THE RIOT CARD – AT 7:53 A.M. ET: There is concern about rioting if the Trayvon Martin case doesn't go the way some "activists" want it to go. We are noting the 20th anniversary of the Rodney King case in California, wherein there was massive rioting in Los Angeles when some cops were acquitted of charges of excessive force in the arrest of King.
The great Heather MacDonald, one of the best analysts writing today, notes the anniversary in City Journal, and the lessons we can apply to the Trayvon Martin situation:
Could it happen again? That is the taboo question on the 20th anniversary of Los Angeles’s murderous Rodney King riots, just as another racially charged prosecution—this time in Florida—captures headlines across the nation. Sadly, the answer is yes. As the Oakland riots in 2009 and 2010 following a transit officer’s fatal shooting of a parolee made clear, the threat of riots—what Fred Siegel has called “riot ideology”—still hangs over interracial incidents of violence when the victim is black. And just as the press cynically manipulated the facts in the Rodney King beating in order to increase racial tensions, it has done so again in the Trayvon Martin shooting in Sanford, Florida.
The best hope for avoiding a repeat of the L.A. mayhem, should blacks not be satisfied with the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case, is that police forces across the country have learned the lesson of the Rodney King riots: that outbreaks of civil anarchy must be immediately and unapologetically suppressed.
Pumped up on alcohol and drugs, King led officers on a high-speed chase across L.A.’s freeways and residential streets far north of South Central. When the officers finally stopped him, they tried nonviolent means of arresting him—verbal commands, a group tackle, handcuffs, and, finally, a taser—but he fiercely fought all of them off. Only after King lunged at the officers did they resort to the baton. A civilian video captured much of the stop, but the media edited out the nonviolent prelude to the baton blows.
Sound familiar? NBC News, anyone?
Some 54 citizens of Los Angeles were murdered in the rioting that followed the not-guilty verdict in the trial of the cops who "beat" Rodney King. Some 2,328 were hospitalized. More than $1-billion in damage was done. By that time the left-wing media had established the "narrative" that cops were the greatest threat that blacks faced.
The press could use the 1992 riots as an occasion for self-examination. Instead, history is repeating itself. The build-up around the Trayvon Martin shooting seems almost designed to provoke riots should the case not come out the way the race agitators and the media think it should. As with the King beating, the press has doctored evidence and suppressed relevant context. It is once again promoting falsehoods—that the criminal justice system is racist and that blacks are under assault from racist whites.
It seems almost unimaginable that a jury would acquit Zimmerman after the intense campaign insisting on the symbolic racial status of the case. But should such an outcome come to pass, every police department in the country should be prepared to put down any ensuing violence at its first outbreak, in the name of justice for all. This much we should all have learned from the ugliness of 1992.
COMMENT: And if police departments move to suppress any violence? You may be sure the only thing many "journalists" will be looking for is any case, even imagined, of excessive force. And Eric Holder's Justice Department will rush in to investigate, not the rioters, but the police.
One serious question is whether George Zimmerman can get a fair trial anywhere in the United States. Juries, even if kept anonymous, can feel intimidation. And hints can be dropped that jurors' names are "known" in the "community," despite assurances of anonymity.
Read the whole piece. Real journalism at its best.
April 30, 2012