Mass Hysteria

WANA: We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.

Sometimes truth is unpopular, and today’s post may be one of those occasions. I have gritted my teeth as I remained silent on this issue, but now that the true story has come out and been corroborated by witnesses, I can no longer do so.

As I write this, I realize some of my readers may disagree with what I have to say here—maybe even disagree strongly. That’s okay, but let’s remain friends anyhow.

Led by Al Sharpton and others who gain wealth and fame promoting racial strife by claiming that everything bad that happens is somehow the result of racial injustice, our media and much of our country has been worked up into a feverish demand for the lynching of George Zimmerman because of the death of Trayvon Martin. Playing the race card has become an effective tool for these so-called civil rights leaders, whether there was a racial issue involved or not. The Black Panthers have even gone so far as to place a $10,000 bounty on Zimmerman.

If George Zimmerman had been black and Trayvon Martin white, would there have been any outcry? I seriously doubt it.

The Orlando Sentinel released a story this morning finally detailing what actually happened on the night of February 26. Zimmerman was walking toward his vehicle, his back to Martin, when Martin struck him from behind, knocking him to the ground and proceeded to beat him. Bloody, battered and unable to defend himself, Zimmerman managed to draw and fire his weapon—once—in an attempt to stop the beating.

I hoped to show a photo of Zimmerman bloody and beaten after the attack, but the media frenzy has been so overwhelming they’re not showing any—and the only photos I could find of Martin make him look like a fourteen year-old choirboy and not like the vicious monster who attacked Zimmerman.

All the way back on February 27th, the local Orlando Fox station interviewed the witness who dialed 911. They submitted the following facts:

1. The witness reports that George Zimmerman was on the ground and Trayvon is on top of him punching him.
2. The witness says that George Zimmerman was screaming and yelling for help.
3. Police arrive and find Zimmerman bleeding on his face and the back of his head. He also has had grass stains on his back. All this confirms the story told by Zimmerman and the witness.
4. Police play the 911 tape for Trayvon Martin’s father, who tells police that the voice screaming is not the voice of his son
[further confirming what Zimmerman and the witness said]
.
—–
The neighborhood this took place in has seen a lot of crime. Would you be surprised to learn that there were eight burglaries, nine thefts, and a shooting just in the past year? In fact, the local homeowners’ association reports that George Zimmerman actually caught one thief and aided in the apprehension of other criminals.
[This lends credence to the picture of Zimmerman as a responsible member of his community.]

—–
As with all teenage victims, the media mendaciously refers to Trayvon as an “honor roll student.” In fact, he was under a five day suspension when the shooting took place. That is why he was staying at a house so far from his school on a school night. A laywer for Trayvon’s family has blocked access to his school records. However, you have to do something pretty bad to get suspended for five days.
—–
Note that all the news articles contain a picture of a smiling, prepubescent 13 year-old Trayvon, not a fully grown 17 year-old, 6’2” football player: The media also fills their articles with outdated baby-faced pictures of Trayvon. Very few include that he was a towering 6’2” football player.

Quoted from answers.yahoo.com

Martin, who initiated the attack, died from Zimmerman’s attempts to defend himself, and because of his death he has somehow become a martyr in the minds of much of the public. Martyrs don’t attain their status by savagely attacking people from behind, although Sharpton, et al, with decades of experience at inflaming crowds, have managed to make Martin one in the eyes of much of the public.

Where is our outrage at this attack? Where is our sympathy for Zimmerman, the actual victim in the matter? Where is our sense of right and wrong? Have we become so accustomed to the demagoguery of these so-called civil rights leaders that we just accept whatever preposterous claims they make and blindly follow them along the paths they want us to tread? If so, how sad, not only for the George Zimmermans who get trampled underfoot, but for our entire nation.

clip_image002David N. Walker is a Christian father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years as a health insurance agent. Most of that career was spent in Texas, but for a few years he traveled many other states. He started writing about 20 years ago, and has six unpublished novels to use as primers on how NOT to write fiction. He is currently putting the finishing touches on his non-fiction Web Wisdom: Godly Inspiration from the Inbox and starting his new fiction work—a series of novellas set during the period from 1860 to 1880—using methods he and @KristenLambTX developed when they cofounded Warrior Writers Boot Camp.

Contact me at davwalktx@yahoo.com or tweet me at @davidnwalkertx

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About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
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24 Responses to Mass Hysteria

  1. Piper Bayard says:

    Hi David. You were very brave to address this on your blog.

    I’m appalled by the media circus, and I made most of my comments in my reply to Barbara. I must agree with Amber that we don’t have the information to label Martin a “vicious monster” or to exonerate Zimmerman at this point. I only know that it would doubtless be helpful to the investigation if the media had something better to do.

