Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Trayvon Martin affair

Let me say right from the start that the entire Trayvon Martin affair is in the hands of the justice system, where it belongs. None of us know exactly what happened. The police can only gather all available evidence and present it to the prosecuting authorities, who must then place it before a grand jury in order to determine whether any charges should be filed, and if so, against whom. That process must take its course. That's what the rule of law is all about.

Nevertheless, I find the media and political witch-hunt directed against the man who fired the shot that killed Mr. Martin to be extremely dangerous. Effectively, the rule of law is being trashed wholesale by a rush to judgment. If this is allowed to proceed, our entire society and culture will be weakened by it. Furthermore, there are aspects to this affair that have been either ignored (by almost all commentators), or mentioned only in passing (by a few of them). For example, see these two articles for a rather different account of what may have transpired:

I have no idea whether those articles are correct: but they provide a very different perspective to the media lynching of Mr. Zimmerman. If they are correct, he's being made into a racial scapegoat - and that would be as intolerable as the racially-motivated murder of an innocent youth.

I guess the moral of the story is to distrust, if not ignore, all the brouhaha until the truth is established. As Robert Heinlein famously said through his most memorable character, Lazarus Long:

What are the facts? Again and again and again - what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what "the stars foretell", avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable "verdict of history" - what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!



Anonymous said...

It's rather sad that as soon as I see certain people or organizations announcing that they will be arriving at [location] to protest [perceived injustice], I promptly assume that the other party is innocent.

As you say, it is up to the Grand Jury, although the media seem to have omitted that step. (I was especially unimpressed by the gal who said that the whole thing was Rush Limbaugh's fault.)


Shrimp said...

Oh, how I second LittleRed1's opinion. Oh course, I think that says an awful lot about the certain Reverend who jumps into these kind of things--ever since Tawana Brawley incident, actually.

We need to get him a new "jump to conclusions" mat. His old one has to be worn out by now.

Regardless, I totally agree with Tam's assessment:

Groundhog said...

The "case" is all but irrelevant at this point. I was a bit harsher than you were on my blog. Not that your points are not excellent as usual.

Mad Jack said...

Thanks for the post. If commercial news media and their first amendment were regulated as strictly and with the same enthusiasm as gun owners and the second amendment... would we actually get better news?

Somehow I don't think so. This whole thing is over the top, and it's being pushed there by commercial media.