Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The rush to judgment in the Trayvon Martin shooting: it's not just, but we should be asking what fuels it

George Zimmerman is in hiding, fearful of the death threats lobbed his way in the wake of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin that has gripped the nation. And we still don't know all the facts.
Director Spike Lee retweeted to his 240,000 followers an address he thought was George Zimmerman's. The message said “feel free to reach out and touch him [Zimmerman].”  As if that wasn't bad enough, it turns out Lee publicized the wrong address. The couple who actually live there -- a 70-year-old school-cafeteria lunch lady with a heart condition and her 72-year-old husband -- have received hate mail, unwanted visits from reporters, and fearful inquiries from neighbors. To keep themselves from harm, they have temporarily moved to a hotel. And we still don't know all the facts.
Dozens of North Miami Beach teens left school to protest the Trayvon Martin case and stormed the aisles of a drug store, damaging merchandise. And we still don't know all the facts.
It is a noble impulse to be outraged when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a certain social group. It is neither just nor noble to assume that such targeting occurred before we have all the facts.

The rush to judgment among some prominent voices on the left assumes George Zimmerman is responsible for a terrible hate crime, and that isn't fair to Mr. Zimmerman. He hasn't even been charged, much less been afforded the due process to which all Americans are entitled.  This is not a defense of Mr. Zimmerman; it is a defense of a sacrosanct Constitutional process being short-circuited by assumptions and rage.
On the other hand, some prominent conservative voices want to label it all a tragedy exploited by race-baiting pimps and leave it at that. They are unwilling to entertain the possibility that the black community's rage in this case might be fueled by an otherwise valid perception that, in general, innocent black men too often are presumed guilty by a racially biased criminal justice system.
Responsible voices should insist that the black community's rage is, at best, premature in this particular case. And while we await the facts in this case, our time would be well spent better understanding that rage, which chronically seethes just beneath the surface, and honestly ponder what's behind it.

24 comments:

  1. The most cogent, balanced statement of this case I've seen. I can tell Harlan didn't write this.

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  2. Very well said.

    From the New York Times to CNN this is the only sane, level-headed piece about this case so far.

    Keep it up, guys! This is why I am a regular reader.

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  3. Anon at 7:16, I wonder which of my many detractors you are.

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  4. Compare your rational post with the one written by hate-monger Amanda Marcotte: http://pandagon.net/index.php/site/comments/a-translation-exercise

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  5. Damn, right down the middle again. Such a simple statement "and we still don't know all the facts."

    You guys at CotWA are good. Glad to see someone is not rushing to judgement, either way.

    I am hearing more and more people say that everyone needs to calm down and wait for the facts to come out.

    Thanks CotWA for staying rational when some very prominent people seem to be losing their minds and jumping to conclusions, *cough, couch* POTUS.

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  6. First off Pierce is one of the best writers on the Internet and should have his own show on a major network....if not own the network.

    The thing that ticks me off about the martin case is that if the races were reversed you would not hear a peep from the media about it...let alone the president!

    A relative of mine who is a small white guy about 5 foot 4 got ganged up on by a group of black guys that beat him for fun for no reason at all so badly he was hospitalized fighting for his life.

    The media would not touch that story with a trillion foot pole.

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  7. Excuse me? Pierce is one of the greatest, and fairest writers on the internet, and he definitely has my respect. Take your bullshit hatred somewhere else anon.

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  8. I think Rudyard Kipling said it best, Archivist, in his poem "IF": If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, and blaming it on you. . . . Advocating that all should await the completion of the investigation and the determination of facts prior to any pronouncements and demands seems mere common sense, but it would not serve the agenda of some of the most noisome. Check out the poem whenever you feel beat up.

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  9. Here's my bigger concern. The people protesting are raising important issues. It is tragic that it takes an incident like this to bring these issues to the forefront. Tragic because these issues are compelling; and also because these issues shouldn't depend on a case that may not pan out the way it first appeared.

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  10. Wow, a great article. The ending surprised me, but I can't disagree with it.

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  11. SIR-

    Very well reasoned; well-thought through, and a good, concise summary of the more nuanced issues. Recognising that there are larger issues, AND the right to due process is due to everyone, is certainly dead-on.

    One comment: the whole stand-your-ground thing could have been better explained, better communicated by Florida authorities perhaps; there are many like myself who were unfamiliar with it. It seems that acting within a somewhat obscure law (to many non-Floridian, non-US people) could have been proactively explained IN THE EXPLICITLY STATED CONTEXT of requesting that people wait for the legal process to work and reminding people that Mr Zimmerman is due the same due process that Mr OJ Simpson and Ms Karla F Tucker (did I get the names right?) received.

    Anon, to suggest that Mr Harlan is biased or unbalanced is untrue and offensive. The evolution of False Rape Society to COTWA is proof of his consistency and commitment to rational, considered thinking.

    Kind regards
    Fred

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  12. Oh, it's quite true that the only reason this case is popular is the media wanted to promote the idea that a white man killed a poor little black kid simply because he was black. Meanwhile they completely ignore all the very real stories where blacks kill whites BECAUSE they are white. It's all an attempt to promote white guilt and fuel racial hatred against whites. Of course, Zimmerman isn't even white, but the media and Leftists don't ever let the truth get in the way of a good hate session.

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  13. Jeremiah, I think that any tale of injustice against someone perceived to be an innocent member of an oppressed group touches a nerve in a lot of us. It is unfortunate that these cases seem to backfire so frequently.

    My question is, is this the only way we can be spurred on to talk about the fact that black men still feel like second class citizens when it comes to law enforcement? Must we ride all our hopes for change on a case that might fall apart? And if it does fall apart, where are we then?

    The fact is, too often, innocent young black men are routinely racially profiled, looked upon with suspicion, and treated like dogs if they should be wrongly accused.

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  14. Pierce, twas not I, but as an ex-detractor, that's something I would have said in a NY minute. By the way, your new house is so clean and sparkly I wouldn't dare mess it up. Well ... not yet :)

    Where'd you find this Puddler guy? He's sharp. He's also right.

    G

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  15. Puddler said - The fact is, too often, innocent young black men are routinely racially profiled, looked upon with suspicion, and treated like dogs if they should be wrongly accused.

    Yes, and its not surprising that they are. A quick look at the statistics of black men murdered shows that blacks, as 13% of the population, account for 40-50% of the homicides. Of black men killed every year, 8% are killed by white men. 49 blacks were shot and 10 killed on St. Patricks Day weekend on the South Side of Chicago (for the mathematically impaired, thats 48 more than George Zimmerman shot). This without a peep from the Black Outrage Industry. Meanwhile, take a look at the FBI Uniform Crime Reports - see all those white murdered by blacks - then take a look at blacks murdered by whites - then consider that even the comparatively much lower rates of blacks killed by whites INCLUDES blacks killed by hispanics. Now, when whites kill hispanics, they call hispanics hispanics in the UCR. Only when hispanics kill blacks do they become white.
    Then peruse the top 40 rap songs - understand that modern American Black culture dows not suffer from criminality, does not even tolerate it - They celebrate it. It is a culture in which murder is not only an understandable response to an insult, it is expected if "you a man and not a b*itch." Only when a white man kills a black does the death of young black men become a cause for black community outrage.
    I won't go into an exhaustive list of black hate crimes - Ill just say that in my town, an 85 years old veteran of Normandy and his wife were home invaded, his wife raped and murdered and he is still in the hospital. The DA is saying "the motive appears to be robbery," however this is a predominately black neighborhood (where I used to patrol) and they were surrounded by equally vulnerable elderly blacks who were untouched. The Pearcy Massacre, the Wichita Massacre, The Knoxville Horror - I said I wasn't going into an exhaustive list. Believe me, this isn't one.
    If George Zimmerman was wrong, I say let him be judged and get whats coming to him. If he wasn't, let nothing come to him. I'm content to let the system work.
    But if young black men feel profiled, its an image they celebrate until it costs them something.
    Whatever the outcome with George Zimmerman, Ill save my tears for the victims of the massacres I listed above and many more we will never read about.
    Your son would look like Trayvon, Mr. President? Allen Goins looks like mine.

