Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Posted by Daniel Greenfield 17 Comments
Recently the Jewish community in Lakewood experienced a brutal sexual assault. When Elchonon Zimmerman saw Jamarr Dickerson, a strange teenager on his property, he tried to take a picture of him with his cell phone. There was a scuffle, people nearby arrived to assist the property owner who subdued the teenager. When police arrived they arrested Zimmerman charging him with assault.
This was just the beginning though as the NAACP held a press conference demanding that bias crime charges be lodged against everyone involved because there had been supposed shouts of racial slurs.
Now call me crazy but when a man gets into a scuffle with an intruder on his private property, the police should at the very least arrest the intruder as well as the homeowner. The NAACP has persistently refered to Jamarr Dickerson as a child, but Jamarr Dickerson is a fairly large 15 year old who could reasonably be mistaken for older. The Asbury Park Press however has repeatedly trumpeted the NAACP line without ever interviewing Rabbi Zimmerman or getting the other side of the story or even pretending to do so, but continues to suggest in every article that Dickerson was an innocent victim while implying that it's only Jewish influence that has created the irregularity that led to Zimmerman only being charged with assault, rather than a hate crime.
Now both sides agree on the following. Jamarr Dickerson was trespassing behind Rabbi Elchonon Zimmerman's home. Zimmerman attempted to take a photo of Dickerson with his cell phone. Zimmerman claims Dickerson tore the cell phone out of his hand and smashed it. Dickerson only claims he put up his hand to block it. Zimmerman subdued him and held him till the police arrived. The police describe this as an assault, the press describes this as a virtual lynch mob with a crowd gathering and attacking Dickerson, but the only injuries Dickerson had were minor cuts and bruises. As Yankel Rosenbaum could tell you, if he was still alive, when you're attacked by an angry mob, you don't get off with cuts and bruises, which are far more consistent with the minor scuffle Zimmerman describes. Dickerson himself admits that all that really happened was that he was held down, which is to be expected if you're trespassing and get into a fight with the property owner.
These are the actual facts. What has turned this into such a circus has been the claims of racial slurs being hurled at Dickerson. Now Zimmerman did not hurl any racial slurs. Supposedly some of the gathered men did. The NAACP wants an investigation to determine who in the crowd said anything to him and to arrest them all. I'd respect this position more if the NAACP equally applied it to black on white slurs. Of course they do not. The NAACP wants Zimmerman charged with a bias crime, but there is nothing biased in confronting an intruder on your property, especially after your community has suffered a horrific crime.
The entire discussion of race conveniently turns a fairly straightforward account with a minor discrepancy into a major case with racial heroes and villains. Strip away the races though and it becomes an ordinary enough dispute of a kind every town sees on and on between property owners and teenagers. Race though turns it into a narrative about racist Jews and the Black teenager victimized by them. And this is why injecting race into a legal situation distorts it out of all measure. The pungent media bias only finalizes the distorted narrative reporting one side's version of events as the absolute truth and transforming the ambiguity of an incident into a screenplay.