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Don’t you love it when people prove you right?


It wasn’t that long ago that I wrote this about the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case:


“Plenty of people in this country do buy Zimmerman’s self-defense claim, but trust me: many of those folks are the same ones who made Lt. William Calley a hero, and he wasn’t innocent either.”


More on Calley, who he is and what he did later. What proved my analogy dead-on accurate is that Florida “entrepreneur” who thought it would be a brilliant idea to sell a target patterned after Trayvon Martin.


Oh, you should see it: the target is basically a gray hoodie, with a completely black area where Trayvon Martin’s face should be.


In the right pocket of the target is a bag of Skittles; in the target’s right hand is a can of iced tea. In the center of the hoodie is a target, but the unnamed “entrepreneur” might as well have put Trayvon Martin’s name there.


And here’s the kicker: the targets sold out in two days.


Florida’s nut job element must comprise a larger population than I thought. The people who purchased the Trayvon Martin targets no doubt bought the product description the guy who sold them pitched, which reads like this:


“Everyone knows the story of (George) Zimmerman and (Trayvon) Martin. Obviously we support Zimmerman and believe he is innocent and that he shot a thug.”


When people spend too much time in alternate universes of their own creation, tragic things tend to happen.


Zimmerman, operating out of his bizarre universe, took one look at Trayvon Martin the night of Feb. 26 and concluded that he was on drugs, up to no good, a “bleephole” that always got away and either a “bleeping punk” or a “bleeping coon.”


Zimmerman’s conclusion, and the “entrepreneur’s” assessment that Trayvon Martin was a thug, isn’t even supported by a Sanford, Fla. police department report state’s attorney Angela Corey’s office recently released.


The report concluded that Trayvon Martin committed no crimes before his encounter with Zimmerman, and that Trayvon’s death could have been avoided had Zimmerman not gone into his "Dirty Harry" routine.


Nor is Trayvon Martin’s so-called “thuggery” supported by Zimmerman’s recent return to jail, courtesy of a judge’s conclusion that Zimmerman lied about his finances at his bail hearing.


Yes, a judge concluded that, basically, Zimmerman is a lying ass and that his wife is a lying ass. Zimmerman’s father hand delivered a letter to the Orlando Sentinel alleging that his son never followed Trayvon Martin, which was another lie.


Long story short: George Zimmerman is a liar, from a family of liars. He gets his support from the only place he can get it or should expect it: from the same kind of people that made William Calley a hero.


Some BlackAmericaWeb readers might be too young to recall who this piece of work was, so a brief recap is in order. Believe me, chances are younger readers haven’t learned about Calley in their U.S. history classes.


In my years as a writing professor at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University, I’ve learned most students have never heard of Calley. They’ve never heard of COINTELPRO either, or that black folks raised all kinds of hell in the streets of major American cities during the 1960s.


That shows how American history of the 1960s and part of the 1970s is – or, more accurately, isn’t – being taught in our schools.


Calley is part of our more shameful history. On March 16, 1968, during the height of the Vietnam War, a group of American soldiers entered a village called My Lai and massacred some 300 to 500 unarmed civilians. Most were elderly men, women and children.

That brief description doesn’t begin to tell the horror of My Lai. According to a People magazine story from November 1989, American troops raped one young girl with a bayonet. Others ordered villagers into a ditch where they were shot to death. When a 2-year-old baby crawled out of the ditch, the story says, Calley tossed the infant back in and shot it.


To those in the anti-war movement, Calley was a war criminal. He was court-martialed, convicted of killing 22 of the villagers and sentenced to life in prison.


That sentence was commuted to – I hope you’re sitting down for this one – house arrest. For three years.


What led to arguably the most egregious miscarriage of justice in American history was widespread popular support for Calley, whom many Americans regarded as a hero.


Calley doesn’t even believe that nonsense. To his shame, he took 41 years to apologize for what happened at My Lai, but at least he did it in a speech to a Georgia Kiwanis Club three years ago.


That Florida “entrepreneur” who sold those Trayvon Martin targets knows no shame; neither do his customers. If they like George Zimmerman, they’ll probably love William Calley.


Gregory Kane is an award-winning columnist and Pulitzer finalist who writes from Baltimore.


