Rush To Judgment Over Florida Teen Slaying
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
I want to head something off – right now. Florida is NOT the DEEP South! Southerners in the true Deep South joke of Florida as a “Yankee” colony, not so much a southern state, as the result of the influx of people from the northern states over the past five or six decades. It is a bit of uncomfortable humor that hews too close to truth -- especially for those in the coastal municipalities of that beautiful state.
Another thing, the shooting of the Florida black teen by a Hispanic man is not representative of black and white relations in the south anymore than it is in the northern states, the eastern states, the Midwest, or the West.
I don’t know what happened there when those two people met on that Florida street. Only two people know what happened -- and one of them is dead. There are now reports that police have an eyewitness to the incident. A TV station in Orlando, Florida located and interviewed the witness. You can read that story HERE.
Other than the death of another human being there are two more things that trouble me.
One -- is the rush to judgment by both the black and white communities and the trial of the shooter in the media. It is reminiscent of those lynch mobs of days gone by. In my opinion, there is no place in America for this sort of emotional outburst.
I have actually SEEN a lynch mob. As a young reporter, I was reporting on a rape when the lynch mob formed and marched to the county jail to drag the accused out and hang him.
I was there and I saw it, experienced it, and reported on it.
I even managed to get inside the jail where deputies were holed-up. State troopers were finally called in to quell the mob before someone was hurt. It was a tense and extremely dangerous incident.
You cannot imagine the rage in a mob of that kind. You can read about it, you can see it depicted on TV and in the movies, but until you have experienced it -- believe me --- you do not understand the power of unbridled rage. It is palpable and it is mindless, in and of itself, easily led by a single person willing to take on the responsibility of directing the rage of the mob.
Mob mentality is a sort of madness – insanity. At the core, a mob forces its will on others. That never ends well.
Since that event, I have distrusted mobs, demonstrations, displays of so-called “civil disobedience, or whatever the term in vogue at the time.
The action of a mob, or a demonstration (take your pick), never changes the hearts, minds, and attitudes of the people toward whom the mob’s rage is directed. The mob may force them into some sort of compliant behavior, but it only creates or intensifies the “target’s” distrust, distaste, disgust, and, perhaps, at a later time – defiance.
In the Florida situation, calm is called for. However, I doubt that will happen when the Mainstream Media is whipping up such a wave of emotion.
And Two – Florida’s gun laws. It is my understanding that the “Castle Doctrine” and the “Stand Your Ground Law” are two different things, although, it is possible that circumstances could bring both to bear on a single incident.
Seems to me that Stand Your Ground covers a defensive situation. The citizen under attack has the right, under law, not to retreat from his attacker -- and he may use the force necessary to protect himself. The Castle Doctrine is pretty much the same except that it applies if your home (your castle) is being attacked/invaded.
North Carolina has some derivation of that law in place now.
In my opinion, both laws are good laws. Most southern states have those laws in place. Giving up those laws only moves us closer to a “police state.” To give up the God-given right to protect yourself, your family, and your possessions only hands (even) more power to the government and, unfortunately, leaves the citizen at the mercy of criminals.
I am very afraid the end result of all the demonstrations and such, in Florida will end with the citizens of that state -- while in a state of high emotion – giving up more of their freedom and liberty, by repealing the Castle Doctrine or the Stand Your Ground Law – or both. That would be a mistake, in my estimation, one that will be paid for in the blood of Florida citizens for years to come.
Florida needs calm and clear thinking -- not overruled by emotion -- to investigate the incident completely and try to ascertain the truth the best they are able.
Today’s Mainstream Media’s instant communications has turned a local incident into a national incident and fanned the flames of raw emotion until reason is being drowned in a tidal wave of anger. Soon it will become political, in fact, I dare say, it already has.
The drum majors of “victimhood” are already taking advantage of that community’s grief. They have pointed a national spotlight on it, and they are fast making it an integral part of the political campaign of the candidate most reliant upon support from America’s black community in November.
If the charges are brought against the shooter – can he possibly get a “fair” trial? If I were his attorney, I would argue there is no way an impartial jury can be found. I would argue, as well, that the case has already been tried in the media and the so-called “court of public opinion” and his/her client has been found guilty of – well, SOMETHING.
Finally: I suspect this incident will add fuel to the gungrabbers/gun control advocates coming campaign to disarm Americans. As I mentioned above, as much as we may find it distasteful and disgusting, this incident has already become political.
The whole incident has now become a part of our national politics and I believe it will be used -- and abused -- to the extent possible to propel political endeavors toward their respective goals.
I am afraid we will soon forget a young man’s life was cut short and another man’s life destroyed that night on a Florida street. We will be too caught up in the tsunami of emotion and politics whipped up by those who excel at the manipulation of their fellowman to remember our own humanity.
J. D. Longstreet