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March 25, 2012

Comments

I've been thinking about Trayvon.

This tragedy is a lesson, I think, for everyone who thought we were in a post-racial era. It's easy if one is not in the line of fire to think the shooting has stopped.

It's easy to thik, "I'm not shooting, no one I know is shooting, therefore the shooting is not happening. People are dying of something else, because the race war is over."

I'm female, obviously. Part of being female is to live with the possibility of being raped and murdered for just for being female. There are men who hunt and kill women. Women who hunt and kill men are an extreme rarity. And that's just the issue of hunters and killers. There's the whole continuum of domestic violence, rapists, date rapists, intimidators...mansplaners! I'd get depressed if I thought about it but mostly I don't. The reason I don't thinnk about it much is because it is a problem that lurks only in the background of my life effecting me only rarely.

I think it is a whole quatum jump harder to be a black man or a black teenager. The risk of being arrested or killed because one's pysical appearance triggers paranoia in others is greater than the risk I run of being targetted for beig female. And in a culture were paranoia can get a black male kiled, surely it isn't hard to see that his chances of getting a job are also jeopardized!

Now I'm really depressed.

The lack of a police investigation from the get-go is disturbing. Zimmerman packing when specifically told not to, is also disturbing. How the confrontation unfolded is unclear, but it is a logical certainty that, had Zimmerman backed off, nothing of significance would have happened.

I am unclear on what the witnesses have to say, where Martin was shot, how close the gun was to the point of entry and a bunch of other things.

I infer an unfolding series of events: Zimmerman made the initial contact. What was said, demeanor, tone of voice, etc would be of major interest. Did Zimmerman press Martin in an aggressive, offensive, challenging and insulting manner, provoking a response?

Was Martin, rightly or not, offended at being singled out and did he verbalize in a way that Zimmerman took as threatening but was actually simple anger at being singled out and perhaps at being addressed rudely by Zimmerman?

Zimmerman apparently has some kind of criminal record--what do we know of that? Was he licensed to carry a concealed weapon? How did he get a license with a criminal record?

Does Martin have a record, with the police, the juvenile authorities, at school?

Was there a fight? Is it likely Zimmerman, armed, would opt for fists? Is it likely that Zimmerman would draw his pistol and then a fight would break out, or is it more likely that, facing a drawn pistol, Martin would back down, raising the question of whether the shooting was in cold blood?

If there was, in fact, a fight, a reasonable inference would be that Martin initiated the physical aspect of it. Why? An armed vigilante isn't going to give up the advantage of being armed and default to a fist fight. He has no idea what might be in his opponent's pocket and flashing his gun is just too much of a rush for a vigilante. Plus the fear factor: fist fights can go either way, are inherently physical, and who wants to get hurt when it isn't necessary?

So, if there was a fist fight first, and if Martin initiated the physical aspect of the encounter, was he provoked? Was the provocation of the kind that would provoke a reasonable person to throw a punch or was it an overreaction?

Or, did Martin see that Zimmerman had a pistol in his pocket, perhaps even see that Zimmerman was reaching for it, and move defensively out of reasonable fear of his life?

We don't know a lot of what happened. Zimmerman has some of the indicia of a hero wannabe. A reasonable surmise is that he was a lot pushier and aggressive than the situation warranted. If Zimmerman presented with objective, fresh injury including a broken nose, that is some evidence of self defense. Which does not disprove Zimmerman unreasonably and in an aggressive and insulting manner, initiating the event.

Was race a motive or a factor? Assuming Zimmerman took Martin's race into account, does that mean that a white or Hispanic hoodie wearing individual wouldn't have addressed by Zimmerman, even if the outcome might have been different?


Until the witnesses are examined and cross examined, there is lot we don't and can't know. Martin could easily be a completely innocent victim or he could have over-reacted to an inquiry from Zimmerman that itself could have ranged from the soul of reason to signaling an imminent threat.

Some inferences are more likely than others. Stupid things happen when adrenalin levels go up and events can spiral out of control. It may not be as bad as some claim, but it can still be bad enough.

Mostly, though, what the police were or were not thinking is what is really troubling. Is it likely that, had Zimmerman been killed and Martin had a broken nose, that Martin would have walked away that evening? No, it is not likely.

I agree with Laura about Avedis.

Perhaps we have all been spoiled by Brett. Even when he is taking what some of the rest of us (even us conservatives here) see as extremely wrong-headed positions, he does so civilly, and with a fair amount of regard for reality. (NOTE: I am not saying that everything Brett says is either extreme or wrong-headed. Just that he occasionally takes positions that are seen that way.) We may go so far as to wonder if he is in a different reality. But nobody suggests that he is a troll looking for a fight.

And so we get stroppy at avedis, as Gary puts it, "losing control of your temper and language".

Well oone more comment and I have to go walk some dogs.

There are at least three cettainities in this story.

1. The police didn't just screwup the investigation; they barely investigated at all.
2. Zimmerman wsn't acting in self defense. If he had been interested in defeding himslef, all he had to do was stop chasing Trayvon, as the 911 responder advised him to do. Zimmerman was the agressor because he was doing the chasing and chasing someone is an aggressive behavior.
3. Trayvon wasn't doing anything suspicious. He wasn't acting intoxicated, he wasn't skuling in backyards, eh wasn't peeking inot windows, he wasn't throwing rocks at passing traffic. He was walking on a sidewalk wearing a hooded swweatshirt. That is not suspicious behavior.

So there are a couple of key questions. Why did Zimmerman thik that walking on a sidewalk while wearing a sweatshirt was asuspicious behavior? And why didn't the police think the incident was worth a real investigation?

And I can't think of an answer that isn't "racism".

I get upset with avedis because I am so upset about this case. Normally I agree with Laura about avedis too, but he pushed my own buttons with this one.

Something that I usually say that it's fruitless to talk about, I have to mention again: The fact that people can walk around with guns is, unfortunately, a recipe for disaster. There are a lot of people with a lot of "issues" who just should not have that kind of lethal force available to them at all times. Obviously, racism might be one of those "issues." Paranoia might be. People who might be deluded about the degree of danger they are in shouldn't feel so comfortable about their right to "self-defense."

Laura is right about avedis, and with her 11:52 AM comment. The difference between the danger of being a woman though, and being a black man is that the odds of a woman negotiating this society (in terms of wealth, freedom, and general ability to make choices that further her own potential) are way better than an African-American man.

"So there are a couple of key questions. Why did Zimmerman thik that walking on a sidewalk while wearing a sweatshirt was asuspicious behavior? And why didn't the police think the incident was worth a real investigation?"

I dont have a clue (for Phile I could stop there) what anyone was thinking, or wwhat kind of community it is. But I live in a neighborhood where any teenager walking alone after dark would be followed by the Neighborhood Watch.

There simply aren't many people below the age of forty in the development, no one much walks anywhere unless they are walking their dog and there have been a number of breakins of peoples cars and random vandalism.

There is no gate, but there is nowhere to walk through to, it backs up to a preserve. So, while our Neighborhood Watch has magnetic reflective signs for the cars so anyone would know that is who they are, and there is a very strict call and don't confront policy,a teenager alone at night, hoodie or not, would be followed and reported.

or for Phile

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

I'm sorry, but I am not the one writing articles, op-eds and posts (like this one), and claiming with certaity that this is a racially motivated incident just because the dead kid is black and the police were sloppy.

I'm with CCDG. I have explained why elsewhere on this thread. If you want to ignore what I wrote and have a conversation with the avedis in your head then I would say that you too have slipped into the realm of rudeness.

On the subject of rudeness, I find the statement quoted here to be rude, but typical. People here consistently assign values, ideas and thoughts to me that I don't actually have just because I think freely and don't tow the party line on all issues.

A lot of people seem to want to racism at work in this incident. Then they get upset and rude when someone - like me - says they don't necessarily see it because all the facts are not in.

And because every time you have a dead black kid and sloppy police work it does not point to racism. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Maybe pointing out that racism is only white on black crime and never black on white is just too much for this crowd.

And I can't think of an answer that isn't "racism".

I think that's the most likely answer. In Zimmerman's case, stupidity and paranoia are also likely, whether in combination with racism or not. Given the 911 tape, though, racism is approaching p=1.

In the case of the police, I can't imagine how it's not SOP to do a reasonably thorough investigation when you have someone dead from a gunshot, at least without very highly compelling evidence of self-defense or some other sort of justifiable homocide. As it stands, the evidence of self-defense was weak, certainly weak enough that you would thoroughly investigate the death of an unarmed teenager who wasn't involved in a crime.

