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Douse the Flames, Mr. President!

Barack Obama’s statement that the death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy that cries out for a more thorough investigation was the right and necessary thing to say.

But it fell far short of what was needed: a presidential call for a halt to the rhetoric that is stirring up racial rage and inflaming the nation. The incendiary language being deployed is both divisive and dangerous.

Addressing the Sanford, Fla., incident, Black Muslim Minister Louis Farrakhan tweeted: “Where there is no justice, there will be no peace. Soon, and very soon, the law of retaliation may … be applied.”

The New Black Panther Party has issued a “Wanted Dead or Alive” poster featuring the face of George Zimmerman, the man who shot Martin, and printed up a flier saying Martin was “murdered in cold blood.”

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When Panther leader Mikhail Muhammad was asked if this could ignite an explosive situation that has already seen death threats drive Zimmerman and his father from their homes, Muhammad cursed and said Zimmerman “should be fearful for his life.”

Demanding “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” the Black Panther leader offered $10,000 for Zimmerman’s capture and called for 5,000 black men to run him down.

“If the government won’t do the job, we’ll do it,” he warned.

Spike Lee helpfully tweeted Zimmerman’s home address.

Friends say Zimmerman fears for his life. One man has already been arrested for threatening to kill Bill Lee, the Sanford police chief who has stepped down and turned the investigation over to the state, the Justice Department, the FBI and a special prosecutor.

Returning from Geneva, Jesse Jackson, too, headed for Sanford, saying: “Blacks are under attack. … Targeting, arresting, convicting blacks and ultimately killing us is big business.” On arrival, Jackson said Trayvon Martin was a “kid shot down in cold blood by a vigilante.”

Talk show host Joe Madison charged Zimmerman with a “hate crime.” The Grio, a black news and opinion website, compares the killing of Trayvon Martin to the 1955 murder of Emmett Till in Mississippi.

Till, 14, had flirted with a white woman. Her husband and brother kidnapped, mutilated and murdered the boy and dumped his body into the Tallahatchie River. Emmett Till was lynched.

Trayvon Martin was shot by an overzealous Neighborhood Watch volunteer who grew suspicious of an unfamiliar black man or youth in a hoodie walking at night in the rain in a gated community he patrolled.

What appears to have happened is that, after alerting police to Martin’s presence, Zimmerman followed him in his SUV — against the advice of the cops. Where the street ended, Zimmerman got out.

A fight ensued. According to two witnesses, Zimmerman was losing, flat on his back, screaming for help. It seems unlikely a 17-year-old football player like Martin, angry and in a fistfight, would be screaming for help.

Police say that when they got there, they found Martin dead and Zimmerman with a bloody nose, a cut on the back of his head and grass stains on the back of his shirt.

Did Zimmerman, on his back, losing the fight, fearing this black kid was a criminal who might beat him to death or grab his gun, fire in presumed self defense? Did Martin, who had a right to be enraged with this character following and hassling him, start the fight?

Would Zimmerman, who carried a legal firearm, start a fistfight with an athletic black youth who was reportedly 6 inches taller?

The scenario above appears to be the one upon which Sanford police relied when they declined to arrest Zimmerman. That Trayvon’s body was taken to the morgue and identified as “John Doe” suggests that the police, too, concluded he was an intruder.

They were terribly wrong, as was Zimmerman. But to call this cold-blooded murder or an Emmett Till-type lynching appears, from the existing evidence, to be both demagogic and inflammatory.

Yet, there are questions that need answers.

Why, with a dead teenager, did the Sanford police not bring in Zimmerman and get his story on paper? Some journalists contend there are racial slurs on the tapes of Zimmerman talking to the cops. Others hear no such thing.

Zimmerman’s father calls the media portrayal of his son as a racist an injustice, and says his son has a Peruvian mother, is Spanish-speaking, grew up in a multiracial family and has many black friends.

And the clamor of the crowd — “Arrest him!” — raises a question.

Arrest him — for what?

If the Sanford police believe they have no case for murder or manslaughter or any felony, what do they charge him with, after they arrest him?

More critically, where is President Obama?

When Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot during a rampage by a crazed gunmen, Obama stepped in with a splendid address to cool the passions and call a halt to the false and fevered accusations of moral complicity in the monstrous crime of a lone killer.

Where is the Obama of Tucson now?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? [1]

Copyright 2012 Creators.com

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Comments Disabled To "Douse the Flames, Mr. President!"

