In this week's edition of The Daily Banter Mail Bag, Bob, Ben and Chez discuss George Zimmerman in Miami, Covering the Protests in Kiev and Which Celeb We'd Like to Have Lunch With.
1. I saw that George Zimmerman was run out of Miami by a crowd of angry people who recognized him. I don't know how to feel about this. On the one hand I know he deserves it. But he was also found not guilty in court and I don't like it when people who don't like a verdict take matters into their own hands. What do you think?
Ben: As a human being, I don't like to see people needlessly abused or humiliated, regardless of what they have done. That doesn't mean I don't think Zimmerman isn't guilty (I've written so on many occasions) and that I think he shouldn't be punished. In my view, Zimmerman quite clearly murdered an unarmed teenager who was running away from him and he deserves to go to jail for what he did for a very long time. But the fact is, a court found him innocent, and he's a free man. I personally wouldn't want to be anywhere near him, but the onus is on me to leave, not him. So to answer your point, I hear where you are coming from.
Chez: Good question. Obviously the people who went after Zimmerman weren't breaking the law and they weren't taking his rights away. (They certainly weren't shooting him because they considered him a threat, although it could be argued they were "standing their ground.") But it's true that I also try to stand behind the verdicts of our courts only because when a decision is rendered that that I do happen to think is right and a lot of other people don't, I want to make sure people who weren't in that court -- like people on social media -- don't take action themselves. Sometimes verdicts suck and the system gets it wrong. I do think that's what happened in Zimmerman's case. I don't know -- admittedly it's hard to complain about him becoming a pariah since he does so richly deserve it.
Bob: He was found not guilty, but he absolutely killed Trayvon. I think the combination of those two things will make Zimmerman a pariah for the rest of his life, including when he eventually ends up on "Dancing With The Stars." I'm kidding about that last thing, but these are the consequences of gunning down an unarmed kid. I can't shed any tears for Zimmerman.
2. As a journalist, would you want to be on the ground in Kiev right now?
Chez: Hell no. I respect the ones who are there, though. It takes a certain kind of personality to truly WANT to walk into a war zone and it was one I never had.
Bob: Nope. I'm not that brave. I'm not even interested in visiting that part of the world -- in fact, mark me down as a "no" for visiting anywhere west of Japan or east of Greece.
Ben: If someone offered me the chance to go with another experienced reporter and a certain level of security, I'd go in a heartbeat. I'm not so sure about all out war zones (like Iraq 10 years ago), but I think I could handle reasonably low level political upheavals. I don't have kids at the moment, so I'm willing to take certain personal risks right now. That could change of course, and probably will.
3. If you could be good friends with any celebrity, who would you choose?
Bob: The president.
Chez: Easy. Clooney.
Ben: Probably Joe Rogan. I think we'd have a lot to talk about.