by Jeremy Griffith
Does political correctness in the media taint our perception of race, crime and incidents of self defense with guns? In view of the recent Trayvon Martin story, columnist Michael Filozof of the American Thinker explores these issues in his article, “What if Trayvon Martin had been white, and the shooter black?”
The Christopher Cervini murder investigation presents such a scenario. It shares many details similar to that of Trayvon Martin, only in reverse. Cervini, a 17-year old white teen and his friends were meandering through a Greece N.Y. neighborhood on a cold day in 2009. They had been drinking gin and rifling through cars looking for loose change and cigarettes when they were confronted by Roderick Scott, a black man, who shot Cervini twice, killing him.
In both the Martin and Cervini cases, there was a 911 call before the shooting. In the Cervini case an argument can be made that the boys were committing a crime, albeit a minor one. No such assertion can be made for Martin.
Scott was originally charged with murder, but the charge was downgraded to manslaughter and at the end of the trial he was acquitted by the jury. The jury apparently decided that Scott was justified in his self defense claim.
In a discussion on Internet radio, host Kira Davis and blogger Talitha McEachin interview the Cervini family, (see discussion beginning around 17:30 of the program). While they admit the boys were going through cars in the neighborhood, the family asserts that Christopher was never in any trouble with the law before his death and didn’t deserve to die. The family claims that Scott had no right of self defense, that he was never in any danger, and their son would still be alive if Scott had remained in his home. The family further asserts that their son’s case was grossly mishandled and largely ignored by the media.
Update: Cervini family interview with Kira Davis and Talitha McEachin. Video adaptation by Jeremy Griffith
The role of the media in covering these two stories is a subject of debate. Davis and Filozof agree that media chooses to ignore the Cervini story because it doesn’t fit with the narrative of a black youth as a victim. African American columnist Earl Ofari Hutchinson believes the media hasn’t done enough to expose the victimization and racial profiling of a young black male at the hands of a white vigilante and says there is a concerted effort to trash the victim and protect a murderer.
It will be interesting to see how the discussion is shaped in the future in regards to race, self defense and the media’s role in coverage of interracial violence.