Richard Cohen: In #gztrial aftermath, it’s time America STOPPED ignoring urban crime
My mind has been a mosh pit of thoughts on this topic ever since the story of the tragic confrontation between Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman first hit the national spotlight, and my thoughts on urban crime have increased tenfold in the aftermath of Zimmerman’s “not guilty” verdict. Our President, the DOJ, and the other Usual Race-Baiting Suspects like Rev. Al and Jesse have continued to make the Zimmerman case as one about self defense and gun laws, and – of course – racism, ignoring the fact that Zimmerman used his gun lawfully in defense of his person, and also conveniently side-stepping the fact that all signs point to Zimmerman not coming remotely close to being a racist (he was a mentor to black teens, for starters).
The back story behind Zimmerman being on his way to Target and then stopping because he saw someone he thought was suspicious was that Trayvon Martin fit the profile of the type of young men who had burglarized the Retreat at Twin Lakes neighborhood for the past year or so: Hispanic and black teenagers, some of them wearing hoodies. This is the elephant in the room no one wants to talk about. While Trayvon Martin is a household name, not one of the so-called “civil rights activists” on the left are talking consistently ON A NATIONAL STAGE about any of the young black males who are murdered almost daily on the streets of Chicago, whose names none of us knows unless we live in the area. Why? Because there is no money to be made off of it, no career advancement in making black on black crime their central focus. Sure, you may see local efforts but what about on the national level? Nothing. And the murders continue.
Sadly, white liberals – who live in a perpetual state of liberal white guilt anyway – rush to jump on board any calls for “further investigation” into Zimmerman’s alleged “racism” while at the same time turning a blind eye to black on black crime that happens every day in urban areas. Again, why? Because “that’s just how it is,” they’ll tell you. Talk about racism! “Let the black community handle it,” others will say, as if we ALL don’t have a vested interest in having EVERY person in our society be able to grow up in an environment that doesn’t see them afraid for their lives every time they walk down the street.
I find this ignorant, hypocritical attitude by self-important, narcissistic leftists unacceptable. And so does Richard Cohen. Penning an column in today’s Washington Post, Cohen – a liberal – writes (hat tip):
I don’t like what George Zimmerman did, and I hate that Trayvon Martin is dead. But I also can understand why Zimmerman was suspicious and why he thought Martin was wearing a uniform we all recognize. I don’t know whether Zimmerman is a racist. But I’m tired of politicians and others who have donned hoodies in solidarity with Martin and who essentially suggest that, for recognizing the reality of urban crime in the United States, I am a racist. The hoodie blinds them as much as it did Zimmerman.
One of those who quickly donned a hoodie was Christine Quinn, the speaker of the New York City Council. Quinn was hardly a lonesome panderer. Lesser politicians joined her and, as she did, pronounced Zimmerman a criminal. “What George Zimmerman did was wrong, was a crime,” Quinn said before knowing all of the facts and before the jury uncooperatively found otherwise. She was half-right. What Zimmerman did was wrong. It was not, by verdict of his peers, a crime.
Where is the politician who will own up to the painful complexity of the problem and acknowledge the widespread fear of crime committed by young black males? This does not mean that raw racism has disappeared, and some judgments are not the product of invidious stereotyping. It does mean, though, that the public knows young black males commit a disproportionate amount of crime. In New York City, blacks make up a quarter of the population, yet they represent 78 percent of all shooting suspects — almost all of them young men. We know them from the nightly news.
Those statistics represent the justification for New York City’s controversial stop-and-frisk program, which amounts to racial profiling writ large. After all, if young black males are your shooters, then it ought to be young black males whom the police stop and frisk. Still, common sense and common decency, not to mention the law, insist on other variables such as suspicious behavior. Even still, race is a factor, without a doubt. It would be senseless for the police to be stopping Danish tourists in Times Square just to make the statistics look good.
In the meantime, the least we can do is talk honestly about the problem. It does no one any good to merely cite the number of stop-and-frisks involving black males without citing the murder statistics as well. Citing the former and not the latter is an Orwellian exercise in political correctness. It not only censors half of the story but also suggests that racism is the sole reason for the policy. This mindlessness, like racism itself, is repugnant.
Indeed. There is no better time than now to have this uncomfortable but much-needed conversation on a national level, Unfortunately, the powers that be have no interest in meaningfully addressing what has been described by some as an “epidemic” in the black community, even though thorough and candid discussion on the issue could lead to policies and solutions that would have the potential to save more young black men’s lives than any level of gun control and any degree of “investigations” into the “racist past” of George Zimmerman that probably doesn’t even exist. If we could just find a way for the race profiteers to make money off of it ….
“There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery. Then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved…. After all we have been through. Just to think we can’t walk down our own streets, how humiliating.” – Jesse Jackson, 1993