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March 25, 2012


BC, I can't help but feel that the evidentiary hearing issue is orthogonal to what I find troubling about the case. (Not your fault BTW, as I understand that the focus of this case has gotten shifted to the stand your ground law).

The police didn't take their duty to investigate a homicide seriously enough to establish anything other than that Zimmerman claimed it was self defense. If we want to argue about whether or not Zimmerman should have been arrested on the spot (I tend to think yes) I guess that is fine, but the police had a duty not to essentially take him at his word. We are never getting to an evidentary hearing if the police don't bother gathering the pertinent evidence, and there are lots of indications in this case suggesting that they did not.

McT, I can't speak for the world of course, but I suspect quite a bit of the outrage is based on our judgments about the risks the victims were taking. A lot of how we operate involves creating filters to avoid having to look closely at things. (This isn't all, or maybe even mostly bad. We are deluged by information every day. Without a rubric of 'what to pay attention to' we wouldn't be able to function).

A very large percentage of black on black crime revolves around the drug trade, or is dismissible on first review as being related to it. Many of the victims are likely to be written off as "taking the risk" by being associated with the drug trade even if the association is very minor (drug dealer's lookout's little brother). I'm not saying it is just to dismiss these deaths. I'm saying that our mental filtering makes it EASY to dismiss these deaths. Many of the others are ancillary victims of the way the drug war plays out. We might see them as unfortunate casualties of the way the system works. (To be clear I don't see it that way, I'm describing a mindset that I suspect may be common).

Trayvon on the other hand took the risk of buying skittles and wearing a hoodie in the rain. That doesn't fit well with our dismissive narratives. Even under the most pro-Zimmerman narrative I've seen, Trayvon was inappropriately followed and stalked by a white guy, and forced into a confrontation that Trayvon didn't seek. He was literally a kid getting candy from the store. That doesn't fit into our easily dismissed categories.

Martin's dead now.

Which makes it very difficult to get his side of the story, which makes the "stand your ground" law problematic. The winners get to write history, so to speak. Worse yet, it provides some incentive to make sure you win in the most absolute way, at least in a case like the one we're discussing, so that you're the only one who really gets to say who was the aggressor.

Best to be the guy with the gun, it seems.

BTW, I want to mention something I didn't know until today. Florida does have a duty to retreat law, specifically anyone who ..."initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself" is excluded from the stand your ground statute. Fla. Stats. 776.041

Which is about the 3rd or 4th reason why the stand your ground statute isn't a key issue in this case. (Except that Trayvon would have likely been able to use 'stand your ground' against Zimmerman if the killing had gone the other way, but you better your ass it would have been investigated).

That doesn't fit into our easily dismissed categories.

I agree. He also wasn't in "the hood," where people tend to think bad sh1t just happens.

Good to know about that statute, Sebastian. That seems like a sensible rule, particularly in a state with a "stand your ground" law.

My understanding of SYG is that it's basically about home invasions/breakins. Somebody comes to your castle. You have the right to stand and fight. That, in and of itself, works just fine for me. The worry would be applying it in other contexts.

I think duty to flee laws are similar to laws about whether or not you have to physically fight a rape. They impose solitary standards on people unwillingly put into nasty situations. People react differently to horrible situations, and while I freely admit that some reactions aren't allowable (you can't hunt someone down and kill them days later for beating you up) I give a lot of leeway to the reactions of the moment for the non-aggressor.

If a woman feels that her best chance is to fight a rapist, that is great, but if she doesn't think so, that's ok with me too. I don't think the law should require hyper-detached reflection at the very moment while you are being sexually assaulted. Having a law which says you must physically resist or it doesn't count as a rape would be very wrong.

Similarly, if you feel your best chance of survival is fighting off your attacker in a deadly assault, rather than running, I think it is appropriate that the law allow leeway. That is why some of the states which theoretically have a duty to retreat end up severely undermining it by requiring that the retreat available be one of "complete safety". In practice that means the duty to retreat doesn't exist unless the attacker has been knocked out or something, in which case even stand your ground states won't let you continue attacking him.

But in all seriousness, WTF, Florida? Slarti, what's in the water down there?


