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Fear Factor

Date: 2015-Feb-26           Author: Barry Shatzman

It's no secret that i'm pop-culturally impaired. So if you were to ask me 3 years and 1 day ago what i was wearing in this selfie i took today in Richmond, VA, i'd've told you it's a hooded sweatshirt.

Three years ago today though, i would learn it's called a hoodie.

Hoodies are scarier. I learned that from someone who told me that George Zimmerman was justified in killing Trayvon Martin 3 years ago because his hoodie made him look like a thug.

I don't get that though. I got several comments when i made this my Facebook profile picture. Most said i didn't look happy. But nobody said i looked scary enough that if i was killed today because of my fashion choice, i brought it on myself.

Here's something else i don't understand. I took this picture at an Oregon coffee house a few years ago.

Nobody seemed scared. Would the guy on the left have been scarier had he been wearing a hoodie? Would it be the hoodie that made him scary? Could anything else have been different that might have made people nervous?

All i know is two guys got into a fight. One was armed with a hoodie. One had a gun. The guy with the gun was the only one who walked away alive. But for some reason, some say the guy with the hoodie was more threatening.

But here's the thing. George Zimmerman was exonerated because Florida law says that once he felt threatened, he had the right to kill Trayvon Martin. Doesn't matter that Zimmerman was the one who started the confrontation. or that he was the only one carrying the gun. And doesn't matter that Martin simply was walking someplace he had a legitimate right to walk and had not committed any crime.

So what's the scary thing? Is it really hoodies? Or guns? Or is it laws that allow one person's irrational ideas to take precedence over another person's freedoms?

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