Skip to comments.Pundits not experts in Martin case
Posted on 04/27/2012 2:38:26 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Almost from the beginning, there were two aspects of the George Zimmerman as racist assassin story that made little sense. First, who calls the police, then murders a total stranger in cold blood knowing that the cops are minutes away? Panic seemed likelier than malice. Second, how does a 28-year-old man with a desk job catch a fleeing 17-year-old high school athlete, anyway?
I say almost, because like most Americans, I responded to the Trayvon Martin tragedy as President Barack Obama did in sorrow, and with pity for the immense dignity of the young mans parents. They and their son deserve justice. Not vengeance, justice.
I also believed, as Ive written, that untrained individuals like Zimmerman have no business packing heat, nor confronting strangers they deem suspicious. Trouble didnt come to George Zimmerman; he went looking for it. At minimum, he acted like a damn fool.
I also was leery, however, of journalists and TV personalities such as Al Sharpton and his MSNBC colleagues setting up as prosecutor, judge and jury. Even if you didnt know about Sharptons previous misadventures he became famous because of his outrageous conduct during the 1987 Tawana Brawley rape hoax the networks permitting him to report about a public event in which hed enrolled as an active participant violated every known rule of journalistic ethics.
But truly, I had no idea. What began as a local tragedy has been supersized into a ratings-driven national TV melodrama, a racially and politically charged piece of infotainment pitting good against evil. A festival of bad reporting, speculation and mind-reading from the outset, the Zimmerman-Martin affair has turned into a classic example of what University of Virginia psychologist Jonathan Haidt calls a consensual hallucination.
That is, people have so much emotion invested in the story, that regardless of how much the facts change, their conclusions rarely do. With group identity at stake, skepticisms in short supply. Its become like a national Rorschach test. Comment lines to newspaper stories and blog posts regarding the case are a sight to see. Responding to a New York Times photo of Zimmerman on the witness stand, readers speculated that hed artificially darkened his skin to curry favor with African-American jurors.
Mores the pity, because apart from its most basic elements, i.e., that George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin during a struggle after phoning Sanford, Fla. police to report a suspicious character, very little about the tragedy as initially reported has survived closer scrutiny. Remember when Zimmerman was depicted as a 250-lb brute assaulting a child half his size? The real George Zimmerman turns out to be a smallish fellow some 5 or 6 inches shorter than the wiry young man he confronted.
Cable TVs amateur prosecutors expressed outrage that Sanford police failed to investigate. They alleged that Zimmerman had been allowed to leave the crime scene and go home. Supposedly, police hadnt bothered to take photos documenting Zimmermans self-defense claim, nor collected his gun or clothing as evidence. Sharpton and the rest railed about poor Trayvons body lying in the morgue for four days before his frantic parents were notified.
If true, these would have been evidence of callous racism and worse. They were all, however, categorically false. The cops took Zimmerman downtown, grilled him for hours, collected the physical evidence, canvassed for witnesses and filed an affidavit recommending he be charged with manslaughter. Sanford officers delivered the terrible news to Trayvons father face to face almost as soon as the family phoned police seeking his whereabouts.
Needless to say, no corrections were forthcoming. Instead, fresh outrage was manufactured over murky video footage of Zimmerman being led into police headquarters in handcuffs, seemingly unmarked after being treated by EMS technicians. For MSNBC viewers, the footage became as familiar as the Zapruder film of JFKs assassination. Not only the Rev. Sharpton, but Big Ed Schultz, Lawrence ODonnell and their guests repeatedly portrayed it as the linchpin of their case. Zimmerman had clearly lied about Trayvon assaulting him. Therefore there was no self-defense. Case closed.
So when ABC News published a contemporaneous photo of Zimmerman with blood streaming from two wounds on the back of his head on the day of his bail hearing, a naive observer might have imagined that an attitude adjustment might be in order. No chance. Sharpton ignored the photos altogether; the rest gave them short shrift.
So maybe Zimmermans a racist murderer, maybe his suspicions of Trayvon were correct, or possibly something in between.
Based on what I know, I cant say.
Then there was this disconcerting admission from the APs account of the hearing: Investigator Dale Gilbreath testified that he does not know whether Martin or Zimmerman threw the first punch and that there is no evidence to disprove Zimmermans contention he was walking back to his vehicle when confronted by Martin.
And if he doesnt know, dear reader, neither do you.
Imagine what nationwide riots would do to news ratings. They want this to happen.
People watching cities burning all around the nation, why, the MSM would have a truly rapt audience.
That is, until the perpetually aggrieved population reaches the news station....
Gene Lyons is a liberal political columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
I agree, as far as his comments about “untrained” people having weapons and that rot. But the rest of the column is remarkably fair-and-balanced for a liberal bed-wetter like Lyons.
I almost await rioting and chaos. We need to settle their hash sooner or later. If they think that Mr. Obama and General Holder being in charge gives them carte blache for just about anything they want to do or any crime they wish to commit, we need to nip that in the bud before it gets really out of hand. The law-abiding citizens of this country are still in the majority and we’re VERY well-armed. Ever notice that they only burn down their own neighborhoods? Why don’t they head to the suburbs, exurbs or the country? Hmmmm....
