Trayvon's Ghost: Rightbloggers Pleased Zimmerman Got Off -- But Still Feel Persecuted By Blacks
Last night George Zimmerman, who 17 months earlier had stalked an unarmed black kid, got into a fight with him and shot him to death, was found not guilty of murder.
There has since been a slew of commentary on the verdict, some of it actually thoughtful and conciliatory. Needless to say, this does not apply to that of most of our rightblogger friends, who have from the beginning considered the case a terrible injustice toward white people, and are currently pretty happy that someone got away with shooting an unarmed black kid to death.
But there's something spoiling their happiness. No, not concern for the dead kid's family -- come on, look who we're talking about. It's mainly the hate and fear that made them so crazy about this case from the beginning.
We hasten to acknowledge that some George Zimmerman fans nonetheless had the decency to express regret that the unarmed black kid was dead. Erick Erickson of RedState, for example, wrote that "there are no winners here save for Zimmerman's not guilty verdict. He will have to live with this for the rest of his life and, sadly, Trayvon Martin will never get that chance." As Erickson is ordinarily a world-class asshole, this is noteworthy, and shows that such a thing is not physically impossible.
Alas, these were rare exceptions. Most of the brethren expressed a mix of joy at the getting-off and resentment toward Martin, President Obama, and, really, black people in general.
The Conservative Treehouse said Trayvon Martin's parents went to court, not because their unarmed son had been shot to death, but because they were "seeking monetary justice, or more directly monetary gain." Also apparently involved in this conspiracy: Charlie Crist and "NBA All-Star Legend Oscar Robertson." The Conservative Treehouse also claimed that "the flames of racial tension have been stoked to a white-hot inferno in Sanford Florida, and arguably quite hot around the nation," not because Zimmerman almost didn't even get charged with shooting the unarmed black kid, but because of the money-grubbing Martins and their celebrity enablers.
This post appeared under the title, "A Nation of George Zimmermans Awakened."
Fox News reporter Todd Starnes issued a series of non-sequiturial tweets, including, "AP reporter on Zimmerman verdict: 'So we can kill all teenagers now?' No ma'am --- only unborn babies," "Let's just hope the DOJ-sponsored protests don't get out of hand," and "Where were Reid & Obama when this [black] baby got shot in the face? http://bit.ly/15FkK39 Where were the marches & protests, & investigations?"
This notion that black-on-black crime excuses the exoneration of the guy who shot an unarmed black kid to death was popular among the brethren ("So, as long as black kids are shot by other blacks, it's cool then?"), for reasons that hardly need to be explained.
Dan Riehl, for example, went multi-tweet to inform his audience that "Trayvon's family would have done well to be 'concerned' about Trayvon long before his confrontation with Zimmerman. The real tragedy for..." "...young black males is that it's politically impossibly to hold their family to account as parents." Also: "@annfriedman Chill out. Black kids kill one another by the hundreds every month and u couldn't care less. zzzzz @thegarance." Riehl's professed concern for African-Americans is touching, and we look forward to seeing him express it in a speech to the NAACP. (Oh, also: "And idiots like erick ericskon hand-wringing over this case is pathetic Bcuz it feeds into the myth. It's pathetic grandstanding." Is there some cash award for Asshole of the Week Reihl's going for?)
At Breitbart.com, Ben Shapiro got pissed about the #JusticeForTrayvon hashtag that started going around, so he pretended to give a shit about a black kid who'd been shot dead in Chicago, whose assailants are unknown but must be black because Chicago. "Members of the media including Reverend Al Sharpton and Reverend Jesse Jackson focused on the 'not guilty' verdict in the George Zimmerman trial over Trayvon Martin," seethed Shapiro. "...President Obama has not commented on Green's death. Neither have any other politicians.." But this dead black kid has been adopted by Ben Shapiro, who has created a #JusticeForDarryl hashtag with which you can make fun of people upset about Trayvon Martin. Dan Riehl's really gonna have to work hard for that prize money.
