The Justice Departments insistence on pursuing an investigation into George Zimmerman on the basis of a racial hate crime is misguided. The jurors who struggled with the verdict about the guilt of Mr. Zimmerman claimed they did not believe race was an issue in the actions of George Zimmerman and the double jeopardy clause in the fifth amendment of our Constitution should allow their verdict to stand. If the Justice Department wants to combat racial intolerance, they should start with the war on drugs, where people of color and the poor are far more likely to be searched, arrested and incarcerated than whites or wealthy Americans.
Reading news of the demonstrations concerning the Zimmerman trial verdict, I was reminded of the return trip from our youngest son’s graduation and winging ceremony from helicopter training school at Whiting Field NAS near Pensacola, Fl. We were driving across Louisiana on Interstate 20 late in the evening and needed a break. I spotted a sign directing us to a nearby McDonald’s. After following signs about 8 miles north of the interstate, we finally found the restaurant, parked and went inside. I noticed we were the only white people there but didn’t give it much thought until several people who came in after us were waited on. After a few minutes I heard the manager say, “somebody better wait on the white folks”. I am somewhat hearing impaired but I still heard the words cracker, honky and Oreo whispered several times. We got our food and left and I remember thinking I could stop and get some spray paint and return to the sign on Interstate 20 and write “blacks only” on the McDonald’s sign but I quickly dismissed that idea and it was soon forgotten.
The demonstrations and vandalism about the Zimmerman trial verdict are somewhat similar to the riots following the trial of the police who beat Rodney King and were acquitted. King eventually sued and received a large monetary award in a civil trial but the riots did nothing to dispel racial intolerance, if anything it only made matters worse and punished people who had nothing to do with the verdict such as the truck driver, Reginald Denny who had his head bashed in with a concrete block by Damian Williams, who also attacked Fidel Lopez with a car stereo. In all 53 people were killed and 2000 were injured in the riots. What do you think their opinion of black people is, as a result of their encounter with that mob? I know juries don’t always come to the right conclusion in trials but I have to think it is better than a lynch mob where uninformed public opinion is the deciding factor. Now Eric Holder is looking into the Justice Department filing charges against Zimmerman, in what I believe is the Obama administration trying to win black votes at Zimmerman’s expense. Our Constitution says that no one can be put in jeopardy of life and limb for the same crime twice, but often our justice system just comes up with another law governing the same action and tries people again to make sure no one goes unpunished. Zimmerman may still face a civil wrongful death suit in Florida, but I really didn’t see this trial as a racial issue. The only racial comments I read about in the news, were from Trayvon Martin, when he referred to Zimmerman as a “weird ass cracker”. This is a tragic event that unfolded as a series of terrible misunderstandings and mistakes on both parts. Zimmerman is guilty of a strong prejudice against criminals and that is likely what led him to volunteer as a neighborhood watchman. Whether he over stepped his authority in that role and whether his actions were justified as self-defense, is what the jury had to decide, but I didn’t hear of any testimony that would indicate his actions were racially motivated. Had the two met in a verbal confrontation, instead of a fight, they might have avoided this tragic event and Trayvon might still be alive, but that is not what happened. Regardless of the outcome of the trial, if you believe in God, you must believe that no one escapes judgment. Trayvon Martin was created in the image of God just like the rest of us, and God will be the one who decides if justice has been met. George Zimmerman will either stand forgiven with Jesus as his advocate or stand accused and face judgment. But today Zimmerman’s troubles are far from over. Both George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin’s family could use our prayers as they try to live beyond this tragic event. The bible says that if we do not forgive, we cannot be forgiven.