The jury has spoken. George Zimmerman is not guilty.

The media frenzy and the special interests groups have distorted the fact that George Zimmerman needed to be tried by his peers. Although “peers”, as in a six-woman jury, is not exactly reflective of what would normally be considered Zimmerman’s peers; the fact is that a jury needed to hear and weight the facts about the case without the emotion that is fueling the public discussion.

The system and the makeup of the jury may be open to discussion but the fact is that there is no better way to determine whether Trayvon Martin’s death was within the law. There is much speculation in the public consciousness with most of it driven by the passion of gun control and race relations, but there is only one person that truly knows what transpired that night. Of course, Zimmerman’s account would make him out to be the victim. We will never know the truth of what happened even with the jury’s verdict, but we do know that one individual lost his life that night.

I am clearly a gun advocate and I have attended and successfully completed two different states’ conceal carry licensing classes. I am currently licensed in the State of Florida to carry a concealed firearm. I am also an advocate of the “stand your grounddoctrine and firmly believe that I have the right to defend myself, those I love and those in need. But I also believe that a carrier of a weapon, be it a civilian or law enforcement has to be held to a higher standard. Taking a life is a final definitive action from where there is no corrective action.

Therefore the taking of a life must be held to a higher standard.

One of the things that has always stood out for me in both the conceal carry classes, at the gun shows and with the gun advocates is that there is always a certain group of individuals who portray a sense of what I refer to as “hero syndrome” or a “not in my faceattitude. This is dangerous.

As a society we have accepted the fact that we pay for and accept law enforcement and the judiciary as the arbitrator of disagreements and determining what laws may have been broken. As such, we, as civilians have no right to act in the capacity of law enforcement unless and only if a human life is in immediate danger, or our own personal property needs to be defended. Defending our personal property means defending our own property from theft and not acting as a vigilante, or self-professed community watch dog protecting others’ property.

I have been the victim of theft and home invasion and I know how frustrating it is to know that what you have worked hard for is now lost to someone that decided to help themselves. I also know the rage of knowing that someone invaded your home without your permission.

But I also know what it is to be questioned by someone under the color of the law just because you fit a profile that someone has determined is conducive to criminal activity. Therefore I fully defend the right to walk and be in a public place without the permission or authority of someone else. And just like I would refuse to answer a policeman’s question about why I am at a certain location when I know full well he has no probable cause to assume wrongdoing by me; I would most definitely refuse to answer questions from a self-proclaimed community watch dog just because I’m walking on a street he has determined I do not belong on.

And this exactly why it was imperative that George Zimmerman be tried by the system he was subject to by virtue of his membership in the same society that allowed him to carry a concealed weapon. Many advocates of “stand your ground” and gun ownership would have us believe that Zimmerman was just defending himself from aggression there is just as many race activists that have turned this into a white versus black example of what’s wrong with society. There are also countless others with their own theories of what transpired that night.

And just as everyone else I have my own theories as to what may have happened. But a theory is not sufficient to answer the question of whether someone needed to lose their life that night.

And this is why the George Zimmerman trial needed to happen.

Regardless of the jury’s decision, the pundits will continue to argue what could have been or what was, but all of the arguments will be driven by self-serving positions on the debate of guns and race in the United States.

The jury may have spoken but the truth will never be known. That is unfortunate because each side will argue ad nauseam to protect their own special interests.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...