The following is an abridged version of a conversation at http://www.facebook.com/edpagecourant.
Brian DeBlasiis: George Zimmerman should have never been charged. This case highlights the serious problem posed when prosecutors are elected. Political pressure forced the prosecution to bring charges against George Zimmerman, and in our society that should never be a justification for a criminal prosecution.
Kevin White: Given circumstantial uncertainty, there is no absolute right (or wrong) in this tragedy. There is only what happened, and what was decided. Right or wrong over such then becomes mere prism of one's opinion.
Ellen Raff: It touched a nerve because it has been played up in the news — not because it's a remarkable case (people fight and kill every day in the U.S.) but because of the current fascination with guns and gun rights. Those of us who believe the presence of guns leads to senseless killing hope that at least, when there is a senseless killing, justice will be done. In this case, it was not.
Michael White: A jury selected and agreed upon by both sides found it impossible to convict without reasonable doubt. That is the correct thing to do in this, and any/all cases. Whether justice was served, only one person knows for sure. Is it about race? Personally, I don't think Martin was killed because of his race, but I do think it was a factor in Zimmerman's suspicion of him. The feds should only get involved if they suspect misconduct in the Florida judicial system with this case.
Brian DeBlasiis: Well in the case, a concrete sidewalk was used in an attempted senseless killing and a gun stopped that senseless killing.
Lorna Cyr: How many times in our lives have we asked, "what if?" My "what if": What if Mr. Zimmerman had never left his car?
Brian DeBlasiis: Doesn't matter whether Zimmerman was wrong to follow Martin when it comes to his use of force to self-defense. All that matters is that Martin used lethal force first.
Ellen Raff: Reality — adult armed with gun picks fight with unarmed teen, who has done nothing wrong, then shoots him. We have to live with the jury verdict, but you have to live with the public outcry against justice undone.
Ralph Cap: Who's right? Most likely the jury, because unlike the rest of us, they listened to the entire case.
Tina Bourke: Martin had his right to self-defense and unfortunately he isn't here to tell us. He was being stalked, he was scared and he attempted to protect himself. He was unarmed and simply passing through minding his own business. Not making a race or gun case, just sad all the way around that he isn't here to tell us in person because he was murdered in cold blood.
Susan Trappe: The culpability and responsibility lies with the state of FL for arming a civilian. This is what happens when people casually carry loaded weapons.
Scott Schaller: George Zimmerman killed someone. Why? Because he was a wannabe cop who got himself in a dangerous situation that he couldn't or shouldn't have tried to handle. I dont know what happened in their confrontation, but unless Trayvon Martin pulled him out of his car, it should have never happened at all.
Brian DeBlasiis: The decision to use a gun comes down to when the person faces the risk of serious bodily injury or death. ... Justice was done here. An innocent man gets to go home to his family because a jury of his peers heard the evidence and decided he wasn't guilty of the crimes charged.
Ellen Raff: If it is legal for a man to pick a fight with a teenager, then when he gets the fight, kill the teenager with a firearm, then you are right — that's one of those things I just didn't think was legal in the U.S. What a surprise to me and millions of others.
Michael White: I hope Tina, Ellen, Susan and Scott aren't on any jury in the near future. You talk like you were there and know exactly what happened. The jury's decision should be based on facts and the facts of this case are not clear or were not presented to the jury adequately. Therefore, reasonable doubt. I am not saying that is not what happened, but factually, we will never know. I'm sorry if the verdict doesn't sit well with you, but I would rather live in a country that convicts on facts and not hearsay and opinion.
Ellen Raff: Great Michael, and I hope Michael, Patrick, Brian and Ralph aren't on any jury in the near future. With our Facebook records, maybe we'll all be dismissed.
Scott Schaller: Michael, I dont know the facts other than he should have never gotten out of his car. He had no need to follow Trayvon Martin. He had no need to engage him in any way. If Martin had attacked him, carjacked him, tried to rob him, I would have zero issue with what he did. I'm going to be very interested in people's opinions the next time Mr. Zimmerman is involved in a similar conflict.
Shannon Jacovino: Ellen, thank you for articulating this all so well. And thank you for having the patience to address the tortured logic on this thread. And by the way Brian, a finding of "not guilty" is not a finding of innocence.
Tina Bourke: There is another side to the "facts" and those are Martin's; however, he is not here to tell them!