Water Cooler Newsroom

How often do you examine the man in the mirror? How often do you introspect and feel compounded to evoke change within? This morning riding into work Michael Jackson’s song “Man in the Mirror” came on initially I wanted to change the song since it always makes me tear up. But I sat there and really listened to his message and the lyrics. Realizing that change must come from within be it our attitudes and behaviors.

In light of the Zimmerman not guilty verdict this song seems fitting. Many of us feel justice was not served and a guilty man is free to repeat this massacre again. Many of us want and think we need vindication. The truth of the matter is change is needed to reverse the laws in Florida. What Zimmerman did is egregious and irreprehensible. It will forever be an indelible mark in our minds. We must not forget what happened. For if we do forget it will undoubtedly happen again. History is important to remember and harmful to forget. If we forget the past we are destined to repeat it.

This verdict should evoke change in us all. It should force us to reexamine the very core of who we are and what we represent. We could very well be on either side of this coin. It is just painful to imagine the pain that enveloped Trayvon in that moment. When he realized someone was following him. He fought for his life because it was in fact a matter of life and death. This unknown assailant provoked a battle between them. Trayvon fought with everything with him but unfortunately you cannot win when someone brings a gun to a fist fight.

Zimmerman made a mockery of our laws by claiming self defense. How dare he? He provoked the situation Trayvon if he were here was defending himself against Zimmerman. For Trayvon it was survival of the fittest kill or be killed. To some it may have even seemed that this was a slam dunk for the prosecution first degree murder in its finest. Yet they went for second degree instead. Second degree is ordinarily defined as: 1) an intentional killing that is not premeditated or planned, nor committed in a reasonable “heat of passion”; or 2) a killing caused by dangerous conduct and the offender’s obvious lack of concern for human life. Second-degree murder may best be viewed as the middle ground between first-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter.

In many eyes Zimmerman’s intent was to shoot to kill. Point. Blank. Period. How can you be defending yourself when you stalk someone and you are clearly the protagonist in the situation? One the 9-1-1 calls made by Zimmerman you can clearly understand the operator’s pleas with Zimmerman to stop pursuing Trayvon. He was told the police were on their way. Zimmerman was serving as a private citizen portraying himself as a man of higher authority. He surmised that Trayvon was a suspect and he had the right according to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law.

Let examine what stand your ground states that a person may justifiably use force in self-defense when there is reasonable belief of an unlawful threat, without an obligation to retreat first. How is this law plausible when Zimmerman created the presumed threat to Travyon not the reverse? I cannot help but be more befuddled by the enormity of this situation.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

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