I hear periodically that conservatives, even if they are not racist, are racially insensitive. I cannot address all such accusations, but I do understand the perception that genuinely racist atrocities bring out insufficient anger from those on the right.
Let me, as a conservative, just address myself to the unspeakable barbarity that occurred to Trayvon Martin.The young man was killed by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer. Without a shred of evidence or proof, Mr. Zimmerman says he ended Trayvon’s life in "self-defense."
Trayvon was talking on the phone to his girlfriend when he was the victim of this cowardly lynching-nature murder. He was stalked down and mercilessly killed.
As described by his family’s lawyer in USA Today and not disputed to this point, “Trayvon had walked to a nearby 7 Eleven to get skittles and a drink for his stepbrother, and other snacks to watch the NBA All Star game on TV... officials released the 911 call that Zimmerman made to report a suspicious person. Against the advice of the 911 dispatcher, Zimmerman then followed Trayvon: 'These a**holes always get away,' Zimmerman says in a call to a non-emergency number. "
Dispatcher: "Are you following him?"
Zimmerman: "Yeah."Dispatcher: "We don't need you to do that."
I cannot imagine a more horrible experience than a family’s learning of the ending of a fine young man’s life by a racist dimwit who claims and possibly believes he killed him in self-defense. Even without further investigation of evidence, it is reasonable to assume that Zimmerman’s evidence is that Trayvon was walking suspiciously. My surmise is that if he was walking slowly, that was suspicious to the expansive definition of suspiciousness of a racist; if he was walking speedily, that is evidence of his walking suspiciously. Whatever speed someone is walking is “suspicious” when you have already condemned him.
Let’s not mince words: young Mr. Martin was killed because he is an African-American. The fear this creates in Black families is justified. People mistakenly think that the evidence needed for a citizen to react to a horrible crime is equivalent to that needed for conviction; it is not."
This act is unforgivable. Don’t tell me that the perpetrator had understandable misperceptions. He did not. He was a vigilante who murders and then tries to depict the situation as warranting his violence.
Just awful beyond words, and God bless the family of this wonderful, innocent young man, Trayvon Martin.
Professor Vatz is a professor of rhetoric and communication at Towson University.