Nineteen days before Trayvon Martin was gunned
down by self-appointed block “captain” George Zimmerman, Manuel Loggins was
murdered by an Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy in the parking lot of San
Clemente High School. Loggins, a deeply religious man, often visited the school to walk on the
track and discuss the Bible with his daughters, who were with him on the
morning he was murdered.
According to the most recent of several official versions
of the incident, the
Deputy was concerned by Loggins’ “irrational” behavior, which involved crashing
through a gate and attempting to leave the scene. Even this rendering of the
episode, however, doesn’t explain why a Deputy would shoot an unarmed man
behind the wheel of an SUV containing two young girls.
The Deputy initially insisted
that he “felt threatened” by Loggins. Within a day or so of the
story becoming public, the story had undergone a critical revision: The Sheriff’s Office claimed that Loggins had to be shot in the interests
of “the perceived safety of the children.”
So zealous were the officers for
the safety of two young girls who had just seen their father murdered in front
of them that the department took them into custody held them incommunicado for
thirteen hours while the official narrative was being worked out. In the words of the family’s attorney, “They just incarcerated them.”
Sgt. Loggins was black; his killer, Deputy Darren Sandberg, is
white – and he’s back on patrol duty,
without facing criminal charges or administrative punishment of any kind. His
union, displaying its customary gift for arrogant self-preoccupation, insists
Loggins was entirely to blame.
“It is heartbreaking that Manuel
Loggins created a situation that put his children in danger and ultimately cost
him his life,” oozed police union spokesperson Tom Dominguez said. “It is
unfortunate that his actions put his own children into immediate danger and
resulted in his death.”
That smarmy, dismissive
statement irresistibly reminds me of the radio exchange
between U.S. troops involved in the Baghdad massacre documented in the
“Collateral Murder” video.
Eleven Iraqis were massacred in
the unprovoked attack, and several others – including two small children – were
“Well, it’s their fault for
bringing kids into a battle,” one of the murderers snarkily insisted when
informed that small children were among the victims.
Loggins’s widow gave birth to
another daughter at about the same time she buried her husband.
Manuel Loggins and his future widow. While this atrocity garnered a
great deal of local attention, and a modest amount of national coverage, it
didn’t receive the saturation coverage in which the Trayvon Martin killing has
Neither Louis Farrakhan nor Al Sharpton reached out to the
Loggins family. As a gesture of solidarity with Trayvon, the Miami Heat basketball team was
photographed wearing hooded sweatshirts, the “suspicious” attire the teenager
was wearing when he was chased down and shot by George Zimmerman. The
Sacramento Kings abstained from a similar symbolic display of sympathy for
Asked by a reporter to comment
about the Trayvon Martin killing, Barack Obama, who pointed out is he had a son,
the young man might resemble Trayvon. The President has yet to be asked to
comment about the murder of Manuel Loggins – who is one of two black Marines to
be murdered by police within the space of three months.
Last November 19, 68-year-old
Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr. was slaughtered by police at his apartment in White
Plains, New York. Chamberlain, an elderly man who suffered from a heart
condition and several other ailments, was not a criminal suspect. He had
inadvertently triggered a medical alert, which resulted in a visit by
paramedics. The police, unfortunately,
responded as well, and they quickly displayed their infallible gift for making
Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr. (center). Chamberlain ordered the police
to leave. That was a lawful order the police are required to obey. They didn’t.
Instead, the dozen officers who had formed a thugscrum outside Chamberlain’s door
taunted and mocked the elderly man, eventually breaking down the door and
invading his home.
Once inside, the police were
confronted by a terrified old man who – as documented in video recovered from a
Taser – was clad in boxer shorts, with his hands at his side. This dreadful
specter was enough to trigger the “Officer Safety” reflex – practically anything
will – and the heroes in blue shot him with a Taser and a beanbag gun before
gunning him down.
original story was that Chamberlain “came at the officers” with a butcher
knife and – I’m not kidding – a hatchet. His son points out that his father’s
heart was so weak that he couldn’t walk more than forty feet without resting.
The initial account is difficult to reconcile with the footage captured by the
Taser and security cameras. Furthermore, even if the old man had lunged at the
cops, they had the duty to retreat:
They had no legal or moral right to be in the home, and Chamberlain had the
legal and moral right to evict them by force.