The thing to keep in mind here is that it is the job of the police to investigate and, pending the result of the invesigation, to charge and/or arrest. They do not indict, try, convict or sentence anyone. So, why the hesitance to do that basic, preliminary job?

In the absence of racism, just how incompetent would they have to be?

Maybe pointing out that racism is only white on black crime and never black on white is just too much for this crowd.

I assume you meant "isn't." If so, it's not too much for me. I just don't see that it makes a very relevant point.

I'd also point out that people want to know if racism was involved because that's what they strongly suspect, given what's known about the case. I don't see anything unreasonable about that.

I'm with hairshirthedontist on this one. I'm very willing to accept explanations of incompetence, especially in government. But at some point the studied indifference begins to look less like incompetence and more like malice.

If the police had found a naked dead body in the swamp, with no other clues, I would have extended plenty of leeway.

If the police had found a dead body in the street, with no witnesses, no clue as to his identity and no clue about who the killer was, I would have extended plenty of leeway.

But in this case, they had a 911 call where the operator essentially told Zimmerman to back off right before the shooting, they knew the identity of the shooter, they had a cell phone to easily identify the victim, and they 'corrected' a witness whose story conflicted with Zimmermans. That isn't 'screwups'. The proper word for that is either 'whitewash' or 'coverup'.

Maybe pointing out that racism is only white on black crime and never black on white is just too much for this crowd.

See, in my view, this is the step too far.

Who the hell do you think you are? Are you here to enlighten us with your great big dose of real life?

Net/net, I find it difficult to interact with you without getting way more annoyed than is worth my while, so I will simply stop interacting with you.

Shorter me, I think you're a rude guy, who kind of digs being a rude guy. Just my opinion. In any case, I don't have the time or inclination to deal with it.

Other folks seem to enjoy it, or at least are willing to put up with it, so by all means continue conversing with them.

seb, I don't understand the police reaction either. However, this is maybe where we need more information.

The implications of what you are suggesting are that the cops are essentially de facto KKK members and that, to them, the only good n****r is a dead n****r.

Maybe that is the case. If so, it is an extreme problem. Being so extreme, I'd rather wait to have more facts before leaping to conclusions. I would think the fed.s would have to get involved and clean up the police force; make an example of them.

Some one who is objective and who knows criminal law and or police procedure should comment on SOP for a situation like this.

Here's another problem: depending on the strength of the witness' testimony, from what I've read, it looks like the only evidence is what the girlfriend says she heard on the phone. If the worst is true about Zimmerman, there still could be a shortage of evidence to obtain, much less sustain, a finding of guilt. If a jury acquits, it could do so based on a reasonable doubt or for less appropriate reasons.

In other words, you could have a racially motivated crime with a non-racially motivated acquittal, simply because of a lack of evidence. Or, you could have inadequate evidence and jury that wouldn't convict even if there was video of an execution-style murder.

Right McTX, which is why you don't arrest until you are sure you build a case that can stand up in court, right? Not necessarily because you ate racist police.

It isn't easy to build a case when you manifestly don't bother to investigate.

Ok. Sebastian. What would you have investigated that the police did not? Please be detailed and explicit. Thank you.

I'm not Seb, but a prompt effort to identify the victim rather than let him sit unidentified for days would have certainly looked like investigation. Also, arresting the killer and interrogating him rather than just going 'oh, you killed a guy for no reason? meh, whatevever' would have also helped. Criminals sometimes confess during police interrogations, but, as a rule, it really helps if the police ask them what happened.

What would you have investigated that the police did not? Please be detailed and explicit. Thank you.

But you already said you thought the police screwed this up and that you didn't understand their response, avedis. Have you changed your mind about that? What was it that you used to think they did wrong?

Not necessarily because you ate racist police.

Racist police taste terrible, first off.

Seriously, though, why are you so resistant to the idea that racism could have played role here and that is appears to be likely? You don't seem to resist the idea that racism exists generally, so why is it that, in this particular place with its particular history that this particular event occurred, and given the very peculiar nature of what occurred, you think that racism isn't particularly likely?

Maybe "necessarily" is carrying a heavy load in your statement.

