Trayvon, Twitter And Tense Times - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Anchor Tony McEwing

Trayvon, Twitter And Tense Times

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The George Zimmerman verdict has sparked emotional debate, demonstrations and unfortunately, some violent destruction. Whether you agree or disagree with the jury's determination that George Zimmerman is "not guilty" of murder or manslaughter in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, there are constructive means of dealing with one's emotions. Healthy debate on the issues surrounding the case, including our criminal justice system, gun control and laws specifically pertaining to self defense, is not only legally protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution, it's a proven way to effectuate change.

Peaceful protest is also a constitutionally protected way to express one's point of view. The founding fathers were well aware that one of the foundational building blocks of a free society is a fundamental right to challenge our government and the way it operates.

However, violence or even the serious threat of violence in response to the jury's verdict is neither protected nor productive. In Chicago, a 15 year old boy has been charged with a felony after threatening to commit "mass homicide" if George Zimmerman were acquitted. The tweet said "If Zimmerman leaves free imma shoot everybody in Zion causing a mass homicide, and ill get away wit it just like Zimmerman."

You can argue the merits of charging a 15 year old with a felony for sending out a stupid, irresponsible and immature tweet but clearly, in this day and age of terrorism and mass shootings, authorities cannot afford to leave such threats unaddressed. Yes, the shooting death of Trayvon Martin is an emotionally charged story and the jury's verdict has intensified those emotions on both sides of this controversial case.

But those who feel the need to engage in violence to express their feelings regarding Martin's death would do well to remember the words of another Martin. "Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals." Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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