I’ve been hesitant to wade into the Trayvon Martin story. Some of my hesitancy is due to the potential for misunderstanding my comments, but most of it is simply because I want to be careful not to prejudge either side. After a while, though, some things do become more clear.
The most important ingredient for the resolution of this case is for the rule of law to prevail. A special prosecutor has been appointed to look into the charges and countercharges. No arrest has been made at this time because the investigation is ongoing. There is a real danger, however, that mob rule will take over. Already some of the protesters have broken into businesses and damaged property. None of that has anything to do with justice.
Martin’s parents are understandably distraught, but welcoming the likes of Al Sharpton to the protests does nothing but add another layer of incendiary, inflammatory language. He is well known for that technique. What’s more, he’s using this as a forum to promote his television program on MSNBC. Wherever Sharpton goes, he causes disruption. I won’t go into his whole history, but he is infamous for making accusations that turn out to be false, but that lead to destruction regardless. In one case, his oratory led to the death of a young Jewish man. The fact that he even has a television program is a testament to the moral bankruptcy of his network.
But he’s not alone. Whenever there is an incident that can be turned into a racial divide, you can be sure to find the usual suspects hovering nearby.
Even President Obama had to insert himself into what should have been a local issue. When he did, the most memorable thing he said was that if he’d had a son, “he’d look like Trayvon.” Please, Mr. President, for once can you back off and not make yourself the focus?
If the investigation reveals that George Zimmerman has lied and should be indicted for his actions, I will accept that gladly. He should face the consequences. If it shows he is telling the truth, will the Martin family and the mass of protesters that have come to their side accept that verdict? Or will they, in the words of one commentator, continue to act like we’re still in Mississippi in 1962? The Trayvon Martin tragedy is not a replay of the early civil rights struggles. As a nation, we’ve come a long way from the dominance of racist attitudes. It’s time for some people to realize that.
Justice will prevail only if the rule of law prevails first.