Florida gun law was part of problem in trial

I am not a lawyer but have been in a jury and learned that what jurors are told and hear is often different from what the newspapers and the public believes.

Add to that the problem of states like Florida that have recently passed laws making it more difficult to challenge a shooter who believes he is in danger and you are likely to get an acquittal.

The conceal carry laws add to the lethal nature of the encounter. Would George Zimmerman have been so aggressive chasing the teen if he didn't have the concealed gun? I think not. There might have been an altercation, but its unlikely anyone would have died so tragically.

Anne Spanier

Alameda

Consider recent crime, not just Martin's race

The Zimmerman case all started because George Zimmerman decided that Trayvon Martin appeared suspicious -- but what characteristics define suspicious?

Many spectators concluded that this was a racial issue, but what if this case had nothing to do with race? Martin was out late in a neighborhood that had suffered from recent break-ins, and was concealed in a dark hoodie. Is it possible that this was enough reason for Zimmerman to pursue Martin?

Back when I was in middle school, sometime after leaving 7-Eleven with a black hoodie on, I noticed a patrol vehicle seemed to be following me, until my ride picked me up. Was that vehicle more likely following me because of my race, or because it saw a person covered up in a dark hoodie?

The issue of race is a valid argument in the Zimmerman case, but it's definitely not the only factor that should be considered. Ethnicity and clothing are just a few of many other crucial characteristics that help us decide whether or not someone can be regarded as suspicious.

Ryan Yung

Fremont

Could not accept an acquittal in this case

George Zimmermann should not have been acquitted of the killing of Trayvon Martin.

The only testimony Zimmermann provided in his defense was the video report he made with the Sanford PD after his arrest, so there was no chance to challenge any of the evidence he provided in that video.

But after watching new clips of his attorney's demonstration with the dummy showing how Trayvon was straddling him during the confrontation, I have to ask how he was able to reach, let alone draw and fire his weapon, that was in a holster on his back as he laid on his back?

I thought that the jury was leaning toward a verdict of manslaughter when they requested clarification of the judge's instruction -- a verdict that I could have accepted. But to have the verdict come back as not guilty was one that I cannot accept.

This case should make it very clear that the Stand Your Ground laws now in effect in 23 states need to be re-examined, rewritten or declared unconstitutional nationally.

How do we know or how do we decide who was in the right when applying these laws? Didn't Trayvon Martin have the same right under this law as George Zimmermann?

Morris Soublet

Hayward

Case should never have gone to trial

Of course. There was never enough evidence to support conviction, and the case never should have been brought to trial.

The trial happened because of political and special-interest group pressure. The news media greatly contributed to the hype and hysteria because they continued to show pictures of Trayvon Martin at age 12 -- young and innocent. Seeing a picture of him as a 12-year-old boy would naturally evoke public sympathy.

Tell the truth, news media, and publish a picture of him at age 17. Perhaps then the public might think he could have been the aggressor in this tragic event.

Those people protesting, should they get into trouble, should hope and pray they receive a fair trial like George Zimmerman did.

Jack Swagerty

Castro Valley

A mystery to why jury acquitted Zimmerman

I have had the privilege of being on several juries. No way should he have been acquitted.

The prosecution proved George Zimmerman was a liar and the killing didn't happen the way he said. He had to have shot Trayvon Martin while he was standing upright.

Had I been on the jury, it would have hung. I watched the whole trial just like the jurors did; I don't know how they acquitted him of, at least, manslaughter.

Brenda J. Phillips

Oakland

Played the race card from the beginning

Involuntary manslaughter should have been on the table, but second-degree murder was over the top.

The defense made a better argument than the prosecution. Right from the get-go, the mainstream media, the networks and President Barack Obama played the race card.

NBC altered the 911 call, and the media called George Zimmerman a "white Hispanic." I never heard that phrase before. I guess that makes Obama a "white black man."

I knew when Obama got elected that race would be an issue throughout his presidency. What bugs me is when the people of Oakland and Los Angeles protested the verdict and started destroying property. That gives them a bad name. They're not doing themselves any favors with the public when they protest that way.

Cathy Ledbetter

Newark

No way to prove that race had an impact

Evidence brought to the court proved that George Zimmerman is not guilty of murder.

