Sweet Caroline For Cops

Clay Jones is spot on, as always!

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Cjones05222021

The nation was shocked with the conviction of police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. Shocked because normally, cops get away with killing unarmed black men. Prosecutors will often say, “Nothing to see here,” and work diligently to protect police, which is what happened in Ferguson over the cop killing of Michael Brown and Cleveland over the cop killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. In both of those cases, prosecutors put together grand juries that refused to indict the cops. Grand juries typically do what a prosecutor wants. If there’s no indictment, it’s because the prosecutor didn’t want one. Too often when it comes to cops killing an unarmed black man, district attorneys act more like defense lawyers than prosecutors. It’s what they often refer to in the south as the good-ole-boy network. Good-ole boys take care of good-ole boys.

After Chauvin was convicted as a murderer, a…

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Ready for the Main Event?

Blogger-friend Erik Hare, writing as Barataria, has once again hit the nail on the head in his assessment of the Trump administration, and the Russian issue. Please take a moment to read his post …. then buy the popcorn! Thank you, Erik!

Barataria - The work of Erik Hare

Before the circus came to town, it was Barataria’s position that we’d all be wise to ignore it as much as we possibly can. Obviously, we don’t heed our own advice.

Then again, things are happening which may point right at the heart of the problem – the flurry of Washingtoonia that actually winds up making a difference. In the great three ring circus of government it’s time to keep your eyes firmly on the center ring – and whether the supposedly tamed bear eats the Ringmaster.

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The Zimmerman Case Decided – What Next?

The verdict on the George Zimmerman trial is in and he has been found “not guilty” by the jury. I am disappointed, but not surprised. (Note that “not guilty” is not necessarily the same as “innocent”.) Over the past week I have listened to Dan Abrams and other legal analysts tell us that it would be very hard, based on the evidence presented at the trial, to find Zimmerman guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt”. That is what is required to convict a person of a crime in this country, and I wouldn’t change that, because it is that that which keeps innocent men from going to prison, at least most times. Is our system perfect? No, it is not, but it is good, and it’s certainly better than what is to be found in almost any other nation on earth. And yes, sometimes there are and will be instances like this case, where justice may not have been served, however that is the price we must pay for the rights and freedoms we have. I do not intend that to sound pithy or trite, but it is honest. The legal experts, with 20/20 hindsight, now say that the prosecution probably should have gone for a lesser charge. True, but not very helpful at this stage of the game. Mr. Zimmerman is free to remove his ankle bracelet and walk around freely just like the rest of us. Trayvon Martin is not and never will be. Unfortunately, there are very few known facts and very little hard evidence to help determine what exactly happened on the evening of February 26, 2012, though there is much supposition and speculation. The actual facts that can be supported by evidence are as follows:

Fact: Trayvon Martin was walking home from 7-11 in the early evening hours
Fact: Trayvon Martin was unarmed
Fact: George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin
Fact: Trayvon Martin died of his wounds
Fact: Police told George Zimmerman to stay in his car, which he did not do
Fact: Trayvon Martin was African-American; George Zimmerman was not

If other facts or evidence exist, they are not known or have been suppressed by the many twists and turns that comprise our legal jungle, so the prosecution was tasked with making a case out of the above facts and the jury was tasked with making their decision based on the same. Under those circumstances, it is almost impossible to rule that a man, Zimmerman, should spend many years of his life in prison. There are also certain suppositions, however since they are not supported by physical evidence or credible eye-witnesses, they cannot be considered in deciding this case:

• Trayvon Martin was beating Mr. Zimmerman (who significantly outweighed Martin)
• Zimmerman would have acted differently had Martin been Caucasian
• Zimmerman feared he was in danger of “great bodily harm” from Martin

I think that this was, quite likely, a case with racial undertones and that both angers and frightens me, as it should all of us. I do understand why it was impossible for the jury to find Zimmerman guilty of either murder or manslaughter. But I put this question on the table as food for thought: is the purpose in finding a person guilty of a crime to punish or to prevent? I think it should be both, and while it may not be appropriate to punish in this case, we have also failed to prevent a repetition of this crime at some point in the future. If we assume that Zimmerman was racially biased and if we return him to the streets and allow him to continue to carry a firearm, can the next Trayvon Martin be far behind? And what message have we sent to all the other George Zimmerman’s in the world? I know the message we have sent to the African-American community, and it is one that we hoped was packed away forever during the civil rights era in the 1950’s and 1960’s and again in 1991 when Rodney King was racially profiled and beaten in Los Angeles. That said, the next question becomes “what can we do to prevent future tragedies of this nature?” Since I don’t know the answer to that question, I think we need to start by eliminating those things that we absolutely MUST NOT do:

• Threaten physical harm against Zimmerman, the jurors, or anyone else involved in the case
o Note that NFL player Roddy White tweeted the following … “All them jurors should go home tonight and kill themselves for letting a grown man get away with killing a kid” shortly after the verdict was read. Now how is this helpful, Mr. White?
• Start or participate in race riots protesting the verdict
o Violence and more death is never the answer; if in doubt, study the philosophy and actions of America’s most respected civil rights leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and ask yourself what he would do next
• Use this tragedy to make a case for or against gun regulation
o It seems everything these days gets the NRA and the gun control advocates running their mouths and we need to maintain focus here. There is a higher social injustice that needs to be addressed without the distraction of gun control seizing the spotlight

There is nothing to be gained by turning this verdict into a three-ring circus nor from letting it further widen the chasm between races. Let it instead help bring us all together in honest and open communication. Let it help us to identify what is wrong and how we all share in the blame. Let it force us to look within ourselves, within our hearts, minds and conscience to try to become just a little bit better, a little bit more tolerant, a little bit less quick to judge. And for God’s sake let it NOT set us back 100 years or more in the fight for racial equality.