Is there any interest in discovering the facts about the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman? Facts, after all, can undermine ideology. They have the power to dispel fantasy. They can put the brakes on error. They lead, sometimes, to logical conclusions. All of which means, in this particular case, that when the facts come out, they might well undermine "the cause."
We simply don't know all of the facts yet. We can say with certainty, however, that the cause is not justice, no matter what the protesters, agitators and officials say. The cause is not truth, either. The cause is social strife, division, leverage, power and — you never know — violence and revolution, all of it drawn and driven by an outrage-stoked engine of racial grievance.
Even if the facts of this case were to prove that Zimmerman acted in self-defense when he killed Martin — a scenario supported by a police report obtained by the Orlando Sentinel that says Zimmerman had a bloody or broken nose and a head wound, and that an eyewitness "unequivocally" identified Zimmerman as having been under assault by Martin — that wouldn't change the cause.
The rationale for protests, sit-ins, outrage among far-left elected black officials and the mass donning of memorial "hoodies" would disappear, but that wouldn't change the cause, either. Seemingly, nothing could. This killing was initially depicted as a white-on-black crime of "racism"; square-peg-into-round-hole style, it must always be depicted thus.
Further, it must be seen as emblematic of the state of crime in America today — American blacks living in fear of American whites. Who cares, as author and radio host Larry Elder recently wrote, citing 2010 Justice Department statistics, that "in murders involving a single black victim and a single offender, 90 percent of the time it is a black perpetrator who murders the black victim"? Who cares, as former Republican Rep. Virgil Goode of Virginia pointed out in a 2010 article in Human Events, that blacks commit crimes against whites at an exceedingly higher rate? "According to the FBI's latest National Crime Victimization Survey," Goode wrote, "blacks were over 50 times more likely to commit a crime against whites than vice versa."
It is the real-life fear and grief behind such alarming statistics, seldom reported, that can turn a hoodie into a cause for alarm for blacks and whites alike. As a costume for middle-aged black legislators in statehouses and the U.S. Congress, however, it's supposed to make a nation hang its head in shame.
Such is the point of political theater where the script has little to do with fact. News of Zimmerman's multiracial background (his mother is a native of Peru; his father is white; he has black relatives) hasn't dented the white-racism angle for agitators. Similarly, the unresolved questions about the fateful encounter that left Martin, 17, dead and Zimmerman, 28, reportedly with injuries haven't slowed the rush to the microphone by a bevy of officials and self-appointed spokesmen.
The shooting was a "hate crime" (Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California), an "assassination" (Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter). "Blacks are under attack," said Jesse Jackson. According to those Justice Department statistics cited above, that is true — but overwhelmingly by other blacks.
What is under attack here is due process. It is an attack, I regret to say, carried forward even by the president of the United States, who, subtle as a club, ramped up the race narrative when he said: "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon."
Would he also look like Tyrone Woodfork? The black 20-year-old has been charged with first-degree murder and other crimes related to the invasion March 12 of the Oklahoma home of Bob and Nancy Strait (both white). Nancy, 85, was sexually assaulted and beaten to death. Bob, 90, a veteran of the invasion of Normandy and married to Nancy for 65 years, suffered a broken jaw and ribs.
Despite the violence and cruelty of this particular crime, it is strictly a local story. One distraught neighbor set up a Facebook page called "Justice for Bob and Nancy Strait." When I last looked, it had 60-some followers.
All of which means — what? Victims of violent crime, both black and white, abound. Their undeserved suffering and grief are things that everyone wants to prevent. In the Trayvon Martin case, what also hurts is the cold, political calculation to divide us as a nation for nefarious ends. What hurts in the Bob and Nancy Strait case is the silence.
For the record, President Obama has not mentioned that Nancy Strait looks like his grandmother.
Diana West may be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.