This New Black Panther bounty announcement really isn’t going to help those who are seeking justice for Trayvon Martin and his family.

There’s no warrant out for George Zimmerman yet. There’s nothing to arrest him for. If and when charges are handed down, finding him will not be a problem for long. If the New Black Panthers follow through on their threat of detaining Zimmerman if the government refuses to, whoever participates will be rightly charged with kidnapping him.

All this does is fire up the conservative fear machine, which has been raising the specter of the Black Panthers ever since Obama was elected (it’s a classic 1960s-tinged fear of the sort some in the conservative media find absolutely irresistible). In and of itself, this is not an argument against doing X, if X is some act that is helpful or productive in itself. But what does X accomplish in this case?

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Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.