When is a crime not a crime?
If the media fail to report it, the police refuse to investigate it and the prosecutors refuse to prosecute it, is it a crime?
On the other side of the question, if the media call it murder, the police say it was a crime, and the prosecutors issue an indictment, is it a crime?
In Virginia, when a group of blacks beat up two white journalists, the authorities ignored it. By ignoring it they must have believed that they could decriminalize it.
Thomas Sowell explains:
When two white newspaper reporters for the Virginian-Pilot were driving through Norfolk, and were set upon and beaten by a mob of young blacks — beaten so badly that they had to take a week off from work — that might sound like news that should have been reported, at least by their own newspaper. But it wasn’t….
Similar episodes of unprovoked violence by young black gangs against white people chosen at random on beaches, in shopping malls, or in other public places have occurred in Philadelphia, New York, Denver, Chicago, Cleveland, Washington, Los Angeles, and other places across the country. Both the authorities and the media tend to try to sweep these episodes under the rug.
In Milwaukee, for example, an attack on whites at a public park a few years ago left many of the victims battered to the ground and bloody. But when the police arrived on the scene, it became clear that the authorities wanted to keep this quiet.
One 22-year-old woman, who had been robbed of her cell phone and debit card, and had blood streaming down her face, said, “About 20 of us stayed to give statements and make sure everyone was accounted for. The police wouldn’t listen to us, they wouldn’t take our names or statements. They told us to leave. It was completely infuriating.”
The police chief seemed determined to head off any suggestion that this was a racially motivated attack by saying that crime is color-blind. Officials elsewhere have said similar things.
The authorities have the best of intentions. They are trying not to incite racial violence. They want to promote social harmony and comity.
But then, when George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin, the authorities, led by the media, declared it to be a crime.
They told the world that a racist Zimmerman had hunted down and executed an innocent Trayvon Martin.
Of course, the interpretation fir with an historical narrative that the media hold to be dogmatic truth. In the past night riders did persecute and murder innocent blacks.
To the media and the public authorities, it’s still happening. And if it isn’t happening, it is good for the public to know that it still could happen.
In the case of Trayvon Martin no one thought twice about racial harmony. Media, police, prosecutors, and race hustlers were out in force calling for George Zimmerman’s head.
Conveniently, everyone forgot that Zimmerman was entitled to the presumption of innocence.
If we are to believe Alan Dershowitz, the prosecutor’s indictment of George Zimmerman for murder was a travesty.
By now, the public’s attention has moved elsewhere, so the facts are beginning to come out. This morning we read that, in his encounter with Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman had suffered a broken nose, two black eyes, and two lacerations on the back of this head.
We also learned that Martin’s knuckles had been bruised.
Eventually, the case will be decided in court, but, here again, we are increasingly living in a country where the media, the police, and prosecutors have taken it on themselves to create reality.
They believe that a crime is a crime when they say it’s a crime. When they say it isn’t a crime, it isn’t a crime.
Gone are the days when the media sought to report objective facts. Now the media has set itself the task of interpreting facts so that the public will be more likely to draw the conclusion that the media wants it to draw.
In the past this used to be called propaganda. It was the province of despots and demagogues.
Now, it has gone mainstream, even afflicting the criminal justice system.
Sowell recognizes that, when it comes to black-on-white violence, those in charge might have a good motive. They do not want to incite further violence.
In his words:
It may be understandable that some people want to head off such a catastrophe, either by not reporting the attacks in this race war, or by not identifying the race of those attacking, or by insisting that the attacks were not racially motivated — even when the attackers themselves voice anti-white invective as they laugh at their bleeding victims.
When these same authorities play up the racial side of the Trayvon Martin case, they are also using that case to de-criminalize any future black-on-white violence.
Sowell responds that when the authorities conspire to deny reality they make it impossible for anyone to deal with reality. They are trying to forestall a white backlash, but, in effect, are making it more likely.
In his words:
If and when that pressure leads to an explosion of white backlash, things could be a lot worse than if the truth had come out earlier, and steps taken by both black and white leaders to deal with the hoodlums and with those who inflame them.
When the public comes to believe that the criminal justice system has chosen to ignore a certain class of crimes, it might become more likely to take matters into its own hand.
On the other side, if blacks are relieved of responsibility for their actions, then they are being told that when they beat up a couple of reporters in Virginia or a soldier in Tampa, they are not committing crimes.
Sowell wonders whether blacks are being done a favor by being showered with so much empathy and understanding. Isn't it a bit patronizing?
…it is no favor to anyone who lags behind to turn their energies from the task of improving and advancing themselves to the task of lashing out at others.
Forcing the experience of African-Americans into a grievance narrative distracts them from the task at hand. It tells them that it is futile to work at improving and advancing because America will always see them as criminals.
To Sowell this ideology is inimical to the best interests of the black community. The media is not just lying about the black community; it is lying to the black community.
Those who automatically say that the social pathology of the ghetto is due to poverty, discrimination, and the like cannot explain why such pathology was far less prevalent in the 1950s, when poverty and discrimination were worse. But there were not nearly as many grievance mongers and race hustlers then.