Christopher Lane was a local boy from Melbourne who some of my students had met. He was gunned down by three bored teenagers while he was out jogging. The boy accused of pulling the trigger is reported to have danced happily while being charged with his murder.
There is a narrative amongst left-liberals in which white people enact racial violence against people of colour as part of a systemic racism. This narrative means that cases like Trayvon Martin get tremendous publicity. Trayvon Martin was a young black man who was challenged by a part white, part Hispanic neighbourhood watch volunteer called George Zimmerman. What happened next is disputed but Zimmerman claims that he was attacked by Martin and when his head was being banged against the pavement he shot Martin in self-defence. Zimmerman was found not guilty of murdering Martin.
For those who follow the "whites as enactors of racial violence" narrative, this was seen as another case in which whites were able to perpetrate violence against black Americans with the connivance of a racist system. Even President Obama joined in by choosing to identify with Martin with the words: "If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon."
But the narrative is both wrong and dangerous. It is wrong because most violence against young black men is committed by other young black men and because there is a much higher incidence of black against white violence than the other way round.
The narrative is dangerous because it encourages a resentment against whites by other races which can then lead to crimes against white people.
It is possible that the shooting of Christopher Lane was motivated in part by racial resentment stoked by the narrative. The teenage boy accused of pulling the trigger, James Edwards, is African American. He sent the following tweets earlier this year:
A couple of Tweets also suggest that Edwards wasn’t fond of white people.
On April 29, he tweeted, “90% of white ppl are nasty. #HATE THEM.”
On July 15, days after the George Zimmerman verdict, Edwards tweeted “Ayeee I knocced out 5 woods since Zimmerman court!:) #ayeeee.”
“Woods” is a derogatory term for white people.
He claims to have knocked out 5 white people in the aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict. Even if that is not true, it shows the influence of the narrative in his mind and how it was used to justify violence against whites.
There is a good article by James McWhorter, who is himself African American, regarding this issue. It's a thoughtful and well-balanced article on the issue of black crime in America.