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Zimmerman and the court of reader opinion

July 20, 2013
  • The not-guilty verdict in the Zimmerman trial brought out protesters -- and letter writers.
The not-guilty verdict in the Zimmerman trial brought out protesters --… (Los Angeles Times )

Since George Zimmerman was acquitted last Saturday on all charges in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, The Times has received more than 250 letters reacting to the verdict and its aftermath. Almost all of the letters have been pointed and earnest, and readers on all sides of the debate have found little to like about the case and its aftermath.

Most of the letters can be placed into four broad categories: Those who say the jury got it right (although a sizable number of those say the outcome wasn't necessarily just); readers dismayed by the verdict; thoughts on "stand your ground" laws; and reflections on what the case says about society.

-- Paul Thornton, letters editor

The jury was right: 44 letters

I agree with The Times' editorial that a federal retrial of Zimmerman using essentially the same facts would constitute double jeopardy.

I was a supporter of his and remain so, but I think Zimmerman acted recklessly by confronting Martin while he was armed. Martin's killing was unnecessary and wrong, but it was not a criminal act because it was apparently done in self-defense.

Luis G. Martinez

New Orleans

Dismay over the verdict: 54 letters

Once again the underbelly of American justice has shown itself to the world.

Whether the prosecution put on a good case or not, the fact remains that a man with a weapon followed an unarmed youth whom he perceived as a threat to his community. How the killer can then be portrayed as a victim and acquitted for his heinous act is incomprehensible.

Martin will never again see the dawn of a new day because Zimmerman thought it was his right to rid his community of a perceived threat. Zimmerman's actions were validated by a jury of his peers — and that, my fellow Americans, is a travesty for us all.

Doris K. Reed

Los Angeles

On "stand your ground" and other self-defense laws: 28 letters

I wholeheartedly support the protests over Martin's killing because I am convinced that he would not have died if he hadn't been black. But we can't forget that Martin also wouldn't have died if Zimmerman had not been legally allowed in Florida to carry a concealed weapon and to "stand his ground."

This week I canceled a pending order from a company in Texas, telling them I would no longer do business with companies located in states with "stand your ground" laws. Texas, like Florida, is one of more than 20 states that have such laws.

An economic boycott of all these states might get those laws changed.

Jonathan Hubbell

Laguna Niguel

Race and society: 37 letters

In the South where I grew up, a white man could pick a fight with a black man for no good reason, shoot him dead, claim self-defense and get away with it.

Things are different now. Haven't you heard?

Ronald Webster

Long Beach


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