Berry: Justice for whom?Written by Thomas Berry | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The George Zimmerman trial is the latest major example of how horribly far we have strayed from our principles — in this case equal justice under law.
There is no need to recount the storyline of the trial; thanks to the news media’s obsession with the matter, it has been pounded into our consciousness. But throughout the whole affair, equal justice has been held in contempt.
The politically correct angle on this is to demand justice for Trayvon Martin. All right, then: What justice should he have faced for assaulting Mr. Zimmerman and pounding his head against the pavement? I have yet to hear anyone who thinks Mr. Zimmerman should have been found guilty propose a sentence for Mr. Martin had he not been killed. In their eyes, Mr. Martin is completely innocent, courtroom testimony to the contrary notwithstanding. To the politically correct, justice is equal only if it conforms to their prejudice.
For that matter: What do those who decry Mr. Martin’s death because a saintly child – in their perspective – was killed have to say about the killing of 56 million American babies and 1.3 billion babies worldwide by abortion? How dare they condemn the killing of a hoodlum – which is how he behaved, and wrong though that killing was – and remain silent on such staggering death being meted out under the protection of law to the truly innocent? Equal justice for the unborn, anyone?
One social media response to the verdict was a statement that our entire system, presumably meaning the justice system, is guilty. In that, I at least partially concur. The system, if you will, is guilty of caving in to hotheads, from the president of the United States on down.
Obama’s haughty pronouncement that, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon” was intended to elicit sympathy for Mr. Martin and pretrial prejudice against Mr. Zimmerman. Equal justice for the accused when the President is trying to skew the outcome against him? Scarcely. Mr. President, how would you respond to your son beating the the snot out of someone on a sidewalk? Now he wants to exploit Mr. Martin’s death as a way to ban guns, thereby eliminating Mr. Zimmerman’s only means of defense against the beating.
(Some of Mr. Martin’s defenders cynically cry that now it is perfectly all right to shoot teenagers. Is it perfectly all right for teenagers to attack adults? Evidently so – and Mr. Obama leads the way in not wanting adults to defend themselves.)
This is scarcely the only case of the president recklessly commenting on criminal cases. He pre-judged the Cambridge, Mass., police department for arresting a friend of his, Professor Henry Louis Gates. He trivialized the Fort Hood terror attack by opening his remarks on the day of the attack with a jolly “shout-out” and jovial thanks to supporters. He has done substantial damage to the prosecution that he rightly demanded of sex abuse cases in the Armed Forces by also demanding courts-martial and dishonorable discharge in all cases.
By the way, Justice Department employees were sent to Florida to be directly involved with protest organizers demanding Zimmerman’s arrest. Although initially criticized as proof of the Obama administration politicizing the case, their work was ostensibly mediation between the protestors and law enforcement with the goal of preventing violence. But where is the federal government authorized by the Constitution to engage in such activity in the first place? And towards what end – the railroading of a man now proven innocent into prison?
The Zimmerman trial exposes ugliness on all sides. Just as there are those who want to toss out the verdict and retry Mr. Zimmerman because they know better than the jury what happened, there are those among Mr. Zimmerman’s defenders who care nothing for justice, as exemplified by the bigoted belief towards blacks that exaggerate fears of post-verdict race riots. How, really, does this differ from demanding the rejection of due process for Mr. Zimmerman?
Mr. Martin’s mother has offered brief but eloquent expressions of her faith in the midst of her unspeakable loss, and some responses to the verdict include appeals for prayer for Mr. Martin’s family and for justice for him. But justice has been done – the court could not prove Mr. Zimmerman guilty, despite the undue pressure placed on it by the news media, race-baiting agitators and politicians, and the judge.
“Who is my neighbor?” asks the Gospel. The answer here is that both men and both families are among our neighbors, and it behooves all of us, regardless of our opinions in the matter, to pray for all of them alike rather than engage in hate.
Thomas Berry for the Children of Liberty.