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July 14, 2013

Obama calls for "reflection" in wake of Zimmerman acquittal

In a statement Sunday, President Barack Obama called on every American to undergo a period of "calm reflection" after neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman was found not guilty Saturday for killing Trayvon Martin in February 2012.

"The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy. Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America," Obama wrote. "I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken. I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son."

The death of the black teenage death captured national attention last year and throughout the trial outside of Orlando. It even evoked an emotional statement from Obama, a father of two daughters who once said if he had a son that the boy would look like Martin.

Obama, who unsuccessfully pushed for a series of gun control measures this year after an elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., questioned again whether the United States and its residents are doing all they can to prevent more deaths.

"We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities," Obama wrote.  "We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis. We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this. As citizens, that’s a job for all of us. That’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin."


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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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