No, decided the jury who heard all the evidence. But some high profile people took the opportunity to make it about race anyway.

Whether you agreed with the ‘not guilty’ verdict or not, whether you felt justice was served or not, most even semi-reasoned people agreed that the jury had deliberated and decided and the verdict should be upheld with due respect for the process and its conclusion. Which doesn’t mean agreement, it means respect. However, in America, some identity groups accept or reject decisions of peers based only on whether it matches the group’s thinking. Or not. So last Friday, we faced a weekend full of planned demonstrations nationwide against George Zimmerman for shooting Trayvon Martin, no matter what the circumstances and regardless of a jury who heard all the details of those circumstances and found no evidence of a racially motivated crime on the part of George Zimmerman. Which was prefaced with an odd convergence with an impromptu appearance in the White House press room by President Barack Obama, to talk about race in America.

After days of angry protests and mounting public pressure, President Obama summoned five of his closest advisers to the Oval Office on Thursday evening. It was time, he told them, for him to speak to the nation about the Trayvon Martin verdict, and he had a pretty good idea what he wanted to say.

Why did the president have to speak about the Trayvon Martin verdict? Why did he insert himself into the case last year when the incident happened? His hometown of Chicago has a notorious crime rate right now due to gun violence, and he says little about that, nothing on this scale. Why this, and why now?

For the next 15 minutes, according to a senior aide, Mr. Obama spoke without interruption, laying out his message of why the not-guilty ruling had caused such pain among African-Americans, particularly young black men accustomed to arousing the kind of suspicion that led to the shooting death of Mr. Martin in a gated Florida neighborhood. On Friday, reading an unusually personal, handwritten statement, Mr. Obama summed up his views with a single line: “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.”

What? He’s doing that again? Those were the thoughts I had listening to the president’s remarks live. Where is he when young African-American boys are actually mercilessly shot and killed on the south side of Chicago all the time? Why did he insert himself into this case last year and why this, now? I listened, suspending judgment, open to whatever was happening at the moment. But the moment seemed awfully calculated.

The White House’s original plan — for Mr. Obama to address the verdict in brief interviews on Tuesday with four Spanish-language television networks — was foiled when none of them asked about it.

That’s interesting.

Instead, he appeared in the White House briefing room with no advance warning and little of the orchestration that usually accompanies presidential speeches. Mr. Obama spoke for 18 minutes, offering his own reflections and implicitly criticizing gun laws and racial profiling methods — both of which, critics say, played a role in Mr. Martin’s death.

Aha, critics say. But the jury who heard the whole trial decided racial profiling wasn’t a factor in this case didn’t play a role in Mr. Obama’s remarks, because the jury decided racial profiling didn’t play a role in Mr. Martin’s death. Remarkable speech he gave. Here it is.

You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son.  Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.  And when you think about why, in the African American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.

Especially when politicians, special interest groups and most media keep stoking it. Monday on Fox News, liberal analyst and contributor Alan Colmes weighed in on the controversy by admitting that the jury found that race played no part or parcel in the Zimmerman trial, but the media decided that it did, and that’s what the reactions are resulting from. The admission was remarkable.

So the media are complicit partners in race-baiting America.

The Wall Street Journal:

Still, underscoring the tensions that continue to fester, Abigail Thernstrom, vice chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, said Mr. Obama’s original statement on the case struck the right tone and that Friday’s follow-up could have the unintended consequence of ratcheting up racial tension.

“Mr. President, you said what should have been said: A verdict has been rendered,” she said. “Leave it at that.”

However, he could not leave it at that.

Responding to calls to launch a national dialogue on race, Mr. Obama said such discussions often are more productive in churches and workplaces and within families.

“I haven’t seen that be particularly productive when politicians try to organize conversations,” he said. “They end up being stilted and politicized, and folks are locked into the positions they already have.”

On that, he was right.

On Friday, Mr. Obama noted that African-Americans are disproportionately victims as well as perpetrators of violence.

On that, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly had plenty to say. It’s worth listening to, on the ‘grievance industry’ and where real racism lies. There is a holocaust happening in Chicago every year, and it goes unaddressed. O’Reilly is right on this one, and his emotion is about indignation over the refusal to address the epidemic of violent crime in the most crime-riddled neighborhoods, and lack of will by people with influence to exert it in ways and places that would make a difference.

“You want a conversation, you got it. Work with the good people to stop the bad people,” he insisted.

You can fight against the madness, with little tolerance for excuse making…It is now time for the African American leadership, including President Obama, to stop the nonsense, walk away from the world of victimization and grievance, and lead the way out of this mess.

In the meantime, this story emerged.

George Zimmerman, who has been in hiding since he was acquitted of murder in the death of Trayvon Martin, emerged to help rescue a family who was trapped in an overturned vehicle, police said today.

Zimmerman was one of two men who came to the aid of Dana and Mark Gerstle and their two children, who were trapped inside a blue Ford Explorer SUV that had rolled over after traveling off the highway in Sanford, Fla. at approximately 5:45 p.m. Thursday, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

The crash occurred at the intersection of I-4 and route Route 46, police said. The crash site is less than a mile from where Zimmerman shot Martin.

By the time police arrived, two people – including Zimmerman – had already helped the family get out of the overturned car, the sheriff’s office said. No one was reported to be injured.

Zimmerman was not a witness to the crash and left after speaking with the deputy, police said.

This could not be made up, it’s surreal.

The acquittal prompted dozens of protests across the country this past weekend and his lawyers have said that Zimmerman has been the subject of death threats. His lawyers said Zimmerman has been wearing a bullet-proof vest when he ventures out in public.

Zimmerman’s parents told ABC News’ Barbara Walters they too have received death threats and have been unable to return to their home.

“We have had an enormous amount of death threats. George’s legal counsel has had death threats, the police chief of Sanford, many people have had death threats,” Zimmerman’s father, Robert Zimmerman said.”‘Everyone with Georgie’s DNA should be killed’ — just every kind of horrible thing you can imagine.”

This is not civilized, it’s beneath our culture and our dignity. It is judgmental and biased and hateful based on perceptions, which is what people hold against Zimmerman, claiming that he held that against Martin. Please let these families grieve and mourn and suffer their losses and wounds, and make whatever reparations and seek whatever healing they need. Please God.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....