Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

An All-Around, Generalized Update

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Folks, I’ve been hip-deep in editing this past week — I’ve been doing a last-ditch edit of my novel, ELFY, and have decided to re-do some chapter lengths.  I also edited a short project for a friend, and have consulted on two other projects . . . and as if that’s not enough, I prepared for a concert with the Racine Concert Band that was unfortunately rained out last evening, too.  (I was to play my alto saxophone.)

So I’ve had plenty going on, which is why I haven’t written a blog in over a week, why I haven’t reviewed any books, either, and quite frankly, haven’t really had much time to even turn around.  (Ask my friends, as they barely see me, online or off.)

At any rate, here’s what I think about this, that, and the other, July 2013 style:

The George Zimmerman trial stirred up a lot of bad feelings.  The African-American community is outraged, as is completely understandable, that Zimmerman wasn’t held accountable for his actions by the Florida court system.  The Hispanic community is upset because they mostly seem to believe that Zimmerman is a poor reflection on them.  And many white Americans seem to believe that Zimmerman is a martyr and should be embraced at all costs.

While I completely understand how the public at large could have conflicting feelings — and these three segments of the American “melting pot” could feel in completely different ways — the fact remains that as Zimmerman was not initially charged with anything for over a month, many bits of evidence were completely lost.  The prosecution didn’t have much to work with, which may be partly why they seemed to do such a terrible job in going after Zimmerman.  And the laws of Florida are such that there was absolutely no way with the evidence the prosecution had left to work with that the prosecution could have ever gotten a jury to sign off on the charge of second degree murder, either, no matter how competent the prosecution had been.

I said on my Facebook page that I thought Zimmerman would not be convicted of second degree murder or the high degree of manslaughter, which came into play only in the final days of the trial and was ill-defined to boot, not because I think Zimmerman is an innocent — he’s not — but because the prosecution hadn’t proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Had the prosecution gone after something much more likely to have been understood by the jury, albeit with much less high of a profile than second degree murder, they would’ve charged Zimmerman with whatever Florida calls “reckless endangerment of human life” coupled with “unlawful use of a firearm.”  Zimmerman most likely would’ve been acquitted of the last due to the way Florida’s laws are written, but at least the prosecution would’ve had a snowball’s chance in Hell of making the charges stick.

A sentence for something like that in Wisconsin to a first-time offender is usually anywhere between two to five years in jail coupled with the loss of the firearm in question.  I think if the jury had been looking at something like that for Zimmerman rather than the lengthy stints in jail required for second degree murder or the high degree of manslaughter the Florida authorities were going after, they may have been able to consider the actual evidence in a different light.

All I know is, I’m glad there weren’t nationwide riots after the verdict was read, and that the jury’s verdict has been respected (even if not appreciated by vast segments of the population).  Because truly, there are better ways to continue the conversation Trayvon Martin’s untimely death has prompted than to cause permanent damage to people and objects — like actually talking.

Edited to add:

A very interesting column by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Eugene Kane has this to say about the Zimmerman trial:

After Zimmerman’s acquittal, widespread dissatisfaction was expressed by black and white supporters alike who didn’t understand how an African-American teenager’s life could have so little value in the criminal justice system.

Without a video, the Zimmerman jury felt compelled to buy the defense portrayal of Zimmerman as someone just defending himself from attack, even though testimony showed he sought the confrontation by stalking the teenager in the dark of night. Zimmerman’s self-defense argument (not technically “stand your ground”) angered many black parents, who wondered how someone could be considered not guilty after initiating contact with a black teenager who ended up dead.

I agree wholeheartedly with Kane’s assessment, and think this is the main reason why the jury wasn’t able to do any more than acquit Zimmerman of what he’d been accused of — particularly because the evidence was definitely not there (something the prosecution must have known) for second degree murder due to the 45-day delay between the death of Martin and the arrest of Zimmerman.

(Now back to my original post.)

I’m also reading a really interesting book right now by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks called THE GREAT PARTNERSHIP: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning.  I have found it most enlightening thus far, and may post some quotes from it soon.

So that, and watching baseball (thoughts about the 2013 Milwaukee Brewers and Ryan Braun accepting a 65-game suspension will be forthcoming, honest), and working are what I’ve mostly been doing this past week.

And because of all I’ve been doing in July, I didn’t get a chance to mention that I’d passed my third year of bloggery (is that even a word?  ‘Tis now.) here at WordPress earlier this month.  (Hip, hip . . . something?)  But I hope things will have calmed down so much by this time next year that I will be able to write a much more proper celebratory blog — or at least an informative one — discussing what I’ve learned from blogging, my fellow authors, and you all . . . because I’m sure that post is inside me somewhere.

At any rate, thanks for continuing to read my blog despite the infrequency of my recent postings.  I truly appreciate it.

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Written by Barb Caffrey

July 22, 2013 at 5:31 pm

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