    Thank you for starting this frank discussion.

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  2. Joe Lerner says:

    No doubt you’ll censor my response. Like most so-called “Christian” ring-wingers, you’re a sanctimonious hypocrite and bigot who always turns a blind eye to the truth. It’s obvious to anyone that Zimmerman is a murderer, and that anyone who supports him is as much a monster as he is. People like you give Christianity a bad name.Shame on you for your racism and prejudice. But I take solace in the fact that history is not on your side. God help us all.

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    • Sorry, Joe. No censorship here. Your comment is now public so everyone can see the hatred you spewed. If you have any sincere interest in pursuing truth, you can read my special blog Sunday entitle “My Bad.”

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  3. Kathy Reinhart says:

    Society as a whole has been in such a downward spiral for far too long, but I take comfort in the fact that there are still people out there who aren’t afraid to tell it like it is. Great article….

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  4. Catherine Johnson says:

    This story is so similar to one that is hard for me to talk about, all I can say is life is very unfair, and there are too many innocent civilians in prison because of bad people who are very good at lying. I wonder what will happen to him.

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  5. I can’t stand racial injustice. But I also just don’t know whether or not I believe Zimmerman is the victim here.

    For one, if he really was attacked, why aren’t there photos circulating in this mass-media-driven world?

    Secondly, I thought that if you murdered someone (even in self-defense), the case went to a grand jury and they decided whether or not to indict. If they deemed there to be enough evidence for a trial, then Zimmerman would have his day in court with a jury of his peers to argue self-defense.

    Third, if the handling of this case by law enforcement was handled correctly in not arresting Zimmerman on any charges for murdering another person (notice, I’m not mentioning his color, his age, or anything else — he was just another human being), then why have two law enforcement officials since stepped down? That tells me something wasn’t handled correctly and they’re taking the wasy way out to protect the police force.

    All in all, this stinks. But I think Zimmerman needs to face a jury and let’s see if the truth can come out. I just hope that all of the rallying around the U.S. doesn’t cause any more violence.

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  6. Many things in this world are unpopular, David, but I support everyone’s right to say them. You start this post with the phrase “the true story has come out and been corroborated by witnesses.” Says who? Relying on one media story does not paint the truth. The Sentinel’s report relies heavily on Zimmerman’s version of events, which is in dispute. The secondary tragedy of this story for American history is that we most likely will never know the exact truth of what occurred that night. Each side can trump up witnesses after the fact to spin the story however they need it to go.

    From Zimmerman’s own 911 call, he was sitting in his car watching Trayvon. Wind is then heard on the tape as Zimmerman got out and started to follow him. The operator told him he doesn’t have to do that, but he continued. Zimmerman was heard muttering about a certain type of person who always gets away. Trayvon, on the phone with his girlfriend, mentioned knowing someone was following him. A confrontation occurs, the struggle erupts and one armed person shoots an unarmed person. We are told the shooter had a bloody nose and head wound, but have not been shown that as evidence. Why not release those photos as a means to substantiate your case? As for the size of Trayvon that you mention, the initial police report (yep, I read them too) lists Trayvon as six feet and 160 pounds. Zimmerman is noted as five feet, nine inches, but no weight given. That doesn’t sound like a “towering 6’2” football player” to me.

    From that scenario, would be reasonable for Trayvon to turn or otherwise confront the follower to protect himself? Would it be reasonable for Zimmerman to confront Trayvon because he’s profiled him as someone that shouldn’t be in the neighborhood? As they fought, could either one have been “on top,” regardless of whom the aggressor was, at a certain point depending on when a witness saw them? What isn’t reasonable to me is the need to shoot during a fight with someone without a weapon. And if there are witnesses that were really that close to see a fist fight, why did none intervene?

    As for records, Zimmerman supposedly has had violent confrontations with the police and others in the past (some reports state three arrests). Trayvon supposedly was suspended for having a pipe and an empty bag that was suspected to have held marijuana (that was the current suspension), making graffiti and a truancy charge. I guess those are some “pretty bad” things. Who is leaking this stuff and what does it have to do with that moment that night? Is it so folks can feel better about assuming Zimmerman is a bully? Or justify calling Trayvon a “vicious monster” to kill any sympathy towards him for being shot? Trayvon was found face down and dead in the grass. He was a kid going to buy some candy. He is someone’s son. He is a human being that mattered.

    As for the “race card,” let’s talk about the police and the accusations they did not handle the scene properly in the processing of evidence. As told to ABC News, the Sanford Police Department’s own Chris Serino stated he doubted Zimmerman’s story about self-defense that night. This is documented in an affidavit. He wanted him arrested for manslaughter, but the state Attorney’s Office declared there was not enough evidence to make the arrest. That evidence would help answer a lot of the open links and I believe we would not have the mess we do now.

    If the scenario was reversed, there would be no outcry because Trayvon would have been arrested for shooting Zimmerman. No doubt in my mind. His clothes would have been processed (allegedly Zimmerman’s were not). He would have been tested for alcohol/drugs (allegedly Zimmerman was not, but Trayvon was at autopsy). If it is true that they failed to collect the proper evidence, the fact that Zimmerman wasn’t arrested is because of a flawed investigation versus his story and actions being true.

    Forget Al or any of the other mouthpieces coming for camera time (side eyeing Jesse because I’m not a fan). It is infuriating and offensive when people toss out the “race card” phrase as if talking about how racism has a woven piece in a case or life scenario is wrong. As if race doesn’t matter in America anymore when clearly it does. Talking about race isn’t “mass hysteria.” Trayvon’s father stated that they do not want an “eye for an eye,” but rather justice via the system for his son.

    That area in Florida has had an increase in crime. Were all of them proven to be committed by blacks or was Zimmerman just reacting based on stereotypes? Zimmerman, as watch captain, profiled Trayvon as a black teenager not from the neighborhood and possibly up to no good. Let’s not kid ourselves.

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    • When I decided to write this post, one of the things that held me back was not wanting to offend you, Barbara, because I consider you a good friend. We obviously have different takes on it, but as I said in my opening, I hope that doesn’t affect our friendship, which I treasure.

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      • When people uncensor themselves is when we can truly get to know them. So it is from that spirit that you wrote and that I, and others, have responded.

        In the comments, you mentioned one “can’t believe everything in the media,” yet seem to have done that a bit by already buying into a “truth” and believing one swing of the story instead of the facts in their entirety. I don’t fully believe the PR spin of either side and think the truth is in a murky middle.

        Our justice system has a history of not always being just. The system at work here and actions in the initial investigation has failed them both, as has anyone protesting with the wrong spirit in mind. Whether Zimmerman is arrested, convicted or left free, I won’t view him to be a “vicious monster” or “savage” attacker as you have of Martin. I agree with Amber that painting Martin with this brush is the same biased, “rallying mentality” that you state has been unjustly done to Zimmerman.

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    • Piper Bayard says:

      Hi Barbara.

      Thank you for your thoughtful response to David’s article. I believe you are correct in saying we will probably never know the truth of who did what to who that night. A couple of things I do know.

      1. The media will hype whatever angle sells. They have no interest in truth. Truth doesn’t make money. The more emotions they stir over this, one way or the other, the more money they will make, and that is their sole concern. The old pictures of Martin as a boy that they choose to publish are quite calculated in that aim. IF there are pictures of a bloodied Zimmerman, they would only serve to cool the fervor and thus reduce sales.

      2. There is a back room war happening right now in how much evidence to release, and the legal system is losing in favor of the dollar and the media circus. The potential jury pool, should Zimmerman be arrested, is so polluted at this point that they will have to hold any trials to be had on a Peruvian mountain top to find a jury that hasn’t been poisoned by all the little half truths and tidbits being leaked to the media. This is a NIGHTMARE for the federal investigation.

      3. People do not always behave in a reasonable fashion. Was it reasonable for Zimmerman to get out of his car to follow Martin, who he described as a ‘suspicious person’ to the police? Absolutely not. Is it possible that Martin also behaved unreasonably and really did turn the tables on Zimmerman? Certainly. We are not rational creatures. Frankly, if I knew someone was following me with deliberation through a neighborhood at night, I might very well turn on them and attack first. Is that rational? Probably not.

      4. There are any number of ways to kill people without guns. IF Martin attacked Zimmerman, in the heat of that moment, Zimmerman could have very well had the belief that his life was in danger, and he had no way of knowing Martin was unarmed. It’s weapon enough to beat a person to death. It happens every day.

      I have seen overt racism, and I have suffered overt racism far over and above most of that I have seen happen to minorities, and no, my experiences in being persecuted for being white are not what every white person suffers. I have no patience for racism of any kind. It’s ridiculously small minded.

      I’m appalled by how celebrities – i.e. Oprah, Spike Lee, Obama (who behaves more like a celebrity than a president) – have run with this rather than respect the fact that there is a federal investigation ongoing in the matter, because, after all, being a celebrity endows people with supernatural powers to magically divine what happened that night – something you and I both agree we will probably never know. (Too bad those magical powers didn’t endow Spike Lee with the ability to restrain his texting, which was calculated to terrorize.)

      It’s fascinating, too, how people react when they find out Zimmerman is half latino. I’ve even seen the phrase “white latino” pop up. Let’s face it. He would usually be labeled ‘latino’ if it wasn’t to someone’s financial benefit to label him ‘white.’ After all, how often have you ever heard Obama called a ‘white African-American’? Lol. Never. How disappointing it would be to how many if Zimmerman was just Zimmerman, and Martin was just Martin? But that wouldn’t sell.

      This whole matter is a tragedy, and it may well be that there are no innocents here. There’s a saying in law. “Hard cases make bad law.” I predict bad law will come of this.

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  7. Thanks for your comments, Amber. If it weren’t for the national “lynch mob” attitude, I might even agree with you. I’m sure Zimmerman’s handling of the situation fell short of perfect. However, nothing he did deserves the kind of reaction the media and the country as a whole has given him. The fact that the police investigated practically from the moment it happened and have not arrested him speaks volumes to me.

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  8. susielindau says:

    I agree with Renee in that I think a lot of people are getting desensitized. You can never believe everything in the media. We live in a very judgmental world with a lot of people who have preconceived ideas and are in desperate need of a Deepak Chopra book.

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  9. It took courage to post your opinion and unreported facts about this case, David.

    The discrepancies, bias and sensationalism in news reports are the reason I no longer trust media reporting. Someone needs to let them know this isn’t a “reading of well-written fiction. Nor, a platform to present your opinions as facts. Nor a stage where the goal is to entertain and draw crowds by twisting words and facts to gain the largest audience.”

    I had a dear friend who was selected as the spokesperson for a major corporation targeted by the media for unfair business practices. The corporation chose to put her face on their interview because she was a well-spoken, attractive female. Much better, in their opinion, than a business suited man. They played their fare share of publicity Shoots and Ladders.

    When I saw the full interview with the national news media representative (well known personality) versus the snippets they chose to air, I was appalled by how they twisted the facts. In one instance, a comment of hers to question “A” was presented as her answer to question “B” because it made for inflammatory commentary that supported their preconceived opinion.

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  10. I don’t think we know the whole story. There is evidence that does not support these facts (Martin was following Trayvon, despite being told not to do so by the police; Trayvon was on the phone with his girlfriend and she has said he was spooked by a guy following him — which actually leads to Trayvon also being covered by the Stand Your Ground law, ironically, if he did try to protect himself from Zimmerman). The way to the get to the whole story is a trial (where all facts can be weighed and balanced by a jury of peers). A trial is what is needed, and I presume the police will eventually do the right thing and send this to a court to be determined (i.e. The American Way). I will be forever saddened that Zimmerman didn’t do as he was asked by the police, and let them handle the “stranger danger” he incorrectly assessed. If he had, he wouldn’t have any bruises, a broken nose, or the knowledge that he took a life of a 17 year old packing a bag of Skittles and an iced tea. And, of course, a young man wouldn’t be dead and a family wouldn’t be in mourning.

    Our justice system has a method for adjudging culpability. To skirt it is irresponsible in this case.

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    • I agree, Kelly, our system has a method for adjudging culpability, and it’s not by giving media coverage to hysteria. The method would be for the District Attorney to file charges and bring the case before a grand jury if he felt a crime had been committed and there was reason to believe Zimmerman had committed it. Thanks for your comment.

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  11. I don’t know what it speaks to. I have to say, I guess I live a bit in a cave so I hadn’t heard this story. I’m trying to figure out who is whom. So, if ive gotbthis straight, an African-American teenager (a big football player type) attacked an adult for no reason in a high crime area.

    I can say only this: there is no outcry because we don’t cry out anymore. We’d rather go to our malls, play video games, and turn a blind eye to these kinds of injustices. Why, it sounds like an episode of CSI or NCIS or The Mentalist or Person of Interest — or any movie with these kinds of highly intoxicating action scenes. I think people have been desensitized to violence. I think people almost never think of each other as people anymore. We don’t even have any Sabbath days off anymore. Everyday is a day to conduct business rather than reflect on our behavior.

    We were warned once about worshipping false idols. Centuries later, here we are again.

    I am curious: What exactly was Zimmerman doing in this high crime area? Possibly nothing good. I’m not passing judgment; simply making an observation. If a person wants to stay out of harm, you don’t jump in front of a train. Why was he where he was? Maybe there is more to this story than we know. Maybe Zimmerman isn’t such a saint either.

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    • How wonderful to live somewhere where all this hysteria is reported, Renee. Maybe that makes up a little bit for your extreme winters there.

      I certainly wouldn’t claim Zimmerman was perfect. I think I would have handled the situation better had it been me, but the facts remain that he was a duly-authorized neighborhood watchman in a high crime area, that he had good reason to believe his life was in danger, and that he did what he had to to handle that danger.

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