Maybe there were reasons the body remained unidentified for a few days. Could be staff cutbacks. i don't know. Somehow the id of the body seems unrelated to me to whether or not a crime was committed. As more of the story comes out, it seems police did investigate and the prosecuters office felt there wasn't enough evidence to press charges.

Just one easily located link describing all of this.

http://www.wesh.com/r/30692415/detail.html

Oh, yes, of course the story in the link goes on to say that the Martin family is all lawyered up and will be joining up with Al Sharpton. My oh my, who would have ever guessed? Wasn't there similar hysteria over someone named Tawana a few years ago and didn't it kind of go this same route?

Me? I'll just wait for more facts to come in. Thank you.

As Seb has pointed out, repeatedly, identifying a body with a cell phone is actually pretty easy. It doesn't require weeks of lab analysis. Nor rocket science.

"Seriously, though, why are you so resistant to the idea that racism could have played role here and that is appears to be likely?"

Tawana Brawley? Duke rugby team? Prison Black Panthers putting a price on Zimmerman's head? Mobb mentality calling for frontier justice? An idiot president who plays the race (for the second time). Why doesn't he make references to white kids who get killed looking like the son he could have had?


I don't know. I just don't like knee jerk screams of racism. I don't think it is socially healthy.

It's madness and you're buying into it.

And it's a breaking story, so I have the right to alter my opinions as information comes out.

It seems that Zimmerman who is Spanish speaking and who identifies himself as non-white has black friends. It seems that some investigation was performed.

Who the hell knows what's real at this point because it's turned into a circus.

But you know it was cold blooded racism? Tale a bow. I applaud your peircing ability to know what is in the hearts of others from afar.

"Racist police taste terrible, first off.

Like Dick Gregory, I'd rather have the chicken anyway.

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/321820

And I don't know why you keep repeating that the body sat there for three days. It did not. Apparently the martins were brought in to id the body within 24 hours; which is pretty standard.

I just don't like knee jerk screams of racism.

You'd have to demonstrate that a given individual's reaction in this case is knee-jerk (and a scream, I guess) for this to be relevant.

I'd suggest that it's your knee-jerk reaction to characterize what people are writing on this blog as knee-jerk screams of racism without considering what they write and by bringing in other cases that have no bearing on the already known, factual circumstances of this case, which people here are addressing very directly.

And it's a breaking story, so I have the right to alter my opinions as information comes out.

You and everyone else, but it's a story that has largely broken already. Not all of the information that will come out has come out, but plenty has. I'm not sure what you might think will come out to justify all of this, but I guess we'll see if it does.

It seems that Zimmerman who is Spanish speaking and who identifies himself as non-white has black friends.

Whooopie!

It seems that some investigation was performed.

Let's hear about it! Is it something that hasn't been discussed already? Was it something that only happened after the fact because of our knee-jerk screams of racism?

"The implications of what you are suggesting are that the cops are essentially de facto KKK members and that, to them, the only good n****r is a dead n****r."

I don't see those implications. Perhaps this is where the confusiuon or s=disagreement liesw. I don't think a person or systme has to be de facto KKK members to be racist. All that is necessary is a sort of default mode assumption that black males are criminals or thugs or bad people unless there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary. If someone is walkinga roud with that in their head then they are harboring a prejudice that will influence how they react to a particular black male who might be or might not be a criminal or thug or bad person.

Prejudice ia a very complex phenomenon and varies widely from person to person. An no it is not an exclusively Caucasion phenomenon.


I don't see those implications.

Neither do I. That seems to be the result of a false dichotomy consisting of a) absolute worst-possible racism or b) anything short of it, with the implication that anything falling under "b)" has no effect on people's actions.

"You'd have to demonstrate that a given individual's reaction in this case is knee-jerk (and a scream, I guess) for this to be relevant."


There was an pretty standard investigation by the police. There was not enough evidence to bring a case to court. The body did not sit for three days. ID and family notification were within 24 hours. Pretty standard. The neighborhood had been experiencing break ins and other crimes. So it seems reasonable that neighborhood watch would be out a following unknown youths.

So yeah, calling this a case of racism is ridiculous at this point.

There is nothing to substantiate the allegation of racism. Nothing.

