“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon. I think (Trayvon’s parents) are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves, and we are going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.” — President Obama
“Is the president suggesting that if it had been a white who had been shot, that would be okay because it didn’t look like him?” —Newt Gingrich, on The Sean Hannity Radio Show
Of course not. Newt Gingrich is a shameless dick. Most people of common sense have figured this out by now, which is why even the Party of Shameless Dicks doesn’t want him. (Rick Santorum, by contrast, said: “This is a tragic situation and sounds like a heinous act… to introduce this type of rhetoric that is clearly meant to bring out these sensitive issues is out of line and unfortunate.”)
Still, he does bring up a salient point.
If it had been a white who had been shot. Let’s consider that.
A 21-year-old black man, drinking at a bar, pushes a state alcohol enforcement agent and yells obscenities at another, and is charged with resisting arrest — but without violence. He is allowed to skip trial by undergoing an anger management program.
One month later, that same young black man has an injunction issued against him by his girlfriend for domestic violence. He gets his own injunction issued against her.
Years later, this same young black male applies for a concealed-carry permit — for a semiautomatic weapon, a Kel Tek .9 mm PF9 handgun, the kind of gun that has become popular, in part, because of its use in gangsta rap lyrics. Because he was never charged with a felony, he is approved.
Now in his late twenties, this same black man begins patrolling the streets of his neighborhood, looking for suspicious characters and calling them in to police. Most of his suspects are white.
Finally, in late February 2012, this same black man spots a 17-year-old white boy walking through the same gated community he himself lives in. Said black man, who is in no way affiliated with law enforcement or even Neighborhood Watch, calls the black cops. He is heard using a racial slur against whites. He then follows the white kid in his car, gets in a fistfight with him, and shoots him dead. The white boy weighs a hundred pounds less than the black man, and is completely unarmed.
The black man, who suffers a broken nose from the white boy, is never arrested or charged with any crime. The police department of the city he lives in, moreover, has a long and sordid history of not prosecuting black authority figures who kill whites. The Governor of the state in question promises to look into the shooting, but also makes sure to note that “If (the black man) feels unsafe, we’ll make sure nothing happens to him.”
I’m white. Let’s say you are, too. How would that make you feel?
“That’s just nonsense dividing this country up,” said Gingrich to Hannity. “When things go wrong to an American, it is sad for all Americans. Trying to turn it into a racial issue is fundamentally wrong. I really find it appalling.”
See, this is why Newt can’t get elected. You can’t just attack the President for making a bland yet supportive statement about a miscarriage of justice. As with women who can’t afford birth control or rape victims who want an abortion, if you want to cloud an issue, you have to attack the victim.
And so the thuggening of Trayvon Martin begins.
“I’ll bet you money, if he didn’t have that hoodie on, that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn’t have responded in that violent and aggressive way,” said Geraldo Rivera on Fox News. He doubled down on that comment after the backlash, too, defending the kind of profiling that led to the altercation in the first place: “If a cop looks at three kids on the corner, and they’ve got those hoodies up… the cops look at them and say, ‘Hmm, hoodies. Who else wears hoodies? Everybody that ever stuck up a convenience store, D.B. Cooper, the guy that hijacked a plane, Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber…'” Rivera was smart enough to throw in three white guys along with the terrorists and the criminals, but his point stood. You kids today, with your hoodies, you look like black people. I mean gangstas.
Breitbart.com and Michelle Malkin both ran with a fake picture of Trayvon Martin — another black kid with the same name who “looked gangsta” — before realizing it was the wrong one, but not before making every effort to smear the dead boy and make the “nutty” shooter look repectable and, well, white. And where did these very non-racist people get their image from? Stormfront.org, the internet’s most notorious “white pride” site.
Now that the police have claimed Martin started the fistfight with his killer, George Zimmerman, you’ll see a lot more stuff like this. For example, did you know Trayvon had been suspended from school for — gasp! Smoking marijuana?! The number of white teen stoners in hoodies who have been followed and killed by a black man that was never arrested or tried is, according to the statistics in my head, zero. You’re free to try and find one. I’ll apologize if you do. You won’t.
A good lawyer might have been able to get Zimmerman tried for first-degree murder, given that he was armed, Trayvon wasn’t, and the 911 calls show the shooter announcing to police that he was about to follow the boy. A competent lawyer would have no trouble getting him for Murder Two, or at the very least, Voluntary Manslaughter.
Jeb Bush, once the Governor of the damn state and the man who made “stand your ground” law in 2005 by signing it, also realizes this. “This law does not apply to this particular circumstance,” he said after a recent appearance in North Texas. “Stand your ground means stand your ground. It doesn’t mean chase after somebody who’s turned their back.”
Here’s Florida’s actual “stand your ground” law, which allows defendants to use deadly force outside of the home:
776.012 Use of force in defense of person.—A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat 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; or
- (2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s. 776.013.
The emphasis is mine. 776.013 refers to the “castle doctrine” use of force inside one’s own home.
Then we find this disclaimer, emphasis again mine:
776.041 Use of force by aggressor. —The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:
(1) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or
(2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:
- (a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or
- (b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.
Even if we somehow believe Zimmerman had not provoked the altercation by following and confronting Trayvon, we have no evidence that he attempted to withdraw or that he “exhausted every reasonable means to escape.” The kid gave him a broken nose, and the man — who, let’s remember, outweighed him by 100 pounds — shot him with a semiautomatic. So how would such evidence be collected? By an arrest and a trial, which the shooter did not undergo. He was never arrested, much less put on the stand to justify the killing, to prove that he was in fear for his life and had done everything else he could to stop the fight.
Trayvon’s death, in other words, was treated as if he had broken into Zimmerman’s home, or at the very least pulled a gun on him. Which is understandable. He was, after all, a stoner wearing a hoodie. A black one.