July 20, 2013 5:41:10 PM
Adele Elliott - [email protected]
I am not a fan of the month of July. I dislike August even more. Meteorologists report that of the two, July is worse. My very unscientific opinion, based on decades of experience, tells me that this is not true. I stand by my conviction that August is the most terrible month.
I am a product of the South, and have never lived farther north than Memphis, Tenn. However, judging from the heat wave that is crippling parts of our country, all the way up to the New England states, everyone is suffering now. In some ways, we are lucky. The world outside of our ubiquitous air conditioning may be in the high 90s, but that is normal for the season. I have chosen to ignore the temperature gauge on my car's dashboard. It lies.
The outcome of the George Zimmerman trial did not help this country's heat index, or blood pressure. A lot of Americans are boiling over with anger about the verdict of "not guilty."
Was the incident inspired by racism? This country will be forever split on the answer to that question.
We expected carnage and bloodshed when the decision was announced. But the anticipated violence was quite an anti-climax. Most of us were rather surprised when "that chaos never materialized" (The New Yorker, July 15). The Washington Times polled its readers "and 74 percent predicted rioting."
The one exception was Los Angeles. " ... a round of violent protests ripped through Los Angeles in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman ... by the time the sun came up at least 13 people had been arrested, after police say they began breaking windows and stopping traffic." (NPR, July 16).
The most interesting "riot" news was documented by videos of mobs and flaming cars in Miami. "Except there was no riot in Miami. The video was from the 2011 Stanley Cup Riot in Vancouver, Canada. The debunked video has since been deleted" (The Washington Times; Sunday, July 14). Oh, that Internet. It is about as accurate as the thermometer in my car.
Truthfully, I was a bit stunned by the verdict. When the jury was chosen, I thought that Zimmerman didn't have a chance. His "peers" were all women; some were mothers; a couple were animal rights activists. That sounded like a group who would not look kindly on a man who killed a teenager. I was wrong.
My knowledge of the justice system comes from years of watching crime shows on television. That is not exactly an education in the law. My opinion (remember this is an opinion column, and does not reflect the views of my publisher), is that the system worked. It seemed to me that both the defense and the prosecution did a lousy job. The jury just accepted Zimmerman's lawyers' argument that this was a case of self-defense.
Some people who regularly read my column are probably tired of my anti-gun tirades. But, once again, I must ask, "Why did George Zimmerman have a gun?" He was clearly too dumb to follow the police's instructions that he stay in his car. Certainly, he is not the sort of person who should be armed. Background checks? Maybe we should demand IQ checks.
Americans will survive this summer, as we do every year. However, the emotional climate may require more than air conditioning for us to get through.
Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.