Zimmerman juror: He may have been overzealous but his heart was in the right place

An historical document from last night’s “Anderson Cooper.” Skip to 21:00 if you want to hear her describe the initial jury split (three for not guilty, two for manslaughter, one for second-degree murder), but I recommend starting no later than 10:00 in if you’re pressed for time in order to hear her take on Zimmerman himself. The only way the state was going to pinch him on second-degree murder was to convince the jury that he was a racist monster spoiling for a fight — the media version of Zimmerman, in other words. They failed completely. She says she thought his heart was in the right place in conducting neighborhood watch, even if he shouldn’t have gotten out of his car to pursue Martin, and goes on to say at 19:00 that she might be okay even now with him conducting neighborhood watch in her area. Quote: “I think he’s learned a good lesson.” When Cooper presses her by asking if she’s comfortable with him carrying a gun again, not only does she say yes, she adds, “I think he’d be more responsible than anybody else on this planet right now.” Zimmerman’s own parents couldn’t endorse his basic character any more robustly than that. Many commentators, including William Saletan in the piece Ed spotlighted this morning, have noted that the jury’s verdict doesn’t necessarily mean that they thought Zimmerman was innocent, only that he wasn’t guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of murder or manslaughter given the particularities of Florida’s self-defense law. After watching this, I don’t know. This juror, at least, seems to have wholly accepted the defense’s version of him as entirely guileless, if a bit overzealous, in wanting to protect his community. It’s a total victory for the defense. But then, as she says, she was disposed to find him not guilty from the get go. The three jurors who disagreed initially might differ.

She was planning to write a book but has now decided against it, partly, it seems, because she underestimated how much attention the trial’s gotten (and how dangerous it is for anyone who contributed to Zimmerman’s acquittal) and partly because the publisher was already getting flack for it from social media. She’s better off lying low.