Slow-Roasting VDH, or, Why the Hell am I reading National Review?

Part of the fun with a new gig (like blogging here) is exploring ways of upholding valuable traditions (like skewering people who require it) whilst leaving my own mark. I’m not the sort who regularly wades into conservative publications looking for targets—not me! I like the soft white underbelly of the elected representative class for my targets and leave my fellow scribblers go—but for whatever reason, the National Review has garnered my attention recently as being a thing still in existence in this world. It’s not just the Derb business that has alerted my attention. The National Review, as WFB’s big old segregation-apologist Bircher-bashing thing, seems to have at one time set the tone for the conservative movement, as I understand it.  But in the Tea Party Age, or the post-9/11 era, or however we want to demarcate the Ascendance of the Batshit, the whole thing just looks like a time-progression of the Breitbartlets all grown up. Anyhow, I follow Dave Weigel on Twitter and he linked to this Victor Davis Hanson incoherence, and like the obsessive-compulsive I am, I wanted to get what the almighty Gee-Darn to Heck VDH was on about.

The proposition is that the Trayvon Martin case is promoted due to hysteria about racism, and people following it are likewise hysterical. Or race pimps. Let’s break down his assertions to see if this is ably argued:

1) If one suggests that there may not be, at least as yet, enough evidence to overturn the initial police decision of not charging Mr. Zimmerman with a crime, then one is a de facto racist.

In other words, the liberal position of letting all the evidence be reexamined in a dispassionate fashion is now illiberal. And the illiberal one of charging someone with a felony without established probable cause is liberal. But just arresting and charging a suspect to let a judge or jury post facto decide whether there was ever probable cause for such an arrest is neither liberal nor consistent with American jurisprudence.

It would appear that a weapon, a confessed killer and a dead body are no longer sufficient grounds for supposing that a homicide may have taken place. This is perhaps an hysterical restatement of the information available to the Sanford PD. If one were to ignore the race of Trayvon Martin, one might still note that he was dead of a gunshot wound and that the person who had the weapon is in fact known to the police and as much as admitted to his use of the weapon to kill the victim. The actual examination of all the facts in a dispassionate fashion might occur best in a trial. The normal chronology of events is, to the best of my knowledge, act, charge, arrest, trial, sentencing. In other words, I am under the understanding that arrests do precede the eventual judgement of jury or judge, and that this chronology is altogether consistent with American jurisprudence.

What else do we have here?

2) It is clear now that the African-American civil-rights hierarchy is concerned largely with maintaining power and influence by promulgating the theme of unending white racism — and the need for its exclusive agency to find redress and reparations from that eternal fact. That is a serious charge, but one easy to substantiate — whether we compare the commensurate outrage accorded the Duke case, the Skip Gates mess, the Tawana Brawley hoax, or the present Trayvon Martin tragedy, with the veritable neglect about the carnage of young African-American males in our cities, or the deliberate distortion that white-on-black crime is an epidemic when, in fact, black-on-black crime is — in addition to the fact of vastly higher incidences of black-on-white crime.

I am unaware that the Trayvon Martin case actually relates to any of the above, except that the victim is not white.  In this case, I don’t say “alleged victim” because Martin actually is deceased. I think the case of Henry Gates, which is also alluded to later in this article, is partially demonstrative, to wit: were the race of Professor Gates not known, and one simply has the knowledge that a professor was arrested for breaking into his own house—this would sound ludicrous.  Very “Man bites dog”. And yet, once the race of the homeowner in question is known, suddenly, many observers said “A-ha!” If things that are anomalous suddenly make sense when race is added, perhaps this does speak volumes about our culture and a possible double-standard.

3) If the media had erred in one or two case in either its emphases or its facts, or erred on both sides of what apparently has become an ideological divide over the case, few could complain. But from Day One, the media has tried to promulgate an unambiguous narrative of a diminutive African-American preteen model student executed by a white racist vigilante with a shady past, a narrative that the facts, at least as we know them thus far, does not substantiate: The usually printed photos of Mr. Martin did not reflect that he was 17 or 6′2″; there was no firm evidence that Mr. Zimmerman used a racial epithet in contrast to the firm evidence that NBC doctored a tape to suggest a racist motive on the part of the shooter; the rubric “white Hispanic” was used, although the media does not employ it elsewhere; the assertions that Mr. Zimmerman was lying about his injuries were not, as alleged, proved by the police video, but far more likely disproved by it; there is still no firm proof about which of the two in the fight called out for help; there is now firm proof of an altercation prior to the shooting; Mr. Zimmerman’s past does not quite fit the portrait of a white vigilante with racist tendencies; nor does Mr. Martin’s quite fit the initial picture of a model student — information about the two that is either irrelevant or germane, but not applicable to just one of the two involved in a fight; and so on.

It is my understanding that being 17 years of age or 6’2” are not crimes, and that neither Martin’s race nor Zimmerman’s actually have bearing upon whether Zimmerman was the known shooter in this event. Whether Zimmerman “really is” a white vigilante, or (what the fuck is this guy smoking?) whether Trayvon Martin was a model student, have no impact on whether one killed the other. One did. Zimmerman was unaware of Martin’s grades, Twitter handle, or Facebook status.

4) In explosive matters of racial controversy, we can expect the president and the attorney general to be of either no help or to make things worse. President Obama fanned the flames in the 2008 Reverend Wright disclosures, the Pennsylvania primary, the Gates mess, and was utterly incoherent in the Martin matter; the attorney general has now weighed in so often on the question of race, and in such an inflammatory fashion (“cowards,” “my people,” accusations of congressional racism, etc.) that his only recourse is far wiser silence.

I’m in no way sure what is meant by any of this—Obama gave a speech in my fair city (Philadelphia) regarding religion and race to try and minimize “the flames” being ginned up by the media regarding Rev. Wright (and actually, I do believe The Blaze is trying to recycle the Wright issue to show they can “vettenings”, also too). The Gates “mess”, whereby a man was arrested for breaking into his own house, was one of those race-related issues that got laid at the feet of our “First Black President”, and also, the statements regarding Martin’s resembling a possible son of President Obama came as a result of the president being asked what he thought—and he responded as a parent and a human being. Should he have said “No comment”?  Seriously?

5) To suggest all of the above is to earn almost immediate condemnation as a racist, not because any of it is refutable, but because some do not wish to be reminded that so far the case on its merits has little to do with race, and is instead yet another fatal shooting where it is difficult to ascertain a proper charge — whether of murder/manslaughter or self-defense — a quandary repeated hundreds of times each year throughout the country with near-zero national public interest.

No, to suggest all of the above doesn’t make you a racist, just a sloppy thinker. Of course, if one eliminated race from the equation, it would still be difficult to ascertain a proper charge, but then again, when one is charged, multiple charges can be levied so that at trial—a jury or judge can determine which one sticks.  From what I can tell, from watching Law and Order reruns.

How sick we have become as a nation, when preferring not to prejudge a case until an inquiry reviews known evidence and searches for new information is considered racist; and wishing to inject race in order to do the opposite is not.

How sick have we become, as a nation, if we permit police to prejudge the innocence of a person who has admittedly killed another person, in a way that did not actually permit of further inquiry, which is only now being brought about because concerned citizens have forced attention to the matter?  And how sad is it that race gets used as an excuse for ignoring the fact that a young man died violently, and that his killer was not charged—really? How dead does this boy need to be?

In the absence of racism, I do not understand how this boy’s blood doesn’t merit an investigation.

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 04/09/12 at 10:26 PM • Permalink

Categories: Skull Hampers

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So here’s how jaded I’ve become: All I noticed when reading VDH’s latest cerebral fart was that it’s basically just a restatement of a post he wrote a week prior. To wit:

#1 in recent post = #1 in older post:

So far there has been very little new light shed on exactly what happened on the night of the shooting. It is likely that Mr. Zimmerman will be arrested on some sort of charge, local, state, or federal, and more likely that most will believe that such an arrest is as much a necessary price to soothe racial passions as it is likely to be based on careful review of existing evidence.

#2 in recent post = #8 in older post:

But we are at a point now where such considerations have become secondary to the larger agendas of activists. Mr. Sharpton, Mr. Jackson, the Black Panther Party, the Black Caucus, Spike Lee, and others may feel their invective and shoot-from-the-hip allegations are necessary to ensure an indictment, given the history of racial bias in this country; but fairly or not that aim seems secondary to their larger interests in racial scapegoating and acrimony for careerist reasons.

#3 in recent posts = #5 in older post:

We are to deplore the use of past information about Mr. Martin that might lend background information to the case (past suspensions, possible drug use, alleged possession of possible stolen items, etc.) that seems at odds with the narratives provided by the media, but simultaneously must be told that in the past Mr. Zimmerman was a vigilante, racist, had brushes with the law, was a bad credit risk, etc.

#4 in recent post = #7 in older post (and in this case, it’s damn near verbatim):

There can be no more presidential editorializing. In this case, the Gates matter, the Fluke incident, and the Giffords tragedy, the president weighed in only to find his commentary either unsupported by facts, premature, prejudicial, or abjectly partisan. Nor will the attorney general weigh in, given that he has lost credibility after nonsensically calling the nation “cowards” for not wishing for a dialogue on race on his terms, referring to African-Americans as “my people,” and alleging racism as the cause of congressional questioning of his handling of the Fast and Furious debacle.

