The Wall Street Journal’s editorial staff is asking why Al Sharpton, et al, are not devoting the same amount of attention to the murder of Christopher Lane in Oklahoma, allegedly by three bored teenagers, as they did to the George Zimmerman case. The editorial begins as follows:
Three teenagers were charged Tuesday in the killing of a white college student in Duncan, Oklahoma…
(Emphasis added to make my point as painfully obvious as possible.) That’s not even the entire first sentence, but it has already explained how this case is different from Zimmerman’s case. To be clear, Lane’s death is a tragedy and a horrible crime that deserves thorough investigation and punishment of the guilty parties. (I shouldn’t have to add that caveat, but I suspect someone somewhere will try to say I don’t care as much about this case.)
Here’s how it’s different: the suspects in Lane’s death are already in custody and facing criminal charges, including murder. Trayvon Martin died on February 26, 2012, but Zimmerman wasn’t arrested until April 11, 45 days later.
No one is disputing that what the three teenagers allegedly did is a crime.
So far, no one has tried to claim that the three teenagers in Oklahoma acted in self-defense, and no one will ever be able to make that claim plausibly. The Zimmerman case involved the killing of a black teenager (who was not committing any crime) by an overzealous neighborhood watch volunteer who, for reasons we’ll likely never know for sure, thought he looked “suspicious.” The narrative of people finding young black men “suspicious,” just for being young black men, plays itself out every day in this country. Certain people are seizing on the fact that the Lane case involves a young white man killed by three young black men as a sleazy way of trying to create a false equivalence with the Zimmerman case, or to fabricate some kind of “both sides do it” narrative.
It’s pretty sickening, really.
Think of it this way: many people expressed a high level of skepticism about the allegation that Zimmerman was motivated by Martin’s race. See if those same people apply the same high level of skepticism to the Lane case.