No one knows what really happened. No one ever does. Eyewitnesses are unreliable, especially when one of them is dead and the other doesn't testify. People came running, but it was dark, they were frightened, they couldn't really see or hear. The 911 call is muddy; did George say punk or coon? As Diane Rheem wondered aloud this morning, how could those two words be confused?
There was blood where it should have been and none where it might have been and who was on top was the question of the week. There were a lot of blonde women making pronouncements as TBG flipped through the channels, trying to find something that was not related to a neighborhood watch gone wrong. It was impossible. There was no other news to be found.
Isn't President Assad still firing on his people? How's Nelson Mandela feeling? Texas is stepping in between women and medical care. Obamacare is stumbling over its own two feet. Egypt is appointing a government while making noises about an election. All these stories were carried along with the trial in Florida right up until the verdict was announced. Then, miraculously, they disappeared.
Instead, talking heads are mulling over evidence offered in a courtroom far away. Having spent some time of my own in a courtroom, I know how opinions change as testimony is given. Those who saw our shooter for the first time at the sentencing hearing were much angrier than those of us who had been there throughout his appearances. We watched the evidence being presented, we followed the proceedings, we listened and we learned.
Watching excerpts of testimony is not the same thing. Reading the transcript is closer, but still one step removed from the evidence the jury had to evaluate. Desire for revenge, fury at the perpetrator, sorrow over the loss... none of those have any bearing in a court of law. The jurors had to pay attention to the rules set out in the Stand Your Ground legislation. There wasn't much room for personal opinions.
The voices on television, the analysts on the interwebs and in the print media, the lady behind me on line in the grocery store.... that's where the opinions flourish. Should he have been wearing a hoodie? Should he have gotten out of the car? Who felt more threatened? Is there value in pursuing a civil suit? What would I tell my son, were he 17 and black and hungry for a snack?
I wasn't there. I can't weigh in on who was right and who was wrong. I didn't hear the judge's instructions. I haven't studied the law. I have to rely on the system. It's all I have. I ache for both sides - for the loss of a son, for the destruction of a man's life, for the ongoing pain and aggravation descending on all concerned.
It's just too sad. It should never have happened. I had a hard time getting past those two sentences until I found (and retweeted) a phrase that sums it up for me:
How cool would it be if we lived in a world where George Zimmerman would've offered Trayvon a ride home to get out of the rain that night?A girl can always hope, right?