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Robert A. Mills

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JUSTICE!
3/31/2012 5:51:04 AM
It’s everywhere you look, the lead story on almost all TV newscasts: Justice For Trayvon Martin! Justice For Trayvon Martin! Headlines and placards galore — everywhere you look. Even emails from Move On. Justice! Justice!

But what does it all mean? What sort of “justice” is the madding crowd looking for? What exactly are they expecting? And were and when does justice become synonym for revenge?

Short of a public hanging, what is the justice that will satisfy the family and milling throngs that are crying out so fervently for it? Will any form of justice actually be a balm to the pain of losing a child? Rightly or wrongly? The mother of Trayvon Martin is to be commended for having stated she would be content if only George Zimmerman was arrested.

If the perpetrator who pulled the trigger and ended the life of Trayvon Martin is finally arrested, indicted, and brought to trial, will that truly satisfy the parents and others — even if he is acquitted? What if he is found guilty but sentenced to merely life in prison, will that be the justice so many are demanding? Florida still has a death penalty law, and it has been imposed seventy-two times in the past thirty-six years. Hells bells, you want justice! There it is!

The right wing is screaming “racial profiling!” Had the neighborhood watch volunteer shot the hooded kid’s gray-haired old grandmother, most of the crowd would have looked the other way. Obviously she was up to no good, and besides, who wants justice for a harmless ancient?


Anyway, George Zimmerman, the villain in this scenario, may well be innocent; he may be as much a victim as Trayvon Martin himself. I was not there, and neither were you. Enforcement people have only the 911 tape and comments by the kid’s girl friend to go on, and a couple neighbors who admittedly did not see the actual shooting — plus a dim and indistinct police video of the shooter being detained in handcuffs.

But the only ones who can truthfully say what happened are none other than the two participants — and one can never speak to the issue, while the other will tell nothing but his side of the story.

So, the truth will have to be determined within the structure of an objective witness: the law itself. And it would seem on the surface, at least, the law should be the final arbiter in reaching a justified outcome — without all the drama and innuendo of mobs and celebrities.

There is no question, apparently, that Mr. Zimmerman overstepped his bounds by carrying a loaded pistol while on duty, even though the gun was registered and duly licensed. But if having such a weapon on his person, as he proclaims, saved him from grave harm, who among his detractors would not have resorted its use?

If Mr. Martin was, after all, an innocent wanderer who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, Mr. Zimmerman contributed to that event by shooting and killing the young fellow without alleged provocation, and no law devised by man should protect him from facing the wrath of common decency.

But it begs the question: what is it, precisely, this “justice” that is being sought and demanded? Does it have anything to do with race? If Mr. Martin were white (as Mr. Zimmerman is portrayed to be), would the madding crowd still be as frustrated as they are? What if Mr. Zimmerman was a black man and Mr. Martin was white (or if both were black or both Caucasian), would as many care who killed whom? Again, I do not know. And neither do you.

It is yet most alarming that a so-called reporter on Fox News said the article of clothing Mr. Martin was wearing is the true culprit. How a “hoodie” could have inspired the incident is reasoning only the donning of glasses and a suit could, as Jon Stewart suggested, make someone a journalist. Get real, Geraldo.

Here in Georgia we have a law very similar to Florida’s. We are permitted to employ deadly force if our life is being threatened by miscreants we suspect are going to do us serious bodily harm. As I do not own a gun (and would probably shoot myself if I was required to use it), I most likely will never find myself in either Mr. Martin or Mr. Zimmerman’s sad predicament.

On the other hand, my home is booby-trapped so that anyone attempting a home invasion will be fatally electrocuted on the spot. Will his heirs—or mine—demand justice?

I cannot say. But should I ever be in such an unfortunate position, I would only hope some souls—misguided though they might be—are moved to seek a modicum of justice on my behalf.

Just what that justice turns out to be, however, I would prefer the law be left alone to sort out. Mob mentality will only muddle and misconstrue the issue.

And Spike Lee, you should send a sincere apology to that couple in Florida for Twittering their address as the home of George Zimmerman. Sending a lynch mob to someone’s domicile just ain’t cool.



Copyright©2012 by Robert A. Mills, all rights reserved


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