The evidence brought up by the defense has proved that Zimmerman is not guilty. Zimmerman, based on Florida law, has acted within reason of his rights.

Is this case racially charged? There is no evidence in the case proving that Zimmerman followed Trayvon Martin because he is African-American. Zimmerman only followed Martin on the basis he looked suspicious.

The judge also had ordered the jury to disregard race and focus on the facts as presented. This case had nothing to do with race at all and there is no way to prove race played a role in this outcome.

Our court system has prevailed using facts to decide the outcome of this case.

Faraz Saiyed

Union City

Case began in America over 200 years ago

The Zimmerman case started well before George Zimmerman got out of his car to follow Trayvon Martin. It started more than 200 years ago, and today an African-American mother still needs to teach her son what to do if stopped by the police.

The facts of being black in America are very different from the facts of the Zimmerman trial. Following the trial testimony and applying the law -- and only the law -- not guilty on the basis of self-defense was a reasonable conclusion.

But those are not the facts being demonstrated against in the streets. The facts behind the demonstrations are that a white man shot an unarmed black teenager and got away with it. The Zimmerman case simply gave the still-festering issue of racism an object to posit the anger and despair.

Let's not vilify the trial participants. Rather, let's understand the problem we unfortunately still have in America and channel our passions into understanding what we still need to do.

Stanley Wulf

Berkeley

Wouldn't happen with white teen

I do not agree with the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial.

This was a hate crime. Zimmerman showed no remorse for taking a human life. The fact is, if Trayvon Martin had been a white teenager this whole thing would never have happened.

Norma Neto

Fremont

No right to go on wild rampages

I do agree with the jury's verdict in this case. The jury heard and weighed the evidence and didn't find George Zimmerman guilty of second-degree murder. The prosecution didn't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was guilty. Therefore, since the jury came to this decision, it must be respected.

That so many people didn't like the verdict doesn't give them the right to go on wild rampages and destroy businesses and downtowns, only to hurt hardworking citizens. It seems like just an excuse to cause malicious destruction. Oakland should have been prepared in advance for this, but leadership in that city is lacking.

Dorothy K. Baker

Newark

Broken system that is racially slanted

The not-guilty verdict of George Zimmerman says that it is open season on blacks and the white judiciary system protects all whites. It is a broken system, always has been slanted toward protecting whites from justice. Justice is not blind; from the people of African descent, it has been perceived to be in favor of all whites.

The Rev. Dr. Maurice F. Scott

Great St. John Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church

Oakland

Martin wasn't killed for being black

Yes, he's been acquitted.

How many columns and airtime hours has the Bay Area media dedicated to the murder of Peter Cukor, a white senior citizen, killed in Berkeley by a black prowler at about the same time -- as opposed to the columns and airtime hours dedicated to the bringing to justice of a black prowler, thousands of miles away?

Or for that matter to the thousands of people killed in Oakland, mostly by blacks, during the past four decades. If the Oakland examples aren't enough, take Chicago where 1,000 people were killed just in the first six months of this year.

Trayvon Martin was not killed because he was black, he was killed for assaulting a neighborhood watchman.

I applaud the brave women of the jury who stood up to President Barack Obama's attempt to weigh in on the trial's outcome, to Eric Holder, and to all of the racists of color trying to intimidate them.

Leo T. West

San Leandro

Progress requires a change in thinking

It is the sick mind set of George Zimmerman that sees all black men as inherently criminal that must be put on trial.

That way of thinking must be challenged, if we are to make any progress on the deep-rooted racism that infects our nation. In the tragic and poisoned atmosphere of racism that still haunts this nation, the trial of Zimmerman for the murder of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, somehow managed to turn a young black victim into a perpetrator and a perpetrator into a victim.

The president said of the slain teenager that "could have been me 35 years ago." Certainly that reality gives the President the moral standing to conduct a national dialogue on race that is so sorely needed. This is a time for presidential leadership.

David Glick

Berkeley

Get over verdict and stop the violence

The trial is over, George Zimmerman was tried in court and found not guilty.

Get over it. Stop all the violence and riots. No one rioted when O.J. Simpson killed two people and was found not guilty.

When some one kills a black person every one gets up set but let two white people get killed by a black man there's on riot or violence in any city in the country. Enough already.

J.D. Meyer

San Leandro