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George Zimmerman verdict wasn't about race

I know first hand that racism still exists in America, but I keep wondering why so many presume it was the key factor in the Zimmerman-Martin tragedy or the jury's decision ("For white Americans, it's time to listen," July 21).

Those who weren't in the courtroom didn't hear 50-some witnesses, didn't see the photos, weren't privy to 16 hours of deliberation. Few outraged by the jury's decision seem to care how plagued with crime the neighborhood was, nor do they seem to care about Trayvon Martin's character. To me, those factors seem as relevant as any other.

Police were called to The Retreat at Twin Lakes more than 400 times in 13 months. And, as one commenter put it, "Trayvon was in his father's custody because he was kicked out of school and his mother could not manage his behavior and actions. His father went to dinner leaving Trayvon to his own devices and stash. Who is really responsible for Trayvon's death?" Incompetent parenting is as great a problem in this country as racism. Why are bachelor's and master's degrees required of our teachers while no training or standards are required of parents?

Whatever Trayvon's character or culpability, the divorced mother and father seem to admit no responsibility. Nor do many of those presuming racism mention Florida's dangerous "stand your ground" law, which made it difficult, if not impossible, for the jury to find George Zimmerman guilty. Even the police warned it was a bad law.

Yes, discussion of race relations in America is relevant and appropriate, but the "guilty-until-proven-innocent" attitude toward Mr. Zimmerman and the jury needs to end.

Paul Totaro, Baltimore

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