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George Zimmerman Is Not Guilty. But He Is Not Innocent.

July 14, 2013
By

Trayvon Martin, after his encounter with George Zimmerman. (From Gawker.)

In 1870, just five years after the Civil War ended, a white state senator in Hinds County, Mississippi, in the very heart of the Old Confederacy, just on the southern edge of the Mississippi Delta, married a black Northern woman. This man, A.T. Morgan, wasn’t scorned for his miscegenation (a deed not constitutionally protected by the Supreme Court for another century). In fact, he was reelected.

One hundred and forty-two years later, an armed white man deemed an unarmed black teenager suspicious, and decided to follow him. There was an altercation, and the unarmed black teenager ended up lying on the grass, still, eyes open, a bullet through his chest, dead. And just last night, a jury in Sanford, Florida – an area that, like Mississippi, has a long, dark racist history – declared that man not guilty.

That doesn’t seem like progress.

Race relations in this country have never charted a linear course, Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous line about the arc of the moral universe bending toward justice notwithstanding. The tepid reconciliation of the Reconstruction era gave way to Northern indifference in the late 19th century, while the South reverted to subjugating blacks wherever it could. The election of Woodrow Wilson, a fierce, avowed racist who purged the government of African Americans, led in part to the second rise of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. It would take another four decades and a lot of blood for blacks to gain – on paper, anyway – full and equal rights. That was 50 years ago. Indeed, just a few weeks back the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, which it deemed no longer necessary because, as Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “our country has changed.”

And yet here we are again. Not since O.J. Simpson has a murder trial so divided America along racial lines. That division – more interesting in many ways than the George Zimmerman case itself – has underscored the very different experiences and perspectives of white and black America, and demonstrated how the scaffolding of white privilege still determines the prism through which we view current events.

Take the many instances of supposed white aggrievement this case elicited, as if Zimmerman (and by extension, all good, God-fearing, gun-carrying white folks) were somehow the victim of a racist black bloodlust. There was, for example, Trayvon’s use of the words “creepy-ass cracker” to describe Zimmerman shortly before his death, which culminated in the surreal CNN panel debate “N-Word vs. Cracker: Which is Worse?” (Hint: It’s the one you can’t spell on television.) There were the right-wingers, always eager to prove that Blacks Are The Real Racists, who predicted race riots in the event of a Zimmerman acquittal. There was the elation of white conservatives across the Internet to the verdict – “Hallelujah!” tweeted Ann Coulter; “Liberal denied vengeance. Race card came up snake eyes,” tweeted the Washington Post’s Jen Rubin – as if the consequence-free killing of an unarmed teenager were something to celebrate.

More insidiously, there were the efforts of George Zimmerman’s defense team to drag Trayvon’s corpse through the gutter, to portray him as just another young, black thug who was all about guns and drugs and gold teeth and fighting and probably had it coming anyway. During one exchange in the trial – which, admittedly, I watched only in spurts – the defense asserted that Zimmerman was justified in his suspicions of Trayvon because another young black man had been arrested a few weeks earlier for burglarizing a house in the neighborhood. (This, I presume, is the they-all-act-alike defense.) Then the defense suggested that the presence of a piece of broken awning found near the crime scene a week later indicated that Trayvon may indeed have been about to break into houses, had he not been stopped by the hero George Zimmerman.

Even after the verdict, George Zimmerman’s brother went on CNN and said he wants to know, in so many words, if Trayvon was growing drugs, buying guns and “looking to make lean.” (He also worried, because he has no sense of irony, that vigilantes would try to “take the law into their own hands.”) Then there was Zimmerman attorney Mark O’Mara’s statement, in the course of his smug victory-lap press conference: “Things would have been different if George Zimmerman was black because he never would have been charged with a crime.”

That’s not just stunningly tone-deaf. It’s empirically wrong. Consider the black single mother in Jacksonville who was sentenced last year to 20 years for firing a warning shot during a confrontation with her allegedly abusive husband. (The same prosecutor, Angela Corey, oversaw both this and the Zimmerman case.) Or Trevor Dooley, a black man sentenced to eight years for manslaughter in a case that eerily parallels Zimmerman’s: Dooley instigated the confrontation, there was a scuffle, and Dooley claimed self-defense when his white victim, David James, got the upper hand.

The nationwide data, moreover, tell us that white-on-black shootings are much more likely to be deemed justified than white-on-white, black-on-black or (especially) black-on-white shootings.

“Justified” shootings, by racial breakdown

“Justified” shootings, by racial breakdown

The victim’s race plays a role no matter the shooter’s. Last year, in its blockbuster investigation of the state’s Stand Your Ground law, the Tampa Bay Times reported:

Defendants claiming “stand your ground” [in Florida] are more likely to prevail if the victim is black. Seventy-three percent of those who killed a black person faced no penalty compared to 59 percent of those who killed a white.

Imagine for a second the races were reversed here. A black man deems a white teenager suspicious, follows him against police advice, shoots and kills him, and claims self-defense. Is there any chance the cops would believe him, or that he wouldn’t have found himself in handcuffs that night? Is there any chance this black neighborhood watchman would become a cause celebre on Fox News? Is there any chance that crowds of white people would show up at the courthouse, claiming him as a Second Amendment champion? Is there any chance he would have gotten away with it?

Whether we like it or not, race does permeate this case, just as race permeates our entire criminal justice system, whether George Zimmerman is “racist” or not.

If you look at the forest, not the trees, the jury’s verdict last night is almost unimaginable: an armed man stalks and kills an unarmed boy. Open and closed, right? But those trees – the details – are where these cases get decided, and the law in Florida puts the burden on the state to prove the defendant wasn’t acting in self-defense, rather than forcing the defendant to prove the shooting was justified. And so on the verdict itself, I find myself in agreement with The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coats:

I think the jury basically got it right. … The idea that Zimmerman got out the car to check the street signs, was ambushed by 17-year old kid with no violent history who told him he “you’re going to die tonight” strikes me as very implausible. It strikes me as much more plausible that Martin was being followed by a strange person, that the following resulted in a confrontation, that Martin was getting the best of Zimmerman in the confrontation, and Zimmerman then shot him. But I didn’t see the confrontation. No one else really saw the confrontation. Except George Zimmerman. I’m not even clear that situation I outlined would result in conviction. …

I think the message of this episode is unfortunate. By Florida law, in any violent confrontation ending in a disputed act of lethal self-defense, without eyewitnesses, the advantage goes to the living.

