Friday, March 23, 2012

On the Sad Killing of Trayvon Martin

I have followed the growing story of the killing of Trayvon Martin with interest, but that interest was heightened last night quite by accident.  I was attending a function in DC at which former Representative Harold Ford Jr., was the guest speaker.  Arriving early for the reception, I silently noted the racial diversity of the gathering crowd, most of whom had some business tie to one of our nation's largest brokerage/financial management firms.  It was a well-heeled crowd in any event.
Trayvon Martin

Ford delivered a fascinating talk without notes.  He's clearly the real deal as a politician, and I don't think he'll long be in the private sector.  He took questions from the audience afterward (including mine, in which he in rapid fire answer to my question of "who he fears as a running mate for Romney"--Ford being an enthusiastic backer of the President--answered "Mitch Daniels, Condi Rice, Marco Rubio and Rob Portman"), two of which focused in some way on the killing of Trayvon Martin.

Mr. Ford made one of those off the cuff comments, so often delivered by those who have earned their stripes in the world of civil rights discussions, that the killing of Martin  "...proved how far we have to go..." in race relations in this country.  I have to admit to being a bit flummoxed by that statement, as trite as it was.  Exactly how does the horrible, sad killing of what appears to be a blameless black boy by an Hispanic cop-wanna-be prove that we have far to go in race relations?  Indeed, Mr. Ford seems to be on the restrained end of the reaction to this tragedy, as Messers Sharpton and Farrakahn (or is it Reverends?) have already descended upon the scene of the horror to fan the flames.

Today, our President took the opportunity to remind us that "...all of us have some soul-searching to figure out how does something like this happen.."  after--for whatever reason--telling us that "...if I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon".  Putting aside the narcissism of bringing comments about this tragedy back to himself, I take issue with the suggestion that I need to do any "soul searching" on this front.  My soul is clear, if not troubled by the terrible killing of this young man.   The hopped up actions of a vigilante neighborhood watch brownshirt (who had made 50 reports to the cops previously) don't--to me--rise to the level of something requiring national reflection and introspection.  Read my words, people getting ready to respond to me, I am NOT SAYING that the death of Trayvon Martin is not a tragedy.

It simply is not a new chapter in the racialist narrative.  Trumped up comparisons to the killing of Medgar Evers just don't stand up.  Most in the victimization racket simply don't acknowledge that we live in a different time and place in 2012 than we saw in 1964 Mississippi.  The very existence of the national sense of outrage over this crime ought to be evidence enough of that.  Yet there seems to be no end-state sufficient to the merchants of racialism, as acknowledging such would deprive them of their estimable meal-tickets.

I am saddened by the death of this young man.  I have great sympathy for his parents and friends.  And I grieve for a society that seeks to squeeze more meaning from his incomparably senseless death than its inestimable sadness already warrants. 


Mark Gorenflo said...

I tend to agree with you except for one point - the utter failure of the Sanford Police Department to do their job. I saw a NYC cop on TV who said they would have arrested Zimmerman in 30 min, just based on the manifest evidence before the police that failed to justify "self defense" on his part. Al Sharpton is able to gain traction because the police fail to do their job (evidently a common failing in Sanford, which has a recent history of challenged race relations).

The Conservative Wahoo said...

Then we must be in nearly complete agreement, as I do not recall commenting on the performance of the Sanford PD. Given this kind opportunity, I cannot agree with you more. The PD was negligent on all counts here.

I don't have a problem with "self-defense" defenses, or the "stand and fight" defense. But that's what they are--defenses--as in, "used in the courtroom". I don't see a great role for PD's to make these determinations.

Mark Gorenflo said...

Well that's the "racialist narrative" here - that the killing of a young black man in a Southern town for walking down the street of a gated community doesn't even rate an arrest of the obvious killer by the Police Department. Imagine the situation reversed. There would certainly have been an arrest, at the least. That's one measure of the improvements we still need to make in our Union.

Anonymous said...

What did Trayvon do? What is his history of violence? All you hear is what Zimmerman did wrong, what did Trayvon do wrong? Was he a violent criminal or was this just wrong? Why would Obama comment "he would look like my son?" Seems he should comment on right or wrong of this not that. It all seems to be a witch hunt and not hearing the full story as the issue, but the reaction.

Anonymous said...

This young man was only "walking down the street", but what was he doing there? What was his intentions? Why would he be in a place to put himself in jeopardy? I think we only are hearing the reaction but not what precipitated this dreadful encounter.

Anonymous said...

Nobody just gets shot, what lead up to this shooting or what was Trayvon doing in a neighborhood that he didn't belong in? Why is Zimmerman defending his property, himself (he had wounds)? I don't want to take sides without a full story, but part of this story seems to be missing. Everyone talks about Zimmerman was wrong, but why was Trayvon doing to be wrong in being there?

Anonymous said...

There needs to be answers, what was Trayvon doing in Zimmerman's neighborhood? What brought these two together in such a wrong situation? If Zimmerman has had lots of troubles with violent teens, what was Trayvon doing there? I think ALSO with questioning Zimmerman's reactions, we should be commenting on Trayvon's intentions.

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