If it had been a white teenager who was shot, and a 28-year-old black guy who shot him, the black guy would have been arrested.
So assert those demanding the arrest of George Zimmerman, who shot and killed Trayvon Martin.
And they may be right.
Yet if Trayvon had been shot dead by a black neighborhood watch volunteer, Jesse Jackson would not have been in a pulpit in Sanford, Fla., howling that he had been "murdered and martyred."
Maxine Waters would not be screaming "hate crime."
Rep. Hank Johnson would not be raging that Trayvon had been "executed." And ex-Black Panther Bobby Rush would not have been wearing a hoodie in the well of the House.
Which tells you what this whipped-up hysteria is all about.
It is not about finding the truth about what happened that night in Sanford when Zimmerman followed Trayvon in his SUV, and the two wound up in a fight, with Trayvon dead.
It is about the exacerbation of and the exploitation of racial conflict.
And it is about an irreconcilable conflict of visions about what the real America is in the year 2012.
Zimmerman "profiled" Trayvon, we are told. And perhaps he did.
But why? What did George Zimmerman, self-styled protector of his gated community, see that night from the wheel of his SUV?
He saw a male. And males are 90 percent of prison inmates. He saw a stranger over 6 feet tall. And he saw a black man or youth with a hood over his head.
Why would this raise Zimmerman's antennae?
Perhaps because black males between 16 and 36, though only 2 to 3 percent of the population, are responsible for a third of all our crimes.
In some cities, 40 percent of all black males are in jail or prison, on probation or parole, or have criminal records. This is not a product of white racism but of prosecutions and convictions of criminal acts.
Had Zimmerman seen a black woman or older man in his neighborhood, he likely would never have tensed up or called in.
For all the abuse he has received, Geraldo Rivera had a point.
Whenever cable TV runs hidden-camera footage of a liquor or convenience store being held up and someone behind the counter being shot, the perp is often a black male wearing a hoodie.
Listening to the heated rhetoric coming from demonstrations around the country, from the Black Caucus and TV talkers -- about how America is a terrifying place for young black males to grow up in because of the constant danger from white vigilantes -- one wonders what country of the mind these people are living in.
Asymmetrical Politics: Republicans Act Like an Unruly Mob, Democrats Like a Regimented Army | Michael Barone