Criminal charges in the Trayvon Martin case

CNN has released a poll in which 73% of the respondents said George Zimmerman should be arrested in the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

Asking Americans whether criminal charges should be brought against someone who has been in the news for about a week is a tricky business.  It isn’t like polling people on their thoughts of President Obama or gas prices, topics in which they would presumably have informed opinions because they are directly affected in some way.

Most of the 1,014 adults surveyed over the weekend by phone likely knew of the case only by the white-hot media coverage it has received. The family of the victim, Trayvon Martin, has been active in telling the young man’s story, and who can blame them? It has been, with justification, basically one-sided. The person who admits shooting Martin, George Zimmerman, has not said much, until today.

And Zimmerman’s story today— that Martin was the aggressor and hit Zimmerman repeatedly — has been corroborated by witnesses, police say.

This post isn’t intended to take sides in this tragic incident in Florida. Rather, it is to caution about taking sides in a criminal investigation before all the information is available. My guess is that once today’s story is circulated, some attitudes will shift.  And they will continue to shift as the story evolves and more information comes out.

— John Robinson


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