#1 Comment By A. G. Phillbin On March 26, 2012 @ 8:05 pm

“Did Zimmerman, on his back, losing the fight, fearing this black kid was a criminal who might beat him to death or grab his gun, fire in presumed self defense? Did Martin, who had a right to be enraged with this character following and hassling him, start the fight?”

Both questions are entirely legitimate, but the second question makes it clear why the police should have initially arrested Zimmerman, and conducted a real investigation. Had they done so at the beginning, instead of taking Zimmerman at his word, there would have been less clamor for “justice.” And that second question just begs another: did Martin have legitimate reason to believe he was in physical danger, from this strange man who was following him? I certainly would be very suspicious, and possibly scared, of a person who was following me. There are good reasons the “911” dispatcher advised Zimmerman not to follow.

Granted, it’s no “Emmett Till” case. But there are some other problems with what Zimmerman, and the police, did that day. For one thing, why would you use “911” for ANYTHING but a life threatening emergency? He apparently was a frequent “911” caller, having called 46 times in a one year period. That’s a little less than once a week. The police, in most communities, have a non-emergency number. You don’t call “911” on vague suspicion. That is an abuse of emergency services. The very fact that he was such a frequent caller should have been a red flag to the police, at least regarding his mental stability, which is germane to this case. It is obvious that Z. did, at some point, leave his vehicle and follow M. on foot, and got close enough to him to be hit. It makes it possible that Z. might have struck first, although even following someone can be seen as menacing.

Other than that, you’re right. I think we neen the Obama of Tucson right now.

#2 Comment By Idham On March 26, 2012 @ 9:48 pm

Common sense says [2] was getting his ass kicked by Martin so he shot him. It happens in cities across this country every day. Those in the media is playing this story up for ratings and their egos and care less about the facts of the case which have not even been released yet.

#3 Comment By EngineerScotty On March 27, 2012 @ 12:33 am

Uh, utterly nobody cares what Farrakhan and the motley crew known as the “New Black Panther Party” have to say, other than white conservatives looking for a false equivalence. Honestly, I don’t think the New Black Panther Party would have any place in the national conversation at all if it weren’t commonly flogged as a bogeyman by those on the right.

Obama’s response was measured and appropriate. That didn’t stop Newt Gingrich from essentially accusing the president of black-on-white racism.

There may be no legal grounds to arrest Zimmerman, given the state of Florida’s “stand your ground” law. I’m not sure a federal civil rights prosecution, which would require proof of intentional racial bias on the part of Zimmerman, would succeed either.

But there’s little doubt that an injustice was done, and that the primary victim is the guy who’s dead and not the one who is still breathing.

#4 Comment By johan On March 27, 2012 @ 8:30 am

I will be watching what the Democrats and their constituency groups do with this. Though I’ve been trending more moderate on some issues, in law-and-order I am quite rightwing. Democrats always strike me (a non-minority) as Not My Friend when it comes to law and order, crime and punishment. If they try to Race-Hustle this, I will definitely vote Republican in November.

#5 Comment By KXB On March 27, 2012 @ 8:43 am

Would Zimmerman be getting his “ass kicked” if he were not following Martin? Isn’t that similar to the teen who kills his parents, and asks the court for mercy because he is an orphan?

#6 Comment By Mitchell Young On March 27, 2012 @ 10:03 am

“Would Zimmerman be getting his “ass kicked” if he were not following Martin?”

So KXB, do you immediately resort to fisticuffs when you are affronted in some way?

Of course, Zimmerman says that he had actually broken off the encounter, and was sucker punched from behind. Physical evidence that indicates that story is possibly true, and a ‘sucker punch’ being on of the few plausible ways for the 240 pound Zimmerman to end up on the ground under the supposedly 140 pound Martin. But we know that Zimmerman must be lying, because he killed an innocent black child.

#7 Comment By Brutus On March 27, 2012 @ 10:58 am

Actually, I believe, in this case, it would be more accurate to ask why Obama would get involved in the first place, as it is outside the duties of the presidency to intervene in these affairs. Still, the rest was thoughful, like why did the police not get Zimmerman’s story right away? Why did he follow? Why are we getting death threats for a man who may not be a murderer? What do they charge Zimmerman with, since he should not have been following in the first place?

