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No Justice? No Peace?

July 16, 2013

The reaction to the George Zimmerman verdict was all too predictable. The Outrage Machine was queued and ready to go, no matter what the verdict.

Those looking for “justice” (in the grand sense of right vs wrong) are angry. A self-appointed vigilante and cop wannabe went looking for trouble and when he found more trouble than he was looking for, his solution was a gun. Had Zimmerman followed any of the basic rules of neighborhood watch (no weapons, clearly marked clothing, cooperate with law enforcement) Trayvon Martin would be alive today and no one would know about this pathetic little dough-boy who, according to his trainer, had so few physical skills he could barely clinch a fist. But he had his gun, and with it a false sense of physical courage and a warped sense of entitlement.

However, the legal system is not set up to discern right from wrong. It will deliver “justice” in only the narrowest terms of criminal liability, a liability that is strictly constrained by specific statute, rules of evidence, and burden of proof. Those constraints are what protects us all from show trials, kangaroo courts, and oppressive and whimsical government power. In that sense, the system worked. The prosecution failed to meet its burden. The self-appointed neighborhood protector and the nemesis of fucking punks everywhere goes free. Get that dough-boy a cape and a movie deal.

But the people taking to the streets in outrage, I have a few questions.

If you are pissed off with the verdict, did you want a show trial/kangaroo court? If the outcome of the proceedings are pre-ordained, it is not really a trial, is it? Shall we dispense with the rules, proceedings and the concept of “innocent until proven guilty”? What happens if you ever find yourself in the dock?

If you have determined on your own, without benefit of a trial, that Zimmerman is guilty, are you not as guilty as Zimmerman himself for taking the law into your own hands? Vigilantism for me, but not for thee.

We accept election results that we do not like—this is what saves us from revolution every election cycle. We need to accept jury verdicts that we do not like–this will save us from mob rule.

Short of that, the people in the streets must be honest with themselves and the rest of us. You are interested in revenge, not justice.

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From → Jurisprudence

5 Comments
  1. not_Anonymous permalink

    It would have been a perfect post except for the gratuitous sneering.

  2. Bigdogdancer, the world is going to he’ll in a hand basket and no erudition from you in over a month!?

  3. Lawrence Abel permalink

    I have had some serious health issues lately. I had a kidney transplant on August 15th. All went well and I am currently recovering. I will be back soon.

  4. not_Anonymous permalink

    My best wishes for a complete recovery.

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