Brian Beutler, writing in Salon, has a piece called “The Right’s Black Crime Obsession.” What to make of this column? It is muddled from beginning to end.
According to Beutler, “[c]onservatives, particularly white conservatives, feel a burning urgency to find a racial counterweight to the aftermath of Trayvon Martin’s shooting… the argument that things like background checks and an assault weapons ban are appropriate ways to reduce the likelihood of another Sandy Hook-style massacre, and anecdotal justifications for indiscriminate policing of dangerous neighborhoods.” He then goes on to say that these things cannot be done because they “require projecting motives or details or both into tragic events, to create false dichotomies between shootings perpetrated by whites and blacks.” I will argue that it is quite the opposite – it is the left that has projected a false narrative to ignore reality.
Beutler talks about the shooting of Chris Lane, a young Australian gunned down by three teenagers in what may have been a gang initiation or may have been simply because they were “bored.” Lane says:
The conservative media, including Fox News, repeated the claim that the Oklahoma suspects were all black. But this turned out to be a toxic mix of racial bias and wishful thinking. You almost wonder whether the people whose ulterior motives led them into error like this actually lamented the fact that one of the suspects happened to be white. It would be so much more convenient if that weren’t the case.
Talk about projection, not to mention tone-deafness. Beutler simply projects right onto Fox that the organization wished that all of the perpetrators had been black. Where is his justification? He has none, other than his own bias. Next, he reveals a supreme example of cognitive dissonance. It turns out one of the suspects was white. Fox has corrected its error. Meanwhile the left liberal media repeatedly skewed George Zimmerman’s race to fit a narrative. Even though he would normally be considered Hispanic, many on the left came up with the term “white Hispanic” to describe him so that the case would have a white-on-black element to it. It was a horrible racialization of the situation that persisted throughout the trial and there was no excuse for it other than a political motive.
Beutler continues in obliviousness with this: “George Zimmerman wouldn’t have shot Trayvon Martin if he hadn’t been profiling by race. And even if he had been, the shooting feasibly wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t been legally allowed to carry a handgun and didn’t think he was empowered by law to take matters into his own hands.” While I grant that Beutler has a point that the incident might not have occurred if Zimmerman wasn’t able to legally own a handgun (Zimmerman, by all accounts, was a law-abiding citizen) Beutler is completely off base and is doing exactly what he accuses the right of doing, projecting, when he says Zimmerman shot Martin because of race. No such evidence was offered a trial and I have yet to see any evidence, whatsoever, that Zimmerman was racist in anyway. The injection of race into the Zimmerman case came from the liberal media, which in some cases knowingly and deliberately altered facts (in particular the audio tape) to make the incident look racially motivated.
Finally, Beutler brings into his narrative completely irrelevant facts. He weaves both “stop-and-frisk” and “stand your ground” laws into his explanation of the Trayvon Martin incident, in effect arguing that the existence of “stand your ground” and “stop-and-frisk” policies were indirect causes by creating an “environment” where such a tragedy could happen. It is a bizarre argument since Martin’s defense was straight-up self-defense, legal everywhere, and “stop-and-frisk” is a tactic only available to police and has absolutely nothing to do with private citizens.
Beutler’s attempt to shoehorn both the Lane and Martin incidents into a narrative about the evils of legal guns is, simply, bad analysis. He starts off with unfounded assumptions, is unable to prove his case and ends with irrelevant data.