#5 in recent post = #10 in older post:

If an outsider were dispassionately to collate the public statements of the Black Caucus, the number of widely publicized racial controversies, and the charges of racism and counter-racism in the last three years, then one would conclude that racial relations, at least at the media and sensationalized level, from 2009–2012 were both far more emphasized and far worse, and the country far more polarized, than at any time in recent memory. In short, we are entering a dangerous phase in which millions of Americans have resigned themselves to allowing elites to construct one sort of reality, while they disengage from it and privately live quite another.

Does Rich Lowry know he’s paying for reheated content? I guess he is busy…

Well, DJ, you’ve uncovered VDHBot 3.1.

Based on innovatory GIGO algorithms running on the upgraded BloviaWare platform, it will provide random paragraphs custom-tailored to your audience on the subject of your choice.

I do believe The Blaze is trying to recycle the Wright issue to show they can “vettenings”

I wish I had some snark for VDH, but I say bring it the fuck on.  If they really think they can win by screaming “Jeremiah Wright” again, they’re in for a rude awakening.  Also, the whole “Obama isn’t who you thought he was, he’s The Other is very ugly.  But it didn’t work the first time, and Americans generally don’t like being told “you were lied to, and you fell for it”.  It doesn’t win elections.

the rubric “white Hispanic” was used, although the media does not employ it elsewhere;

Why do they keep banging on that there is no such thing as a white hispanic?  He’d be horrified to learn that 14 point something percent of the 15 point something percent of the population that identify ethnically as hispanic put their race down as European America.  Or white.  Even more horrified to learn there’s black ones too!  When I saw Zimmerman (the photo in the suit and tie to show he wasn’t a thug like his first photo) he looked Italian to me.  Which would be European and white.

Then today I’m reading about these murders in Tulsa.  Some bird is banging on that he’s NOT white, thank you very much, he’s native American and he looks like it.  So I asked my daughter if she had to describe what he looked like to someone race wise what would she say?  She said the same as I was thinking, part Asian.  I know a Japanese/European bloke who’s got the same kind of features. 

The nitpicking is driving me bonkers.

Color me simple-minded but the facts, as I know them, are:

One dead unarmed boy.

One self-appointed neighborhood “watcher” holding a smoking gun.

One police force which assesses the evidence of items one and two, above, and tell the “watcher with smoking gun:” “. . . good job defending yourself and your neighborhood.  Go home and get some sleep.”

A simple-minded, literal person (such as I am) might reasonably conclude that the normal, everyday process of American justice has not exactly played out here, according to the rules . . .

As Vixen has repeatedly pointed out, in this article, the police’s job, here, was a virtual “no-brainer.”  Especially given the fact that it is not up to the police to determine the shooter’s guilt or innocence.  It is simply to determine that a crime might have been committed, to demarcate the crime scene and to preserve the evidence contained there. 

If one asks the simple question: “how would this scenario have played out if the victim were the son of the mayor of Sanford?” one would be hard-pressed to arrive at the conclusion that things were handled in a highly unorthodox manner.  Under the law, all victims of violent death should be equal . . .

PS Anyone who believes that racism is no longer a factor in American society is either under the influence of some pretty powerful substances or simply not paying attention . . .

The important thing to remember, as VDH points out, is that we don’t know all the facts yet. Except for these facts:

Trayvon Martin was black. Black people are terrible and violent.

That said, let’s stop judging the not-black guy until we know exactly what the black kid did that forced the not-black guy to shoot him dead.

Also, for reasons unknown to us plebes, President Obama, ultimately, has some kind of transitive culpability for this entire matter. Who knows, Trayvon Martin may have been on the phone with Obama - and NOT his girlfriend, as suggested - when George Zimmerman was compelled to shoot him dead for freedom and liberty.

It is my understanding that being 17 years of age or 6’2” are not crimes

Not a crime per se. But, I think we can all agree that being 17, 6’2”, and blacketyblack is more menacing than someone who is 83, 4’9”, and lilly white. It contributes to the general feeling of menace that all gun-toting self-appointed neighborhood watchmen have a right to not feel.

At any moment Geraldo is going to warn parents not to let their dark-skinned sons grow so tall.

VDH’s shtik is to play I’m The Smartest Guy in the Room Onna Counta I’m a Classicist, so it’s usually wiser to regard his writings, not as political commentary, but as character-based pageant monologues—a grownup version of a fourth-grader stepping forward in a Thanksgiving show and announcing, “I…AM THE SPIRIT…OF THE HARVEST.”

What’s espec. great in this one is how he coolly and rationally calls for a dispassionate examination of the evidence (as being consistent with American jurisprudence), while deploring all the racism-related hysteria and propaganda, while somehow neglecting to note that the police failed to collect the evidence at the time of the killing.  As we all know from our own Law & Order studies, a first-year law student could make a decent case for getting every charge thrown out at arraignment for lack of evidence and for the obvious tainting of whatever future evidence may be collected.  If any.