To this I would only add that throughout the past year and a half, Seminole County’s law enforcement apparatus has not acquitted itself especially well. From the cops to the prosecutors to even the medical examiner, they fumbled their way through, struggling to piece together a coherent case, even if they wanted to (the cops didn’t strike me as all that interested). Maybe prosecutors didn’t have much to work with, or maybe “reasonable doubt” was too high a mountain to climb. But they didn’t do Trayvon any favors – and certainly their work didn’t justify Angela Corey’s weird, all-smiles press conference after the state’s defeat. (That she reportedly talked to the media before Trayvon’s family only made it more off-putting.)

You should all go read this blog by Dan Gelber, a former Democratic state lawmaker, about how the Stand Your Ground law directly led to Zimmerman’s acquittal, and has basically made the state of Florida the Wild West.

While in the Florida legislature I strongly opposed the Stand Your Ground law because I believed it would provide defenses to people who had created the scenarios they sought protection from.  Or it would leave juries without the proper rules of engagement that ought govern predictable human interactions.

By taking away from the jury the simple notion that people have an obligation to “avoid the danger” or retreat if they could do so safely, they were, essentially, authorizing stupid, venal and, as in this case, often tragic behavior.

The case was not an easy one and, frankly, made harder because the prosecution failed to present a cohesive narrative choosing instead to offer alternative and inconsistent theories. But their job was unquestionably made much more difficult by the decision of the Florida legislature to fundamentally change the behavior we will tolerate from citizens who recklessly decide to take the life of another.

There’s a lot of anger out there today. Much of it’s justified. Some of it isn’t, particularly the venom aimed at jury members. But there is one positive thing we can take from all of this: Without public outcry, George Zimmerman would never have even stood trial. That is a victory in itself.

Today George Zimmerman is not guilty. But he is most certainly not innocent. Had he stayed in his truck that night, Trayvon Martin would still be alive. Had he not appointed himself armed protector of his neighborhood, had he not ignored the police dispatcher’s admonition, had he not presumed that a black kid walking in his neighborhood was up to no good, none of this would have happened. And for that, Zimmerman, whether he feels any remorse or not, will spend the rest of his sad, pathetic life with the knowledge that he is a child killer. His life, as he once knew it, is ruined. There is, at least, some justice in that.

But not enough. Not enough for the boy in the picture atop this post (note: that picture was first shown here, on Gawker), in his black hoodie and new, white sneakers, that boy who never got a chance to grow up, to be a man, to make something of himself.

I understand the verdict. But I don’t have to like it. As someone once said, Those assholes, they always get away.”

By the way, under Florida law, Zimmerman will get his gun back.

—Follow Jeffrey Billman on Twitter, @jeffreybillman

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  • Nikki

    Well said

  • thehatedone

    the more you mock God and God-fearing people all over the world, the strength of satan only increases and evil is seen as an alternative to the empty shell called our society in 2013. of course it’s nothing new and indeed not limited to the popular women of winter park. still this attitude of dismissal towards God and the universe which is controlled by God-essence has brought us here. not to the place after the trial but to the place before a great reckoning. i always like to ask people if they truly understand the power of our vast military fortress. people like me knew the nsa was in cahoots with microsoft verizon facebook et al many years ago. we knew the power of the western military might, seen and unseen. i know the power because i spent my first 18 years on earth around the highly advanced weapons of the air force and the secrets of armed guards in addition to joining the marines and fighting in iraq and afghanistan with the different technologies involved. i once asked a woman at stardust ‘don’t you think the cia could have funded and operated facebook to collect huge amounts of information from 1 billion people?’ she said ‘ i don’t they’re smart enough to do that.’ this is the ignorance of dismissal. to dismiss evil is to dismiss good. humans always look away from the elephant in the room. this weaponized fortress will bring the reckoning here. not in the entire history of mankind on earth has there been such power under the control of men. CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? it is preparing for another great war. the greatest of them all in fact. this trial was another move on the chessboard(angela corey charging him with second degree murder? not stupidity as so many hipsters and minorities like to think, but calculated. this was a kangaroo trial). why was moses so temperamental? why is shiva dancing on a corpse? why do nepalese monks attack people? why did momhammed decapitate 600 qurayza jews? HUMANITY IS FUCKED that’s why and sometimes only violence can purge us of our misbegotten pride.

  • F U

    BULLSHIT !

  • george

    No, George Zimmerman is innocent, Trayvon Martin was guilty.

  • GoldBell

    Black America has a serious problem in teaching racism to their children.
    Their hate filled reaction to a man proven to be innocent is teaching it even more.
    Trayvon used a racial slur and was the attacker.
    Zimmerman used self defense.
    Racist Black America is urging more black teens to hate and commit violence just like Trayvon did.

  • GoldBell

    FYI – Those assholes referred to the thieves who had been breaking in homes.
    Do you support robbery also?

  • http://www.myspace.com/ginagirlgenius girlgenius

    “The nationwide data, moreover, tell us that white-on-black shootings are much more likely to be deemed justified than any white-on-white or (especially) white-on-black shootings.” You mean “(especially) black-on-black shootings”? Damn typos

  • Jeffrey Billman

    You are correct. Fixed!

  • kevin

    as usual you leave out the key facts that totally disprove your whole sad story. you my friend need to live with YOUR own conscience as do the prosecutors in this case. trayvon would be alive today if he just went home. gz never stopped him! trayvon initiated the fight. and misjudged that “creepy ass cracker” ALSO i’m really tired of the lame excuse “he got out of the car after he was told not to”. the evidence supports the complete opposite. I believe that trayvon sized up Zimmerman and wanted to kick some “crazy ass cracker” ass. I watched every minute of the trial. and although I had seen many news report, I stayed neutral so I could form an educated decision based on the facts from both sides. i believe the verdict was correct based on the evidence. it really all come down to ones personal responsibily for their own actions. what I would really like to know is, why you feel you are qualified to write this article if you only watched “spurts” of the trail. I will relish in the day when someone takes legal action against people like YOU. Zimmerman was called a racist. not proven. actually it is quite the opposite. he was said to be “MMA trained” (al Sharpton) that was also disproved. after a year he could not learn to punch effectively. I feel as long as we, as a country, continue to allow the media to knowingly twist the actual facts or as in this case lie. we are actually going backwards.

