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March 25, 2012

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I notice the trend of omitting mention of Zimmerman's head wounds, and the witness seeing Martin on top of Zimmerman, beating him, continues. Just not good enough with all the details, I guess.

And, Brett, my goodness, you failed to provide all the other details of the story! You've omitted facts.

Just not good enought with all the details, I guess.

The trend of ignorant apologists contorting reality into crazy shapes to avoid calling a racially-motivated murder what it is continues apace.

I have made a studied effort to not discuss this issue with anyone.

How, in the face of such great tragedy, can one step into divert the conversation from the core issue,was Trayvon actually murdered?

However, after enough people take the facts and explode them into a Jim Crow indictment of a whole society it becomes frustrating for those people who have worked for two generations to have the questionable actions of a few compared to the widespread racism of 60 or 70 years ago.

A small town Neighborhood Watch vigilante way overstepped his bounds and in the very best case provoked a confrontation that ended in a boy getting killed. The suspect actions of a police force that has been under investigation more than once, in a tucked away part of Florida should be, and are being, investigated.

My view is best summed up in the last two paragraphs of this opinion piece by Sherrilyn A. Ifill.

Without question, white mothers lose their sons to murder too, and black mothers who lose their sons and daughters to murder do so more often at the hands of other black men or boys. There is no comfort for any of these mothers; there is just the hope of justice. But when a white neighborhood watch captain with a record of run-ins with the law follows, shoots and kills a black unarmed teenager and no arrest is made, even the cold comfort of justice is denied. There are too many weeping, grieving mothers in our gun-soaked, violent nation. All that Sybrina Fulton asks for are answers and justice. Every mother of every race should stand with her.

Black mothers aren't the only mothers who warn their kids of how to act in stores, on the street and when the cops pull them over. White kids get killed by cops and vigilantes, too.

We should all be grieving and wondering how we change a culture of fear and suspicion. Perhaps a common solution would be more effective.

When I saw your title, I thought that it might be linked to this Nation piece by Dave Zirin

But Sanford, Florida, does have its own history and it includes a collective moment of intolerance and bigotry that almost derailed the man Martin Luther King Jr. called “a freedom rider before freedom rides,” Jackie Robinson.

read the rest, as the saying goes.

I notice the trend of omitting mention of Zimmerman's head wounds, and the witness seeing Martin on top of Zimmerman, beating him, continues. Just not good enough with all the details, I guess.

Trayvon Martin was minding his own business and being stalked around the neighborhood by a suspicious looking man in an SUV talking on a cellphone. Said man suddenly gets out of the car and starts following him. If I'm Trayvon Martin, my read on that is "kidnapper" or "sexual predator," and if I need to defend myself, I'm going to do so.

Did Martin not have the right to Stand His Ground, Brett? Is that only for white people?

(Don't answer, it's rhetorical.)

ROFLMAO at Marty immediately trying to point out that white people are the real victims here. Never change, Marty.

"Perhaps a common solution would be more effective."

Gun control?

Goddammit Phil, make more of an effort to curb the ad hominem remarks. I'm striking through that comment.

That's not an ad hom, Doc. An ad hom would be, "Marty is a yutz, therefore his argument has no merit." It was an observation about the absolute silliness of trying to make this into something about white people. But you do whatever you have to do; I've long since resigned myself to the fact that, whatever noxious garbage Brett and avedis pump out, you are going to single me out for opprobrium no matter what I say. Knock yourself out!

Gun control?

That's what I'd vote for, Julian, but I guess it's impossible for the time being. Instead, "stand your ground" laws have caused Florida "justified killings" (self defense) to almost triple each year (from 13 per year prior to their enactment to 36 per year after).

I'm not sure why it's even controversial that this killing should have been investigated immediately. And people here really think that there's no racial component?

Thank you, Doctor Science, for writing about this issue. And Ta-Nehisi Coates has been incredibly enlightening for the past year. (That's when I really started paying attention, so maybe it's nothing new.)

Phil, I think it's general courtesy to address someone by the name they choose. Thanks.

CCDG, the name Sherrilyn A. Ifill had me google a bit, and she's the cousin of Gwen Ifill. I also checked out the book she authored which was On the courthouse lawn: confronting the legacy of lynching in the twenty-first century. Furthermore, the paragraph before your excerpt says

The teenage rites of passage that thrill our white counterpoints send fear down a black mother's spine. When your child is old enough to walk to a friend's house in the neighborhood, it can mean the first of many stop-and-frisk encounters with the police. When they turn 18, they can now be arrested and charged as an adult for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. A new driver's license and car opens the door to driving-while-black stops. Just having a flat tire in the road can end with a senseless murder, like the death of Camille and Bill Cosby's son Ennis on the Los Angeles freeway in 1997.

So I'm not sure if she would accept your reduction of her argument to the last two paragraphs of the piece.

lj,

I read and understand her pov. I was impressed that she went on to point out that this is just a part of the picture.

I would love to sit and have a talk with her to know if she really believes that all of those rites of passage are really such a thrill for her white counterparts.

Certainly driving-while-black is a unique problem to her community, except for driving while Latino, or driving a not nice enough car to be in this neighborhood.

As a father of 4 and grandfather of tweens I don't understand why the others are thought to be uniquely a black experience.

If you get pulled over keep your hands in plain sight, don't make a sudden move, say yes sir and no sir, These are things every parent teaches and worries about.

Don't be out walking alone at night, don't wander into a neighborhood you don't know, if you get stopped on the street see above.

Don't cut through peoples yards, don't, don't.

Try not to act or look suspicious, in anyones mind.

I wonder who she imagines doesn't have to have those conversations with their children

There is no question that one difference is that in some places all you have to be is black to be suspicious, but everywhere all of those other things apply to everyone.

CCDG, you might want to read Jesse Taylor's story here. I certainly had my parents explain to me that I should be careful, treat the police with respect, etc, but nevertheless, my experience was totally different from Jesse's. I had the privilege of growing up without fearing the police. Just like there are some restaurants that I can walk into and get served at while black friends of mine literally cannot, even when they're better dressed than me.

I don't know why it is so difficult to accept that even though life is tough for everyone, it can be tougher for some groups of people.

The other difference is that there's no place in America where a white kid is going to end up dead on someone's lawn and the person holding the gun is not going to be placed under arrest, questioned, and given a drug and alcohol screening.

I occasionally see references to a witness seeing Mr. Martin "on top of" or otherwise assaulting Mr. Zimmerman. Is there any substance to this claim?

(For the record, it seems unlikely, to me.)

"White kids get killed by cops and vigilantes, too."

Name someone who has denied this.

Okay, now that you have failed to do so, here's your mistake: you said people are mad that black kids get killed and white kids never get killed. However, what people are mad about is that black kids get killed more often - much more often. I don't have numbers to back that up, so you are welcome to dispute me if you have numbers of your own.

It seems to me that there are two separate questions here.

First, was what Zimmerman did justifiable under any common sense definition of justice?

Second, was what he did a crime under Florida law?

For the first, I can see no way that it might be. You chase after someone, even though the police are telling you not to. You provoke a confrontation. The person you confront fails to just fold up instantly. So you kill him. And then, when the police find you standing over him with a gun, they accept the story that you felt threatened by a kid half your size, so they don't even check to see if your story is true.

For the second, however, it seems like it just may be legal under Florida law. (Maybe McKinney can enlighten us on that point.) As I understand it, if you provoke a confrontation, or start a fight, you can then decide that you are if fear of your life from the person you attacked and shoot and kill them. There doesn't have to be any reason (a view, or even just possession, of a weapon for example); all you have to say is "I was afraid" and you are off the hook.

Which probably says a lot about the Florida law in question. And why it is already being contested in another case in Florida.

Brett, to speak to your initial comment:

Suppose I am bigger, and a hundred pounds heavier, than you. You are going about your lawful concerns (I believe that is the legal phrase) but I come up to you and start a confrontation. I push you, you push back. I stumble/trip, and fall and hit my head. (Of course I had to stumble, because being much smaller there is otherwise no way you are going to cause a head wound unless you are using a weapon -- which was nowhere in evidence.)

Or have you seen something that the rest of us have missed? Like police (or anybody else) producing a weapon with Zimmerman's blood and hair on it. Or anything else that could account for the wound? Because I personally don't see any way that a kid otherwise manages to wound someone that much bigger than himself.

George, this abc news link that has this

Witnesses told ABC News a fist fight broke out and at one point Zimmerman, who outweighed Martin by more than 100 pounds, was on the ground and that Martin was on top.

Brown along with several other residents heard someone cry for help, just before hearing a gunshot. Police arrived 60 seconds later and the teen was quickly pronounced dead.

