I haven't commented much on the Trayvon Martin case because a story of this kind usually is not of much interest to me. My immediate reaction was that we should let a court determine the facts; thus, I felt outraged that the cops initially let Zimmerman walk away.
After the legal process began, I felt (and feel) that this business should not devolve into yet another one of those ludicrous exercises in Barnum-and-Bailey-ing that our debauched society seems to adore. Alas, that's what we got. The initial parade of left-wing clowns has now been overtaken by a parade of right-wing clowns. Taken together, these buffoons have proven something that a lot of kids already sensed: Clowns are scary.
Perhaps the most clownish clown to bound out of the miniature car is the fellow who wrote this headline: "Martin Had Drugs in System
." One might expect that kind of inflammatory nonsense from Fox and other agit-prop sites -- but from Slate
In fact, the kid had a small amount of THC in his system. The headline creates the impression that Martin had hopped himself up on meth or crack.
Again: I don't know what happened that night; a court must decide. To me, and I am speaking very
provisionally here, this is one of those situations where everything comes down to the question of who initiated violence
. If a witness says that Trayvon Martin struck first, then Zimmerman's case becomes much stronger. If a witness says that Zimmerman pushed, struck or threatened, then his case becomes much weaker. If no witness can definitively resolve the issue, then Zimmerman must be given the benefit of the doubt.
That said, it is scurrilous for the right to make a hero of Zimmerman. The man had been warned by the cops
to stay out of the situation, yet he ignored that directive
The right would have us believe that Zimmerman is some sort of hero. They've made Trayvon Martin into yet another of their many rage objects. One entrepreneur even sells Trayvon Martin gun targets; the product quickly sold out
There have also been prominent right-wingers who have claimed that the victims of Anders Brevik deserved their fate
simply because they belonged to the "wrong" Norwegian political party.
I'm getting a definite Weimar vibe here. Maybe the way I'm feeling now is the way decent men felt when the beer hall bullies applauded the killers of Walter Rathenau.
What would Fox News watchers be saying about Sharon Tate if her murder had occurred yesterday instead of 44 years ago? Perhaps they would come up with some reason to blame the victims, who were hippie-friendly, free-loving, drug-taking Hollywood types. Perhaps a few on the right would even be so bold as to rationalize the actions of the killers. There isn't that
much difference between the apocalyptic fantasies of the militia maniacs and Charlie's dream of a Helter Skelter race war.