MIAMI -- A judge has dismissed a murder charge against a man who chased and fatally stabbed a suspected thief, citing the same self-defense law at the center of the Trayvon Martin case.
The "stand your ground" law gives a lot of leeway to use deadly force instead of retreating during a confrontation.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Beth Bloom ruled Tuesday that a bag of stolen car radios Pedro Roteta swung at Greyston Garcia amounted to a lethal threat. Bloom said Garcia "was well within his rights to pursue the victim and demand the return of his property."

Garcia went home instead of calling 911 after the confrontation in January and later hid the knife and sold two of the radios.

BC, I can't help but feel that the evidentiary hearing issue is orthogonal to what I find troubling about the case . . .
Which is about the 3rd or 4th reason why the stand your ground statute isn't a key issue in this case.

My understanding of SYG is that it's basically about home invasions/breakins.


The way I read it, 776.041 is only applicable if Zimmerman "provokes" the use of force. That depends on what actually happened. If Zimmerman followed Trayvon and asked him what he was doing there, I doubt that alone is legally provocative. Even ignoring the advice of 911 and bringing a legally concealed firearm is not IMO legally provocative. In which case, we are back to SYG. This is especially true of Zimmerman's account of walking back to his car and getting attacked is accepted. If SYG applies, it explains why the prosecutor is being careful.

Putting that to one side, I was just commenting on the "no arrest=racism" argument. For me, the biggest problem at this point is the epithet in the 911 call. I don't have to infer racism if he said that because it is right there. I have a concealed carry permit and I don't want my right to carry impeded by a racist vigilante neighborhood watch guy. I'm still waiting for all the facts, but that's where I'm headed right now. (Also, learn to take a beating if you decide to carry. That's part of the deal, IMHO).


It's much more than the castle doctrine (no duty to retreat in your home). That already applied. The new law codified it and removed a requirement that the homeowner had to prove reasonable use of force (it is now presumed if it's in the home). And SYG added no duty to retreat outside the home as well. If you are not doing anything illegal and are legally where you are allowed to be, you can use deadly force with no duty to retreat if you reasonably believe its necessary to prevent great bodily harm or death.

ABC News has video of Zimmerman at the Sanford PD the night of the shooting. He does not have a drop of blood anywhere on him; and even if he was treated and cleaned up by EMT on scene, there is NO WAY IN HELL that that man has a broken nose. No way, no how.

It's doubtless my settings on Chrome -- probably the ad-blocker -- that's preventing that ABC video link of Phil's from working for me (as well as all the rest of the ABC videos from some of their pages), but if anyone else has that problem, this and this worked for me, instead.

I have a concealed carry permit and I don't want my right to carry impeded by a racist vigilante neighborhood watch guy.

I would say that blatant racism is not necessarily clearly proven at this point.

But I'd also say that, were I someone with a concealed carry permit, I would not want my right impeded by a knucklehead vigilante neighborhood watch guy.

I'm not against people owning and carrying guns. But folks who advocate for a liberal reading of the 2nd Amendment (where 'liberal' means 'expansive', as opposed to 'liberal' means 'Ted Kennedy') don't do themselves any favors when they go out of their way to defend irresponsible behavior.

(Also, learn to take a beating if you decide to carry. That's part of the deal, IMHO).

Rights incur responsibilities.

I'm not against people owning and carrying guns.

Owning guns? Maybe. Defending your "castle"? Maybe. Carrying? No freaking way. What is this, the O.K. corral? Why do people need to carry guns around except to react badly to a surprise situation (or to take the gun someplace to shoot someone?). Sorry, don't get it.

I'm against carrying guns. If you're advocating a 2nd amendment principal to have a gun in case you need it in a civil war or something, you really don't need a carry permit if it gets that far anyway, do you?

I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why this instance--statistically rare--sparks such outrage (a good deal of it, quite frankly, appearing opportunistically orchestrated), when the hard facts suggest a much larger, much more common problem that no one, particularly those leading the outrage, seem to want to talk about.

Let me take a stab at this as well. (Not that I necessarily think I can do better than the ones above....)

