“Ayeee I knocked out 5 woods since Zimmerman court!” young James Edwards tweeted on July 15 in the wake of George Zimmerman’s acquittal for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Edwards’s tweets surfaced after he and two of his homies were charged with killing Australian baseball player Chris Lane in Duncan, Oklahoma, last Friday.
For the record, “woods” is short for peckerwoods, a derogatory term for white people. If Edwards, who is black, knocked out five woods as claimed, he would hardly be unique. As Colin Flaherty chillingly documents in his frequently updated book, White Girl Bleed A Lot, the “knock-out game” has become something of a recreational outlet for bored black youths.
This “game” is just one form of black-on-nonblack assaults. Although hard to quantify, they seem to have intensified after the media put a racial spin on the Martin shooting eighteen months ago. Occasionally, the attackers have made the link explicit, claiming they were “doing it for Trayvon,” revenge being a more honorable motive than boredom.
Two weeks after the Martin story surfaced, President Obama had the chance to defuse tensions. ”Obviously this is a tragedy,” said Obama solemnly in response to a planted question. After some empty bromides about everyone pulling together and the like, the president cut to the chase: “But my main message is to the parents of Trayvon–If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.”
By this time, the White House had access to all the information the Sanford Police Department did. The courageous step for Obama would have been to defend the Sanford Police Department and to demand an end to the media lynching of George Zimmerman. As an African American, he had more latitude to do this than a white politician would have. Instead, he chose to identify fully with the black “victim.”
If Obama’s son would have looked like Trayvon, he would have also looked like James Edwards and Chancey Luna, both charged with first-degree murder in Lane’s death. Although south central Oklahoma would seem to be a long way from south central LA, the national media have created a dysfunctional culture accessible to all disaffected youths everywhere, even the occasional white kid like getaway driver Michael Jones.
These young thugs apparently pulled their language, their vices, their aspirations, and their prejudices– “90% of white ppl are nasty. #HATE THEM”-from what was broadcast their way. That same media told them what to think about the “Zimmerman court,” and Obama refused to tell them otherwise.
After an evening session on day eleven of the Zimmerman trial, the media had the opportunity to share with Edwards and Luna the real character of Trayvon Martin. Richard Connor, an attorney as well as a certified computer forensic expert, had explained to the Court the content of what Martin had communicated on his cell phone.
Connor laid it all out for those who cared to listen. In the week before he died, Martin had had at least four conversations about purchasing a .22 caliber revolver. In the cache recovered by Connor was a photo of a hand gripping a pistol. Whoever took the photo used Martin’s cell phone. It appears to have been a self-portrait.
Although Martin’s enthusiasm for guns spoke to the unfortunate turn his life had taken, the defense team had more interest in the data related to MMA-style fighting. In a semi-comical turn, defense attorney Don West had Connor read word-for-word from Martin’s November 2011 conversation with a girl named “Lavondria.” After Martin told Lavondria he was “tired and sore” from a fight, she asked him why he continued fighting. “Bae” is shorthand for “babe.” Here is what Connor related:
MARTIN: Cause man dat nigga snitched on me
LAVONDRIA: Bae y you always fightinqq man, you got suspended?
MARTIN: Naw we thumped afta skool in a duckd off spot
LAVONDRIA: Ohh, Well Damee
MARTIN: I lost da 1st round ( but won da 2nd nd 3rd . . . .
LAVONDRIA: Ohhh So It Wass 3 Rounds? Damn well at least yu wonn lol but yuu needa stop fighting bae Forreal
MARTIN: Nay im not done with fool….. he gone hav 2 see me again
LAVONDRIA: Nooo… Stop, yuu waint gonn bee satisified till yuh suspended again, huh?
MARTIN: Naw but he aint breed nuff 4 me, only his nose
As West had Connor establish, over several objections, Martin had engaged in an MMA-style fight with a distinct advantage going to the fighter who could establish the dominant position. This became evident in a second conversation with someone named “Michael ‘Suave’ French.”
A day later, Martin would tell French that his opponent “got mo hits cause in da 1st round he had me on da ground nd I couldn’t do ntn.” This all mattered, of course, because after Martin knocked Zimmerman down with a sucker punch, breaking his nose, he assumed the MMA-style “ground and pound position” and flailed away. The best eyewitness described what he saw in exactly those terms.