Former police officer Kimberly Potter's conviction on two counts of manslaughter in the death of Daunte Wright will strike some people as a miscarriage of justice. It is not. The jurors who deliberated 28 hours to decide Potter's guilt deserve respect, for this was a difficult, perplexing case.

From their opposing corners, attorneys for the state and the defense accused each other of trying to send the jury down rabbit holes of misdirection. The image was apt but simplistic, because the rabbit holes — which were numerous — seemed to double back on themselves. They led to questions more readily than to conclusions.

Were Potter's proficiency and years of service indicators of a responsible police officer, or markers of her drift toward negligence? The jury was left to sort out a circular argument: Potter obviously didn't mean to shoot Wright; she had mistaken her gun for her Taser; she had been trained, annually, not to make that very mistake; she went ahead and made it anyway — in effect, according to prosecutors, she chose to do the thing she didn't mean to do.

"She chose to draw the weapon on the right side of her duty belt," said prosecutor Erin Eldridge, referring to the Glock pistol that the former Brooklyn Center officer had worn there. "She chose to disregard her training and to disregard the cautions and the warnings and the risks."

Jurors heard testimony about the proper care and use of a Taser, as if a Taser had been used improperly, rather than not at all.

At times it seemed there were two different Potters on trial — the theoretical Potter and the actual one. The actual Potter fired a gun at the driver of a car whose engine was running, creating the hazard of an uncontrolled vehicle. The theoretical Potter had meant only to stun the driver, not wound or kill him.

Prosecutors pointed out that using a Taser in that situation would have created the same hazard, and that was a fair point. But it was a confusing one, because Potter wasn't on trial for what she intended to do.

The defense argued that Potter would have been justified in using the deadly force she had nevertheless decided not to use. The argument put the defense in the precarious position of arguing that Potter's judgment didn't matter — that what she did by mistake wouldn't have been a problem if she had done it on purpose.

"Everybody makes mistakes," defense attorney Earl Gray argued. "A mistake is not a crime." A mistake is also not a defense, replied the prosecutors. And sometimes, under certain conditions, a mistake does become a crime.

The danger of "weapon confusion," as such mistakes are known, was another two-way rabbit hole. Others have made the same error. Did that suggest it was an easy mistake to make? Or did the known risk of weapon confusion compound the gravity of making it?

A professor emeritus of law pointed out in a letter in Monday's Star Tribune that the simple expedient of a Taser design change could help reduce the likelihood of such accidents. "Why not make it in the shape of a baseball?" asked Joseph L. Daly, who taught at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. "Or something other than a gun?" Why, indeed?

Jurors had a chance to inspect Potter's Taser and gun, and to note the differences in weight, feel and color. The differences are considerable — yellow Taser instead of black Glock, less than 1 pound compared with more than 2. Even so, it's not hard to imagine that Potter's mind was more focused on the perceived danger in front of her than on the danger in her hand.

With the trial's conclusion on Thursday, the question mark hanging over Kimberly Potter's future is resolved, barring a successful appeal. We hope the jury's verdict brings some peace to Wright's family, and helps spur the search for Taser-type devices that don't look or feel like guns.