  • MainstreamMediaSucks

    Showing a picture of a dead body… stay classy you fucking douche bags.

  • nonae

    1. George Zimmerman is innocent
    2. Trayvon Martin is a guilty nigger

  • cadgbd

    During the Reconstruction period in the South, after the War of Aggression perpetrated by war criminal, Abraham Lincoln, and the Progressive Republicans, racial tensions were purposefully flamed by the Yankee Marxist Lincoln. The same Marxist method of fanning the flames of class warfare, is the reason why black-on-white crime is condoned by the government and it’s main stream media apparatus.

    Notice how aggressive the federal government is in this case. This is nothing new. The American government conducted a scorched earth policy of genocide against southerners. With hatred an malice General Sherman exacted cruel and malicious revenge. Federal troops murdered, raped on a massive scale, stole property, burned and destroyed what they could not take. The South was enslaved by the Yankee Marxists and the Industrialists with cruel taxes. Their women raped, their property stolen or destroyed, and endure the smug self-righteous Yankees taunts about race.

    General Grant refused to give up his slave after the war. The Yankees profited off the slave trade. It is a disgusting hypocritical Alinskyite tactic to fan the flames of racial hatred in order to divide and weaken the working class.

    This is why is black-on-white violence thriving and why is the government and it’s race hustlers are so interested in crucifying Zimmerman. The fanning of racial hatred is a government tool of terror used against the population.

  • Shannon Burke

    This was NOT a stand your ground case. It was simple self defense.

  • Shannon Burke

    The leading killer of young black American men in this country are young black American men.Yet, we laser focus on a self defense case that should never have been brought to charges because we are either emotional, guilt ridden white people or we are looking to throw around some political pressure. All the while, young black American men die at the hands of other young black American men at an alarming rate.

  • Tom B

    I find it ironic that Mark O’Mara spent a good deal of his closing arguments convincing the jury not to make assumptions about George Zimmerman because, “it works against my client”. And yet George would never have been his client if he hadn’t made assumptions that worked against Trayvon Martin that ended up costing him his life.

    The bottom line is, George Zimmerman, a grown man, was getting his butt kicked by a 17 year old kid that he provoked. And instead of being humiliated and taking his lumps like a man, he decided to settle it with deadly force. A swift kick in the groin would have stopped Travon but that wasn’t as macho as shooting a gun. That’s what bothers me about a lot of gun owners. They go around talking and acting tough and then hide behind their guns like cowards. Unfortunately the verdict in this case will make that behavior all the more acceptable.

    The moral of the story is, if you can’t beat ‘em, shoot ‘em.

  • Me

    Hmmm… So the same person who is preaching about God also writes “HUMANITY IS FUCKED” in their post.

  • dmsday

    and speaking of plausible conjecture Kevin. TM went to kick some cracker ass, at the urging of ms. jeanteal. Huh? Whataddya think? She said, “creep-ass-cracker?, well, go kick his ass Treyvon”. Would account for her lie under oath about the wake, and why she didn’t go. She feels partly responsible for his death, didn’t want to face his mother.

  • Dan

    To the White Community: This is about a Gangster wannabe who was up to no good scoping out a neighborhood. He got caught, and thought he would be a punk
    and beat up George Zimmerman. Instead he was killed in self-defense. With O.J. Simpson’s obvious guilt, and Acquittal on all the evidence submitted, how would you
    explain anything else but a NOT GUILTY George Zimmerman?

    To the Black community: This is about a Teenage boy, being profiled, followed, stalked and then killed. Something every African American has grown use too and angry over seeing the eyes of people watching them where ever they go. This was Trayvon’s last moments on earth. How do you explain an INNOCENT George Zimmerman after he told by 911 to stop following Trayvon, not to confront him, to wait for the police? The when the police arrived they find a dead unarmed teenage boy. A boy we later found out was walking home from a store. What else was Trayvon supposed to do?

    My biggest heart ache: If George Zimmerman had been black, then like so many other violent shootings, stabbings, and deaths across America, we would have never heard this

    story. We would have never heard speech’s from Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton or President Obama. Men who we associate as being the “Best, of the Best, of the Best” that America has to offer. History will judge this as a time when we still had a long way to go.

  • Love

    This is absurb. George Zimmerman is not white. As horrible and sad what happened to Trayvon is, according to the “Stand Your Ground” Law in Florida, George Zimmerman is not guilty of murder. Perhaps we should stop all this hate and focus our energy on finding a solution to the law ensuring that an accident like this doesn’t happen again. My heart breaks for the Martin family. It’s sad that the tragedy has turned into a race debate. Again, George Zimmerman is not white, he’s Hispanic so people need to stop turning this into something that it isn’t.

  • Raoul Borans

    It’s a little sad that this event turned into a Liberal vs. Conservative argument in the public arena. I don’t side with any political group but if push comes to shove, I side with Liberal viewpoints probably 90% of the time. That being said, I also consider myself to be a critical thinker, which means I try to use logic and reason when forming an opinion. I’m not sure if you saw the trial or if you did, you allowed a personal bias to cloud your thinking. I don’t watch the news so all I knew about this case was that I heard an innocent kid was killed after being racially profiled. As I watched the trial unfold, it became quite clear that even the prosecution witnesses were confirming Zimmerman’s story. I’m sure your strong opinions make for interesting copy but they do nothing but inflame a situation that was created by public misconceptions. The police had this right from the start but people like you who only saw this with their limited small minded viewpoints, made it into something that it never was. The prosecution had every opportunity to expose the facts and they were unable to convince the jury because everything pointed to Zimmerman acting in self defense. If you’re going to write about stories that have such impact, you should probably leave your personal agenda aside and just stick to the facts.

  • Tom B

    Raoul, you forgetting one important fact. All the so called “evidence of self defense” regarding what happened after George Zimmerman got out of his car was told by George himself. There were no witnesses who saw what happened and Trayvon was unable to tell his version. However the facts of what happened BEFORE the altercation show that George Zimmerman profiled Travon, got out of his car and continued to pursue him after he was told not to. Not only was George’s version of what happened the only one that was heard, he was caught many times lying or changing his story.

