Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Taking the race card out of the deck

One of the hallmarks of dictatorships through the ages (think Stalin's Russia or Mao's China or Castro's Cuba) is that citizens cannot rely on any sort of consistent legal system or code of conduct. What those in charge find acceptable one day is subject to change simply by the personal whim of Dear Leader.

Wearing, say, a red shirt might be considered illegal. So, in order to avoid the wrath of the authorities a person could spend years wearing only blue shirts. Then one day, those in power would decide blue shirts were illegal, and poor Boris/Jose/Chang would find himself hauled off to the gulag based on the whim of a dictator.

Even today in Cuba, people are frequently arrested on charges of being a "Pre-criminal danger to society," which might just mean the cop didn't like the look on your face, or it might mean your neighbor reported you for saying something bad about the government. The average case results in a four-year sentence in a Cuban prison, which is not to be confused with the relative country club conditions at Guantanamo.

One of the hallmarks of a free society is a legal system devoid of arbitrary, capricious power, whether that power is wielded by an all-powerful dictator or by an angry mob.

With the Not Guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman case, America has taken an important step back from turning its legal system into a banana republic-like farce, and we can be hopeful that we are getting closer to the point where the "race card" is relegated to the ash heap of history.

To be clear: George Zimmerman should never have been made to stand trial, and would not have without the poisonous race-mongering of people like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, and the complicity of an equally immoral and incompetent media.

(The idea of Sharpton, a man with considerable amounts of blood on his hands - click here - crying for "justice" is particularly sickening. The man is a cancer on American society.)

A number of cities have seen "protests" over Zimmerman's acquittal in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, and it's hard not to consider those protesting as simply a group of stupid people who are either A) Ignorant of the law, B) Ignorant of the facts of this case or C) So driven by irrational racial animus that they don't care about the law or the facts. And all along the way they've been misled by unethical journalists who are always happy to invent black/white conflicts, even if there isn't a white person involved.

The facts we know in this case are:

- Zimmerman was acting in his role as a neighborhood watch captain in a neighborhood that had seen a high number of break-ins and other criminal activity

- Zimmerman spotted Martin moving through the neighborhood and called police

- Zimmerman and Martin ended up having a confrontation. Anyone who tells you that Zimmerman "stalked" or "hunted down" Martin, or claims that Zimmerman initiated the confrontation, is saying something that they have no way of knowing to be true. The only evidence presented was Zimmerman's claim that Martin attacked and "sucker punched" him to begin the altercation, and no evidence to the contrary was ever presented. Or exists.

- The altercation resulted - according to the only eyewitness - with Martin on top of Zimmerman, repeatedly bashing his head against a concrete sidewalk, resulting in head injuries and a broken nose for Zimmerman. At that point, fearing for his life, Zimmerman was able grab his gun and shoot Martin in what seems to be a classic case of legal self-defense.

After the shooting, the local authorities investigated and cleared Zimmerman of any wrongdoing, ruling that he acted in self-defense. Given the facts, it's hard to imagine they could have done anything else.

This sent the racial grievance machine into high gear. Sharpton, Jackson and the others - who don't seem to care one whit when dozens of young black men are regularly gunned down in Chicago, Detroit or Washington, D.C. - saw a chance to get their mugs on TV and stir the pot by decrying the killing of a black teenager by a white guy.

Except they didn't really have a white guy for a villain. They had another member of an "aggrieved minority," a Hispanic, and that was kind of inconvenient to the narrative. So the media helped them along with a new term, "White Hispanic," to describe Zimmerman.

(One of the wonderful ironies of the situation is that because they each have one white parent, Zimmerman is just as "white" as Barack Obama is. The media began saying Zimmerman "identifies himself as Hispanic." I look forward to the day the New York Times says that Obama is the first president who "identifies himself as black.")

So even though Zimmerman had been cleared by an investigation, and even though there was not one single witness who could say that Zimmerman had begun the altercation with Martin, political pressure from the White House and Justice Department led to the Florida Governor appointing a special prosecutor, who decided to overrule the local authorities, bypass the traditional Grand Jury route and press charges against Zimmerman.

This is where we began wandering into banana republic territory. An innocent man was brought to trial - even though he had already been cleared of wrongdoing - by simple political pressure. When they wrote the U.S. Constitution, the founding fathers were cognizant of the abuses that had taken place in Europe through the use of "Bills of Attainder," a method by which government would simply declare a person or group of people "illegal" and deny them their civil rights. That's why the U.S. Constitution - as well as the constitutions of all 50 states - specifically bans bills of attainder.

The Zimmerman prosecution came very close to that kind of abuse, and the remarkably unethical conduct of the prosecutors (click here to see what respected liberal Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz thinks of the prosecution tactics) left Zimmerman to defend himself against a moving target. First he was charged with murder. When the prosecutors realized they had no case, they asked to have a manslaughter charge considered, and amazingly the judge agreed. When they saw that case crumbling, they tried to add a "child abuse" charge, and even the judge that had been rolling over for them decided that was going a bridge too far.

And the complicit media - always on the lookout for "civil rights" violations - saw nothing wrong with an American citizen being dragged through a Kangaroo Court proceeding, based on political pressure from the White House and a corrupt Justice Department that even spent taxpayer money assisting anti-Zimmerman rallies. (Click here for details on that story, which the Washington Post and NBC News aren't anxious to tell you about.)

Recognizing that there was no evidence for a murder conviction, the media began cheerleading for a "compromise" verdict of manslaughter, as though "compromise" is a credible concept in a criminal trial. Imagine that you're driving down the highway at 55 MPH, and a cop mistakenly pulls you over and writes a ticket charging you with driving 75 MPH. Would you be satisfied if, when you contest the ticket, a judge said, "Let's just compromise on 65 MPH and have you pay that fine"? Would you consider that "justice?"

By the end of the trial, it was clear that despite all the bleatings of Sharpton and the media, there was no choice but to acquit George Zimmerman. The jury did its duty, and America backed away from the precipice of becoming a "nation of men, not of laws."

In the great 1990 movie Presumed Innocent, the judge dismisses the case against Harrison Ford's character by saying, "I cannot begin to tell you how sorry I am that any of this has taken place. Not even the pleasure of seeing you free can make up for this, this disgrace to the cause of justice."

That seems a perfect epitaph for what happened to George Zimmerman, and one can only hope that Sharpton, Jackson and all the other race-baiters learn that the value of playing the race card has been dramatically diminished.

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