The Fulford File | “Unarmed” Black Teenagers—Threat, Menace, Or Both? David Frum Doesn’t Seem To Know
Print Friendly and PDF

[See also The Real Trayvon Martin Scandal: Minorities Have Bigger Problems Than Trumped-Up Hate Crimes. So Does America. by Linda Thom]

GOP contender Newt Gingrich has called President Obama’s speculation today about a racial motivation in the killing of Trayvon Martin “disgraceful… Trying to turn it into a racial issue is fundamentally wrong.”  Gingrich Calls Obama Comments on Trayvon Martin Shooting ‘Disgraceful’, By Matthew Shelley, CBS National Journal,  March 23, 2012

And it’s important to remember that, despite the Two Minutes Hate leveled against George Zimmerman, who shot Martin, the basic facts are simply not established. The death of  Martin may have been a legitimate case of self-defence, as police originally assumed. See Zimmerman was on the ground being punched when he shot Trayvon Martin, By Kyle Martin, Charleston Examiner, March 21, 2012.

The city manager of Sanford, Florida, has said that, without evidence that a crime had been committed, the police weren’t even allowed to arrest Zimmerman.

"Zimmerman provided a statement claiming he acted in self defense, which at the time was supported by physical evidence and testimony," Bonaparte wrote in a letter released to the public Wednesday evening. "By Florida Statute, law enforcement was PROHIBITED from making an arrest based on the facts and circumstances they had at the time."[Trayvon Martin: Police chief steps aside over controversy, By Talia Ralph, Global Post, March 22, 2012]

This may puzzle citizens of Boston and New York. But the principle is that it’s not illegal, even in New York, to commit homicide. It’s illegal to commit murder. Homicide is of two kinds, justifiable and unjustifiable. Without evidence that it’s the second kind, the police have no constitutional grounds to arrest someone.

We’re hearing that the deceased was “unarmed.” This implies that it’s not a valid act of self-defense if the person who is sitting on you, trying to beat your head in, is “unarmed.”

This, however, is not the law, in Florida or anywhere else.

The standard for the use of justifiable force is the victim’s reasonable belief that he’ll be killed or seriously injured if he doesn’t respond with lethal force. If you get punched in the head by 6’2” inch football player—as Martin was reported to be—you are likely to get brain damage.

Cage fighters, who spend a lot of time in this position, do in fact get brain damage. And they would die more often if the matches were held on cement rather than a padded octagon—or if they had merely ordinary levels of fitness, as Zimmerman does.

It is actually possible to kill someone with your bare hands—the US Armed Forces spends a lot of time teaching white and black teenagers how to do this in boot camp.

The 2012 Statistical Abstract Of The United States has a table of Murder Victims—Circumstances and Weapons Used or Cause of Death, [Excel 36k] | [PDF 59k]which includes the statistic that an average of 877 people every year are killed by “Personal Weapons” by which the Census means “Hands, fists, feet, pushed, etc.”

You frequently hear that an “unarmed” black teenager has been killed by a police officer or citizen by mistake, or in legitimate self-defense. But you will never see a (except occasionally on a headline that says “Black Teenager Commits Murder”, “Black Teenager Commits Rape”, or “Mob Of Black Teenagers Terrorizes Citizens.”

“Unarmed” black teenagers can be dangerous. (Assuming, that is, that they’re actually unarmed. When police are reported to have killed an “unarmed black teenager,” it’s frequently the case that he was trying to run them over with his car, as in the Devin Brown case in Los Angeles, or the Sean Bell case in Queens.

Martin’s case is not only attracting the usual suspects, [Trayvon Martin case: Rev. Al Sharpton takes civil rights stage, Los Angeles Times, March 22, 2012]. It’s also attracted our old friend David Frum, who has complained on Twitter that Fox News isn’t taking part in the Two Minutes Hate against Zimmerman.

As I pointed out when neoconservative diva Abigail Thernstrom was sniffily dismissive of the Black Panther case—she wanted to concentrate on something more boring—a Black Panther standing in the polling place door saying "You're about to be ruled by the black man, cracker", is powerful symbol—like lunch counters, police dogs the bridge at Selma, none of which we are ever going to be allowed to forget.

Then Frum came up with this one, which is frankly shocking:

(Also retweeted 50 times.)

