Trayvon Martin: Be careful what you wish for

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Column by Jim Clark

Remember Casey Anthony? Before she was charged, there was an outcry for justice. People demanded an arrest. So the state attorney’s office filed charges.
Trouble is, the prosecutors didn’t have every bit of evidence in its proper place. The resulting trial was a disaster for them, and Casey Anthony is now a free woman, much to the dismay of all those who pushed for her to be jailed.
Now we come to the case of George Zimmerman, the Neighborhood Watch leader who shot and killed Trayvon Martin a month ago. He allegedly claims it was self defense, but it was found that the young man was only carrying a bag of Skittles and a bottle of iced tea, not usually the menu for a burglar making his way around a neighborhood or for someone putting a Neighborhood Watch member in danger. And Zimmerman was specifically told on the 9-1-1 call not to follow Martin, but he ignored the dispatcher and did it anyway. The result was a confrontation and a shooting.
There have been rallies and protests and vigils, like the one at the Ocala Downtown Square on Sunday evening, demanding “justice” for Trayvon and urging the state or even the feds to make an arrest.
Evidently some people didn’t learn anything from the Casey Anthony case. They should be careful what they wish for.
A grand jury is scheduled to hear the case next month. If they indict, there will be an arrest. Presumably, by then, the police and prosecutors will have everything ready.
Protesters are jeopardizing the case against Zimmerman, if there is a case, by pushing for an early arrest. There is no statute of limitations here. Just be patient, folks. Remember, when an arrest is made, a “speedy trial” clock kicks in.
The people who gathered on the square Sunday were peaceful, and it was emphasized in the opening that it was a vigil, not a protest. But there were still signs around that called for justice in the case.
Here’s another situation that may finally produce some answers. Four months ago, a drum major from the Florida A&M University band was beaten to death aboard a bus in Orlando, presumably by other band members, in a hazing incident. There were witnesses, there was a 9-1-1 call, and there was a death.
But no arrests have been made, at least not as of Sunday. ESPN’s show “Outside the Lines” did a half-hour special on the case Sunday morning.
Finally this week, the police turned the case over to the state attorney’s office, and presumably there could be an arrest. But it took four months
Why weren’t there vigils for justice for this young man? I’m sure that his parents miss him just as much as Trayvon’s parents miss him.
Now, maybe there will finally be some action.
But in the Trayvon Martin case, for now, people just need to let the prosecutors do their job. If there is an arrest to be made, it will be made, and there will presumably be a trial. But be patient, folks. Another “rush to judgment” could be another disappointing ending for everyone.
Jim Clark is the editor of the South Marion Citizen. He can be reached at 352-854-3986 or at editor@smcitizen.com.

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