According to the police report, Zimmerman, who was armed with a handgun, was found bleeding from the nose and the back of the head, standing over Martin, who was unresponsive after being shot.

and this

But after the shooting, a source inside the police department told ABC News that a narcotics detective and not a homicide detective first approached Zimmerman. The detective pepppered Zimmerman with questions, the source said, rather than allow Zimmerman to tell his story. Questions can lead a witness, the source said.

Another officer corrected a witness after she told him that she heard the teen cry for help.

The officer told the witness, a long-time teacher, it was Zimmerman who cried for help, said the witness. ABC News has spoken to the teacher and she confirmed that the officer corrected her when she said she heard the teenager shout for help.

I'm not sure if you would describe a bloody nose and bleeding from the back of the head 'wounds' as Brett does, unless it was caused by something wielded by Travyon, but that might be my own idiolect.

"Try not to act or look suspicious, in anyones mind."

Maybe we should be reading Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man", in addition to our Faulkner.

Some minds, too many times the self-appointed ones like the non-uniformed Zimmerman's (it has been reported he was not wearing a uniform to identify himself as neighborhood watch captain) come fully pre-loaded with suspicions, without sensory input from the subject.

Throw in a weapon, some Barney Fife officiousness, two or three commas from the Second Amendment, and that motherf%cking c8cksucking grab-your-d*ck Stand Your Ground law, to go with the turn-key suspicions (who stood their ground in this case, anyhoo?) and here we are.

Which probably says a lot about the Florida law in question. And why it is already being contested in another case in Florida.

Exactly. Vigilante justice is really not justice at all.

We could play a game.

I could post a photo of me, Martin, and Zimmerman and the rest of you could vote on who "looks" the most suspicious.

So far as I can tell, there is pretty much no chance that Zimmerman's murder of trayvon, under the facts as I've seen them, would be legal under Florida's law.

Florida's law is pretty close to the Beard v. United States (1895) federal common law understanding of self defense. The 1874 Statement of Crim Law on the subject is "A man may repel force by force in the defence of his person, habitation, or property, against any one or many who manifestly intend and endeavor by violence or surprise to commit a known felony on either. In such case he is not compelled to retreat, but may pursue his adversary until he finds himself out of danger, and if in the conflict between them he happen to kill him, such killing is justifiable."

Similarly "A man may repel force by force, in defence of his person, habitation or property, against one who manifestly intends or endeavors, by violence or surprise, to commit a known felony, such as murder, rape, robbery, arson, burglary, and the like, upon either. In these cases he is not obliged to retreat, but may pursue his adversary until he has secured himself from all danger; and if he kill him in so doing it is called justifiable self-defence; as, on the other hand, the killing by such felon of any person so lawfully defending himself will be murder. But a bare fear of any of these offences, however well grounded, as that another lies in wait to take away the party's life, unaccompanied with any overt act indicative of such an intention, will not warrant in killing that other by way of prevention. There must be an actual danger at the time."

That is pretty much a statement of law in a majority of states of the union over the past 200 years. A significant minority of states have a "duty to retreat" when attacked which narrows the self defense right. But contra the confused reporting that I've seen on the issue, that has never been the majority view of the common law or statutory law of the states in the US. My limited understanding of Florida is such that its law was in line with the majority "no duty to retreat" law until fairly recently. At some point the judiciary in Florida struck out to make "duty of retreat" necessary, and then the legislature tried to revert away from "duty of retreat" back to the majority state standard.

Now it is possible that the legislature overcorrected when removing the "duty of retreat", but I haven't seen anything which suggests that they dramatically expanded the concept of self defense past the majority "no retreat necessary" position (with the understanding that the majority of states allow you to shortly pursue to insure safety in the whole situation).

So far as I can tell, none of this has anything to do with the Trayvon case except for the fact that Zimmerman tried to use self-defense as an extremely transparent excuse, and the police essentially decided not to investigate the slaying of a black man.

The best accounts at the moment seem to indicate that Zimmerman was essentially stalking Trayvon for at least a half hour, and that Zimmerman attacked Trayvon. Even in the broadest reading of the "stand your ground" concept that I've seen anywhere, that still isn't self defence except that if Trayvon had killed Zimmerman instead of the reverse, Trayvon may well have been covered.

But if that had happened, I'm relatively confident that the racist cops would have found a way to investigate at least a little bit harder.

"As I understand it, if you provoke a confrontation, or start a fight, you can then decide that you are if fear of your life from the person you attacked and shoot and kill them. There doesn't have to be any reason (a view, or even just possession, of a weapon for example); all you have to say is "I was afraid" and you are off the hook."

No. That isn't right at all. The original illegal aggressor in a fight doesn't get to claim self defense during the incident they start. Now will I say that there is no idiot judge anywhere or no stupid jury somewhere that hasn't applied it that way? Of course not. I've seen idiot judges and stupid juries. But that doesn't make it the general state of the law.

sebastian, thank you very much for that explanation. I am glad to see that I have misunderstood where Florida is on this.

That being the case, about all that can be said of the police conduct is: The spirit of "Bull" Conner is alive and well.

I am having a hard time understanding what all the hubbu is about in this case. It seems that the liberal clique wants to leap all over this and pronounce some kind of hate crime, to what end? Who know. Lib.s just like to idenitify victims of hate crimes as a hobby or something.

All the facts are not in. It's way too early to make pronouncements of any type.

Zimmerman, BTW, is desribed as being Hispanic. So he's not the typical white red neck that I',e some libs imply that he is.

So, what do we call it when blacks murder blacks? We don't seem to call it anything. How about if a black person murders a white -- it does happen, you know? Are those racist occurrences, or simply pathetic and tragic murders?

What is the big deal with this case?

Kid, who happens to be black, strolling around where kids shouldn't be strolling at an hour when same, dressed in a hoodie. Engages in an altercation with a neighborhood watch guy and gets shot dead.

How does it become the big political blimp that is has? Weird.

"The original illegal aggressor in a fight doesn't get to claim self defense during the incident they start."

That is simply wrong.

If I pick a fight with someone, think it's going to be a tyical Saturday night fist fight, and some time soon after we start throwing the down my opponent whips out a gun or knife, I have every right then to draw my own weapon (or grab whatever is handing) and kill the guy.

The Florida law comes from ALEC’s model Castle Doctrine Act.

Folks remember ALEC, right?

Sanford also has a history.

Doctor Science,

Is there no level of repellent racist bullsh!t that deserves censure rather than polite disagreement?

A small town Neighborhood Watch vigilante way overstepped his bounds and in the very best case provoked a confrontation that ended in a boy getting killed.

IMO those are basically the salient facts of the matter.

But it's also pretty clear to me that none of this - not Zimmerman's obsessive tailing of Martin, not the confrontation, certainly not the shooting, and not the insane non-response on the part of the cops - would have played out as it did if Martin was not black.

IMVHO there is no way to factor the racial aspect out of this.

On the way home from the store to his father's house with a package of Skittles and and iced tea, Trayvon Martin was stalked, confronted, and shot dead. And the cops declined to pursue the matter.

Why? Because he was a young black man.

So:

take the facts and explode them into a Jim Crow indictment of a whole society

I don't see that any exploding is necessary.

My only difference of perspective from what I take to be Doctor S's here is that I don't think there is much about the case that is uniquely Southern.

The police response, yes. I find it hard to imagine the cops in most jurisdictions responding to a situation like this by saying, "Hey, he said he was defending himself, who are we to disagree?".

But the basic difference in how black people are seen and treated, no, not so different.

So, when you say "whole society", I see that encompassing more than just the American South.

Sebastian, thank you for your legal analysis of the "stand your ground" issue, I hope to God you are right.

Charles, are you referring to me? Is it now racist to presume a man innocent until proven guilty? Especially when there is testimony to support his side of the story (self defense)?

I will be perfectly content if Zimmerman goes on trial for homicide, and ends up spending a considerable period in prison. Whatever Martin did, Zimmerman began it.

That doesn't change the fact that almost all accounts of this incident coming from opponents of the Florida law are systematically omitting details. Turning it into a better club with which to beat up the law's advocates.

To read most accounts, you'd think Zimmerman walked up to Martin, and abruptly blew him away. Leaving the police letting him go totally inexplicable. As it has to be, for Zimmerman to be a proper indictment of the law.

THAT is what I'm complaining about.

"So, what do we call it when blacks murder blacks? We don't seem to call it anything."

a) People aren't actually black or white; there are only either self-declared ethnic identifications or perceptions that people use to drop others into pseudoscientific categories that are based purely upon, huh, racism.

b) We call it "murder."

"Kid, who happens to be black, strolling around where kids shouldn't be strolling at an hour when same, dressed in a hoodie."

Why shouldn't he be strolling while African-American, or a kid, exactly?

"How does it become the big political blimp that is has? Weird."

Yes, it's almost as if history and contemporary racism exist.

It's almost as if someone remembers Emmett Till, or the fact that more or less any "white" person in the South could get away with killing more or less any "black" person from the before the founding of the country right through at least the 1960s.

It's almost as if some folks are aware of this because it affects their daily lives.

It doesn't affect your life, to be sure. That's called "privilege."

Did it matter to Zimmerman that he viewed Martin as "black"? Did, in Zimmerman's mind, Martin "just happen" to be "black"?

I'm not a mind-reader, and I don't know what happened.

But what was it that made Martin suspicious?

"What is the big deal with this case?"

It vividly raises questions as to whether this was a racially motivated killing, and it raises questions as to whether racial or other prejudice tainted the Sanford police response.

Do we know for sure what happened, either way, yet? Not that I'm aware. Perhaps perceived race will turn out to be uninvolved, or more probably, there will be nothing resembling definitive truth one way or another, but anyone with the least familiarity with Jim Crow shouldn't wonder why major questions wouldn't be raised.

To read most accounts, you'd think Zimmerman walked up to Martin, and abruptly blew him away

Who is "you" referring to here? Because clearly nobody here or at your other haunt believes any such thing.

Can you link to even a single news account that says anything close to what you're claiming here?

Zimmerman, BTW, is desribed as being Hispanic.

This may come as a shock to you, but Hispanics are white.

So he's not the typical white red neck that I',e some libs imply that he is.

Who is "some libs" referring to here? Names, please.

Kid, who happens to be black, strolling around where kids shouldn't be strolling at an hour when same,

He shouldn't be strolling near his father's house during halftime of the NBA All-Star game?

dressed in a hoodie.

This was silly when Geraldo tried it and it's silly now, JFTR.

"Why? Because he was a young black man."

Huge, huge, assumption on your part. So much an assumption it is in the realm of pure fantasy. May very well have gone down exactly the same if it had been a young white man dressed in a hoody.

As far as the police response, they questioned Zimmerman and witnesses. A grand jury is being called. Zimmerman is not off the hook for anything.

BTW, the actual text of the appropriate section of the Florida statute reads:

3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

Sebastian, not sure how/whether this affects your view.

This, by the way -- Engages in an altercation with a neighborhood watch guy and gets shot dead. -- which ignores away Zimmerman's phone calls to 911, stalking the kid in his car, calling him a "f'ing coon" and saying that "these a-holes always get away with it," pursuing him after being told by 911 not to do so, and getting out of the car for no good reason, is a far more egregious mischaracterization of events than anything Brett is claiming the Big Nasty Liberals have done.

Why, to read it, you'd think that Zimmerman was just minding his own business and Martin walked up out of the blue and beat him up.

Phil, did you read the links posted up above? Take, for instance, http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/03/18/446768/what-everyone-should-know-about-about-trayvon-martin-1995-2012/>here's a good summary from Think Progress. See any mention of Martin beating on Zimmerman? See any mention of Zimmerman's injuries?

No. Zimmerman accosts Martin, then Martin's dead. That's what I'm talking about. I've read about this case at several lefty blogs, and until I looked up the details myself, that's what I thought happened: Zimmerman walked up to Martin, and blew him away.

Because, you know, any mention of what happened between "accosted him" and "blew away" was carefully elided.

Not to forget that Martin called 911 too. Just a few minutes ago I also read that a witness had her statement 'corrected' by the police from hearing Martin calling for help into Zimmerman calling for help. Sounds eerily familiar to me.

Good to see you back, Gary.

" People aren't actually black or white; there are only either self-declared ethnic identifications or perceptions that people use to drop others into pseudoscientific categories that are based purely upon, huh, racism."

Well then, aren't you a racist for pointing out that the dead guy was black? And then going on tho make big societal statements about why his blackness lead to his deadness?

"This may come as a shock to you, but Hispanics are white."

Negative. Too far into bizarro alternative universe to even be worthy of the effort to explain why you are so wrong.

If I had to put put money on the ultimate diagnoses, I'd say that Zimmerman is probably a stupid, slob of a putz that shouldn't be allowed to play with a squirt gun without adult supervision.

I'd also say that Trayvon probably handled the situation in a totally punkish manner and that led the idiot Zimmerman further down the road of wrong action. It should have been easy enough for Trayvon to stop and ask Zimmerman, once he noticed he was being followed, "Hi, my dad lives around here. My name is Trayvon. Can I help you with something? Is everything ok?" This, no doubt would have cause Zimmerman to ask a few more question, like what address, etc, but also to explain that he is neighborhood watch and is looking for for the good of the neighborhood. Trayvon could have then responded politely, "Great. Thanks for keeping us safe". And I'm sure both parties would have parted feeling better about each other and, most importantly, both alive.

This clearly did not occur. And to blame it all on Zimmerman as a racist monster within an enclave of the similar fould beasts is ridiculuous and irresponsible at this stage of the game.

If you are truly interested in improving race relations in this country, then leaping to that kind of conclusion and joining Al Sharpton's army is the last thing you should be doing.

"This may come as a shock to you, but Hispanics are white."

Negative. Too far into bizarro alternative universe to even be worthy of the effort to explain why you are so wrong.

You . . . You know where Spain is, right? You know that "Latino" and "Hispanic" are not census categories, right?

What do you think Hispanics are?

You also know that a grand jury was only convened *because* of all the national attention, right?

"The original illegal aggressor in a fight doesn't get to claim self defense during the incident they start."

That is simply wrong.

If I pick a fight with someone, think it's going to be a tyical Saturday night fist fight, and some time soon after we start throwing the down my opponent whips out a gun or knife, I have every right then to draw my own weapon (or grab whatever is handing) and kill the guy.

This isn't a coherent argument. As near as I can tell, you're asserting that you have the right to use deadly force to protect your person from harm, but others do not. I.e., should you start an altercation with someone and subsequently commit assault consummated by battery upon their person, and they then seek to defend themself with a concealed (or opportunistically available) weapon against said assault, you now have the right to "defend" yourself with any weapon you can legally lay hands on, and when you kill them it's "self defense".

Remind me again what the glorious, much-vaunted point of being able to carry weapons for self defense is again? By your argument, it appears to be to allow others to legally kill you in "self defense" so long as they can provoke you to draw/unsheathe first w/o immediately killing them... While this has a quaint Old West à la Hollywood ring to it, I have a great deal of trouble believing that the law agrees with you. At the risk of incurring a Carnac penalty, I'm going to assert that the place that your reasoning and the law's would diverge would be over whether a "typical Saturday night" assault consummated by battery is (or for that matter, should be) a criminal offense, or (legally) a threat to the victim's person.

(Additionally, if a "typical Saturday fist fight" is not reasonable grounds to resort to lethal force to defend one's person, as you have strongly implied, I'm more than a little curious how you square that circle with the notion that Zimmerman was in the clear shooting the unarmed Trayvon...)

strolling around where kids shouldn't be strolling, at an hour when same -- avedis

Just for reference, if a kid can't walk to the neighborhood store, where, exactly, can he walk?

And between what hours, in your opinion, is it acceptable for a young man to be out strolling around?

Next time a teenager in a hooded sweatshirt walks by my house, can I shoot him?

"What do you think Hispanics are?"

A mix of indiginous people (Injuns and islanders) and Spanish conquerers.

Yes, Hispnaic is a category used in the cencus and other demographic data gathering programs. The Federal government of the United States has mandated that "in data collection and presentation, federal agencies are required to use a minimum of two ethnicities: 'Hispanic or Latino' and 'Not Hispanic or Latino'."[13] The Census Bureau defines "Hispanic or Latino" as "a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race."

I do not know why I even read your comments, Phil. every single little thing you say needs to be fact checked because you are either 1. inherently and pathologically dishonest or 2. incredibly misinformed on just about everything.

Indeed, envy, my very basic layman's understanding of self defense law is that "being involved in the commission of a violent felony" -- e.g., battery -- precludes the use of a self defense claim.

"I'm more than a little curious how you square that circle with the notion that Zimmerman was in the clear shooting the unarmed Trayvon...)"

I don't know the facts. Neither does anyone else at this point. I am merely objecting to all the instantaneous hyperbole from the usual suspects about this being a racially motivated killing.

Being a betting man, I'd say Zimmerman was not in the clear, if all the facts wer known. Sometimes I lose bets.

For all we know, Trayvon was on top of Zimmerman beating the hell out of him. maybe pounding his head onto the ground (a common street fighting technique and potentially lethal). The fact that Trayvon was lighter weight than Zimmerman means nothing in a fight. Zimmerman looks like an out of shape slob. A younger fitter more experienced Trayvon could have easily gotten and advantage over him in a fist fight.

