Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Trayvon Martin Reaction

The fallout from the acquittal of George Zimmerman of all charges relating to the shooting death of Trayvon Martin has been predictable. A long editorial in the Connecticut Post, complained of a travesty of justice. The same newspaper ran a long op-ed (sermon) from a black minister who felt that the verdict was a sign that it was still safe to murder African American men in America. The minister believed that black men would now have a renewed consciousness of vulnerability, and even spoke of genocide.

However, the evidence clearly shows that if young black men in America should be afraid of anything, it should be other young black men. In the Wall Street Journal today New York Police Chief Ray Kelly noted that in New York city in 2003 “96% of the individuals who were shot and 90% of those murdered were black and Hispanic.” Does anyone realistically doubt that most of the killers were black or Hispanic? Kelly argued that that policies that are commonly lumped together under the name “stop and frisk laws” have led to a dramatic drop in the murder rate in NYC and have saved thousands of lives, “largely the lives of young men of color.” The greatest beneficiaries of the “stop and frisk laws” have been young black men. Yet, so called civil-rights activists want to overturn these “stop and frisk” policies.

In Connecticut a quick check on the web reveals that most young black men murdered in cities like Bridgeport and New Haven were murdered by other young black men. These murders are so common that they hardly rate as news and quickly disappear from the front pages. Only in the rare case of a shooting of a young black man by a white man does the young victim become a posthumous celebrity celebrated by entertainers, activists, and politicians.

In the same issue of the above mentioned newspaper the Sports pages carried a feature on three young black men who were trying to use their basketball prowess to escape the inner city and play ball even at a small junior college somewhere. These young men were not afraid of white men or policemen but only hoped that some coach or recruiter of any color would give them a chance to play. However, despite stellar high school athletic achievements no one was interested in these young men because they did not have even the minimal grades necessary to get into these schools.

Their basketball ability had allowed them to get through high school with hardly any academic effort. In other words, they were free to pursue their own teenage interests without any leadership or direction. It would be easy enough to blame their predicament on poor Bridgeport schools but in another Wall St. Journal article this week, Shelby Steele, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, and the son of a black father and a white mother, had this to say.

One wants to scream at all those outraged at the Zimmerman verdict: Where is your outrage over the collapse of the black family? Today’s civil-rights leaders swat at mosquitoes like Zimmerman when they have gorillas on their back. Seventy-three percent of all black children are born without fathers married to their mothers. And you want to bring the nation to a standstill over George Zimmerman?

One of the three Bridgeport athletes has been accepted by a small mid-west junior college. The second is also being considered. The third has already served time in jail for attempted robbery but one coach seems to be interested in giving him a second chance. None of them has a father involved in their lives. If they can’t make it, they have no other skills to fall back on. They will likely wind up back on the streets where they will have a high probability of being gunned down not by a white security guard but by another young black man of color.


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