Editor’s Note: No answers for Trayvon Martin

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Editor’s Note: No answers for Trayvon Martin

“We are a nation of laws and the jury has spoken,” President Obama said in his statement responding to George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the killing of Trayvon Martin. Indeed. The president’s message to the American public was no doubt delivered to tamp down any larger race-based responses (the hypothetical riots that haven’t yet materialized) to the verdict. It reminded me that being a nation of laws requires a particular kind of trust in lawmakers that our country is losing.

Many commentators, including The New York Times, saw the jury’s decision as proof that stances carried forward by the NRA and other pro-gun lobbies, particularly concealed carry and stand your ground laws, are tantamount to deputizing a white majority to enforce its racial prejudices. Jelani Cobb, who blogged the trial for The New Yorker, said, “The most damning element here is not that George Zimmerman was found not guilty: it’s the bitter knowledge that Trayvon Martin was found guilty.” Trayvon Martin was guilty of being a black teenager with a hoodie, so George Zimmerman wasn’t guilty at all.

Democrats will see the Trayvon Martin case as an example of the end result of Republican madness. Republicans will see it as an example of the way Democrats push their unfounded agendas by manipulating the media. Almost no one will disagree, behind closed doors, that had Martin been white, he’d be alive. So the question posed to us as citizens of a nation of laws is what to do about it. And the answer will likely be—as this week’s feature demonstrates with regard to gun laws—that with race politics, abortion, immigration, health care, and all of the other serious social issues of our day, there is no middle ground remaining from which to start the conversation.

Is it that we have collectively given up our middles for the sake of our wings, or just that class identity is the only common ground left in our culturally confused and increasingly individualistic world?

  • Wha? Chinango

    I don’t mean to be snarky, but I think addressing an issue of this seriousness is beyond your scope. You’re a “new vineyards and B & B’s” local feature publication, with “choose the best Cville massage therapist from a list of two names” gravitas. I think it’s a disservice to your publication and the greater issue itself to take this on, regardless of good intentions. Or make it a totally personal reflection without unsubstantiated claims like “had Martin been white, he’d be alive.” Thoughtful rebuttal invited.

    • http://c-ville.com/ Giles Morris

      Thoughtful Snapper,

      My editor’s note is an ongoing conversation with local readers and introduces our feature each week. This week we ran a long story about guns and gun control that touches on concealed carry and self defense. We take ourselves seriously as a news publication, in addition to acknowledging that we are a marketing and lifestyle imprint. I think that’s typical of free weeklies around the country. In terms of my angle on the Trayvon Martin case, how is it a disservice? Editorial writing expresses opinions. How would you substantiate the kind of claim I made? I set up a problem: namely that we don’t have a middle ground to deal with an issue like this because people will see it through the lens of national issues, like race and gun control even if they may privately agree about basic elements of the situation. If there is a middle ground, it lives in local markets with media conversations like ours where people respond with specificity to what’s happening in their own world, not to swirling instantaneous and anonymous conversations. Should only the NYT and Slate weigh in on stuff like this?

      • Wha? Chinango

        Nice one Giles. I think Cville has a ways to go yet as a serious news publication but I hope and trust you will get there (and wonder if The Hook will get back there). The thing with claims like that (if white he’d be alive) is their very resistance to substantiation, so best to leave them out (along with things like Romney’s “47%”). In the realm of facts Trayvon was guilty of slamming a man’s head against concrete–*that* could have been fatal (and was right outside Bizou on the mall before your time here), and he wasn’t the cute kid of that photo any longer. And I’d argue that Zimmerman was guilty of manslaughter but I think in Florida law I’d be wrong, factually. Like a lot of folks I’m in a lot of internal conflict with this event and feel the need to put the thoughts out there; but I think it’s so important to avoid facile generalizations.

        Cheers

  • Richard Aguilar

    Good for you Giles Morris for being unafraid to venture into these National headline stories and offering a unique perspective on such a divided topic. It’d be interesting to follow up on immigration a year after I interviewed you for your cover story.

  • Enough

    So much for the hypothetical riots…..

    • Greg

      The RANT commentary referenced is obviously from a disturbed, misguided, racist individual BUT do not use that as a mis-direction technique to brush off the atrocity of the statements made by a a supposed journalism professionalism who holds the senior editorial position with regards to content. The broad sweeping remarks grouping a large percentage of individuals into a negative, hateful, inaccurate stereotype only perpetuates division, alienation and separation (whose the racist?). Look within before you speak/write without logic or quantifiable factual reference.

