A small (~12) group of activists rallied by Kneeland Park in Shelton today just after the 5:00pm rush hour traffic and daily train blockade on 1st Ave. They looked a little tired and long in the tooth, closely matching Mason County’s demographics. i.e. retired senior citizens passionately opposed to the suspected gratuitous killing of a black teen in Sanford, FL, SYG (stand your ground) laws, and the unannounced carrying of a concealed handgun by citizens intent on monitoring/observing their neighborhoods to reduce crime.
Shawnie Vedder/Whelan posted notice of the event, rode her bicycle along w/her youngest daughter to attend, but changed her mind after seeing this reporter w/camera in hand. Community activist Katherine Price showed up, as did her friend, Sheri Staley. Several others (including Pat Vanderhay) donned hoodies to amplify their voices while some displayed packets of Skittles or held signs protesting what they viewed as a miscarriage of justice that allowed Zimmerman to walk away as a free man after a jury returned a not-guilty verdict in his murder trial. Nevertheless, the local activists who displayed their displeasure with the verdict, the SYG laws around the country, and the right of citizens with a permit to carry a concealed handgun, insisted on referring to Zimmerman as a ‘murderer’.
During interviews with two, they advanced arguments amounting to speculation as reason why Zimmerman should have been convicted of murder. It is well we have people in our community who place such a high value on human life. Conversely, it is disturbing so many have misapprehensions about our judicial system, due process, and citizen juries of our peers. They reflected little nuance or critical reasoning regarding a jury’s fact finding deliberations, and for that reason should be challenged or removed from any panel involving emotionally charged allegations. Toward that end, any defendant in Mason County slated for such a jury trial would do well to study the following faces and reckon with the likelihood their owners are unable to set their biases and passions aside in order to discharge their duty as members of an impaneled jury…especially in a criminal trial, but likely any litigation.