BTW. My understanding was Trayvon was short cutting through the gaited community. He actually had no business being there.

Also, too. The Republican legislator who led the effort to get the "stand your ground "law passed has publically stated that Zimmerman's actions were not within the intent of the law. I'm really amazed that people are trying to rationalize Zimmerman's behavior. Really. It's just amazing to me.

I'm not acquainted with Zimmerman so I don't know the extent to which the murder was motivaed by an assumption that black males are inherently dangerous. However, if you back race out of the story it's clearly murder. Who would suggest other wise if a white guy shot the neighbor's white teenage son for walking down a sidewalk in his parents' neighborhood?

SO here's my question for those who are ratioalizing the murder. WHould you be making excuses for Zimmmerman or tryig to blame the victim if the victim was white?

How about if the shooter was black and the victim white? Can black men shoot white teenagers with impunity?

Remember that Zimmerman called 911 and was told by the police to back off and he didn't. If a black man was following a white kid, called the police to report walking down the sidewalk as suspicious behavior and was told to back off but didn't, chased the white kid, got inot a fight with him and shot him, would they police just let the balck man go? Would anyone on this thread be arging that the kid shouldn't ahve been walking down the sidewalk and shouldn't have been wearing a hooded sweat shirt?

I'm about to take the dogs for a walk. Maybe I should not wear my hoodie.

You know, avedis, when I say something, I bloody well mean it, and what I said was that HISPANIC IS NOT A CENSUS CATEGORY, which it is not, as specifically noted both at the Census.gov website:

The racial categories included in the census questionnaire generally reflect a social definition of race recognized in this country and not an attempt to define race biologically, anthropologically, or genetically. In addition, it is recognized that the categories of the race item include racial and national origin or sociocultural groups. People may choose to report more than one race to indicate their racial mixture, such as “American Indian” and “White.” People who identify their origin as Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish may be of any race.
About Race

The U.S. Census Bureau must adhere to the 1997 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) standards on race and ethnicity which guide the Census Bureau in classifying written responses to the race question:

White – A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.

Black or African American – A person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa.

American Indian or Alaska Native – A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment.

Asian – A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander – A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.

The 1997 OMB standards permit the reporting of more than one race.

And on the census form itself:

NOTE: Please answer BOTH Question 5 about Hispanic origin and Question 6 about race. For this census, Hispanic origins are not races. 5. Is this person of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin?

So, again, I did not say the government did not collect demographic data on Hispanics. I said that Hispanic and Latino ARE NOT CENSUS CATEGORIES. Which they are not. So you can take your opinions on how honest and informed I am, and insert them, sideways, straight into your rectum, sans lube.

I do not know why I even read your comments, Phil. every single little thing you say needs to be fact checked because you are either 1. inherently and pathologically dishonest or 2. incredibly misinformed on just about everything.

avedis, stop it now, please. I know that there's history here, but I'm directly asking you to stop it right now. If you don't, I'm going to ask the fellow front pagers to agree that this was a clear warning. Your choice.

BTW. My understanding was Trayvon was short cutting through the gaited community. He actually had no business being there.

No, his father's fiancé lived there. I'll refrain from pointing out the obvious irony here.

And that went up right before Phil's. Stop it now.

And Doc, do what you need to do to my comment, but I'm not going to be called a liar, particularly on a matter that I am clearly correct about, and certainly not by the likes of this person.

LJ, I read you loud and clear.

Related to more of the issue of policing and much less so to this exact incident is this; I post a quote from a US govt site""in data collection and presentation, federal agencies are required to use a minimum of two ethnicities: 'Hispanic or Latino' and 'Not Hispanic or Latino'."[13] The Census Bureau defines "Hispanic or Latino" as "a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race."

We have all sorts of stories wherein "hispanics" and "latinos" are discussed as being minorities up to and including discussions of how California is now a state where whites are minorities due, in large part, to the Hispanic influx.

Then we have basic reality; like I know and count as friends hispnaics from Mexico and Puerto Rico and, I assure you, that these people don't consider themselves "white" at all.

Yet someone insistes on arguing non-salient points - like in the last census....blah blah blah........as if that somehow partially correct information is making a relevant point given the rest of the whole wide world where hispanic is not consider a white person from spain.

I already know your answer - ignore it if it bothers you. And that is good advice, of course.

It does, however, lower the quality of discussion around here to the point where words mean nothing and it is an extremely insidious form of trolling. And as I noted to Russell, I think on a recent thread, when was the last time anyone saud to anyone else, "good point, that really changed my outlook?" As Russell noted, too damn rarely if at all. All we get is further hair splitting in endless attempts to "win" an argument as opposed to gain a better understanding of our world and each other. Not everyone here is like that all the time. Some are like that most of the time. However, I recognize that it's your blog to do what you want with.

Avedis:

As far as the police response, they questioned Zimmerman and witnesses. A grand jury is being called. Zimmerman is not off the hook for anything.
This is not due to police choice. Post hoc ergo propter hoc. There was no grand jury called by prosecution, and little police investigation beyond asking leading questions.

Here's a timeline.

[...] Feb. 26: [...] Zimmerman tells police he killed Martin in self defense. Taking him at his word, police do not arrest him, nor administer a drug or alcohol test. They also did not run a background check.

March 9: Trayvon Martin’s family demands that police release the 911 tapes or make an arrest nearly one month after Martin was killed. Police declined to comment at the time, but told ABC News the tapes would be released the following week.

March 12: ABC News uncovers questionable police conduct in the investigation of the fatal shooting of Martin, including the alleged “correction” of at least one eyewitness’ account.

Sanford Police Chief Billy Lee said there is no evidence to dispute Zimmerman’s assertion that he shot Martin out of self-defense.

March 16: Police recordings made the night Zimmerman allegedly shot and killed Martin sent the boy’s mother screaming from the room and prompted his father to declare, “He killed my son,” a family representative tells ABC News.
ABC News affiliate WFTV publishes excerpts from the 911 calls.

One of several petitions for Zimmerman’s arrest has garnered more than 250,000 signatures on a change.org site, and at one point signatures were pouring in at the rate of 10,000 an hour, according to the website.

[...]

March 19: [...] ABC News also learns that Zimmerman violated major principles of the Neighborhood Watch manual, which states, “it should be emphasized to members that they do not possess police powers, and they shall not carry weapons or pursue vehicles.”

The state attorney in Seminole County, Fla., announces that a grand jury will review the evidence of the case on April 10.

March 20: Sanford police department admits to ABC News that investigators missed a possible racist remark by the shooter as he spoke to police dispatchers moments before the killing.

Claiming the police handled things fine doesn't fly, whatever the truth of what happened is.

Avedis:

I don't know the facts. Neither does anyone else at this point. I am merely objecting to all the instantaneous hyperbole from the usual suspects about this being a racially motivated killing.
You're not merely objecting to instantaneous hyperbole (by unnamed people).

What you wrote:

[...] I'd also say that Trayvon probably handled the situation in a totally punkish manner and that led the idiot Zimmerman further down the road of wrong action. It should have been easy enough for Trayvon to stop and ask Zimmerman, once he noticed he was being followed, "Hi, my dad lives around here. My name is Trayvon. Can I help you with something? Is everything ok?" This, no doubt would have cause Zimmerman to ask a few more question, like what address, etc, but also to explain that he is neighborhood watch and is looking for for the good of the neighborhood. Trayvon could have then responded politely, "Great. Thanks for keeping us safe". And I'm sure both parties would have parted feeling better about each other and, most importantly, both alive.
This is not "merely objecting" to other people's hypotheticals or conclusions: you're leaping in with your own as much as most folks.
My understanding was Trayvon was short cutting through the gaited community. He actually had no business being there.
It's not really hard to check facts on something like this.
[...] Trayvon, a 17-year-old, was shot as he was walking to the home of his father’s girlfriend from a convenience store in Sanford, just north of Orlando, on Feb. 26.
Of course, there's no reason for dark-skinned folks to be more concerned about how their children are treated by police, nor do hate crimes happen today.
(CBS/AP) JACKSON, Miss. - Three white men involved in the beating and fatal rundown of James Craig Anderson, a black Mississippi man, pleaded guilty Thursday to federal hate crimes. The three admitted to a months-long pattern of brutal harassment against blacks.

Twenty-year-old Dylan Butler, 19-year-old Deryl Dedmon and 19-year-old John Aaron Rice entered the pleas in federal court to conspiracy to commit a hate crime and to committing a hate crime. Authorities said the investigation continues and there could be more arrests.

The three are from the town of Brandon, a Jackson suburb, and were accused of going to the majority-black capital city on numerous occasions to harass or assault black people.

