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September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘George Zimmerman’

Weiner’s ‘Nazi Card’ Might Cost Him the Game

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Anthony Weiner played the “Nazi card” to run down New York City’s “stop and frisk” policy, but he violated an unwritten political law not to invoke Nazi policies in unrelated issues.

The so-far unstoppable Weiner campaigned in Staten Island Sunday and spoke to black congregants at a church, where he said, “Last year, more than 700,000 in New York were stopped — the overwhelming majority of them were young men of color. Ninety-seven percent of them did nothing wrong…. Well, you can have 100 percent statistical reduction in crime if you stop everybody.

“You could have 1938 Germany, because everyone has to show their papers.”

That was one step over the red line for some Jews.

State Sen. Simcha Felder, who represents largely Orthodox communities in South Brooklyn, was quoted by the New York Post as saying, “His comments were shocking and disgraceful . . . [and] he should apologize. Anyone who uses the Holocaust frivolously diminishes the tragedy that occurred. Weiner clearly stepped over the line.”

Weiner is on a hot streak in the polls, with the latest Quinnipiac University survey giving him a three-point lead over City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

Although the lead is small, it continues a trend in favor of Weiner, who scored a surprising virtual tie with Quinn in the previous poll.

Jewish Press correspondent,Jacob Kornbluh writing on an election blog this week, quoted the Guardian’s Harry Enten as writing, “For the first time in the campaign, one can easily paint a picture that would have Weiner winning both the primary and the runoff. Weiner leads by 25% to 22% over in the Quinnipiac survey released on Monday.

“It’s not the top line, however, that should make Weiner smile. It’s the fact that Quinn is in her weakest position yet against Weiner for the runoff, which will be held if no candidate reaches a threshold of 40% in the first round….

“I would guess that Weiner is probably ahead in a runoff against an opponent who is actually more disliked than he is.”

And then came the Nazi statement, which was made one day after George Zimmerman was acquitted of shooting and killing black teenage Trayvon Martin.

Weiner’s spokeswoman Barbara Morgan went on the defensive and said, “The context of the reference was the argument made by some that stopping innocent citizens was an acceptable cost for public safety. He clearly was not equating 1938 Nazi Germany to New York City.”

Weiner has gotten away with a lot in this campaign. He has skillfully dealt with the sexting scandal.

He has come out four-square against calling Israel an occupier, a popular stand with most Orthodox Jewish voters and hardly an issue that matters in New York City day-to-day operations.

But his fast mouth may have gone into one gear too high by invoking the Nazis into the election.

Politicians have learned the hard way that playing the Nazi card does not work with local issues, such as the ”stop and frisk” policy.

Justice Dept: Looking into Civil Rights Charges Against Zimmerman

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

On Monday, July 15, the U.S. Justice Department issued a statement confirming that it and two other federal agencies were investigating whether or not to bring federal civil rights claims against George Zimmerman for the shooting death of 17 year old Trayvon Martin in Florida last year.

Zimmerman was found not guilty in a criminal trial which ended on Saturday, July 13.

In addition to the Justice Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, are evaluating evidence from the criminal state trial, as well as the evidence gathered in a federal investigation.

“Experienced federal prosecutors will determine whether the evidence reveals a prosecutable violation of any of the limited federal criminal civil rights statutes within our jurisdiction, and whether federal prosecution is appropriate in accordance with the Department’s policy governing successive federal prosecution following a state trial.”

The criminal trial ended on Saturday, July 12, with a finding by the Sanford, Florida jury that George Zimmerman was not guilty of second degree murder when he shot Trayvon Martin with a 9 mm handgun on February 26, 2012.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has gathered more than 800,000 names on an online petition asking U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to file civil rights charges against Zimmerman.

Ben Crump, the lawyer who represented Martin’s divorced parents, called on the Justice department to bring civil rights charges against Zimmerman, whom Crump claimed killed Martin because of his race.

In order for the government to succeed on civil rights charges against Zimmerman, it must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman, who is white and Hispanic, shot Martin because he was black.

Martin’s family has already received a confidential settlement from the homeowners’ association in the gated community where the shooting took place, the Retreat at Twin Lakes.  The family is considering bringing a civil suit against Zimmerman.