5’2”, 65 year old Harvard history professors can also be menacing, especially if they teach about the history of slavery.

An outsider’s perspective here.

If a police officer in the UK kills anyone in the course of duty in any way, there’s an official inquiry (not always a satisfactory one ...).

We obviously have a very different gun culture over here, but the MoD Police, Civil Nuclear Constabulary, and Northern Ireland Police Service are routinely armed, and we do have armed response units that can be called in when it’s deemed necessary, and their specially trained officers are authorized to shoot to disable or kill if the situation warrants it:

In all situations, the officer is to make the decision when to shoot. However, they are accountable in court and are asked to justify their actions in a court of law.

Even if the killing is judged lawful and justified, there are always possible lessons to be learned to try to avoid such incidents happening again.

Especially given the quasi-official nature of Zimmerman’s vigilante role, testing the case before the courts doesn’t sound unreasonable. Such an inquiry is what President Obama and others have called for in the Trayvon Martin case.

So what’s the frikkin problem?

White Hispanic is a term widely used by most Police Departments, especially in those States which have a large mix of immigrants from the Caribbean and from South America or Central America.

But, tell that to Right-Wing bloggers because it doesn’t fit their narrative…

VDH has been recycling the same 5 columns for years.  And 3 of them concern the Pelopennisian War.

YAFB, my understanding of police procedure here is that any time a weapon is discharged by an officer in the line of duty, an investigation is also routine—in other words, any of the Sanford PD would have gotten more of an inquiry than civilian Zimmerman did. For that reason, I find the matter suspect, since I don’t think the law should find it in the public interest to have an unaccountable armed force mucking about in their bailiwick.

YAFB, my understanding of police procedure here is that any time a weapon is discharged by an officer in the line of duty, an investigation is also routine—in other words, any of the Sanford PD would have gotten more of an inquiry than civilian Zimmerman did.

That’s about it. From what I’ve read elsewhere, Sanford PD’s long overdue for some scrutiny anyway.

Zimmerman’s now without an attorney:

George Zimmerman will have to find a new team to defend him in regards to the shooting of Trayvon Martin, because his attorneys withdrew from the case today.

“He has not returned phone calls or text messages or emails leading me to believe that I cannot go forward,” Zimmerman attorney Craig Sonner explained in a press conference today, “because I’ve lost contact with him as of this point. I just can’t proceed to represent a client who doesn’t stay in contact with me.”

It’s a shame Orly’s so busy at the moment.

And, as is my wont, I must once again present Victor Davis Hanson, the prose artiste:

““But tell me this also farmer,” Epaminondas pressed even closer, still grinning at upping the Thespian. “Think when you have wasps with the sharp tails in your vineyard that Malgis planted. You know the terrible black ones. The ones that sting the paws of sleeping Sturax over there. Or land on the nose of Porpax. Or even in their pride jab the tall legs of your Neto or the chest of buxom Damo — do you chase them all over the orchard, flailing at one or two of them with the broom or clapping at them with your hands?”.

“Of course, not!” Odd that the Theban knew of Neto and his son’s wife Damo, and of Chion and apparently Sturax and Porpax too, but at least not Gorgos as well.

“You think me a fool, Theban? To protect… this household that you apparently know so well, I hunt out the nest of these stingers and then burn them out all at once with a torch of straw. Yes, I do. And so would you, had you any sense.” Melon sensed the Theban had a good lid on his own pot, and would need two or three more sticks on the fire before boiling over.

Still, Epaminondas flashed his black eyes, “Then don’t mark me a fool either, when you call me dream monger and worse. Like an old woman by the fire, you warn me that it is terrible to fight the Spartans. Maybe it is — as we both know — or maybe not. But when you fight the Spartans, you must kill their king. No one, not even our Malgis had done that. Then when you take on Sparta, you fight in Sparta, not where and when the kings slither or buzz to sting you.”.

Epaminondas would play no more notes on his reed and now pointed his finger in Melon’s face.

“No, there won’t be any more sideshows here in Boiotia chasing a few wasps, beneath Helikon. No more on the farm of Malgis son of Antander as we did this morning. I am tired of swatting Spartan stingers far from their nests, as each year these Spartans flit from the farms of Thespiai to Thisbe and back to Tanagra. Or haven’t you heard them brag that they bury their own in the land of others, never others in their own? So sit here if you like until the King’s army, not eight krypts, are in your vineyard for all I care. They came to kill you because there skies are full of comets and oracles that cry out an apple will fall and end Sparta. Ask your Neto — they think you for some reason are the apple, the mêlon. So they kill you and so they think will live. Silly folk, children really Spartans are, but deadly all the same.””

Bulwer-Lytton, I have surpassed thee!

pardon…but one gets paid for “gigs”.

reality = “this”...is a hobby.

at best.

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