The harassment began in April 2011, culminating in the death of Anderson, a 47-year-old car plant worker, on June 26.

Prosecutor Sheldon Beer said the three harassed or assaulted black people who they thought were homeless or intoxicated. Victims were chosen because they thought they would not tell police, authorities said.

Each was charged with the same two crimes. They face up to five years in prison on the conspiracy charge and up to life on the hate crime charge. Sentencing is scheduled for June 8.

In state court on Wednesday, 19-year-old Dedmon pleaded guilty to murder and committing a hate crime and received two life sentences.

Butler and Rice were accused of driving around Jackson and throwing beer bottles at people before meeting up with Dedmon the night Anderson was run over.

In entering his guilty plea to the state charges on Wednesday, Dedmon admitted he and a group of white teens were partying in Puckett, a small town outside Jackson, when he suggested they find a black man to harass. They found Anderson before dawn outside a hotel. [....]

Avedis:
Well then, aren't you a racist for pointing out that the dead guy was black?
No. Quote the words in which I pointed that out.

Regardless, it's not racist to talk about how people deal with perceived "race." It's racist to believe there are actual "black" and "white" "races." It's not racist to discuss the fact that many people are deluded into thinking otherwise, nor racist to discuss ethnic self-identification, nor racist to discuss how people deal with perceived "race."

The problem, DuBois famously said of the 20th century is the problem of the color line. It was also so of the 19th century. It's still a problem of the 21st century. Discussing racism isn't, it turns out, racist.

And then going on tho make big societal statements about why his blackness lead to his deadness?
Again, please quote where I made any statement at all about how "his blackness lead to his deadness."

What I wrote was an answer to your query:

How does it become the big political blimp that is has? Weird.
Perhaps you've confused my responses with someone else's.

Brett, there's no situation in which I assault someone and then shoot him in which I can claim "self defense," even if in the unlikely event that I ended up on the losing end of the assault that I started. The only way Zimmerman acts like he does is if he's sure that Martin is not armed, isn't a danger, and isn't a physical threat. When Zimmerman, acting in manner indistinguishable from that of a violent sexual predator, spooks Martin, Zimmerman feels threatened, and then shoots.

My understanding was Trayvon was short cutting through the gaited community. He actually had no business being there.

I am both worried and upset at the though of what is being written in the dishonest, hate-filled sorts of right-wing email forwards that are now being passed around Rush-listening doofuses across the country about the Martin shooting that you are apparently basing your information on.

I think you should add to your timeline a very important fact--in the sense that it shows how little the police cared about the case.

They didn't identify the body for three days, despite having access to a cell phone that had a conversation with Travyon's girlfriend mere minutes before the killing, and therefore access to someone who could identify him.

When I first read that, I figured it couldn't be right, or that he was killed on a Friday and they had trouble getting access to necessary records over the weekend.

But no, he was killed on a Sunday and they ignored his phone on a Monday and Tuesday.

Since "whiteness" basically doesn't exist, it's hardly surprising that who is or isn't considered a member of this arbitrary social construct has shifted many times since this nonsense was invented.

Jews, Irish, Italians, and many others weren't considered "white" and then they were, but it all depends where and by who, because all this stuff is socially constructed pseudo-science.

Of course, you've only had to have a drop of "non-white" "blood" to be transformed from "white" to "non-white"/Other. Oddly, there has never been a mirror construct where a drop of "white" "blood" transforms you into being "white."

Why do you think that is, Avedis? Brett?

(Suggestion: it's possible that the history of dark-skinned folks and light-skinned folks in America are not actually mirrors of each other.)

If Trayvon Martin had killed George Zimmerman, by shooting or any other method, is there any doubt in anyone's mind that Zimmerman would be considered, by the media and everyone else, to be "white?" And would anybody currently posting here be saying, "No, no, he's Latino?"

Phil, thanks for getting the statute. It exactly confirms what I wrote above, and in fact almost exactly conforms with the federal common law on self defense and the majority position of the individual states. In fact, having it read it now, I honestly think it is an enormous distraction from the real problems in this case, it is not atypical at all. It hits exactly the points I would expect.

"A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony."

Note especially death or great bodily harm or forcible felony. That last term is a term of art meaning a felony that requires the use or threat of physical force or violence. I.e. NOT trespassing or embezzlement, or drug trafficking.

avedis,

I already know your answer - ignore it if it bothers you.

I'm not trying to be pedantic here, but I'm assuming that you are addressing me and not Phil, but there was no question above that, so I'm not sure what question the answer you assume I have is for. I do know that you have violated the posting rules, specifically

Be reasonably civil.
and
Do not consistently abuse or vilify other posters for its own sake.

The portion of your comment I quoted broke both of those rules.

I will be perfectly content if Zimmerman goes on trial for homicide, and ends up spending a considerable period in prison. Whatever Martin did, Zimmerman began it.

Works for me. Thank you Brett.

I'm not even going to get into the 2nd amendment aspects of this, because I don't think it has much to do with it.

If Seb's reading of the FL law is correct, Zimmerman has no leg to stand on. IMO correctly.

If Seb's reading is not correct, IMVHO the FL law sucks. But I don't live in FL, so there's not a whole lot I can do about that.

In any case, I don't see that the FL law has bugger-all to do with the 2nd Amendment.

I'm really amazed that people are trying to rationalize Zimmerman's behavior. Really. It's just amazing to me.

Me too. It is, to me, un-f**king-believable.

Kid, who happens to be black, strolling around where kids shouldn't be strolling at an hour when same, dressed in a hoodie.

Where was he strolling?
What time was it?

Do you know? The information is readily available. Perhaps you should find out before favoring us with your point of view.

My understanding was Trayvon was short cutting through the gaited community.

His father was there visiting his fiancee, Martin was there visiting his father.

He was on his way back to where he was staying, *in the freaking community*, when Zimmerman decided he was some kind of intruder.

Net/net, you are lacking some basic information. Perhaps you would like to do some homework before weighing in further.

May very well have gone down exactly the same if it had been a young white man dressed in a hoody.

And monkeys might fly out of my @ss.

If you disagree, perhaps you can share an example of a white kid wearing a hoodie being tailed, confronted, and killed by a neighborhood watch dude.

As far as I can tell, the facts of the matter here are:

1. Zimmerman took his "neighborhood watch" responsibilities about 1,000 miles past the boundaries of common sense.

2. A black kid wearing a hoodie is instantly suspect, anytime and anyplace. For that matter, a black kid not wearing a hoodie is suspect, in most times and places outside of black neighborhoods.

If you're curious about how the racial thing plays into this, I will give you a clue and tell you that it's somewhere under number 2. The key word here is "black".

They didn't identify the body for three days

See, if it was my kid who laid in a morgue for three days before anybody had the simple decency to due the most basic amount of due diligence to find out *who the hell he was*, I'd be more than halfway to burning that MF'ing police station down.

People say that blacks are always trying to play the victim, and are looking for too much from society.

I say we should all give thanks that black people don't cut our throats while we sleep in our beds at night.

Different strokes, I guess.

I'm going to ask the fellow front pagers to agree that this was a clear warning.

I agree.

One of the saddest parts of all this, is the White House using this kid's death to fire up its base.

"Jose Chung"

Mmm-hmm.

strolling around where kids shouldn't be strolling

Kids shouldn't be strolling in a residential neighborhood?

at an hour when same

7:15 at night?

dressed in a hoodie.

Like Like on of these threatening outfits?

What is wrong with you, avedis? It's not particularly civil to advocate in favor of unnecessary violence, nor is it civil to dishonestly drag an innocent victim's name through the mud in service of that goal. Learn to act like a civilized human being if you want to be accorded respect in public society, not a violence-loving barbarian.

Yeah, I defended avedis, but I'm tired. This is a real kid, and I know some 17-year-olds. This is our kid.

Look. That the kid, a real 17 year old kid named Trayvon, was killed, is a tragedy.

I AM NOT excusing Zimmerman. His actions are clearly not clean. He looks like an idiot that shouldn't be permitted to own a BB gun.

That said, this kind of sh!t happens every day. White on white, balck on white, black on black, white on black, Asian on Middle Eastern, etc, etc, etc.

No one here knows this was racially motivated. No one. Yet is is being turned into a huge racially based circus. There are a lot of assumptions being made. I see that as wrong and harmful for several reasons.

Furthermore, sad as it is that he is dead, we do not know if there were mitigating factors contributed by Trayvon. There are some witness accounts, unoffcial and contradictory, that indicate Trayvon may well have contributed to his own demise.

Some people here are acting like they are just know how it all went went down. Wow. maybe you should be hiring yourselves out as psychic investigators, judges, juries and executioners.

I reserve judgement until the facts are in.