Long after the incident, the
police rationalized that the invasion was necessary because they weren’t sure
whether “anybody else inside was in danger.” This is a matter that could have
been cleared up through use of an obscure piece of technology called a
telephone, a remarkable instrument that could have been used to contact either
Mr. Chamberlain or his son, who didn’t live far away. But this would have
deprived the armored adolescents on the police force of an opportunity to bust
down a door and impose themselves on someone who couldn’t fight back.
George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin’s
to have perceived practically every black male – on one occasion, a child he
described as “7-9 years old” – as suspicious.
Predictably, Martin’s family
believes that Zimmerman acted on bigoted motives. In the case of Kenneth
Chamberlain, Sr., there is material evidence of racism at work: Recordings of
the standoff captured racial epithets, including the “n-word,” hurled at the
harmless old man by some of the officers involved in murdering him just a few
Nevertheless, the Tolerance Police – for some reason — haven’t
made the slaughter of Kenneth Chamberlain a cause
One much-remarked detail in the
killing of Trayvon Martin is the fact that the supposedly suspicious teenager
was “armed” with Skittles and a can of iced tea. This summons memories of Jordan Miles,
an 18-year-old from Pittsburgh who was nearly beaten to death on the street
near his grandmother’s house two years ago.
His assailants claimed that Miles
struck them as “suspicious” because he fled at their approach, and that they
feared for their lives when he appeared to be armed. It turns out that his
concealed “weapon” was a bottle of Mountain Dew, an admittedly toxic substance
but one harmful only if taken internally.
attackers were police officers, who weren’t prosecuted or subjected to
administrative punishment. As is
customary whenever a Mundane is left bloody by the ministrations of the State’s
high priests of coercion, Miles was charged with “aggravated assault,” which
presumably took the form of flailing his arms while bleeding on his sanctified
When those charges were
dismissed, the police union – in a typical fit of corrupt petulance – conducted a
mass “sick-out” as a protest. This had the unintended, if short-lived,
effect of making Pittsburgh’s streets just a little safer. This crime was
quickly forgotten, and Miles’s family recently received a trivial,
tax-subsidized settlement from the City of Pittsburgh. Once again: This episode,
which offers several strong points of similarity to the Trayvon Martin killing,
didn’t ignite a nation-wide firestorm of media outrage.
Every week – perhaps every day –
innocent young black men are beaten and killed by armed strangers who act with
impunity, and often in circumstances quite similar to those in which Trayvon
Martin was killed. The perpetrators of those assaults are police officers.
George Zimmerman was a self-commissioned “captain” in a Neighborhood Watch
program with which he had no formal affiliation.
For some reason the Sanford
Police Department saw fit to treat him like a cop by granting him the kind of “qualified
immunity” usually afforded only to fully accredited members of the exalted
brotherhood of state-sanctioned violence.
Civilian disarmament advocates
have implicated Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law in Trayvon Martin killing. The Sanford,
Florida Police have refused to charge Zimmerman, insisting that “under the law,
it had no call to bring charges,” reported the New York Times.
Enacted in 2005, Florida’s
“Justifiable Use of Force” statute (Title XLVI, Chapter 776) recognizes that an
individual has the natural right to use deadly force when confronting the
threat of “death or great bodily harm” from an intruder or an aggressor. This
does not apply when “The person against whom the defensive force is used has
the right to be in … [a] dwelling, residence, or vehicle,” or if the individual
who employed the defensive force “is engaged in an unlawful activity….”
Martin, an unarmed teenager with
no criminal record, was headed to his father’s home in the Miami Gardens gated community. Although
he was described by Zimmerman to the police as a “suspicious individual,”
Martin had an unqualified legal right to be where he was.
In his 911 call, Zimmerman told
a police dispatcher that “There’s a real suspicious guy. This guy looks like
he’s up to no good, on drugs or something…. These a**holes always get away.”
Zimmerman actively pursued Martin, after being specifically instructed that
this was unnecessary.
When Martin noticed Zimmerman, the
teenager – who was speaking to a girlfriend via
cellphone – made
reference to being “hounded by a strange man on a cellphone who ran after him,
corned him and confronted him,” as summarized in an ABC News report.
