This last statement has created a furor. Geraldo is a friend who has appeared on my show a number of times. However, I think he goes too far at raising the hoodie to the level of Zimmerman's responsibility. However, Geraldo and some others are questioning the wisdom of celebs and public officials, like Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, wearing hoodies and supporting the notion that only racists would associate hoodies and other clothing with possible trouble.
First, no one deserves to be shot because of his choice of clothing. Second, whatever ultimately happened between Zimmerman and Martin, Zimmerman should not have pursued him. But sending the message that the hoodie is simply a piece of clothing with no other overtones is not reality. Doesn't a hoodie by its very nature help to hide a person's identity? Isn't it often used by those trying to stylize a gangster look? Is the encouragement of hoodie-wearing really helpful in this?
Sixx King, independent film producer of the film "Mothers of No Tomorrow," was cited recently by Daily News columnist Jenice Armstrong as someone who opposes the hoodie symbolism. On his Facebook page, King makes the point that the people adopting hoodies and becoming so invested in the Martin case are ignoring the larger problem of black-on-black crime. His film chronicles the black mothers and the epidemic of violence in inner-city America.
I think Sixx King has a fair point about the huge outpouring of outrage over this shooting versus the lack of outrage over the countless shootings that too often are part of life in inner-city Philadelphia. However, I think that an urgency to get moving on the investigation of Zimmerman is warranted. Also warranted is whether a guy whom police suspected of being a loose cannon due to all his 9-1-1 calls over the past few years should have had his right to carry a gun challenged.
However, I think it is unfair to blame Florida's "Stand Your Ground" gun laws, which don't demand that someone who is being seriously threatened must retreat before firing his weapon. I think it is a cheap shot to morph the excess of Zimmerman into a narrative attacking a law that aids potential victims. It makes me wonder about those doing this and their notion that if we further curtailed the Second Amendment, criminals would stand down.
I feel a lot of frustration over the analysis of this situation and what it all means. I was moved by Jesse Washington, of the Associated Press, who wrote movingly of having to have the talk of "The Code" with his young African-American son. The Code, he says, is that young African-American males must be aware at all times that they may be viewed as suspect by some just because of their race.
This is tough and moving stuff, but Washington lives in the Philadelphia area and then links all this to the disparity in the numbers of African-Americans who have been stopped in Philadelphia's stop-and-frisk program.
I think this issue was already the subject of a heated mayor's race, and I also believe that Mayor Nutter and Commissioner Ramsey have been sensitive to this issue. I would further argue that stop-and-frisk helps to make Philadelphia safer, maybe especially in our inner city.
I further think that people like Jesse Jackson, who view this shooting as the template for attacks across America on African-Americans, are further adding misery to an already tragic situation. Let's focus on how we deal with guys like Zimmerman. How do we protect against wannabe vigilantes who have seen too many crime shows?
The bottom line for me is: Trayvon Martin should not have been shot; George Zimmerman should be fully and urgently investigated, and we all should be wary of those wanting to take this death and use it to advance an agenda.
Teacher-turned-talk show host Dom Giordano is heard on WPHT (1210-AM) weekdays 9 a.m. to noon. Contact Dom at email@example.com.