Controversy

The Trayvon Martin killing: Is Obama soothing tensions or stirring up trouble?

The president promises the dead black teen's parents a full investigation and, as usual, partisan ears hear Obama's words quite differently

On Friday, President Obama waded into the uproar over the killing of Trayvon Martin, a black Florida teen shot dead by a self-appointed neighborhood watchman while walking home from buying candy at a convenience store. The shooter, George Zimmerman, hasn't been charged or arrested, and protesters blame shoddy police practices and a lax state law that allows permitted gun owners to use lethal force if they reasonably believe it will prevent death or grave injury. But Trayvon's parents should know that investigators — local, state, and federal — will consider the case "with the seriousness that it deserves," Obama said Friday, before getting more personal. "When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids... If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon." (Watch the video below.) Was Obama's remark a reassuring promise of justice, or was he politicizing the tragedy?

What a shameless display of race baiting: Nobody, including Obama, knows what really happened that night in Florida, says Rick Moran at The American Thinker. "How will [Obama] look if it comes out that the shooter was justified in defending himself?" A real leader would have withheld judgment and tried to "calm a tense situation." Obama acted like a "race baiter," rushing in to politicize the death of a young black man and stoking "the fires of race hate."
"Obama: 'If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon'"

Huh? Obama's reassuring words were pitch perfect: Obama is not playing politics, says Ann Althouse at her blog. He's merely "stressing that we need to diligently investigate the facts and expressing empathy toward the parents of the dead young man." Race is an extremely "volatile topic," but Obama handled it admirably well in this case. "To my ear, his words have a calming, moderating effect."
"Obama — trying to be 'careful' — addresses the Trayvon Martin killing"

If anything, Obama took a political risk here: "Racial suspicion and bigotry" will surely play a role in this year's election, says Michael Scherer at TIME , as Obama, America's first black president, runs for a second term. Obama has always tried to avoid saying anything his opponents could portray as "favoring one group over another." Credit Obama for taking a risk by jumping in to soothe tensions. In a close contest, "any alienation of working class white voters" spurred by this controversy could cost Obama dearly.
"Obama speaks out on Trayvon Martin: A personal appeal with political risk"

Judge for yourself:

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