On Sunday, commentator Andrew Sullivan wrote an absurd piece labeling the George Zimmerman not guilty verdict a step toward a “return to the era of lynching.” In making his case, he pasted together lies, half-truths and sheer nonsense. First, he posited that the big problem in the case was not a lack of evidence, though he acknowledged a lack of evidence; no, the big problem was that the jury was not “a jury of Trayvon’s peers,” as though the Constitution’s provision for a jury of peers were applicable to victims rather than to defendants. That bizarre charge continues to gain ground among Zimmerman’s enemies, including Rev. Jesse Jackson, the implication being that only black people can judge cases involving either a black victim or a black defendant, because white juries are simply too racist to see facts for facts.
Then Sullivan accused the right of brandishing “their relish at seeing Zimmerman vindicated,” and of reveling in the death of Trayvon Martin. Well, no. Many observers of the case were happy to see a politically motivated prosecution – a prosecution pressed for by Sullivan’s allies in the media — ended by a rational jury. Nobody was happy, as Sullivan puts it, to see a young black man dead.
Sullivan accused America of rampant racism. Naturally. “There’s no way any of us can know precisely what happened in that violent interaction, except that Zimmerman clearly made a decision that led directly to it. But when an all-white jury in America finds a ‘white’ man innocent of killing an unarmed black man, the resonances are simply undeniable.”
First, the jury was not all-white. There was a Hispanic woman on the jury, even if people like Sullivan would like to see Hispanics like George Zimmerman as white for purposes of their politically correct slight-of-hand. Second, there are no “resonances” when someone is acquitted for lack of evidence. Were Zimmerman uninjured, he likely would have been convicted. Had witnesses universally testified that Martin was on the bottom, screaming, Zimmerman likely would have been convicted. Had Martin been the young black child in the photos released by the media, rather than a 17-year-old capable of pounding a man’s head into pavement, Zimmerman likely would have been convicted. Had the prosecution’s witnesses not provided evidence for the defense, Zimmerman likely would have been convicted. Had the media’s case – white man stalking black child and shooting him unprovoked – been true, Zimmerman would have been convicted for sure. As it was, the case never should have gone to trial.
Finally, Sullivan took on the “stand-your-ground” law that was never invoked or utilized by the defense, and which Zimmerman himself never used. Sullivan suggested that such laws “can come perilously close to a return to the right to lynch black men in America,” as though black men are incapable of invoking “stand your ground.” The evidence does not demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that Trayvon Martin was shot because he was wearing a hoodie, because he was in the wrong place in the wrong time, or because he was carrying Skittles. He was at least likely shot because he started a fight with George Zimmerman, broke his nose, and then smacked his head on cement. That is what witness testimony and forensic evidence tell us.
Sullivan said, “This verdict may give some racist vigilantes encouragement to single out and murder black men with a sense of impunity. That is simply unacceptable, to put it mildly. It is a terrifying reminder of how the past can become present again. We must respect the jury’s decision. But we need not respect that law.”
Sullivan, of course, can not name a single such vigilante ready and willing to use “stand your ground” for that purpose. Certainly there are such people out there — but thankfully, “stand your ground” laws allow black folks to defend themselves against such despicable human beings. And as for the notion that such vigilantes are out there, waiting for the Zimmerman verdict to strike, that’s bunkum — there is no KKK roaming the streets of Sanford looking to provoke fights in order to shoot black people.
The law is not the issue. The tacit race-baiting of leftists like Andrew Sullivan is. If Sullivan were truly worried about young black men dying, he’d stop perpetuating the myth of deep and widespread white racism – a myth that leads young black men to see the police as enemies, which in turn leads to gang culture for protection purposes.
The Zimmerman case does not mean a return to Birth of a Nation. That is not America, thank God. It’s the patronizing race-baiting of folks like Andrew Sullivan that spells more dead black young men.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).