Although they may not realize it, some supporters of the dead teenager Trayvon Martin are actually exploiting him, using his death to advance their own personal agendas. That is very disturbing when you think about it.
After the acquittal of George Zimmerman, one loon out in San Francisco justified some mob-driven property damage, saying: “We have to grow a new society. A people society. Not one where Wells Fargo, the Federal Reserve, all these big banks. We need a whole new system!”
A protester in D.C. said: “We don’t get democracy. We get capitalism. We get white supremacy.”
And then there was race. Radical Catholic priest Michael Pfleger in Chicago told his congregation: “We are not in a post-racial area. In fact, racism has a second breath in America today and [with the verdict] it got new oxygen.”
So, if you believe the fringe, the reason Zimmerman was found not guilty by a jury of six women is that they are racists who want big business to dominate the country.
Makes sense to me.
And then there are the grievance folks. Talk-radio host Tavis Smiley told ABC News that it is open season on black men in this country. According to Smiley, the Zimmerman verdict is “just another piece of evidence of the incontrovertible contempt that this nation often shows and displays for black men.”
At the top, President Barack Obama used the verdict to call for stricter gun control measures. And Attorney General Eric Holder told the nation that Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law should be repealed. All of this was said in the name of a Florida teenager who died unnecessarily.
The truth is that cynical opportunists often use tragedies to their advantage. For me, the death of Martin and the subsequent prosecution of Zimmerman were lessons in confrontation, not anything else.
We live in a country where citizens must understand that intense personal interactions can lead to disaster. I can’t tell you how many times I have wanted to confront somebody who was doing something wrong in my presence. But I simply can’t. There are legions of sleazy lawyers lined up to attack the affluent in court. If you have money, these parasites will find a legal way to harm you. Just fighting nuisance suits can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
And then there are the unstable folks who will do you physical damage. Road rage, verbal assaults, threats – you have to walk or drive away. It is far too risky to confront the perpetrator and “work it out.”
Of course, sometimes you must stand your ground – but not often. Zimmerman was told by a 911 operator to stay in his car. He did not. Disaster followed. It didn’t have to happen.
Exploiters of the Martin case should be ashamed. For everyone else, there is one huge lesson: Avoid confrontation if you possibly can. No good can come of it.
• Veteran TV news anchor Bill O’Reilly is host of the Fox News show “The O’Reilly Factor” and author of the book “Pinheads and Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama.”