I'f I'm a white kid living in a poor white neighborhood, where the principal activities include petty crime and a couple of motorcycle gangs, and I get killed, that gets not too much attention. At least outside my imediate circle. But if I'm in an upscale (even if not necessarily gated) community and I get killed, that makes a splash.

It makes a splash, in part, precisely because it is statistically rare. As far as the media are concerned, it's a man-bites-dog situation -- it's rare, so it gets lots of their attention. Which, in turn, gives more people, in more places, a chance to get worked about it.

And if the police appear to do an extremely poor job of investigating the death and the admitted killer, then there is outrage to go with the splash. So this starts out as quite similar, actually. When you add in the history of the local police department (underwhelming, to be kind), and the history of violence of the killer, the outrage at the police malfeasance gets larger.

All this, note, without race coming into the equation. Adding race, specifically the history of race relations (in that part of the country, and within living memory), just gilds the lily.

No WJ. It's an election year and it's time to stir up the black vote. That is why this case gets so much attention.

This guy could have been Obama's son too


Not only could he have been Obama's son in the same sense that Trayvon could have been, but Obama killed this teenager himself because he looked suspicious and he's a muslim.

But no one really cares. The media won't cover it. There hasn't been much if any coverage on liberal blogs.

This Trayvon thing is purely manufactured circus to keep the masses entertained and moving in someone's desired direction politically.

Surely there's something broken with a law where both parties to a conflict can viably claim self defense.

(Disagreeing or lying about who started it, sure, but not both being counted the victim and therefore free of consequence).

Shane, the law doesn't work that way. As I quoted above the original aggressor doesn't get the protection of 'stand your ground'.

Yes, thank heavens Trayvon Martin was killed, lest Obama be at risk of losing the black vote to the Republicans.

ABC News has video of Zimmerman at the Sanford PD the night of the shooting

Preface: ABC News needs to put the "ABC News Exclusive" banner in some other place, so that it doesn't occlude the person of interest in the video for a decent portion of the clip. That aside: even though the video is of poor quality, it's hard to see where Zimmerman was badly hurt. Even a broken nose (in the sense that the cartilage was displaced and then popped back in) results in some swelling. His mugshot doesn't show any visible swelling.


I'm against carrying guns.

You're perfectly free not to carry one. It's not mandatory!

even though the video is of poor quality, it's hard to see where Zimmerman was badly hurt

Then again, it's hard to see that he has any of Martin's blood on him, either. Didn't the shooting occur at close range?

Phil, you must understand that the Obama campaign dispatched Zimmerman (his real name is Dylan; he's an undercover liberal Jew, out-of-work folksinger last seen working the Occupy movement as a busker, not to keen on the settlements either, it will be learned soon from the usual suspects) to provoke and shoot Martin, himself residing under a pseudonym; HIS real name being Mohammad Hamas, a Palestinian paid via Chinese back channels leading to the DNC to take a bullet.

This election year ploy (or spree, depending on which copy desk sh*thead is making up the headline), originating from the inner sanctums (the President's daughters' -- midget Iranian agents, the two of them) bedrooms, (underbedcover, with flashlights), of the White House was designed to attack the Republican Party on three fronts.

One: O.K., things went awry. Dylan, a.k.a. Zimmerman, was only supposed to wound Martin, a.k.a Hamas, perhaps paralyze him by severing his spine and causeing him to be a lifelong user addicted to gummint Medicaid Tea Party catheters and Medicare Tea Party scooters who would infiltrate right-wing terror groups (that Obama, he plays the long game, learned it at the knee of H. Rap Brown) down the road, but the immediate take for this election season was to demonstrate what would happen to a poster boy young American with massive pre-existing conditions as he tried to participate in the "healthcare insurance marketplace", Obama knowing full well that the real murderers in the Republican Party and their hired guns on the Supreme Court would strike down the HRC in full and then immediately begin proceedings against Medicaid and Medicare on the judicial and legislative fronts.

Two: The incident, framed through a Middle Eastern lens would provoke a wider cataclysm in the Mideast, placing Israel's very existence on the line, a line Obama himself drew decades ago from the arthur ashes of the Reichstag under Herr Hitler.

