We’ve been bombarded recently by the story of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year old black boy shot as he walked home from the store. The facts remain uncertain at this point, so I’ll not comment specifically. On the other hand, it’s been said that death and taxes are the only sure things in life, but I think we can make a compelling case for a third; namely, that race-baiting media prostitutes like the “Reverends” Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton will trip over themselves rushing to the scene of a camera…oops, I mean, crime…at least where a black victim is involved. These men and others like them make a living peddling influence on racial issues, whipping up angry crowds at rallies and marches, calling for boycotts and civil disobedience in the name of “justice”. Even Trayvon’s mother got in on the lucrative act, copyrighting her dead son’s name.
In the Martin case, we can add the likes of Barack “If I had a son he would look like Trayvon” Obama (is there ANY subject that man can’t make about him?) and black filmmaker and social agitator Spike Lee. Lee, in his anger at George Zimmerman, Trayvon’s shooter, “tweeted” Zimmerman’s home address, with the clear intent of having a mob go to Zimmerman’s home to mete out the “justice” the legal system had so far failed to provide. Except it wasn’t Zimmerman’s address, but the address of an elderly couple whose lives he now put at risk. Lee apologized only for the clerical error, but not for circumventing the justice system and trying to organize a lynch mob. It was echoes of Al Sharpton and the mythical Tawanna Brawley rape all over again. Facts have no meaning, only racial outrage.
The Trayvon Martin killing has brought out a lot of ugliness in a lot of people. Liberals have used it to attack Florida’s self-defense laws and have portrayed the killing as racially motivated. In response, conservatives have tried to portray Martin as a thug and miscreant, going so far as to post pictures that are not even of him. It’s been a disgusting display all around. But one aspect in particular is especially frightening.
This aspect is the encouragement of violence and retaliation against George Zimmerman without the benefit of a trial or even a complete investigation. The New Black Panther party has gone as far as offering a bounty on him. And movie maker Spike Lee went to an ever more extreme level, tweeting to his followers the alleged address of Zimmerman, clearly in hopes that someone would go to his house and do him harm.
It would be awful enough if it was in fact Zimmerman’s address. But the address that Lee tweeted (or, to be technically correct, retweeted from a follower) is not even the right address. It is in fact an old address for an entirely different George Zimmerman that is now the home of his mother and her husband. This has led to hate mail, harassment, and death threats to the innocent couple that bear no relation to the crime or its alleged perpetrator.
This kind of blind anger and incitement to violence is thoroughly un-American and simply cannot be tolerated. At the very least Lee should be banned from Twitter for plainly violating its terms of service. Whether or not he could be legally liable for any harm to come to the unrelated Zimmermans is unclear, but at minimum he must be publicly scorned for this despicable act. If George Zimmerman (the right one) is guilty of anything he must be punished. But under no circumstances should that be by an angry mob.
There’s a lot of outrage over the death of 17-year old Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed in Sanford, Florida, last month. Trayvon was allegedly killed by a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman, who is claiming “self-defense.”
I’m not really clear on what actually happened. It appears that Trayvon entered a gated neighborhood, visting his father, when Zimmerman confronted him. Trayvon ran, unsure of what was going on, and Zimmerman—apparently the guy was some sort of criminal—shot and killed him. At some point during all of this, Zimmerman spoke with a 911 dispatcher, who asked him to back down. At least, this is what I think, from my limited knowledge, happened. (It should be noted that Zimmerman has not been arrested and is still out and about, though apparently in hiding.)
There have been calls to disarm neighborhood watch groups over this. There is also a lot of criticism towards a particular Florida law, called “Stand Your Ground,” which brings the self-defense claim out of the home and anywhere the person may be. These are both charges I disagree with; I am against disarming people in general, since law enforcement is essentially useless when it comes to actual, personal defense, and it seems ludicrous to me that you can defend yourself in your home but not on the street, such as if you get mugged. Such arguments are irrational.
But so are defenses of George Zimmerman.
As a result of the Trayvon Martin shooting, the topic of racism has, unfortunately, been given new life in American politics and culture. As the shooting became a prominent fixture in the news, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and even President Barack Obama jumped into the fray by making statements that pinned the incident as racially motivated. Others have used it to attack the Second Amendment and gun owners.
But in a video at Reason, Kennedy, a former MTV personality, is setting the record straight, noting that race relations are better, according to poll data, and incidents involving gun violence are actually on the decline:
In the wake of the Trayvon Martin’s death, many on the Left have been blaming Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, a statue passed last year that allows use for the use of deadly force in self-defense (my home state of Georgia passed a similar law a few years ago). They say that the law empowered George Zimmerman to target Martin and claim self-defense.
While I have no opinion on Zimmerman’s guilt or innocence in the case at this point — I believe too little is known to jump to conclusions one way or the other, the ire over the “Stand Your Ground” law seems a little misplaced and, in some cases, dishonest. Dave Kopel, a Second Amendment scholar, explains:
The assertion that Florida law allows shooting whenever someone believes it to be necessary is a flat-out lie. The actual law of Florida is that “a person is justified in the use of deadly force” if “(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony” (Florida Statutes, Section 776.012).
The second part of the law provides special provisions for self-defense against violent home invaders or carjackers. Neither of those is relevant to the Zimmerman case.
If the factual claims of Trayvon’s supporters are true, Mr. Zimmerman criminally attacked Trayvon and killed him, while having no reasonable belief that Trayvon was perpetrating a forcible felony, or imminently about to kill or gravely wound Mr. Zimmerman. So Florida’s self-defense laws simply would not apply, since Mr. Zimmerman would have no right under Florida law to use deadly force.