The determination of guilt in the homicide of Trayvon Martin now rests with the jury. It does not rest with the rest of us. It does not matter if we watched the trial all the way through on cable TV, which I did. It does not matter what we may believe or conclude. Zimmerman’s guilt or innocence is not up to us, but to the six jurors chosen to judge evidence in this matter.
I could sit here and tell you what I believe, based on that evidence. But it’s not my responsibility to do that. It is only my responsibility to live with and accept the conclusions of the six who are sequestered, and who now pour over the statements, the videos, the recordings, the charts and graphs, and most of all the instructions of the court as to their duty.
If found guilty in either charge, let it be a stark reminder to all gun owners and those with a concealed carry permit that you carry with you not just a lethal weapon but a heavy responsibility to reserve the use of that weapon until it is absolutely necessary to use it. And that the choice to use it comes with a very heavy personal cost, not just to your victim, but to you, to the families of your victim and yourself, and to the community at large.
If found innocent of the charges, let’s remember that it is our right –everyone’s– to be presumed innocent until proven guilty by a preponderance of the evidence. It is not a sign that justice was not served for Trayvon Martin. Justice can still serve Trayvon if we move forward to end gun violence, and to rid ourselves of ridiculous laws like the “stand your ground” law that only gives us permission to escalate a situation and relieves us of the responsibility to act civil toward one another. Trayvon had a right to stand his ground that night also. And in doing so –in confronting Zimmerman with a 17 year old’s sense of justice– he helped to bring about the events that led to his own death.
Let’s seek peace, love and community. Let’s follow the example of the victim’s mother, who with grace and poise, stands strong in the belief that, regardless the outcome, justice for her son will be served.