The Cult of Trayvon Martin has a new member, or perhaps I should say that an old member just renewed his vows to the cult. Yes, I am referring to our President of the United States, Barrack H. Obama. After chiming in after the verdict was read and saying quite reasonably the jury had spoken and we are a nation of laws, he decides to join the madness of the cult by having an impromptu conference and reaffirming his membership in the Cult of Trayvon.
Like many cults that have preceded it, the members don’t have to be sensible, believe that rules or laws that apply to all others do not apply to them, and they have a leaders who can sound reasonable at times but then launch into the craziness. Like members of other cults, they suspend rational thoughts, they have a persecution complex, and an excuse if anything negative is either done in their name or discovered about them. Like many cults they have some charismatic leaders, loud mouthpieces and followers in high positions in society. Like many cults they espouse a cause or causes that are totally irrelevant, figments of the imagination or just made up crisis that have no basis in fact. Like many cults some of its aims are reasonable and worthy, but overshadow by emotions and faith in all the wrong places.
After the President delivered his speech, I was livid. How could our President, former Lawyer, Constitutional Law lecturer, Senator and protector of our laws and Constitution speak, well, stupidly? Does he not know that he is the President of all the US not just 16% of the population? Is he even aware that his words carry some weight, and his involvement on a local story that some groups are desperately trying to make a National one will accomplish that? Did he read what he said prior to saying it?
The judge conducted the trial in a professional manner. The prosecution and the defense made their arguments. The juries (sic) were properly instructed that in a – in a case such as this, reasonable doubt was relevant. And they rendered a verdict.And once the jury’s spoken, that’s how our system works…But beyond protests or vigils, the question is: Are there some concrete things that we might be able to do? I know that Eric Holder is reviewing what happened down there, but I think it’s important for people to have some clear expectations here. Traditionally, these are issues of state and local government. The criminal code and law enforcement is traditionally done at the state and local levels, not at the federal levels.
Allahpundit , sees this part of the speech as a way to let left know that there will not be a Federal charges, while telling them that he feels their pain. Perhaps that is so, but do we need the President to be the one giving that message? If that was all the President had said, I would have supported it, though I still feel it is improper for him to interfere in local matters. But the President went further, much further in his speech. Read the complete article he makes some points though I may not agree with all of them.
I am getting ahead of myself again, so I will break down the speech and what I would say to the President had I been able to talk to him. President in red, my responses in black, h/t CNN for the transcript.
Second thing is, I want to let you know that over the next couple of weeks, there are going to obviously be a whole range of issues – immigration, economics, et cetera. We’ll try to arrange a fuller press conference to address your questions.
The reason I actually wanted to come out today is not to take questions, but to speak to an issue that’s obviously gotten a lot of attention over the course of the last week, the issue of the Trayvon Martin ruling.
I gave a preliminary statement right after the ruling on Sunday, but watching the debate over the course of the last week, I thought it might be useful for me to expand on my thoughts a little bit.
The “I gave a preliminary statement” made my ears perk up, I suddenly had a bad feeling.
First of all, I want to make sure that once again I send my thought and prayers, as well as Michelle’s, to the family of Trayvon Martin, and to remark on the incredible grace and dignity with which they’ve dealt with the entire situation. I can only imagine what they’re going through and it’s remarkable how they’ve handled it.
Look I get it they lost their son, under any circumstances that alone is tough, but I am sick and tires of hearing about the grace and dignity of the Martins, who refused to help the police, maligned everyone involved, trademarked their dead son, swindled the HOA, went on a tour all across the country with trash cans to get donations in their son’s name and are now repeating the same thing all over. You want to see grace and dignity, look at the parents of George Zimmerman who had to hide, throughout this ordeal and are still hiding because of the lies and manipulations of the Martins.
The second thing I want to say is to reiterate what I said on Sunday, which is there are going to be a lot of arguments about the legal – the legal issues in the case. I’ll let all the legal analysts and talking heads address those issues.
The judge conducted the trial in a professional manner. The prosecution and the defense made their arguments. The juries (sic) were properly instructed that in a – in a case such as this, reasonable doubt was relevant. And they rendered a verdict.
And once the jury’s spoken, that’s how our system works.
I know that Obama was not a criminal lawyer, but I am sure that at some point during law school, someone must have mentioned that reasonable doubt is not only relevant but that the prosecution must prove the charges beyond such.
