Mr. Frazier's theme:
Trial of George Zimmerman Could Trigger Another Rodney King
Since we don't want race riots and we can't expect the media, including Daily Beast columnists, to cover this accurately and responsibly, Zimmerman needs to accept a plea deal:
So what would a fair outcome look like? To my mind, the government offers Zimmerman a plea deal that has him back on the street within this decade, and he accepts it quietly. That seems like a conclusion most reasonable Americans could live with. Of course, no matter how long or short any sentence may be, there will be those who disagree, some vehemently.
"Most reasonable American" could live with that? Mr. Frazier won't be spening time in jail over this, nor will I. I think the question is, what could Zimmerman live with, and what rights does he have under the rule of law, rather than the rule of the media-misinformed mob?
If people sincerly embrace "innocent until proven guilty" and its concomitant notion that it is better to free ten guilty men than jail one innocent then this is not a difficult case at all.
I said the column is dated; this shrewd legal analysis preceded the bond hearing, where we learned that the state's witnesses include a person who saw on his/her window shades what we guess to be a White Hispanic shadow chasing a black shadow. Or maybe the opposite. Strong stuff!
Will it be strong enough to offset the state investigator's admission that they have no evidence to contradict Zimmerman's claim that he was walking back to his truck when Martin started the fight? We will all find out together.
As to 'misinformed", Bob Owens took on Mr. Frazier's concerns about neo-Nazis patrolling the streets of Sanford, but he gave Mr. Frazier a pass on this comic gem
The wild card is his father, Robert, who has so far sounded like a knee-jerk far-right ideologue. In a CBS interview he said, "I never foresaw so much hate coming from the president, the Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP," and this was before Obama said anything about the case!
The CBS interview to which he links is dated Mar 29 and includes this text, which must have escaped Mr. Frazier's keen eye for facts:
George Zimmerman's father: "So much hate" coming from Obama
Amid continued controversy over the death of Trayvon Martin, the father of the man who shot Martin lamented what he called "so much hate" coming from all sides - including President Obama.
...Asked about the ongoing controversy surrounding the case, Mr. Obama last week called the event a tragedy and 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. Without ever mentioning Zimmerman, the president call on authorities to investigate "every aspect" of the incident.
Mr. Frazier must be the only person in America who thinks Obama was not addressing the Martin/Zimmerman case with those comments. As to what other Trayvon is in the news, well, I await enlightenment.
Mr. Frazier also seems to think a protracted, divisive trial ending in a hung jury and followed by more tirals is a likely outcome. He overlooks the likelihood that this case will be tossed at the self-defense hearing which will precede the trial.
The defense strategy is to move this case off the front pages so tempers can cool and judges and prosecutors can follow the law rather than the howls of the mob. We will see how that works.
And in the long run, Mr. Frazier's notion that the side with the bigger, angrier mob ought to prevail is utterly at odds with the original goals of the civil rights movement and unlikely to promote a better society for black Americans, who are still only about 12% of the population. Let's run the great quote from "A Man For All Seasons":
William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
Obviously the notion of equl justice under the law has not served the black community well throughout our history, especialy in the South. But unless the hope of continued progress has been abandoned, improving our system of law seems like a better bet for minorities than abandoning it to media/mob rule.