Ah, yes, the deep game, a catastrophe in the Mideast would drive gasoline prices (driving AND election season) to $15.00 per gallon, catapaulting commie gay sources of power (solar, wind, geothermic) into profitability and forcing Union thugs in Detroit to produce tiny, tiny cars with tricyle pedals, enraging muscle car Republicans and causing their concealed carry holsters (from being hunched over tiny steering wells in their girly cars powered by bee pollen) to chafe their tiny nether regions, causing them to resort to using their wives' shotguns to scratch themselves in those hard-to-reach places and, of course, go on shooting sprees.

Three: God, that Obama. Get this. Sources now tell me that Martin and Zimmerman were actually gay lovers intent on future nuptials and by feigning a domestic dispute with firepower, they and liberal Hollywood types hoped to lure Republican haters into a violent, full frothing see-what-happens-when-we-permit-the-santity-of-marriage-to-be-sullied rage, which would in turn galvanize even closeted gay Republicans (what other kind is there? truth be told) to turn against their Party and vote liberal and possibly even socialist.

And that's just skimming the surface of Obama's plot.

This just in:


Obama, anticipating his own election as the Bush economy headed south like a 747 out of fuel, purchased millions of dollars of gun manufacturers' common stock at the very bottom.

The man can read redrum America like a Reconstruction sharecropper could read the looks on southern merchant's faces (one hand under the counter) when he would go into town for supplies.

"You're perfectly free not to carry one."

Martin was too.

Zimmerman and avedis carry.

Why should anyone here NOT carry big honking weaponry knowing people like these guys, with their mindsets and prejudices, are sizing us up as we nibble on our Skittles, while, admittedly, ruminating on how best to socialize medicine.

Every American should carry, especially those among the groups singled out by the Republican Party for attack.

And use, at the slightest provocation. Read their minds and stand your ground.

Census workers during the 2020 Census should carry. Knock on Erick Erickson's door, guns drawn and fully cocked, because Mr. half-cock admitted peeking through the curtain and motioning for his wife to put down the curling iron and fetch him the shotgun.

You've got to be ready for the worst. From the worst.

This is the lesson Zimmerman taught us.

If you haven't come across it yet, there's the "where was the outrage over this">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murders_of_Channon_Christian_and_Christopher_Newsom">this case" argument floating around now. Somehow, it seems relevant to some people for some reason. I hate people. Well, not you guys, but, like, other people.

I find it instructive that conservatives here immediately started trying to justify Trayvon’s death. I think that tells you all you need to know about modern American conservatism.

Yes, Sebastian and I are absolutely convinced that Trayvon had to die.

Instruct yourself, Frank.

Tried to post this earlier with no success:

HSH - "Worse yet, it provides some incentive to make sure you win in the most absolute way, at least in a case like the one we're discussing, so that you're the only one who really gets to say who was the aggressor."

One of the self defense boards I frequent actually posed this as a question in response to the incident. A number of posters there pointed out the same portion of the law that Seb points to above and many there felt that the law should not alter the need to respond proportionately to a threat but a disturbingly non-trivial number of posters were all in agreement that, given the leeway allowed in this law only a fool would allow the 'bad guy' to to testify against him on the witness stand.

Which is to say that while there is a large cross section of second amendment and concealed carry types with varying opinions, this law seems to nudge the more sociopathic element closer to embracing preemptive lethal force.

I'm against carrying guns.

You're perfectly free not to carry one. It's not mandatory!

Not totally correct. There are some smaller areas/towns where mandatory packing has been proposed or even introduced. If you do not want to carry a gun when you go outside, you('d) have to pay a fee in these locations. This would be of mere anecdotal value, had it not been quoted in the context of the individual healthcare mandate with the purpose to accuse (some) liberals of double standards ('You oppose this because you dislike guns but at the same time you want to force us to buy insurance the we don't like. Therefore you are a hypocrite').

".... you('d) have to pay a fee in these locations."

Under that tyranny, someone who refused to carry would HAVE to carry in order to defend him- or herself against the tyrant who would attempt to force him or her to pay the fee.

