Open Phones: Talking About Trayvon

Monday, July 15, 2013

George Zimmerman has been found not guilty, but the conversation about race, violence, masculinity and fear continues. Parents: How have you been talking to your kids about the death of Trayvon Martin? How did you react to verdict on Saturday night? Call 212-433-9692, or post here.

Comments [19]


The main reason Zimmerman was acquitted was that the jury thought Martin was the aggressor and that he attacked Zimmerman and that Zimmerman was getting beaten up and had to defend himself. However, they ignored the DNA evidence that showed no traces of Zim's DNA under Martin's fingernails, or on Martin's shirt cuffs or sleeves. How could there be no Zim DNA in those places if Martin was punching Zim over and over and broke Zim's nose and smashed Zim's head over and over onto the sidewalk causing torrents of Zim's blood to flow?

They did find Zim's DNA in other places on the shirt.

How could the DNA have survived the rain and the plastic storage bags in those places but not in the places where there should have been alot of it?

Jul. 25 2013 12:18 PM
alistair from Manhattan

Americans don't want to deal with their racial past/present and until that happens, these events will continue.

Jul. 15 2013 03:05 PM
Joe Nathan from Verona, NJ

With all the talk about racial profiling, not enough attention has been paid to the role of "hoodies". It's entirely possible if this young man had not been wearing his "hoodie" he would be alive today. Seeing someone with his face covered by a "hoodie" is threatening. It has nothing to do with race. If I had a teenage son I would dissuade him from ever wearing a "hoodie". It's like asking for trouble.

Jul. 15 2013 01:05 PM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Ph: On the contrary, there are things that go on in the courtroom that aren't available on transcripts. Even courtroom video doesn't catch everything.

I guess you've never sat on a jury, but I have, and I know from experience that only the jurors can make those decisions. They have a most unique perspective. I sat on a 6-person jury and once we were in the jury room deliberating, we got 6 different perspectives on testimony as well as courtroom antics by the plaintiff's attorney, and, I might add, had a laugh at their expense, but without six people having witnessed everything that went on in the courtroom, I'm certain we would not have come to the decision we did.

Jul. 15 2013 12:43 PM
Henry from Manhattan

Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn said:
"Anyone who did not sit on the jury is not qualified to opine on this subject. Jurors see and hear things in the courtroom that the rest of us never get to know, however competent the coverage.”

Ph replied:
“That's absolutely not true. Perhaps we can't see what's in the court but anyone can get the complete court transcripts; just have to pay through the nose to get them.”

Yeah, the trial was broadcast live. While perhaps not every single nuance was conveyed it’s not like the preceding were shrouded in mystery.

My coworker had the trial playing in the background on his computer for most of the duration, speaking up every once and a while to summarize highlights for the rest of the office.

From what I gleaned, and what many news analysts are saying is that the persecution wasn’t very good and Zimmerman’s lawyers were more adept in their defense.

It's all in the game though.

Jul. 15 2013 12:24 PM

"Anyone who did not sit on the jury is not qualified to opine on this subject. Jurors see and hear things in the courtroom that the rest of us never get to know, however competent the coverage."

That's absolutely not true. Perhaps we can't see what's in the court but anyone can get the complete court transcripts; just have to pay through the nose to get them.

Jul. 15 2013 12:02 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

For well over a thousand years, Jewish mothers and fathers taught their children NOT to resist, not to fight back, not to raise their hands. Pretty much like Blacks in the South during Jim Crow. If you fought back, you'd only bring down worse consequences, even death, not just for you for your community. For Jews this changed with Zionism and Israel, and especially after the Holocaust. In their own land, Jews are taught how to use arms and fight by the military.

In this country, the Civil Rights struggle taught Blacks to "stand up" and resist. Black kids told by their parents not to take any kind of slight or "guff" by whites but to fight. Basically, the question of "fight or flight" is determined by what the consequences would be for either option. It depends on the law, and how it will come down, for you or against you. And the law is an arse, according to Shakespeare.

Jul. 15 2013 11:59 AM

Fruitvale Station

Jul. 15 2013 11:59 AM
J Reilly from Bellmore, NY

As racially charged as this topic is, don't forget that it also speaks to the issues of responsible gun ownership and, in my opinion, bullying. I realize that the popular definition of bullying usually involves teenage girls on the internet, but when I was young, it was about big guys threatening smaller guys.

Jul. 15 2013 11:57 AM
Felicia from Harlem

I hope the self-identified white suburban Mom will also discuss this case by reading with her children some of the black media (for example, Melissa Harris-Perry's footnote or Patricia Williams' columns). The New York Times is a fine paper, but looking just at its take would just reinforces the "two Americas," one in which it is safe to believe that we are a "nation of laws" and one in which it is not necessarily safe to believe that. This is the quintessential problem and she may be raising her kids not to see that.

Jul. 15 2013 11:56 AM
The Truth from Becky

Caller Vicky - you should have added the absurdity of the existing law and how to change it, that is what your daughter is confused and emotional about.

Jul. 15 2013 11:53 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Anyone who did not sit on the jury is not qualified to opine on this subject. Jurors see and hear things in the courtroom that the rest of us never get to know, however competent the coverage.

If the charges were wrong or the actions of the persons were wrong or the testimony was faulty or someone was able to lie on the stand with a complete poker face, we will never know. Only the jurors - who at the time of the actual trial are hyperaware of every detail - can justify their decision.

Jul. 15 2013 11:53 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I'm thinking about the police shooting of Amadou Diallo, & I'm wondering: if a wallet could be mistaken for a gun, what about a cell phone? Should people w/reason to worry about being profiled make sure their cell phone case isn't black or silver? Some bright color instead? Not that I have any illusion this would prevent all cases, but there would be no "I thought it was a gun" excuse.

Jul. 15 2013 11:53 AM

I'm still confused why Zimmerman was acquitted and that Florida mom who shot warning shots as her abusive ex approached the house is getting 20 years in prison.

Jul. 15 2013 11:52 AM
The Truth from Becky

"I do this because I live in America" --Lavar Burton


Jul. 15 2013 11:51 AM
Marcos from the Bronx

This is a tragedy, and an injustice. But is Zimmerman "white"?

Race privilege in the US has become more complicated.

We are not being clear if we say Zimmerman has white privilege.

Unless we are changing the traditional US definition of whiteness.

It may be more clear to say he had privilege for not being identified as black.

It seems to me like race in the United States is beginning to work more like race works in Latin America. This creates the opportunity to point out that race is only a social construct. But, if we uncritically expand whiteness onto a man of Latin American descent who has some non-white and African genetic heritage, we collaborate in the charade that race is innate and immutable.

Jul. 15 2013 11:33 AM
UESsir from manhattan

We talked about why people were so upset over the verdict. I told them that people want to see justice for the loss of a life but in some cases there is no blame to be had. I told them that it is important to understand all the details before getting angry and overreacting to a verdict. In this case, people want to believe it is just about race and a boy "being hunted" when in reality it was a situation where the "stand your ground" law came into play and the jury made an informed decision.

Jul. 15 2013 11:07 AM

Any loon can have a gun. Anyone can be hunted. Don't tangle with crazy men who spend their nights calling 911.

Jul. 15 2013 11:05 AM

In our family this is a simple case of why the so called right to bear arms is bad.

also, why we don't live in florida.

Jul. 15 2013 09:02 AM

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