Was Zimmerman acting in self-defense or did he target a young black male to kill? Did the police act irresponsibly in releasing Zimmerman or were they following proper procedure?
As this story gained traction, the media has been playing on the emotions of Americans, and airing old photos of Zimmerman and Martin. The public has been constantly exposed to a 2005 arrest photo of Zimmerman and middle school pictures of a fresh faced Martin. In the pictures, Zimmerman looks menacing, while Martin looks like an innocent child. Yet, more recent photos have not been used that show Zimmerman as a more mature businessman and Martin as a developed 17 year old student.
The narrative has been that a racist Zimmerman hunted down Martin and killed him. It is no wonder that a recent CNN poll showed that 73 percent of Americans wanted Zimmerman arrested.
These results are due to media misrepresentation and willful omission. It was initially reported that Zimmerman is white, but he is Hispanic. It has now been revealed that he mentors black children, has black family members and one of his best friends, Joe Oliver, is black. In fact, Oliver has been doing interviews attesting to Zimmerman’s character and denying that his friend is a racist.
Trayvon Martin was 6’3” and weighed approximately 170 pounds. It is not a stretch to believe that he was able to knock the 5’9” Zimmerman to the ground. He was more athletic and could have easily surprised Zimmerman. This contradicts the media narrative that Zimmerman attacked Martin and killed him. If Martin was beating Zimmerman and on top of him, he could have been killed in self-defense. This is story that Zimmerman told police and is corroborated by an eyewitness. It may be the reason that he was not initially arrested by police.
At this point, the media needs to accurately report the story and the racist “civil rights” leaders need to allow the investigation to proceed. If George Zimmerman acted unlawfully and killed Martin, he should be arrested. If he was within his rights and following the state’s “stand your ground” law, which allows a person to use deadly force in self-defense, then he should not be arrested and should remain free.
Not surprisingly, these new revelations have not stopped the peddlers of racism and division, Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson, from using this tragedy to whip up tensions and get their face on television. Once again, President Obama needlessly inserted himself into a national controversy by telling the country that “if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” Instead of exacerbating racial animosity, the President should have made a general statement asking for patience while the case works its way through the Florida legal system.
To make matters worse, the New Black Panther Party placed a $10,000 bounty on the head of George Zimmerman. They demanded the capture of Zimmerman and ominously told the media they believe in “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” The implication is that the group wants to see George Zimmerman dead. These radicals want to mobilize 10,000 black men to hunt down Zimmerman and bring him to justice in their own system, outside of the Florida courts.
This kind of vigilante justice is troubling and should be condemned by a cross section of Americans. Imagine if the KKK had issued a similar statement in response to the death of a white youngster. There would be international condemnation and maybe even an investigation from the United Nations Human Rights Council. In this case, there is only muted criticism and even some support for the hateful group. It is no wonder that Zimmerman is in hiding and his friend Joe Oliver fears for his safety.
Zimmerman, along with his family and friends, are now in the bull’s-eye of militant activists. Sadly, this racially tinged public frenzy has been created by the irresponsible actions of the media.
Until we learn more and the investigation is complete, the media needs to stop fanning the flames of racial tension and start reporting accurate facts. The focus needs to be on discovering the truth, not assigning blame to any one person or group.
Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m.weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at www.ringsidepolitics.com. E-mail him at [email protected]">[email protected].
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