How We Can Improve Society With What We Learned From The Zimmerman Trial

How We Can Improve Society With What We Learned From The Zimmerman Trial
Politics
Like Us On Facebook
Like Us On Facebook

In one of his best speeches to date, Barack Obama said that we should not let the verdict of the George Zimmerman trial halt America’s progress towards becoming a safer place. Yet, other than the reminder that racial profiling still exists in this country, Obama didn’t really tell us what we could possibly learn from the outcome of the trial and the horrific events that led up to it.

He must have forgotten that it’s through terrible things, like unnecessary death, that this country evolves. This is how the world becomes a safer place – through tragedy and unforgiving mistakes.

The outcome of the Zimmerman trial made us all aware of an aspect of our justice system that needs to be changed in order for America to continue its evolution into a more civilized and just nation. The saddest part about this aspect is that a 15-year-old boy shouldn’t have had to die for us to become aware of it.

This legal provision in reference is, of course, the Stand Your Ground laws. Most of us hadn’t heard of this law before the Zimmerman case went public, but once again, this is what it takes for our country to educate itself on a massive scale. This mass education is what ignites the overwhelming pressure to make important legal changes.

The Stand Your Ground laws state that it’s okay to kill someone if you feel they are trying to kill you, even if you have the option of retreating or ending the fight using non-lethal methods.

Whether you agree with the law or not, it’s impossible to deny that its broad, vague definition has the potential to allow someone to get away with something very, very wrong. And that’s just what happened in this absolutely despicable verdict.

Union Square to protest

The outcome of the trial had nothing to do with race. Trayvon Martin was putting a vicious beating on George Zimmerman, and the aforementioned law says it’s okay for someone on the receiving end of a situation such as this to kill the attacker. End of story.

The jurors had no choice but to abide by the law, as we learned in Anderson Cooper’s interview with the juror known as Juror B37. Upon hearing the foundation of the trial, three out of the six female jurors wanted to convict Zimmerman of either manslaughter or murder (those are apparently different now). But once the jury learned of the Stand Your Ground laws, the six of them agreed that regardless of what they felt should be done, they did not possess the authority to defy the law.

The most unsettling part of the Stand Your Ground laws is the idea of deeming a physical assault as life threatening. Who knows what type of ‘evidence’ constitutes this label. This cannot simply be determined by specific injuries, witness accounts or even historical evidence involving similar situations. It’s definitions like this that are the primary cause for the growing distrust of our legal system, and it’s honestly pretty scary to think about how many other laws (like say, those involving surveillance rights) also have vague definitions that are often re-defined with each case.

Unfortunately, like many fairly modern laws (this one was created in 1995), it could be argued that Stand Your Ground was put into action more for the effect it has on the economy, rather than on the well-being of the American people. The gun industry (because we have a gun industry) profits immensely off of the fear of domestic violence, and if we were to start harshly punishing people for using guns to defend themselves, less people would buy guns, which means the legacy the Republican party sells to get elected would slowly dissolve. In turn, there would be less Republicans in office and that just can’t happen because hardcore Republicans love guns like hardcore liberals love marijuana, and when rich white people get angry, stuff actually happens.

Thousands of demonstrators ascend on Union Square and Times Square in protest to protest the acquittal of George Zimmerman

So realistically, there isn’t a good chance of this law being repealed anytime soon. Our economy is still not where we want it to be, and the risk of weakening or simply challenging such a profitable and powerful industry is high enough for, as we learned in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shootings, even a considerable amount of Democrats to vote against decreasing the likelihood of violence.

The National Rifle Association also pays each Congressman millions of dollars to prevent any law that restricts gun sales or ownership from being passed.

This doesn’t, however, mean there’s no way this country can prosper from the outcome of the Zimmerman trial. There will always be racists like George Zimmerman who believe that the less poor black people we have in the world, the better off we all will be. That’s why we shouldn’t be mad that people like him exist. We should use the outcome of the trial as more evidence that it’s not racial tension, but rather, laws like Stand Your Ground that are the most significant perpetuators of horror and injustice in this country.

That’s the only way we can trigger the previously mentioned mass education, which history has shown us, is the key component to taking meaningful steps towards prosperity. We just have to hope that we can encourage this movement before the Zimmerman case repeats itself.

Photo credit: WENN

Share Tweet
React
Like Us On Facebook
Like Us On Facebook

Sean Levinson

Sean Levinson loves writing almost as much as he loves ranting about politics. Elite Daily lets him do both, and he couldn't be happier now that he's finally putting his years at SUNY New Paltz to good use. When he's not writing, Sean enjoys nature excursions, playing the guitar and the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Look for him on "Real Time with Bill Maher," where he regularly appears in his most precious fantasies.

More In Politics

Politics Greg Dybec

Scotland Just Voted ‘No’ To Becoming An Independent Country

Scotland has ultimately decided against independence from Britain. The vote to end a 307-year union between Scotland and Britain finished in a close 55 percent to 45 percent decision, despite a recent YouGov poll showing that 51 percent of voters in Scotland were for independence. The final projections of the historic vote were released by […]

Politics Sean Levinson

The Ultimate Girl Power Selfie Just Might Break The Internet (Photo)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi tweeted a photo on Thursday featuring herself along with some fellow feminists at a Center for American Progress event. If too much #girlpower can break the Internet, we might be in trouble. #progress4women #womensucceed pic.twitter.com/ekid9fFAsH — Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) September 18, 2014 Joining the California Democratic Representative (clockwise from left […]

Politics Emily Siegel

How To Get Involved With US Politics And Actually Make A Difference

Emotions were high during Tuesday’s press conference with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and General Martin Dempsey. Hagel was set to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee, speaking on both the situation with ISIL and its goal to establish an Islamic state. As per usual, members of the public were allowed to attend the […]

Also On Elite

Life

Baby Steps: 6 Perks Of Going To A Community College

With the start of school right around the corner, some students are probably in the process of packing up their lives from home to begin their lives in dorms. On the other hand, there are also those students who have made the decision to attend a community college. Maybe it’s only for a semester, just […]

World

James Foley’s Family Honors His Bravery By Launching Journalism Scholarship In His Name

The parents of slain American journalist James Foley have set up a journalism scholarship at the 40-year-old’s alma mater. The Wire reports that John and Diane Foley announced last night in a statement on Facebook that The James Foley Scholarship will be available for students attending Marquette University’s J. William and Mary Diederich College of Communication. […]

Dating

How Fully Letting Go Is Really The Only Way To Actually Move Forward

It seems that today, we all have a hard time letting go. We need more and more memory space on our computers and physical space in our storages. We hold on to everything, from childhood toys to old keys. We even hold on to friendships that are destructive and draining. Are we being optimistic or […]