Is there another topic? you wouldn’t think so, until a few days ago, when media outlets and a few local activist organizations started to shut up.
A true flavor of the week, the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., has stoked racial fires and prompted rallies across the nation not seen since the last time “race” became a larger issue than “murder” in this country. Which, of course, is every day. “Murder?” Cool—so long as it’s race-on-race, or at least black-on-white or black-on-black. Is that insensitive? Well, flip on the TV on and see what kinds of “rallies” Al Sharpton is at this week. (Hint: None of the prior scenarios apply.)
The best aspects of this show, in my opinion, have been threefold: One, that this was clearly an act of racism. Two, that the only photo shown of the 6-foot, 2-inch 17-year-old has been of him at age 12. And three, it turns out this wasn’t an act committed by a white man, but rather an Hispanic with a history of helping black youth and defending his neighborhood in recent weeks from a wave of crime. Hence the notable silence after all the hellraising had begun. “Oops.”
I get it. The kid was a kid in a voting sense, he was unarmed, and he was killed. Does that bear scrutiny? Holy bald eagle Jesus, of course it does—just as all murders do, and that’s the ugly word for what happens when one human kills another, right or wrong.
But why is the nation’s focus on Sanford when Keoshia Ford, a young black 13-year-old girl, was senselessly shot right here in Chattanooga during the third weekend of March? She’s still lying in ICU fighting for her life, caught up in a real gang fight by real gangsters. But the Trayvon Martin shooting has Chattanooga marching because of the inherently racist “white supremacist laws” of Tennessee (according to the local Chattanooga Organized for Action’s website). That’s a huge stand to take!
It does, however, explain how the news of said march isn’t being so well promulgated now that they presumably realize that the shooter in this case was not, in fact, white, but rather a Spanish-speaking Hispanic son of a Hispanic. That whole “Kill Whitey” bit absolutely lost its momentum about the time it was revealed “Whitey” had little (if anything) to do with this case.
So, now the dog that has caught a car has learned that the car caught was not so much a Caucasian car as it was a Latino one—“AWK-ward!”
You see, what happened here is the media presented the initial reports out of passion instead of research or fact. This lead to a domino effect of other organizations, such as Chattanooga Organized for Action, to establish marches led by presumably self-hating white people infused with guilt over the inherently white-biased society that allowed the white shooter to go free for no other reason than being white. And now that the presumed white shooter is a Latino shooter, these straw-grabbing groups seem to realize they are now actually protesting against a minority even more minor than the African-American slain in question.
Besides the “white thing” I feel I have safely established, there is also the fact that Sanford prosecutors also declined to prosecute the case because there is not only not enough evidence to win a manslaughter (down from a murder) case, but verified eye-witness reports saying it was Trayvon on top of accused shooter George Zimmerman who was calling for help on those 911 tapes … and that Trayvon’s own father verified that it was Zimmerman calling for help, and not his son. And have I mentioned that the shooter wasn’t white, after all?
Local activists (Chattanooga Organized for Action to be specific, lest I insult other better-informed activists) have compared this to the 1983 in-custody death of Wadie Suttles, and the need for justice there, too.
This was a case handled locally, overseen by the state, then investigated by the feds. Twice. But because the results were not what people wanted based on word of mouth, that made it wrong. Apparently the FBI colluded with the TBI and the local cops because the possibility that there wasn’t enough evidence to make an arrest made it mandatory to burn local officers at the stake at city hall “just in case”.
So now that the white connection is gone between the two cases, the march that has already been planned has to go on for other reasons, lest they lose face. I understand, but I’d sure prefer they just shut up and admit they hadn’t read the other half of the story yet.
In the meantime, why is the 13-year-old black female shot in the head on Bennett Avenue in Chattanooga not getting press or a Chattanooga Organized for Action-sponsored march? Is it the result of the Zimmerman’s race, or just another page they hadn’t yet read?
I’m eager to find out. You should be, too.
Alex Teach is a full-time police officer of nearly 20 years experience. The opinions expressed are his own. Follow him on Facebook at facebook.com/alex.teach.