Sunday, March 25, 2012

"Pick a Card, Any Card"

Especially the race card.

Both the families of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman appear to be doing just that.

An unnecessary confrontation occurred in which one family now suffers the indescribable pain of losing one of their children and the other experiences ostracism of the media and the prospect of their son spending years in prison.

 Evidence is sparse on what exactly happened.

George Zimmerman volunteered as part of a neighborhood watch. In the past, he had made multiple calls to police concerning people he did not recognize in his neighborhood. He made a similar call the day he saw Trayvon Martin. Against the advice of the 911 dispatcher, Zimmerman decided to follow Martin and initiate some kind of contact. A physical confrontation broke out and Zimmerman shot Martin, killing him.

In an egregious dereliction of their public duties, the local police decided not to conduct more than some preliminary questioning of Zimmerman as part of their investigation. Zimmerman claimed self defense under the provisions of Florida's so-called "stand your ground" law and the police dropped the investigation. When Martin's family saw what was happening, they quickly organized a widespread publicity campaign to bring attention to their son's case.

Instead of making the simple case that Zimmerman's behavior probably failed to conform to the provisions of Florida law, Martin's family pulled out the race card: he was killed "for the color of his skin."

Near the end of the interview, Martin's parents acknowledge the legal issue about self defense in Florida. But this has been all but eclipsed by the rallies involving such controversial hustlers such as Al Sharpton.

Zimmerman's family replied in kind. Already hearing the accusations  Zimmerman is a racist, they, too, played the race card. In a letter to the Orlando Sentinel, Robert Zimmerman explained why his son George is not  racist:

“The tragic events of February 26 are very sad for all concerned. The Martin family, our family, and the entire community have been forever changed.

The portrayal of George Zimmerman in the media, as well as the series of events that led to the tragic shooting are false and extremely misleading. Unfortunately, some individuals and organizations have used this tragedy to further their own causes and agendas.

George is a Spanish speaking minority with many black family members and friends. He would be the last to discriminate for any reason whatsoever. One black neighbor recently interviewed said she knew everything in the media was untrue and that she would trust George with her life. Another black neighbor said that George was the only one, black or white, who came and welcomed her to the community, offering any assistance he could provide. Recently, I met two black children George invited to a social event. I asked where they met George. They responded that he was their mentor. They said George visited them routinely, took them places, helped them, and taught them things and that they really loved George. The media portrayal of George as a racist could not be further from the truth.

The events of February 26 reported in the media are also totally inaccurate. Out of respect for the on-going investigation, I will not discuss specifics. However, the media reports of the events are imaginary at best. At no time did George follow or confront Mr. Martin. When the true details of the event become public, and I hope that will be soon, everyone should be outraged by the treatment of George Zimmerman in the media.

Because George Zimmerman is Hispanic, he could not have "profiled" Trayvon Martin. Why? Because as everyone knows, people of color are not racists . . . except when they are.  They, too, acknowledge the legal issue at hand. But the bulk of their defense rests on George Zimmerman's sentiments about race.

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