  • SomeOne

    ( Not all black people are the same, such as thieves and murderers .. && Not all white people are good people -__- )
    I really don’t see how this guy is innocent , but I’m sure his life would never be the same. I’m sure he might not even survive society, he might get murdered his_self .. But I think he should be guilty just because he killed a little boy.. But then again you can tell by me looking at the picture it looked like Trayvon must have been on top of the dude ( George ), because of the way his legs are crossed.. & It looks like after George shot him he pushed him off of him, and that’s how his legs became crossed like that.. ( I’m just guessing ) but George really didn’t have to follow Trayvon or get out the car.. That would freak me out too if somebody in a van was following/driving up behind me , I would of thought somebody was going to kidnap me or something , and if he got out of the car and walked up on me I would have instantly attack.. George could’ve had just called the police after he saw him sneaking into the neighbor hood.. Or he could have waiting in_till Trayvon did something ( Like commit a crime ) .. NEXT TIME BE SMART, THINK BEFORE YOU ACT.. && When George got out of the car he could have said to Trayvon ” Hey im not going to hurt you but what are you doing here..” – I mean something like that.. What made him go up real close ?? ( also he didn’t have to call the little boy a punk or whatever ..) && Trayvon could have just kept riding his bike , he ain’t have to get off the bike.. But we would never know, Trayvon could have been a bad little 17 year old , smoking weed and getting into fights… CAN”T GO BACK IN TIME… R.I.P Trayvon Martin and good luck to George Zimmerman , better stay inside or leave the country ..

    – 14 year old little girl

  • billy

    George Zimmermans not white…he’s as white as Obama is..if they were both the same color this case doesn’t make it to trial…stop race baiting and look that two people made questionable decisions that led to a tragedy. The justice system ruled correctly even if not right bc there wasn’t enough evidence. Your hell bound on making it racist bc that promotes political agenda. What about the justice for all the black teens who killed each other, do they not deserve justice too, or do we turna blind eye bc it wasnt by someone of a different color. If u think this is the only injustice your simply blind to your surroundings.

  • SomeOne

    ( Just saying ) I’m black teen and I’m nothing like that !! I was raised better than that. My family is not raciest nor am I nor are my BLACK friends.. and not all black people are like that..

  • SomeOne

    ( Not all black people are the same, such as thieves and murderers .. && Not all white people are good people -__- )
    I really don’t see how this guy is innocent , but I’m sure his life would never be the same. I’m sure he might not even survive society, he might get murdered his_self .. But I think he should be guilty just because he killed a little boy.. But then again you can tell by me looking at the picture it looked like Trayvon must have been on top of the dude ( George ), because of the way his legs are crossed.. & It looks like after George shot him he pushed him off of him, and that’s how his legs became crossed like that.. ( I’m just guessing ) but George really didn’t have to follow Trayvon or get out the car.. That would freak me out too if somebody was in a van and was following/driving up behind me , I would of thought somebody was going to kidnap me or something , and if he got out of the car and walked up on me I would have instantly attack.. George could of had just called the police after he saw him sneaking into the neighbor hood.. Or he could have waiting in_till Trayvon did something ( Like commit a crime ) .. NEXT TIME BE SMART, THINK BEFORE YOU ACT.. && When George got out of the car he could have said to Trayvon ” Hey I’m not going to hurt you but what are you doing here..” – I mean something like that.. What made him go up real close ?? ( also he didn’t have to call the little boy a punk or whatever ..) && Trayvon could have just kept riding his bike , he ain’t have to get off the bike.. But we would never know, Trayvon could have been a bad little 17 year old , smoking weed and getting into fights… ENOUGH SAID, LET IT GO ITS OVER WITH, IF IT DON’T GOT NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU THEN STFU.. CAN’T GO BACK IN TIME… R.I.P Trayvon Martin and good luck to George Zimmerman , better stay inside or leave the country ..

    – 14 year old little girl

  • dsen

    Why do you Mr. Billman have so little faith in the all-woman jury that heard the evidence in the case? Why do you think it necessary to undermine them and the rule of law all while fanning the flames of racial tensions? A photo of the deceased too? Really? If I had to make a living like you I would surely hang my head in shame every day You have contributed nothing productive to the problems that you cite exist in your piece. You are a race-baiter and sensationalist and nothing more.

  • ajudente

    beautiful ending. I like the use of the quote, powerful effect “those A-h, they always get away”

  • Amanda

    Black-on-Black crime is certainly also an issue, but that’s not what is being talked about here. This case is inside of a SYSTEM that has the habit of acquitting white people who kill unarmed black people. George “Zimmerman” (which is a WHITE last name) may be PART Hispanic, but he is certainly perceived by most people to be white. (BTW, Obama is ALSO white — his mother was a white woman from KANSAS), but George Zimmerman definitely ‘passes’ as white. (look into the history of ‘passing’ as white, and the term ‘white’ generally. At one time Italians were not considered to be white).

    This case is about disproportionate power, and an entire community of people feeling that the SYSTEM treats them as if they are guilty-until-proven-innocent. That is HURTFUL to feel as if you are always being suspected to be a criminal and PAINFUL to know that even if you are a good person, the SYSTEM and the WHITE AMERICA that supports it will always find you guilty, and worthy of being assassinated, while unarmed, and without a trial.

    AND YET, a MURDERER who kills this unarmed person without a trial, without justice, then GETS THE BENEFIT of a trial, and is acquitted. And it so happens that people who are also same complected as him get that same benefit and that same treatment.

    Trayvon Martin was a CHILD, George Zimmerman is an ADULT (legally). Trayvon Martin wasn’t DOING ANYTHING but walking down the street. It is painful to think of all of the kids my friends have who are that age, who that could have happened to. It is PAINFUL that those kids do not get the privilege of being kids and being loved, but rather get harrassed and bullied by a SYSTEM that then turns around and lies that everyone is equal in the USA.

    Were you ever harrassed and followed as a teenager just for being out on the street walking somewhere? Have you ever been followed slowly by someone in a van with no idea what was coming? Have a little empathy for the ACTUAL VICTIM of the crime, who is a young man who will never have another birthday. And it is NOT ok just because black-on-black crime exists. That is also a problem that is being talked about and worked out within the community, but is not relevent here. Every death is a tragedy. It is unfortunate somehow though, that when a victim is black, people like you don’t even shed a tear. It is a SAD event.