But hey, don't let facts get in the way. Make 'em up any way that that makes you seem more justified in seeing racism where it might not be. That's what I would knee jerk screams of racism.

I'm sure you and Russell and Dr S will be (barely) outdone by Al Sharpton and his machine.

What would you have investigated that the police did not?

I would have gotten a very precise description, step by step, of how the encounter occurred and unfolded from Zimmerman. Then, I would carefully photograph and document Martin's at rest position and any other physical evidence there might be of the scene.

Then, I would take the pistol into custody, examine and catalogue it, possibly firing test rounds at the distance claimed by Zimmerman when he fired. I would fire the test rounds into the same type clothing being worn by Martin at the distance given by Zimmerman.

I would forensically examine Martin's garments for gunpowder residue. I would have a competent medical examiner look for other signs of violence on Martin, noting body location of each bruise, cut, scrape, etc. I would look for stipling at the site of the gunshot wound (stipling is an indicator of how close to the body the gun was when fired).

Finally, I would document each physical injury to Zimmerman, photographically and by verbal description.

I would compare the physical evidence to Zimmerman's initial description, looking for inconsistencies.

I would interview all witnesses both before and after gathering and assessing the physical evidence.

That's just me doing the investigation, a civil tort and commercial trial lawyer. I would imagine the police would have other good ideas. One would hope.

Neighborhood Watch are not supposed to follow people, they're supposed to notify police, as was noted earlier in the thread and for reasons that should be painfully obvious at this point.

You know, I think there's nothing at all unusual or noteworthy about this case. It's par for the course and happens all the time. Neighborhood watch guy shoots unarmed kid, after calling 911 and being told not to pursue. Unarmed kid dies. Cops show up, ask a few questions and leave. It's all totally normal, cause cops everywhere are just incompetent dicks and this neighborhood watch guy was a tool - but that's life. Nothing to see. Move on. Oh, and Al Sharpton.

McTX, I agree 100%. That is what should have been done. Contrary to what some of our friends here and elsewhere want us to believe, it *is* what was done.

Ya know, I comment whithout links as cites and people bitch about it. I post a link and no one reads them - or maybe they do and they just don't like what the link tells them and they don't want to admit they're wrong.

I'll try again: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/321820

The link contains links to actual police reports (some partial).

Zimmerman was taken into custody. His gun was taken from him. Wtnesses were interviewed. Standard crime scene processing was done................

Via Ta-Nehisi Coates, some recent historical context on the often rocky relationship between Sanford police and the local black population.

I make no claim that any of this is unique to the South.

I do think the Sanford cops were remarkable screw-ups in not ensuring that the plain physical facts of the matter were not nailed down, solidly, at the time of the incident. It may well cost Lee his job.

But I doubt any of that is uniquely Southern, either.

I do claim that the fact that Martin was black made him much more likely to be interest to the neighborhood watch.

Zimmerman doesn't have to be uniquely racist for that to be true. He would, in fact, be a remarkably colorblind individual if that wasn't true.

Oh, and members of the Duke lacrosse team were accused or raping a black stripper who lied about being raped. I don't think Treyvon Martin is lying about being shot to death. And Zimmerman has already admitted to doing it, you know, after following the kid around, after being told not to by the 911 operator. But, Al Sharpton and Black Panthers.

"Unarmed kid dies. Cops show up, ask a few questions and leave."

That's where I gotta call you out. You are simply being disengenuous.

Otherwise, yeah, sh!t happens. Every day. To people of Creeds and colors.

One kid killed by some tool and people are marching in the streets in protest. Blacks are offering bounties on the tool's head.

Meanwhile, half a world away, US men and women only slightly older than Trayvon are getting killed and maimed all the time, as they have been for the past eleven years. For what? About as senselessly as Zimmerman versus Trayvon. Hardly a peep. Certainly no protests. No posts here. Very little liberal outrage.

"Then, I would take the pistol into custody,"

You know, they DID do that, take the pistol. As for the tests, kind of a waste of time when the guy is telling you he fired the shot, right? What's your theory here, that he's taking the fall for somebody else?

I think the bottom line here, is that a lot of people are confusing the omission of things from second hand accounts for those things not having happened. While a lot of accounts are omitting anything that makes the story a poorer propaganda instrument.

avedis:

I'm sorry, but I am not the one writing articles, op-eds and posts (like this one), and claiming with certaity that this is a racially motivated incident just because the dead kid is black and the police were sloppy.
Who here is, specifically? Please link to the specific comments.