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3 thoughts on “Miscarriages of Justice

  1. mrstephen1 on said:

    I enjoyed reading your response and often try to inform people. To stop paying attention to the negatives and step out on faith. You know the bible well and most of the negatives, so why not things to enhance your defense, family rights and human rights? I thank you for read my article! Mr. Stephen

  2. mrstephen1 on said:

    Wow it’s amazing how domestic violence situation are more about money than laws and justice and finding out the truth. Both genders can be domestic, so the only way to get to the truth is an investigation. Just ask the show cheater! They get to the truth and exposed the person better than the legal system! Wow what an investigation well done! Mr. Stephen, facebook Yogi Lee Felder or e-mail me at, domestic violence counselor!

    The laws in Florida are not in accordance to the American constitution. Please read my case on face book. Yogi Lee Felder. This young lady Marissa Alexander, has my support tc me @ 302-602-6449 or e-mail me @ Mr. Stephen

  3. DoctorWill on said:

    If I were editor of BAW, I would have edited out MOST of the parts related to the My Lai Massacre in this article except for the comparison to the public sentiments toward Calley vis-à-vis Zimmerman. In a court of law it would be considered irrelevant testimony or facts not relevant to the case and be stricken from the record. Thus, it should be stricken from the article.

    This is the problem with black people’s laments about miscarriages of justice. Most, even the most educated among us, would hardly recognize court room justice if it bit us in the face. We understand social justice, we understand street justice and we understand right from wrong. That is, what SHOULD be right or what SHOULD be considered wrong. However, as a people we appear to have no CLUE as to what IS right or wrong according to the law. This is the primary reason we lose so many court cases that WE believe we SHOULD have won.

    Under the US Constitution when one is on trial for a crime they MUST be able to assist in their defense. If they are found to be mentally incompetent to assist in their defense, the charges are either dismissed or altered due to mental defect. Once a person is found mentally competent enough to assist in their defense the trial will commence.

    The problem black people have is MOST of us are mentally competent but not socially or intellectually competent enough to assist in our defense. I assert social incompetence because MOST of us have NO clue as to WHY white people (who comprise the majority on most juries) think the way they do. I assert intellectual incompetence also because MOST of us have NO knowledge whatsoever about criminal procedure. Most of us do not know that the fact finders in a trial are NOT concerned with the truth and they are NOT concerned with what is right or wrong. They are ONLY concerned with weighing the facts IN EVIDENCE. If a fact does not get entered as evidence because of a criminal procedure that excluded it, that fact is not considered as part of the evidence during deliberation. MOST of us do not realize that the way words are used in our everyday vernacular DO NOT have the same meaning on the street as they do in court.

    A great majority of my people are not equipped intellectually with knowledge of the law and criminal procedure or socially equipped with knowledge of why white people think the way they think. Thus, the average black person is not equipped to adequately assist in our defense. Consequently, a great many of us who MAY actually be innocent get convicted nonetheless.

    Black people then become outraged over the verdict. We protest that certain facts were not considered in the case that we think SHOULD have been considered but they were NOT facts in evidence.

    In a court of law justice is blind. On the street justice is a bitch that sees everything.

    Lady Justice stands blindfolded in court holding the scales indicating that the law is being weighed in balance. In reality, it is the person’s life that is on trial that is being weighed in balance against the evidence.

    This is why it is critical under the Constitution that a person be tried by a jury of THEIR peers. That person’s life would be more FAIRLY weighed against the evidence if the jury had walked a mile in the defendant’s shoes. Defendants are rarely tried by a jury of their actual peers and the TRUTH is rarely entered into evidence.

    This is the REAL reason Lady Justice is blindfolded. She does not wear a blindfold because justice is blind. She wears the blindfold because she is ashamed. Lady Justice is a woman who has compassion for the people on trial for their life and liberty. She cannot stand there and watch injustice administered unequally while holding scales that indicates the law is adjudicated fairly.

    Fairness is decided by superior knowledge and large sums of money. People with more money are able to pay for lawyers who have superior knowledge of the law. Expensive lawyers are able to secure favorable verdicts for their clients because they know more than the prosecutor that they are going up against.

    Miscarriages of justice APPEAR to occur in our community frequently because WE do not have the knowledge we need to defend ourselves or to assist in our own defense competently. Most people don’t fail in life because of what they know. They fail because of what they don’t know.

    If we want to see fewer miscarriages of justice, we have to get the knowledge we need to defend ourselves competently. Benjamin Franklin said “Property is the only defense against tyranny.” Therefore, we have to stop spending all of our money on cars and clothes. We must place some of that money in property so that its value can be leveraged to hire an attorney with enough knowledge to defend us favorably.

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