Stereotyping Injustice

Published on April 11, 2014

By Lee Culpepper
Clash Daily Guest Contributor

Last April, 16-year-old Flair Griggs shot and killed 17-year-old Joseph Gomez in a McDonald’s parking lot in York, Pennsylvania. According to the prosecuting attorney, David Maisch, video evidence and eyewitness statements made Griggs’s actions “as perfect a self-defense case as you can get.”

Nevertheless, the prosecutors still charged Griggs as an adult for murder. Griggs faced the murder charge for nearly one year until just two weeks ago when he agreed to plead guilty to the lesser and legitimate charge of possession of a firearm without a license.

While exposing the obvious fact that the government could not protect Griggs from Gomez the day of the shooting, the teenager resorted to saving his own life with an illegally carried .25 caliber handgun. Consequently, the government will now imprison Griggs for three to seven years for having the gun that kept him alive after his effort to escape Gomez failed — and at which point, he had no other option but to die.

Apparently, Griggs lived a chaotic life even before the shooting. His defense attorney, Bill Graff, stated Griggs is eligible for anti-gang and anti-drug programs for juveniles while in prison. It was also reported that Griggs and Gomez had a history of “bad blood.” All of these details should raise questions about the culpability of both boys parents, but why digress?

This case is another national disgrace — reeking of government corruption and injustice once again. How is the government allowed to charge anyone for murder when the prosecution concedes that the person’s claim to self-defense is “basically…perfect”? No reasonable person could believe it took prosecutors a year to draw that conclusion.

Of course, since this case involves only two bonafide juvenile delinquents with guns, the liberal media and pseudo civil rights leaders have nothing to gain by demanding justice for a black teenager sentenced to three to seven years in prison, but who would be dead had he depended on the government to save him.

Furthermore, demanding justice for Griggs might risk highlighting negative racial stereotypes that Griggs perpetuates and that the left prefers to cover up and expects everyone else to ignore. To the left, kids like Griggs are expendable when they are the victims of incidents like this. Griggs does not gin up the right kind of controversy or animosity, so don’t expect “Justice for Flair” to become a slogan for liberals.

Like Flair Griggs, Bernie Goetz carried a gun illegally thirty years ago when he defended himself on a New York City subway train. Surrounded by four bonafide hoodlums who had sized him up as “easy bait,” according to one of the teens, Goetz pulled his revolver and shot them all after they demanded his money.

On top of carrying the gun illegally, Goetz made another perilous decision to waive his Fifth Amendment right after he turned himself in to police. He provided a callous and controversial statement of his actions. As a result of his smug account concerning how he thwarted his teenage assailants’ robbery, Goetz quickly became portrayed as a racist villain.

The black teenagers who tried to rob Goetz on the train all had criminal records. Nevertheless, they were portrayed by FBI informant Al Sharpton and other liberals as innocent panhandling victims of a maniacal white vigilante and an unjust criminal system, which acquitted Goetz of attempted murder and first-degree assault. Perhaps it’s just a stereotype, but liberals almost always seem to find laws that prevent actual crimes unjust.

Goetz had actually applied for a firearm permit after a previous robbery in which three black youths slammed him through a plate-glass door and permanently injured his knee. However, authorities arbitrarily denied Goetz’s application citing an insufficient need. Since Goetz decided differently, the government sentenced Goetz to six months for carrying an unlicensed firearm at the time of the subway shooting. An appellate court changed the sentence to one year, and Goetz served eight months.

If only Flair Griggs were an individual like Bernie Goetz or George Zimmerman, Griggs’s case might then have sparked national outrage when prosecutors dropped their bogus murder charge against him. Instead, Griggs is merely another politically unhelpful black kid actually wronged by the system, as well as a counterproductive culture.

The cold reality is that Griggs would likely be another unknown black teen murdered had he not possessed a gun to defend himself from Gomez who had a stolen gun pointed at Griggs’s head.

But what anti-gun Democrat would ever risk demanding “Justice for Flair” considering irrefutable evidence like that?

Cool_P_IMGA former high school English teacher and United States Marine, Lee Culpepper is a contributing writer at and Follow Lee Culpepper on Twitter @drcoolpepper.