Some observers are even worried a “race war” may erupt as a group of racist blacks — the New Black Panther Party — offered a “bounty” for the “capture” of Zimmerman, who has not been charged with a crime. “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” said New Black Panther leader Mikhail Muhammad during a rally in Florida, leading a group of followers chanting “black power.”
"It's time for us, as black men, to take justice in our own hands. If you won't give us justice, we will have to take justice," Muhammad told the crowd. "An eye for an eye. A life for a life."
Local officials and law enforcement condemned the incitement to violence and warned that “vigilante justice” could result in criminal charges. But the anti-Semitic black supremacist group has repeatedly called for violence against whites, Jews, and law enforcement. And during the 2008 election, members of the party were caught on film carrying weapons and intimidating voters at polling places.
Obama’s Justice Department refused to prosecute the high-profile cases, sparking resignations and accusations of racism within the upper echelons of the administration. But as the media hype surrounding the Florida shooting grows, even President Obama "shamelessly" poured fuel on the fire, further stirring up racial tensions in what critics called highly inappropriate exploitation of the tragedy.
"I think all of us have to do some soul-searching to figure out how did something like this happen," Obama said during a press conference, calling for federal involvement in the process. "And that means that we examine the laws and the context for what happened as well as the specifics of the incident. But my main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin: You know if I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon."
Even respected black analysts have pointed out the administration’s regular and inappropriate reliance on the “race card” to silence critics and advance an agenda. But it remains unclear why Obama felt compelled to inject skin color into the controversy surrounding Martin’s death rather than remaining silent as the investigation proceeds or focusing instead on the teenager’s individual humanity.
"This case is spinning out of control," said Zimmerman’s attorney Craig Sonner, adding that he believed his client’s life was in danger. "I hope there's a way to rein things in so it doesn't become an issue of a racial battle. I hope that things come back so that there can be a time for justice and for healing and not for just skipping the whole judicial process and going straight to sentencing."
More than a few analysts have even gone on the defensive, pointing out that federal statistics show black-on-white crime is far more prevalent than the other way around. Others have called for calm, seeking to defuse the hate-mongering and tone down efforts by professional race-baiters to turn a tragedy into an opportunity for political or financial benefit. But the hysteria is only growing louder.
On February 26, Martin, a black 17-year-old walking to his father’s house in a gated community, was allegedly confronted by the Neighborhood Watch captain, Zimmerman, who is of Hispanic origin. The residential complex had recently experienced a series of burglaries, so Zimmerman called police and reported a suspicious person wearing a hoodie.
What happened next is not yet clear. Police reportedly told Zimmerman not to pursue Martin, but according to some reports about what has emerged so far, he may have done so anyway. After a scuffle, Martin was fatally shot in the chest. Now, activists want Zimmerman on trial for murder.
Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee, however, said physical evidence at the scene and witness testimony gathered so far during a “fair investigation” supported Zimmerman’s version of events — regardless of anyone’s skin color or any assumptions reached by observers. Essentially, Zimmerman claimed he lost track of Martin and was on his way back to his vehicle when Martin attacked him, allegedly breaking his nose and smashing his head. Zimmerman said he responded to the attack by shooting Martin in self-defense.
Zimmerman’s phone call to law enforcement was released by the police department, but did not shed much more light on the circumstances. According to some analysts, it sounds like he may have uttered a racial slur before the shooting. However, the shooter’s attorney and others dispute that allegation, and the audio tape is not clear even after being professionally enhanced in a studio.
People who know Zimmerman – his family, friends, attorney, and others in the neighborhood – categorically denied that he harbored any racist sentiments at all. The black mother of a young teen Zimmerman was mentoring did not believe he harbored secret racial animosity either. And several reports have noted that Zimmerman even helped raise money for a black church.
Still, a coalition of race-baiters is attempting to exploit Martin’s death to further the collective victimization agenda and stoke more hatred. Citing — bizarrely enough — the non-existent “First Amendment” right to “free movement” and “free access,” Rep. Sheila Jackson (D-Texas) called the case a “civil rights” issue that needed to be dealt with by the federal government.
And federal investigators — encouraged by politicians, celebrities, and race profiteers — are reportedly probing the case in hopes of securing a “hate crime” prosecution. While the anti-constitutional statute would not have even been considered relevant in this case a few years ago, in 2009, Obama signed another unconstitutional law expanding the federal government’s purported jurisdiction over state crimes potentially motivated by “hate.”
Under the new statute, more categories of “hate” victims — homosexuals and transgender people, for example — were added to the list of federally protected groups. And a previous requirement that victims of “hate” be engaged in so-called “federally protected” activities like going to government school was dropped, opening the door to an even wider array of usurpations of state and local matters by the federal government.
But attorney Daryl Parks, who represents Martin’s family, said a federal “hate” prosecution would be “a challenge, to put it lightly,” adding that a state-level case would have a better chance of succeeding. "Most state laws tend to be better for the prosecution of state crimes,” he told the board of the National Association of Black Journalists, noting that federal prosecutors could not get involved unless there was a definite racial component to the case.
"I think the focus is not necessarily a federal arrest over a state arrest,” Parks said. “We want an arrest, period. And I think that the state aspect of that is the one that's most feasible, most attainable in this matter."
Meanwhile, controversial U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder would probably attract another firestorm of criticism if his badly tainted department attempted to trump state jurisdiction and pursue a “hate-crime” case — especially after failing to prosecute the New Black Panthers for blatant voter intimidation and well-documented civil rights violations. Holder is also under congressional investigation for trafficking guns to Mexican cartels in the Fast and Furious scandal and for an ongoing cover-up that could see him held in contempt.
Well over a hundred members of Congress have already called for Holder to step down. And casting another cloud of suspicion over his widely criticized term in office, Holder outrageously suggested the investigation into his deadly gun-trafficking operation was motivated by politics and race. “This is way to get at the president because of the way I can be identified with him both due to nature of our relationship and, you know, the fact that we're both African-American," he told the New York Times, prompting both ridicule and disbelief by analysts.
Critics have blasted the collectivist pandering surrounding the Florida case — efforts to define individuals by superficial characteristics like skin color or ethnic origin instead of the content of their character. Plus, the facts are not even all known yet. But with so much establishment-media hype, saner voices have been largely drummed out of the debate in favor of hysterical hate mongers and career collective-victimization profiteers.
The tragedy has also become a rallying cry for a broad array of political opportunists beyond racist agitators and the Obama administration. Anti-gun zealots, for example, have exploited the teenager’s death to attack Second Amendment rights and Florida’s laws governing self-defense.
Photo: AP Images