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Saturday, March 24, 2012

National Review “Conservative” Rich Lowry Goes to Bat for Al Sharpton in Trayvon Martin Case, Ignoring or Misrepresenting Facts of the Case

 
Trayvon Martin, l, and George Zimmerman

 
By Nicholas Stix

Is the editorial below part of the GOP’s black outreach for the 2012 election? It won’t work. My running corrections are within brackets.



The approximately five-year-old photo that Martin’s family has used to promote the racial fairy tale that George Zimmerman shot a little boy, instead of a 6’3” 17-year-old

 
* * *

Al Sharpton is right
By Rich Lowry
Saturday, March 24, 2012 12:04 a.m.
Herald Extra

What is true of the stopped clock is also true of the perpetually aggrieved, shamelessly exploitative publicity hound: Through sheer chance, he occasionally will be right.

The Trayvon Martin case appears to be one of those instances for Al Sharpton. The longtime provocateur and MSNBC host has a leading role in the protests over the lethal shooting of the 17-year-old Martin at the hands of a zealous neighborhood-watch volunteer in the Florida community of Sanford.

During halftime of the NBA All-Star Game [wrong: The game hadn’t yet begun], Martin left the home of his father's girlfriend to walk to the local 7-Eleven for Skittles and iced tea. It was about 7 p.m., and he caught the attention of 28-year-old George Zimmerman, who had taken it upon himself to patrol the neighborhood armed with a gun. [Zimmerman had been patrolling the neighborhood for years.] He considered Martin suspicious and called 9-1-1 [He didn’t call 911; he called a non-emergency police number.], which dispatched police. Ignoring the 9-1-1 operator's urging not to pursue Martin, Zimmerman followed the young man, got into an altercation with him, and shot him dead. [The non-911 police operator’s urging had no legal standing.]

Zimmerman claims Martin attacked him from behind and he fired in self-defense. But while he was on the line with 9-1-1, Zimmerman was the one chasing Martin. At the same time, Martin [allegedly] talked on his cellphone to his girlfriend, complaining of a man watching him. She [asserts that she] told him to run away, which he apparently did during the interval Zimmerman was on with 9-1-1. The girlfriend claims she heard Martin say, "What are you following me for?" before the call went dead.

The tape of another 9-1-1 call from a neighbor has [Zimmerman’s—don’t leave it to the reader’s imagination to fill in the yeller’s identity] yells of "Help" in the background before the gunshot. We may never know what exactly happened in the altercation. We do know this: Through stupendous errors in judgment, Zimmerman brought about an utterly unnecessary confrontation [This is the single truth of Lowry’s column.] and then -- in the most favorable interpretation of the facts for him -- shot Martin when he began to lose a fistfight to him. [What evidence is there that Zimmerman engaged Martin in a fistfight—none.]

Florida has a "stand your ground" law that stipulates that someone doesn't have to retreat and may use deadly force if facing a threat of death or bodily harm. It is one [one?] of the reasons that the police didn't press charges against Zimmerman. But the law is not meant to be a warrant for aggressive vigilantism. It was Martin, chased by a stranger who wasn't an officer of the law, who had more reason to feel threatened and "stand his ground" than Zimmerman. [Wrong!]

[Does Lowry have no understanding of American legal traditions, or Florida law, or is he simply indifferent to them, seeing everything as politically negotiable, based on momentary expediency?]

So, Sharpton and his usual complement of allies are right [wrong!] about this: The Sanford police appear to have made the wrong call in letting Zimmerman off. Of course, the usual suspects can't leave it at that. In their telling, the case is a wholesale indictment of American society.

One MSNBC anchor compared the case to the notorious lynching of Emmett Till in 1950s Mississippi. On a visit from Chicago, the 14-year-old Till talked to a white woman and was subsequently murdered, mutilated, and thrown in a river. His murderers got off. The Till case exposed a system built on injustice and hatred. The Orlando suburbs in the 2010s aren't remotely comparable, and George Zimmerman manifestly did not set out that night to kill Trayvon Martin, or he wouldn't have bothered to call the police.

News accounts tend to leave out that Zimmerman is a mixed-race Hispanic. That doesn't mean he can't be a racist. (Although it's murky, it sounds as if he mutters a racial epithet on the 9-1-1 call.) But a Hispanic-on-black killing lacks the narrative clarity of a white vigilante chasing down Trayvon Martin in the tradition of the worst practices of the Jim Crow South.

The attention devoted to the case has forced the chief of police of Sanford to step aside temporarily, and it's hard to see the grand jury that is now looking into the shooting not handing down charges against Zimmerman. If so, he shouldn't be effectively tried during street protests or on cable TV. There's already been enough vigilantism in Sanford, Fla.

• Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review.


 

Trayvon Martin’s parents, Tracy Martin, left, and Sybrina Fulton, center, during the riot (“Million Hoodie March”) supporters held in their honor in New York City’s Union Square on March 21(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
 

[Previously, on the Trayvon Martin case, at WEJB/NSU:

“Sanford, Florida: Black ‘Little Boy,’Trayvon Martin 17, Beat White ‘Vigilante’ George Zimmerman Bloody; Zimmerman Shot Martin Dead; Now Black WFTV ‘Reporter,’ Daralene Jones, Black Supremacists, and White Aunt Jemima Earwitness Demand That Zimmerman be Arrested”;

“Trayvon Martin: ABC ‘News’ Gets on Bandwagon, Acting as Martin’s Family Mouthpiece; Family Lawyer Refuses to Release All Information about Teen’s Last Phone Call to Girlfriend, but Insists That It Requires That George Zimmerman be Arrested ‘Right Now’”;

“Arrest First, Investigate Later: Press Conference by Lawyer Benjamin Crump, of Trayvon Martin’s Family, Seeks Through Violation of Due Process… to Railroad George Zimmerman”;

“News Coverage of the Trayvon Martin Case Keeps Getting Worse: New York Daily News Passes Off ABC News Hearsay as ‘Interview,’ While Changing the Hearsay!”;

“USA Today: ‘In wake of black teen Trayvon Martin's death, USA is soul-searching’; McPaper Invokes Jena 6, Quotes Al Sharpton, Self-Described ‘ThugNiggaIntellectual’ Mark Neal, and Jena Attacker Theo Shaw as Moral Authorities”;

“Why the Secret ‘Interview’ with Trayvon Martin’s Secret Girlfriend is Bogus, and His Alleged Last Cell Phone Call is Insignificant”;

“Another Trayvon Martin Supporter: Florida Atlantic U. Hate Crime Attacker Jonatha Carr Had Just been Interviewed about the Jena Six/Nuremberg-Style Rally She’s been Organizing; CBS12 News Tries to Rationalize Her Crimes”;

“Trayvon Martin’s Parents Attend New York City Riot Held on Their Behalf”; and

Associated Press and Penn Live: Arrest George Zimmerman for Killing Trayvon Martin, the Law be Damned! Let Zimmerman Prove His Innocence in Court!”

 

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