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Zimmerman jury delivered correct verdict

George Zimmerman, right, talks to court security investigator Robert Hemmert during a recess after a jury question in the 25th day of his trial at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center, in Sanford, Fla., Saturday, July 13, 2013. Zimmerman has been charged with the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.(AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool)

George Zimmerman, right, talks to court security investigator Robert Hemmert during a recess after a jury question in the 25th day of his trial at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center, in Sanford, Fla., Saturday, July 13, 2013. Zimmerman has been charged with the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.(AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool) Purchase photo reprints »

The verdict is in for the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case. What did we learn?

Being a vigilante is a dangerous hobby.

Juvenile bravado can get you killed.

Mark O’Mara is a hell of a defense attorney.

We also learned that the jury had no choice but to vote “not guilty.”

The prosecution didn’t prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt; Zimmerman’s defense team was more masterful in presentation, more adept at story-telling and more effective in cross-examination. Three aspects of the defense’s case were in the fore: When Police Detective Chris Serino testified that he found no significant inconsistencies in Zimmerman’s statements to police, as Juror B37 told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday night; when O’Mara mounted the life-size test dummy to demonstrate how Martin supposedly bashed Zimmerman’s head against the concrete, as Zimmerman claimed, and the most riveting - when Zimmerman neighbor John Good testified he’d seen a black man on top of a lighter-skinned man “just throwing down blows on the guy, MMA-style.”

Good’s testimony was earth-shattering. A most tragic case essentially was over after that, based on law.

As Harvard law school professor Alan Dershowitz said on CNN’s “State of the Union with Candy Crowley” on Sunday: “I think this is a fairly traditional case of self-defense. It’s a horrible tragedy. It reflects the racial divide in our society. There is no reason this young man should have been killed. Zimmerman may have been morally at fault for racially profiling and following him, but under the law of self-defense, if he was on bottom and he was having his head banged against the pavement and was in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily harm, he had the right to respond the way he did.”

That seems logical. Remember, Juror B37 also told Cooper that she believed Martin threw the first punch.

Perhaps Zimmerman’s actions before that confrontation can be viewed through the prism of a syllogism, which usually is based on two connected premises.

In this case, a George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin Syllogism could go like this:

Premise A: Different groups of black teens dressing and acting in a certain way recently had been burglarizing apartments and homes in the neighborhood,

Premise B: Trayvon Martin was a black teen dressing and acting in that certain way.

Logical conclusion: Trayvon Martin was a logical source of suspicion.

Instead of racial profiling, perhaps Zimmerman was engaging in racial observation — from a syllogistic view.

There is a difference.

However, there is one issue in this case that’s similar to some of its predecessors to many in the black community: That is, Zimmerman was viewed as an outsider. That’s the source of much of this visceral outrage. If Zimmerman were named “Smith” and black, would there be mass protests nationwide? No way. The facts of life are these: Most black males in this country are killed by other black males within their own communities. Most of the assailants are between the ages of 15 and 34.

Why aren’t the protesters marching about that from San Francisco to New York? If NAACP president and CEO Ben Jealous employed even one-tenth of his unbridled passion and energy to black-on-black crime as he has to the Martin-Zimmerman case, perhaps we could accomplish something here. How about a more zealous Ben Jealous in Chicago?

Chicago is America’s new Vietnam. The casualty reports remind one of the 1960s when CBS News’ pre-eminent anchorman Walter Cronkite read the number of daily deaths and wounded from the Vietnam War at the end of his nightly newscasts. And then he would close with his patented mantra: “And that’s the way it is ...”

That’s the way it is in the United States these days. There is a certain degree of acceptance of black-on-black homicides. Check out these numbers from the four-day Fourth of July holiday covering July 4 to July 7: According to NBC Chicago, 72 people were shot, with 12 dead. That’s approximately 18 per day, mostly black. The joke in Chicago is “When you combine Chicago with Iraq, what do you get? Chiraq.”

Now back to racial profiling ...

Suppose a corporation implemented a racial survey of its key workers. The survey revealed that one important division within the corporation featured no black employees. None. Zero. Then the corporate CEO ordered internal hiring managers to find at least three black people to employ for staff diversification. Is that racial profiling? Or is it diversity? Are they one in the same? Is workplace racial profiling operating under the guise of diversity? Or is the word “diversity” simply a euphemism for racial profiling?

In each case, a certain racial group is being targeted. So what’s the difference?

Example No. 2: Washington D.C., like New York and Chicago, is a Cab City. Taxis traverse the nation’s streets all hours, night and day, weekends, too. A cabdriver once told me that he refused to pick up any black male who appeared to be under the age of 30.

Why is that pivotal to this essay? Because that particular cabdriver was American-born black. He wasn’t African-born black or Middle Eastern, like so many other drivers. This guy was originally from Reidsville, N.C.

Why did he assume this stance? Because the taxi driver claimed he had been robbed multiple times, each time by young black dudes. Is that racial profiling? He is a perfect example in this sense: Anyone who thinks black folk don’t racially profile in this country is delusional.

Was that American-born black cabdriver engaging in racial profiling, or was he simply exercising his right to self-preservation and/or self-protection?

Let’s not forget that even Rev. Jesse Jackson himself admitted to racial profiling. The year was 1993. The reverend shocked the world when he made this statement on stereotyping: “There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start to think about robbery and then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.”

Perhaps ESPN sports broadcaster Stephen A. Smith got it right when he, on his television show on Monday, profoundly advised black males to adjust and adapt. “Take off that hoodie. There is a responsibility that we have to have,” Smith said. “I’m talking about my community. We have to have a responsibility where everything can’t be about being right. Sometimes it has to be about being smart ...

“It’s not always about right and wrong. It’s about what the reality of a situation may be and adapting to the circumstances to make sure you don’t find yourself in a world of trouble.”

Gregory Clay is assistant sports editor for McClatchy-Tribune News Service.


Guest column supporting Zimmerman verdict makes illogical points

Thursday, July 18, 2013

To the editor: Gregory Clay’s guest column (“Zimmerman jury delivered correct verdict”, July 17) seems to conclude that Zimmerman’s acquittal was justified because a black cab driver and a black civic leader allegedly once said that young black men make them nervous, too. Never mind that according to FBI statistics, arrested offenders in the United States tend to be over …

Nancy Natale: Shocked that Gazette would publish column

Thursday, July 18, 2013

To the editor: I thought I had picked up The Republican instead of The Gazette when I saw your Opinion page Wednesday. Between the editorial cartoon and the guest column headed “Zimmerman jury delivered correct verdict,” I was shocked that your paper would publish such biased nonsense. And then the quote that “advised black males to adjust and adapt” by …

Dave King: Appalled that Gazette would publish this column

Thursday, July 18, 2013

To the editor: I was appalled and saddened by the Gazette’s decision to publish the column “Zimmerman jury delivered correct verdict” on July 17. This conclusion was in no way supported by the author’s disjointed presentation of cherry-picked testimony by the jury in the Zimmerman case, or their irrelevant reference to homicide statistics from Chicago. The author entirely missed the …

Jeff Napolitano: Disappointed Gazette would print such a column

Thursday, July 18, 2013

To the editor: To the good people of the Daily Gazette, I am puzzled and disappointed that the Gazette would run a piece such as “Zimmerman jury delivered correct verdict”. It is hard to not describe this editorial as racist and offensive, and certainly not worth the printing in my hometown newspaper. It is particularly puzzling to me that the …

B.J. Fine: Self-serving, pseudo intellectual discourse

Thursday, July 18, 2013

To the editor: The guest column by Gregory Clay on the Zimmerman/Martin case was nothing more that a self-serving, pseudo-intellectual discourse designed to show the writer’s supposed erudition. It fails despite the syllogisms, premises and “logical” conclusions presented by Clay. I have one question to ask him based on his final statements. Mr. Clay, you said: “It is not always …

Bet Power: Outraged by allowing this column to see print

Thursday, July 18, 2013

To the editor: I am outraged by your publication of the opinion of Gregory Clay, “Zimmerman jury delivered correct verdict.” Clay’s is an odd perspective on the outcome of a trial that set a killer free, one made by an apparently self-hating African American who justifies racial profiling, including on his Website. His opinion does not reflect the tens of …

UMass forum on racial fall-out of Zimmerman verdict

Friday, July 19, 2013

AMHERST — Those who spoke at a Friday night forum said the verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman exposes some ugly truths about the state of race relations in America. “People are not judged by the content of their character,” said Trevor Baptiste, one of about 40 in attendance at the University of Massachusetts Campus Center. “They’re judged by …

Legacy Comments4

I don't agree with Clay's overall views though some of his points are well taken (the much-needed affirmative action practices; how the the war among Chicago youths and black-on-black violence nationwide is not considered a national catastrophe). I also do not agree with some of letter writers who criticize the Gazette for publishing Clay's column. The Gazette purpose is not to be a cheerleader for those who disagree with the verdict or those do. It is a paper founded on the principles of democracy; it is a cheerleader for the Constitution, specifically, the First Amendment. I for one am glad the Gazette published Clay's column AND the letters calling to silence Clay. For those who would have preferred to not hear from Clay, it makes me think that behind their masks of progressive liberalism are hues of fascist ideology that does not tolerate dissent.

A syllogism is an argument of the form ALL A are B, ALL C are A, therefore, ALL C are B (e.g. All dogs are mammals, all poodles are dogs, therefore, all poodles are mammals). The author's "syllogism" is of the form SOME A (Black teens) are B (criminals), C (Martin) is an A (Black teen), therefore C (Martin) must be a B (criminal). That's not logic, that's racism. Trotting out a litany of other distancing strategies that desperately try to distract from the case doesn't help. Sometimes it is just about right and wrong, and Zimmerman was dangerously wrong. Why is it so hard to admit that? Stick to sports.

I agree that the prosecution didn't do as good of a job as it could have, but I don't agree with the author that an improvement in prosecution would have changed the outcome of the case. There are instances all over the web of unarmed black people (children) being murdered and their killers going free. The Zimmerman Trial highlights the fact that gun laws and their prosecution both work in concert to protect White Supremacy. I don't care if they found one black person to say we shouldn't wear hoodies and act "smarter". White Supremacists will always find a reason to criminalize and attack Blacks, no matter what they wear or how they act, and the law will protect them, as is now clear for the nation to see. I am ashamed that this was published in my hometown newspaper, but I should have known better than to forget that racism and ignorance are alive and well in even the "liberal" regions of the country. Indeed, such failure to keep that danger ever present in my mind can result in my imprisonment or death.

While I agree that based on the case the acquittal of George Zimmerman is fair - the rest of this article is pure trash. Victim blaming, cherry-picking and a complete lack of understanding about what racism is. You argue like a narrow-minded person by presenting your views first and shaping everything else to fit them. I wish I could say I expected better from the Gazette but I don't. You are surrounded by excellent colleges in the pioneer valley, maybe you should audit a class on sociology, oppression or african american studies and learn a bit.

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