Part I: The Verdict
I was listening to the radio last night (Monday, July 15th). It was 2 days after the George Zimmerman verdict was handed down and the talk radio host decided to devote the show to people who wanted to express their opinions on it. A man called in. He recanted something he had heard, I believe, on the Glen Beck Show. An African-American professional basketball player had called in and said he didn’t understand the Zimmerman verdict. He said “a black boy is dead and what am I supposed to tell my kids about that?” The caller himself wanted to know what the black community should tell their children.
The talk radio show host answered like this: “Tell the kids the truth. Tell them the truth as the jury saw it. Tell them the facts, as the jury heard them.”
And what are the facts and the truth?
The truth is that both George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin had a right to be where they were that night, February 26, 2012 at the Retreat of Twin Lakes gated community in Sanford, Florida. Both had a right to do what they were doing, up until the final encounter which was the assault on George Zimmerman and the shooting of Trayvon Martin.
Trayvon Martin, who was visiting his father (who was staying with his girlfriend at a townhouse in the gated community), had a right to be walking where he was. He had a right to be concerned when he noticed George Zimmerman following him. Trayvon Martin was staying with his father after being put on a 10-day suspension from school for possession of marijuana.
George Zimmerman, as the captain of his development’s Community Watch, had a right to follow Trayvon (both in his truck and then by foot), to observe him, and to call the non-emergency number to report him.
On that evening (it was raining), Zimmerman got in his car and was going to Target to do some food shopping. He was driving through the community when he noticed Trayvon “acting suspiciously,” as he would later tell the non-emergency police dispatcher. Zimmerman didn’t recognize Trayvon as being from the community. Trayvon was in a dark hoodie and standing on the front lawn of a neighbor’s house with his gaze towards the house. Zimmerman wondered why, in the rain, he would just stand there and appear to check out the house. At that point, he considered that Trayvon might be “up to no good.” So he continued along in the community until he came to the Club House where he stopped to make the phone call to the non-emergency police. When the dispatcher asked him to report what Trayvon was doing now, Zimmerman looked down the street and observed him acting erratically and cutting through houses.
According to testimony given at the police station, after Trayvon disappeared behind some houses, he emerged and circled Zimmerman’s truck. Zimmerman was in the truck at the time. Then Trayvon disappeared behind the houses. At that point, Zimmerman was convinced that a policeman was needed at the scene to check things out. He got out of the truck, he said, to go look for an exact street address to give police so that a car could quietly come in and park behind his truck to observe Trayvon’s conduct. The dispatcher then told him “We don’t need you to follow him any more,” but then asked if he still wanted a police to be sent to the scene, to which Zimmerman replied in the affirmative. He asked again that the police meet him quietly at his truck. Instead of going back to his truck at that point, he proceeded to walk to get the address he had promised the dispatcher, which he got and reported. He then turned around and was headed back to his truck when he was confronted by Trayvon who jumped out from behind some bushes.
Trayvon asked Zimmerman if he had a problem, to which he answered “No, I have no problem.” Trayvon then answered: “You got a problem now.” Zimmerman said that he was going to reach in his back pocket for his cell phone but Trayvon immediately punched him so hard in the face that it broke his nose. Blood was everywhere. Then Trayvon knocked Zimmerman to the concrete sidewalk and started banging his head against it. He repeatedly said: “I’m going to kill you.” Zimmerman said he tried as best he could to inch his way off the concrete and onto the lawn so that his head would hit grass and not concrete, but everytime he tried to sit up and inch his way, Trayvon would smash his head back down on the concrete. While he was hitting his head, Trayvon was also continuing to punch him in the face and about the head. Zimmerman was screaming for help. Trayvon then started putting his hands and his entire weight on Zimmerman’s nose and mouth, most likely to shut him up. To George, it felt like suffocation. The bottom line was that he was being prevented from breathing. Trayvon said: “You are going to die tonight.” George Zimmerman said the pain was intolerable, especially when Trayvon put his body weight down on his broken nose. The blood going in his mouth and in his nose, together with the fact that he was starting to feel like he was losing consciousness from having his head smashed repeatedly against the concrete, made him feel he would actually lose his life. He was sure he was going to lose consciousness and not wake up. He then reached for his gun. Trayvon saw the gun and went for it too.
