Martin case now a matter for the courts

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 14, 2012

After weeks of speculation, it is time for the court of public opinion to take a rest.

Earlier this week, George Zimmerman, the Florida man who by his own admission shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, was finally charged with second-degree murder and appeared before a Florida judge for the first time.

In the weeks that have lapsed since the incident came to light and the arrest was made, accusations of racial profiling and botched police work have given way to questions over the media’s role in the hype. The media has been accused of stoking the fires of racial tension by purposely publishing pictures that make Zimmerman seem like a criminal and Martin seem like an innocent child.

The past weeks have also given way to national movement of sorts in which the “hoodie” has taken on symbolic importance as the representation of the unfair profiling of young black men. Marches have taken place, one right here in St. John the Baptist Parish, in fact, and the inevitable backlash has begun.

The case, it seems, has become bigger than the incident itself, which will make giving Zimmerman a fair trial quite difficult. Now it is a matter for the courts, but let’s hope those selected to be on the jury understand the case for what it really is. Only one person who is alive today really knows what happened in Florida that day, and that is George Zimmerman. And of course that fact will leave many wondering if the deceased Trayvon Martin and his family can ever truly find justice. But that is what we are left with, and we can only trust the American legal system to do its job.

It is time for the local community and the rest of the country to move on and recognize that this one incident is not necessarily representative of the feelings and workings of the nation. It is just one isolated incident, not unlike those that are tried in courts around the nation every day. Let the court do its job, not only for the sake of those involved but for the sake of the nation itself.