Human Events Blog

Obama: Sanford shooting victim looks like he could be my son

The late terror of Toulouse, Mohammed Merah, was an avowed member of al-Qaeda, trained during his travels to Afghanistan and Pakistan, who declared his victims – several French paratroopers, Jewish schoolchildren, and a rabbi – were gunned down to “protest” French foreign policy and the deaths of Palestinians, respectively.  His brother, in custody as a possible accomplice to the crimes, said he was “very proud of how his brother died.”

Nevertheless, on Friday, a teacher in Normandy decided to instruct her students to observe a moment of silence in Merah’s honor, because he was the “victim of an unhappy childhood,” and all those messy terrorist ties were “invented by the media and Sarko.”  Outraged students stormed out of the classroom, and as the UK Daily Mail reports, anger spread quickly across France, with the Education Minister calling for her immediate suspension.

Meanwhile, in the extreme southeastern precincts of the United States, the shooting of black teenager Treyvon Martin by a Hispanic member of the local neighborhood watch named George Zimmerman erupted into a “firestorm,” which means “large numbers of people with microphones and cameras searching for deeper meanings and root causes.”  The facts of the case are a matter of great dispute, but to outline the situation broadly, the unarmed Martin became involved in some sort of altercation with the armed Zimmerman, and it ended in a shooting. 

Zimmerman’s actions, and the subsequent conduct of the local police department, are matters for legitimate concern and investigation… but the situation has gone far beyond a logical dissection of individual actions.  President Obama’s promise to stay out of this local law-enforcement matter lasted precisely four days.  He’s been under a lot of pressure to speak up, and on Friday, he gave in.  As reported by CBS News:

“I can only imagine what these parents are going through,” Mr. Obama said from the White House Rose Garden, “and when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids, and I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this and that everybody pulls together, federal, state and local, to figure out how this tragedy happened.”

Mr. Obama said he is glad the Justice Department is investigating the shooting and that Florida Gov. Rick Scott formed a task force in response to the incident as well. The president suggested he was sympathetic to suspicion that the shooting may have been racially motivated.

You know, if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” Mr. Obama said.

All of us have to do some soul-searching to figure out how does something like this happen,” he continued. “And that means that we examine the laws and the context for what happened as well as the specifics of the incident.”

(Emphases mine.)  Let it be duly noted that no situation is so dire that Barack Obama can’t make it worse, very swiftly.

A lot of people are murdered every day in the United States.  Many of them are black, and many of the perpetrators are black.  But this one deserves Presidential intervention because Obama thinks Treyvon bore some familial resemblance to him? 

Leaving that weird non sequitur aside, it’s profoundly unhelpful for Obama to be deliberately stoking the flames of racial tension with a statement from the Rose Garden.  Whatever else investigators may learn about George Zimmerman, he doesn’t deserve to be tried and convicted of racism in absentia by the President of the United States.  There is substantial hard evidence that the condominium development Zimmerman was patrolling has a long history of break-ins and criminal trespass.  It is at least equally likely that Zimmerman was motivated by fear of crime than racism, and for what it’s worth, his father vehemently denies that he’s a racist.

The President’s irresponsible rhetoric dovetails with sustained media attempts to manufacture a racial narrative around the case.  Most remarkably, Zimmerman was widely described as white in early reports, and now the New York Times has taken to describing him as “a white Hispanic.”  (Zimmerman’s mother is of Peruvian extraction.)

But the President’s comment that “all of us have to do some soul-searching to figure out how does something like this happen” is what brings this around full circle to the deranged teacher in Normandy.  Obama is a very conventional liberal, and this notion of collective guilt is a core principle of his cobwebbed philosophy.  No one is directly accountable for his actions; crime is a matter of “root causes”; major events are exploited for “deeper significance” to smear people who had nothing to do with them.

“All of us” had absolutely nothing to do with the events in Sanford, Florida.  Two people were directly involved.  A number of officers in the Sanford Police Department must account for their professional conduct after the shooting.  The attempt to blow this into some kind of larger indictment – of white people, Hispanics, gun owners, whatever – is another nauseating example of the Left’s hunger to milk political power out of tragedy.

One reason it’s so disgusting is that liberals are very selective about assigning collective guilt.  President Obama, along with the editors of the New York Times and virtually every other leftist on the planet, would react very badly to the assertion that Mohammed Merah’s actions require anyone who shares his ethnic or religious background to do any “soul searching.”  His actions were just another isolated incident.  His world began behind his eyes, and ended at his fingertips.

As it happens, about a week after Treyvon Martin was shot, a white boy of roughly Treyvon’s age was walking home from school in Kansas City, Missouri, when two older black boys threw gasoline on him and set him on fire.  As he was flicking open his Bic lighter, one of the assailants allegedly said, “This is what you deserve.  You get what you deserve, white boy.”  He was engulfed in a fireball, lost skin from his face, and may have suffered damage to his eyes and lungs.

The victim has a five-year-old brother, who later came to his mother and asked, “Mom, am I going to get set on fire today?”  She said she burst into tears.  The family is going to move away from the town because they suspect the attackers are students at the local high school.

The American media is absolutely uninterested in drawing any larger lessons from this story.  You’ll have to read most of the details in the foreign press.  Here’s the UK Daily Mail account

How about it, Mr. President?  Are you going to call for any investigations in Kansas City?  Does this victim look enough like he could be your son to warrant your attention?  Does anyone other than the two attackers need to do any “soul searching?”  Or is this another one of those special cases where the principle of collective guilt does not apply at all?

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