If you can't point to who, specifically, on ObWi, is saying this, you have no grounds to excuse your statements on the grounds that Someone Somewhere is saying something you don't like.

If you don't like what someone else somewhere else is saying, be specific about whom you are referring to, and discussion of their statements is apt to be on-topic. Or you could go wherever it is that someone has posted something you don't like, and complain about it there.

Meanwhile, I don't know who here you are asserting is "claiming with certaity that this is a racially motivated incident," but if someone here is so claiming, you can give a link and quote the words and name the person.

If you can't, you're slurring people here for what Someone Else Said Somewhere Else, and that is, in my personal view, not civil.

In other words, if you keep making broad accusations against ObWi commenters as a whole -- of whom you are one as much as anyone else -- while refusing to back up your accusations, I would agree that that you're violating the Posting Rules by doing so.

People here consistently assign values, ideas and thoughts to me that I don't actually have
We all get that in most places we have vigorous discussions. Life is hard. Use your words to explain yourself.

Please note also that if you do this yourself, you have limited grounds on which to complain about others.

So: please don't "consistently assign values, ideas and thoughts" to others, whether as a group ("you people," "people here," etc.), or to individuals, if you wish to complain that others are doing the same to you. Try the Golden Rule.

"...just because I think freely and don't tow the party line on all issues."

Waah, waah, waah. You're the only one here who thinks freely. Sorry, no. Accusing everyone else of not thinking for themselves is also not civil.

Trivially, it's "toe the line," btw, as in lining up your feet and toes.

A lot of people seem to want to racism at work in this incident.
I imagine some do. What I see is a lot more people who are angry because the police didn't investigate, and they have questions, rather than conclusions.

Yet you seem to completely ignore this, and what people actually write here, in favor of making accusations about some unnamed "lot of people."

Name names. If you can't support your claims with cites, why should anyone take your claims remotely seriously?

Then they get upset and rude when someone - like me - says they don't necessarily see it because all the facts are not in.
I agree that all the facts aren't remotely in. Who, specifically, here has said otherwise? Please link, or withdraw your accusation here.

Slurring everyone who comments on ObWi except yourself is not acceptable. No matter how high your self-regard is.

And because every time you have a dead black kid and sloppy police work it does not point to racism.
Indeed. It raises questions, rather than conclusions. Are you asserting that these questions aren't legitimate? That there's nothing in the Sanford Police's behavior to question?

If not, either be specific as to who you are responding to or referring to, or please take it elsewhere.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Maybe pointing out that racism is only white on black crime and never black on white is just too much for this crowd.

"This crowd" is made up solely of individuals. You're as much "this crowd" as anyone else.

You really shouldn't beat up on yourself like this, but that's your business. Making blanket accusations that you're the only person who thinks freely or otherwise insulting everyone who comments at ObWi: reconsider.

avedis:

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/321820
You seem unaware that Digital Journal is a blogging platform, not a journalistic entity, and you are linking to a random blogger.

Why, exactly, does random blogger Nicole Byerly have more credibility than anyone else here? Why do you believe that, specifically?

Yyour authoritative cite is as authoritative as any of us citing any of the rest of us.

Perhaps you might consider doing the reading first, then the concluding, rather than the concluding first and then looking for random support for your conclusions.

We get that you're very disturbed that anyone suspects any racism might be involved, and you're very upset that questions have been raised.

Quit making false accusations about what others here believe. Just stop it.

As for the tests, kind of a waste of time when the guy is telling you he fired the shot, right?

I want to know how close he was to Martin when he fired the shot. In a scuffle, there should by physical evidence of a gunshot wound fired within 18 inches, lots of evidence if it was a contact wound. If there is no evidence consistent with a very close range shot, then I have questions about self defense from an unarmed assailant.

FWIW, I find a lot of the associated grandstanding disgusting. I also have personal experience defending an innocent man who had been tried and convicted in many quarters on the left. I am not unfamiliar with the problem. Like most of these problems, the street runs in two directions. I've seen my share of police brutality, prosecutorial misconduct and I recently retained, on an unrelated case, a former state arson investigator who looked at the Todd Willingham debacle and concluded there was no evidence of arson, much less intent to kill his family. Yet, our conservative governor sweeps this outrage under the rug.

