For the fourth time in my adult life I watched a jury come together and make a coherent decision, one that can from one persons lost life, and would determine anothers future. The George Zimmerman trial came to an end yesterday, ending a year of confusion, heartache, racial division. I remember coming home and watching the beginnings of the knowledge of the incident between Zimmerman and Martin. As the case unfolded I noticed two things; the prosecution was okay, but they would never be able to lock the case and Zimmerman to murder. I also noticed that the media had begun to not only pick their side, but created the case into a case of race and discrimination.
I do feel that people who are of a minority or a different race than the majority that live or are gathered in an area tend to stand out. And I realize that there are several cases of people suffering and even dying based on their skin color or nationality. But I didn’t even think about it in this case. First off Zimmerman was just as much as a minority as Martin (His father is white and mother is Hispanic.) and there is no real evidence that Zimmerman did his actions just because of race. And even if he did, that would have been an entirely different case and issue. But looking at the facts and the media involvement, the entire race issue was played up and used by the media to create buzz and draw the idea that Zimmerman was a race fearing person, something I don’t think is true and is not justified in the court accounts.
Because of this turn and focus of race, most people automatically drew their side and didn’t completely look at the case from the same side of the jury. You have to remember that we as the public get to see everything, even that which is created by a one sided media source.
The media has this funny way of turning everyday people into lawyers, judges, and forensic specialist. All of a sudden people think they understand every part of the law and have created a mindset of knowing what will be justified and what’s not. They let their emotions, personal stories, and misguided eyes create a verdict for the cases they see on TV. They don’t understand that they have fallen into a trap that in the end will just anger and frustrate you, because you have been lead to believe that the side you pick (which you didn’t really pick, but rather was given by the media) would win…it would find justice and would play out ok.
As I study for my legal classes and go over small cases that are directly similar to this and other cases I start to see how much this case has affected the outside world just because of mass media coverage. There truly are dozens of cases with Martins and Zimmermans, some details are different but they have the same legal and case issues. For the most part they also have the same outcome, whether from a bad prosecution or lack of evidence, or just the case that it’s the way the legal case went. When you take out the race and the media you still have the same results. A person lost their life and another has paid, be it with losing loved ones or from having to build up a broken reputation.
We often forget the world outside our front doors. The media is so powerful at grasping our attention and directing it to what we want we forget that we are not in control and neither are them. Zimmerman is legally innocent of murder…morally is a different case. Martin is dead and perhaps one day him and his family can come to peace that his death was tragic and not necessary and might help other deaths be prevented in the future. But no matter what I feel that the real change in this entire episode has to be the focus of the media and its coverage of cases like these. Ones that should only be local, ones that never had a racial context until provided, ones that take a person and demonize them to a unjustified point.
To me the American media and its coverage on law has died. In its place is an organizational method of controlling the views and mindsets of a people who are limited in the ability to the full information needed to create a legal and reasonable conclusion. We will see more cases like this and it wouldn’t surprise me if this will be something we see more of. And from this more tears, emotions and personal lives will be broken and hurt. For the media this is news, this is helpful, and right. It’s up to us to decide if we should use a death and the legal court in a unconnected issue to fight injustices, or if we will get up and decide for ourselves to stop it before that happens.
I pray for everyone involved, the families of both men, and for the jury who are no doubt in a state of confusion and guilt.