Lawyers for the two men charged with killing Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia, on February 23 are preparing to kill him again. But this time it’s in the press as they adopt a “Don’t believe your eyes, just believe what we tell you to believe” strategy to defend Travis and Gregory McMichael, the father and son vigilante duo that caused the death of the young black jogger.
While tactics similar to the one that’s going to be used in this case are relatively common in murder trials across the country, the results of their usage is often very damaging to race relations in America. In a weak case (which certainly is the case at hand) always blame the victim — especially if he is black — even when video evidence completely contradicts the narrative the defense is going to attempt to spoon feed the public.
That’s what became so inflammatory about the Trayvon Martin case. The killing was bad enough, but the constant blaming of a black teenager just for being black and walking in what was considered primarily white space (thus causing his own death) constantly fueled the firestorm surrounding the tragic death.
As if race relations in this country haven’t been damaged enough in the last three-and-a-half years, we certainly don’t need more racial strife. Yet here we are once again dealing with the result of Americans’ propensity to make gun violence the solution to any problem, real or imagined. And the terrible thing is, we know that before summer is in full swing we will be dealing with yet another murder of a young, unarmed black man in another city or another state — perhaps even here.
The lawyer’s goal, of course, is to taint the victim just enough so that the (hoped-for) all-white jury they will try to empanel in southern Georgia’s Glynn County can find enough legal wiggle room to allow the two accused killers to walk free. This is part and parcel of how justice is meted out when a young black life is lost. The composition of the jury in this case is critical. Brunswick, the largest town in the county, is 60 percent black so it’s difficult to imagine an all-white jury will be allowed to be seated, but remember, this is the Deep South.
Everyone is guaranteed the right to be presumed innocent until all of the facts are in, but the fact that Arbrey was walking through a vacant home under construction (where the video showed he took nothing when he left) has absolutely nothing to do with this case. Trying to muddy the waters with wild accusations and racist speculations will only cause more of an uproar of disapproval from already angry and suspicious blacks all over the country, as it well should.