Break out the champagne, guys!
Others didn't even pretend to give a shit. Warner Todd Huston tweeted, "Just deserts: If you want to pretend to be a 'dangerous' thug, expect someone to take you seriously and put a bullet in you," and "Breaking: George Zimmerman NOT GUILTY! Let the race-baiters start their riots.... NOW!" I Own the World clogged its bowl with humorous gifs such as this one of Zimmerman captioned, "Free at Last, Free at Last, Thank God Almighty, Free at Last." Among their kind, it's a very old joke.
"I bear no personal ill will to Trayvon," claimed insurrectionist Bob Owens, "but HIS OWN TEXTS confirm he was a drug abusing, gun-dealing, street-fighter, and his family knew." And that's a capital crime in Owens' klavern.
The alt-conservative, libertarian response from Reason magazine authors was that whatever you thought about the verdict -- and the reactions of the Patrick Bateman impersonators who comprise their commenters show they were mighty pleased with it -- you absolutely must not connect it in any way with Florida's Stand Your Ground law. Radley Balko tweeted, "Media people: Stand Your Ground was not a factor in the Zimmerman verdict. Stop perpetuating this myth." "While it's true that Florida has eliminated the duty to retreat for people attacked in public," said Jacob Sullum at Reason, "that provision played no role in Zimmerman's defense or his acquittal." Though "stand your ground" was explicitly mentioned in the instructions to the jury, Zimmerman hadn't invoked this right in the pre-trial phase -- and, besides, Stand Your Ground is a pet cause of libertarians' greatest sugar daddies, the Koch Brothers, so shut up or Reason may have to move to a Blogspot domain.
As for the more Ron-'n'-Rand, stars-and-bars sort of libertarians, you can see their attitude in stories like "George Zimmerman's Brother Robert Just Eviscerated Piers Morgan in an Exclusive Interview" and "Am I the only one on [Daily Paul] that thinks Zimmerman was guilty?" (Answer: Yes.)
Speaking of the media, this was also their fault, said rightbloggers. "George Zimmerman Acquitted, Media Guilty," headlined Matthew Sheffield of Newsbusters, because "the trial of Zimmerman would likely have remained strictly a local news story had it not been for the antics of MSNBC's Al Sharpton who was advising Martin's parents on how to gain more publicity (and also calling for Zimmerman's arrest) while simultaneously serving as a commentator for the Democratic network." Sounds like these Martins are the real criminals; when's their trial?
"Will the jury's repudiation of the national media's Narrative cause any second thoughts about the press's prejudices that caused so many to get this story so wrong for so long?" said Steve Sailer, whose own prejudices take a different direction.
If you thought there was something disturbing about Zimmerman getting off for shooting an unarmed black kid -- especially since, when it's a black person who does the Ground-Standing, acquittals are much, much harder to come by -- rightbloggers will have you know that you're the real bigot.
Power Line's jubilant John Hinderaker named several people who were guilty, unlike the guy who shot the unarmed black kid, including "race hustlers like Jesse Jackson, Barack Obama and Al Sharpton who lied about what happened and tried to stir up riots." This POV was shared by Republican Congressman Steve King, who blamed the President and also, natch, "the media," who "turned [it] into a race issue."
Al Sharpton, who was not pleased by the verdict, became a target for many of the don't-see-race types. Aaron Goldstein of The American Spectator takes the palm, though, for suggesting that Sharpton was in fact happy with the acquittal, as it "gives Sharpton an opportunity to be the center of the media spotlight to tell the world that America is still a racist country." Imagine if Zimmerman had killed three unarmed black kids -- then Sharpton would be three times as happy!
Pre-verdict, the brethren had been telling each other that black people, abetted by the black federal government, were going to wreak vengeance on Whitey if Zimmerman got off. They told each other that when the Department of Justice sent mediators from its Community Relations Service to the scene of the incident, their purpose had not been to calm tensions, but to "Facilitate Anti-Zimmerman Protests." (Breitbart.com's Lee Stranahan tried to elevate this to a Big Rightwing Scandal by calling it "Trayvongate.")