      • Cville Eye

        If the readers had been mature enough to ignore the comment the writer would not be feeling proud right now.

  • Shannon Harrington

    Giles, thanks for taking the time.

    With all due respect, will you please address the cavern between this thoughtful commentary and the rant that your editorial staff chose to print in the very same issue? A racist, baiting, negatively-inciting, non-useful, and supremely ignorant rant that had no basis in any solution? A rant which said:

    “To all you black motherf#$%ers running up in here in the Charlottesville restaurants looking for free food, we wouldn’t be known as a restaurant, we’d be known as the food bank. So from now on when you bring your black ass into the restaurants in Charlottesville and you want free food, carry your asses over to the food bank.” Direct quote.

    Who thought it was a good idea to give this air time? Who in your staff saw any value in this at all? And please do not say that every rant that gets called in gets printed, because I know first hand that this is not true. This statement is unbelievably offensive to anyone with a brain. I and others were so stunned that we were spinning, trying to figure out what sort of value could have been found here. Why in the world this spew would have been printed in your paper.

    Free speech is free speech, sure. And editorial decisions are the responsibility of the leaders. This flamingly racist point of view has absolutely no place in a paper which would like to consider itself as anything besides a vehicle for the most base and foolish few.

    What appears between those two covers represents you, and no amount of disclaimers will get you off the hook for that. As a person who worked in the weekly paper biz in Richmond, I know this. Everybody knows this. You should know this, too. If it appears in the paper, it represents you.

    Boy am I disappointed with your magazine today.

    • Moe Branson

      I’ve never read anything in The Rant that was of any value whatsoever. So it’s hard to say what standard you’re measuring this blurb against. The one purpose the column might serve is perfectly exemplified in the rant that you so scandalmongeringly reprinted here is that the community can be mindful of the broad range of views, socially insensitive or otherwise, that pervade our collective psyche. Maybe the halfwit who phoned it in can see her words in print, reflect and arrive at some awareness of how ugly the nano-thoughts her booze-adled pea brain produces are. Or, maybe she’ll think she’s cool, in which case she’s a lost cause anyway. “Anyone with a brain” would presumably be engaged in more engaging and demanding pursuits and wouldn’t have the inclination to reach over and smash this crippled fly against the window. Giving it credence by highlighting it in this forum and treating it as though it is worthy of contempt or even acknowledgement is baiting a racial conflict as surely as throwing a brick through a storefront window is inciting a riot. Not sure I have a brain but, as a racial mutt, I don’t have the time or capacity to be offended by that kind of random spew. It’s nothing but a puddle of vomit on the sidewalk outside of a bar on Sunday morning.

  • Enough

    Seriously Shannon, what a waste of a post. I guess the only posts that should get air time are the one’s YOU agree with.

    • Jeff Winder

      There is a big difference between airing diverse opinions and printing hate speech. That cowardly racist dialogue clearly crosses the line from free speech into dangerous hate speech – the type that the FBI and DHS track because it has been shown to embolden extremists and contribute to violence and hate crimes. Totally irresponsible of Cville to print it and they should apologize and retract it.

      • Stars and Stripes

        Who decides what is ‘dangerous speech?’ When the Leftist Stalinists don’t like what Americans say, they call it ‘dangerous speech.’ Americans call it free speech. Get over it or get out of America.

  • Enough

    So Jeff, I guess it was and is okay for the national media and elected officials (Holder, Obama, Rep. Cummings, etc) and Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to continue to call Zimmerman a murderer and paint Trayvon as an innocent boy and for Obama to hold a press conference to support the Martin family but show no compassion to the Zimmerman family who are being threatened because their son was found innocent in a COURT OF LAW!!!! Honestly, you make me sick. All we have seen is hate speech directed at Zimmerman and his family.

    • Stars and Stripes

      Obama is an affirmative action clown. He’s Harry Reid’s puppet and does his bidding.

  • http://c-ville.com/ Giles Morris

    C-VILLE Readers: We apologize for the racist rant that appeared in last week’s paper. It was a mistake and there’s no excuse for it. The following apology will run in print in tomorrow’s paper. Thanks for reading our paper and for holding us to the highest standards.

