I largely agree with Prof. Blanchard, but feel moved to compose a "concurring opinion." George Zimmerman was almost certainly not guilty of the crimes with which he was charged, but that is not the same as saying he was innocent. Zimmerman, some of his cheerleaders should note, was a fool to get out of his car with a loaded pistol and search for Trayvon Martin. He greatly increased the chances that something bad was going to happen, which is why he should have been charged with negligent homicide and remains in jeopardy of a civil wrongful death suit.
At the same time, Trayvon Martin was a fool as well. Despite the efforts of some to paint Martin as St. Trayvon, he was clearly a young man with a record of bad judgement and offensive opinions. Throwing the media narrative on its head, its seems far more likely that Trayvon Martin held both racist and homophobic opinions than George Zimmerman, who seems to be a basically decent, if foolish, man. And, not to put too fine a point on it, when you are smashing a man's head into the sidewalk, you are asking for trouble. There are no "good guys" in this story. It seems to me that it was two people using incredibly bad judgement and then paying a deadly price for it.
This case should ( and probably won't) create room for a healthy discussion of race and crime in America. Look at the FBI Stats. While the statistics have a lot of missing data, the pattern is clear: white people kill white people and black people kill black people. That is not surprising. People tend to murder people they know. The incident if Florida is an outlier, namely a mixed race killing involving strangers. It should not be used to draw generalizations.
The murder problem in the US is young black men killing other young black men. Look at Baton Rouge as one example.
Last year, 83 people died by homicide in Baton Rouge. Of that number, 87 percent were black, and 87 percent were male. Two-thirds had been in trouble with the law before, and one-third had been in trouble with the law for drugs. The median age of victims: 26.
Of the perpetrators, the median age was 22. Get this: 96 percent of them were black, and 90 percent were male. Almost two-thirds had previous arrests. One out of four had a drug record.
President Obama should spend less time talking about how Trayvon Martin could have been his son and more time thinking of the thousands of young black men killed by other young black men. I suspect neither he nor anyone else will, though, because there is no political hay to be made talking about black on black crime and, sorry to say, there is so little we can do as a matter of policy to change that sad situation.