The Trayvon Martin caseÂ—or lack of a case, considering as of this writing Martin's killer, George Zimmerman, has still not been arrestedÂ—has drawn outrage from both the left and the right. The negligence of law enforcement in this case is so obvious, and Zimmerman's racially motivated pursuit of Martin is so obvious that the reaction has constituted an unusually united front, with liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats calling for Zimmerman's arrest. Newt Gingrich, however, decided to take this opportunity to attack President Obama for alluding to race in his comments on the incident earlier today, wherein he understandably remarked, "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon."
This is a case where the assailant profiled Martin based on nothing but what he looked like, insisting to a 911 dispatcher that he looked like he was "up to something" and "on drugs" when he was merely walking home, talking on a cell phone, holding a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea. Zimmerman then got out of his car, a movement which can be heard on the 911 tapes, chased him down (Zimmerman confirmed to the dispatcher that the unarmed teen was running and that he was following) and shot him in cold blood, and none of that should be in dispute. None of that is in dispute, whether the allegation that Zimmerman used a racial slur before he shot Martin is true or not. He shot and killed him because he was young, black, and walking down the street.
Why, then, does Gingrich insist that the president pointing this out is "disgraceful" and "appalling?" Why is Gingrich claiming that the president insinuated that he condones the murder of white teenagers, just because he voiced the fact that we're all pretty much clear on Zimmerman's motive? "Is the president suggesting that if it had been a white [sic] who had been shot, that would be OK because it didn't look like him?" Gingrich asks. No, he's suggesting that if Trayvon Martin had been white, he wouldn't have been shot. And everybody understands this, including Gingrich himself. Gingrich may not be the intellectual his supporters claim him to be, but he's not a stupid man. He knows why Zimmerman killed Martin, just as well as everybody else does. So why is he so afraid to talk about race even in the face of a crime that was obviously motivated by race, and more infuriatingly, was not immediately investigated by authorities?
Newt Gingrich is afraid of something, and it's probably not that he'll be shot dead in cold blood in the street. He's afraid of admitting that a man he doesn't know, a man to whom he has no connection, shot and killed a minor because of the color of his skin. What other reason could there be for this, other than the possibility that just maybe, Gingrich sees in George Zimmerman a self-loathing flicker of himself?