Conservatives have their own victims and sources of vicarious outrage. In assessing this discrete matter, I asked myself this question: if Zimmerman were dead and if Martin was the only witness, would the police have taken him at his word and released him? I think not.

if Zimmerman were dead and if Martin was the only witness, would the police have taken him at his word and released him? I think not.

Thank you.

Blacks are offering bounties on the tool's head.
Way to not make generalizations about people based on your notions of race.

Oh, look, "whites" are making claims about what "blacks" are doing.

Very helpful.

BTW, "Al Sharpton" is not an argument. Seriously. It's just not, and trying to use his name as some sort of wacko guilt-by-association-with-what-you-think-of-him simply demonstrates your own knee jerking.

Whatever Sharpton thinks or says or does changes nothing about what the facts of the case may or may not be.

Meanwhile, half a world away, US men and women only slightly older than Trayvon are getting killed and maimed all the time, as they have been for the past eleven years. For what? About as senselessly as Zimmerman versus Trayvon. Hardly a peep. Certainly no protests. No posts here. Very little liberal outrage.
WTF are you talking about?

Are you actually claiming that no one on ObWi has made posts favoring withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq or Afghanistan?

If not, WTF?

No posts here.

I hereby unambiguously condemn the policy of Empire we are pursuing around the globe and the travesty that is our hypocritical human rights stance, much less our not actually very wise power politik we are conducting in western Asia at the expense of thousands of innocent lives and the unconscionable wasteful depletion of our vital national fluids.

Please do continue.

A point I didn't touch when I quoted this claim of yours above, avedis:

I'm sorry, but I am not the one writing articles, op-eds and posts (like this one), and claiming with certaity that this is a racially motivated incident just because the dead kid is black and the police were sloppy.
This is a specific accusation you're making about Doctor Science's post. (Italics mine.)

Please quote the specific sentences in her post that "claim with certainty that this is a racially motivated incident."

I'm not seeing them in her post.

But you do, so quote them.

If you can't do that, you owe Doctor Science an apology.

If you can't do that, you've made a false accusation.

We're not big on people making attacks on the front pagers, or the commenters, based on untruths.

But you're welcome to, instead of offering an apology, quote exactly what Doctor Science said that justifies your assertion.

Did I mention that if you can't, you owe her an apology, and I'd seriously consider, were I you, making it public in this thread?

Taking a time-out break from ObWi, or at least this topic, for a day or so wouldn't be something anyone could legitimately hold against you, by the way.

"Are you actually claiming that no one on ObWi has made posts favoring withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq or Afghanistan?"

You want me to jump through your silly hoops picking out every quote, starting with Dr S' blatant original post to the numerous statements in the comments that say this event is all about race (I started the exercise, but ended up with a repeat of about 30% of the comments, which was too long to post), then fair is fair. Link me to anything written recently (I am not talking about the excellent days of Eric Martin) concerning the stupid waste of our phony war on terrorism (or whatever the hell we call what ever the hell we are doing in A-Stan and a dozen other places).

Give me the names of service men and women killed or seriously maimed in the last two weeks in combat. Quick! Come on Riki Tiki......can't can you. But we sure know all about this one kid. And he sure has risen to huge national status.

And yeah, Al Sharpton is an argument - a joke really. A joke of an argument. Now somebody be lookin' ta git paid!

"Blacks are offering bounties on the tool's head.
Way to not make generalizations about people based on your notions of race."

So some goofball shoots some kid, the police do what appears to be a standard investigation, but the prosecuters office finds no grounds for an arrest based on the investigation, and charges of racism abound. People marching in the streets. POTUS even gets up in the game.

Black Panthers put a price on a man's head and........nothing.....crickets chirping.........where is POTUS' condemnation of his panther bro.s? In for a dime in for a dollar, right.

You don't see anything wrong with this scene?

His panther bro.s, huh? Somehow, the president commenting on this case at all requires him to comment on every questionable reaction to it as well, lest it be assumed he approves. And the fact that people on this blog are discussing the case requires us to discuss our on-going (and not-so-on-going) military adventures around the world, lest we lose all credibility, despite many, many vigorous past discussions on then on-going military adventures, which were subject to great criticism at great length. (Oh, wait, I'm not allowed to bring that up. Never mind. Of course, why should I, since it's not at all relevant to the current topic. The "why aren't you talking about this other thing" argument never gets old, except that it does.)

