Sometimes you find someone who summarizes a situation so well, the nest way to comment on the story is to quote him. And so it is with this excerpt from Thomas Sowell’s piece in the National Review:
The man who shot the black teenager in Florida may be as guilty as sin, for all I know — or he may be innocent. We pay taxes so that there can be judges and jurors who sort out the facts. We do not need Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton or the president of the United States spouting off before the trial has even begun. Have we forgotten the media’s rush to judgment in the Duke University “rape” case that blew up completely when the facts came out?
If the facts show that a teenager who was no threat to anyone was shot and killed, it will be time to call for the death penalty. But if the facts show that the shooter was innocent, then it will be time to call for people in the media and in politics to keep their big mouths shut until they know what they are talking about.
Playing with racial polarization is playing with fire. . . .Race hustlers who stir up paranoia and belligerence are doing no favor to minority youngsters. There is no way to know how many of these youngsters’ confrontations with the police or others in authority have been needlessly aggravated by the steady drumbeat of racial hype they have been bombarded with.
H/t: WSJ.com’s Political Diary (available by subscription)
Every time I check the blogs, I learn new information about the case, about the actual incident, about the young man and about the man who shot him. The more I learn, the more complex the case becomes. As more details emerge, I am reminded of one of the greatest plays of classical Greece, Aeschylus’s Eumenides which begins with the Furies seeking vengeance on Orestes for killing Clytmenestra his mother his mother. Soon, the goddess Athene arrives and acknowledges that the Furies have a case.
Before the matter is to be resolved, she wants to hear both sides and wants to make sure the facts are weighed in a dispassionate manner — before a court of Athenian citizens.
So too should those who determine the fate of Mr. Zimmerman: weigh the facts, all the facts, dispassionately. Many interpreted Aeschylus’s drama as defining a key notion of classical civilization, the move from the notion of vengeance to right a wrong to one of measured justice. We should remember that lesson and instead of reacting with rage at a perceived injustice, let more dispassionate authorities weigh the evidence and judge accordingly.
Such is the mark of civilization. Perhaps after due deliberation, Mr. Zimmerman’s guilt will be shown. Perhaps, he will be exonerated. Or perhaps he will be cleared. I agree with Sowell on that matter. If the young man was no threat to him, the death penalty would be warranted. If not, the media would be advised not to sensationalize a story until they learn all the facts.
Here are two other insightful pieces I read on this story: Thoughts on Trayvon Martin and George Zimerman, Obama, the Democrats, and The Society for the Preservation of Racism
UPDATE: Ed Morrissey had a good piece up this morning on the story with a conclusion that gets at the heart of the matter:
The original concern in this shooting incident was that the investigation into the shooting of an unarmed 17-year-old seemed cursory and insufficient. Thanks to the national attention the case has draw, we now have two major investigations under way, one by the Department of Justice (an investigation endorsed by Rep. Allen West) and another by the state of Florida. While it’s unlikely that the media will stop reporting tidbits of the story without knowing their full context, the rest of us should wait to see what facts can be established by these two investigations before jumping to any more conclusions — and before putting innocent people at risk like the McClains.
Emphasis added. Read the whole thing.