Since we don’t have all the facts on the Trayvon Martin shooting by Mr. Zimmerman, I’m not going to comment on it, aside to say it appears to be a tragedy for all involved and my sympathies go out to the families.
The aftermath, on the other hand, is awful. Spike Jones and others have been tweeting Zimmerman’s home address, and the New Black Panthers are offering a $10,000 “bounty” on Zimmerman. With the New Black Panthers chanting slogans like “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” (and since the man who killed Trayvon is not exactly hiding from the cops), I will presume this is a call for more vigilante justice.
When I was in Afghanistan I was pursued for an afternoon by several angry mobs wielding sharp farm implements. They were rioting about something some US soldiers had done, and were looking for foreigners like me to take it out on. It was the worst afternoon of my life, though it would have been a lot worse if I’d been caught. So the howls of the mob, whether it’s via Twitter or in person, disturb me on a visceral level. This behavior is monstrous and it’s a lot more premeditated than those mobs in Kabul were.
In the last few weeks there has been a lot of talk about the so-called incivility of Rush Limbaugh and attempts to get him pulled from the air because of it. Saying impolite things is protected speech. But this “bounty” and these tweets are inciting to violence – it’s direct, it’s aimed at a specific person, and there’s a $10,000 reward attached! Where’s the Justice Department?