Dissapointed by Local’s take on Zimmerman trial

We read your article in this week’s Local with profound disappointment.

You stated that George Zimmerman “gunned down” Trayvon Martin, a “black teenager.”

The evidence produced at this trial convinced a unanimous jury that Mr. Martin was on top of Mr. Zimmerman, punching him in the face, and slamming his head into the concrete pavement. These are the facts. One of the jurors disclosed to a reporter that race was not a consideration in their deliberations.

You also stated that Mr. Zimmerman was lawfully entitled to shoot Mr. Martin based on Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. This is inaccurate. That law was irrelevant in the trial, and the jury was not charged by the trial judge on that issue. The legal issue for the jury to consider was whether or not Mr. Zimmerman’s admitted killing of Mr. Martin was “justifiable homicide,” based on self-defense.

Again, the evidence presented to the jury was that Mr. Zimmerman was being held down by a significantly larger Mr. Martin, who was attempting to cause him serious and imminent bodily harm. The jury apparently accepted this evidence as true.

Further, you stated: “yes, racism is at work.” The attorney representing Mr. Zimmerman’s family publicly denounced that this case had anything to do with race. An extensive FBI investigation found no evidence or past history of racial animosity on the part of Mr. Zimmerman.

The racism flames have been fanned by the media, Attorney General Eric. Holder and political activists such as Al Sharpton. The latter has made a living by promoting and manufacturing racial divide among Americans (anyone remember the Tiwana Brawley case?). Mr. Sharpton is aptly described as a “racial arsonist.”

Mr. Mazzaccaro, your editorial only throws more gasoline on the fire, to no good end. As of today (July 18, 2013), there have been five reported attacks by groups of young black men on white or Hispanic males, shouting “This is for Trayvon!” Perhaps your next editorial will comment about this?

Another unfortunate statistic – While this trial was going on, approximately 14 African Americans were gunned down in Chicago by other African Americans. Why did you not write about this tragedy?

Where are the African American leaders in our community expressing outrage? Where is Rahm Emmanuel, the Mayor of Chicago?

As regular readers of the Chestnut Hill Local and long-time residents of the neighborhood, we are dismayed and disappointed that you chose to ignore the true facts in this case and, instead, chose to play the race card. Shame on you. You are a responsible and articulate journalist, and this article does not live up to your usual high journalistic standards.

I doubt you will publish this, but certainly hope you do.

David W. Banov

Sharon M. Reiss

Mt. Airy


Are there (still) vigilantes in Chestnut Hill?

Recent editorials in the Local and the Inquirer focused on the Stand Your Ground Law regarding Trayvon Martin’s murder and George Zimmerman’s exoneration. The Local should deal with local matters: Chestnut Hill. That’s where I am going.

While the points of view differ, they both attempt to illustrate the Stand Your Ground Law. Pete says that law gives “anyone with a gun the right to act like a vigilante”. The Inquirer praises the law so that civilians with concealed handgun permits can “facilitate the violent-crime-fighting potential of the professional law enforcement community”. Therefore, 91 percent of PoliceOne, with 400,000 police members, supports concealed-handgun permits “without question and without further restrictions.”

The reality of being confronted with a gun in Chestnut Hill at 4 p.m., on a well-known street is scary. But so is an armed Town Watch person, on patrol, asking people that don’t fit in, why they are here, is equally scary.

Maybe, we no longer do this. My problem is that, at least in our past, that is exactly what went on. I saw it on a Town Watch patrol while the Philadelphia Police were “rounding up” suspects. I saw it with the Town Watch director coming armed to CHCA meetings.

My first writing of this dealt with the connection of vigilantes, Town Watch and community association evidence by a Google search. In that I concluded with self-congratulation that the connection was old news. However, if you look at the CHCA website, Town Watch is listed as one of its volunteer organizations.

Police lieutenants are featured on the front page of the Local. Apparently they need “the public’s help” to apprehend criminals. Police also support Town Watch and concealed carry.

The editor speaks of vigilantes in Sanford, Florida. I want to know if they still are here in Chestnut Hill.

Ed Budnick

Chestnut Hill


Profound editorial

Your editorial on the Zimmerman case was profound, balanced and needed to be said. However well meaning the writers of the Stand Your Ground Rule were, it is too broad and open to interpretation which could give rise to other “Zimmerman” cases. Thanks for bringing clarity to this painful subject.

Kathy Winter

Chestnut Hill


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