Suffice it to say that virtually everything Hostin told CNN viewers about the evidence was shown to be upside-down and backwards at trial. She’d gotten nearly every dispositive fact about the fatal confrontation between Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin wrong. Not that it altered her opinion or anybody else’s as the trial went on to its inevitable conclusion.
After the verdict, along came the professors and critical race theorists to further confuse matters. On PBS News Hour, Prof. Jelani Cobb (University of Connecticut) alleged that “the fact of the matter is, Mr. Zimmerman had called the police 46 times in the previous six years—only for African-Americans, only for African-American men.”
Sorry, professor, but The Daily Beast catalogued them. The actual number of calls involving black men was seven, two of them Trayvon Martin.
Then came Prof. Patricia Williams (Columbia University Law). Writing in The Nation, Williams objected to the racial “monsterization” of Trayvon Martin—describing how defense lawyer Mark O’Mara “dropped a huge chunk of concrete, bigger and more jagged than a cinder block, in front of the jury box—as though onto Zimmerman—from a great and death-dealing height.”
Would it shock you to learn that this lurid episode never happened? Watch O’Mara’s closing argument on YouTube if you doubt me.
Anyway, here’s my point: If we’re going to have a healing conversation about race and crime, it’d help if people would quit making wild exaggerations and accusations of bad faith. The differences between Fox News and MSNBC-style racial demagoguery are largely a matter of style.
Ultimately too, the exact motives of the Oklahoma and Spokane murderers strike me as far less significant than their extreme brutality and near-suicidal indifference to human life. It comes in all colors, God knows.
However, the statistics Timothy Egan (and President Obama) alluded to are stark: According to the Center for Disease Control, the youth homicide rate (per 100,000) is 28.8 for blacks, 7.9 for Hispanics, 2.1 for whites.
Overall, the African-American homicide rate is EIGHT TIMES greater than the national average—an ongoing tragedy this bickering does nothing to heal.
Copyright 2013 The National Memo