What if Trayvon Had Been White, and the Shooter Black?
What would happen if a black man armed with a handgun confronted "suspicious persons" in his neighborhood? What would happen if the "suspicious persons" were unarmed white teens, one of them was shot dead, and the shooter claimed self-defense?
This is not an exercise in mere speculation. We know what would happen in such a case. There would be no white mobs in the street chanting "No justice, no peace!" There would be no whites holding a "million hoodie march" in New York City. There would be no white equivalent of Al Sharpton, the professional race-baiter behind the 1987 Tawana Brawley hoax, leading marches in the streets of the shooter's hometown. There would be no Federal civil rights investigation by the Justice Department. There would be no comments from a president who seems congenitally unable to keep his mouth shut on matters involving left-wing political correctness. And there would be no national media attention from biased, left-wing "reporters."
We know this because in fact, such an event occurred in 2009 in Greece, N.Y., a suburb of Rochester. Roderick Scott, a black man, shot and killed an unarmed white teen, Christopher Cervini, whom he believed was burglarizing a neighbor's car, with a licensed .40 cal. handgun.
There are many similarities between the Scott-Cervini case and the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case in Florida. In both cases, there had been a spate of criminal activity in the neighborhood. In both cases, the shooters called 911 to report suspicious activity, yet chose to confront the unarmed suspects outside their residence and off their own property prior to the arrival of the police. In both cases, the shooters claimed that they felt threatened, and fired in self-defense. In both cases, local law enforcement applied relevant state law.
Unlike Florida, New York does not have a "stand your ground" law. New York law allows a person to use deadly force to defend his residence from home invasion only as a last resort. It does not allow the use of deadly force to prevent a property crime, and requires retreat if possible. Thus, while Zimmerman was not arrested under Florida law, Scott was tried for manslaughter.
New York law does allow a person to use deadly force anywhere, including off his own property, if he feels that his life is in imminent danger and retreat is not possible. Despite the fact that he left his own property, confronted, and shot dead an unarmed white person thought to be committing a petty property crime, Scott was acquitted by a majority-white jury after claiming that the Cervini charged at him, putting him in imminent fear of his life.
Despite the racial difference between the shooter and the decedent, there were no allegations of racial bias. Scott was not charged with a hate crime. There was no Federal civil rights investigation. There were no white protests. The case was settled for what it was: a tragedy caused by a series of poor decisions on behalf of the shooter, and a split-second decision that will forever be second-guessed.
In all probability, the actions of Zimmerman in Florida were also based on a series of poor decisions: the decision to follow a suspect after a police dispatcher told him not to, the decision to confront a suspect with a firearm off his own property, and a split-second decision to shoot an unarmed person when Zimmerman felt his life was in imminent danger, resulting in tragedy. But a tragedy is not necessarily a Federal civil rights case - unless the mobs in the streets and their allies in the media and government want to make it one.
The truth of the matter is that "civil rights" cases are often little more than reverse lynch mobs. In the Old South of the past, white mobs would drag black suspects out of jail and lynch them in the streets if they felt the wheels of justice were turning too slowly. Today, black mobs, often led by the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, lead street protests or riots, and the Federal government comes after white suspects with the "rope" of "civil rights" charges. And just like the old Southern sheriffs with ties to the Klan who turned a blind eye to the illegal actions of whites, the Department of Justice often refuses to act on "civil rights" violations when the perpetrators are black and the victims are white. In the eyes of the Federal government and the political Left, all whites are forever suspected of being gap-toothed Klansmen with shotguns and nooses in their pickup trucks, and all blacks are perpetually innocent, doe-eyed victims of white oppression.
This dynamic was made perfectly clear twenty years ago by the Los Angeles riots. Rodney King, a convicted felon, allegedly intoxicated, led police on a high-speed car chase and resisted arrest when he was finally cornered. Most people agree that the cops gave Rodney a few more licks than department procedures called for. But given King's background and the extenuating circumstances, the cops were acquitted of assault charges under state law. The black population of L.A. erupted in riots that killed 53 people, ignited thousands of arsons, and saw widespread looting. Korean merchants were racially targeted for arson, and resorted to defending their property with arms. Reginald Denny, a hapless white truck driver who inadvertently drove into the riots, was pulled from his vehicle by black rioters who smashed his skull in 91 places with a brick (inflicting far worse injuries than the cops had inflicted on King) and danced a jig over his prone body.
Long before Eric Holder became Attorney General, refused to prosecute black voter intimidation, and referred to blacks as "my people," the Department of Justice caved in to the pressure of the rioters by charging and convicting the L.A. cops with "civil rights" violations and sending them to Federal prison. But no such Federal charges were levied against the blacks who targeted the Koreans and attacked Reginald Denny.
Two years later, O.J. Simpson, a black defendant with a history of domestic violence, was accused of slashing the throats of two white people. But no "civil rights" or "hate crimes" charges were filed against him. No white protests erupted against Simpson or against the black community. Simpson, a black millionaire who had a career in sports, money, and fame that most white people can only dream about, was portrayed as a "victim" of the "racist" police. Blacks from coast to coast whooped and danced with joy when he was acquitted of double murder.
Certainly it's true that in the past, blacks have been victims of whites. But today the reality is quite different from what the street mobs, the government, the media and the P.C. crowd would have us believe. Far from being victims of white oppression, blacks today are disproportionately perpetrators of violent crimes against whites and against other blacks. According to data from the FBI Uniform Crime Reports, in 2009, "whites" -- a category that includes Hispanics -- were known to be responsible for 5,286 murders. Blacks, a mere 13% of the population, were known to be responsible for 5,980 murders. In 2005, the New Century Foundation's "Color of Crime" report found that "Blacks commit more violent crime against whites than against blacks. Forty-five percent of their victims are white, 43 percent are black, and 10 percent are Hispanic. When whites commit violent crime, only three percent of their victims are black" (emphasis mine). Also in 2005, the Department of Justice reported that one-third of rapes committed against white women (approximately 37,000) were perpetrated by blacks, while less than ten -- statistically zero -- rapes of black women were committed by whites.
Whatever happened in the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case, one thing is perfectly clear: it's high time this country quit the racial dog-and-pony show, and judged each criminal case on its individual merits instead of allowing the race-baiting demagogues to leverage each incident for political advantage in the streets and in the media.