Today Attorney General Eric Holder addressed the annual NAACP convention in Orlando. He took the opportunity to demagogue the Trayvon Martin case, using it as a pretext to assure the NAACP, an organization that has sunk into irrelevance, at best, that it is still vitally important. He also went out of his way to attack “stand your ground” self-defense laws.
Anyone who knows anything about the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case is aware that Florida’s “stand your ground” law played no part in it. That aspect of Florida’s self-defense law was not invoked or relied upon by the defense, and it obviously did not apply to the facts of the case. (More here, if this is new to you.) Zimmerman’s actions were proper, and were vindicated by the jury, under centuries-old standards of self-defense.
The fact that Holder attacked “stand your ground” laws today has been widely reported. What has not been so widely noted is that he implicitly acknowledged that the issue had nothing to do with the Zimmerman case:
Separate and apart from the case that has drawn the nation’s attention, it’s time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods. (sustained applause) These laws try to fix something that was never broken. There has always been a legal defense for using deadly force if – and the “if” is important – no safe retreat is available.
But we must examine laws that take this further by eliminating the common sense and age-old requirement that people who feel threatened have a duty to retreat, outside their home, if they can do so safely. By allowing and perhaps encouraging violent situations to escalate in public, such laws undermine public safety. The list of resulting tragedies is long and – unfortunately – has victimized too many who are innocent. It is our collective obligation – we must stand our ground – (applause) to ensure that our laws reduce violence, and take a hard look at laws that contribute to more violence than they prevent.
So Holder purported to divorce his swipe at “stand your ground” from the Zimmerman case. Of course, his audience didn’t hear it that way.
Holder also took the opportunity to demagogue guns:
It’s time to strengthen our collective resolve to combat gun violence….
But the jury found that Zimmerman acted in self-defense. If he hadn’t used his gun, Trayvon Martin may very well have beaten him to death, as Zimmerman said Martin threatened to do. As we pointed out here, self-defense is not “gun violence.”
Holder’s demagoguery has extended, most shamefully, to setting up a DOJ “tip line” to solicit information purporting to show that George Zimmerman is a racist:
The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday afternoon appealed to civil rights groups and community leaders, nationally and in Sanford, for help investigating whether a federal criminal case might be brought against George Zimmerman for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, one advocate said. …
“They were calling on us to actively refer anyone who had any information,” that might build a case against Zimmerman for either a civil rights violation or a hate crime, Arnwine said. “They said they would very aggressively investigate this case.”
Arnwine said the call was convened at about 3:30 p.m. by Tom Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice….
Perez, as we have noted many times, is a disgrace who never should have been confirmed to that post.
That email address, which is now in operation, is Sanford.firstname.lastname@example.org. …
During the call, DOJ officials announced they had set up a way for people to send email tips that could help aid in their investigation. The email address will be operational later this week.
As we have written repeatedly over the years, Barack Obama has introduced the concept of gangster government to the United States. But this is beyond the pale: the Obama administration has publicly solicited slander, directed against a private citizen who has already been acquitted of the only misdeed of which he has been accused. The Obama administration, it seems to me, has crossed the Rubicon. Its gangsterism should be condemned by all people of good faith, regardless of their political persuasion.
UPDATE: George Zimmerman’s brother Robert calls on Eric Holder to “stop the witch hunt.”. Don’t hold your breath, as long as Barack Obama thinks the witch hunt can pay political dividends.