Was there a reasonable doubt about whether Zimmerman, at the point of contact, committed an offence or was protecting himself? Perhaps.
This begs the huge question, though, of why this kind of scenario played out in the first place – an armed cop wannabe walking toward confrontation based on patent profiling when he should have walked away. This culture, which pervades much of the US, is something we have to confront here, where the wacky right is making more and more noises about the vigilante approach to criminal justice.
Perhaps even more, I am alarmed at the circus that the jury trial system has become down there. It can’t be healthy to turn criminal justice into Big Brother. By watching panels of wacky-dust “experts” duke it based on perceived viewers’ bias will our understanding of justice improve? Will future trials be affected by the attitudes that are being promoted by this approach? Will the growing influence of lynch mob TV, of truly bizarre drum bangers like Nancy Grace, help Americans, and maybe Canadians, to promote fair, impartial and independent adjudication?
Somewhere Marshall McLuhan and Harold Innis were watching this carnival. Were they laughing or weeping?