Once that tyrant is dead, you could disarm and resume NOT carrying and thus subject yourself to being followed and shot to death at will by the next legally sanctioned tyrant, who carries.

Slarti- I am willing to note that you and Seb are exceptions here, but having read the whole thread you don't look representative of conservatives here much less anywhere else.

There are some smaller areas/towns where mandatory packing has been proposed or even introduced.

I'd like to see an example or two of mandatory-carry, if you don't mind. Thanks in advance!

Some derp of a legislator in Vermont proposed a mandatory gun ownership bill in the state a few years back but it never went anywhere AFAIK. Don't recall ever seeing a mandatory-carry bill proposed anywhere but it's not like I slavishly follow this stuff.

I notice Brett hasn't been back to explain to us how the video showing Zimmerman clearly uninjured with no wounds, no bandages and not a spot of blood on him is evidence of media bias.

The original case is http://www.reuters.com/article/2007/04/18/us-usa-crime-shooting-town-idUSN1719257620070418>Kennesaw, href=http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1818862/posts> Georgia(1982). In February 2011 a similar bill was introduced in http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1818862/posts>South http://consumerist.com/2011/02/south-dakota-politicians-propose-mandatory-gun-ownership-law.html>Dakota. In between is http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/16/opinion/16reynolds.html>Greenleaf, Idaho(2007).
According to the NYT the Georgian law seems not to actually get enforced though.
The South Dakota bill is explicitly a riposte to the healthcare mandate (ignoring again that the whole idea is a Republican one constantly promoted since it got introduced to fight Hillarycare and dropped only because the uppity n-word adopted it thereby transubstantiating it from 'the conservative solution' into the greatest threat to liberty in the history of the world*).

*hyperbole never gets out of fashion, just listen to the speeches made before the SCOTUS building in the last few days.

Just a small warning. One of the links in the previous post goes to freeperland.

My funky twist on who is conservative and who is not:

When Sebastian and Slart and CCDG and other decent conservative individuals frequenting OBWI answer every question WITH a question containing the word "broccoli", or I hear their voices raised in celebration at Tea Party/Republican fetes when it is suggested that the uninsured should just die, or that millions of fired and laid-off workers should just starve, or ... add your own .... I'll be happy to lump them in good and hard with the bugs who infest (they do so periodically through history) what used be the Republican Party.

When the current vermin murderous incarnation of the Republican Party, which is not conservative any more than the John Birch Society or the Ku Klux Klan are conservative, just as Hitler was not a Socialist but a murderer, and Stalin's Communist credentials were only incidental to his murderous legacy, is destroyed by every and any means necessary, Sebastian, Slart, and company can raise up some new conservatives and we can resume a rational, humane panel discussion about what to do regarding our myriad issues.

Just about now, Slart is going to blurt out the word "broccoli" and ruin the effect here.

Give it a few days. ;)

I'm sorry, I was watching Goldfinger. What, now?

"I notice Brett hasn't been back to explain to us how the video showing Zimmerman clearly uninjured with no wounds, no bandages and not a spot of blood on him is evidence of media bias."

What, are you talking about http://www.fishink.us/?p=4135>this, the video conveniently edited to cut out the parts where the head wound was visible?

What, are you talking about this, the video conveniently edited to cut out the parts where the head wound was visible?

To be honest, I'm seeing a lot of head but not a lot of head wound.

I don't much care if Zimmerman had a head wound or not, because I don't think it makes much difference as far as his responsibility in Martin's death.

But I'm not seeing a lot of damage in the video. Just saying.

I'd like to see an example or two of mandatory-carry, if you don't mind.

Not really to the point, and not so much mandatory carry as mandatory ownership, but nonetheless a point of historical interest.

Excellent find, russell!

That every citizen, so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack, a pouch, with a box therein, to contain not less than twenty four cartridges, suited to the bore of his musket or firelock, each cartridge to contain a proper quantity of powder and ball; or with a good rifle, knapsack, shot-pouch, and powder-horn, twenty balls suited to the bore of his rifle, and a quarter of a pound of powder, and five pounds of broccoli; and shall appear so armed, accoutred and provided, when called out to exercise or into service, except, that when called out on company days to exercise only, he may appear without a knapsack.