#8 Comment By reflectionephemeral On March 27, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

Seems rather bizarre to be as hopped up about whatever the “New Black Panthers” have to say (how on Earth did you find them?) as about the senseless death of a young man, but we all have our private struggles, I guess.

So KXB, do you immediately resort to fisticuffs when you are affronted in some way?

Dunno about you, but I’ve thankfully never been chased by a gun-wielding madman while I walked down the street to my house. God alone knows just how I’d react were that to happen.

But then, I’m white. So daily life is a lot easier for me than it is for someone like Trayvon.

ask why Obama would get involved in the first place

He was asked a question at a press conference and he responded to it.

#9 Comment By KXB On March 27, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

“So KXB, do you immediately resort to fisticuffs when you are affronted in some way? ”

You’re assuming it was immediate, I am not. You are also giving credence to the judgment of a man who has an arrest record for misbehavior and called 911 46 times in one year. We cannot ask Martin, since he’s dead. And the police (who seem to have graduated near the bottom of their class) did not even bother to ask anyone for their take on the fight, or even check with his parents.

#10 Comment By Fran Macadam On March 27, 2012 @ 2:53 pm

Having lived in Florida for 15 years, I have to say that whether or not Mr. Zimmerman is “white” or “hispanic” probably makes little practical difference as to whether or not he was letting prejudice inform his actions.

It is a sad fact of Florida life that many Latinos, particularly those from countries other than Mexico, look down upon African-American as inferiors, far more than most Anglos do. As recent newcomers, they have not absorbed an American culture which has significantly reduced racist attitudes over past decades.

The most extreme of many racist comments I heard while living in Florida came from non-Mexican Hispanics.

#11 Comment By Nergol On March 27, 2012 @ 3:00 pm

>Dunno about you, but I’ve thankfully never been chased by a gun-wielding madman

I’m interested in your basis for this diagnosis. Where did you get your Ph. D in psychology? How many clinical hours have you spent with Mr. Zimmerman?

#12 Comment By Mitchell Young On March 27, 2012 @ 6:00 pm

“You’re assuming it was immediate, I am not.”

Fair enough.

You are also giving credence to the judgment of a man who has an arrest record for misbehavior and called 911 46 times in one year.

Yes, because physical evidence and *eye*witness testimony back up much of his story. His police troubles date to 7 years ago, and seem to involve some sort of crazy love relationship — not particularly uncommon. Zimmerman used a non-911 number, and as self-styled ‘neighborhood watch’ guy, I don’t see 1 call per week as particularly egregious.

We cannot ask Martin, since he’s dead.

And the police (who seem to have graduated near the bottom of their class) did not even bother to ask anyone for their take on the fight, or even check with his parents.

I cannot explain the parents part — to the extent it is true.

I have seen the police report on the web, by one officer Ayala. It has at least 7 witnesses listed, and relates that Zimmerman was held at gunpoint, handcuffed, transported to police HQ, placed in an ‘interview room’, and questioned. He didn’t even, apparently, ‘lawyer up’ until the last few days.

#13 Comment By LarryS On March 27, 2012 @ 6:07 pm

A. G. Phillbin: “He apparently was a frequent “911″ caller, having called 46 times in a one year period. That’s a little less than once a week.”

The Sanford Police Department has posted reports of 46 911 and nonemergency calls it says Zimmerman made between August 2004 and Martin’s shooting. About 1% of total calls.

#14 Comment By Fran Macadam On March 27, 2012 @ 6:16 pm

Charles Bronson’s “Death Wish” has finally gone mainstream, but with the twist that those blown away don’t really have to be guilty of anything at all, except in the killer’s head.

I’d say madness has gone mainstream, so it’s no longer insane but normal, for citizens to chase down and initiate conflicts with entirely innocent people, and then, realizing the victim is fighting back (standing his ground, rather than withdrawing?) justify blowing him away with impunity.

It doesn’t matter to the underlying issue of unilateral murder, whether Sharpton or Jackson get involved. Some people are operating on the assumption that if these people they don’t like get involved, that means suddenly Zimmerman MUST be A-OK – any enemy of my enemy is necessarily my friend.

In my preferred civil society worth preserving. you don’t arm yourself and go looking for trouble, as if you’re The Punisher, and then imagining it where it isn’t, you chase and terrorize some innocent person, who resists you, which allows you leave to murder him.

#15 Comment By IanH On March 27, 2012 @ 9:46 pm

“But then, I’m white. So daily life is a lot easier for me than it is for someone like Trayvon.”