We all know what happened. George got the gun and Trayvon was shot through the lungs. The bullet lodged in his heart. The autopsy confirms this account of the assault. The autopsy also showed that Trayvon had marijuana in his system. The belief is that at some point along his walk from the 7-11 (where video showed him meeting with some friends) and into the gated community (25 minutes or so), he smoked some pot.
Again, each had a right to be where they were that night and do what they were doing… up until the deadly assault.
The problem was that neither knew one another. The truth is that if either had known who each other was, the incident would never have happened. If Zimmerman knew that Trayvon was staying in the community with his father’s girlfriend, was simply taking a short cut on his way back to the townhouse, and had no evil intent, he would have continued on his way to Target. If Trayvon knew Zimmerman was the acting as the Community Watch captain, he would have understood why he was following him and observing him and he could either have: (i) simply continued on his way home, or (ii) yelled to him that he is visiting someone in the development.
But Trayvon didn’t continue home, as he should have. He circled back, and even noticing that Zimmerman had turned around and was heading back to his truck (hence was retreating and posed no threat), still felt the need to assault him, violently. Apparently, Trayvon knew Zimmerman had been in contact with police and perhaps then, he should have known or been tipped off that he was some type of community watch person. At the very least, he should have sensed there was a misunderstanding. He should have also understood that the police might have already been alerted to come to the community and he should have simply waited for them, at which point he could have reported Zimmerman for “harassment.”
Can we really know exactly what happened to precipitate the shooting? Do we really know the series of events? We only know what Zimmerman reported to the police when he was taken into custody. But we do know that the autopsy and the recording to police that night at the scene (except for some gaps) all corroborate Zimmerman’s account. Do we believe the beating was sufficient to make him fear for his life and thus substantiate a “self-defense” defense? (and hence a justifiable killing). The threshold of proof is not an “objective” one (which means that others must conclude he feared for his life) but rather a “subjective” one (which means that it is sufficient that George himself feared for his life). Zimmerman did not set out to kill Trayvon. He did not have that intent (mens rea), He did not maliciously target him. Under the “totality of the circumstances,” including the recent history of all the break-ins, Zimmerman did not act improperly. He did not “invite the assault” that put him in the situation to defend his life and take Trayvon’s. The law simply was on George Zimmerman’s side. And the jury recognized that. They were indeed instructed as to the applicable law and how to apply it to the facts.
And that’s the reason the talk radio host said what he said to the caller: “Tell them the truth, as the jury saw it.”
This case wasn’t about race. The jury reached that conclusion. An independent FBI investigation also reached that conclusion. And race should have never been interjected to heighten passions and inflame racial wounds that made it nearly impossible for this case to be tried based on the series of events that led to Trayvon’s death, which was the deadly assault that was initiated by Trayvon himself when no direct threat to his life was posed. Trayvon Martin put George Zimmerman in the situation where he had to consider self-defense, even though violence was nowhere on Zimmerman’s mind when he set out to simply report Trayvon’s conduct to police. This case was about a kid using violence to make a point.
Zimmerman is only guilty of taking his role as Community Watch captain seriously and following someone who he believed was acting suspiciously until he was able to get a police officer to the location. He did not do anything except follow and observe. He did not confront or initiate an altercation. Trayvon is the one who initiated the violent altercation. Did marijuana play any part in his decision to confront Zimmerman, threaten his life, and then beat him mercilessly?
So again, this was not a case where a white man stalked and profiled a black person and treated him any differently because of his color, although the DOJ and the media certainly went out of their way to make it appear that way. Labeling George Zimmerman as “white” because he is half hispanic and half white (even though he has always maintained that he “identifies” as being Hispanic) would require us to also label President Obama as “white” because he is half white and half black.
The real reason this scenario played out is the increase in violence we suffer in our quiet residential communities. Violence, burglaries, and gang violence threatens the safety and sanctity of our homes. It puts the safety of women and children, our most vulnerable members of society, at risk. It is the reason Community Watch groups had to form in the first place. It was police departments who encourage and help communities set these groups up because they know that mere minutes and seconds can mean a life and that diligence and surveillance can prevent crimes. Police departments know that they don’t have the resources to patrol neighborhoods as judiciously as citizens would like. And that brings us to why would Zimmerman take his role as Community Watch captain seriously. There had been a rash of break-ins in the community by gang members who just happened to be dressed the very same way as Trayvon was dressed that night – in dark hoodies. Most recently, a woman and her children were home alone when gang members broke into the house. Zimmerman promised his wife that he see to it that she would never be threatened like that.