But I did want to just talk a little bit about context and how people have responded to it and how people are feeling.
You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me, 35 years ago.
Oh boy, so not only is he commenting on the story but now he is inserting himself into it. Narcissistic much.
And when you think about why, in the African-American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a – and a history that – that doesn’t go away.
What a nice way to say that we are all racists. That will really go a long way in easing tensions.
There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me.
There are probably very few African-American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me – at least before I was a senator.
There are very few African-Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off.
That happens often.
I am Hispanic and some of the same things have happened to me, that does not mean that I can beat the next guy that follows me in a department store and if I was a woman and I saw you in an elevator I too, would clutch my purse, you take enough of my money through taxes both hidden and income taxes. But, all that is besides the point are you going to mention why are young black males seen, perceived the way some are? Do I need to quote you the statistics?
And, you know, I – I don’t want to exaggerate this, but those sets of experiences inform how the African-American community interprets what happened one night in Florida.
And it’s inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear.
The African-American community is also knowledgeable that there is a history racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws, everything from the death penalty to enforcement of our drug laws. And that ends up having an impact in terms of how people interpret the case.
Well, Mr. President this was your perfect opportunity to clarify the issues of this case, but even though the Prosecution, Defense, and Family all have said that Race was not involved in the case, you just made it about race again. The fact that Zimmerman was as colorblind as anyone possibly could be, is irrelevant to you. This was your opportunity to set the record straight and use the standing within the community to quashed the misunderstandings about the case. Instead you have chosen to pander to other people’s fear and bigotry whether founded or not. Great Job, Mr. President.
Now, this isn’t to say that the African-American community is naive about the fact that African-American young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system, that they’re disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence. It’s not to make excuses for that fact.
Although, black folks do interpret the reasons for that in a historical context. They understand that, some of the violence that takes place in poor black neighborhoods around the country is born out of a very violent past in this country. And that the poverty and dysfunction that we see in those communities can be traced to a very difficult history.
First you claim that you are not making excuses for the disproportionate amount of criminal activity in the community and then you go ahead and do so. There is a reason some is called history, it means in the past and as you are a shining example of, we do not leave 35 years ago when you claim you could have been TM. Not to mention that the event was not triggered by race as you keep asserting. At least you don’t claim all of the current crime problems in the AA community are because of past history, question Mr. President how much do you think it is still tied to past history and how is due to fail policies that destroyed the core of any community the Family Unit MOM, DAD and the kids.
Sundance at the Conservative Treehouse has a post that detail some of the details about the criminal statistics that you have glossed over and it is worth a read, to put thing is context, http://theconservativetreehouse.com/2013/07/21/22-5-and-if-you-dont-agree-youre-racist-now-about-that-immigration-reform
And so, the fact that sometimes that’s unacknowledged adds to the frustration. And the fact that a lot of Africa-American boys are painted with a broad brush and the excuses given, “Well, there are these statistics out there that show that African-American boys are more violent,” using that as an excuse to then see sons treated differently causes pain.
Mr. President is more than just statistics, claiming that is just numbers some bureaucrat can up with, does not diminished the facts. The same way that trying to minimize the numbers by using techniques such as those used by the Miami-Dade School System Police used to minimize the number of referrals to the Juvenile Criminal System, such hiding, destroying evidence, falsifying records, using the Baker Act to deal with young criminals, all with the goal of camouflaging the problem. Your initiative to forcing those unruly teens in the schools are also designed to fail, they will disrupt things for those that want to learn and they either drop out or continue getting social promotions, to the point that they will be 19 years old and can’t read a sentence in cursive. Both of those solutions do not address the core issues, they are just paper over a hole in the wall.
I think the African-American community is also not naive in understanding that, statistically, somebody like Trayvon Martin was probably, statistically, more likely to be shot by a peer than he was
by somebody else.
Some credit is due, for this statement of fact.
So – so folks understand the challenges that exist for African-American boys. But they get frustrated, I think, if they feel that there’s no context for it, or – and that context is being denied. And – and that all contributes, I think, to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario that, from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different.
The context is not being denied by the people but you, politician of your party and the news media, that will not report the context of some crimes, lest someone such as yourself Mr. President take out of the correct context and blame past history for the gang problems today. If a sense exist that a white male teen would have different outcome, it may have to do with how a white male teen might have acted in the situation. Would he have gone home, or would he have gone back to confront the person, and attack him because of past racial history that disrespect him. But did conversation is avoided, as we do not want to talk about what the AA community is teaching its black males about resolving conflicts.
