On Friday President Obama, in an informal briefing in the Rose Garden instead of the usual press room of the White House, reiterated his earlier statement that Trayvon Martin, the young man killed in the Sanford, Florida, shooting in February 2012, “could have been my son.” Said Obama:
You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.
And then he expanded on his remarks in which he attempted to describe the experience many young black men allegedly have in today’s society:
There are very few African American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me.
There are very few African American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me — at least before I was a senator.
There are very few African Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.
And then he capped his remarks off with his conclusion: If Martin had been white, there would likely have been no shooting:
If a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario, that, from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different.
The president neglected to say that, according to the jury decision in George Zimmerman’s trial, if Martin had truly been an innocent person, nothing would have happened the night of the shooting either, regardless of his race. If Martin was innocent and proceeded to walk to his father’s house, without stopping to confront Zimmerman, he would still be alive. If he hadn’t sucker-punched Zimmerman in the face, jumped on top of him, and began beating Zimmerman’s head into the ground, he would still be alive today, regardless of his race.
Although the president’s remarks appeared to be casual and off-the-cuff, they actually were the result not only of pressure applied by black radicals, such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, for the president to speak out on an issue that wasn’t an issue — namely, race — but also followed a closed meeting of five of the president’s advisors on Thursday evening. They were carefully crafted for maximum impact, as noted by one of his aides:
You often don’t hear him speak about this sort of thing; it’s just not something he does all the time, but it’s obvious that it was very personal to him.
And he spoke about it in a very personal way, in a way no one else could even imagine him saying. Even I got a little emotional hearing him talk about it.
The president said not one word about George Zimmerman, who received a not guilty verdict on Tuesday, but also failed to say anything about Martin’s background as a truant, a thug, a liar, a thief, a schoolyard bully, and a doper. And yet all that information was available to the president if he cared to use it. Obviously, it didn’t fit the message he was trying to deliver.
During the discovery process in May 2012, the defense team for Zimmerman got the first glimpse of just who Martin really was, in data contained in 67 compact discs. Included were texts from Martin’s cellphone going back to November 2011 and photos of Martin other than the one the press used to generate public sympathy — a hooded innocent gunned down by a white racist.