Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Matt Barber

7/22/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The death of Trayvon Martin was a horrible tragedy.But not all tragedies are crimes.

My fellow Americans: I am your humble servant. You have entrusted me with the tremendous honor and responsibility to serve you as president. I am not president of black America, Hispanic America or white America. I am not president of liberal America or conservative America. I am president of the United States of America. Regrettably, as a nation, we have become divided. I confess that I have contributed to this division. For this failure in leadership, I ask your forgiveness. We were each created equal by a God of forgiveness. It is now time that we do as He commands; that we forgive one another as we are forgiven and that we come together, once and for all, as one America.

President Obama comments on the Trayvon Martin/ George Zimmerman tragedy

President Obama comments on the Trayvon Martin/ George Zimmerman tragedy

Highlights

By Matt Barber

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/22/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Trayvon Martin, George Zimmeramn, President Obama, Sanford, Florida, Al Sharpton, racism, profiling Eric Holder, Civil Rights, Matt Barber


LYNCHBURG, VA (Catholic Online) - My fellow Americans: I am your humble servant. You have entrusted me with the tremendous honor and responsibility to serve you as president. I am not president of black America, Hispanic America or white America. I am not president of liberal America or conservative America. I am president of the United States of America.

Regrettably, as a nation, we have become divided. I confess that I have contributed to this division. For this failure in leadership, I ask your forgiveness.

We were each created equal by a God of forgiveness. It is now time that we do as He commands; that we forgive one another as we are forgiven and that we come together, once and for all, as one America.

With this goal in mind, I ask that every American join me in praying for the family of Trayvon Martin. No parent should have to bury a child. I also ask that you join me in prayer for George Zimmerman and his family. This tragedy has taken an unimaginable toll on both families. Finally, I ask that you join me in praying for national calm and racial reconciliation.

Today I will share with you certain truths that may be difficult for some to hear. But truths they remain.

First among these truths: The death of Trayvon Martin was a horrible tragedy.

But not all tragedies are crimes.

This case should never have gone to trial. Probable cause for charges of second-degree murder did not exist. Unfortunately, it has become evident that charges were filed based upon a purely political calculus, rather than upon the legal merits of the case. This is legal malpractice, and those responsible should be held accountable.

Before charges were even filed I publicly and inappropriately said: "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon." This was irresponsible of me. It was a politically motivated abuse of the presidential bully pulpit. It presumed Mr. Zimmerman guilty until proven innocent. The implication was racially charged and cynical. To the extent that I may have contributed to the spurious filing of charges, I apologize to Florida. I also apologize to George Zimmerman, his family and the American people.

Nevertheless, the trial did go forward and, after 20 days in court and 16 hours of thoughtful deliberation, a jury of George Zimmerman's peers ultimately found him not guilty. Whether or not we agree, this is our criminal justice system and the system worked as designed.
Justice was served.

Although none of us were there - and few can know for sure - the not guilty verdict indicates that the jury found, based upon the weight of the evidence, that this tragic shooting was, in fact, legally justified on self-defense grounds. This is true whether or not George overreacted by following Trayvon in the first place. Florida's "stand-your-ground" law was never even triggered.

The jury further found, by all accounts, that at some point during their interaction, Mr. Martin turned, pursued and attacked Mr. Zimmerman without legal provocation. This decision ultimately cost him his life.

How does this make sense? How could this have justified the shooting? Although initially unarmed, witness accounts and forensic evidence suggest that Trayvon punched Mr. Zimmerman, jumped on him and began slamming the back of his head into the concrete sidewalk while allegedly proclaiming, "You gonna die tonight, [expletive]." At this point the sidewalk became a deadly weapon. From this, any reasonable person could conclude that George Zimmerman feared for his life and, therefore, took defensive action.

A needless tragedy? Yes.

A crime? No.

Here is another truth: This case is neither now, nor has it ever been about race. That is, it wasn't about race until I and others made it so.

There are those who, under the guise of "civil-rights advocacy," have a tarnished history of exploiting this and other such tragedies for their own political and financial purposes. This is race-profiteering. It is shameless, dishonest and never productive. For the good of our nation, it needs to stop.

Furthermore, much of the media are likewise to blame. It is clear that, for whatever reason -ratings, perhaps - many journalists chose to intentionally fan the flames of racial discord. NBC even went so far as to splice and edit the recording of Mr. Zimmerman's 911 call to make him sound racist. This may well be defamation per se, and NBC should be held to account.

In reality, the overwhelming evidence indicates that Mr. Zimmerman is anything but racist. He is just as much a "person of color" as am I. He is Hispanic, not white as the media narrative goes. George is half Hispanic, just as I am half black. He is no more a "white Hispanic" than am I a "white black." This is the theater of the absurd. It's but another example of the media's disingenuous bid to sensationalize this case as a white-vs.-black civil-rights clash.

It is not.

In reality, George Zimmerman's past strongly suggests that he is utterly color blind. He once went to bat for a black homeless man against the police department he desperately hoped to join. He also has a history of mentoring black children, has dated black women, has black relatives and is a registered Democrat who voted for me - the first black president in American history. Finally, an extensive FBI investigation determined that Mr. Zimmerman is simply "not a racist."

