“Zimmerman” Sure sounds like a white guy.

My ritual every Sunday morning is to have 2 or 3 cups of coffee while I read the Palm Beach Post; it’s the only day of the week I buy a newspaper. I enjoy it.

The Post’s token humorist/satirist is Frank Cerabino. In today’s column he espoused a more serious tone, rightfully so, about the latest national news story. It’s not something that responsible, caring, Regular American’s should joke about. I’m talking about the Trayvon Martin shooting by a neighborhood watch volunteer here in Florida. The shooter, George Zimmerman, a “white” 28 year-old man of Jewish/Peruvian descent, who speaks fluent spanish (his mom is Peruvian), and who’s skin appears darker than George Hamilton’s, has not been charged in the shooting due to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. The law states that if you are in a position where your life is threatened you can defend yourself. If his last name was Perez, the story would be yesterday’s news.

We don’t know all the facts in the case, yet. But with 911 tapes, eyewitness accounts, and George Zimmerman’s police reports, it seems that both, Trayvon Martin was minding his own business, and George Zimmerman somehow felt threatened. Threatened to a point where he had to shoot him.

Eventually, we will learn the truth of what happened. But in the meantime, the media, to stir-up racially motivated arguments, is running wild with this story. The African-American community is especially angered by the story. Reverend Al Sharpton‘s usual rhetoric is flaring up. There have been protests in all major cities across the country, high-school students are staging walk-outs, and sports teams are donning “hoodies” to show their solidarity.

While there is no doubt that this shooting was “senseless” as Cerabino describes it, the “stand your ground” law is a law that makes complete sense and I’m personally happy that my state implements it.

What I have a serious problem with is this: The media is fanning the flames and creating unnecessary racial tensions among black and white. Cerabino’s column appeared on page 1B of the local section of this week’s post. When I turned to page 2, there was a small write-up, 6 paragraphs long, with the headline reading “Drive-by shooting leaves 1 dead, 1 hurt in Riviera”, referring to Riviera Beach, a northern Palm Beach County city that has been plagued by black on black crime, drive-by shootings, robberies, murders, and gang violence. “Two men were walking on the 500 block of West Fifth Street at about 3:30 am when gunshots flew from a passing motor vehicle, police said.” Subsequently, one man died at the hospital, and the other is being treated and is expected to recover.

Here we have a tiny little story tucked in the inner pages of a large newspaper, same tragedy. We don’t know all the facts, but there is no mention of return fire. I’m assuming they were unarmed, just as Trayvon Martin was. Two men, minding their own business, gunned down on a dark street in Riviera Beach. They were in their 20’s, perhaps they were 2 friends who were hanging out together that night, up late, got a little hungry and went to the store for a snack. Perhaps they went for some Skittles and Iced Tea.

What really is the difference in these two stories? Black or white, it doesn’t matter. The fact of the matter is, that there are two stories here, one, a shooting that resulted in a death, the shooter claiming self-defense amid Florida’s “stand your ground” law. That shooter is a dark-skinned “white” man, with a Peruvian mother, who speaks fluent spanish and has a Jewish last name.We don’t know all the facts but we do know when police arrived he was bloodied and bruised and eyewitnesses claimed they heard two people fighting.  The other case, and there are hundreds like it everyday across this country, we have a dead man, who apparently was minding his own business walking on a street, gunned down by bullets flying from a passing car. Yet this story will be long forgotten by the end of the today. No protests, no walk-outs, no words from Sharpton, Jackson, or Farakhan, and no “hood” wearing. Just last weekend in Chicago, Obama’s home town, there were 10 people shot dead and 40 wounded. Not a mention.

The media loves cases like these because it sells newspapers and boosts tv ratings. The New Black Panther party has offered a $10,000 reward for the “capture” of Zimmerman, the closest they can get to a white scapegoat. Anything to make it racial. Zimmerman, who has volunteered in a Black church, and has mentored black youth, had to go into hiding in fear of his life and his family also has endured death threats. Eventually, the investigation should convey the facts, and if Zimmerman is truly guilty of this “senseless” killing,  and the word senseless is in quotes because we don’t know the facts yet, then justice will be served.




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