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Long IslandColumnists

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?



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

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