The real racial element of this case, if there is one, is the racial element posed by the gang violence that threatened residents of the gated community in Sanford, Florida. Law enforcement agencies across the county report that gangs are comprised of a greater percentage of Hispanic/Latino and African-American/black members compared with other race/ethnicities. The most recent figures provided by law enforcement show that 46% of gang members are Hispanic/Latino, 35% are African-American/black, 11% are white, and 7% represent other ethnic groups. And gang membership/ gang violence is on the rise.
I just want to throw this out. Eve Carson was a brilliant white honors student at Chapel Hill who was kidnapped from the house she was living in (in the middle of the night) by 2 black juveniles and shot in the head, execution style, after she fulfilled her purpose… giving them her ATM card and withdrawing cash from her account. There was no reason for those 2 juveniles to be in that community, except to perpetrate a crime. They went out that evening with evil intent. Racial profiling, of course, was part of their plan. They had a history of such conduct. The white community mourned such a senseless killing, such a targeted killing… the loss of such a promising young life. The outpouring of shared grief was overwhelming. And even as the white community watched as prosecutors tried to spare one of the killers for being a juvenile (which felt like a huge insult), they respected the justice system. I know we can’t truly compare the cases since the killers of Eve Carson were found guilty (but spared the death sentence, per a direct request from the Carson family).
Like the Eve Carson, Trayvon Martin lost his life too young. It was senseless and a tragedy. It didn’t have to happen. We know George Zimmerman wishes it didn’t happen. We know he is remorseful and has to live the rest of his life knowing that he took the life of a young teen. The death of someone so young touches all of us in a particularly profound way and our natural reaction is to blame the other person. It’s hard to imagine that such a young individual can bear some responsibility for the tragedy. But we have to respect that the laws in the case are applied properly and applied fairly, as they were intended when they were enacted. And we have to try to resist the temptation to see racial animus where none exists otherwise racial tension will continue and trust never builds.
Part II: Post-Verdict
On Friday, July 19, President Obama offered some heartfelt remarks on what it’s like to be a black youth in America. He didn’t question the jury’s verdict, but he spoke in unusually personal terms about the history and experiences that shape the way African-Americans, in particular, see cases like the present one. He spoke about what it’s like to be a black male in the United States and how it likely affected or influenced how they viewed the events of that fateful night in Sanford, Florida. I give the president a lot of credit for speaking so candidly and so personally on the topic because the last time he decided to weigh in, he did so prematurely and without knowing the facts (or reporting them fairly), and he was criticized for it. In this country, we like to give the accused the benefit of the doubt and assume he is innocent until proven guilty (unless, of course, there is a confession or incontrovertible proof of guilt). We try to avoid a rush-to-judgment. Unfortunately, on the two occasions that President Obama offered an opinion, he assisted in exacerbating racial tensions and presenting to the county a skewed version of what really happened.
In 2009, he caught heat when he criticized the Cambridge police for arresting an African-American Harvard professor named Henry Louis Gates. He assumed, and led the country to assume, that the Cambridge police engaged in stereotyping and racial profiling when they arrested professor Gates. After commenting that the Cambridge police “acted improperly,” President Obama reminded the nation that African-Americans and Hispanics in the United States have long been familiar with racial profiling by law enforcement. “There’s a long history in this country of African-Americans being stopped disproportionately by the police,” Mr. Obama said. “It’s a sign of how race remains a factor in this society.” What happened was this: A police officer responded to a call that there was a “potential burglary in progress” (A woman noticed that 2 men were trying to pry open the lock. There was no mention of race on the call). When the officer found Professor Gates trying to jimmy open the lock to his house (the taxi driver, I believe was helping him), he asked him to step back and provide ID, which was the routine protocol for such a situation. Professor Gates responded with racial insults (all caught on police radio transmission) and was then arrested for disorderly conduct. But President Obama turned it into an improper racial profiling case, and the police were the “bad guys” in the incident. Empowered by the president’s remarks, professor Gates demanded an apology by the Cambridge police and wanted the officer reprimanded. The chief of police, however, remained steadfast in his support of the officer and how he responded to the incident.
