So now a unanimous citizen jury has agreed with Sanford, Fla. police chief Bill Lee (fired for resisting political lynch mobs and refusing to file baseless charges — http://tinyurl.com/l5bch6w) and the state prosecutor who first investigated neighborhood watch coordinator George Zimmerman’s fatal 2012 shooting of black teen-ager Trayvon Martin.
The jury listened to the eye-witness, considered the corroborating physical evidence, compared that to a set of prosecution witnesses that left defense attorneys with little to do but raise their arms and shout Hallelujah, and ruled no crime was committed by the 28-year-old resident of the gated Twin Lakes community.
Novelists and screenplay writers would be told to come up with something more believable if they tried to invent a prosecution “star witness” to rival young Martin’s hefty girlfriend, Rachel Jeantel, a 19-year-old high school senior whose ebonic accent and vocabulary often proved incomprehensible to those in the courtroom, and whose charming tweets on the subject of being unable to pass the Florida state high school competency test (http://tinyurl.com mlmo7jl) I decline to copy verbatim, even here.
As to the substance, it was all over once the fat lady sang. Miss Jeantel admitted on the stand she had not told police Martin — in his cell phone call to her shortly before his death — had said he was being followed by a “creepy-ass cracker.”
Why didn’t she mention this racial epithet when first questioned? Because at the time she was sitting beside Trayvon Martin’s bereaved mother, Sybrina Fulton, she explained.
(Interviewing the girlfriend as she sat next to the bereaved mom: Where can I find that in the police manual?)
But then came the show-stopper. Even the New York dailies reported the Sanford, Fla. courtroom sat “stunned” as defense attorney Don West handed Jeantel the letter she had reportedly written to Martin’s mother, detailing that final phone conversation with Trayvon Martin, and asked her to read it aloud.
She could not do so.
“Are you able to read that at all?” West asked.
“Some, but not all. I don’t read cursive,” Jeantel said in a whisper, her head bowed.
In fact, she admitted she had someone else write the letter, of which she could decipher nothing but her printed nickname as a signature.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you “The Government Schools.”
We don’t know for sure whether Trayvon Martin — caught at school with valuable ladies’ jewelry in his backpack (See the American Spectator at http://tinyurl.com/nwgaodq, among others) was casing houses in Sanford, Fla., for more break-ins. But we do know this: In any state in the union, if someone without provocation punches you and breaks your nose, gets you down on the sidewalk and beats your head into that sidewalk till you fear he may kill you or cause you great bodily harm, you can shoot him, and no “stand your ground” law has anything to do with it.
BENDING THE STORY TO FIT
This case was a ginned-up political show-trial from the start, complete with perpetual race-baiting candidate Barack Obama wading into a local matter where his office had no standing, asserting that “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”
What a “Great Uniter.” Why not “On the other hand, my mother, who was white, bore me an Indonesian half-sister named Maya Soetoro-Ng, who looks a lot more like George Zimmerman”?
But while the politics of racial division are unmistakeable here — likely designed to get riled-up Obama voters to the polls in 2012 — the real reason the press fell for this latest version of the Tawana Brawley “whites are always guilty” hokum is because they saw it as a way to attack Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which they revile with all their hearts, since it empowers citizens to arm themselves for self-defense.
Where did “stand your ground” laws actually come from?
As our friend Clayton Cramer pointed out last year at http://tinyurl.com/m8ks3ov, there have been numerous cases in this country in which trial judges have cooperated (through bad jury instructions) with prosecutors seeking convictions against women who used deadly force to defend themselves in their own homes, improperly arguing these women had some “duty to retreat.”
“Fortunately, the courts have had the good sense to recognize that there is no duty to retreat in your own home and have ordered retrials with different jury instructions,” Mr. Cramer noted, citing such examples as State v. Livesay, 233 P. 2d 432 (Idaho 1951) in which a woman shot her abusive husband when he returned home from jail for domestic violence and attacked her. “On appeal, her right to defend herself in her own home was upheld; the judge’s ‘duty to retreat’ instruction was ruled incorrect.”
It’s stories like these that have led lawmakers in various states to bar judges or prosecutors from claiming the threatened party had some further “duty to retreat.”
The big-government lapdog press, which would prefer to see us all disarmed and cowering in our homes as our militarized police strut like a Sturm Abteilung, hates these laws. They assert these laws create an open season for angry white men to stalk the streets, free to shoot down non-white citizens without fear of legal consequences.
The shooting of the “unarmed innocent little teen-age boy” Trayvon Martin by angry white man George Zimmerman, who would doubtless base his defense on Florida’s “stand your ground law,” thus seemed the perfect case to turn into a national cause celebre.
Of course, a few facts had to be ignored or changed.
First, “Stand Your Ground” laws do nothing to dilute the basic test which any self-defense shooting has to meet. Before you present your weapon, you’d better be sure you can demonstrate that any reasonable person in your position would have feared death or serious bodily harm.
But other facts had to be ignored or changed, as well.
It’s our federal government, despite endlessly claiming to be in pursuit of “a colorblind society,” that insists on dividing up and counting the population under more racial labels than Campbell’s has soups. And the federal government long ago decided George Zimmerman and his ilk are not white at all, but minority “Hispanics.”
No problem. The press just ignored this fact, kept calling Zimmerman “white.”
It was also useful to contend Zimmerman had told the 9-1-1 operator he considered young Martin a suspicious intruder because he was black. Problem was, Zimmerman only identified Martin as “looking black” when the operator specifically asked whether the suspect appeared to be white or black.
No problem: NBC just edited the tape, removing from the version heard by most Americans the operator’s request for a description by color.
The fact that Trayvon Martin appears to have been an aggressive young jewel thief? Again, ignore it, publicize years-old photos of a smiling, innocent 12-year-old.
CAUGHT WITH STOLEN JEWELS
Then there was the inconvenient fact that the Zimmerman defense team, back in May, announced they wouldn’t be using Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law as part of their defense, at all — presumably because it required positive assertions by Mr. Zimmerman which could have opened him to cross-examination (an unnecessary risk in the face of a weak prosecution case), but more importantly because it didn’t meet the circumstances in the first place.
When you’re flat on your back having your head pounded into the sidewalk, who could argue you still have any “duty to retreat”?
No matter. Even as they waited for the jury verdict in late July, national radio and TV commentators kept asking, “Is it time to repeal the ‘Stand-Your-Ground’laws?”
Most curious, though, has been the mainstream media’s willful refusal to consider facts that paint Trayvon Martin as something quite different from an innocent schoolchild.
As Robert Stacy McCain reported for The American Spectator on July 13 (http://tinyurl.com/nwgaodq): “The February 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin might never have happened if school officials in Miami-Dade County had not instituted an unofficial policy of treating crimes as school disciplinary infractions. Revelations that emerged from an internal affairs investigation explain why Martin was not arrested when caught at school with stolen jewelry in October 2011 or with marijuana in February 2012. Instead, the teenager was suspended from school” and shipped off to
stay with his father’s girlfriend, “the last time just days before he was shot dead by George Zimmerman. …”
Both of Trayvon’s suspensions during his junior year at Krop High involved crimes that could have led to his prosecution as a juvenile offender. But Chief Charles Hurley of the Miami-Dade School Police Department (MDSPD) “in 2010 had implemented a policy that reduced the number of criminal reports, manipulating statistics to create the appearance of a reduction in crime within the school system,” McCain and others report. Less than two weeks before Martin’s death, the school system commended Chief Hurley for “decreasing school-related juvenile delinquency by an impressive 60 percent for the last six months of 2011.” What was actually happening was that crimes were not being reported as crimes, but instead treated as disciplinary infractions. …”
It was the controversy over Martin’s death that accidentally exposed Hurley’s cover-ups. In March 2012, the Miami Herald reported on Martin’s troubled history at Krop High. Chief Hurley then launched the internal affairs investigation to find out who’d provided information to the reporter. During the course of that investigation, MDSPD officers and supervisors blew the whistle on Hurley’s policy of not reporting crimes by students. “Chief Hurley … resigned in February, about a year after Trayvon Martin’s death.”