I understand that many people are very upset over this verdict. I sympathize with them. My heart also breaks for Trayvon's family. Still, we are a nation of laws, not a nation of mob rule. Make no mistake, threats to George Zimmerman's safety and civil rights will not be tolerated and will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Moreover, I have instructed Attorney General Eric Holder to cease and desist in all efforts to manufacture federal civil-rights charges against Mr. Zimmerman. There is simply no case and to pursue one would actually violate Mr. Zimmerman's civil rights.

Let's get back on track. Let's return to Dr. King's dream of an America in which people are "judged by the content of their character," and not "by the color of their skin."

It's time to move on. It's time to heal. It's time to come together as "One Nation Under God".
God bless you.

And God bless America.

-----
Matt Barber (@jmattbarber on Twitter) is an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. He serves as Vice President of Liberty Counsel Action. (This information is provided for identification purposes only.) 

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

Keith A Fournier: Why I Will Not Give Up On Politics Watch

Image of

By Keith A Fournier

Like many in the United States, I am trying to make sense out of what is happening to this Nation which we love. The temptation, so clearly present in our circles, is to fall into two separate approaches, both of which can lead to error. One is to completely ... continue reading


TIME TO PAY: Uninsured in 2014 will have to pay tax penalty Watch

Image of Take a married couple with $100,000 in income - their bill comes to $797, according to the Tax Policy Center ACA penalty calculator.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It is time to pay the piper. If you disregarded signing up for Obamacare in 2014 or failed to make payments - you are going to have to pay a fine. As Americans sit down in coming weeks to compile their tax returns, they will have to contend with Obamacare's ... continue reading


'You have to know who your enemy is' Downplaying and mislabling Islamic extremism is a dangerous path for the U.S. Watch

Image of Islamic extremism is terrorism, it is not simply criminal conduct.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Obama administration refuses to acknowledge the terrorism attacks around the world for what it is, Islamic extremism. This blatant disregard of the real problem can be harmful for the country. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Secretary of State, John Kerry was ... continue reading


Striking back at the Dems! Koch brothers allocate nearly ONE BILLION DOLLARS for 2016 presidential race Watch

Image of David Koch, one of the leaders of a political action network that has the monetary power to spend hundreds of millions on political races.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It seems the Koch brothers have no plans to ease their political spending habits in 2015, as top officials in the brothers' political network released a budget of $889 million to be spent on the vast political network ahead of the 2016 presidential race. LOS ... continue reading


Turning off spigot: Obama aims to possessively guard oil-rich Alaskan coastline from development Watch

Image of Alaska's coastal plain has been at the center of a fight between conservationists and advocates of greater energy exploration in the U.S. for a very long time.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Just because there's been relief at the corner gas pump doesn't mean that the United States won't need any more oil in the near future - far from it. As such, many are infuriated that U.S. President Barack Obama seeks to designate the vast majority of Alaska's ... continue reading


And the field gets thicker! Rubio joins Bush, Romney, Walker and Christie as 2016 presidential hopeful Watch

Image of Marco Rubio, a Senator from Florida may be crafting a campaign team for a potential 2016 bid.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A fifth Republican is making noise that could be interpreted as intent to make a 2016 presidential run. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Florida Senator Marco Rubio is possibly gathering a campaign team, planning out a slew of state visits starting in February, and ... continue reading


Scott Walker enters the 2016 Republican nomination ring with speech attacking Obama's failed policies Watch

Image of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker gave a speech in Iowa, a move which may put him in the running for the Republican nomination.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney may have been the first Republicans to make it clear-though still unofficial-that they intend to run for the Republican nomination in 2016, but ... continue reading


Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney hold summit meeting: Are they plotting election strategy? Watch

Image of There have been stories in a number of outlets that Jeb Bush proposed the meeting weeks ago, in order to thank Mitt Romney for his past party leadership.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Former governors Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney are having a summit meeting. The meeting will be in Utah. Speculation swirls about what the meeting will entail. Some GOP party officials hope "the two former governors will find a way to avoid competing presidential campaigns ... continue reading


An average of 27 late-term abortions happen every day in the United States; the bill to protect the unborn from this cruel pain was dramatically dropped by the GOP Watch

Image of 10,000 babies are killed each year through late-term abortions.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An estimated 10,000 unborn babies are killed each year through late-term abortions. This averages out to 27.4 abortions taking place 20 weeks or later per day or 1.14 per hour, according to the Congressional Budget Office. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Pain ... continue reading


Father Frank Pavone on Pope Francis, Politics, and Catholic Social teaching Watch

Image of Fr Frank Pavone - Fidelity to the Gospel requires that we be able to prophetically challenge the positions of all political parties, and that our loyalty to Christ and his teaching supersedes our loyalty to any political party, although such loyalties are not per se incompatible with being a Christian.

By Matt C. Abbott

It remains true that the right to life is the most fundamental right and that the duty to defend it is a more urgent priority than other social justice priorities. But to what extent that fact helps or hurts a political party depends upon the party, and his ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 10:32-39
32 Remember the great challenge of the sufferings ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 37:3-4, 5-6, 23-24, 39-40
3 Put your trust in Yahweh and do right, make your ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 4:26-34
26 He also said, 'This is what the kingdom of God is ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 30th, 2015 Image

St. Aldegunais
January 30: Virgin and abess, also known as Adelgundis, Aldegonde, or ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter