Friday, April 6, 2012

McElroy weighs in on the Trayvon Martin case.


And as usual, she finds just the right way to make the fully-principled case without sounding nearly as cranky as I do.
The American public has been in a state of shock and outrage over details of Trayvon's death, with overwhelming sympathy pouring out toward his parents. The incident may well explode into a full-blown police scandal. If it does, then it will be because the average American is not willing to tolerate a biased system of justice in which blacks are discounted. Overwhelmingly, the modern American will not tolerate racism against blacks.

The opposite message is being broadcast by the mainstream media and an array of ambitious policymakers who seem to be using Trayvon's death for their own ends. From the outset, both have branded the incident as “racial.” The media wants the blockbuster ratings that come from an outraged and captivated audience. The easiest way to achieve this is to present a clean and sensational narrative that pits a villain against a victim. They find this in a narrative of white-on-black violence — a white man senselessly killing a black teenager.
Just so.  It's really not that hard to simply follow everyone's motivations in the case and see things for what they are, but Americans do seem to like to have their ire fed to them by professionals.  In this case, the "professionals" are race-baiters of multiple stripes, and, well, the results are hardly surprising.

When I first got the news, I had an immediate gut-feeling about the case:  the real story here is the crusading wannabe cop, that guy you knew in school who wanted desperately to be the hall monitor, who believes in the most absolute way in putting on the Cloak Of Authority (TM) and bringin' it to the perps before they do their perpin'. With some some of that Righteous Fire (TM).  Whether or not there was any racial component to this is irrelevant:  this guy was going to find himself a target, and engage it--he thought that was his job.

I have seen nothing about George Zimmerman that has in any way diminished that gut feeling.  It would not surprise me at all to find out later that he's being protected simply because the cops can recognize one of their own when they see him. 

And in the end, it's still about aggression.  Even if it turns out that Zimmerman really did only produce the gun and shoot in actual fear of his life, because of some violent response by Martin, he still owns the burden of having produced the problem in the first place, by initiating aggression.  (I know that anyone who follows me in the way that seemed to happen here is going to produce a Condition Orange response.)  Who knows, maybe we'll find out that he approached Martin casually, just asking what he was doing, and Martin somehow shape-shifted into a seething monster and attacked.  But if "the law" is going to actually do that whole "equal protection" thing, Zimmerman at least has to answer for that--not least because Martin is no longer around to defend himself. 

With all the histrionics from the victim-disarmament crowd regarding the "stand your ground" concept whining around the airwaves, some have pointed out that precisely because Zimmerman initiated the contact, "stand your ground" may not apply to Zimmerman in shooting Martin, regardless of the facts of the fight...but it would certainly have applied if it was Martin who had shot Zimmerman.

They have a point.

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