But mostly I object to the whole racial meme. This happens and no one says anything about about racism:

case from Flint Michigan is a classic example of how the media is biased when reporting crimes based on race. This horrendous crime included six black residents of Flint who beat and shot three Oakland County teenagers – killing one. The victims where White.

According to Alan Lessig of The Detroit News: The six accused men and boys ranging in age from 16 to 23 -- were arraigned on charges of murder, kidnapping and assault in the attack on two boys and a girl who hopped a northbound train in Highland Township, and got off in the wrong neighborhood.

Michael Carter, 14, of Highland Circulation Township, died from a gunshot to the head in the attack. His 14-year-old girlfriend from Highland was beaten, forced to perform a sex act and shot in the face. Carter's longtime friend, Dustin Kaiser, 15, of Davisburg was shot in the back of the head. He was in fair condition in a Flint hospital.

According to the chilling statements given to police by some of the suspects, the three were picked at random as robbery victims. Here is how authorities say the crime occurred: The group of six young males led the Oakland County youths to Bonner Park on the pretense of getting them to a phone. Once in a wooded area of the unlit park, Carter and Kaiser were knocked to the ground, beaten and punched. The girl was dragged up a hill near a swing set, where she was pistol-whipped, her pants and underwear stripped off. She was forced to perform a sex act on one of the attackers.

Twice, she escaped, only to be caught and dragged back to the scene. Her friends were nearby, being held to the ground by Darling, who was wielding a sawed-off shotgun. The girl then was dragged down the hill to where her male friends were splayed in the tall grass. Tyrone Reyes held a .22 caliber handgun to the head of one of the boys. Another attacker held a shotgun to the girl.

"Do it!" someone yelled behind Tyrone Reyes. He fired into the head of one of the boys. Darling pulled the trigger on the shotgun with it aimed at the girl, but the gun jammed. Tyrone Reyes then fired two more shots, one into the head of the other boy, and one into the face of the girl.

The three were left for dead, but Kaiser and the girl struggled out of the park. Police received an anonymous tip that led them to one of the suspects. The statement of that suspect led them to the others. A .22-caliber handgun and a sawed-off shotgun investigators believe were used in the attack were found in the home of one of the suspects. (End of story)

Could you imagine the out-cry from the media and all of the so-called ‘human rights groups' if four Black youths innocently found themselves in the wrong part of Mississippi, only to have the same treatment by a group of White youths? If that was the case, you would have heard of this story, but since the suspects are Black, and the victims are White, the media ignores the race issue.

The six accused men and boys ranging in age from 16 to 23 -- were arraigned on charges of murder

Yeah, see, that's the part that's different.

Note the bolds in case it's still not clear.

How many false, misleading, and obtuse posts does Avedis have to make before you notice that he's a troll?

He degrades every conversation he participates in. I cannot recall a single post of his that reflected a sincere or interesting thought. We're not in the U.S. Congress here, you know. Ban him.

"What is wrong with you, avedis"

Oh, I don't know, been around in the real for a while?

I think if at least some people here were honest they would admit that an unknown youth with a hoody pulled over his head obscuring his face walking through their neighborhood would be a cause to keep an eye out.

I don't know what has been on in the neighborhood. Do You? has there been gang violence? Break ins? Vandalism?

As I said, a simple conversation could have probably caused the whole tragedy to be avoided.

"Hey man, you lost?"

"No man, Just went to the store and heading back to my old man's old lady's hous"

"Yeah? Where's that?"

"2487 Calle del Moco Seco"

"Yeah? What's the home owner's name?"

"Ms Mary Jones"

Confrontation ended.

But there are a lot of ways that conversation could also go that would result in a fight and, ultimately a shooting. And most of those things that would be said would have come from Trayvon.

On the other hand, it is possible that Zimmerman was just a homicidal maniac that would have shot someone that night regardless.

And the poor performance of the police is not evidence of racism either. That's just police doing their usual crappy minimal effort at best.


Perhaps the media didn't report it because it didn't happen...

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1997-08-05/news/9708050027_1_execution-style-teens-execution-attempt

Or maybe it did happen. Chicago Tribune link to same case.

How many false or misleading posts have I made?

I think if at least some people here were honest they would admit that an unknown youth with a hoody pulled over his head obscuring his face walking through their neighborhood would be a cause to keep an eye out.

I know youths who walk around with hoodies pulled over their heads. They do it all the time for whatever reason. They do it because they got a bad haircut. They do it because they're cold. WTF? Don't you know any kids? This is what kids do!

Yeah, Julian. You're right. He's a troll. I'm not saying anymore in this thread. The kid was a kid walking around like kids walk. If they do a thorough investigation and they find something, whatever. It seems to me like some kid was shot for being a kid.

And that's because of gun freaks. I hold my breath and avert my eyes because I've lost the battle on guns. But the gun freaks who decide they own the country decide to shoot kids and then it's over for a lot of young lives. "Culture of life" my ass.

How many false or misleading posts have I made?


Kid, ... strolling around where kids shouldn't be strolling (huh?) at an hour when same (what?), dressed in a hoodie (what's wrong with a hoodie?). Engages in an altercation (no, the guy attacked Trayvon, as far as we could tell)

I'm sorry, but anyone who sees Zimmerman's actions as anything other than a violent predator, aping the behavior of a sexual predator, is deluding himself. avedis is merely cribbing of the email forwards and rhetoric of what is a very hateful and violent right-wing subculture which is trying to whip their followers up into a violent frenzy.

Those familiar with right wingers and their blogs know well that they are constantly warning that violent roving gangs of black youth are attacking them right and left. This culture of belief is being deliberately cultivated to create a culture of hate and violence within conservative subcultures. Zimmerman, as far as we can tell, was just acting on the belief systems cultivated by Republican activists.

Avendis, it was raining at the time. Does that alter your opinion about the appropriateness of wearing a hoodie?

Please answer directly.

I'm quite serious.

avedis, you cut and pasted from a site that gives no verification. That the incident happened doesn't really address all the detail that you claim is true. For the Zimmerman case, you claim

"I don't know the facts. Neither does anyone else at this point. I am merely objecting to all the instantaneous hyperbole from the usual suspects about this being a racially motivated killing."

Yet you give us a cut and paste job from what appears to be a RW site that has no verification. Only when called on it, do you then give the Chicago Tribune link that gives none of those details. Strangely enough, the Trib says 4 of the 6 were arraigned, so already, it sounds like your cut and paste is not accurate. This link then says that only two of the 6 were found guilty and they killed 3 boys. This suggests that the addition of the girl was one of those details inserted to get a bit of miscegenation concerns in there, so if any site is being racist, it is the site you cut and pasted from.

But setting that aside, is it because it was black kids killing white kids that you think we shouldn't demand the same level of detail that you demand in regards to Zimmerman? Don't you think you are being hypocritical?

First, I've already stated that zimmerman is a disgrace to the gene pool, clearly.

There are neighborhoods where a kid, especially a black kid, in a hoody would raise suspicions. Not that the kid should be shot. But that he would be watched.

Heck, there are neigborhoods where *I* have been tailed and asked why I'm there, what I'm doing, etc. These situations are usually easily brought to a peaceful conclusion via polite respectful response (even if your inclination is to tell the bastard to go f himself). I think Trayvon might have not used the polite approach.

I've already said zimmerman at best screwed up massively. At worst he was a rambo wannabe looking for excuse to kill someone.

I don't see where this becomes a racial killing let alone an indictedment of the whole county or state as one big continuation of Jim Crow. This seems to be what a lot of folks here want it to be and it just isn't. At least not given what is known at this point.

And yes, i was wrong about the time of night and the reason for his being there. I just read the first couple articles that came up that weren't obviously lefty propaganda sites. I got duped by rightwing propaganda. This time. So there's one. Julian made it sound as if all I do is come here and post falsehoods, month after month.

Still, that doesn't change the fact that there is much unknown at this point concerning this case. Such as, "Engages in an altercation (no, the guy attacked Trayvon, as far as we could tell)" Eye witness accounts conflict. It is not known.

So I am troll because i disagree with your liberal newsletter mass mailings on the topic. I don't read rightwing sites, unless by accident. Those guys are crazier than you guys.

Tyro, why don't you take a nice stroll through south Chicago, or about 75% of Detroit or Compton and then come back and talk about roving gangs of black youths.

"This happens and no one says anything about about racism"

Interestingly, a moment's googling indicates that only one person on the entire public internet has used the phrasing you did, and Alan Lessig isn't a reporter.

If you can supply a link to his story, please do so.

Could you imagine the out-cry from the media and all of the so-called ‘human rights groups' if four Black youths innocently found themselves in the wrong part of Mississippi, only to have the same treatment by a group of White youths?
I could, save that I don't know which "so-called 'human rights groups'" don't deserve to be so called. Which, specifically?