And they predicted, as they are wont to do, that African-Americans, subject as they are to base animal passions, would naturally erupt into riots if Zimmerman were acquitted. When the verdict rolled in, many of them raced to the warning bell.
"Be alert for flash mobs at convenience stores," tweeted the American Family Association's Bryan J. Fisher. (Later Fischer, an anti-gay-rights crusader, tweeted that "Attorney insults memory of Medgar Evers and Emmett Till by elevating Trayvon Martin to pantheon of civil rights martyrs," giving Riehl et alia some late competition.)
The best bullshit came from Breitbart.com, where the boys claimed "CNN FANS THE FLAMES OF ZIMMERMAN VERDICT" by letting people who were upset that a guy got away with shooting an unarmed black kid to death appear on TV. And they found a New Black Panther -- that rarely-sighted phenomenon which we thought only came out at elections -- who roared threateningly while Breitbart fans gasped and squeezed their dates' hands.
"Calls for race riots in 3, 2, 1..." said Michelle Malkin. "Will the 'not guilty' verdict be the match that lights the fuse to a violent race war on American streets?" I-hoped-I-hoped Kimberly Paxton at The Daily Sheeple. "Common sense prevails in the jury room, but will it prevail on the mean streets of Miami?" asked Tom Maguire of Just One Minute.
And there were riots -- in Vancouver after the 2011 Stanley Cup, pictures of which were portrayed by wingnut shit-stirrers as Zimmerman riots in... Miami. Among the many rightbloggers conned was, of course, Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit, who simply took his post down and shut up about it -- but not before a bunch of rightbloggers who aren't even as scrupulous as Jim Hoft, which is saying something, repeated the nonsense.
"Charming - Miami Riot Footage After George Zimmerman Found Not Guilty," said Common Sense. "HUNDREDS of Trayvon Martin Protesters Riot in Miami Following Verdict (Video)," said USweekly. "Video of Reported Riot in Miami, FL after Zimmerman Verdict 7/14/2013," said PunditPress. "HUNDREDS of Trayvon Martin Protesters Riot in Miami Following Verdict (Video)" repeated United Patriots Worldwide. Etc. Your gramma should be emailing you about this soon.
Robert Stacy McCain, who had asserted before the verdict that "If #Zimmerman is acquitted, black people will riot," wrote after the verdict, "I was never emotionally invested in this story, one way or the other..." then made jokes about the people who felt bad about the unarmed black kid who was shot to death. Later he said, "I was surprised the Baltimore Bolsheviks didn't get their dream of a Marxist revolution" via riots. Sure, why not -- it's not like anyone's actually listening to him.
Most of the post-verdict demos across the nation were actually mostly peaceful; a window or two were broken in Oakland, which some of the more dishonest brethren tried to portray as a riot. "The NY Times story is good enough to provide many, many 'Justice 4 Trayvon' photos, though they forgot to show the riots in Oakland," bullshat William Teach at Right Wing News. Damned liberal media! They didn't show Miami, British Columbia either!
Because, really, why else would anyone cry over a black kid?
President Obama, who had famously shown empathy with the Martins when the case first broke, gave a perfectly anodyne statement in the wake of the verdict, calling for calm. But that didn't matter to the brethren, who already blamed him for the travesty of Zimmerman having to stand trial for killing an unarmed black guy in the first place.
"It is my complete belief that Obama thought Zimmerman was, in fact, a 'creepy-ass-cracker' (Trayvon's description of Zimmerman, not mine) he could use for political gain and to further divide this country along racial lines," raved She's Right. Also: "A.G. Eric Holder SENT STAFFERS TO FLORIDA TO GIN UP PROTESTS AGAINST ZIMMERMAN..."
