“I know that Eric Holder is reviewing what happened down there,” President Obama said last Friday in regard to the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., more than a year ago.
As the president understood, Attorney General Holder is reviewing the incident in the hopes of pinning some form of hate crime on the recently acquitted George Zimmerman.
In the same vein, a day after Obama spoke, the inimitable Al Sharpton organized rallies in cities across the country urging authorities to press federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman.
In looking closely at the trial transcripts and post-trial comments, however, it seems likely that if anyone committed a hate crime it was Trayvon Martin. Evidence strongly suggests that he attacked Zimmerman because he believed him to be gay.
According to the prosecution’s “star witness,” Rachel Jeantel, Martin thought Zimmerman “looked like a creepy a– cracker.”
“He told me the man was looking at him,” she added, “so I had to think it might have been a rapist. Might have been a rapist.”
When defense attorney Don West asked Jeantel whether she thought “creepy-a– cracker” was racist, Jeantel explained that the phrase meant that Trayvon viewed Zimmerman as a “pervert.”
The Urban Dictionary defines “a– cracker” as “one who engages in anal sex.” It seems likely that Jeantel meant the homophobic “creepy a– cracker” and not the racist “creepy-a– cracker.”
In other words, Martin thought Zimmerman a homosexual, even a “rapist,” according to Jeantel. Given the unintelligibility of Jeantel’s speech, West seems to have missed this.
“Could it be that the shooter was not particularly interested in protecting the neighborhood,” says a Daily Kos writer with a straight face, “but in satiating a desire to rape an African-American male who was a minor and who looked vulnerable?”
Although Zimmerman had no such desire, this seems to have been what Martin thought and what Jeantel tried to explain in court. The prosecution tried to sell this theme as well.
In his closing statement, prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda translated homosexual into “sexual pervert.” In an interview after the trial, de la Rionda elaborated on this point when asked to account for Martin’s four missing minutes.
“I think Trayvon Martin was hiding,” he said. “To me, my gut instinct tells me that the young man would not take the perpetrator he thought was chasing him – and may be a sexual pervert – back to the house.”
In an interview after the trial with Piers Morgan, Jeantel clarified what de la Rionda meant by “sexual pervert.” As she explained, since Martin was himself not a homosexual, Zimmerman’s actions worried him.
“For every boy or every man who’s not that kind of way,” she said, “seeing a grown man following them, would they be creeped out?”
If Jeantel were to be taken seriously, and the State of Florida did just that, Martin attacked Zimmerman in a state of “gay panic.”
That kind of defense has been viewed suspiciously, if not contemptuously, since at least the 1998 Wyoming murder of college student Matthew Shepard.
In that case, the defendants initially claimed that Shepard’s homosexual advances unnerved them to the point of murder. The judge, however, disallowed that strategy.
In Martin’s case, however, there may have been rage, but there was no panic. Zimmerman made no advances. The younger, taller, MMA-style street fighter circled back and savagely attacked Zimmerman for no obvious reason.
It is unlikely Martin would have done this if he thought Zimmerman were an authority figure like a cop or a security guard. But if he thought Zimmerman were gay and vulnerable, why not?
The Daily Kos article suggests that Zimmerman was perhaps “simply unable to control his pedophilia.” No, a longing for a 6-foot 17-year-old is not pedophilia. It is homosexuality.
Over the years, the media’s affection for homosexuality has been purely situational. They are altogether willing to overlook, even justify, a “gay bash” if it serves a larger cause and a bigger voting bloc.