If that was the case, you would have heard of this story, but since the suspects are Black, and the victims are White, the media ignores the race issue.
I think it's more likely that the 21st century media isn't writing about a case from 1997 that did, in fact, get coverage for several years.

Interestingly, there doesn't seem to be much evidence of racial motivation; there seems to have been a lot of "white" folks yelling that there must have been. You know, because. Why? just because. There must have been.

If this is wrong, by all means, present the evidence and cites.

I think if at least some people here were honest they would admit that an unknown youth with a hoody pulled over his head obscuring his face walking through their neighborhood would be a cause to keep an eye out.
I grew up in NYC; I currently live in the Bay Area. It's impossible to go outside without seeing unknown youths with hoodies walking through the neighborhoods.

I, myself, frequently go out in a hoodie, and even look at houses. I've even paused and stared at houses, or their gardens, or trees.

Ditto in a suburban neighborhood in Raleigh, NC, where I saw very few dark-skinned folk walking around.

Curiously, though, no one found this light-skinned guy threatening or likely to be a burglar.

"....we shouldn't demand the same level of detail...."

I didn't take the time to cut, paste and cite properly because the point wasn't the case itself. The point is that whites are killed by blacks all the time and no where does the media get riled up and refer to these killings as hate crimes aor racially motivated.

there is your hypocrisey.

I only very quickly located and cut and pasted the case because, as things go around here, someone was likely to ask me to prove to blacks actually kill whites.

Perhaps the media didn't report it because it didn't happen...

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1997-08-05/news/9708050027_1_execution-style-teens-execution-attempt

Or maybe it did happen.

An article in the Chicago Tribune certainly goes a long way towards demonstrating that the media didn't report it. Here's another example of the media not reporting it.

And another, another, another, would you like a few dozen more?

I note that none of the stories I've yet read supports the claim that the attackers were racially motivated. What I did find is that groups like Stormfront, and other neo-Nazis, have posted many such assertions.

This was perhaps not the best example you could find of how awfully "white" folks in America in the 21st century are being treated by the oppressive ruling hand of the non-white folks.

gary, and I live in places where certain colors were banned in many public places, like no wearing on blue or red in the mall. Certain sports team logos were banned. Out on the street these things could get you profiled by cops or get you shot by people wearing a different color or logo. I've been places wear a military haircut or uniform would get you profiled by police.

It all depends on where you are and the local situation.

Again. We don't knwo the facts in this case, the context.

"I note that none of the stories I've yet read supports the claim that the attackers were racially motivated."


Aha!!!!! The light goes on for gary! Outstanding!

The point never was that it didn't make the media. The point was that it was not considered racially motivated. Just as it almost never is when blacks kill whites.

But Zimmerman was racially motivated because he is white and killed a black?

Avedis:

[...] I think Trayvon might have not used the polite approach.
You base this on which known fact?

Remember: "I reserve judgement until the facts are in."

What fact, specifically, leads you to "think Trayvon might not have used the polite approach"?

"There are a lot of assumptions being made. I see that as wrong and harmful for several reasons."

Me, too.

But mostly I object to the whole racial meme.
I do believe that's what you object to. You are objecting to nameless people allegedly leaping to conclusions -- and obviously people all over do that, but who you are referring to in this thread, you don't say -- but don't object to speculating about who did what when you yourself speculate.
Still, that doesn't change the fact that there is much unknown at this point concerning this case.
Indeed.

I also don't think you're particularly more of a troll than many folks. I think you waver between trying to honestly express your own views in reasonably polite fashion and frequently losing control of your temper and language to some degree. I also think that a number of your opinions are, at times, genuinely offensive to many folks for reasons you genuinely don't understand.

I'm offended by some of the things you say at times, but I don't think you, overall, write in bad faith.

Avendis, I think a little focus is in order.

The problem isn't that Zimmerman killing Trayvon is some sort of racial indictment of the whole US or whatever.

A systemic problem is revealed however, when you notice that the police didn't bother to investigate a transparently problematic (and I think I'm being kind there) claim of self defense. Now we can argue about how broad of a systemic problem it is if you like. But can we at least agree that it is suggestive of a systemic problem in that particular police department? This isn't a hard case where the police had no idea who the shooter was, or where the crime happened or who might be witnesses. But they still didn't bother. Even very very generous readings of that have to stretch really really hard to interpret that as mere negligence, right?

S, Police are frequently sloppy. Frequently systemicly corrupt, violent and sloppy. I think this is endemic to police every where; not just that particular jurisdiction.

As I've said before, I am no lawyer and I'm not going to pretend to know the law. My crude understanding is they need probable cause to make an arrest. They were presented with zimmerman with facial and head wounds and a statement of self defense. I don't think they can do much until eye witness and or forensic evidence strongly suggests otherwise.

Sometimes I watch those true crime shows on tv. There are cases where a detective's instincts tells him it was murder, not an accident or some such and, as the viewer of the story, I have to agree with the suspicions, and it is not until years later that sufficient evidence comes out that allows a solid arrest to be made.

In this case I think witnesses were questioned, evidence was logged, but there was nothing conclusive enough to initiate an arrest.

The whole thing stinks. I sympathize with anyone who senses a need for justice; to some how correct this. That said, it might all just be a tragic alignment of bad mojo. A wannabe cop with a gun, but without the training or mentality to be safely carying it. A kid who may have reacted unwisely to the stupid wannabe's unnecessarily aggressive "patrolling" and , ultimately, a shooting that barely falls within the letter of law concerning self defense even though, in a better world, would not have happened at all.

If a bad alignment of bad stars then we need to just move on. If something more sinister, then justice needs to be served and lessons learned to prevent it from happening again.

So I am with you. However, I don't know what was involved in the investigation of the self defense claim. I've read a few articles now. Right wing, left wing and the wiki (which seemed kind of balanced).

Some say the grand jury was pushed by the politicizing of the event. Others say it was coming any how. I guess, we will soon know what the police did or did not do concerning forensics and eye witness testimony. It will all come out now.

If that same incident happened where I lived (and the victim could have hispanic just as well as black - up here they don't consider hispanics white like they apparently do in Cleveland), I think there is a good chance the police would sweep it under the rug. So, yeah, it is entirely possible that it is a sloppy corrupt racist police dept. down there in Florida.

I don't know. And I am not going to scream racism or conspiracy until more facts come out. Again sometimes bad sh!t just happens.

Racism is a huge problem in this country. I am frequently saddened when, as I get to know someone and we have a few drinks and they assume I'm their kind of good ol boy, the racism starts; the jokes, the meanness. I won't stand for it. That said, it isn't just a white problem. Blacks are just as racist, as are Hispanics (the ones that don't consider themselves white, LOL), Indians, even Asians.

This country needs to have honest discussions about racism and it can't be all about the evil white man and the poor brown victims. It's a mutli way street. I digress. Sorry.

@avedis:

So I am troll because i disagree with your liberal newsletter mass mailings on the topic. I don't read rightwing sites, unless by accident. Those guys are crazier than you guys.

Point of cultural order: unlike the rightward half of the American political spectrum, liberals send out, forward, or subscribe to mass mailings. Our online political discussion and information-sharing tends to happen on blogs.

(Actually, given the conservative email forwards I've read, I'm glad we don't. Mass mailings seem to facilitate all manner of weird echo-chamber behaviors. And you can't refute, disagree or query the way one can—and you are doing right now—on blogs.)

Likewise with talk radio: I often find that conservatives tend to assume symmetry between the ways the two sides disseminate and discuss political views. Ain't so.

...few liberals send out, forward or subscribe to mass mailings.

Previewed it and everything. Urgh.

Sounds like the status of women today.

Regardless of race, there is one very large issue here: the social status of the perpetrator. I live in Finland, and even here, one of the most homogeneous developed countries in the world, you can get mugged and even killed if you happen to go to a wrong neighbourhood and have back luck. But there is one thing that is sure: whoever it is that commits the crime, he's bound to be already at the lowest stratum of our society.

What makes this case exceptional is that the perpetrator was not a low-life, but a nominally upstanding citizen: a middle-aged property-owner. This means that the deed carries a certain social stamp of approval. Thus, if it had been a gang of white youths killing Mr. Martin, it might have been a racist crime, but in any case, it would have been run-of-the mill street violence. If it had been Mr. Martin killing Mr. Zimmerman, it would have been routine violence. The perpetrators would be charged with murder and locked away. But a middle-aged property-owner killing a youth and getting away with it is a man-bites-a-dog-event.