You have to love liberal guilt.

#16 Comment By GB On March 27, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

Fran Macadam wrote:
“In my preferred civil society worth preserving…”

Really? In a civilized society dont people who feel threatened call the police? Why didn’t Martin? You can’t attack another person for following you. Also, it is not hard to kill someone by knocking them down and stomping them. From what I’ve seen, Martin was easily strong enough to accomplish that.

Zimmerman used poor judgement and apparently has a questionable record but that still doesn’t merit an automatic assumption that he is guilty of murder. At least, not in a civilized society.

#17 Comment By WM On March 28, 2012 @ 1:13 am

Funny how Black Panther leaders openly express there willingness to trade $10,000 for the anyone who kidnaps Zimmerman and brings them to the Black Panthers. That’s a lot of well-fare checks for one person 😉

#18 Comment By denisjeans On March 28, 2012 @ 2:16 am

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#19 Comment By Sean Gillhoolley On March 28, 2012 @ 7:39 am

Obama cannot win with some people. He did the right thing, but it wasn’t enough? Maybe you should be focussing on the conservatives who are actually saying the wrong thing, which is far worse than simply not going far enough (in your opinion). Clean your own house first.

#20 Comment By reflectionephemeral On March 28, 2012 @ 8:40 am

“But then, I’m white. So daily life is a lot easier for me than it is for someone like Trayvon.”
You have to love liberal guilt.

Guilt? Who said anything about guilt? I’m just talking about facts.

As far as my emotional reaction, I love being white. It’s easy as pie. I get to just “be”, and never have to feel like I’m being judged as or taken to speak for a larger group, except when I feel like it. Also, I’m less likely to have bad things happen to me.

[3], linking to studies that find:

applicants with white sounding names have a 50 percent better chance of being called back for an interview than their counterparts with black-sounding names, even when all qualifications are the same
white job applicants with criminal records have a better chance of being called back for an interview than black applicants without one, even when all the qualifications are the same
at least 1 million cases of blatant job discrimination against blacks, Latinos and Asian Americans each year, affecting roughly one-in-three job seekers of color
the lightest-skinned immigrants to the United States make as much as 15 percent more than the darkest, even when the immigrants in question have the same level of education, experience and measured productivity
e-mail inquiries about rental property submitted by people with white sounding names were 60 percent more likely than those with black sounding names to get a positive response from a landlord (meaning an indication that a unit was available for rent), even when the housing had been previously advertised as available

#21 Comment By JBS On March 28, 2012 @ 10:02 am

@Mr.Gillhoolley,
Sorry, I’m a bit slow on the inference. What is that you find wrong with what some conservatives are saying? What should they be saying?

Perhaps you’re one of the few in possession of the secret, tricky rules of what and how this mythical conversation on race and racism is supposed to go?

#22 Comment By GB On March 28, 2012 @ 10:59 am

@reflectionephemeral

Did you actually read some of those studies?

For example, the claim about 1 million cases of blatant job discrimination occuring each year is from a study that finished up in 1999. That study is based on using compiled statistics from private employers that were submitted to the federal government. From what I read, they did not examine or even possess data to examine the qualifications of all applicants for those positions. That makes a lot of the conclusions subjective. Where is the study that examines relative qualifications between different racial groups? Nowhere to be found…

You would see things differently if you had been passed over for a job because of Affirmative Action. There are cases all over out there (Google it) of discrimination against whites because of Affirmative Action.

#23 Comment By Francis E. Yates On March 28, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

In Washington,DC where I have lived for 32 years it is easier for a black with a middling background to get hired than a white with a so-so background. I fill no quota and they feel I will not fit in especially since I don’t get into sports much.

#24 Comment By madeinfrance On March 30, 2012 @ 8:17 pm

“It seems unlikely a 17-year-old football player like Martin, angry and in a fistfight, would be screaming for help.”

speculation Mr. Buchanan, speculation.

Later on in your piece you note correctly, “…there are questions that need answers.”

Which engenders the question,”Why would a 17-year-old football player like Martin, angry and in a fistfight, scream for help?”

#25 Comment By Franco Berro On April 21, 2012 @ 9:35 am

It is very moving to see how a conservative extreme right, Pat Buchanan, and many of his supporters defend the action of a left winger, a registered democrat who voted for Obama, naming here George Zimmerman. This is true harmony between the two sides, left and right.