 

Obama Urging Calm in Wake of Zimmerman Acquittal

Monday, July 15th, 2013

President Barack Obama appealed for calm on Sunday, after a Florida jury comprised of six women acquitted George Zimmerman, a volunteer neighborhood watchman, of murder in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager.

In a written statement, Obama called the death of Trayvon Martin a tragedy for his family and for America, but said “we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken.”

The acquittal of Zimmerman Saturday dominated television news and the Internet on Sunday, with incidents of protests in communities as far away as San Francisco.

The 17-year-old Martin was killed on February 26, 2012 in a struggle with the armed Zimmerman, who is Hispanic. Many said Martin was profiled and targeted because he was black and walking at night in a gated, mostly white community. Zimmerman—a neighborhood watch volunteer—spotted Martin and called police. He then got out of his vehicle and followed Martin. A confrontation and struggle followed, ending with Zimmerman shooting Martin.

The case made national news after it was discovered that Zimmerman was not charged for more than six weeks after the shooting, because police accepted his claim that he shot Martin in self-defense.

Now, it appears, the jury did as well. But the U.S. Justice Department said it is looking into the prosecution of Zimmerman under federal statutes. So the other side might get its brand of justice, in the end.

State Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda says he was disappointed by the ruling, but will respect the jury’s decision. The prosecution argued that Zimmerman profiled the teen and followed him because he assumed Martin was going making trouble in the gated Florida neighborhood.

Immediately after the verdict, Martin’s supporters, including his family members, used media to express their rage about the jury decision.

Zimmerman’s defense lawyer, Mark O’Mara, was ecstatic. “George Zimmerman was never guilty of anything except protecting himself in self-defense. I’m glad that the jury saw it that way.”

Two Men, No Authority

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

Daniel J. Flynn is taking heavy fire over at The American Spectator for his editorial post on the Martin-Zimmerman case, “Two Males, No Men.”  Flynn’s thesis is that neither George Zimmerman nor Trayvon Martin exhibited the traits of responsible manhood in their deadly nighttime scuffle.  Martin, in his personal life, knew no better than to try to establish himself as masculine through delinquency and street fighting.  Zimmerman, for his part, was seeking a masculinity his passive father never modeled, struggling with cage-fighting classes and an aspiration to enter law enforcement.  Flynn summarizes it this way (my interjections):

Civilizing men out of existence has come at great cost to civilization. Instead of men, we get feminine imitations lacking beauty. [Zimmerman] We get lost boys compensating by becoming barbarians. [Martin] We get Sanford, Florida, February 26, 2012.

Pace his critics – most of whom are off doing battle with red herrings – Flynn has got something here.  That said, what he’s got is incomplete.  It starts with the statement of his premise: that we are “civilizing men out of existence.”  We’re not.  Civilization depends as much on men as it does on women.  Men are an indispensable part of civilization.  What we do by denigrating the masculine and perverting the feminine is destroy civilization altogether.

The masculine and feminine both matter equally to healthy civilization, but today I am concerned with a particular aspect of masculinity.  It’s a concept we have carelessly trampled in the project of neutralizing men, and it was glaringly obvious, from the Martin-Zimmerman confrontation, that we lack it now.  That aspect of masculinity is the authority of the individual, and, in general, the idea of authority as a positive good in human life, which we each become eligible for through self-discipline and proven character.

The 20th century gave authority a really bad name.  It changed the way we reflexively define it, and changed our perspective on it.  One big culprit was collectivism of various kinds (including Western progressivism), which proposed to invest all authority in a totalitarian state.  Another was the rejection of God, who in Judeo-Christian philosophy is the ultimate model of uncorrupted authority.

But the proponents of collectivism actually made their political inroads – with young people especially – through decrying authority, all the while having in mind a future of absolute state authority.  In short, they lied about it all, and still do to this day.

What we expect of authority became quite perverted.  Western culture as a whole lost the habit of defining authority for social purposes, and training its children to both respect and administer it.  The proper point of authority is not that it is always held over us; it is that one day we will hold it, and ought to hold it responsibly and well, whether as Scout leaders or parents or bosses or teachers, ministers or priests or peace officers or property owners, or simply as the older people in a given situation.

Authority is properly a moral project of the individual character first, before it is a project of collective action or the state.  It is tied up inextricably with responsibility.  What we have responsibility for, we must have authority over.  Having authority over nothing more than what time we get ourselves home on Friday night may seem like a small thing, but it’s how teenagers establish a pattern of self-discipline and trustworthiness.  As you know if you’ve tried it, being responsible with a little authority quickly gets a teenager a good reputation – and more authority – just as it does an adult.

There is no question in my mind that the passion for proving oneself worthy of authority is a masculine trait.  The urge to define authority and set the wickets for access to it is a pattern of men.  Men are wired to see themselves as being somewhere on a landscape of authority, in a way most women aren’t.  This doesn’t mean no women are wired in this way, but it does mean that if it were up to women, the visceral urge to establish for society a mode of individual authority would not be a catalyst for civilization.

And in that case, there would be no civilization.  There would be only short-lived serfs under the control of non-accountable despots.  Sustainable civilization is bound up with a certain minimum level of self-government, and being eligible for self-government is inseparable from being eligible for authority: moral authority, authority before God, authority that commands respect, authority that wins obedience and trust.  Unless a society naturally and voluntarily enforces, from one generation to the next, this concept of individual authority, the society can’t foster self-government or any of the good things that flow from it: wealth creation, compassion, cooperation, invention, heroism, art.

In America today, our culture has all but abandoned the concept of individual, non-governmental authority.  Sixty years ago, there would have been no question in anyone’s mind who was the authority figure in the Martin-Zimmerman confrontation: who should have been respected and obeyed, even before it came down to who had the right to defend himself.

But in most of America,  long before such a confrontation arose, the teenager in the case, whatever his race, would have spent his youth learning from his father, grandfather, and/or uncles how to behave in the authority structure in which all of them had their masculine identity.  He would have learned not to hang out on the streets of “other people’s” neighborhoods at night, just as my brothers learned, absorbing the lesson more by osmosis than by precept.  He would have learned it not from fear but from discipline, self-respect, and good judgment.  A man has better things to do.

Respecting a social authority structure eliminates many of the problems we now expect the police to referee.  It doesn’t matter if you have the “right” to lurk on the streets at night, if your father has raised you not to.  But if he hasn’t – if the only authority you have experience with is that of the state – you have no reason to see authority or self-restraint as something positive and enabling.  You see whatever thwarts you as an attack on your “rights.”  Authority comes in a uniform and carries a gun (or, by contrast, it comes in a skirt and merely frustrates you); it is not something you are aligned with and will one day wield yourself, but rather something you get brief satisfaction from striking blows against.

If you are “George Zimmerman,” meanwhile, your demeanor as a neighborhood watch captain is likely to be different, if you have walked in authority as an adult, as your father did, and know that society is ranged behind you.  Who knows how many situations could be defused, even if they were not averted entirely, by the masculine confidence that is fostered in a social authority structure?

It takes cultivating gentlemen – and doing it unapologetically – to make men who can be polite and forceful at the same time.  No one is born to it without intensive intervention.  Women are important to that process, but there must be something for men to be, if they are to turn into it.  For men, a place in a code and an authority structure ordained by men is a key source of moral shape and purpose.

None of this is to suggest that women don’t or can’t participate in authority.  Most women are capable of self-discipline and of wielding authority in an authority structure.  But it is manifest today, given the last 40 years in Western culture, that in a society where men and their qualities are denigrated, no one will fill the societal vacuum of individual authority.  There comes to be only governmental authority; and the very concept of authority changes.  It no longer means a natural social institution in which individuals are tested, enabled, promoted, and protected; it comes to mean only the armed force of the state.

Is that not the situation we have arrived at today?  Older people might see a level of governmental as well as social authority in the “George Zimmerman” figure, because he is a responsible adult, a citizen, a voter and taxpayer.  We see the law and the operation of the police as ultimately under his supervision – and we are satisfied with that, if not necessarily with the performance of Zimmerman himself on 26 February 2012, because he is one of a host of us participating in the responsibilities as well as the privileges of authority.  We – and he – have moral authority; therefore, we constitute and supervise the government that judges us.

But the two generations which have now come after mine have been reared largely without any concept of individual authority.  To their eyes, the ultimate authority in the Martin-Zimmerman case is the government’s law-enforcement apparatus: the courts and police.  Whatever is done outside their immediate control is done without authority, and can only beg the indulgence of the state.  This idea stands self-government and unalienable rights on their heads, and cuts out from under it the premise of self-defense.  But the generation of men who model the alternative idea of authority and where it comes from is getting smaller and smaller in our rearview mirror.

Neither men nor women live happily under this post-civilizational construct, but it is men whose character and purpose suffer most immediately.  Even feminists haven’t been able to prove that a social authority structure is as innately a project of women as it is of men; they long ago shifted to insisting that since it isn’t as innate to women, society should somehow organize itself differently.

But, of course, society can’t do that, because authority is essential, for a number of irreducible reasons.  If individuals are not defining and exercising authority over themselves – through family, faith, and work – something else is going to.

The idea of individual authority, meanwhile, which women appreciate but men cannot live purposefully without, is essential to self-government and civilization.  Requiring society to do without it – requiring men not to define it or live by it – is signing a death-warrant for civilization.  Of that terrible prospect, the Martin-Zimmerman case, with all its grinding pathologies and its torturing of the rule of law, is nothing if not a harbinger.

It’s My Opinion: The Rush To Judgment

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

The tragic shooting of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida has riveted the attention of the entire nation. Martin, a Miami Gardens teenager, was shot dead by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Many believe race played a role in the shooting. Martin was black; Zimmerman’s father is white and his mother is Hispanic.

Media reports portrayed Zimmerman as an overzealous busybody. Trayvon was seen as the victim of racial profiling, a black teen in a hoodie who accidentally wandered into the cross hairs of a frustrated cop wannabe.

Zimmerman had called police to report a young man who he claimed looked drugged and suspicious. Media portrayal of Zimmerman’s subsequent actions pointed to a misguided vigilante who hunted down and killed an innocent youngster.

The occurrence has taken on disturbing overtones. The unfortunate youth has become a symbol of racial unrest. He has been called a “martyr for the cause.” It is, of course, possible that Trayvon’s race was a factor in this tragedy. But not every act of violence perpetrated against blacks is necessarily racially motivated, just as not every act of violence against Jews is necessarily fueled by anti-Semitism.

A lynch mob mentality has emerged. The “new” Black Panther party has offered a reward of $10,000 for a citizen’s arrest of Zimmerman. The Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have done whatever they can to fan the flames. Sharpton sees the event as an indication of “open season on us.” Jackson points to an undercurrent of anger in the black community caused by police, banks, insurance companies and “people in striped suits.” President Obama added an emotional component when he said that if he had a son ”he would look like Trayvon.”

We Jews have long been victims of unfounded accusations. But this phenomenon is not unique to the Jewish world. Recall the charges made by Tawana Brawley, the allegations against Atlanta Olympic Park security guard Richard Jewell, and the attempted framing of the Duke Lacrosse Team.

I certainly am not an advocate for George Zimmerman. I am an advocate of not rushing to judgment.

Farrakhan Tweets Retaliation for Slain Trayvon Martin

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

As federal and local authorities investigate the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, and whether or not Florida’s “stand your ground” law applied to the shooter, George Zimmerman (not Jewish), Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has been calling for “justice” in typically disturbing ways.

The Blaze reports that Farrakhan has been using Twitter to send calls for peace, justice and retaliation that could be interpreted as a veiled threat.

Farrakhan tweeted:

“I am deeply saddened by this beautiful young man’s loss of life.”

“Let us see what kind of justice will come for his breaved family and our bereaved community.”

“Where there is no justice, there will be no peace. Soon and very soon, the law of retaliation may very well be applied.”

“Think. Reflect. Then get up and do something for self or suffer the consequences.”

“No one respects a beggar. The time has now arrived where you must beg no man. You must get up and do it for yourself.

When we fail to do justice, we literally set up conditions that destroy peace.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/farrakhan-tweets-retaliation-for-slain-trayvon-martin/2012/03/25/

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