Ahmaud Arbery trial: bad optics, bad facts
We always have to be careful in drawing opinions on media reports of high-visibility criminal trials – or even what all those pundits and legal analysts say about them. Their opinions are too often predetermined by their political biases. Regardless, public attention requires comment.
There is a lot of political and racial hyperventilating about the Ahmaud Arbery case in Georgia, where three white men chased down and killed a young black man. I say “killed” because that is indisputable. It will be up to the jury to determine if it was murder.
The first question is why does this case garner so much media and political attention – as does the Rittenhouse case in Wisconsin? As you read this, people are being killed – murdered – by the hundreds all across the country. White people killing black people. Black people killing white people. Police killing suspects. Criminals killing police. And to the greatest extent, black people killing black people.
I suggest that cases like this — that appear in the media day-after-day — have one common trait. They are exceptionally good battlegrounds upon which Democrat left-wing political and philosophic groups can advance their narratives and agendas of pandemic racism and permanent victimhood. I say “left-wing” because they currently have the advantage of the featly of the only institution that determines what gets massive attention and what gets ignored — and how the information is spun. That, of course, is the powerful east coast elitist media. They drive the news – and even attack news outlets that do not share their perspective.
At the core is that fraudulent race card that Democrats use to maintain their black voter base. Many black activists build their careers and fortunes on promoting victimization based on exaggerated levels of racism – where it exists and who is responsible. This is what has enabled Al Sharpton to ride these cases into a multimillion-dollar personal fortune – and combined salaries in excess of $1 million per year.
Military leaders often say that you never get the get the battle you want to fight — but must fight the battle you get. That is how I look at the situation today. The issues today with the Arbery trial may be representative of the greater society … or maybe not. But it IS the issue with which we must deal currently.
First the optics. They definitely favor the left. That has nothing to do with the facts of the case, but the composition and conduct of the trial itself. Arbery faces 12 jurors – 11 white and 1 black. Without knowing the cultural and racial sentiment of the community, it is not possible to even infer if this means inherent racial prejudices – jurors who will vote race over facts.
The makeup of the jury is troublesome for two reasons. The community in which the trial is taking place is 55 percent black. Odds would favor a much greater representation of blacks – especially when one considers our legal right to be judged by a panel of “peers.”
The fairness of the jury was brought into greater question by the judge, who agreed that the selection process followed all the legal requirements. BUT … he expressed some discontent in what he viewed as improper elimination of jurors who were black. He clearly implied that the defense was abusing their right to reject jurists.
Unlike trials that routinely occurred in the old Democrat-controlled Georgia, the judge does not appear to be prejudiced – and the prosecution is mounting strong arguments for conviction. That is a difference worth noting.
The latest controversy over the tactic of the defense came when one of the defense counsels rose to object to the presence in the audience of black pastors – arguing their only purpose is to influence the jury. Al Sharpton was seated with the family at the time, but the defense counsel also referred to Jesse Jackson. He declared that he did not want to keep seeing “black pastors” sitting with the Arbery family.
That was one of those moments when any rational person starts scratching their head and wondering “what is this guy thinking?” Put aside for the moment the reason he would think that a black pastor would have an undue influence to persuade a virtually all-white jury to convict three white guys. If the jury was composed of racists – which I do not believe to be the case — Sharpton’s presence would only deepen their bias.
To say the statement was tone-deaf is beyond an understatement. It is difficult to imagine any reason for making those statements other than the attorney is a racist or believes – wrongly, I would argue – that all those white jurors are racists. Maybe he was just hoping to influence one juror.
In terms of optics, it was a gift to those who can only see America through a distorted racist lens. We can know that by how fast the crowd of race-baiters made those comments the top story of the day.
The optics were bad, to say the least. You are watching a trial in a deep southern state in which a portly attorney defending three white guys for killing an innocent black guy – and having the attorney object to the presence in the audience of a negro minister. It looked like a scene from one of those civil rights-themed movies of the 1960s. That is called optics.
Then there are the facts of the case. I do not take my information from the mainstream media but do a bit more research into what is really happening in the courtroom in terms of the prosecution and defense arguments.
It made me recall the old adage that “desperate times require desperate measures.” If the defense seems to be grasping at imaginary racist straws, it may be because … well, to put it simply, they do not have a defense case.
Nothing about the hard facts appear to give ANY justification for the three plaintiffs to chase down Arbery and – as one assailant is quoted as saying – “trap him like a rat.” They certainly had no justification for accosting him, assaulting him, and killing him. The very attempt to interfere with Arbery’s jogging was the beginning of a series of criminal activities.
As in the death of George Floyd, the facts are too obvious and documented to be denied. I suspect this will be a conviction. But it only takes one juror to deadlock a jury. That would mean a second trial and most likely a more representative jury.
I just do not believe that there are 11 white racists on that jury – even in rural Georgia. That is because I do not believe that racism is in the gene of white folks – or that racism is pandemic in America – as the left contends. We saw the left’s promoting of omnipresent inherent racism get disproved in the Floyd case. It should again. It is not about bad optics, but hard facts.
So, there ‘tis.