Just a suggestion for an amendment in bold.

broccoli: the vegetable that made america free!

Hahahaha, oh Brett, never change. You are aware that head wounds and broken noses tend to bleed out of all proportion to their severity, right?

Does that look like a dude that has been, less than an hour before, being beaten so severely that he literally feared for his life such that he had to shoot the person beating him? A person that he outweighed by 100 pounds? You're a freaking engineer, show some common sense.

It's going to come out that you've been played for a chump. I would say I can't wait, but you'll never acknowledge it anyway.

Oh, BTW, it is absolutely standard 100% SOP in every police station in the country to wear latex gloves when handling a suspect who is, has been or may be bleeding. Can you point out the latex gloves on the police in that video? KTHXBYE!

Bob Somerby has a link to what I assume is the video that Brett refers to. I didn't look at Brett's. But here's a link to Somerby


Read what he says first and then click on his link. You have to wait several minutes before you see the closeup of the back of Zimmerman's head and yes, there is a pretty big lump there with what looks like a bloody scab or something on it. So yeah, based on that it appears Zimmerman might have been banged on the head.

And it is incredible to see the tape and hear in the background Bashir and his guests saying that there is no evidence of any injury.
This is a shark jumping moment, not that I had any respect for MSNBC anyway (with the exception of Chris Hayes, who shows that it is indeed possible to have intelligent conversation on a network which is otherwise not much better than Fox.)

Which is not to say that I think Zimmerman is an innocent. I've not paid that much attention, frankly, figuring that you can't trust the media in these cases until the dust settles, but my impression is that he's probably a gung-ho gun-toting moron who got himself in a completely unnecessary situation (whatever the details) and ended up killing a kid.

not trying to call you out, but your last three comments lead me to offer everyone a suggestion to reduce the temp a bit. If we all try not to post comments in quick succession, I think we will give a little more space for people to participate. When I find myself posting something that I just had to get in 2 or 3 minutes after a previous comment, it is usually a sign that I'm not very organized in my reaction, and I need to slow down a bit. It is not just a case of letting Brett having his say, I think there are probably other people who fundamentally agree with you who might be more willing to enter in if we turned down the heat a bit. Thanks.

As for mandatory weapon ownership, I think it would pass constitutional muster evn today, if a few extra conditions were met. I would not support any such thing but that does not change my legal opinion (while not being a lawyer, constitutional or otherwise). Ironically I think those extra conditions would be vehemently opposed by the usual suspects including but not limited to the NRA. Those would be:
1.Reintroduction of the militia system or a modified general draft
2.Regulation of the choice of weapon the citizen must own (because it has to be compatible to the militia standard)
3.Registration of said weapon combined with strict responsibility of the owner for any abuse
4.A hardship clause for those that cannot afford to buy said weapon from their own funds (so either the state would have to provide it for the needy or at least subsidize the purchase).
My eardrums would burst from a few thousand miles away from the cries of 'tyranny' from the Right alone (joined by large parts of the left and those that simply abhor the idea of being forced to serve).

Radley Balko has a post about a recent incident in Texas. Tow cops started following a black man for no apparent reason. (It's just an amazing coincidence that he was driving in a white neighborhood). They followed him to the driveway of the house where he lived. There with guns drawn they connfronted him. They had run his license and "accidently" came up with the misinformation that the car was stolen. (It wasn't. The car was his.). When his mother and father came out to fhte house the cops werer confrtational with them, too. One cop pushed the mother. The man got shot but not killed.

Radley Balko has a post

That would be here, for the curious.

I'd like to expand my eariler suggestion that "antagonize and shoot" be the new term for "stand your ground" by applying "antagonize and shoot" to an entire class of laws and legal doctrines, which would, of course, still cover "stand your ground" laws while also including certain instances of qualified immunity (and who knows what else in these United States of America). Then there's "shoot and come up with an excuse afterwards." In those cases, you can skip the antagonizing. I don't know if "shoot and use a standard excuse" is a special subclass of that last one or a class unto itself. I guess they're all "shoot and get away with it" in the end.

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