“Why are you following me?”
Martin asked Zimmerman. A few moments later, Zimmerman shot Martin with his 9
millimeter handgun. Several witnesses reported hearing the teenager cry for
help before the shot was fired.
“They’re wrestling right in the
back of my porch,” one witness told a police dispatcher. “The guy’s yelling
help and I’m not going out.”
For some reason, police investigating
the matter “corrected” one key witness, a local schoolteacher, by insisting
that it was Zimmerman, not Martin, who had cried for help. This makes little
sense: Zimmerman was armed and outweighed the frightened teenager by more than
100 pounds. (Again, one can’t help but be struck by the similarity between this
incident and countless others involving actual police assaults on helpless
In addition to “correcting” one
eyewitness, the Sanford PD pointedly ignored the testimony of
Martin’s girlfriend, to
whom the victim expressed his own fears about the unidentified man who was
Zimmerman’s original story, as
summarized by the Miami Herald,
was that “he had stepped out of his truck to check the name of the street he
was on when [Martin] attacked him from behind as he walked back to his truck.”
Zimmerman claims that he shot Martin “because he feared for his life” – a
conjuration uttered by every police officer who has ever gunned down a helpless
Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee –
who has been compelled to resign – pronounced that he was satisfied
with Zimmerman’s version of the incident, moving quickly to wrap up the case
because “there is no evidence to dispute the shooter’s claim of self-defense.”
The police released him without testing him for drugs or alcohol.
Zimmerman, who was charged with
resisting arrest and assaulting an officer in 2005 – has called the police to
report “suspicious” black males 46 times since January 2011. Neighbors have
described him as “fixated on crime” and have complained about his “aggressive
An aggressor, of course, isn’t “standing
his ground.” During the February 26 incident, Zimmerman pursued Martin, who had
a legal right to be where he was. By creating the confrontation, Zimmerman was
the aggressor. He had both the moral and legal duty to retreat, rather than to
escalate the confrontation by employing force of any kind.
Florida’s self-defense law, like
similar statutes elsewhere, makes an exception for law enforcement officers.
Although he was not employed by a police department and not an official member
of the volunteer neighborhood watch, Zimmerman clearly considered himself to be
acting in a law enforcement capacity. For reasons yet to be made clear, the
Sanford PD uncritically accepted Zimmerman’s self-characterization, granting
him the kind of “professional courtesy” commonly extended to members of the privileged
fraternity of official coercion. In doing so they went so far as to tamper with
eyewitness testimony on his behalf.
According to ABC News, “The
Sanford Police Department says it stands by its investigation, and that it was
not race or incompetence that prevented it from arresting Zimmerman but the
law.” Under the terms of the Florida state statutes, however, Zimmerman
committed an act of criminal homicide, not justified self-defense. Yet the
civilian disarmament lobby – most likely working in collaboration with police
unions – moved quickly to implicate the “Stand Your Ground” law in the killing.
Police unions, the civilian
disarmament lobby, and the state-centric media all subscribe to the idea that
the government should have a monopoly on the use of force. This is why they
oppose “stand your ground” and “castle doctrine” laws recognizing the
individual right to armed self-defense.
The opposition of police unions has
become particularly acute in recent months as they have lobbied against “castle
doctrine” laws in Minnesota and Indiana that explicitly recognize the natural
right of citizens to use lethal force against police officers who unlawfully
invade their property or threaten their lives.
Yes, the familiar cast of
prejudice profiteers and racial ambulance chasers – who failed to be moved by
the racially charged police murders of Manuel Loggins and Kenneth Chamberlain
— has helped turn the killing of Trayvon Martin into a public works project. But
the ideology that has propelled this issue to the top of the media agenda isn’t
a variant of racial collectivism: It is the even more murderous doctrine of
government supremacism, under which Zimmerman’s lethal actions would be
considered entirely appropriate if he had been swaddled in a State-issued
Within six months we should see a plethora of bills — supported by a coalition that includes the Brady Campaign and police unions — bearing Trayvon Martin’s name, all of which will seek the repeal of “Castle Doctrine” and “Stand Your Ground” self-defense laws.