The “death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy,” said President Barack Obama in a statement a day after the verdict in the George Zimmerman on CNN. “Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America. I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken. I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son. And as we do, we should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities. We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis. We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this. As citizens, that’s a job for all of us. That’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin.”
Protests nationwide, while mostly peaceful outside of Los Angeles, reveal the anger that came with the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the man who readily acknowledges that he shot and killed Trayvon Martin, but said he did so in self-defense. The “not guilty” verdict of murder or manslaughter beyond a reasonable doubt didn’t do much to quell the feelings of “not innocent” for the neighborhood watchmen who left his home with a gun in Sanford, Florida, February 2012, to follow unarmed 17-year-old, Trayvon Martin.
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However, what this high-profile case does do is highlight the fact that criminal trials are not the best way to decide whether a defendant is actually innocent, and that they will never help us resolve the larger issues raised by a case. Questions such as, are young black men being racially profiled? Does the law give people too much leeway in using deadly force in self-defense? Are there too many guns in the hands of private citizens? Haven’t been resolved during the trial, but they have been brought to light with the media presence keeping an eye on the courtroom.
Many hope to correct what they see as injustice from this case following the verdict read during the trial, the same way they brought Zimmerman to his arrest 45 days after the shooting, with a petition. Many do hope that no more violence will occur and that any protests associated with this case from here on out will be peaceful, and from this point on we should, as a society, come together to see how we can prevent future tragedies like this.