Now, the question, for me, at least, and – and I think for a lot of folks is, “Where do we take this? How – how do we learn some lessons from this and move in a positive direction?”
You know, I think it’s understandable that there have been demonstrations and vigils and protests and some of that is just going to have to work its way through as long as it remains nonviolent. If I see any violence, then I will remind folks that that dishonors what happened to Trayvon Martin and his family.
How it is positive to honor a young man who acted in a violent manner? If your goal is to move in positive direction why not say the truth, that Trayvon Martin acted in an unreasonable violent way, which led to his death, saying anything else will not send any positive message. Or are you condoning Trayvon’s actions and if you are then the future Trayvons have you to thank for their fate. Sending the wrong message not only dishonors your office but propagates the same circle of violence that is claiming so many young black males, something you want to avoid, or do you?
But beyond protests or vigils, the question is: Are there some concrete things that we might be able to do? I know that Eric Holder is reviewing what happened down there, but I think it’s important for people to have some clear expectations here. Traditionally, these are issues of state and local government. The criminal code and law enforcement is traditionally done at the state and local levels, not at the federal levels.
I already mentioned this paragraph and what Allahpundit and some other think it means.
That doesn’t mean, though, that as a nation, we can’t do some things that I think would be productive. So let me just give a couple of specifics that I’m still bouncing around with my staff, you know, so we’re not rolling out some five-point plan, but some areas where I think all of us could potentially focus.
Number one, precisely because law enforcement is often determined at the state and local level, I think it would be productive for the Justice Department, governors, mayors to work with law enforcement about training at the state and local levels in order to reduce the kind of mistrust in the system that sometimes currently exists.
You know, when I was in Illinois, I passed racial profiling legislation, and it actually did just two simple things. One, it collected data on traffic stops and the race of the person who was stopped, but the other things was it resourced us training police departments across the state on how to think about potential racial bias, and ways to further professionalize what they were doing.
And, initially, the police departments across the state were resistant, but actually they came to recognize that if it was done in a fair, straightforward way that, it would allow them to do their jobs better and communities would have more confidence in them, and in turn be more helpful in – in applying the law. And, obviously, law enforcement’s got a very tough job.
Just shooting the breeze about more ways the Federal government will interfere on local affairs. The mistrust in the system is in great part, the politicizing of law enforcement that politicians have done, to garner votes and pander to a public that is waiting for leadership, not more studies and statistics. Regardless I am still unclear how protesting or demonstrating against an unpopular decision will build trust on the system.
So that’s one area where I think there are a lot of resources and best practices that could be brought to bear, if state and local governments are receptive, and I think a lot of them would be. And let’s figure out, are there ways for us to push out that kind of training.
Along the same lines, I think it would be useful for us to examine some state and – and local laws to see if it – if they are designed in such a way that they may encourage the kinds of altercations and confrontations and tragedies that we saw in the Florida case, rather than diffuse potential altercations.
I know that there’s been commentary about the fact that the “Stand Your Ground” laws in Florida were not used as a defense in the case.
I was wondering when he would get to the Stand your Ground law. Since its inception in 2005 the law has been invoked 133 times, in the same period there have been 8378 homicides, which means the law was invoked for 1.5% of the homicides. Does it really look like the law is creating or encouraging altercations or confrontations? If we add the Aggravated Assaults which can also use the law in self-defense cases the percentage drops even further. By the way AA are disproportionately benefiting from the law, while 33% of the cases invoking the law are AA, they are only 17% of the total population in Florida. Not only are they invoking the law at a higher percentage but are granted immunity at a greater percentage than whites or Hispanics, as well.
On the other hand, if we’re sending a message as a society in our communities that someone who is armed potentially has the right to use those firearms, even if there’s a way for them to exit from a situation, is that really going to be contributing to the kind of peace and security and order that we’d like to see?
And for those who – who resist that idea, that we should think about something like these Stand Your Ground laws, I just ask people to consider, if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? And do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting Mr. Zimmerman, who had followed him in a car, because he felt threatened? And if the answer to that question is at least ambiguous, then it seems to me that we might want to examine those kinds of laws.