    “Because of an editorial mistake, last week’s paper included a racist rant in The Rant section. We regret the error and we apologize for the hurt it caused. Our readers demand a higher standard from their community paper. The Rant is designed as a vehicle for free speech and our policy has been only to edit rants that contain libel or hate speech. Giving voice to racist sentiments is not consistent with the mission of this paper or the aim of The Rant.”

    • Shannon Harrington

      Thank you.

    • sarah white

      Thank you Giles.

    • Anonymous Ignorance Rules

      If some idiot has the nerve to post a racist comment indicating all people who look like me want free food, then I have a right to know which establishment that person is representing so I can be sure to avoid it. It is very apparent that many people equate freedom of speech with freedom of stupidity and anonymous forums like The Rant encourage actions that are not much different from those cowards who hide behind white masks with eye holes in them and try to scare people who don’t look or worship just like them. So in that case Cville Ragazine should also be doing some investigative “journalism” and inform readers on which restaurants encourage those types of ignorant and stereotypical attitudes. That way I can spend my hard earned money elsewhere, and I’m sure that many of my white friends would also insist on not eating in that kind of restaurant.

      There are idiots, those who abuse the law, and who mooch off of the rest of society that come in all colors, shapes, creeds and background. Some of this stuff is just as absurd as that time in our county’s near future when society at large begins to stereotype every middle-aged white man as a pedophile, serial murderer or pervert, and every white teenaged boy who is not the captain of their respective sports team as the next person who will walk into a school classroom, pull out a handgun and unload it into a bunch of innocent children. I for one won’t have any part in that type of behavior, and will stand beside the folks that I know to be genuine and appreciative of me as an individual instead of just a color they fear. As for the idiots, you will be on your own!

    • Stars and Stripes

      It’s hateful to censor the truth.

  • Bill Marshall

    Why is it so difficult to believe that Trayvon Martin was simply tired of being shadowed by creepy azz crackers and decide to hand out some street justice? If he were raised properly he would have called 911 or gone to the shelter of his home. He didn’t “deserve” to die, but he is the one who made a fatal mistake. If black parents want to know what to tell their kids it should be to learn the damn law and use it, and not take matters into your own hands and start punching people.
    and C-ville are a bunch of wooses for apoligising for the so called “racist” rant. It was not racist as the person was referring to a specific subset of blacks called” mfers. “, (they know who they are) It is no different than if someone said” all you Spanish mfers outside Home Depot throwing your corona bottles into the woods” Hispanics who don’t hang out at home depot know its not about them.
    The black community simply wants to call any comment on their culture that they don’t agree with “racism”. or hate speech. The guy at the resturant doesn’t hate all black people, just the black mfers that do as he described. My guess is that he never experienced anyone but those people and that if it were transvestites, midgets, or Christian zealots he would have said that too. It is EXACTLY free speech and should be encouraged and defended not for content but for the right to say it.

  • Ian Davidson

    “Many commentators, including The New York Times,
    saw the jury’s decision as proof that stances carried forward by the
    NRA and other pro-gun lobbies, particularly concealed carry and stand
    your ground laws, are tantamount to deputizing a white majority to
    enforce its racial prejudices.”

    It’s unfortunate that racism like this is so widely accepted.

    First of all, Zimmerman isn’t white — I can’t believe this still has to be explained.

    Second, your (or Trayvon’s) unfamiliarity with the law is no excuse. If you assault someone, and they fear for their life, they have the right to self-defense. To date, I’ve been using a 100% successful strategy for avoiding a gun shot wound — I don’t attack people. Dead men tell no tales, we have to keep that in mind, but that’s not a license for wild speculation and racism.

    “The most damning element here is not that George Zimmerman was found
    not guilty: it’s the bitter knowledge that Trayvon Martin was found
    guilty.”

    Uh, yea, that’s kind of the nature of a self-defense defense. Is there supposed to be something profound about this statement?

  • Stars and Stripes

    Trayvon Martin was looking into the windows looking for opportunities to break-in and steal. He was at his father’s house at the gated community in the first place because he’d been suspended from school for having jewelry and other property in his possession that did not belong to him. He was a thief and trouble maker. He attacked Zimmerman and went for Zimmerman’s gun. The media kept showing a picture of Martin when he was 12 and 14 years old. They rarely showed the adult picture of the thug he became.

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