WASHINGTON, July 20, 2013 — The single most celebrated murder trial in the 20th century was the O.J. Simpson murder trial. In most people’s eyes, Simpson got away with murder thanks to overwhelming media attention.
Many white Americans posited at the time that the predominantly black jury would never convict Simpson.
That jury did, in fact, acquit Simpson of the horrific murder of his wife and her friend.
Despite the outrage by many in white America over the verdict, there were no riots or massive protests. They accepted the jury’s decision.
Conversely, the recent trial of George Zimmerman for the murder of Treyvon Martin continues to spark outrage, including protests, after a jury acquited Zimmerman.
So what’s the difference?
Attorney and author David Bedrick applauds the transparency of the Zimmerman/Martin trial and offers two perspectives on each category of characterizing Zimmerman and Martin.
Bedrick says some see Zimmerman as a “cop wannabe,” a hateful liar, with an almost sociopathic attitude towards killing a person Berick and the media insists on calling a child, Trayvon Martin.
Martin was hardly a child any more than Zimmerman a cop.
Others characterize Zimmerman an innocent good Samaritan whose goal was to make a neighborhood safe.
As for Martin, some characterize him a ‘child’, college bound and innocent, while others see him as a ‘hood gangsta’ and a trouble maker.
As always, the truth about both lies in-between.
No one is truly saying Zimmerman is without guilt, but the jury found there was not a preponderance of evidence to convict him.
As opportunists such as the likes of Al Sharpton, who never met a microphone or camera he didn’t like and who is famous for self-promotion at the expense of the tragedies of others, real and imagined, jump on their bandwagons to encourage black America to take to the streets, they do not realize such actions cause damage to a given race.
President Obama’s choice to weigh in on the case is a mistake. His comment “That could have been me 35 years ago” fans the flames of discontent and sends a signal that the justice system is useless and biased.
As psychologist Dr. Bernard Luskin points out, it is the media focus on a local matter that has galvanized observers and the tabloid style treatment of this event which has created a perfect storm to drive a wedge between blacks and whites across the nation.
Luskin accuses the media for throwing fuel on a simmering fire as mob destruction rages in Los Angeles that overshadowed the calm protests in Florida.
It seems inhabitants of L.A. lie in wait for a cause to commit destruction.
Luskin claims we live in a global world now and that it is “Human centered and screen-deep.”
Now the moneymakers are lining up. Black civil rights leaders, anyone connected with the trial and their publishers, the media and Zimmerman himself as he writes his memoir. If he does, perhaps he should title it: “If I Did It, Too”.
It seems race has far less to do with the result than maturity.
Paul Mountjoy is a Virginia based writer and a member of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science.
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