After Zimmerman verdict, we all are threats now
For those desperately seeking a glimmer of sunlight in the terrible thunderstorm that was the George Zimmerman trial, the presumption of innocence might seem like a good principle on which to focus. After all, Zimmerman's defense lawyers always predicated their hopes on such a presumption and, on the surface, Zimmerman's exoneration seems like proof that the presumption is alive and well in America - so alive and well, in fact, that an admitted killer was able to avoid conviction because of the ineptitude of the prosecution.
Even if you subscribe to this generous interpretation, it is no doubt cold comfort. A child is dead and his extrajudicial executioner is free. But can't we take pride in the supposed persistence of a foundational legal principle - one that in aggregate is supposed to create a more just and humane society? Can't we at least have that?
The blunt answer, unfortunately, is no, because Zimmerman's exoneration is the latest - and perhaps most powerful - state-sanctioned societal rejection of the presumption of innocence, with the killer a microcosmic embodiment of such a rejection.