NO. There is no ambiguity about that, because unless we are in a different country, the act of following someone does not constitute justification for shooting someone. You would think as someone who has been to Law School would be aware of that. I could quote case-law on this but what would be the point, the whole Stand your Ground debate is a red herring to distract people from the facts of the case and a pet agenda. SYG had nothing to do with the case, what ifs, and assumptions still don’t make it so. The case was a clear-cut case of self-defense, the duty to retreat; had there been one required as is the case on some other states, was hampered by Trayvon Martin who was straddling Zimmerman making retreat impossible. That, is the reason for all the talk about SYG is deflect from talking about the facts of the case and introduces imaginary scenarios.
Number three – and this is a long-term project – we need to spend some time in thinking about how do we bolster and reinforce our African-American boys? And this is something that Michelle and I talk a lot about. There are a lot of kids out there who need help, who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement. And is there more that we can do to give them the sense that their country cares about them, and values them, and is willing to invest in them?
You know, I’m not naive about the prospects of some grand new federal program. I’m not sure that that’s what we’re talking about here. But I – I do recognize that, as president, I’ve got some convening power. And there are a lot of good programs that are being done across the country on this front. And for us to be able to gather together business leaders and local elected officials and clergy and celebrities and athletes and figure out, how are we doing a better job helping young African-American men feel that they’re a full part of this society and that – and that they’ve got pathways and avenues to succeed? You know, I think that would be a pretty good outcome from what was, obviously, a tragic situation. And we’re going to spend some time working on that and thinking about that.
You want to re-force young black males, how about starting by not idealizing a thug that got himself shot while brutally attack a ‘creepy ass-cracka”. Now there is a start for you, you mention athletes how about making it forbidden for college athletes to drop out before concluding their degrees. No degree, no big NBA contract, same for all college sports. How about recognizing nationally those who achieve academically rather than athletically. You want them to feel like a full part of society, then stop referring to the “Black Experience”, referring how black lives are different from others, you can be inclusive if all you do is divisive.
And then, finally, I think it’s going to be important for all of us to do some soul-searching. You know, there’s been talk about, should we convene a conversation on race? I haven’t seen that be particularly productive when, you know, politicians try to organize conversations. They end up being stilted and politicized, and folks are locked into the positions they already have.
On the other hand, in families and churches and workplaces, there’s a possibility that people are a little bit more honest and at least you ask yourself your own questions about, am I wringing as much bias out of myself as I can? Am I judging people as much as I can based on not the color of their skin, but the content of their character? That would, I think, be an appropriate exercise in the wake of this tragedy.
I will give you credit that any race conversation had by politicians is non-productive and actually very detrimental. But any discussion without honesty is just as much a waste of time.
And let me just leave you with – with the final thought that, as difficult and challenging as this whole episode has been for a lot of people, I don’t want us to lose sight that things are getting better. Each successive generation seems to be making progress in changing attitudes when it comes to race. It doesn’t mean we’re in a post-racial society. It doesn’t mean that racism is eliminated.
But, you know, when I talk to Malia and Sasha and I listen to their friends and I see them interact, they’re better than we are. They’re better than we were on these issues. And that’s true in every community that I’ve visited all across the country. And so, you know, we have to be vigilant. And we have to work on these issues. And those of us in authority should be doing everything we can to encourage the better angels of our – nature as opposed to using these episodes to heighten divisions.
But we should also have confidence that kids these days, I think, have more sense than we did back then and certainly more than our parents did or our grandparents did, and that along this long and difficult journey, you know, we’re becoming a more perfect union, not a perfect union, but a more perfect union.
Thank you, guys.
I have to give credit, admitting that things are better, but “those of us in authority should be doing everything we can to encourage the better angels of our – nature as opposed to using these episodes to heighten divisions.” What did you think you were doing by your earlier statements? Holder call us cowards, I agree, because we are dishonest with ourselves and each other. Pandering to our emotions in time of deep misunderstanding only make it worse, not better. That is what the President did with this speech, he said just enough to pander to everyone, he justified the protests and legitimize their misplaced sentiments. At the same time he acknowledge that things have changed and politics make the discussions worse not better. But he did not take a stand on anything, he did not say to the demonstrators hey your actions are misplaced in this regard. Or took a stronger stance on the law, he vacillated, he led from behind and led us nowhere. He did not make the situation better but possibly worse.
Once again, he acted stupidly!