Saturday, March 31, 2012

Rush To Judgement In Trayvon Martin Case

Jackson said that Martin's death shows how "blacks are under attack" and "targeting, arresting, convicting blacks and ultimately killing us is big business." Apart from the obvious incendiary nature of such comments, what in heaven's name could Jackson mean?

Spike Lee fueled the flames by tweeting Zimmerman's home address, which turned out to be the wrong address and resulted in an older couple fleeing from their home and fearing for their lives after threats and crowds outside their residence. Lee, realizing his folly, has since apologized to the couple.

These actions and words illustrate a problem in dealing with Martin's death: Many people are not on an impartial hunt for justice but are exploiting this crisis for personal or political gain and claiming that it is representative of larger societal problems.

Martin's own mother, Sybrina Fulton, filed applications for trademarks on two of the popular phrases used at rallies for Martin, "I Am Trayvon" and "Justice for Trayvon." Democrats politicized the event with a hearing on Capitol Hill in which Martin's parents testified. Later, U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Illinois, wore a hoodie on the House floor.

It's clear that some of the people raising the most noise are trying to make this less about the horrible death of a young man and more about claims of racial resentment that may or may not exist.

The loudest voices should be particularly careful not to rush to conclusions. Remember the Duke lacrosse case, in which members of the team were accused of a gang rape. The public rushed to judgment long before the young men were eventually acquitted.

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