George Zimmerman (Associated Press)

George Zimmerman (Associated Press)

If you didn’t follow the George Zimmerman murder trial, consider yourself lucky. I squandered endless hours glued to the HLN Network, hours that I will never get back. (Then again, other than in the Twilight Zone how could one ever get them back?)

Watching the trial I suffered excessively annoying TV hosts including bombastic Nancy Grace (who’d make a great WWE wrestling announcer); Jane Velez-Mitchell, whose normal speaking voice appears to be shouting; and bully-ish attorney Mark Geragos. (He didn’t do so well with Scott Peterson and Winona Ryder, which raises the question has Geragos ever actually won a case?)

I found the verdict deeply disappointing, much like the trials of O.J.,  Robert Blake and Casey Anthony. That said, if I had been on the Zimmerman jury, I might have voted not guilty. That’s how weak the prosecution’s case seemed to be. The only beneficiaries of the entire tragedy were the TV networks as ratings were unbelievable. What a country.

During the last days of the Zimmerman trial, HLN was already promoting “coming attractions!” Andrea Sneiderman is going on trial in Georgia for her alleged involvement in the death of her husband, Rusty, who was murdered by Andrea’s boss with whom she may or may not have been having an affair. There’s even a Facebook page devoted to it. (Lord, or higher power, help us.)

The charges in Sneiderman’s indictment include murder, attempted murder, racketeering, insurance fraud, perjury and littering. (All right, I made up littering.)

Frankly, I found myself offended by the marketing of this new trial like it was the release of a blockbuster horror movie. (Which actually isn’t a bad analogy.) And yet, when I saw that the trial wouldn’t begin until the 29th a tiny part of me thought, “How am I going to wait that long?” (OK, maybe not such a tiny part.)

But I must return to the Zimmerman trial, especially since I was unable to get through on the phone to the shows of Dr. Drew, Nancy Grace, Jane Velez-Mitchell, Piers Morgan or Anderson Cooper. (I know, I should get a life. I’m working on it, OK?)

The trial got off to a highly weird note when Zimmerman defense attorney, Don West, began his opening remarks with a tasteless knock-knock joke. (As opposed to a tasteful knock-knock joke?) Here’s how this one went: “Knock, knock. Who’s there? George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman who? All right, good, you are on the jury.” Huh?

The jury’s reaction was stunned disbelief. As the late Lenny Bruce used to say, “It was like an oil painting.” Can anyone explain where exactly the joke was and what West was trying to accomplish? My advice is he should keep his day job as a career in standup is highly dubious. (Meanwhile, Zimmerman got off, so go figure.)

Considerably more serious, to those who think the verdict was just, I have one essential question. When Trayvon Martin supposedly confronted Zimmerman and asked, “Do you have a problem?” why didn’t George identify himself? He could have easily said, “I’m with Neighborhood Watch, do you live here?” and that might have put an end to the problem without any violence.

But, in my opinion, that’s not what Zimmerman wanted. In my view he wanted desperately to be a hero. His actions fit a cop wannabe who was set on single-handedly apprehending a criminal, who was in fact, not doing anything illegal unless you count wearing a hoodie.

Then again, why did Zimmerman get out of the car against the instructions from the 911 dispatcher? Why did he choose to follow Trayvon when the dispatcher clearly said, “We don’t need you to do that?”

To the dispatcher Zimmerman complained that Trayvon was walking so slowly he was “suspicious.” Then he complained that Trayvon was running. This raises the question, at 7:30 p.m. in Sanford, Fla., at what pace can a young black male safely walk?

If you don’t think race is at the core of this tragedy, imagine if Zimmerman were a 30-year-old black man who shot and killed an unarmed 17-year-old white high school student. But at least one juror (#37B) thought “George had a good heart.” Of course she didn’t hear evidence about Zimmerman plotting with his wife to hide their money and use his second (and illegal) passport to possibly flee.

Or what does it say about Zimmerman’s heart that he seemed to use a racial epithet. Defenders say the word was “goons” but who uses that word in that context. “Gangbanger” maybe, but goon? Give me a break.

As it did with O.J., hopefully the truth will finally come out at Zimmerman’s civil trial where he’ll have to testify. In the meantime, the anthem at HLN is murder be damned, cue Andrea Sneiderman and let the good times roll.

 

Jack can be reached at facebook.com/jackneworth, twitter.com/jackneworth or via e-mail at jnsmdp@aol.com.

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