  • ElectricFire

    Zimmerman should get his gun back. Zimmerman appears to be an innocent victim in all of this, and after reading this column, the logical conclusion is that you are a racist.

    Mark O’Mara is right. If George Zimmerman had been black, this case would have never been tried. After 150 years, we have gone the other direction. In this case, many wanted a man sent to jail when his only crime was being Hispanic.

  • ElectricFire

    If he had done as you suggested, it might be George Zimmerman who is not alive today. It wasn’t about being macho, it was about saving his own life.

  • IluvmyPF9

    actually Zimmerman didn’t get caught lying. Investigators stated his story remained consistent through out questioning. In FACT!!! Police lied to him and said the incident was caught on tape….His response “thank god”…..

    If a strange black/ White/ Mexican/Asian thug looking hoody wearing guy was in my neighborhood bet your ass I’d be watching him. And……. I’m not even on a neighborhood watch.

  • foundbetter

    Good. God Bless the Republic. If the story dont fit, you must acquit. The socialist leaders that made a circus in the beginning saw the writing on the wall after items surfaced about the boys lack of a thought process. The state was left holding the bag and had to continue or else the natives would have gotten restless. Those of us that have the capacity for common sense knew the only thing zimmerman was guilty of was not having a contract from the community he served. Had he had that and the contract stated he could be armed, well then it would have resulted in no charges. IMHO.

    Finally justice is served and the system worked for the protectors!
    Thank GOD for the stand your ground law.
    Amen.

  • Trynottobeignorant

    Such an ignorant post. People clearly don’t understand how the jury system works. Same as with Casey Anthony. There was absolutely no evidence to suggest Zimmerman shot trayvon Martin in cold blood therefore he was not convicted. Stop ascribing guilt to a person just because you yourself are racist and like millions of others jump into the line of sheep bleating because the two people in question had different skin colors. Idiots.

  • mamamia

    GEORGE ZIMMERMAN IS NOT WHITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • foundbetter

    Leave the ADULT situations to the ADULTS. Get back to idolizing 2chainz.

  • GSGregory

    If someone started following me at night I would do something, simple as that.

  • GSGregory

    The post above you is written with much more maturity.

  • Justhefacts

    You made Raoul’s point. There were witnesses that saw Travon on top of him, beating him. There were also witnesses who heard Zimmerman screaming for help.

  • Jackson

    and you would end up dead. good job.

  • http://emeraldreporter.wordpress.com/ EmeraldReporter

    What the frak are you talking about???
    IT’S THE SAME DIFFERENCE!!!
    In this country, you are found INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY.
    WHICH MEANS THAT HE IS NOT GUILTY. GUILTY DOES NOT APPLY.
    He is just Innocent. That’s it.

  • Kuoh

    Remember Pearl Harbor, remember O.J jury and now the Zimmerman jury, great racial America, started during the White Master Slave days.

  • Raoul Borans

    Sorry Tom, but you’re wrong. Zimmerman was never “caught lying” and any inconsistencies were of no concern to the lead investigator because no one remembers details exactly. His story stayed consistent from the very start and varied with only minor and understandable differences. If you have any doubt…try and describe exactly what you did yesterday. Write it down then try and do it again the next day or a week later. You think your story will match exactly each time? The important aspects will probably be there with minor changes. If the stories don’t match exactly, does that mean you are lying?

  • monkey

    Is the president white? Or is he black?

    You’re mentally confused. Zimmerman is Hispanic, a minority.

    Why on earth would he racially profile someone?

    And the photos off tray on on his phone of him doing drugs? And the text messages of him trying to buy a gun? Time to dome to reality. The evidence says a minority shot another minority. Zimmerman wasn’t brandishing his gun. It was hidden until halfway through the fight–says EYE WITNESSES.

    The picture you pain is black and white. Martin was a sweet innocent kid, just walking home,.

    The picture the evidence paints is a different story–that Tray on was engaged in illegal activities, and was walking through an area where residents had recently been victimized by a spate of robberies.He was a tough guy in his photos on Facebook, was trying to purchase illegal firearms, and did illegal drugs.

    Considering all this, did he deserve to die? No.
    What we should be discussing, is the law. What we should be discussing, is how the police department so wholly failed to do its job, that Zimmerman’s own neighborhood decided that IT had to do it for them.

    Had the police department came out in full force, or even had an increased uniformed presence in the area, the neighborhood would have felt protected, and there would have been no need for such a neighborhood watch. The police department failed everybody. If the department didn’t have the resources to increase their presence in the area, the chief should have resigned in protest, went public, and made it clear it couldn’t protect its own citizens– because it obviously couldn’t.

    The only reason were even discussing this is because it was originally reported that this was a racially motivated whute-on-black shooting, in which an innocent, poor little kid died. None of this was true. A 17 year old did die, and that’s NEVER a good thing. But Zimmerman is a minority himself, it wasn’t a racially motivated act, and the picture painted of trayvon is a joke, Does this mean the punishment of a murderer should be any less aggressive when the victim isn’t an angel? No. Categorically, no. But when the police decline to charge someone with a crime, it IS a crime to harrass someone by using the Judicial branch of government as a veritable private army.

    Is it justice for your name to be cleared of committing the crime of doing 55 in a 45mph zone, only to have the government assign a special prosecutor to the case (whose only job is to put you behind bars–regardless of your innocence, regardless of the evidence), and say “we don’t care what the cops, the witnesses, the evidence, or even what THE LAW SAYS….let’s let a jury decide?

    That’s not justice.

    The evidence, the EYE WITNESSES, those involved with the case, the cops, they were all required to soak up millions of dollars, waste thousands of hours of their live, all based upon public outrage over false sensationalizement of news stories. Its people like you, the author of this blog, that forced the hand of the government. That public outrage wouldn’t have existed had news agencies, blogs, TV networks, and people with nothing else to do hadnt saw a “shooting in self defense after brawl” story, and thought, how do I get more views? Better ratings?How do iI make this blow up? How do I sensationalize this? Even after it came to light that Zimmerman wasn’t white, even ABC, NBC, and CNN still refused to retract their statements saying that it was a racially motivated hate crime!!! An idea that was thoroughly debunked immediately after the trial, when a few politicians said that they wanted to pursue a federal case, and the FBI came out and stated that they reviewed EVERYTHING– The eyewitness reports, the police reports, the physical and forensic evidence, the text messages and social media, and phone calls of trayvon Martin, and the phone calls, text messages, mail, the home of, the possessions of, and the statements of George Zimmerman, and had found that the shooting WAS NOT RACIALLY MOTIVATED!