I include a picture of that, so you can actually see it, because I could hardly believe it myself:

A suggestion for Mitt Romney: Place a call to the Martin family to express sympathy for their loss. Run for president of all of

That’s absolutely insane. Every single voter who thinks that  black teenagers are the victims in their interactions with white people is a Democrat. So is every single voter who disapproves of criminals being punished, or who thinks people should not be allowed to carry guns for self-defense. Nothing on earth could get Romney one of those votes.

When Barry Goldwater said in 1961 that the GOP should “go hunting where the ducks are,", he meant that Republicans should appeal to people who might conceivably vote for them.

The people who might vote for Romney are not violent black teenagers, or even black teenage victims of violence. They’re victims of black teenage violence.

David Frum thinks of this particular random death, almost accidental, possibly justifiable, and no worse than manslaughter, is a “horrible killing”.

If it didn't end in a horrible killing, the Zimmerman story would read like the pitch for a Mallcop sequel 12:49 PM - 22 Mar 12

But here at we’ve made something of a study of horrible killings. (The Wichita Massacre, the Pearcy Massacre, the Winchester Atrocity, the Knoxville Horror). And Trayvon Martin’s killing, justifiable or not, doesn’t come anywhere near it.

Here are more cases, involving “unarmed” black teenagers, from our own records:

“Unarmed”—if you don’t count matches.

More “unarmed” teens:

That’s a story the MSM bowdlerized into Teenagers poured gasoline on boy walking home from school and set him on fire: cops. I had to look twice to confirm that it was a second such crime—not the same as the Miami one.

Here’s a forgotten hate crime from the late Sam Francis’ archive

Mob violence—beatings of white students by gangs of ten or so local blacks. Officially not a hate crime.

Thousands and thousands of juvenile offences, including assaults committed by the “unarmed.”

And of course, many, many, many flash mobs, composed entirely of “unarmed” black teenagers, rioting and beating people.

“Kansas City Police said the 50-year-old man suffered a fractured hip and other injures.”

At the hands, or possibly the feet, of “unarmed” black teenagers.

And speaking of kicking people half to death, there’s the case of the Jena Six,

Charged with attempted murder for kicking and stomping a white teenager, the weapons the Jena Six were accused of using were their shoes, since they were “unarmed black teens.”

The kind of people who defend such teens thought that was funny.

Vanderbilt Law Professor Carol Swain, an African American, pointed out, from personal experience, that it wasn’t.

Much sport has been made of the deadly sneaker that the district attorney introduced as a weapon. What is missed is the fact that sneakers and fists can become lethal weapons under the right circumstances.

Almost a year ago, my 41-year-old brother, Kevin Henderson, died from injuries he sustained on his job after he was attacked by a group of teenage boys.

According to a neighbor who witnessed the attack, five teens knocked my brother to the ground, kicking and stomping him until the neighbor intervened. Kevin staggered home, collapsed into a coma and was declared brain-dead within hours of the attack. [When teens aren't taught value of life, it can have deadly consequences, The Tennessean, September 28, 2007]

And Kevin Henderson’s assailants were, once again, “unarmed” black teens.

David Frum, and the non-Romney voters who with absolutely no sense of irony organized a “Million Hoodie March” in aid of, among other things, disarming white people, seem to feel that young black males are in danger from whites.

Actually, of course, the main threat to young black males is other young black males.

For example, Johnny Barnes was not an “unarmed” black teenager—he had a gun. At the time he allegedly shot nine people in Apopka, Florida, we had difficulty figuring out if he was a black teenager, because the Main Stream Media, as usual, was saying unhelpful things like

“Incident reports indicated that the shooting may have been gang-related and a boy in a red and white polo shirt—later identified by party guests as Barnes—began shooting in the crowd after an argument with another boy.”[Johnny Barnes: Teen accused in Apopka mass shooting charged as adult, By Bianca Prieto, Orlando Sentinel, August 15, 2011]

But here’s his photo, courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel:

Johnny Barnes

Here’s a photograph of one of his victims


Maybe Romney could call his family?

Here’s my suggestion for Frum and Romney—instead of calling the family of an “unarmed” black teenager killed by mistake, call, starting tomorrow, the family of someone who has been killed, on purpose, by an “unarmed” black teenager.

Call one of those families every day.

And if you run out of families of people killed by “unarmed” black teenagers before the end of a year—that is if there are fewer than 365 of them—then call the family of Trayvon Martin.

James Fulford [Email him] is a writer and editor for

Print Friendly and PDF