Your thoughtful July 16 editorial was neither “incendiary” nor “arrogant,” as Carolyn Hughes charges.
But commentaries like yours on the George Zimmerman verdict and responses like Ms. Hughes’ help us see into the heart of the issue. Even acknowledging that there may not be legal grounds for convicting Zimmerman of manslaughter in his final scuffle with Trayvon Martin, and conceding that within that very limited context his shooting Martin could, by generous benefit of the doubt, be ruled self-defense, many, many Americans are left feeling that justice has not been done because the jury heard only part of “the truth” and was prevented from responding to “the whole truth.”
Outrage by both blacks and whites at Zimmerman’s acquittal stems from the conviction that an unarmed teenager should not be shot dead just for walking down the street, that a self-appointed vigilante should not be allowed to stalk an unknown passerby with a loaded concealed weapon and that something is gravely amiss if there are no consequences when such “legal” but morally “wrong” actions provoke a confrontation that kills an innocent person.
That this context for the shooting could not be considered by the jurors is deeply disturbing, especially for those who find it impossible to believe that Zimmerman’s actions were not racially motivated.
In a letter to The New York Times, professor Peter Lushing of the Cardozo law school criticizes President Obama’s remarks about the case for implying that “something is badly wrong with a system that would acquit Mr. Zimmerman.” Professor Lushing accuses the president of disregarding the essence of our judicial system, the premise that we would rather let many guilty people go free than convict one innocent one. But surely the point is that we cannot live with a set of laws which virtually invite someone like Zimmerman to behave as he did and hold him legally blameless for the tragically predictable outcome of his actions.
JUDY and MICHAEL OLINICK
MiddleburyMORE IN Letters
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