Exploiting the Florida Tragedy
I do not believe in conspiracy theories. Rather, I believe that significant events happen because stupid people find themselves dealing with the same problem at the same time.
When a concentration of stupidity creates idiocy, there is always a politician ready to spin the result to his advantage. This is known in political science as the "KAOS" theory, the assumption that the IQ of the average well-meaning problem-solver as well as his government supporter is slightly lower than that of Maxwell Smart.
This is certainly the case with Florida homicide victim Trayvon Martin and shooter George Zimmerman.
The facts are still fuzzy, but what seems to have occurred was that Hispanic George Zimmerman, packing a loaded weapon, went out on patrol for his neighborhood watch. He was a policeman "wannabe" who fancied himself as a superhero. Zimmerman then encountered a 17-year-old African-American dressed as a caricature of a thug complete with hooded sweatshirt and an "in your face" attitude.
Trayvon was, in essence, a stereotype of that young black male who even African-American newscaster Juan Williams admitted, "scares me." He was Hollywood typecast as the person whose presence makes women, white and black, cross the street rather than risk an encounter.
To label a young man like Trayvon as "suspicious" was certainly unfair. In the end, he was just a boy traversing the neighborhood with Skittles and iced tea. But, as Geraldo Rivera pointed out, by "styling yourself as a gangsta ... people are going to perceive you as a menace."
So the tragedy played out. The boy dressed as a "gangsta" met the "vigilante," the latter mentally convinced he was an undercover cop. The gangsta got scared that he was being followed and may have struck the vigilante on the back of the head, slamming him to the pavement.
The vigilante struggled. He fired his weapon. And "stupid is as stupid does." A mother lost her son.
There was no need for an armed volunteer to follow a teenager doing nothing more than dressing the part of a stereotype. Nor was there a reason for a young man to strike a resident just because the resident followed him, if he did. Each was a prisoner of his own pop culture.
Then, into this predictable novel came those whose business it was to exploit unproven perception with politics. President Obama said that if he had a son, he would look like the dead boy. Al Sharpton led mobs from New York to Orlando demanding a lynching. The Justice Department - which, only a few years earlier, refused to prosecute or even sue when it found blacks intimidating white voters - sent investigators and FBI agents to publicly join the rabble.
Even movie director Spike Lee added to the spectacle by tweeting to the mob the vigilante's address, a place which turned out to be the home of an old man and woman with no connection to the tragic farce.
Such events are not without precedent. Sharpton and Obama may have learned their tactics from the prosecutor who ignored the evidence to arrest and convict the Scottsboro Boys. Or, possibly they studied the reaction of the Durham County district attorney who was anxious to jail some oversexed Duke lacrosse players because his African-American supporters perceived them to be "rich white boys" hurting a poor black woman.
Politicians like Obama, Sharpton and their tactical predecessors from Durham and Scottsboro fish for political profit in a sea of tragedy and farce; and too many swallow the hook.
All of us carry with us ugly racial stereotypes. George Zimmerman was clearly afflicted with that burden. But many young black males "double down" on that stereotype, wearing their "pants on the flo" and hoods on their head, refusing to acknowledge the mainstream culture. Politicos both understand those prejudices and are anxious to exploit them.
Whether it is George Wallace "standing in the schoolhouse door" or Al Sharpton whipping up a mob, we must all maintain our skepticism. And, where politicians like Barack Obama ignore truth, favoring KAOS in the name of justice, we must demand that they be replaced in the interest of justice, the only justice possible for a dead naive gangsta and a mentally challenged vigilante.
Robert M. Levy is chairman of the Moore County Republican Party. Contact him at Law52@prodigy.net.
More like this story