The picture of the marquee outside the First Baptist Church of University Park in suburban Chicago is shocking. "It Is Safe To Kill Black People In Amerikkka," it says.
The church, a CBS story points out, touts the sign's historical precedence. A black man was shot by a white man in Montgomery, Ala., in 1949, and the Rev. Vernon Johns posted a sign outside the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church that read: "It Is Safe To Kill Negroes In Montgomery." Johns, a civil rights leader, preceded Martin Luther King Jr. at the Alabama church.
The message, put up after George Zimmerman's acquittal in Sanford, Fla., is "not a message of hate," the Chicago church protests. "It is a message of awakening. . . ."
Across the nation, people who should know better are busily making fools of themselves, urged on by similar messages of "awakening" and the siren calls of leftists who financially and politically embrace racism and the very violence they profess to abhor.
On Feb. 26 last year, Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin as he smashed Zimmerman's head into the pavement. The facts are clear. It was not murder. A jury said so. It was not manslaughter. A jury said so. It was not racially motivated. The FBI said so. Zimmerman never should have been charged. The initial police investigation, in fact, said so.
The shooting was a sad, open-and-shut self-defense case like scores of others never exploited by the media or the Left. It did not surface nationally for days - until race could be injected for explosive effect.
"CBS This Morning" on March 8, 2012, aired a story about Martin's parents demanding Zimmerman's arrest. The Associated Press described him as "white." Faced with his being Hispanic, but needing a white shooter, the media - including the New York Times - decided he was a "white Hispanic." An ABC News reporter claimed the teen-ager was shot because "he was black." An NBC edit of the 911 tape and a later one by The Times made Zimmerman appear racist. It got worse.
You cannot help but marvel at the media's complicity in the ensuing national outrage; the very same media, it cannot be said strongly enough, that never got it right in the case. Not once. Not about race. Not about the facts. Not about the motivation. Not about Martin being a saint or Zimmerman being a racist killer who stalked him.
With the race meme in play, the case sucked the air out of the room It was a tornado in an election year where Florida played a huge role in President Barack Obama's re-election hopes and this year drove off the front pages embarrassing news about a rogue IRS, news media bugging and the Benghazi debacle. How very serendipitous for the White House and the Left.
Obama only days after the shooting dragged the matter into the national political spotlight, "If I had a son," he said somberly. "He'd look like Trayvon." Attorney General Eric Holder hinted at a possible federal civil rights case. Race baiters like Al Sharpton fanned the flames. Then, there was a phalanx of bottom-feeding Hollywood boobs and politicos and breathless, media sycophants like Chris Matthews and Bill Maher, who gushed, "If I had a son, I hope he would act like Trayvon Martin."
The only people who got it right were the six female jurors, who, along with Zimmerman and Martin's parents, now fear for their lives. The trial itself was a farce driven by a politically rabid prosecutor; the kind of circus you find in a tinpot banana republic; a pro forma annoyance calculated to appease the morally squishy before getting on with the hanging.
Make no mistake, the furor over Martin's shooting does not, at its core, have much to do with race. Civil rights arguments have grown stale in keeping minorities in the Democrats' fold, new voices harder to find. Sharpton? Jesse Jackson? Who cares? But "It Is Safe To Kill Black People In Amerikkka," is a message that will spark attention and action.
The real targets are guns, concealed carry and stand-your-ground laws that frustrate leftists and socialists because they represent too much freedom. They see race as an easy way to exploit and further their political agenda. If racial divisions were nonexistent, the Left, through its news media propaganda pals, would invent them.
George Zimmerman is a case in point.
Paul Jenkins is editor of the AnchorageDailyPlanet.com.