When he was first sworn in as Attorney General, Eric Holder made one of the more obtuse comments in political history. When it comes to issues of race, Holder declared, “We are a nation of cowards. . . . we, as average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race.” Really? It seems to me that we talk endlessly, and usually unproductively, about race. We love nothing better in America than a good racial angle. The Trayvon Martin case pushes all the buttons. Black provocateurs like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton get to strut their stuff. The liberal media get to distort and cheerlead for one side. Conservatives get to indulge their disdain for the race hustlers, and everyone’s blood pressure rises.
We are now engaged in another fruitless shouting match about whether young black men are being hunted on the streets of America, and whether “stand your ground” laws are dangerous. But as the estimable Ann Coulter has pointed out, Florida’s “stand your ground” law was irrelevant to the Martin case. Whichever version of that night’s events you believe: a) that Zimmerman followed and shot Martin in cold blood; or b) that Zimmerman shot Martin in the midst of a fight; the law, which does not require a person who fears for his life to retreat before using deadly force, is not implicated.
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