Even President Obama’s observation last March that if he had a son, he’d look like Trayvon Martin, prompted objections from some, like Abigail Thernstrom, a conservative scholar who sits on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. She admonished: “I don’t think the racial climate in this country is helped when the president wades into what are always turbulent, racial waters and stirs things up, which is what he did.”
And so with the backlash from these incidents, it is with courage that the President took to the podium to speak from the heart. These are the words he offered:
“The judge conducted the trial in a professional manner. The prosecution and the defense made their arguments. The juries were properly instructed that in a — in a case such as this, reasonable doubt was relevant, and they rendered a verdict. And once the jury’s spoken, that’s how our system works.
But I did want to just talk a little bit about context and how people have responded to it and how people are feeling. You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.
And when you think about why, in the African- American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African- American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that — that doesn’t go away. There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me.
And there are very few African-American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me, at least before I was a senator. There are very few African-Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.
And you know, I don’t want to exaggerate this, but those sets of experiences inform how the African-American community interprets what happened one night in Florida. And it’s inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear.
The African-American community is also knowledgeable that there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws, everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws. And that ends up having an impact in terms of how people interpret the case.
Now, this isn’t to say that the African-American community is naive about the fact that African-American young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system, that they are disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence. It’s not to make excuses for that fact, although black folks do interpret the reasons for that in a historical context.
We understand that some of the violence that takes place in poor black neighborhoods around the country is born out of a very violent past in this country, and that the poverty and dysfunction that we see in those communities can be traced to a very difficult history.
And so the fact that sometimes that’s unacknowledged adds to the frustration. And the fact that a lot of African-American boys are painted with a broad brush and the excuse is given, well, there are these statistics out there that show that African-American boys are more violent — using that as an excuse to then see sons treated differently causes pain.
I think the African-American community is also not naive in understanding that statistically somebody like Trayvon Martin was probably statistically more likely to be shot by a peer than he was by somebody else.
So — so folks understand the challenges that exist for African- American boys, but they get frustrated, I think, if they feel that there’s no context for it or — and that context is being denied.
And — and that all contributes, I think, to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, that, from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different.
A dialogue on race necessarily involves other perspectives. The following incident was told to me by someone I know well, who goes to the same church as my family, and who is one of the most decent, loving individuals I know. I am recounting it as best as I remember it.
One day, this woman had some children over her house for a play date with her own girls. It was getting late and the kids were hungry and asked for pizza. So she went out to order a pizza. She said she went to a Dominos (I think) and as she was looking in her purse for the coupon she brought with her, she happened to notice that the place was empty, except for the employees inside. There was a car at the very end of the parking area with 2 or 3 teens (young adults) in it, which she noticed were all African-American. They weren’t doing anything except watching what was going on inside the pizza place and watching her. It didn’t make sense why they parked off in a particularly darker part of the parking lot instead of parking in front of the door and front display since they could have had their choice of any parking spot. Except for the Dominos, the area was very dark. She said she sat in her car for awhile, over 15 minutes, catching up on a few phone calls and then making a call to her house to talk to her children and ask what kind of pizza, drinks, etc they wanted. When she noticed that the teens in the car at the far end of the parking area were still sitting there and not going inside to pick up a pizza, she said she got nervous, left the Dominos, and decided to go elsewhere for fast food. The only thought in her mind at that moment was the rash of violent crimes that had struck the establishments along that very road in the past months, all perpetrated by African-Americans. She had seen the news and had read the papers. Crime, in the area, she noted, had a color. The next part of the story, I remember very clearly. She said she couldn’t immediately go anywhere else for food for the kids because she felt sick to her stomach for what she did. She pulled over and started crying. She knew she had judged those teens, most likely incorrectly, and wondered if, out of her own heightened sense of security and fear of being harmed, she made a horrible judgment call which called into question her own character. The tears flowed because she had grown up in a house that taught inclusion and color-blindedness and because her friendships and associations were built on important things like shared interests, mutual respect, religious fellowship, and compatible personalities. Race was never a filter. Yet she left the Dominos because, all said and done, the teens were African-American. They fit a profile…. a profile that was directly linked to crime.
