…and by down south, I mean Sanford Florida, which is south of me, about 10 minutes away. So the Trayvon Martin issue was a local news item several weeks before it became an international one. But the character of the tragedy has changed over time:
SANFORD, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) – Investigators with the Sanford Police Department are still trying to figure out exactly what happened during an altercation which resulted in a fatal shooting in the Twin Lakes area. The shooting happened just after 7 p.m. Sunday evening on Twin Trees Lane. A man who witnessed part of the altercation contacted authorities.
“The guy on the bottom, who had a red sweater on, was yelling to me, ‘Help! Help!’ and I told him to stop, and I was calling 911,” said the witness, who asked to be identified only by his first name, John.
John said he locked his patio door ran upstairs and heard at least one gun shot.
“And then, when I got upstairs and looked down, the guy who was on the top beating up the other guy, was the one laying in the grass, and I believe he was dead at that point.”
So in this eyewitness version, the attacker was the one who ended up dead, and Zimmerman was the one crying for help. That leads me to think there is ample reason for the police to at least take seriously a possible self defense angle and it makes sense that the police would investigate this thoroughly before either making an arrest or closing the case. But as far as the mass media is concerned, there has only ever been one issue in this case: race. Of course, this incident occurred almost a month ago. And apparently it’s not nearly as good a story as the one that the media decided to run with. The news coverage this week has had quite a different flavor. Over the top is more like it.
The big tent of this particular circus is MSNBC, (Leaning Leftward!). Today hosting on the Martin Bashir Show, Karen Finney, frequent MSNBC guest, went into what seemed to be a prepared monologue in which she blamed both Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich for the climate that lead to Trayvon’s death. Morning Joe’s Mika Brzezinski went out of her way to blame the shooting on Rush Limbaugh. Also on Thursday she stated that that if Zimmerman was bloodied and disheveled, he probably did it to himself. Great police work there Mika!
The entire coverage of this incident has resembled much more peasants lighting their torches and sharpening their pitchforks than actual coverage. Of course, there are motives. Hysteria is a good sell, but the racial issue warps our attention away from facts to make this issue only about race. For some on the MSNBC payroll, like Al Sharpton, racial rabble rousing is his career. Even though he is responsible for more dead bodies than George Zimmerman, Sharpton can be expected to ride this to even more influence.
The basic facts of the case don’t seem to make this a racial issue, but everyone wants it to be. However the basic facts no longer matter. Usually, the US has a fairly adequate, if by no means perfect, justice system. However when it comes to race, everything goes out the window. Race makes us lose our damn minds. That’s why Casey Anthony can get a fair trial and get acquitted (even though we all know she did it), but the police who beat Rodney King were given a second trial in violation of constitutional protections against double jeopardy to make sure the second trial gave the “right” verdict.
This isn’t an attempt to excuse Zimmerman. The minute he decided to follow Martin after the 911 dispatcher told him not to, he was in the wrong. The problem with police wannabes like Zimmerman is that they do tend to attract police attention one way or the other. Even if Martin later turned around and attacked Zimmerman for some unknown reason, the whole thing could have been avoided if Zimmerman had just sat in his car. He didn’t and now a teenage boy is dead.
It would be easy to get on the bandwagon and demand Zimmerman’s head on a pike. That is what all the cool kids are doing. However I’m perfectly content to see what the investigation uncovers. I’ve no desire to join the other villagers in burning down the windmill until we have more facts, instead of inaccurate ranting from MSNBC hosts. Ultimately though, it may not matter what facts are uncovered. We’ve moved beyond mere facts now.
Meanwhile, as Sanford has its own bonfire of the vanities, I expect Tim Wolfe will write the nonfiction version of this story. Another thing I’m sure of is that Zimmerman will be indicted for something; anything.
The mob demands it.
- MSNBC’s Karen Finney: GOP Candidates’ ‘Festering’ Racial Stereotypes Can Have ‘Lethal Consequences’ (mediaite.com)