Saturday, March 31, 2012

Three Tragedies For the Price of One

Trayvon Martin. Innocent child? Or hoodie-wearin', trash talkin' gangsta?

Big sigh.

Chances are really good, especially now, that nobody will know what really happened on the day he died. And that's really, really sad. For everybody. Trayvon Martin is dead. Whether he was a choir boy or a drug dealer, that's sad. He was seventeen years old, and he was a person. George Zimmerman is a man who has gone into hiding because of threats against his life -- who is also dealing with the stress of having killed a person. Assuming he's even a halfway decent human being who has a conscience, he's gotta be having a rough time.

By my count, that's two tragedies right there.

And then... there's the press.

This is a perfect example of how our news media operates with an agenda. NBC reported the incident and played portions of the 911 call between George Zimmerman and the operator. On March 27th they aired a tape that played like this:

Zimmerman: This guy looks like he's up to no good. He looks black.

In the full version, it goes like this:

Zimmerman: This guy looks like he's up to no good, or he's on drugs or something. It's raining and he's just walking around, looking about.

911 Operator: Okay. And this guy... is he white, black, or hispanic?

Zimmerman: He looks black.

I don't pretend to understand what NBC gets out of painting Zimmerman as a racist. Does he hate black people? I don't know. Neither do they. But editing a tape in the way that they did certainly shows they want OTHER people to think he hates black people... as if the color of their skin somehow makes them appear to be up to no good.

Barack Obama did his part, of course, in stirring up more tension. He made certain to make note of Trayvon's skin color, even if it was in a (very) slightly nuanced way. Saying, "If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon," is saying, "See? He's black - like me." I certainly don't think that President Obama saw a picture of Trayvon and thought, "Geez. That boy looks so much like me he could be my kid!"

And we have news outlets who are printing pictures of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman immediately next to each other. George Zimmerman's picture looks like a mug shot and Trayvon Martin looks like he's about nine years old. (Anybody trying to mold public opinion in one direction there? You think?)

Then we have various politicians making statements and wearing garments they wouldn't otherwise wear to score some political points. And we have people in the streets demanding the arrest of George Zimmerman. And we have Spike Lee trying to sic the public on George Zimmerman, but in getting the address wrong, ends up driving a nice little old couple out of their own home.

I don't think we can even rightly call this a circus anymore.

I had a friend send me an email, asking me to blog on Trayvon Martin. So there. I've done it. Three tragedies in one -- Trayvon Martin is dead. George Zimmerman's life is a serious mess (if the rabid public even let him live). And our media once again showed its true colors. But I guess that's a tragedy that happens every day. Oh - and tragedy number four. The American people just swallow the trash the news media dishes out. Truly it seems that people are unwilling to think for themselves anymore. No wonder our country is in such an unholy mess.

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