A black teenager is shot, in an alleged act of self-defense by an older white man, and the local community is outraged and divided by the violent turn of events.
This may sound like the notorious Trayvon Martin case, but it actually describes a shooting this summer in New Orleans, La., that has failed to catch the eye of the national media.
In the early morning hours of July 26, 33-year-old homeowner Merritt Landry came face-to-face with 14-year-old Marshall Coulter as the boy reportedly trespassed on his property.
Landry told police that he approached the boy from his front yard, near his vehicle. As he grew closer, he said, the boy made a “move, as if to reach for something” – possibly a weapon – so Landry shot him, the warrant states.
Coulter survived but remains hospitalized. Landry is charged with second-degree attempted murder.
According to investigative reporter Jack Cashill, the author of the soon to be released book, “If I Had a Son: Race, Guns and the Railroading of George Zimmerman,” there are several good reasons this case is not on every national news network.
Cashill claims several factors came together to make Trayvon Martin’s killing a national firestorm, including the Obama administration exploiting the case during an election year.
“Trayvon Martin was shot in a battleground state during a presidential election year and for that story to gain traction beyond Sanford, Fla., it demanded a green light not only from the powers that be in Washington, but also the media powers,” Cashill explained to WND.
He also cited the unique culture of New Orleans and how the city has historically looked at crime to explain why the Landry case has not gained traction in the national media.
“New Orleans has never been a city in which incidents are presented as pure ‘black and white.’ It’s always been an odd mixture of people with odd agendas that don’t necessarily conform to national patterns,” Cashill elaborated. “Thus, there are people in that case who identify with Landry that don’t exist places like Sanford, Fla.”
According to Cashill, there’s a different set of variables in the Landry case.
“I don’t think that he’ll become a ‘great white defendant’ because in the Martin case all the variables lined up and they had a line of items to attack, they had the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law, the notion of the gated community, the things that were symbolic of some larger, white oppressive class,” Cashill stated.
Coulter’s family acknowledged the teen’s history of burglary arrests but said he had never used a gun.
Meanwhile, reports of black-on-white attacks across the nation continue to far outweigh white-on-black incidents.
Cashill covered the growing tide of violence in his most recent column for WND, accusing the media and the Obama administration of inciting further violence, such as the the recent high-profile murder in Oklahoma of Australian baseball player Chris Lane by two black youths.
“If the president had called attention to the fractures in Martin’s domestic life, his suppressed criminal record, his all but unseen descent into drugs and violence, and especially his reckless attack on Zimmerman, Obama might have lent a dollop of moral seriousness to his remarks,” Cashill wrote last week.
And now the story behind the story that troubled the nation is coming out, in an ebook.
“If I Had a Son: Race, Guns, and the Railroading of George Zimmerman” will be available in hardcover soon. Although the official publication date remains Oct. 29, the book now is available via the Internet.
A careful investigator and an astute observer of the American scene, Cashill walks the reader through the evidence that inspired the six-woman jury to acquit Zimmerman of murder in the second degree.
More provocatively, “If I Had A Son” addresses the political and cultural dynamics that empowered the state of Florida to arrest Zimmerman in the first place. As Cashill points out, it was the first time in the history of American jurisprudence that a state, the Department of Justice, the media, the entertainment industry, the vestiges of the civil rights movement and the White House conspired to send an innocent man to prison for the rest of his life.
Cashill, who holds a doctorate in American studies from Purdue University, has written seven previous works of nonfiction, most recently “Popes & Bankers” for Thomas Nelson and “Deconstructing Obama” for Simon & Schuster.
See Cashill’s comments on his investigation of the Martin case: