#746 – Dick Bernard: The George Zimmerman case: An Action with Consequences, for Zimmerman, (and perhaps, even, Possibilility for something positive.)

UPDATE: This post, reposted on the Woodbury Patch, has thus far attracted 29 comments pro and con.
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For anyone interested in a much longer summary of news after the George Zimmerman verdict Saturday, here is an interesting recap of reactions entitled “Insufficient Justice”.
Yesterday, my friend, Greg, a retired Prosecutor, asked me if I was surprised by the verdict in the Trayvon Martin death by gunshot last February.
I said “yes” – I had thought George Zimmerman would at minimum have gotten some ‘slap on the wrist’ punishment. After all, he’d killed an unarmed person who, it turned out, was minding his own business.
I asked Greg the same question back – was he surprised? “Not at all”, he said. He lived a career with the reality that prosecutors face every day in our system: the issue of proof “beyond reasonable doubt”.
Personally, I think there is some significant “silver” – a glimmer of hope – beyond the dark cloud of what was a legal murder of an innocent teenager in Florida 16 months ago.
We are a TV ‘soundbite’ nation where news comes our ways in those annoying crawlers on the TV screen or equivalent; or in very short snippets of news reports repeated over and over and over. Or Twitter feeds….
This blog, at this point 198 words, is too long for most citizens.
You’ve come this far: give me 400 more words of your time.
1. We’ll likely never know how Mr. Zimmerman really feels now, many months after he chose to pull his weapon and kill Trayvon Martin. Without that weapon, that night, he probably wouldn’t have engaged Martin; or if he did, the result at worst would have been what usually happens in a normal fight. All the gun accomplished was to destroy two lives: the young man who was killed that night; and the successful (and legal) perpetrator who will now be used for awhile by those who feel he helped their cause; but who inevitably will be discarded, becoming a nobody, if anything less attractive to a potential employer.
I do wonder how he really feels…we’ll likely never know that.
2. There is an opportunity presented, here, for a deep national conversation, person-to-person, town-by-town, about many things.
Is Florida a safer place because of the gun laws that spawned the Trayvon Martin killing? Will the incident encourage people to move to Florida?
Is the marketing of fear that increases gun sales solely a benefit to the gun industry? After all, it is hard to imagine that vigilante gun owners will be much encouraged by the very real life sentence given Mr. Zimmerman in the wake of the incident in Sanford FL. He is free, but how free is he, really?
3. Will this tragic incident encourage more talk about the down-side of increasing attempts to increase “states” and “individual” “rights” (as opposed to acknowledging the positive role of a responsible (and responsive) federal government and citizens who are as aware of their responsibility to society at large as to their rights as individuals?

We like to pretend we don’t need government: that government gets in the way, particularly the farther away it is.
Is this so? Recently I did a 850 mile roundtrip to reunion places I was visiting in North Dakota. In my summary blog piece about the trip I chose to focus on Interstate 94, which began construction the very year I started college in 1958.
We Americans live on these highways.
In my trip I traveled:
550 miles on Interstate 94, the granddaddy of Federal projects
154 miles on U.S. 52 and 281
140 miles on N.D. and MN State Highways
a tiny handful miles on county roads and city streets.
You can guess which roads were least desirable. There’s reason I chose the Federal highways whenever possible.
I don’t need to explain any more.
Let’s talk.

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