The acquittal of George Zimmerman for killing Trayvon Martin prompted nationwide debate, including expressions of outrage by Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Jarred Johnson (Your Views, Aug. 4) wrote that “the black community and others have been working on reducing gang and inner-city violence since the late 1980s.” No doubt they have, yet the U.S. Justice Department reports that between 1980 and 2008, “blacks were six times more likely than whites to be homicide victims and seven times more likely than whites to commit homicide.”
Some 90 percent of black murder victims are killed by other blacks. In New York City in 2003, 96 percent of people who were shot and 90 percent of those murdered were black or Hispanic. Nationwide, the No. 1 cause of death for African-American males between the ages of 15 and 34 was being murdered with a gun. Police officers who stop a potential suspect are shot four times more often if the suspect is black than if he's not. If police and ordinary citizens are more wary of blacks, especially young black males, that shows common sense, not racial bias. Obviously, the efforts of groups Johnson refers to have had limited success.
The overwhelming majority of blacks are peaceful, law-abiding citizens. But when Johnson cites “how many more blacks are incarcerated compared to other races” as evidence of racial discrimination, he's wrong. It's evidence that those committing more crimes are more likely to be incarcerated.
Elliott Doane, Oklahoma City