She said she hated herself for what she did and had never told anyone about it because of the shame she felt.
When I heard President Obama speak candidly about what goes through the mind of an African-American, I remembered what this woman had confided in me. From what I gather, she is not the only person to have such thoughts. And what I also gather is that when I hear people, often white people, confess that they’ve had such thoughts, they feel terrible about it, believe it has nothing to what’s in their hearts, and are angry that societal factors forced them to have them.
No one talks about what goes through the mind of a white person, except when it is insinuated that it involves some racial bias. White people can’t speak candidly because whatever they say on such a topic is automatically labeled as racist or twisted to sound racist. And so no one speaks up.
The reason the lady left the Dominos parking lot was because she was looking out for her own safety. She looked at the situation – the darkness of the area, the time of night, the position of the car (which didn’t make sense to her), and the length of time the teens were sitting in the car – and compared it to the rash of crime in the area. She made a judgment call, in order to err on the side of safety. She left, yes, but it offended her conscience. She didn’t leave the scene because she is a racist or because she thinks African-Americans are any different than she is. She left because of crime statistics. Her heart was right and has always been right. This woman was torn between doing what was right and doing what was also right… looking out for her safety and not judging a person either wholly or in part because of color. Unfortunately, with crime running so rampant in our communities, everyone has to take some responsibility to be proactive when it comes to safety.
The woman indeed had every right to look out for her own safety. There should be no pressure in our society to sacrifice one’s right to be safe and to err on the side of safety for the sake of outwardly showing tolerance. And people shouldn’t be judged for putting safety before tolerance. What right-minded person wouldn’t want themselves and their families to be safe and not subject to violent crime?
Sometimes a white woman clutches her bag or doesn’t go into a convenience store late at night in certain areas or avoids certain parts of town not because she is a racist but because she has been bombarded with statistics that suggest she might not be safe. That white woman would clutch her bag if she encountered anyone – regardless of color – that was dressed like a thug or carried themselves as a thug. She would just as soon clutch her bag if a white boy came across as a troublemaker.
Sometimes men volunteer for their neighborhood’s Community Watch because they want to help make sure their wives and children aren’t a victim of crime. They want their families to feel safe, which is everyone’s natural right. In a Community Watch program, part of that responsibility is making sure that a person who doesn’t belong in that community is not there for no good, which means the first responsibility is to determine who belongs and then to keep an eye on the intruder.
Without a doubt, the Trayvon Martin case has initiated a national dialogue on race relations. The hope is that all said and done, we see there is no real racial animus in our country. We hope that other factors – neutral factors – are the reasons we have the type of tension that President Obama referred to. We can address the issues that bring unnecessary attention to race, but true racism (prejudice or discrimination directed against someone of a different race simply because of a diminished opinion of that race) is much harder to fix. It’s something most of us can’t understand because we’ve grown up learning about slavery and the horrible and unjust policies of discrimination, Jim Crow, and segregation and we know that it took almost 100 years to fix darkened hearts. We know that color and ethnicity doesn’t change what’s inside all of us and our hope is that racial animus is finally a part of our nation’s past.
With that in mind, I read a commentary on race which mocks the potential such a dialogue can result in. Sally Zelikovsky wrote the following in American Thinker this week:
“When I awoke this morning and looked at myself in the mirror, I realized that I had undergone a fundamental transformation. I was no longer myself. I had become…. a racist. I didn’t do it to myself. I’ve always been sensitive to race. I don’t support racism or racists. I’ve never considered myself racist and don’t think others would consider me a racist. How could I be one now? I never enslaved anyone, prevented them from working or voting or living in my neighborhood or joining my clubs. I don’t think there was any proof that George Zimmerman did either.
But now I know if I ever cross or injure a black person — no matter how justified my actions might be — there is a presumption that I am a racist.
I don’t like it at all. It isn’t true. But here I am, non-racist me trapped inside this new racist body I’ve been assigned. My actions and beliefs are irrelevant. Society has decreed this is who I am. Like alien pods taking control over our slumbering bodies, unstoppable forces have gradually been redirecting our programming as a society so that any time a minority is harmed or disliked by a white person, the precipitating cause of the harm or dislike is ipso facto racism.
