Would it shock you to learn that this lurid episode never happened? Watch O’Mara’s closing argument on YouTube if you doubt me.
Anyway, here’s my point: If we’re going to have a healing conversation about race and crime, it’d help if people would quit making wild exaggerations and accusations of bad faith. The differences between Fox News and MSNBC-style racial demagoguery are largely a matter of style.
Ultimately, too, the exact motives of the Oklahoma and Spokane murderers strike me as far less significant than their extreme brutality and near-suicidal indifference to human life. It comes in all colors, God knows.
However, the statistics Timothy Egan (and President Obama) alluded to are stark: According to the Centers for Disease Control, the youth homicide rate (per 100,000) is 28.8 for blacks, 7.9 for Hispanics, 2.1 for whites.
Overall, the African-American homicide rate is EIGHT TIMES greater than the national average —an ongoing tragedy this bickering does nothing to heal.
Gene Lyons is a columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.