    Lose the selective hearing, and do something that the legacy and parents of trayvon would be proud to uphold–start discussing THE LAWS!

  • Captain Obvious

    So… You’re saying because Zimmerman was a minority (Or rather half white half Hispanic who has probably lived in a predominantly white neighborhood his entire life) that it is impossible for him to racially profile someone?

    I’m not denying what the evidence suggests, but you’re out of your mind if you think that just because someone is a minority they can’t racially profile someone.

  • thehatedone

    yeah, you totally got it. a clever rebuttal i must say. a sophisticated and nuanced view of God taken directly from the works of revered scholars throughout time. you’re so totally with it. you make my soul shout in delight. someone gets me! they really, really get me! thank you! you have shown humanity is not fucked and that God is a happy-go-lucky bearded man sending magic down to earth like sprinkles on our favorite blue bird cupcakes. now sing! let music fill the air! rejoice! mankind now rests in everlasting peace! yeah, you totally got it. you’re like so so on it. congrats girl! babe alert! babe alert! hottie mc hottie in the house! those bangs look puuurfect.

  • Tom B

    You are wrong. It was dark and rainy outside. All witnesses say they saw were two shadowy figures but couldn’t tell who was who. If anyone could have positively stated that Travon was on top of George it would have been case closed. As for the screams for help, even the experts couldn’t determine who they came from. Did you even watch the trial?

  • Tom B

    Raoul, we can debate this until the cows come home. My original point was that the entire story of what happened after George Zimmerman got out of his car was based on what George Zimmerman says happened. Even if it was relatively consistent, there were no other witnesses to contradict his story except Trayvon, and he ain’t talkin’.

  • GSGregory

    And the guy would end up innocent as well. It seems stalking someone doesn’t make you suspicious. I doubt you would find anyone that wouldn’t defend themselves when they found someone following them at night.

    The saddest part of all is this nutso is getting his gun back. I think cops have been fired or and stripped of their weapons for less.

  • vontrell1

    All blacks are not like that. I Believe GZ was defending himself. I have a 17 year old too. My family does not solve our problems with violence.

  • yoyo

    If GZ had not used the force allowed under the constitution he may well be dead, and TM tried as an adult for murder. You cannot describe a candy eating child as such who breaks the nose of a creepy cracker then pounds his Mexican head in to the sidewalk repeatedly. The liberals are hijacking the black cause to take guns from “we the people”.

  • yoyo

    AND the police dept, sheriff and prosecutors were vindicated, they were right all along not to have charged GZ, they should be re instated we owe them an apology and a very big apology, GZ was innocent, proven innocent, he spent a year in jail for a crime he didn’t commit and his life has been ruined. Is that justice ?

  • John

    The way I see it is, NOBODY knows what REALLY happened that night except for the deceased, Zimmerman and GOD, who has the most high supreme court. If you don’t have any proof to bring forward, you really can’t say anything one way or the other. I’m just amazed there are so many people out there that let the media influence them. I nor anybody else on this planet should have anything to say about this, except I’m glad it’s over, let it rest.

  • Big Daddy Luv

    To say “there was an altercation” is a bit of an understatement, don’t you think? Just say it accurately- Zimmerman got the living crap beat out of him.

  • Raoul Borans

    Come on Tom, now you’re just grasping for straws. Every eye witness before the gunshots saw the person with the dark jacket on top. John Good saw it the best and all but said flat out that Trayvon was on top. Even the prosecution had to admit that Trayvon was on top. That is why they tried to concoct some story that he was backing away when Zimmerman shot him. If you watched the trial, you didn’t pay very close attention.

  • ted burgundy

    jesus was a fucking nigger. gtfo the internet slut.

  • thehatedone

    you’re my hero. #fact

  • bogo

    What do you care?

  • bogo

    I’m fairly certain that Zimmerman is not white. I think that is an important piece of information regarding the beginning of this piece. That Zimmerman walks away with no legal reprisal is a shame. Stand your ground is a ludicrous law.

  • thehatedone

    i carry the virus known as AIDS.

  • bogo

    That doesn’t have anything to do with your rant and doesn’t answer my question but there’s no obligation to answer any of my questions or listen to me at all. Was just asking.

  • Travis McCabe

    If travon decide to not confront GZ he would not be dead, GZ broke no laws and kept watch from a public street with his car on Travon, again legal, Travon confronted him and started to beat him

  • bogo

    so, if I understand you correctly, I can kill someone without witnesses and nobody should have anything to say about it? There is no merit to a public debate? I can see why you might say that nobody KNOWS what happened, but someones death surely justifies a conversation and debate. The way I see it, someone was killed (which for me is enough to justify a debate), under unusual circumstances (as shootings go), probably needlessly (the dispatcher told Zimmerman specifically not to follow the “suspect”, and an absolutely insane(it basically allows the perpetrator of any unwitnessed murder the license to make up any account of the events he wants) law allowed the killer to walk away consequence free.

  • bogo

    I think the point is that some people feel that what GZ did should have been breaking laws but, amazingly, wasn’t.

    Also, your account is not necessarily what actually happened. No offense, but your not a credible source and neither, probably, is GZ, since for him, giving a different account of the events might lead to him spending the rest of his life in prison.

  • bogo

    Furthermore, there is a good chance Trayvon didn’t break any laws either, was simply defending himself from someone he considered a threat. But I ask you this hypothetical: There are two innocent people, one of them shoots the other one to death. How do you proceed? And what’s your verdict?

  • orangeman

    News flash, Zimmerman is not white. He like the president is half-white. He is an eighth black. Stop fomenting helter skelter..

  • Raoul Borans

    Your hypothetical question does not apply in this case. At some point, someone decided to become aggressive which resulted in the struggle leading to Trayvon’s death. This wasn’t two innocent people having a chat. Since no one witnessed the initial altercation, you have to use common sense and decide what is more likely. Zimmerman may have made a mistake by following Martin but he was well within his rights to do that. And as the neighborhood watch coordinator, maybe he felt it was his duty. If Trayvon felt threatened he could have gone home or explained to Zimmerman why he was there. Do you really think that Zimmerman would have approached Trayvon and started a fight? Use your common sense.

