ERICKSON: Only tragedy here

July 19, 2013 

There is only tragedy in the Zimmerman trial. There are no sides but justice to root for, but a justice that will leave one side unsatisfied and still empty.

Both George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin made mistakes during that awful night compounded further by mistakes of the state. Zimmerman may not be guilty of either murder or manslaughter, but he killed Trayvon Martin. A 17-year-old is dead. A family has lost a son. And Zimmerman must now fear for his life because of hatred toward him stirred up by so many who politicized this mess.

There are no winners here save for Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict. He will have to live with this for the rest of his life and, sadly, Trayvon Martin will never get that chance.

There is only tragedy here. Politics should not be here. My prayers are for Martin, his family, Zimmerman and his family. and the jury that did its job. Now the NAACP and others are calling for Attorney General Eric Holder to file charges against Zimmerman. Never mind that federal investigators already decided there was no racial motivation. This is not double jeopardy.

The state and federal governments remain separate entities with separate jurisdictions. A trial in one does not preclude another. But in this case it should. I understand why so many in the black community feel there was an injustice. The original injustice was that Zimmerman was not arrested for the crime. He eventually was and a jury eventually found him not guilty of both murder and manslaughter. The state of Florida listened to the original outcry and responded with an arrest, investigation, and trial that rendered a verdict of not guilty from a jury of Zimmerman’s peers.

Our system is not perfect, but it is preferable to rule by the mob. Juries are not perfect, but they are better than the court of public opinion. Many will feel justice was not served, but it was. Justice does not mean getting the outcome one side desires. Even so, those who are glad of the verdict should try to understand why so many feel so cold by what has happened and that some see injustice.

I see too much politicization by too many people on more than one side. A boy is dead. A man’s life ruined, and too many people are trying to capitalize on the politics of now. As the president said Sunday, a jury has spoken. It is time to respect the verdict of that jury and move on.

Trayvon Martin will never come back and George Zimmerman may be free, but it will be a long time, if ever, before his life returns to normal.

Our country still has much to learn about itself. Sadly, too many profit from us not learning and fan the flames of hostility. Those who have legitimate grievance in the verdict -- and they do exist beyond Martin’s family -- are drowned out by those whose only grievance is their inability to profit as much as they may from this tragedy. We should all embrace the quiet dignity shown by Martin’s parents these last few days and embrace the president’s words: “We are a nation of laws and a jury has spoken. I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son.”

The media has behaved terribly, editing 911 calls, and fanning a sense of injustice, all for ratings. Our better angels needs not play along. There is only tragedy here.

Erick Erickson is a Fox News contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.

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