"Obama Big Loser in Zimmerman Trial," jubilated PJ Media kingpin Roger L. Simon. "By injecting himself in a minor Florida criminal case by implying Martin could be his son, the president of the United States -- a onetime law lecturer, of all things -- disgraced himself and his office, made a mockery of our legal system and exacerbated racial tensions in our country, making them worse than they have been in years." Presumably this is why John Roberts gut-stabbed the Civil Rights Act -- as a last-ditch effort to defend race relations from the scourge of Obama. (Later in the same post, Simon said "recent polls have shown racism in our culture at all-time lows," without explaining how this coincides with Obama making "racial tensions.. worse than they have been in years." Has anyone checked Simon's Life Alert signal?)
Simon also called the Zimmerman case "quite literally, the first American Stalinist 'show trial'" -- apparently he thinks the verdict in Stalin's show trials could go either way -- and, dabbing on the glycerin tears, said, "the irony is that the people who suffer most from the media behaving in this manner are black people who are manipulated into acting as an interest group when they have no interest. They are literally victims of the media and of Obama." Maybe when Dan Riehl speaks at Howard University, Simon can be the warm-up act.
As unseemly as was their joy at the verdict, the darkness swirling in their ugly statement made you have to ask: Why do they still seem so discontented? Having gotten what they wanted, why can't they just be happy? Is it because they yet wonder whether, when the time came, they'd be as good at shooting an unarmed black kid dead as Zimmerman? Or could it be because they're aware that, outside their own world, there are a lot of Americans who don't agree with them, or rather wouldn't if they were made aware of them, and who might even find them monstrous?
"Don't be breaking out the bubbly to celebrate George Zimmerman's not guilty verdict," said Michael Becker at Wizbang, sounding as if he already had, "we're just getting started. In my anything but humble opinion, this is exactly the result President Obama and the race hustlers who have been caterwauling about this case from day one have been hoping for." Becker then drew a bleak picture of civil suits and civil rights prosecutions in which Americans "will be deluged reminders of the 1964 civil rights charges filed by Robert Kennedy in the Mississippi Burning case," and "the victim community, led by Jackson, Sharpton, the NAACP and the media, will use that same theme to press for new civil rights legislation because we are obviously the same racist nation we were in 1964."
And this, Becker raved, "will absolutely be the only focus of the media for at least the next 18 months," pushing all those wonderful scandal stories out of the news -- and not just the scandals: "Immigration? More evidence of racism. Calls for fiscal restraint? More evidence of racism."
As for the unarmed black guy Zimmerman shot to death, Becker, having drained the last of the Freixenet, vomited this: "'If I had a son he'd look like Trayvon.' And this President wouldn't bat a eyelash over the fact that 'his son' is a dead gangsta wannabe who simply jumped the wrong guy and got what he deserved. After all, his death may well resurrect the President's failed agenda."
Dissing, in loathsome terms, the dead black guy, then claiming it's really Obama who's dissing him -- that's pretty high-strength crazy right there. But it's early yet, about 24 hours since the verdict. At present most of them are still high off the fact that Zimmerman got away with it. But as the self-pity that is, even more than racism and homophobia, their defining attribute can never be kept down for long, eventually they'll all start formulating their own Beckeresque fantasies of war on white people, fulminating over them and planning revenge, perhaps in the form of a judicial challenge to some no-longer-needed civil rights legislation such as the 13th Amendment .
One thing is for sure: In the days to come they'll get worse; they always have, and they always will.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.
- Aging Bluestockings Book Shop Launches Crowdfunding Campaign to Fund Rehab Efforts
Wed., Oct. 7, 7:30pm
Thu., Oct. 8, 12:00am
Thu., Oct. 8, 12:00am
Fri., Oct. 9, 12:00am
- Tired of Waiting for the Compassionate Care Act to Take Effect? Maybe It's Time to...
- Hurricane Joaquin Will Likely Miss New York City, Civilization Will Probably Continue