  • yoyo

    At what point are you allowed to shoot someone anyway ? when they have broken your nose and smashed your head on the concrete so many times that you become unconscious ? lets get real here. Whats the point in having a gun if you cannot use it to save your own life ?? if we go down that route then there will be no way of protecting ourselves from thugs. Here are a number of arguments here getting intertwined. Firstly GZ is innocent according to the law, whether you like that law or not it applies to everyone, there are plenty of lawyers out there who will see that everyone of every color gets fairness. You might not like that law, if so use the democratic process to change it dont use GZ as a scapegoat. Secondly did GZ follow TM because he was black, maybe he did, maybe the recent break ins were by blacks and maybe therefore a black person would fit the description of the recent robbers. That’s not racist that’s just a description. Its a bit like….all muslims are not terrorists, but all of the terrorists are muslims for sure. Anyway GZ wouldn’t have followed a 90 year old black woman in a wheelchair I’m sure. And leys stop calling him a child, he broke GZ nose and smashed his had in, a grown man. I’d like to see an outcry against the firing of the sheriff and prosecutor who were right all along, the charges could not be proven because there was no break in the law. I would like to see GZ get $1m compensation for the false charges and the year in jail, and if someone set up a fund to help him rebuild his life I would put some $$$ in. And where were the NRA in all of this protecting gun owners rights, they should have had GZ’s back.

  • thehatedone

    don’t be so depressed. it is I who am the hated one. i don’t care that much about anything. people are like clever dogs. i reserve the right to smack ‘em with my shoe.

  • thehatedone

    “The earth makes a sound as of sighs and the last drops fall from the emptied cloudless sky. A small boy, stretching out his hands and looking up at the blue sky, asked his mother how such a thing was possible. Fuck off, she said.”

    S Beckett

  • Travis McCabe

    well i not talking about my account or what GZ says but what some eye witness

  • Guest

    what we do KNow is the fight broke out near a sidewalk and George was still near to his car when He was confronted.

    His injuries could not fit in being pound in The yard, it would be too soft and grass would be wet, it was raining, so Him saying that He was being beaten into the sidewalk Makes since and what he says of trying to reach Grass to stop getting pounded into the The sidewalk makes since and that is when Travon saw a his gun and by Gz account and said, your gonna die tonite!

    I would say He was out of his car and close to the side walk several yards away from travon and then got confronted, where he did stand.

  • Travis McCabe

    Leav

    what we do KNow is the fight broke out near a sidewalk and George was still near to his car when He was confronted.

    His injuries could not fit in being pound in The yard, it would be
    too soft and grass would be wet, it was raining, so Him saying that He
    was being beaten into the sidewalk Makes sense and what he says of
    trying to reach Grass to stop getting pounded into the The sidewalk also
    makes since and that is when Travon saw a his gun and by Gz account and
    said, your gonna die tonite! and then tried to reach for it but failed and GZ shot him

    I would say He was out of his car and close to the side walk several
    yards away from travon and then got confronted, where he did stand.

    e a message…

  • name

    This case had nothing to do with race, George saw a man with a hoodie on, walking around at night so he decided to purse him. Trevon beat the shit out of Zimmerman, and in defence he shot him. He did not know he was black, he had a hoodie on, and Trevon did the illogical thing, which is to start attack instead of using logic and confronting Zimmerman about why he was following him.

  • Night_of_the_Creature

    Everyone is upset but no one can say what law Zimmerman violated. Fact, it’s not illegal to get out of your car and approach a person. Fact, it is not illegal to speak to a person. Fact, it is against the law to throw a punch and attack a person. Fact, when you are attacked you have the right to defend yourself.
    Understand, I’m not saying Zimmerman made the right choice when he walked up and confronted his attacker but the attacker chose to throw the first punch and chose to attack. The attacker could have simply turned and walked away or called the police himself. Instead, he chose to fight and ultimately die. As for race, don’t forget the evidence shows the attacker, not Zimmerman, used racial slurs.

  • John

    Absolute nonsense. You, like most entities within the mainstream media, continue to racialize this tragic incident, whilst systematically ignoring the facts of the case. Forget the color of the skin of the victim and the perpetrator, and the facts are these: Martin had a history of violence, and was a known user of the drug “LEAN” (which can provoke episodes of paranoia and aggression.) There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest George Zimmerman is a racist in any shape or form, or that his actions were in any way racially motivated. In fact, evidence presented in the case in relation to Zimmerman’s family history, and his interaction with the African-American community would strongly suggest to the contrary. Although there is no concrete proof as to how the altercation started, we can be sure BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT (owing to injuries sustained) that Zimmerman acted in self-defence. A lot of people continue to state ad nauseum that Martin was “unarmed”, simply because he wasn’t in the possession of a gun, bazooka or F16 fighter jet – this does not establish a justification for Martin’s actions, and it’s doesn’t condemn Zimmerman’s actions either. You only have to feel threatened to the point of fearing for your own safety for self defence to be a LEGALLY viable option – I would say that being beaten to the point of nearly losing consciousness, and then told by your attacker that you are “going to die” would constitute this. I am loath to elaborate on the minutiae of the case, and the argument that I have presented is far from conclusive, but these points alone should make you begin to question the causality of this event other than that it was racially motivated.

  • gn

    Murder.

  • Trueamerican.122

    Obama is Half white but you know, that doesn’t count because being hispanic is just as dirty as being white and being part black instantly brings you into enlightenment. Trayvon confronted a pursuer of unknown intent when he should have ran. In the end, when Trayvon jumped on Zimmerman, Zimmerman feared for his life and used deadly force. Its sad that there was the loss of life. The media made Zimmerman into a racist serial killer. Sincerely, the son of both hispanic and black parents.

  • Trueamerican.122

    Race did play a role. The role of making George Zimmerman guilty before innocent.

  • Night_of_the_Creature

    You obviously didn’t watch the trial. Ignorance is bliss.

  • gn

    Actually I watched from start to finish. Being an Uncle Ruckus is what’s bliss isn’t it.

  • Night_of_the_Creature

    Racist

  • http://ronthink.blogspot.com/ Ron Hebshie

    Please source your “facts” because you have no idea what you are talking about. If you want to make a comment with claims like yours the least you can do is include credible sources.

