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Trayvon Case Shows ‘Racist’ Epithet Persists

If there’s one way to determine whether an event has devolved into a circus maximus, surely it must be the entry into the public debate by Roseanne Barr.

The erstwhile comedian and celebrity took up the Twitter cause last week on behalf of the late Trayvon Martin, the black teenager killed on Feb. 26 by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain in his gated community of Sanford, Fla.

Of course, as a citizen, Ms. Barr has every right to speak out about this or any issue she chooses. But it comes as no surprise that she tweeted an erroneous address for Mr. Zimmerman and then threatened, “If Zimmerman isn’t arrested I’ll [retweet] his address again — maybe go 2 his house myself.”

Later, the outspoken Ms. Barr deleted her mistaken tweet and apologized, then stated if Mr. Zimmerman is not arrested she would go to the city of Sanford, not to his home, to protest. “#OccupySanford,” she wrote with originality.

Ms. Barr claimed on Twitter that anyone who doesn’t agree that Mr. Zimmerman is guilty simply “doesn’t get it and probably never will.”

She may have a point. There are things I don’t get, that’s for sure.

A teenager is dead and his parents are grieving his loss. Regardless of the circumstances, when a teenager dies it is always tragic. It always leaves a void of untapped potential and unrealized dreams. It always causes heartache that can’t be eased, much less erased. This, I get.

A man’s life is forever changed by an event that can’t be undone. Regardless of how his actions are labeled, he can’t alter the fact that he fatally shot a 17-year-old. Even if he did so in self-defense, this was a defining event for Mr. Zimmerman, whose life has now been threatened by the New Black Panther Party and others, forcing him, along with his family, into hiding.

If this case reminds us of anything, it is that the due-process clause of our Constitution serves a real and important purpose — to require the prudent and thoughtful application of the law in every situation, no matter how “obvious” a crime may appear.

If due process should have been afforded to young Trayvon, it is no less warranted for Mr. Zimmerman in the aftermath of the shooting. This is what it means to be a nation of laws, and not men.

In our age of instant (though often not accurate) communication and knee-jerk, emotional responses, it is unsurprising that the Revs. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and others would ignore the right to due process for some and once again use a very real human tragedy to advance a political agenda, demonizing the people with whom they disagree.

Enter the left’s favorite villain: conservatism.

According to AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker, the shooting death of Trayvon Martin reflects “The same folks who want to kill workers’ rights in the workplace are the same folks who want to kill voters’ votes … and now they are literally supporting legislation that is literally killing our children.”

Presumably, she refers to the “stand your ground” law in Florida that allows private citizens to use deadly force in self-defense. Does Ms. Baker honestly mean to suggest that this law is not meant to empower law-abiding citizens, but to give racists a way to kill black children?

Likewise, leftist pundits blame Republicans for perpetuating stereotypes about young black men, as was suggested on MSNBC, while statistics prove that crime among and between young black men is rampant, with homicide at the hands of a fellow young black male their leading cause of death.

There is so much wrong in this case — and so much not to get — that I can’t imagine how we’re supposed to raise up a generation of open-minded, optimistic, non-biased Americans when the people leading them to adulthood cannot resist the temptation to label others “racist” at every turn.


Marybeth Hicks is a columnist for The Washington Times and founder and editor of Ontheculture.com.


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  • Tarheel

    Sadly I fear we will never really know the truth in this case. With the media’s instant declaration of guilt in the case, and so many celebrities also joining in, we will ever know what happened?

    It is very sad that a teen lost his life. Prayers are offered for him and his family.

    And we need to remember that Mr. Zimmerman is innocent until proven guilty. All to often in cases such as this one, a quick decision is made in declaring a quick guilty verdict. It is as if a court trial was circumvented by a group of individuals who now want to carry out punishment for the crime.

    If Mr. Zimmerman is guilty, then let teat be determined in a real court of law, after a through investigation by trained law enforcement. Not by media types and celebrities. Let’s allow due process of law happen.

    I pose a question. If the racial make up of Mr Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin were reversed, would there still be comments and uproar about this being a “racists thing”?

  • noelfitz

    Tarheel,
    it is good to hear from you here, as your views are always thoughtful.

    Mr Zimmerman is apparently innocent and not guilty of any crime, as it seems in Florida one has the right to kill others.

    It would have been different in Massachusetts.

    “But you can’t chop your papa up in Massachusetts
    And then get dressed and go out for a walk
    No, you can’t chop your papa up in Massachusetts
    Massachusetts is a far cry from New York”
    http://www.guntheranderson.com/v/data/lizziebo.htm

    In Arizona the law states “A person has no duty to retreat before threatening or using deadly physical force pursuant to this section if the person is in a place where the person may legally be and is not engaged in an unlawful act.”

    Watch out if you are in Florida, Arizona or in other states as 25 states have approved Stand Your Ground laws.

  • goral

    “Mr. Zimmerman, whose life has now been threatened by the New Black Panther Party and others, forcing him, along with his family, into hiding.”

    Noelfitz, I take it you mean to “watch out” for the NBPP and others who are now, not only standing their ground, but looking to annex more ground in their search for the Zimmermans.
    They want to become predators, which is what got Trayvon killed.

    All very sad and tragic but we have embarked on a path of a nation of men rather than laws.
    Thanks to the predator on Pennsylvania Ave., in a large part.

  • noelfitz

    Always good to hear from you, Goral. I like discussions here and think it is a pity we do not get more. Our agreements are fundamental are differences are peripheral.

    The story is simple.

    Mr Martin was out on his lawful business and was shot dead by Mr Zimmerman, who was within his rights to kill anyone he wanted to.

  • Tarheel

    Noel are you taking the “extreme” position in this? Just reading your responses would lead one to believe that Florida is a “Dodge City” where people can shoot each other.

    This is not the case.

  • noelfitz

    Tarheel,

    It is great hearing from Fishman, Goral and you. I feel we are good friends who can discuss issues in a friendly way.

    I believe that attorney Hal Uhrig said Zimmerman had every right to carry a gun the night he shot and killed the 17-year-old in Sanford.

    Of course Mr Zimmerman had the right to kill Mr Martin, who was a black teenager. Who gave Mr Martin the right to be in a gated neighborhood where his father’s girl-friend lived?

    ****************************************************
    The shooting took place in the gated community where Mr Zimmerman lives. When he spotted Mr Martin while out driving on a rainy evening, he called the police from his car. The operator told him there was no need to follow Mr Martin, but Mr Zimmerman did so anyway. From that point, details are scant: the two men somehow got into a fight, during which Mr Zimmerman says his nose was broken, before he shot the unarmed 17-year-old. Mr Martin, it turns out, had been walking back to the house of his father’s girlfriend in the gated community, having bought some sweets and iced tea at a nearby corner store (http://www.ekantipur.com/the-kathmandu-post/2012/04/03/from-the-economist/the-killing-of-trayvon-martin–because-he-was-black/233417.html).
    **********************************************************