I am with you 100 percent. Its just a festering boil that has to be lanced, if not it will only get worse, its an issue that has to be settled decisively and with finality.
To me, the riots and chaos are a foregone conclusion. What comes after, who knows?
They may claim those are their neighborhoods, but the taxpayers in 1992 California had to fork over a billion dollars to pay for the party. None of which the rioters contributed one red cent to.
They burn it down, the lawabiding taxpayer should put them on notice. You will live amongst the ashes of what you have wrought.
I also believed, as Ive written, that untrained individuals like Zimmerman have no business packing heat, nor confronting strangers they deem suspicious. Trouble didnt come to George Zimmerman; he went looking for it. At minimum, he acted like a damn fool.The only "damn fool" in this story is the writer, who's trying to partially make up for his past participation in the Official Lynch Mob by expressing some Faux Objectivity.
IIRC, they complained that merchants wouldn’t move back in and rebuild their stores. Guess they don’t see the irony.
The difference is that the German, Polish, Hungarian, Russian, French, Austrian and etc. civilians didn’t have millions of guns and billions of rounds of ammunition. That’s not the case this time:
What Good Can a Handgun Do Against An Army?
Gene Lyons was about the most biased pro-Clinton op-ed columnist out there. To this day, he can be counted on to reliably regurgitate Dem talking points.
So why this column? It's a guess on my part, but I think the DNC is realizing that Obama and the left, once again, jumped into this matter without having the full facts at hand and now the DNC is trying to extracate themselves from it before it causes serious electoral harm to them. Lyons basically threw Sharpton under the bus with this column. And that is a clear message to Al - you're on your own now, as far as support from leading Dems.
Lyons is NEVER fair unless someone wants him to be, for reasons that have nothing to do with fairness.
How was HE to know that someone named George Zimmerman was an Hispanic?
The first name said white and the second, Jew—the two groups he hates the most.
He has them fired up now and they ain't gonna let go until they get some release.
Those white devil slave masters in powdered wigs sure had America's future pegged when they came up with the 2nd Amendment, didn't they?They weren't looking into the future. They were looking into the question "how to secure and maintain freedom".
They were at least somewhat prophetic of the current times and would be surprised it took this long for another King George to emerge.
I remember when he use to “do” Bill Clinton, figuratively speaking. Didn’t know he was still hacking it.
They turned out to be prophetic but not because they could imagine future events but because they understood human nature and the rights of man.
It’s not a crystal ball; it’s wisdom.
The powder keg is waiting for the matches being thrown at it to make solid contact....
How was He to know that George Zimmerman has almost as much Black blood as Obama?
I think you're right. This ginned-up farce was intended to energize the base. But inciting the base to the degree that violence and race riots ensue will damage Obama's chances, particularly in light of his public comment comparing TM to the son he never had, and his Justice Department's racist double standard when it comes to enforcing the law.
Gene Lyons might be a liberal, but he’s making an effort to be honest about the the Trayvon situation. That’s amazing. He’s the only journalist staking out that claim...
I don’t buy the idea of an honest re-appraisal for the sake of the truth alone. This column is all about political advantage.
The polling numbers must stink to high heaven. Obama already has the black vote sewn up tight, and even if he announced that Lawrence Welk is on his Ipod favorites list, he would only lose a percentage point or two.
Team Zero might have been thinking that a wedge issue could mobilize or energize black voters, but I doubt it. When Obummer made the “My son would look like Trayvon” comment, it was either off the cuff idiocy that they then had to own, or it was designed to play to liberals and moderates of other races.
I’m guessing that it had the opposite effect of what they wanted, and the negatives for the increasingly obvious attempt to railroad Zimmerman were crushing any positives gained for trying to come across as a thoughtful or loyal opponent of “the man” in the form of Sanford PD.
On a local level, I think the tide turned with the new judge and the rejection of the resignation of Chief Lee.
On the national level, the exposing of the NBC tape edit and the release of the “bloody head” photos did major damage to the liberal narrative among casual observers, and the testimony of the investigator at the bail hearing sealed the deal for those who are actually paying close attention (a small group, probably).
My guess is that what the prosecution has is some inconsistencies in Zimmerman’s multiple, lengthy and foolish, if earnest, statements to the police with no lawyer present. That might be enough in a normal, local case.
After the race-baiting has put it under an national microscope, I’m not so sure.
At this point, a full blown trail with the prosecutor trying to hang Zimmerman on details of volunteered statements while all the physical evidence points the other way must be making Obama pollsters writhe.
Throw in the image of “sweet Trayvon” getting thrashed while Zimmerman’s story gets told by his friends and neighbors, and they might well be wishing for another way out.
Perhaps the best they can hope for at this stage is for the judge to stop it now, and they are proactively trying to wash their hands of the blood that may come if cities burn.
I think with this column Lyons not only throws Sharpton under the bus in the best Obummer tradition, he also throws Obama under the bus. Lyons is a Clinton mouthpiece, and the idea of President Slow Jam choking on a racial stew of his own making must secretly delight the minions of the “first black President”.
Just a note: people have said this a couple times, but I really don’t think “Zimmerman” is a “Jewish” type name. It’s strictly ethnic German, AFAIK.
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