  • http://ronthink.blogspot.com/ Ron Hebshie

    So you were a witness and saw the whole thing?

  • http://ronthink.blogspot.com/ Ron Hebshie

    Yeah, when I’m scoping out a neighborhood I always make sure it’s one I know people in and I usually make a quick stop for Skittles and soda at a store with potential witnesses and surveillance cameras. Your comment is loopy beyond reason. Stop the “if so and so” crap. Zimmerman wasn’t black and he wasn’t the victim here. HE was on trial, not Trayvon Martin. If he was so innocent then why did his lawyers not let him take the stand? Because cross examination by the prosecution scared the hell out of them.

  • http://ronthink.blogspot.com/ Ron Hebshie

    You might want to look up “accident” in the dictionary. It does not apply here. I don’t care what Zimmerman is or isn’t…the fact is, he is a murderer.

  • http://ronthink.blogspot.com/ Ron Hebshie

    Maybe you should Google GEORGE ZIMMERMAN INCONSISTENCIES before you make your next comment.

  • http://ronthink.blogspot.com/ Ron Hebshie

    If you heard any of the now infamous interview with the first member of the jury to speak to the media, you would know how far off base you are. I don’t think the State prosecutors did a great job but none of the evidence I saw presented convinced me that Zimmerman was in danger. HE chose to pretend he was an officer of the law and HE chose to engage a stranger. Even after the 911 operator admonished him to not pursue, Zimmerman went after Trayvon Martin. I don’t care who was on top of whom, Zimmerman was the pursuer and the aggressor. I would have fought back too, especially when it became obvious that the thug was armed. Sorry, you can cherry pick all you want, Zimmerman got away with murder.

  • Rusty Shackelford

    I guess they finally found a recent picture of Trayvon when he wasn’t fighting people, stealing, or doing drugs.

  • Martha Sullivan

    I have watched this whole so called Civil Rights Smear being forced on the people all over the country… and more so now Mr.G.Z. Defense Atty.Mr.O’Mara.. what is wrong with those people??? Do they all have a Law Degree?? Not guilty means not guilty end of story.. andf now they also come up that this was a tainted Jury???? Since Pres.Obama has been forced to make a statement !!!!and through this The Black s now want to force a CivilRight Charge on Mr.Zimmerman ??? Lets have a vote from all over the country what people realy think!!!!!!!!!!!!!There should be enough Monies since there seems to be enough to get the Parents to every Talk Show in the country… and monies for all those demonstrations.Sooo lets do it!!!but I bet they decline this period. I came to this country 64 years ago and today I am realy sorry I ever did.with this I shall close and hope that a whole lots of people will see for once to do something the right way.M.S.

  • Robar1

    The Law says you are presumed innocent UNTIL proven guilty. Logic would then say that if you have not been proven guilty you are then STILL presumed to be innocent. This is the way it is. I am waiting for Mark O’Mara to file a civil suite against Angela Corey for defamation for going on TV and calling GZ a murderer!

  • Robar1

    Apparently George Zimmerman came out of hiding the other day. He rescued a person who was in a roll-over accident. That is an interesting turn of events.

    By MATT GUTMAN (@mattgutmanABC) and ALEXIS SHAW (@ashaw109)

    July 22, 2013

    George Zimmerman, who has been in hiding since he was acquitted of murder in the death of Trayvon Martin, emerged to help rescue someone who was trapped in an overturned truck, police said today.

    Sanford Police Department Capt. Jim McAuliffe told ABC News that Zimmerman “pulled an individual from a truck that had rolled over” at the intersection of a Florida highway last week.

    The crash occurred at the intersection of I-4 and route 417, police said. The crash site is less than a mile from where he shot Martin.

    It’s the first known sighting of Zimmerman since he left the courtroom following his acquittal last week on murder charges for the death of Martin. Zimmerman, 29, shot and killed Martin, 17, in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26, 2012. The jury determined that Zimmerman shot Martin in self-defense.

    Remainder of article removed.

  • Robar1

    It is not Shannon that needs to do research, but rather you. Do a simple Google search and the answers will jump right out at you. The simple facts are that MOST blacks are killed by other blacks. Period. MOST whites are killed by, …….yep, WHITES. Instead of being so argumentative try being educated.

  • scoot

    George Zimmerman Is Not Guilty. But He Is Not Innocent………
    …..well….neither was O.J. …..but we were told by the left to just “get over it”………
    Karma’s a bitch….ain’t it…?

  • The Truth

    wow!!! you talk about getting it twisted, you should have at least watched the trial. No stand your ground law was used as his defence, following someone is not a crime in Fl. and he did not disobey the dispatcher

  • Jamal Jackson

    Not guilty? Sounds like innocence to me!

  • ElectricFire

    Were you?

  • ElectricFire

    Because he didn’t need to. Zimmerman wasn’t black, but he was the victim.

  • ElectricFire

    No, he isn’t.

  • fearandloathing

    ..this cunt again?

  • fearandloathing

    …and the sentence is death. He went full on thug on the wrong dude. Carrying home the ingredients for his ‘sizzrup’ or ‘purple drank’ it wasn’t iced tea. Never bring Skittles to a gunfight, ‘lil Tray.

  • voiceofreason

    And this is why I pay for the sentinel. It’s not just a bunch of hipster liberals over there bleeding their hearts out with biased charts and favorable figures. How many of these “white on black” crimes was the “black” found to be the aggressor. More importantly if you care so much you should move to Chicago and pour your heart out there… or maybe Liberia?! That’s what I thought.

  • Truthis Thenewhate

    Nigga Thug Down

  • carlobarlo

    “Not guilty but not innocent”… Mr. Bill, where’d they teach you to talk like this, some Panama City sailor wanna hump-hump bar, and this was your last chance at his whiskey???

  • Human

    What people don’t seem to understand is that Not Guilty is a verdict rendered for the over-reaching (given the facts of the case) attempt by the prosecution to charge Zimmerman with Second-Degree Murder (as opposed to say, manslaughter, which Zimmerman is certainly guilty of) without ample evidence to prove that to be true beyond a reasonable doubt.

    My gut says he was the aggressor and is guilty, but I’d rather have guilty men go free on the basis of a lack of facts than to have innocent men potentially locked up due to how I feel or what I intuit to be the truth of an incident involving two people with no witnesses and only hearsay to rely upon.