WASHINGTON — “No justice, no peace” chants the telegenic mob. In a civilized society, however, where the mob doesn't rule, justice is defined by the verdict that follows a fair trial. It's the best that humans can do.
And in the case of George Zimmerman, we have a verdict. It followed a trial every minute of which was seen by the world. Nothing secret, nothing hidden. Where in the trial was there racial bias? What evidence of the case being tilted toward the defendant because the victim was black? What sign of any racial animus in the jury?
Those undeniable realities have not prevented Benjamin Crump, attorney to the victim's family, from placing Trayvon Martin in the tradition of Emmett Till and Medgar Evers.
This is a disgrace. Those were race crimes of the most savage and undeniable kind. To compare those to a shooting deemed by an impartial jury after a fair and fully open trial as a case of self-defense is to desecrate their memory and to trivialize centuries of real, brutal, bloody race hatred.
The injection of race into the story by the media, by irresponsible politicians and by the usual racial entrepreneurs has been poisonous. President Obama didn't help when his first reaction to the death of Trayvon Martin was, “If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon,” thereby immediately making skin color a central issue.
Imprudent as was that remark, it is nonetheless understandable given the history of this country and the initial appearance of the incident. At that point, a racial motive was not an implausible assumption, although certainly an unhelpful one coming from the president of the United States — a president who had consistently reacted to other killings, such as the Fort Hood massacre of 13 soldiers by a Muslim gunman shouting “Allahu Akbar,” by immediately urging us not to jump to ethnic/religious conclusions.
But that remark about Martin came before the Zimmerman trial. Afterward, the president acted responsibly. “A jury has spoken,” he said, and then used the moment to reflect on other things, such as care for one's neighbors and concern for one's community, thus helping deracialize the case.
In doing so, Obama was following the overwhelming evidence. A concurrent FBI investigation, which involved interviewing more than 30 of Zimmerman's acquaintances, found zero evidence of Zimmerman harboring racial animus. Nor did he even mention race when first describing Martin to the police dispatcher. (Race was elicited only by a subsequent direct question from the dispatcher.)