Last month, the German media joined the American media in a luxurious orgy of hand-wringing about the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case. As you no doubt recall, George Zimmerman was acquitted after a jury found he acted in self-defense when he shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager. That event prompted a wave of national soul-searching that evaporated into thin air in a few weeks with a quiet 'pfft' sound, as these things do in America. Meanwhile, the magpies of the media have found new bright, shiny objects.
As you may also recall, I thought the posturing over the case was a bit over-the-top. People learned just enough about the case to satisfy their preconceptions, and then, for the purposes of signaling and showing their in-group allegiances, loudly broadcast their opinions. In particular, there was no genuine evidence that George Zimmerman acted out of racial animus. The Obama administration, after loudly announcing they might try to prosecute him for a racial hate crime under federal law. Then, being no fools, they almost immediately it be known that doing so would probable be impossible because of lack of evidence. If Zimmerman is ever prosecuted at the federal level for a civil-rights crime, I will eat my hat.
Just in time, we now have another crime, this time in Duncan, Oklahoma, where two black teenagers and one (apparently) white teenager allegedly shot a visiting white Australian student in the back, killing him. Initial reports claim they decided to murder somebody simply because they were bored, but as the Christian Science Monitor and the Daily Caller report, one of the black men tweeted: '“90 percent of white ppl are nasty. #HATE THEM.” Another, referencing the Zimmerman trial, stated: “Ayeee I knocced out 5 woods since Zimmerman court! :)” The Urban Dictionary defines “wood,” or pecker-wood, as a derogatory term for white people.' I need hardly add that if George Zimmerman had tweeted that he HATED 90% of black people because they were 'nasty', we would never have heard the end of it. But the local authorities in Oklahoma still aren't charging these men with hate crimes.
Now, I have no idea whether they're guilty or exactly what the tweets from the young black man mean in context -- although if there's an innocent explanation for them, I'm all ears! The point is that because this news story didn't fit in with prevailing German narratives about the U.S., it's gotten about 1/100th of the attention of the Trayvon Martin case. There was a flurry of German news stories about it about 5 days ago, all stressing the 'they shot him out of boredom' angle, but nothing more since then. And many of the Americans loudly signaling their utter outrage at George Zimmerman have been deafeningly silent over this crime. This is a point that American conservatives have been making, which of course makes it even more critical for American liberals to ignore it. Now, I'm certainly no American conservative, but they've got a point here. Even a blind squirrel, as the saying goes, finds a nut once in a while. The Martin case got saturation coverage and this one is getting embarrassed silence because of one thing: PC double standards.