Beyond this, though, the shooting has opened up an entirely unexpected can of worms.
On Friday morning, veteran television reporter Geraldo Rivera remarked that the teenager's wearing of a hoodie almost definitely had something to do with his demise. Why? Because hoodies are a garment of choice for street thugs and other criminal elements. It is a simple reality that young men walking through an urban setting in such attire, especially during an unseasonably warm spring, are likely to be profiled for gangsterism. As media expert Marshall McLuhan sagely observed years ago, "the medium is the message."
Of course, the media and the keyboard warriors of social networking immediately pounced on Rivera for highlighting the facts. No reasonable rebuttal, to my knowledge, has been offered, but what does that matter at a time when all too many are ready to riot? One can imagine what might have happened had Martin been walking down the block dressed in jeans and a golf shirt. For starters, Zimmerman would probably not have felt threatened. If there were no perceived threat, then the events which led up to the gunfire would not have come to pass.
Rivera also mentioned that to prevent more tragedies, it would be best for the parents of ethnic minorities to monitor how their children dress. It's lamentable that people of all races profile those around them on such criteria, but ignorance is ignorance. Over the summer, Michael Nutter, the ever superb Mayor of Philadelphia, told inner city black teens that their garb often promotes horrid stereotypes and makes it difficult for them to assimilate into the mainstream of society. A few months later, he scored a resounding reelection victory, proving once again the enduring appeal of ordinary common sense.
The armchair crusaders, professional activists, and profiteers of peril may never join the rest of us down on Planet Earth, but, by taking adequate precautions we can work toward a future in which incidents like the Trayvon Martin tragedy are as rare as they should be. At any rate, common sense is something that is desperately needed. Things have gotten so bad for local law enforcement officers that the chief of police and his family have received death threats. What should be a routine police procedural matter has become a buzzword of pop culture.