There were 1,009 people murdered in Florida last year. The young black man who was shot on Feb. 26, 2012, by a “white Hispanic” in the town of Sanford isn’t one of them. A jury decided that.
But if you are famous, or if you are employed within the 24-hour mainstream news juggernaut, the chances are strong you disagree with that jury’s decision — or at least you find it in your interest to say you do. Sensible people were sick of the unmerited attention the Florida case received the day it was reported outside local news. But those people are pretty inured to media’s aspirational attempt to set the tone for what’s worth talking about, and they’ve had their hearing aids switched off for a long time. Would that there were more of them, but the bell curve of human nature eternally says “no.”
People in this country are shot and killed every day, every hour. Close to three people were murdered in Florida every day in 2012. No one outside their sphere movement while they lived, along with a few cops and lawyers, will ever know or care who any of them were. It’s likely that most of those deaths were unjust. It’s possible that some of them were unjust manifestations of burgeoning racial hatred.
The media doesn’t care about the victims of crime. The elected class doesn’t care about the victims of crime. A great many cultural leaders and highly visible famous people don’t care. But they do care about manipulating outrage, because their authoritative voices in times of manufactured hardship help to consolidate their profit, their legal power and their brand recognition.
Contrived, emotionless proxy outrage makes power more powerful and, too often in America, makes profit more profitable. In America, political and cultural leaders don’t need smart followers anymore — in fact, they’re a liability. The leaders are preaching sermons in hoodies and pretending to fantasize on Twitter about violent karmic payback for the exonerated. Turn off your hearing aid.
So comes conservative-slant news agency Breitbart, which evidently went to some effort to locate a separate, recent American murder story in which the circumstances surrounding the victim’s death make his apotheosis a complete, airtight foil to counter that of the sainted Florida victim. Breitbart Editor-At-Large Ben Shapiro’s synopsis of the crime, as well the moral parallel he draws, are subtle like an anvil:
On Thursday, July 11, police discovered the rotting body of 17-year-old Darryl Green, a black child from the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. Green’s body was found behind a boarded-up house in the 6500-block of South Damen, face down on basement stairs. The body was so badly decomposed that originally, local news reports suggested that he had died of blunt force trauma. On Friday, an autopsy showed he had been shot to death. Relatives reported that Green had refused to join a gang at school.
Meanwhile, members of the media including Reverend Al Sharpton and Reverend Jesse Jackson focused on the “not guilty” verdict in [the Florida case]. The only media outlets that have covered the murder of Darryl Green are The Chicago Sun-Times and ABC 7 Chicago. The New York Times’ Joe Nocera mentioned Green in passing in a blog post devoted to highlighting gun crimes across the country. President Obama has not commented on Green’s death. Neither have any other politicians, including local Congressmen Danny Davis and Bobby Rush, or Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Neither has anyone at MSNBC, CNN, ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, The Washington Post, Associated Press, Reuters, or throughout the Hollywood community.
Swapping one red herring tragedy for its antithesis, Shapiro also set up the first #JusticeForDarryl message, which had been retweeted about 700 times Monday afternoon. As distasteful as it might be to co-opt a local tragedy — one of hundreds in Chicagoland — to prove a point, it’s a pretty powerful point. The whole kaboom over the death of one young man in Florida was never about principle. And that’s why Green’s death, which is the very definition of hatred running roughshod over principle, is likely to remain a local tragedy. It simply doesn’t fit a narrative anyone in the American exploitative class can use.