Around the national campfire once more

George Zimmerman, right, speaks with his defense counsel

George Zimmerman, right, speaks with his defense counsel Don West, left, as they wait for the jury to return from deliberations in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Florida. (July 13, 2013) (Credit: Getty Images)

We don't have a campfire big enough for everyone to sit around. That's why we have trials on TV.

Our lives all are so splintered now. We listen to different music, watch different channels and laugh at different jokes. We have our own ideas about the meaning of justice.

Then a football star stabs his wife or a crazy woman shoots her husband or an armed civilian-patrol captain in a Florida gated community believes he's suddenly spotted a highly suspicious teen. By the time the smoke has cleared and the body carted off, you know a nation will be gathering for another shared experience.

Assessing the talents of the lawyers.

Weighing obscure rules of evidence.

Debating the role, if any, that race plays.

Learning the details of some far-off human drama, even learning a little about ourselves.

So George Zimmerman walks. Trayvon Martin gets consigned to some eternal restlessness. The jurors have spoken. They are boss.

We're all around this campfire still, glaring glumly at each other, sharing something -- but what?

 

BY ANY NAME

1. Violent vigilante

2. Armed hot-head

3. Trigger-happy square badge

4. Jumpy wannabe

5. Innocent victim of phone-talking, Skittles-eating, homicidal, unarmed teen

ASKED AND UNANSWERED: Does the Port Washington Police District really need an up-armored Humvee and a deuce-and-a-half troop-transport truck? Or was it more a matter of Asset Recovery dollars being available for battlefield gear? . . . Who's the Billy Crystal look-alike in that post-Sandy commercial for Long Beach? Really? The Long Beach funnyman himself? . . . Miss the North Shore helicopter noise? With the FAA rejecting the chopper-pilots' appeal, you'll just have to buy a boat now. . . . Was this the proof that it's finally safe to reopen Jack Abrams School, three years after gang violence shut the doors? The Huntington Board of Education met there -- at night . . . Need more evidence they don't make 'em like they used to? Off Gardiners Island, the Suffolk Bomb Squad just detonated a leftover explosive device from WWII . . . Was the SBA being stingy or just prudent by turning down 766 of LI's 2,222 applications for Sandy-disaster business loans? . . . Is it time to sell or time to buy? With Nassau and Suffolk home sales up 14.5 percent June to June, local real estate agents say it's both, as if they get commissions or something . . . New Hyde Park insurance agent Rich "Big Daddy" Salgado raised how much for North Shore-LIJ's Brain Aneurysm Center and the Long Island Children's Museum at his Big Daddy Celebrity Golf Classic? $1.1 million this year? Yes, that's big . . . Am I the last person to know the Coast Guard has a cutter named Long Island, homeported in Valdez, Alaska? Is it named for our Long Island? Perhaps the new commanding officer, Lt. Kalen Kenny, can explain.

THE NEWS IN SONG: Looking for trouble all over town: "Joey Ferrari," The Good Rats, http://tinyurl.com/joeyrat