ANALYSIS: Charges against Zimmerman weaken two principles of freedom

Charging Zimmerman with a hate crime defies two key principles of freedom. Photo: Washington Times Communities

WASHINGTON, July 18, 2013 — After a Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman of second-degree murder charges in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, the Justice Department released a statement saying it agreed to requests from NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous and several lawmakers to keep investigating Zimmerman. A federal case would charge Zimmerman with violating anti-hate crime legislation.

Charging Zimmerman with a hate crime would defy and weaken two key principles of freedom for all Americans provided by the U.S. Constitution: trial by jury and equality before the law.

No evidence exists to indicate that Zimmerman killed Martin because of his “actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity” or, as added to the federal National Hate Crimes Prevention Act by the Obama Administration in 2009, his “gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.”

Any government official, especially Attorney General Eric Holder, who entertains opening a new case against Zimmerman at the least is grossly wasting the people’s money and worse is pulling the country further away from a land ruled by law toward the realm of dictators and monarchs.

Holder’s comments and continuation of this trial in any form incites racial unrest. His comments have also used the tragedy to promote gun control and confusion around stand-your-ground” laws.

Holder said it was a “tragic, unnecessary shooting death … we must not … let this opportunity pass,” in a speech to the Delta Sigma Theta sorority in Washington after the trial.

The next day he spoke to the NAACP in Orlando saying stand-your-ground laws “sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods by allowing and perhaps encouraging violent situations to escalate in public.” reports that while over the last few years “there has been a massive increase in gun sales … the rate of gun murder is at its lowest point since at least 1981: 3.6 per 100,000 people in 2010. The high point was seven in 1993.”

They also report, “Federal data also show violent crimes committed with guns — including murders, aggravated assaults and robberies — have declined for three straight years.”

According to ThinkProgress, Holder also said, “I was stopped by a police officer while simply running to a catch a movie, at night in Georgetown, in Washington, D.C. I was at the time of that last incident a federal prosecutor.”

He continued, “[m]y father [sat] down with me to have a conversation – which is no doubt familiar to many of you – about how as a young black man I should interact with the police.” He continued that Trayvon Martin’s death “caused me to sit down to have a conversation with my own 15-year-old son, like my dad did with me.”

Trial by a jury of peers made up half of what John Adams called the “heart and lungs” of a government by the people.

Representation by election is the other half. The designers of the Constitution knew that government not constrained by the people would invariably become arbitrary and too powerful. Popular elections and laws approved by representatives of the people and jury trials are deterrents.

A jury ensures that the man or woman on trial has their fate decided by peers subject to the same laws. A jury can be tainted or biased but there is no indication of that in this case or any other in recent history of note.

Without our system that imposes a standard of innocent until proven guilty, based on the law, with a jury hearing evidence, Zimmerman would have been lynched by a mob or offered as a sacrifice to the mob for political purposes.

The FBI dismissed any racial motivation on Zimmerman’s part a year ago. Thirty states have laws allowing those being attacked or robbed to use deadly force in defending themselves.

The case is closed. The jury has spoken. Government officials at all levels should remain silent.

The primary reason rests with the second important principle of freedom at play: equality under the law.

David Stedman, in Our Ageless Constitution, writes, “America’s Founders acknowledged that each person’s rights to life, liberty and property are derived in an equal manner from a Creator — not from government — and that a government of laws or a society of free individuals must itself be structured to provide protection for such rights equally under the law.”

The right to protect yourself is not something Holder or the government can give and take. It is inherent, God given.

Both Zimmerman and Martin had the same rights and equal protection under the law in 2012. Both could protect themselves. Both had the option to walk away.

The fact that one did not walk away is not grounds to nullify the right to protect your self.

The uniqueness of America —– structured as a constitutional republic — is that only when the people consent, can laws be made that infringe to some degree on those Creator-given rights.

A good example is the anti-hate crime statues on the books of 45 states as well as the expanded version of the federal law in 2009 to include gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability as well as the dropping of a prerequisite that the victim be engaging in a federally protected activity, such as public school.

In these laws, Americans by consent of their elected officials have agreed to subject anyone convicted of a hate crime to a loss of liberty — jail or death sentence.

Government officials who hint at considering a new case against Zimmerman are throwing him like raw meat before lions.

The lions will never be satisfied. Invariably power shifts and those calling for Zimmerman’s blood will find themselves on the wrong side. Suddenly, the rule of law will be their friend.

No system on earth is perfect. People will harbor jealousy, prejudice and hatred because human nature does not change. There is no system closer to perfection than the American legal system. It is fair and equitable for all at this juncture in history.

Press back against those that would sacrifice the progress made, the safety of us all for cheap political points today.

Carla Garrison follows current events with one eye on history and the other on the future.  Her goal is to encourage people to know the truth and use it as a call to personal action. Read more Truth be ToldFollow Carla on Twitter and Facebook.


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Carla Garrison

Carla writes about current issues and events with an aim toward telling the truth, using the writings of great thinkers, dead and living, as well as common sense.

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