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The Right Context for Trayvon’s Death

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With the widely-anticipated “not guilty” verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial, it’s crucial to place the tragic death of Trayvon Martin in its proper context.

It’s true that black teenagers across the country face a hugely elevated risk of violent death, but very few of them perish due to “racial profiling,” hostility or aggression from white people. More than ninety percent of black murder victims die at the hands of their fellow African-Americans –-an astounding number given the fact that blacks are less than 13% of the national population.

While racism remains a painful problem in American life, politically charged cases like the Zimmerman trial shouldn’t distract attention from the vastly more acute problem of black-on-black crime. Trayvon’s death got obsessive media coverage not because it was so common, but because it was so unusual.

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