If you thought things were getting ugly in Florida over the Trayvon Martin shooting already, think again. CNN reports that special prosecutor Angela Corey has decided NOT to send the Zimmerman case to a Grand Jury. For those of you who fell asleep in civics class, a quick review: When someone is suspected of a crime, the police turn the evidence over to the District Attorney’s office. In cases where there’s a preponderance of evidence, they can file charges, or they can send the case to a Grand Jury for them to decide. The Grand Jury then reviews the evidence to see if they believe there’s enough to charge the suspect with a crime and bind them over for trial. In high-profile cases, or in situations where the local authorities are suspected of favoring one side over another, the case may get kicked upstairs to a special prosecutor, who takes a presumably unbiased look at the evidence to determine if the case merits prosecution. If the prosecutor decides that the evidence would not lead to a conviction, they drop it. And that’s usually the end of the story, unless new witnesses, evidence, or other details emerge. Only in this case, I really doubt this will be the end of it. Technically, a special prosecutor can file charges without a Grand Jury. And Corey says “the investigation is continuing.” This can mean but two things: either she already knows if they should/will prosecute, and she’s willing to take responsibility for that decision on her own, without empaneling a Grand Jury. Good for her.
To understand why this case is such a mess, we have to look at how this whole thing went down. Keep in mind, nothing in a shooting is ever simple. It’s like the old saw about sermons: there’s the sermon you plan to write, the one you wrote, the one you practiced, the one you gave, the one you heard yourself give, the one the people heard, the one you remember giving, the one the congregation remembers hearing, and the one you tell everyone you gave. Pick one reality. In a shooting death, only the person on the slab has no voice. In cases where there is enough forensic evidence to speak for itself, it can sway the decision on the final word on What Really Happened. Eyewitness accounts are important, but not necessarily the final word. Witnesses can mis-remember things, almost immediately. This is human nature. And every witness, including those directly involved, all have an agenda, regardless of if they reveal it – or even realize it.
Initially, the media reported this case in as one-sided a way as you could imagine. White man shoots innocent black teen who’s only mistake was wearing a hoodie in the wrong part of town. The child was ‘armed’ only with a bottle of iced tea and a bag of Skittles. The suspect was styled as a self-appointed sheriff, an out-of-control captain of the neighborhood watch, who was armed and looking for a reason to shoot someone.
Then the narrative began to unravel.
I wrote the first story to cover this over on TheTruthAboutGuns.com, a gun blog. I recommended caution, and suggested that we shouldn’t form opinions until more facts were known, and I bewailed the obvious bias of the news media on this. I was immediately set upon by partisans from BOTH sides. Figures.
First, we learned that the shooter – George Zimmerman – was not white. He’s a mixed race individual (Latino/Black). Now you might think that this would stop the “white on black racist violence meme” in its tracks. And you’d be wrong. Some news outlets went so far as to characterize Zimmerman as a “white Hispanic.” (?!) Um…no. Sorry guys. No sale.
Then word leaked that the gated community in which Zimmerman lives is predominantly non-white, and there have been a rash of burglaries in the hood. Whoops. So there was a valid reason for Zimmerman to be out patrolling, huh? Then we learned that the photos the news media was using were prejudicial in the extreme. Trayvon’s pic was a couple of years old. And the difference between a 14 or 15 year-old Trayvon and a 17-year-old Trayvon was several inches and pounds. Turns out, Travyon was on the high school football team, and topped out at 6’2″ – taller than the shorter, more rotund Zimmerman. Next, we learned that the reason Trayvon was in the neighborhood was that he’d been suspended from school. Again. Some of his previous suspensions involved drugs and suspicion of either theft or the receipt of stolen goods. Nice. So the whole “Trayvon’s an innocent waif” thing came unglued. But this still did not deter the media one whit.
When the cops released the 911 tape, none other than the venerable Today Show decided to squander whatever credibility NBC News had left in the world, by editing the tape “for time,” as the saying goes. That changed the tenor of the conversation between Zimmerman and the 911 Operator from sounding like a frightened guy who was trying to stop a crime, to a trigger-happy, racist cowboy, lookin’ to put the whoop on a poor black child.Fortunately, the truth came out. Did NBC apologize to Zimmerman? Nope. They fired the editor – but refused to release his name, insuring that the guy can go get another gig (even being hired back at NBC) once this thing blows over. Swell.
But let’s not leave Hollywood out of this. Our self-appointed ethics watchdogs on the Left Coast were so incensed about this, that two of them – Director Spike Lee and former E. German weightlifter Roseanne Barr published Zimmerman’s home address on Twitter. Well, ol’ Spike tweeted the WRONG address, thus making life very uncomfortable for an elderly couple that were no relation to the suspect. That class act Roseanne tweeted the right address, then took it down, when someone pointed out to her that she was encouraging the same kind of vigilante behavior of which she and others accused Zimmerman (Savor the irony.) Even Eric Holder’s favorite community organizers, the New Black Panther Party, got in on the act, announcing a $10,000 bounty for Zimmerman’s life. (No word on what they’d pay if Zimmerman wakes up with a horse head in his bed.)
Here’s the one that tickles me. Several months back, some white guy sucker-punched a black man in town. The police did nothing. Nobody stepped forward. So one guy took it upon himself to print up flyers, go door to door, canvassing the neighborhood. And thanks to this citizen’s efforts, the black man found justice, as his efforts canvassing resulted in a tip that lead to an arrest in the case. Who was that citizen. Yup. George “he must be a racist cuz he’s armed” Zimmerman, captain of the local neighborhood watch. Betcha didn’t hear about THAT on NBC, huh?
So now the special prosecutor has declined to send the case to a Grand Jury. Let me be perfectly clear about this: It is in the best interest of the Special Prosecutor to send the case to a Grand Jury if there’s even the remotest possibility that this guy is guilty. And yet, she didn’t. What does that tell you? Well, I’m certain that every self-appointed representative of blacks in America will be shouting from the rooftops that “the fix is in” and that “we can’t trust Whitey.” They’ll do their best to convince their constituents that this is yet another case of no justice for black people. Truth be damned, it’s time for some race riots, y’all!
If the Corey declines to prosecute, I guaran-damn-tee you that she knows something we don’t. Like there’s no evidence that Zimmerman did anything but to defend himself, and no evidence that he was a loose cannon, looking for someone to shoot that night. How do I know? Because the easy thing for the special prosecutor to do would have been to send the case to the Grand Jury. It’s the politically expedient, politically correct thing to do. The fact that she’s chosen not to do so indicates to me that either she’s got Zimmerman dead to rights, or Zimmerman did nothing wrong, at least from a criminal point of view. Given the fact that “the investigation is still continuing,” I suspect the later is more likely than the former.
Will this end the case? Not in this or any other time/space continuum. Nope. First, Trayvon’s father and mother will undoubted try to sue Zimmerman, the city, the police, and the state of Florida for everything they can. Wrongful Death. Violation of Civil Rights. Being in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time – you name it. The media will have a field day with this. The Obama Administration will use this as a cause celebre to stir up the base and get out the vote. And the black, self-appointed “leaders” will continue to demagogue on this, ad nauseam. Zimmerman will have to move, probably out-of-state, if he doesn’t want to get his head shot off. And he can forget anybody hiring him, at least for a while. So is it over? No way. Why the trial in the media’s only now getting up a good head of steam. Add the Sharpton Circus, the TwitterFest, and the talking heads on TV, and this thing’s got miles to go. Stay tuned.