Jumping to conclusions is a fool’s folly. The case of Trayvon Martin.
If you think you know what happened in Sanford, Florida on Feb. 26, 2012, you’re probably not fit to serve on anyone’s jury much less the one in question. Honestly, none of us has enough facts to judge either of the players in this case. But perhaps something bigger is at play here and I’m talking even more significant than Zimmerman.
A brief over-view: On or about March 16, the story broke. I watched the story on CNN as they played several 911 calls George Zimmerman had made previously. In all but one call Zimmerman was heard identifying the suspicious person as “black.” Then the Trayvon Martin call and again we heard Zimmerman identify the suspect as “black,” in every call the comment seems to be unsolicited.
Like everyone, my knee-jerk reaction was outrage. I could not believe Zimmerman had not been charged. Did the police not listen to that call?
On March 21st, CNN “enhances” the 911 call to make it sound like Zimmerman makes an offensive racial comment under his breath. I understand reporting news but making news raised red flags in my mind. At that point I realized I was looking at history repeating itself. (I’ll get to that in a moment.)
March 23rd, the President weighed in and, in essence, suggested the nation was at fault, “I think all of us have to do some soul-searching to figure out how something like this happened.” In essence, I agreed with his other comments, but I’m uncomfortable in that he was poisoning the jury pool.
On April 9th, my feeling that a nasty part of American history was repeating stirred again. That morning I learned that NBC had edited the 911 recording from Feb. 26, removing the dispatcher’s question regarding the race of the suspect. NBC claims the question was “accidentally” removed. —You don’t accidentally remove anything from a recording. Some editor and/or producer made a conscious decision to remove the question. Having worked in news, I am convinced they did so to craft the story into a wider narrative.
Young people haven’t had a grasp of history since I was a kid. Today the 18 to 20-somethings can’t tell you who was President before G.W. Bush and the majority of those under 40, think the Democrats were all excited about Civil Rights issues and had to drag Republicans kicking and screaming to pass Title X. (Not going down this road except to tell you that’s not how it was.)
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” —George Santayana
Duluth, Minnesota, 1920, some circus workers were accused of rape. A teenage boy told his father that 5 or 6 black circus workers had raped his 19-year-old friend, Irene Tusken. the father called the police and 6 circus workers were arrested.
The public was given no evidence only the sketchy details provided by the 18-year-old boy, James Sullivan, though his father. Tusken was checked out by her doctor the day after the purported rape and no evidence was found. However, that fact was not released in the press. But the fact that the accused were black and the alleged victim was white was the headline.
The titillating idea of a white girl being raped by a gang of blacks played into the public preconceptions and that it occurred in the north created a national reaction. In fact the public was convinced, by those seeking to incite the crowd, that Tusken had been killed during the rape. Facts were not going to get in the way of a good story.
The public anger reached a frenzy. Five to 10 thousand people stormed the jail and seized 3 of the men. After a mock trial,the men were dragged down the street and lynched.
Hand me a pitchfork, brother.
I don’t know, but it seems race-baiters like Sharpton and the Black Panthers would love to see a lynching. When I saw the angry crowds marching without even knowing or understanding the facts, I imagined Duluth, MN. When I heard Spike Lee tweeted Zimmerman’s alleged address, I saw a lynching in the making.
On April 11, Special Prosecutor Angela Corey, charged Zimmerman with 2nd degree murder. I am no attorney, but as a layperson, it seems to me at best this was manslaughter. However, when the crowd is angry and the pitchforks are gleaming in the light of a thousand torches, you can expect a cowardice civil authority will do as the Duluth police did in the summer of 1920, give into the crowd.
To quote the liberal chatter around my office, “it is worth sending this guy to prison for life – even if he’s innocent – if it’ll keep people from rioting.”
Really? Is that what America is like in the 21st century? Certainly what it was like in 1920. Man, we’ve come a long way baby.