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George Zimmerman has been arrested…is a fair trial possible?
The story as far as the public knows.
For those who have not heard of this case, George Zimmerman shot Trayvvon Martin on February 26. George states he did it in self-defense; however there is controversy over whether or not that is true. So far the public has gotten most of their information from the Media. 911 tapes played have indicated that George Zimmerman said a racial slur and chase Trayvvon even though he was asked not to by the 911 operator. Another call to 911 is a witness to an altercation happening on the grass near their home between two men. One is screaming for help. The witness cannot see what is going on and admits to being afraid to go outside to see.
This is really all the actual evidence we have heard to this point. What followed since then are conjecture, opinion and sensationalism ignited and fueled by the media, special interest groups, and an outraged community (for both Mr. Zimmerman and Trayvvon).
Daily on every news and talk show has been the 911 tape played over and over. Slowed down and sped up, ‘experts’ hired by the media determining and sifting through the evidence and coming to their own conclusions. One of those conclusions is that Mr. Zimmerman shot Trayvon because he was black. The conclusion was due to a racial slur that was only heard when the 911 tape was slowed down and really even then it is hard to decipher. So, then the media began to focus on Mr. Zimmerman being a racist and played the tape over, and over again to reinforce this theory. But something interesting happened. A NBC producer was fired after it was found that one of the 911 tapes played on air was edited:
NBC's "Today" show first aired the edited version of Zimmerman's call on March 27. The recording viewers heard was trimmed to suggest that Zimmerman volunteered to police, with no prompting, that Martin was black: "This guy looks like he's up to no good. He looks black." But the portion of the tape that was deleted had the 911 dispatcher asking Zimmerman if the person who had raised his suspicion was "black, white or Hispanic," to which Zimmerman responded, "He looks black."
Then, NBC offered this benign apology:
On Tuesday, NBC said its investigation turned up "an error made in the production process that we deeply regret." It promised that "necessary steps" would be taken "to prevent this from happening in the future" and apologized to viewers.
‘An error made in the production process...’? Just an error? Oops, I edited this wrong? I’ve just fanned the flames of racial division and ‘oops’ I’m sorry? I find that very frightening. I knew I should always take what the media reports with ‘a grain of salt’ but now I wonder how many other times these little ‘errors’ have occurred.
The media has played the judge and jury from the beginning. MSNBC hired Tom Owen of Owen Forensic Services to examine the tape and he concluded that the voice calling for help was not George but Trayvon. The Media hired this expert. The Media examining the evidence for a public jury.
What did happen?
No one really knows what happened that night because one of the people involved is dead and the other one isn't being entirely forthcoming. But that isn't unusual under such circumstances regardless of the color of anyone's skin.
What is most unfortunate about this case is that it has rekindled racial divisions as Cal Thomas stated in a column he wrote with Bob Beckel.
Cal Thomas states "It would help if everyone calmed down. The investigation should be conducted without fear or favor. The case will be settled based on verifiable evidence, not vigilantism and trial by media."
Well said Cal. But is it possible now?
Justice or revenge?
Can George Zimmerman get a fair trial?
What do you think? First, they’ll have to get a jury from Siberia because of all the media blasting, it is really unlikely to find someone who hasn’t heard about the case. Then it will be even harder to find someone who can say (honestly) that they can be impartial having not already drawn their conclusions.
Here is another thought about jury selection. Do you really think a jury will have only the evidence to influence their verdict? I have to admit that if I were on that jury, I would be weighing a lot more than the evidence presented.
First, if I felt the evidence did not support a guilty verdict and I vote ‘not guilty’, being white…I might be considered a racist.
Second, what would happen after the ‘not guilty’ verdict was announced? Looting and rioting is not unusual after these verdicts are read out. Remember what happened after the officers in the Rodney King case were acquitted? I do, and I know Reginald Denny does.
Lastly, would I be safe? Would my family? Spike Lee thought nothing of texting what he thought was George Zimmerman's address to multitudes of people and the poor old couple that lived in that home had to leave in fear after receiving threats to their lives. Would Spike Lee send a list of jurors' addresses to the masses as well? It certainly is plausible.
I know it would be noble of me to say I would be impartial and get the facts straight and weigh the evidence but the truth is…the above three questions would be nagging at the back of my mind and I am pretty certain they will be for the jury that is selected as well.
Good luck to that jury. They’ll need it.