Hoodies have played a surprisingly large role in the debate surrounding the Trayvon Martin tragedy. The preferred article of clothing of athletes, college kids, hipsters and generally lazy people has become a national symbol of support for the teen and his family as the tragedy unfolds.
The role of the hoodie in Martin’s killing is sad, but simple: the 17-year-old was wearing a hooded sweatshirt when he was walking down the street in George Zimmerman’s neighborhood. The details are still foggy about what happened next, but many reports allege Zimmerman felt threatened, and there was an altercation. Zimmerman, who was on patrol as a neighborhood watch volunteer, then fatally shot Martin.
The hooded sweatshirt’s role in the tragedy may have slipped by unnoticed, as such sartorial choices usually are. But then Fox’s Geraldo Rivera stepped in. Instead of calling the fashion police, the newsmaker took to Fox, and to his Twitter stream, to rail against hoodies, especially when worn by minorities. Rivera even went so far as to hold the hoodie partially responsible for the teen’s death. Holding an article of clothing responsible for a crime is pretty extreme stuff, and Rivera soon apologized for the statement (though not backing down from it) and admitting that his own son was ashamed of him for his stance.
While it may be seen as ridiculous to suggest that a sweatshirt can be threatening, an unlikely group has combined sweatshirts and weapons in its own way. The National Rifle Association, the organization that championed the Stand Your Ground Law, sells hoodies of its own, according to the Miami New Times. And this isn’t just an ordinary lounge-around-the-house hoodie. No, these hoodies are specifically designed to conceal a handgun. The NRA’s online store describes the sweatshirts like so:
Ideal for carrying your favorite compact to mid-size pistol, the NRA Concealed Carry Hooded Sweatshirt gives you an extra tactical edge, because its unstructured, casual design appears incapable of concealing a heavy firearm – but it does so with ease!
The sweatshirts sell from $59.95 to $64.94. While Rivera raised eyebrows by blaming a sweatshirt for a murder, this hoodie could actually be hiding some trouble.