Based on what I've read about Trayvon Martin, he was a loving 17-year-old who cared for his quadriplegic uncle and played with his 7-year-old cousin.
Based also on what I've read, Trayvon got in trouble at school, used vulgarities and liked gangster rap.
There's a reason for that: the competing narratives at work in this tragedy.
One has Trayvon an innocent victim of a racist murderer.
The other has George Zimmerman as a well-intentioned victim.
Rarely are shades of gray or complexities allowed in.
It's part of the culture of picking sides we have in this country … facts be damned.
In modern discourse, you're either with us or against us. Nuances will not be tolerated.
Even worse in this case, because many of those screaming the loudest don't yet have all the facts about what went down that night — the only facts that actually matter — they have resorted to red herrings, distractions and false equivalents.
Sean Hannity screams about the Black Panthers. NAACP leader Ben Jealous talks about the Ku Klux Klan.
Neither of things has a thing to do with what happened in Sanford on Feb. 26.
Instead it's about narrative. These guys want you to pick sides.
You don't really want to question law enforcement's decision not to arrest Zimmerman, do you? If you do, you're on the same side as the Black Panthers and Al Sharpton.
You don't really want Zimmerman to go uncharged, do you? If so, you're aligned with the KKK.
Yet it's not just the radicals trying to create these fictional narratives.
In a "Today" show segment, NBC broadcast recordings from Zimmerman's 911 calls that had Zimmerman saying: "This guy looks like he's up to no good. ... He looks black."
Sounds racist, right?
Less so if NBC had broadcast the full exchange, in which Zimmerman said: "This guy looks like he's up to no good. Or he's on drugs or something. It's raining and he's just walking around, looking about."