For starters, I am fine with people opining about the Trayvon Martin / George Zimmerman debate over media coverage. Should the media use childhood pictures or current pictures, good photos or bad? Are prior arrests or run ins with the law or college records something that the media should cover? Was NBC wrong to edit the audio? All of these are valid questions to debate.
But what bothers me is people opining on the actual judicial proceedings or rendering verdicts of guilt or innocence. I realize it’s unavoidable for some people, but really, people should stop doing that. Seriously, stop. We have a judiciary for a reason. You are not a grand juror, nor a prosecutor, nor a witness, legal counsel in the case, nor a judge — so I don’t care what you think the verdict should be or if charges should be filed.
That is the entire reason we have a judiciary. I tried getting this point across when my hometown newspaper asked an infuriatingly stupid question.
Cleveland.com asked on facebook:
Do you think George Zimmerman should face charges in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin?
They should have asked “Do you think we should abolish the judiciary and render justice based on facebook voting?” It’s that stupid. Random peoples’ opinions on legal proceedings is not news. It’s exploiting a tragedy for facebook traffic, and it’s wrong.
So I commented:
This is the problem with the coverage: It doesn’t matter what we think since we’re not on a grand jury or the special prosecutor. We have a judicial system for a reason.
Another commenter, Eric S., posted:
Yes. Bottom line, he called the police. They told him NOT to follow the boy. He did and now a teenager is dead. These facts are not disputed by anyone.
This is what I am sick of — people pretending they actually know what happened that day. Or between the time the police operator told him to stop following him. I don’t know what actually happened, and neither do they.
This is why we have a legal system to find the actual facts and determine verdicts.
So, I responded:
@Eric, do you know what happened between when they told him to stop and when he shot Trayvon? I don’t pretend to know the details and neither should you. We have a judicial system for a reason
@Jim, I know this. The kid went out for skittles and iced tea. The kid was a minor. Somehow I doubt he just decided to turn around and attack a man with a loaded gun. You need to stop because when the real facts come out you are going to be on the wrong side of the argument. Iced tea and skittles. Yes sounds like a troubled teen out for blood.
Yeah, um, I wasn’t taking sides in this. Apparently to Eric, not taking sides is the equivalent of supporting George Zimmerman. This is mob think, and it is dangerous.
I do not know if Trayvon Martin knew if George Zimmerman was carrying a gun before he was shot, do you? I thought not. Again, which is why we have a judicial system to sort this out.
So, I respond:
@ Eric, I am not taking a side, but thanks for assigning one to me. I just wish people like you would leave the business of the judiciary to the judiciary.
I have no further plans to respond to this guy, because frankly I don’t care what Eric’s opinion is. Eric seems to me to be a supporter of mob rule — disagree with the mob and you are one of “them”. This isn’t the old west, where the judge, jury, and executioner (sometimes the same person) all get things done in a day or two.
Just as I don’t care about what the Justice for Trayvon supporters think about charges or a verdict, I don’t care what people who support George Zimmerman think about charges or a verdict. I don’t care because it’s not my role or job to care. It’s a waste of time.
The courts exist to resolve these matters based on the facts and the law. Here’s a handy infographic for those of you who still don’t understand my point:
Vote and weigh in this in the comment section: