Martin case raises many issues

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 2, 2012

By Ada M. Fisher
Riding his bike on his way to the library up Fulton Street in a reasonably upscale neighborhood of Salisbury, not far from home, my then-16-year-old son was accosted, finding a police car in front of him and one behind his bike. Seems that two white males had accused some black kid of something, and my youngest son was stopped, asked to get in the police car and taken to the country club to be paraded before these kids who said they were harassed. Without a chance to call me, he was profiled simply because he is black appearing, although he is a Native American and had on a burgundy paisley printed shirt not a solid burgundy one, as the accusers had described.
The outrage surrounding the death of Trayvon Martin is reverberating through the heart and soul of the African American community, for no matter our political stripes, all of us know implicitly that the rules are not the same for blacks and whites when it comes to our juvenile males. Statistics bear this out. Most of us who are African American parents try to tell our kids that the “sag and drag” look, with their pants and “hoodies” of the ’hood, add unnecessarily to the scary perception and portrayal of them as counterculture and trouble bound. We let them know that the crowd they hang with can get them killed, even if they are innocent. We tell them you can be at the wrong place at the wrong time and get killed or hurt, but so, too, can you if you are minding your own business in the right place, as my son was to learn.
Whenever I have seen a young male spread against the police car, he is usually black, an appearance that apparently seems threatening to many. Many of our youth do drugs, but so do parents and those hammering at the door to legalize marijuana. That is no reason to smear a victim of a crime.
What justification can there be for putting a contract or wanted poster out on George Zimmerman, the accused shooter, with a $10,000 bounty by “The New Black Panthers”? This should be against the law and subject to an FBI probe.
Nothing gives the media the right to try this case in the courtroom of public opinion by leaking titillating bits of the story in a manner certain to sell papers while fueling racial fires. How can fair trials be had or an impartial jury fielded when the information needed isn’t secured until trial?
Though he rightfully apologized, Spike Lee had no right to tweet out an address thought to be Zimmerman’s. That could have gotten the accused shooter or the people mistakenly identified hurt. The pimping preachers constantly seeking publicity and an opportunity to be the spokesmen for all things black or the congressional member describing the deceased as being hunted down without the full story disclosed or the premature statements by the NAACP — all of these do a disservice to their causes in not insisting upon the rule of law being applied with all deliberate speed rather than fanning the flames of racism without a hearing, an arrest or proper investigation of the matter.
To Fox News and others criticizing the rush to judgment by some in the African American community regarding the death of Trayvon Martin, I do understand the swelling outcry against the failure to arrest the shooter and bind him over for a trial.
As a gun owner and one who passed a concealed- carry class, I don’t view this case as being about gun laws, but about one armed man and one unarmed young man in a nation increasingly taking up sides rather than letting the law run its course.
I’ve always said I believe in the right to bear arms unless that gun is pointed at me, and then I maintain my right to defend myself.
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Dr. Ada M. Fisher lives in Salisbury and is the Republican National Committeewoman for North Carolina and a former member of the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education.