The atrocity at first seemed undeniable: A white vigilante, with a Germanic name no less, hunted down and then executed a tiny black youth — who, from his published grammar-school photos, seemed about twelve — while he was walking innocently and eating candy in an exclusive gated community in northern Florida. The gunman had used a racial slur, as supposedly heard on a 911 tape, and ignored the dispatcher’s urging him to back off.
The apparently racist, or at least insensitive, white police chief and district attorney then covered up the murder. Understandable outrage followed in the black community, but the killing also brought out the usual demagogues. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, and the New Black Panther Party all alleged that the shooting death of Trayvon Martin was an indictment of a systematically racist white society. They demanded justice, and the Black Panthers announced a $10,000 bounty on the supposed killer. Even Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter got into the act, dubbing the shooting an “assassination.”
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