Post-Zimmerman Fallout

July 18, 2013

Multiple Pages
Post-Zimmerman Fallout

Well, thank goodness that’s over. Some themes from the political and social commentary are still hanging in the air, though, like wisps of smoke after a brushfire. I’ll note a few before they disperse on the breeze.

Zimmerman is not racist! The creepiest, most sinister theme has been the stories about the FBI investigation of George Zimmerman last year. From McClatchy, 7/12/2012:

Federal agents interviewed Zimmerman’s neighbors and co-workers, but none said Zimmerman had expressed racial animus at any time prior to the Feb. 26 shooting of Martin….Several co-workers said they had never seen Zimmerman display any prejudice or racial bias.

Apparently this is a thing the feds try to determine when contemplating a civil-rights case.

I can’t help wondering: What if that had been me they were investigating? Suppose I had gotten into some altercation with a black person that had ended with me killing the other party in self-defense?

“I am a racist on the current definition—although, as I keep protesting, a harmless and tolerant one.”

I am a racist on the current definition—although, as I keep protesting, a harmless and tolerant one. Having uncovered this fact—it wouldn’t take them very long—would the FBI then feel justified in launching a federal civil-rights suit against me, regardless of the finding of any local investigation into the self-defense claim?

Surely there’s not much doubt that they would; otherwise, why did they put all that effort into determining whether or not Zimmerman was a racist?

Now, the concept of justifiable homicide is at least as old as Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence itself. The McClatchy report seems to imply that justifiable homicide can be prosecuted as a civil-rights violation if the deceased is black but the survivor nonblack, and further if the survivor is known to hold certain opinions, rather than certain other opinions, on social or scientific topics.

If that is the case, then our jurisprudence has been corrupted beyond redemption.

The audacity of Richard Cohen. Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen raised shrieks from the left and some muffled applause from the right with what everyone tells me was an exceptionally audacious and hard-hitting column. Was it, though?

“I don’t like what George Zimmerman did,” Cohen starts off. Why not? What Zimmerman did was defend himself against a violent criminal (taking assault and battery to be violent crimes, which I believe is the common understanding) who had attacked him. What about that don’t you like, Mr. Cohen?

In the next paragraph: “What Zimmerman did was wrong.” Why was it wrong? The police initially, and the court system eventually, determined that Zimmerman performed an act of justifiable homicide. That might be regrettable, but it’s not wrong in any system of values known to me.

Ah, but then we get the audacious stuff, the stuff that made the lefties swoon and some of the righties applaud (though very, very diffidently). “Where is the politician who will own up to the painful complexity of the problem and acknowledge the widespread fear of crime committed by young black males?” asks Cohen boldly.

Well, here is that politician, a solid northeastern liberal. Here was that politician, I should say: Unfortunately he died earlier this year, at age 88. He made the acknowledgment Mr. Cohen is pining for twenty years ago. (Jared Taylor passed a comment on it at the time in some magazine or other.)

Cohen has found his stride, though, and he presses forward fearlessly, decapitating graven images and disemboweling sacred cows as he goes:

The problems of the black underclass are hardly new. They are surely the product of slavery, the subsequent Jim Crow era and the tenacious persistence of racism….

“Surely”! So the different statistical profiles of blacks as compared with other races on traits of behavior, intelligence, and personality are “surely” explained by slavery, Jim Crow, and racism? Good grief! How can Cohen get away with saying that in a major newspaper? No wonder people are shrieking!

For want of a better word, the problem is cultural, and it will be solved when the culture, somehow, is changed.

The evidence out of the human-science labs is that the better word is “biological.” Try putting that in your syndicated column, Mr. Cohen.

In the meantime, the least we can do is talk honestly about the problem.

Ha ha ha ha ha!

A poet speaks. Famous poet Maya Angelou had things to say about the affair, things like this:

What is really injured, bruised, if you will, is the psyche of our national population.

I’d pass comment on this if I could understand her meaning, but I have never been able to do that. Frankly, I think Ms. Angelou is an affirmative-action bag of wind.

Come back, Rudy. Perhaps the most dismal spectacle in current US politics is the New York City mayoral race, voting for which is this November.

You’d think that a big, bossy city such as New York, stuffed up to the subway vents with oversized egos, would produce an exciting mayoral contest. In the past it has, but this year’s race is a snoozer. I’ve had more excitement at the all-night Laundromat. The mayoral candidates are more numerous than when I looked them over a year ago, but there’s been no improvement in quality. 

Veteran reporter Bob McManus agrees. “What a sad, shallow bunch,” he says in the New York Post. He’s referring mainly to their comments on the Zimmerman verdict, which are almost uniformly stupid. Samples: “A shocking insult,” said far-left diesel Christine Quinn. She’s polling second behind far-left exhibitionist drama queen Anthony Weiner, who called the verdict “deeply unsatisfying.” 

McManus singles out Republican John Catsimatidis as an exception, praising the guy’s remark: “When you have safe streets, tragedies like this don’t happen.”

I don’t know about that. It looks epistemically very thin to me, like saying: “When it’s not raining, the streets are dry.” By the standards of the current mayoral field, though, it’s positively Socratic.

Can’t we draft Giuliani back?


Daily updates with TM’s latest