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Steve Lunetta: Extremism

Posted: July 22, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 22, 2013 2:00 a.m.

With the recent verdict in the Zimmerman/Martin case, it may now be an appropriate time to comment. In a case like this, opinions need to be withheld until all of the evidence has been presented.

For those unaware, a 16-year-old black youth named Trayvon Martin was killed in an altercation with George Zimmerman, a Caucasian/Latino Neighborhood Watch patrolman.

Although many of the facts in the case are in dispute, one thing is clear: a young man is dead. And Zimmerman was exonerated.

Unfortunately, the extremism displayed by both sides in the case definitely had an impact on the final verdict.

Some would have us believe that Trayvon Martin was an angel. The picture shown on the popular media was of a smiling, clean-cut, handsome young man. A kid you’d want your daughter to date. A kid you would have over for dinner. A kid who would walk your dog and help carry in the groceries.

This group would also have us believe that the watchman, George Zimmerman, was a swaggering, gun-toting madman drunk on the power of his Second Amendment rights and looking for some minority to kill and drink the victim’s blood.

On the other hand, some portrayed Trayvon Martin as a dangerous miscreant who was waging a one-man crime spree on the residents of the community. Growing up in a shattered home, Martin was a time-bomb ready to explode, they say.

This same line of thinking viewed Zimmerman as a noble volunteer public servant making the streets safe for children and democracy. He saved kittens from trees and helped old ladies across the street.

Truth is somewhere in between. The views are all too extreme and not reality.

While right in his desire to protect his community, Zimmerman probably should not have gotten out of his car. That makes him partially responsible for what happened.

However, how did he know that this act would escalate into someone’s death? I am not an attorney but that seems to be the definition of manslaughter, not murder. Call him an irresponsible idiot but not a murderer.

Let’s be honest. If you saw someone walking around your neighborhood who looked suspicious, wouldn’t you keep an eye on that individual?

Of course you would. I know I have, and not because a person is a certain race. White folks can look just as hinky as any other group.

Further, the extreme campaign waged by certain members of the media is responsible for the Florida prosecutor’s drive to obtain a murder conviction, not the lesser charge of manslaughter.

While not going into the details of the politics behind the decision, the prosecutor went for a murder charge and got nothing. The evidence simply was not there, and now the community is outraged while not understanding that they were really betrayed by a lack of level-headed and rational thinking.

Some are reporting that the prosecutor will be brought up on charges for concealing evidence. The IT manager for the District Attorney’s office was fired recently after it became public knowledge that pictures and texts taken from Martin’s cell phone were not shared with defense attorneys.

The pictures supposedly show a pile of jewelry on Martin’s bed, nude photos of underage girls, and Mr. Martin brandishing a gun. This was evidence that should have been shared with defense attorneys since it creates a far different picture of the deceased.

Coupled with previous incidents where Trayvon was found to be in possession of jewelry, a screwdriver (handy for prying windows open), and containers that may have contained illicit drugs, one may begin to conclude that Mr. Martin was not the innocent little tyke portrayed in the media.

Further, the injuries observed on both of the individuals are consistent with Zimmerman’s story. The back of Zimmerman’s head was bloodied and injured; Martin had minor lacerations on his hand.

Zimmerman claimed that he was held on the ground and had his head smacked on the pavement repeatedly by Martin. Fearing for his life, Zimmerman discharged his weapon — a clear act of self-defense.

Martin was not an angel nor innocent of wrong-doing. His assault precipitated a lethal response.

Zimmerman was not very bright and did not anticipate the results of his actions. Ultimately, each was responsible for a measure of this tragedy.

With the acquittal of Zimmerman, justice was the second victim in this case.

Steve Lunetta is a resident of Santa Clarita. He can be reached at


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