I will admit that whenever I hear about activists charging racism in a killing or attack my BS detector goes off.
I still remember the front page stories about Tawana Brawley, and the ride of Al Sharpton to national fame on the coat-tails of a politically popular lie. Sharpton destroyed lives with a fantasy tale of a girl abused by a cadre of connected white guys who covered it up. In more recent times, the Duke lacrosse team was crucified because the story of its alleged misdeeds fit the template: spoiled white people abusing a black person.
And let's be frank, as I always am when discussing these issues: blacks are 7 times more likely than other races to commit murder, usually of other black people. It is tragic. So many tears. So many wasted lives over nonsense. Of the roughly 770,000 violent interracial crimes every year, 85% of the perps are black and 15% are white. The stats come from Uniform Crime Reports, Victim Surveys, and the government.
I have long been very happy that as a suburban white guy, the black population of Buffalo has been so supportive of me and my shows over the years. I am "the realest white guy ever." I wear that as an honor.
A lot of my conservative black professional audience members tell me they feel much safer in the mostly white 'burbs than in "the community." There are a lot of dynamics at work, which I don't have the time to explore here.
I have always tried to be fair and honest in talking about interracial crime, because I believe that few things divide us (black AND white) more than a sense of double-standard, and to ignore reality is to be in denial.
It is precisely because I cannot abide the double-standard that I am angry and sad at the murder (yes, murder) of 17 year old Trayvon Martin last month in Sanford, Florida.
Trayvon will always be 17, because of what I consider the criminal actions of George Zimmerman, who was part of a Neighborhood WATCH group.
Zimmerman, described by his family as a Hispanic male (not white, as media reported) thought young Martin looked suspicious when the young man was walking to his Dad's house after stopping at a 7-11 for Skittles and Arizona Ice Tea.
Despite being told by the police dispatcher to remain inside his vehicle, Zimmerman dashed out to confront Trayvon.
When you listen to the 911 tapes, it sounds to me like Trayvon was screaming for his life and was gunned down in cold blood by Zimmerman.
Zimmerman may very well escape criminal charges because of Florida's so-called "Stand Your Ground" justification for the use of deadly physical force. He was under no obligation to retreat. There are numerous links on my WBEN Facebook page to articles which discuss this provision of Florida statutes in-depth.
I am not a lawyer, but have received extensive training in Article 35 of the NY State Penal Code, which explains the circumstances under which the use of physical force and deadly physical force may be acceptable.
Given the reported set of circumstances and facts in the shooting of young Trayvon Martin, shooter George Zimmerman would be facing serious charges, and I suspect would be convicted in NY State.
Simply put, Zimmerman could have stayed in his vehicle as advised by police dispatch. He could have done so in complete safety. He was also told that he did not need to keep following Trayvon.
Zimmerman ignored both requests, and made the decision to confront the black teenager, who ended up dead.
Put yourself or your 17 year old son in Trayvon's shoes. Coming home from a 7-11, a strange vehicle is stalking you.
Is this guy a predator?
A serial killer?
Trayvon had no way of knowing what was going down, and reports say that he told his girlfriend over his cell phone (missing now?) that he was being followed.
If he really did slug Zimmerman (a behemoth compared with the rail-thin Martin), Zimmerman had it coming.
Trayvon would have had every reason to believe that HE was about to be victimized, and very well may have died thinking that was the case.
I cannot even call what Zimmerman did a "vigilante" act, it reeks of a human hunt or a desperate need to prove himself.
Neighborhood WATCH is not Neighborhood ACT.
I have had an unrestricted license to carry firearms since 1986, and value my 2nd Amendment rights. But Zimmerman's stupid, pointless and evil actions make all of us look like morons to the anti-gun tyrants.
The vast majority of crimes involving a firearm (99 point-something percent) do not involve people who are legally authorized to carry.
While I am disgusted and very sad over young Trayvon's killing, I am not really thrilled with the idea of the Federal Government interfering in what is a state issue. If the people of Florida wish to pressure their lawmakers to amend the self-defense statutes that should be up to them.
If Florida law says this was not a crime, how can it be a hate crime? I don't see how you can have one without the other.
If Zimmerman is not criminally responsible in Florida, hopefully a civil remedy (remember OJ?) will offer Trayvon's family some small sense of justice in some form.
Maybe such an action will force other trigger-happy killers to think twice or a hundred times before they act.
My thoughts are with the Martin Family tonight, and with the soul of young Trayvon. I have a son about his age, and this really hits home with me.
There are times when the "activists" have a valid case and a strong story, and IMHO this is one of those times.
The sad thing is that nothing will bring this young man back to the arms of his family and loved ones.
Once you squeeze that trigger, there are no do-overs.
Anyone who knows me understands that when the weather is gorgeous outside, I love being by the water.
Tuesday, I was two miles from the Niagara River where I was going to ponder my train-wreck life and relax.
But a voice in my head kept saying "Go home! Go home!" It was the same kind of feeling that I had last week when I was compelled to turn on the radio just as Mark Steyn mentioned me on Limbaugh's show.
The voice Tuesday became louder, and I became increasingly antsy and mentally uncomfortable, so I listened and made a legal turn to head home.
Literally the very second I pulled into my driveway a very elderly lady sat down clumsily on my side steps in the shade, with a neighborhood-walker looking on, perplexed.
As I pulled in I didn't know what to make of the commotion.
The younger lady said: "She's lost. She doesn't know where she lives. Just her name. She says if her father finds out, he's gonna be mad."
I exited my vehicle and calmly started speaking with this sweetheart.
She told me her name was Florence.
Upon being offered some nice cold water, she declined and I respected her wishes.
There was something familiar about her, but I couldn't quite place her. It finally dawned on me that I had seen her from time to time in the neighborhood.
As the younger lady kept a watchful eye, after a while I located the house where I thought I'd seen her.
Her daughter was shocked that her mom had wandered and relieved that she was safe and sound, and she came with me to my home and we brought her wonderful mom back home.
It was nice to be able to help someone, and to live in a tight neighborhood.
Inner voices: that part of the story blows me away. It was a massive sense that I was needed at my home.
Do you listen to your voices? Have you ever been in the right place at the right time?