the Uhurus? Has the NAACP stepped up to help the surviving family members?
The only element important to these protesters is political leverage. Trayvon Martin's family can go to blazes for all they care. Is it more tragic that Martin was shot dead than Doster? No. But the Uhurus, the NAACP, Sharpton and Jackson find no political expediency in black men being victimized by black murderers. The racial element is taken away. The "victimization" is taken away (even if the crime isn't). The grandstanding is taken away. The media pumping and priming is taken away. The false outrage is taken away. So why do it?
Finally, let us all grieve for Trayvon Martin. Let us all pray for his family and friends. Let us all hope that tragedies like this stop. But the ugly reality is, in the black community they will happen day after day after day. And the reality is the Uhurus, Jackson, Sharpton and the other racial war-mongers won't care.
Steffan F. Cress