After the Zimmerman verdict, many white people woke up just like me, realizing that we will be deemed haters whenever we interact with non-whites and something goes wrong — no matter what our motivation or innermost thoughts are. Most of us didn’t grow up this way. Quite the opposite. I was taught never to hate and only to judge people by their actions and not by their color, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. Didn’t Martin Luther King say we should judge a man by “the content of his character, not by his color of his skin”?
Use of racism to implement an agenda or get one’s way, has been building over years. This isn’t news to any of you. Anytime you fire someone who is a minority, you must have documentation backing up your non-racist justifications. Even if you have pages and testimony to bolster your decision, you still could be confronted with an unpleasant lawsuit identifying you as a ‘discriminator.’
Even though we are supposed to be a color-blind, post-racial society, groups and individuals force us to think about race all the time. We have become a hyper-racial society. Furthermore, since very few of us want to be labeled with anything as odious as ‘racist,’ we will do anything – including keeping incompetents in our employ – to avoid the moniker. Nevertheless, as careful as many whites are to avoid doing anything that would saddle us with such epithets, time and time again it is thrust upon us with the goal of serving someone else’s purpose – regardless how we actually conduct ourselves.
If you don’t like your black neighbor because you have a personality clash, you are a racist.
If you complain about a black clerk in a store because she wasn’t helpful, you are a racist.
If you oppose affirmative action, you are a racist.
If you disagree with a black President’s ideology and disapprove of his policies, you most definitely are a racist.
If you were a juror in the Trayvon Martin case and found George Zimmerman not guilty, you must be a racist. Heck, the entire system that acquitted Zimmerman must be racist. Those shots were fired not out of self-defense but because of racism. And we know that for a fact, because Trayvon was black and Zimmerman white.
Whether or not he did or did not provoke the confrontation with Trayvon, the wimpy George Zimmerman’s last thoughts must have been ‘I’m going to kill a black man because I don’t like blacks’ as opposed to ‘This guy is bashing my head in and I better do something before I lose consciousness.’
In trials like this – where you have one-on-one action with little else to go on – and you want to prove racism, you are either forced to: (1) look at surrounding evidence, statements and circumstances and try to re-construct what you think the state of mind or intent of the accused was, or (2) intuit what the accused was thinking, in other words, jump into his mind and make the leap from assumption to assumption. While there was a credible eye witness who saw Trayvon beating up Zimmerman, if hate is to be the crime on trial, then we are compelled to examine the thoughts of the perpetrator and the victim, even though we have no way of ever knowing what they really were. Until we can read someone’s thoughts as if they were files on a computer, we are treading into dangerous territory.
These are the kind of cases that try men’s souls. For lawyers, judges and jurors, they are the hardest to prove, preside over and cast a verdict on. Because we are a system that errs on the side of innocence, requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt and lays that burden on the accuser, these cases usually don’t result in warm comfort for anyone – especially the family of either the accused or the victim. No one really wins; everyone feels like they lost; the victim’s family doesn’t get closure; the accused can never live in peace in a hyper-racial society; and the public is unsettled because any one of us, at any time, of any color, could be either Trayvon Martin or George Zimmerman.
On top of all this, some in the public – MSNBC, loonies on the left, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and the minions they have summoned to protest – want us to further restrict the self-defense laws that protect all of us in these situations. This means it would be even harder for you to shoot an intruder or rapist or pedophile when protecting yourself or your family. This means people will hesitate before coming to the aid of a neighbor or being a Good Samaritan. This means when someone robs your store at gunpoint, you have to succumb to injury or death. This means when your daughter or son is raped, they must yield and never fight back because self-defense will no longer be available to them. This would be a return to the lawlessness of the Wild West where anything goes and your only justice is revenge. Call it feudal, barbaric, mob rule or lawlessness: either way, it is the unraveling of the criminal justice system in America and a giant step back for mankind.
Do we really want to throw the self-defense baby out with the racism bathwater?
