If it had been a white teenager who was shot, and a 28-year-old black guy who shot him, the black guy would have been arrested.
So assert those demanding the arrest of George Zimmerman, who shot and killed Trayvon Martin.
And they may be right.
Yet if Trayvon had been shot dead by a black neighborhood watch volunteer, Jesse Jackson would not have been in a pulpit in Sanford, Fla., howling that he had been “murdered and martyred.”
Maxine Waters would not be screaming “hate crime.”
Rep. Hank Johnson would not be raging that Trayvon had been “executed.” And ex-Black Panther Bobby Rush would not have been wearing a hoodie in the well of the House.
Which tells you what this whipped-up hysteria is all about.
It is not about finding the truth about what happened that night in Sanford when Zimmerman followed Trayvon in his SUV, and the two wound up in a fight, with Trayvon dead.
It is about the exacerbation of and the exploitation of racial conflict.
And it is about an irreconcilable conflict of visions about what the real America is in the year 2012.
Zimmerman “profiled” Trayvon, we are told. And perhaps he did.
But why? What did George Zimmerman, self-styled protector of his gated community, see that night from the wheel of his SUV?
He saw a male. And males are 90 percent of prison inmates. He saw a stranger over 6 feet tall. And he saw a black man or youth with a hood over his head.
Why would this raise Zimmerman’s antennae?
Perhaps because black males between 16 and 36, though only 2 to 3 percent of the population, are responsible for a third of all our crimes.
In some cities, 40 percent of all black males are in jail or prison, on probation or parole, or have criminal records. This is not a product of white racism but of prosecutions and convictions of criminal acts.
Had Zimmerman seen a black woman or older man in his neighborhood, he likely would never have tensed up or called in.
For all the abuse he has received, Geraldo Rivera had a point.
Whenever cable TV runs hidden-camera footage of a liquor or convenience store being held up and someone behind the counter being shot, the perp is often a black male wearing a hoodie.
Listening to the heated rhetoric coming from demonstrations around the country, from the Black Caucus and TV talkers — about how America is a terrifying place for young black males to grow up in because of the constant danger from white vigilantes — one wonders what country of the mind these people are living in.
The real America is a country where the black crime rate is seven times as high as the white rate. It is a country where white criminals choose black victims in 3 percent of their crimes, but black criminals choose white victims in 45 percent of their crimes.
Black journalists point to the racism manifest even in progressive cities, where cabs deliberately pass them by to pick up white folks down the block.
That this happens is undeniable. But, again, what is behind it?
As Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute has written, from January to June 2008 in New York City, 83 percent of all identified gun assailants were black and 15 percent were Hispanics.
Together, blacks and Hispanics accounted for 98 percent of gun assaults.
Translated: If a cabdriver is going to be mugged or murdered in New York City by a fare, 49 times out of 50 his assailant or killer will be black or Hispanic.
Fernando Mateo of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers has told his drivers, “Profile your passengers” for your own protection. “The God’s honest truth is that 99 percent of the people that are robbing, stealing, killing these guys are blacks and Hispanics.”
Fernando Mateo is himself black and Hispanic.
To much of America’s black leadership and its media auxiliaries, what happened in Sanford was, as Jesse put it, that an innocent kid was “shot down in cold blood by a vigilante.”
Yet, from police reports, witness statements, and the father and friends of Zimmerman, another picture emerges.
Zimmerman followed Trayvon, confronted him, and was punched in the nose, knocked flat on his back and jumped on, getting his head pounded, when he pulled his gun and fired. That Trayvon’s body was found face down, not face up, would tend to support this.
But, to Florida Congresswoman Federica Wilson, “this sweet young boy … was hunted down like a dog, shot on the street, and his killer is still at large.”
Some Sanford police believed Zimmerman; others did not.
But now that it is being investigated by a special prosecutor, the FBI, the Justice Department and a coming grand jury, what is the purpose of this venomous portrayal of George Zimmerman?
As yet convicted of no crime, he is being crucified in the arena of public opinion as a hate-crime monster and murderer.
Is this our idea of justice?
No. But if the purpose here is to turn this into a national black-white face-off, instead of a mutual search for truth and justice, it is succeeding marvelously well.