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  16. We're going to keep it clean and sparkly, G, so you be sure to check in frequently. It's a new ballgame here at COTWA.

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  17. WolfMan, I should have been more sensitive to law enforcement, and for that I apologize. The police do an amazing job in the hopelessness of the inner city. Police are like the rest of us, only human, and the vast majority are just trying to keep people safe. This blog isn't really equipped to deal with what's perhaps the most dire problem our country faces: the inner city.

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  18. No apologies necessary, Puddler. Sorry If I come on strong myself.

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  19. "If George Zimmerman was wrong, I say let him be judged and get whats coming to him. If he wasn't, let nothing come to him."

    Not only that, how about the New Black Panther party members who are threatening his life see jail time? How about Spike Lee spend 90 days in jail for inciting violence against an elderly couple whose address he tweeted as Zimmerman's? That would be justice. Instead, Zimmerman will come through this as worse for the wear as any man who's ever been falsely accused of rape. The emotions he's going through now, living in fear, are no different.

    How about we also recognize that prison rape is largely a black-on-white racially motivated crime?

    http://www.westernrevival.org/prison_rape.htm

    "While media, academia, and activists parrot the common myth that whites are always victimizing blacks, crime statistics show a far different story. Down the memory hole are literally decades of consistent figures that show, year after year, that non-whites victimize whites far more often than vice-versa. One of the most disparate of these is male-on-male prison rape. Since activist media are aware that such things make non-whites look badly and may racially inflame whites, these inconvenient facts are regarded as non-existent and not spoken of. By their silence, these issues are relegated to the taboo, after all, in our politically correct climate, the majority of Americans (whites) are expected to quietly accept their roles as scapegoats. Ask yourself why the media would so consistently black out this topic from coverage."

    But you don't hear anything about prison rape because nobody cares when whites or men are victimized. Leftists only care about "victims", manufactured or otherwise, when they fit their own victim narrative. If a "victim" isn't black, homosexual, or female, they aren't worth talking about.

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  20. Word. As they say.

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  21. Jeremiah

    Excellent posts. Everyone should read what you wrote. There is more truth in your posts than what you will hear watching 700,000 hours of tv "news".

    Wolfman

    I like your posts too.

    Let me add this.

    It's a huge myth that blacks have it bad in the justice system...it's the exact opposite.

    Look at the info I provide here and don't take my word for it see for your self and you will see what the media will never tell you.

    First off lets go to the fbi website and look at the percentage of murders committed by blacks for the entire country.

    2007 53%
    2008 51%
    2009 51%
    2010 53%

    Now lets look at how many blacks got the death penalty as a percentage.

    2010 28%
    2011 34%
    so far in 2012 8%

    Women are practically exempt from the death penalty at less than 1%.

    So you are left with non black males being horribly unfairly treated by the justice system.

    The other way around non blacks commit the minority of murders in our country yet they got the death penalty at a percentage of..

    2010 72%
    2011 66%
    so far in 2012 92%

    Links

    http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/offenses/expanded_information/data/shrtable_03.html

    http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2008/offenses/expanded_information/data/shrtable_03.html

    http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/offenses/expanded_information/data/shrtable_03.html

    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10shrtbl03.xls

    http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/execution-list-2010

    http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/execution-list-2011

    http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/execution-list-2012

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  22. Well there is a sentencing disparity that results in longer sentences for blacks over whites and males over females, so I don't think it's so easy to conclude that blacks have it "better" in the criminal justice system. Now if there are significantly more unsolved crimes committed by blacks, there you might see a bias against whites. All in all I think the criminal "justice" system is biased against blacks more than whites, but not as much as racists like the people trying to lynch Zimmerman would like us to believe, and black-on-white crime is certainly marginalized by the media.

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  23. Can you post empiric studies or sites that show blacks recieve longer sentences than whites?

    To be blunt, I don't believe it.

    It sickens me to read that whites have it so much better than blacks, when ny own middle class blue eyed blond son was falsely accused and beaten to a pulp while in jail as though his FRA isn't as "real" as a minority's..

    A false accustion is horrific no matter WHO it happens to.

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