Most of these cases are admittedly hard to prove — that’s why our system errs on the side of innocence. It’s better to let a guilty man go free than incarcerate an innocent one. If you were the accused, believe me, this would be your mantra. I wonder if the race industry has any idea what they are clamoring for by restricting the claim of self-defense. Black-on-black crime is the overwhelming source of crime against blacks in America. If the Zimmerman protesters have their way and a black intruder breaks into the home of a black family and is shot dead by the homeowner, the homeowner will more likely be the criminal on trial than the perp, as we have seen in the Ron Dixon case in Brooklyn, where a Jamaican family man killed an intruder (whose race isn’t clear in the reports) and was shockingly sentenced to jail for illegally possessing a gun. We will be cutting off our self-defense noses to spite our racial anger faces. This all stems from intense vitriol for past sins most of us had nothing to do with and would never condone. The sins of America’s past are being visited upon America’s present and future regardless of the sensibility of doing so. My heart breaks that slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, the KKK, lynching, and discrimination ever existed. Every reasonable human being feels this way. But this continued pay back has to stop.
Is this the future we have to look forward to? Where every move we make has to be weighed against the ethnicity, race, religion or sexual orientation of the other guy?
To add more fuel to the fire, pundits like MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell reported that one of the six Zimmerman jurors seems to be pulling back on her decision now that she’s been out of sequestration and has been exposed to the uproar over this case. If she hadn’t been sequestered, she might have rendered a very different verdict. But this is precisely why we sequester juries. The public often acts emotionally, irrationally and like a mob — motivated and reacting to concerns and agendas that go beyond justice and fairness. We intentionally sequester juries so they are not influenced by the mob but, rather, render a verdict based on the facts and evidence presented at trial, following a system of laws that are equally applied to us all, creating reliability and consistency in outcomes.
As we are forced to introduce race into the verdict calculation, I wonder if the black men who said “This is for Trayvon” and beat up a white jogger, will be charged and prosecuted for a hate crime and be tarred as racists in the press and court of public opinion? How will the Sharpton minions insist on treating the black man who pounded a white woman in the face when, confronted with a mob of protesters, she rolled down her window to ask them to let her car pass as they needed to get her granddaughter to the hospital?
I understand that I am a racist. But, aren’t we all racists now?
Again, the Trayvon Martin case has initiated a national dialogue on race relations. The hope is that it will be a productive one and not one that causes more mistrust or hard feelings on all sides. No one is saying that instances of racism don’t exist. They exist and we know that. We also know, more clearly than ever, that they exist now on both sides.
As long as we continue to interject race into everything, we further emphasize our differences. We continue to emphasize that our differences as more important than what we share in common. How do we teach our children that we are all the same when society stresses just the opposite? I began the article with a question that was asked by a professional basketball player: “What am I supposed to tell my children?” Aren’t we all being burdened unnecessarily with finding a way to discuss race with our children? I thought my generation grew up colorblind. Everyone I know did.
So, we know what goes through the mind and burdens the heart of African-Americans in this country. And hopefully, we can also appreciate what goes through the mind and burdens the heart of non-African-Americans. The problem is the crime we suffer in our communities. And we have to look at those who are more prone to violence and find out how to stop it so that it in order for citizens to protect themselves against it, they don’t have to violate the civil rights of those who are abiding the law or be accused of intentionally doing so. And in return, having their own civil rights violated.
Zimmerman- Trayvon Interactive Map – http://www.hlntv.com/interactive/2013/06/17/zimmerman-trayvon-map-interactive
“National Youth Gang Survey Analysis: Demographics,” National Gang Center – http://www.nationalgangcenter.gov/Survey-Analysis/Demographics
Scott Horsley, “Obama Breaks His Silence on the Trayvon Martin Verdict,” NPR, July 20, 2013.
Referenced at: http://www.npr.org/2013/07/20/203816155/obama-breaks-his-silence-on-trayvon-martin-verdict
Transcript, President Obama’s remarks on Race and on the Trayvon Martin Verdict, Friday, July 19 — http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/president-obamas-remarks-on-trayvon-martin-full-transcript/2013/07/19/5e33ebea-f09a-11e2-a1f9-ea873b7e0424_story.html
Sally Zelikovsky, “Birth of a Racist,” American Thinker, July 20, 2013. Referenced at:http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/07/birth_of_a_racist.html