More than a year ago, noted Republican commentator Pat Buchanan warned that the outcome of the Trayvon Martin case, in which neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman is on trial for murder, could provoke rioting.
“The public mind has been so poisoned that an acquittal of George Zimmerman could ignite a reaction similar to that, 20 years ago, when the Simi Valley jury acquitted the LAPD cops in the Rodney King beating case,” he warned.
It seems he may have been right.
WND reported earlier in the week that police in Sanford, Fla., where the trial is being held, already were going door-to-door, apparently trying to prevent any violent reaction to the jury verdict when it is reached.
But a number of bloggers and watchers say there are not-so-subtle rumblings of violence developing.
On the Mr. Conservative blog, Twitter threats were reproduced in abundance.
“If Zimmerman don’t go to jail ill kill him for $20,” said one.
“Gimme me tha pistol ill kill Zimmerman myself,” said another.
“If George Zimmerman win I’m gonna kill a fat white boy dat look lik George Zimmerman I swear,” said a third.
“This is despicable and seriously frightening,” wrote blogger Kristin Tate. “There is no way this would be tolerated if the threats from whites were against a black man.”
Zimmerman is on trial for the shooting death of Martin, a teen he said attacked him and pinned him to the ground, delivering blows to his head. Zimmerman said he pulled his weapon and fired at Martin, killing him, in self-defense.
The blog reported thousands were threatening to riot should Zimmerman not be determined guilty by a jury.
“In addition to hundreds of racist, disturbing tweets, there are several Facebook pages dedicated to promoting the murder of George Zimmerman,” Tate wrote. “One of those pages even urges riots if he is not found guilty for the murder of Trayvon Martin.
One of the postings states: “Let’s flex our muscle!. What, you scared?”
The online sentiment follows a video report that showed Sanford officers were going door-to-door
Police say they fear a backlash from the community when the verdict is delivered. Los Angeles had days of rioting when the Rodney King verdict came down.
So Sanford Police Chief Cecile Smith confirmed officers are going door-to-door talking to people.
"Our worst fear is that we'd have people from outside the community coming in and stirring up … violence," he said.
At The American Dream, commentator Michael Snyder wrote; "Should we take the thousands of people that are threatening to riot if George Zimmerman is found not guilty seriously? After all, people make idle threats online all the time. Sometimes people say things on Twitter or on Facebook that they don't actually mean and would never actually do in real life."
Snyder said the justice system "has got to be able to function without having to be concerned about threats of violence if the 'wrong result' is reached."
"George Zimmerman deserves a fair trial just like everyone else does," he said. "If he is actually guilty of a crime, then let him be found guilty. If he is not guilty of a crime, then let him be found not guilty."
Snyder said the notion "that he must be found guilty 'for the good of society' is complete and utter nonsense."
"If we start allowing public opinion and threats of violence to determine the outcome of court cases, our legal system will lose all remaining credibility," he wrote.
Paul Joseph Watson, author of "Order Out Of Chaos," wrote at Infowars.com that authorities in Sanford already have enlisted the help of pastors as "observers" who will report to their congregations.
At Crimefilenews.com was the flat-out prediction of rioting.
"The George Zimmerman trial here has thousands of African-Americans getting ready for some serious bloodletting. I don't want to make idle and dire predictions but this nation has never been so divided and racially sensitive. ... Our African-
American president took sides on this case at the very beginning. That ratified a George Zimmerman guilty verdict in the minds of millions."
Obama, himself, weighed in on the case long before it went to trial, saying that if he had had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin.
Crimefilenews also noted the Twitter campaigns, with statements including:
- "Hell is gonna break loose!"
- "Let the riots begin."
- "Somebody in this great st of FL gone lynch his a**."
- "If George Zimmerman walks he better be in hiding for the rest of his life."
The Huffington Post reported that the Miami-Dade Community Relations Board was meeting with others to set up designated protest areas.
"We want people to respond in a positive way. If they have frustrations they want to vent, we want them to do that in an orderly and organized way. So the message is: Peace for Trayvon," a board member, Walter Richardson, said in an interview with CBS Miami.
Buchanan's warning a year ago said that should violence erupt, those who "fanned the flames, and those who did nothing to douse them" should be held accountable.
Wrote Snyder at The American Dream: "The threats that some of the supporters of Trayvon Martin are making are absolutely chilling.'
Jack Cashill's book on the Zimmerman case, "If I Had A Son," will be available soon after the trial is over. His investigative-reporting skills shine in his many books – see them now in WND's Superstore