my response is at bottom..
As most of us, I was shocked and bewildered by the prosecution's failure to obtain a guilty verdict against Zimmerman. It seemed clearcut to me, as a former practicing attorney who had handled many criminal trials, that the issue upon which the entire case turned, was Zimmerman's failure to follow the directions of a police officer. When he called 911 to report "suspicious activity" by a African-American youth, he was directed to stay in his car and not approach the individual. The resulting injuries he suffered and the death of Trayvon Martin, can be directly linked to his refusal to follow those directions. He put his life, and the life of Trayvon Martin, in jeopardy, by failing to stay in his car and instead, following, approaching and confronting a young man who had committed no crime, and for which he had no authority to act. The only reason Zimmerman felt safe enough to challenge the young man is because he knew that if things got out of hand, he had a "great equalizer" that he could use to end any violence. Such is not the actions of a brave and moral man, but, instead, they are the actions of a bully vigilante, intent on creating a situation where he could retaliate, free from repercussions, against those "punks."
This morning, as I read the front page of The Daily Times, my jaw dropped, figuratively and literally, as I read the response of Andy Harris to the verdict. "Get over it!" Yes..."get over it." Something I might have told my son when I was coaching his little league baseball team and we lost a game..."Get over it, son; it's just one game and in the scheme of things, you did your best, which is all you can do." Something the Nazis told the world, after gassing 8 million Jews, gypsies, physically & mentally disabled and other "undesirables"...sich aufrappeln! Get over it! As I read these words and his use of the word, "political" in his description as to why the US Justice Dept was considering Federal charges against Zimmerman, I became enraged. I am not a violent person, however, it was a good thing Harris was not within arm's reach this morning.
I then read about the Vigil for Trayvon Martin, and I contacted April Jackson, the daughter of Billy Gene Jackson, Sr, to express my outrage and desire to attend and speak to those assembled. She was gracious in extending an invitation and even said that she would be "honored" to have me speak. As flattered as I was, I told her that any "honor" that was being extended, should go to the memory of a young man, gunned down at the beginning of his life; a young man who may not have been perfect, but someone who didn't deserve to be killed while enjoying a bag of Skittles and a bottle of juice, walking home through a quiet neighborhood, just because he was profiled as someone who was "suspicious" in the eyes of a vigilante.
I invite everyone to attend this Vigil, for two reasons: 1. To honor the memory of Trayvon and to express our outrage at Zimmerman being able to walk away, a free man, and, 2. To express our anger and disbelief at the insensitive and narcissistic words of our 1st District representative, who believes he is above the fray and beyond the reach of our words and disapproval.
I look forward to seeing you on Saturday.
Editor's Note: I like Ron Pagano and April Jackson and think highly of them both, but this rally is being done for the wrong reasons. We have a justice system that is in place to try cases like these and a jury felt Zimmerman acted in self defense, as do I. I respect them and their right to organize a protest, however this is not needed to keep stirring the animosity in our area. I also see than Ron is using it as a platform to attack Andy Harris for his "get over it comment" over the verdict in the case. Look I don't like Andy Harris either, but turning the Martin/Zimmerman case into a political point is just wrong with the feelings people have in this case. Continuing to divide is not the answer, how would a George Zimmerman did the right thing rally be thought of if one was organized?
I'm disappointed that politics has begun to take center stage as to the root cause of this issue and that instead of trying to heal everyone, this is being done that will further keep the issue as a dividing point in our nation.