(Actually, I suspect that one of the reasons for Mr. Zimmerman's vigilantism has been the fact that as a hispanic and with certain criminal background, he is already at the margin of acceptability in his neighbourhood, especially if he has had financial problems also. Being a vigilante is a way to increase one's social standing. If you are already secure, you don't do it.)

Ironic that you should be on the wrong side of this, avedis, considering Travyon actually had three interacting characteristics that left him a victim:

* Being black

* Being young

* Being male.

The latter is something I thought you of all people would be a little smarter about.

Try switching these three attributes one by one, and imagine the course of events. Can you imagine it with a young white man in a hoodie? Yes - not as likely by far, but still plausible. An older black man? Yes - still not very expected, but still plausible. A young black woman? I'm pretty confident the hypothetical Ms. Martin would have been left alone - or at least left alive.

It's gradually becoming more accepted that even if you have a fear of black people, in the presence of a random black person you aren't entitled to act as if that fear was justified. Nor can you expect or demand that black people take special precautions to avoid arousing your fear (although they do).

However, for the fear of men, and young men in particular, this idea has not caught on. If you demand that young people not wear hoodies, that's not too controversial. And of course a good man crosses over to the other side if he happens to be walking behind someone late at night, to respect the other's fear that he might be a mugger or worse.

It is racism. That should not be denied or downplayed. But it is also the hatred and fear of the young man, the seriousness of which isn't appreciated by society like racism is.

Look, here is how avedis began his participation on this thread:

I am having a hard time understanding what all the hubbu is about in this case. It seems that the liberal clique wants to leap all over this and pronounce some kind of hate crime, to what end? Who know. Lib.s just like to idenitify victims of hate crimes as a hobby or something.

He then proceeded to demonstrate his profound and total ignorance of even the most basic facts about the case.

If anyone is leaping to conclusions about other folks' intentions in this thread, it is avedis.

And frankly, IMVHO that dynamic is typical of his participation here. We are all a bunch of liberal candy-@sses with our heads up our butts, and he is here to enlighten us with his perspective from the Real World.

It's freaking obnoxious, and he disrupts every thread he participates in.

avedis, if you have something constructive to say, do so. If your contribution is to b*tch about what a bunch of knee-jerk liberals we all are, and then get all poor-me when folks call you on it, go the f**k away, please.

If you are unable to restrain your impulse to be an obnoxious @ss every time something pushes your "a-hole button", as you put it, then you're going to wear your welcome out.

Which is, in fact, what is happening. Just a heads up for you.

So - why is it that people see race as a factor in this case? Allow me to spell it out.

It's an order of magnitude more likely that a young black man will be hassled for walking down the street than that a young white man will.

The likelihood that cops would respond to the killing of a young white man by saying "Oh, you were defending yourself? No problem." No charges, no investigation, nothing. Not very likely

The chance that a young white man would lay in a morgue for three days without anybody picking up his damned phone to see who the hell he was, likewise vanishingly small.

Zimmerman doesn't have to be a freaking klansman for there to be a profound racial aspect to the story. All that is needed is for the story to play out differently for a young black man than it would have for a young white man.

Zimmerman is just drinking the same racist kool-aid, and breathing the same racist air, as all of the rest of us. He combined his with a weird dose of wish-I-was-a-real-cop and now Martin is dead.

If Martin was white, he'd most likely be alive. That's why it's a race thing.

Tyro, why don't you take a nice stroll through south Chicago, or about 75% of Detroit or Compton and then come back and talk about roving gangs of black youths.

First of all, Compton is almost 2/3rds Latino. Second of all, Compton, like most of the US, has seen a steady decline of crime, particularly violent crime. By contrast, the paranoia and fear of being attacked by African American youths has skyrockets among rightwingers. This is not a coincidence or a statistical blip-- it is due to a specific move on the part of the right to whip up racial fear because it serves their political and ideological purposes (along with serving the personal prejudices and feeding the ignorance of the rank-and-file).

Kid, who happens to be black, strolling around where kids shouldn't be strolling at an hour when same, dressed in a hoodie. Engages in an altercation with a neighborhood watch guy and gets shot dead.

How does it become the big political blimp that is has? Weird.

And neighborhood watch guy is not even arrested. Is walking around free, charged with no crime. And the police chief, when called on this, almost immediately starts whining about how everyone is picking on him because he's a white cop. And Fox affiliates are now playing up the angle that because somebody saw these two guys fighting, it makes perfect sense to let the shooter walk without being charged.

That's how you get a big political blimp.

All the facts are not in.

And all the facts will never be in, because the police dropped the ball on the investigation.

To me, this case is primarily about police misconduct. I don't know whether George Zimmerman is a racist in his heart, and I don't know all the details of what he did or what Trayvon Martin did.

But I do think this obviously deserves to be hashed out in court, with lawyers and sworn testimony and the whole nine yards, and the the fact that the police didn't even pursue the case has ugly implications of its own.

The supposed revelations that Brett mentioned, as far as I can tell, do nothing to suggest that Martin somehow initiated an attack on Zimmerman out of the blue, armed with his iced-tea bottle and his bag of Skittles, after Zimmerman expressed eagerness to go after him, and indeed the idea that he did is fairly implausible. Things on that level of implausibility do happen in the world, but this is not what a cop should initially assume when deciding whether to arrest somebody.

I also think the theory "well, the kid just shouldn't have been walking around there in a hoodie while being black" establishes a kind of killer's veto on racial integration that we should not have in our society, as I thought was established in lynching cases decades ago.


All the facts are not in. I will ignore many of those that are. I will make a bunch of my own assumptions, while chiding others for doing so, whether or not they actually are doing so and without identifying them, other than by a contrived political-group affiliation. I will ignore history where it suits me. I will construct strawman after strawman, rather than responding to what people actually have written. Perhaps I will do some or all of these things without being self-aware enough to realize it. Who can tell?

What HSH said.

Granted avedis can be really really rude, but his last comment wasn't. He does change his miind and he does move his position. Isn't that the point of a coversation like wehave here? For people to disagee, learn and amybe change their minds? So while I wish people (including me)would not lose their heads and their manners in the heat of discussion, I also value disagreement and especially value people who can learn and grow since that's a rare quality.

I guess I see avdis as a vistor from another reality who can be hostile to the natives but also is here to learn their mores which is a good thing.

I mean he doesn't seem to show up just to sneer and run. He sticks around. People who do that-stick around-are there for the conversation, because they want to communicate. Sometimes that requires some learning in HOW to communicate.

So ...well, FWIW.

(and the victim could have hispanic just as well as black - up here they don't consider hispanics white like they apparently do in Cleveland)

I'm guessing Phil's point was that hispanics can be white, according to how "we" categorize race, rather than that all hispanics are (considered) white.

Not that it really matters much, since the same situation involving the killing of a hispanic youth would have been just as problematic, though the historical context would be somewhat different. But I think all the counterfactuals about who would have reacted how in this or that situation fail to address the merits of the case - the one that actually happened and about which we do know some very problematic things - are a distraction.

Even if "liberals" or whoever fail to make a big deal out of equally bad situations, it doesn't mean that they are wrong about this situation. And there are lots and lots of variables that go into what case gets a lot of attention, as opposed to another, that have nothing to do with bad faith on the part of the people who notice or protest the injustice they see, whether it appears to be selective or not.

This thing wouldn't have been half the firestorm it has become if the police had done their jobs properly in the first place. This has triggered such outrage because the cops uncritically accepted Zimmerman's story and apparently didn't see the need to do an actual investigation (note: does not include telling a witness whose story didn't match Zimmerman's that she was wrong). Anyone who has actually read up on the facts (and, as Brett has noted, this includes the witness who says he saw Martin besting Zimmerman in a fight) knows the police acted poorly. Letting Martin's body sit unidentified for three days (but making sure to blood test it for drugs!)?!

There's your outrage. And yes, race has something to do with it - a lot of people simply assume that young black male = suspicious character... probably a criminal. Zimmerman was one who thought that way. He is FAR from alone. Add in his yearning to be the great neighborhood protector and his gun (note: not accusing the gun of anything but enabling Zimmerman) and you get a dead Trayvon Martin.

My reconstruction of events is basically this: Zimmerman sees Martin walking. He finds this suspicious, because... come on, we all know why. Black kid, hoodie... these aholes always get away! Anyway, Zimmerman stalks Martin, calls 9-1-1, pursues Martin even though the operator says he doesn't need to do that, confronts Martin (Zimmerman: what are you doing here? Martin: why are you following me?), and there is a fight. We do not know and likely will never know who started the physical fight. I suspect it might have been Martin, and it does appear he gained the upper hand. Of course, if an ahole like Zimmerman chased you down and (speculation by me here!) tried to block your escape, maybe you'd fight too. I dunno. Zimmerman, losing the fight, shoots and kills Martin.

That's my best guess.

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