Last year's shooting death of unarmed Florida teen Trayvon Martin at the hands of self-appointed neighborhood-watch coordinator George Zimmerman set off an in-depth national conversation about race and justice — one that it would be easy to assume most Americans followed closely and formed opinions about.
Not so. At least not according to the Orlando Sentinel's account of the second day of jury selection in Zimmerman's second-degree-murder trial.
As Circuit Judge Debra Nelson and the attorneys in the case work to pick six jurors and four alternates, it's become clear that the facts behind what some call "the trial of the century" have barely registered with some Americans:
On Tuesday, jurors varied on their knowledge of the case: One woman said she'd just learned Zimmerman's name the day before and only heard about Trayvon's shooting at church …
Before lunch, the lawyers questioned potential juror B-61, a young white woman who says she watches Good Morning America and has seen the case in the news, but hasn't followed it.
"I know there was a shooting" and protesting, she said. B-61 added that she knows some people view the case as a racial issue, but she thinks the focus should be on whether laws were broken: "We have laws for a reason and that's how we should look at it." …
Before B-61, the attorneys questioned a young man identified as potential juror R-39, who said he doesn't closely follow the news or have an interest in this case.
During questioning, R-39 made several statements that suggested he couldn't be impartial in the case: For example, "murder is murder," he said, and can't be justified by self-defense …
Thanks to people's apparent ability to tune out or shrug off this major event, maybe getting an unbiased jury won't be that hard after all.
Read more at the Orlando Sentinel.