Both times I went through Minnesota carry permit training, I had to absorb a massive amount of information, much of it potentially life-or-death.
One of the big ones, both times? Using a firearm in self-defense, even if it’s utterly justified in every way, is the second-worst possible outcome to a bad situation, at best. The worst, maybe, is that you die – and if you shoot an innocent person while trying to defend yourself, that’s even worse. Armed self-defense is incredibly fraught – legally and morally.
And that’s if you do absolutely everything right.
There was little to cheer about Saturday night at 9PM Central, as the jury announced its “not guilty” verdict.
For Trayvon Martin’s family? Having your child come to grief for no good reason is one of every parent’s worst nightmares. I’ve spent many a sleepless night wracked with worry about my own teenage kids. There but for the grace of God go many of us.
And that’s even if you leave the racial element out of it. Which I will do – because so did the prosecution in the Zimmerman trial. If it never came up at trial, it’s not an issue. It’s a mind-warping tragedy – but not a racial incident.
As to George Zimmerman? Even if you leave out all the threats against his life – most of which can be discounted as easily as testosterone-driven chest-pounding, but by no means all of it – his life is never going to be the same. It’s a rare, sick person that doesn’t feel some intense remorse over ending another human life, even if they did everything right.
As, as the court acknowledged, he did.
So I’ll pray for both Zimmerman’s and Martin’s families, and Zimmerman himself; the horror of this incident likely isn’t done spreading its destruction and misery. I urge you do to do the same via whatever means your worldview acknowledges.
If you believe the court verdict – and in our system, we are supposed to – then Trayvon Martin made a very bad choice, resolving whatever issues he had with being followed by attacking Zimmerman, who in turn chose to defend himself, because it was reasonable to assume that had he not, he’d be the dead one today (unlamented in the media). This fear he proved reasonable to a jury. You can second-guess it, but it’s all wind in sails.
Other people and institutions made choices – none of them of direct life or death import, but with implications that bear more directly on most of the rest of us who weren’t party to that shooting a year ago last spring.
Never Waste A Dead Kid: Barack Obama and his administration distinguished themselves by the depths of their cynicism. They politicized this case before the blood was dry – and they did it entirely to cement black support in the 2012 election. Is there a worse word than “cynicism?”
The Media: The mainstream media did, almost universally, an unforgiveable job in “covering” the case. They served as vehicles for the Administration’s narrative (NBC’s editing of Zimmerman’s 911 call to falsely make it sound racist), the prosecution’s disinformation (reading Zimmerman’s 911 call text as an angry outburst, where it was in real life more a resigned head-shake of disgust), and were universally as incurious about telling an accurate story as they were eager to exploit the tragedy into ratings (and political brownie points).
Ask yourself this; how many media and leftyblog sources did you see refer to Zimmerman carrying his firearm with the “hammer cocked and the safety off?” Zimmerman’s pistol had no safety; either does any revolver, or any of the Glocks your local police probably carry. And there’s no hammer to cock. And yet many media reports included that bit of tough-sounding but meaningless reporting.
Too gun-geeky? OK – how many times have you seen the media refer to this trial as a racial incident? Ask them – where in the case did the prosecution introduce race into the case?
They never did. Either, naturally, did the defense. It was a non-factor.
But that’s not sexy enough for the media.
The Entire American Left, Especially The Media And Political Classes, And That Means You Reading This, Whomever You Are: Also unsufficiently media-sexy, apparently, were the 11,106 other African-Americans killed since Martin’s death - 93% of them shot by other African-Americans. Be honest; if you can name one of their names, it’s because you follow North Minneapolis news (or whatever the blighted neigbhorhood near you might be). Most of them are teenage boys, a few years older or younger than Martin.
None of of those thousands of dead African-Americans was a sufficiently compelling stage prop for the Administration and the Media – pardon, as always, the redundancy – to exploit.
Leftyblogs: Virtually all of them had their minds made up the moment Media Matters told them what to think. The leftyblogs’ usual repetition of groupthink was the worst I’ve ever seen. And I thought I’d seen it all.