Well, you know, hsh, all black people both look alike and know each other. And they're all LOOKIN' TA GIT PAID, said in a comical Mantan Moreland dialect whilst shoving watermelons into their mouths.

Man, Gary types fast.


avedis wrote:

"Meanwhile, half a world away, US men and women only slightly older than Trayvon are getting killed and maimed all the time, as they have been for the past eleven years. For what? About as senselessly as Zimmerman versus Trayvon. Hardly a peep. Certainly no protests. No posts here. Very little liberal outrage."

Hey bub, scroll up and train your eyes on the guy's name at the top of the far right column just under the OBWI masthead.

Now, life your right foot from the floor and stand there one-legged.

Keeping the right foot elevated, lift the left foot as well.

That's gotta hurt.

Meanwhile, your comparison up above of Russell and Doctor S to Al Sharpton (no fan here; he's an anti-Semite) is something you should leave to the professional demagogues like Neil Boortz, Michelle Malkin, or any number of Solly Hemus' over at Redrum, who make good money waxing smarmy.

Look, I know you're licensed to conceal carry in, is it New York state, and by some Zimmerman-like, self-deputizing, comma-laden Second Amendment extension into tough bars in Cleveland, but you should know that I was somehow awarded (merely honorary in an attempt to humor crazy me, in case I might actually be crazy, like when the Wizard of Oz pinned those medals on Dorothy's three fellow travelers to get rid of them) a long time ago the title of Resident Tourette's Syndrome Thread Immobilizer at OBWI and I've got to say that, as such, I'm the only one here who is given leave to randomly bark like a hyena, honk like a goose, leap into commenters laps, kiss them smack on the lips, and snap their bow ties like a neurasthenic Daffy Duck, and wet myself, roll my eyes and shout the lyrics of "Wild Thing" while someone explains the finer points of tort law and well ... to be brief .... I know it's just not fair ... but you're cramping my style.

The crazy part, not the funny part.

You're like Yosemite Sam without Mel Blanc, without the Looney Tunes stable of writers, and without the clever illustrators and the goofy music.

You're just a guy shooting up the joint.

Avendis, who is that link to? I've never heard of that journalistic outlet, and it directly contradicts for example the NYT. Now I'm not saying they are never wrong. Not at all, but I'm not seeing where your source is getting all this information which contradicts the official sources.

Uh, Andrew, god rest his soul, doesn't write here any more. Invoking his name is well, meaningless where current authorship and direction of the blog is concerned. There are still guys dying over there. I wonder if any look like Obama's son? I wonder if Al Sharpton will take up their cause when they come home all f'ed up needing medical treatment and jobs.

This place is already full of holes, It makes shooting more into it very difficult. There's barely any substance to aim to hit.

Why is it that most threads avedis participates in, end up being about avedis?

If avedis finds this community so annoying, why does he hang out here?

then fair is fair.
Indeed.

And the oldest cliche in the blogging book is "you believe X because you haven't blogged about Y."

Bite me.

"Link me to anything written recently (I am not talking about the excellent days of Eric Martin) concerning the stupid waste of our phony war on terrorism (or whatever the hell we call what ever the hell we are doing in A-Stan and a dozen other places)."

Why on earth should I? You think the front pagers should explain our personal lives to you, and why we do or don't post, or why we haven't posted?

Bite me. You don't get to demand we make posts here on your topics and schedule. You're free to start your own blog.

We're very tolerant here of people acting like assholes, but we set limits.

You're asking to be banned. If you don't care, fine. You've been warned.

I have no idea what concern over Trayvon's death means lack of concern over the unnecessary waste of life in A-Stan and Iraq.

I don't concern is a zero sum game.

And i thik avedis is making my defense of him look kind of naive. I wish he would quit doing that.

And i thik avedis is making my defense of him look kind of naive. I wish he would quit doing that.

Yes, that's how I have felt.

"So I am troll because i disagree with your liberal newsletter mass mailings on the topic."

Well, that certainly sounds like the voice of a man trying to contribute to a polite, reasoned discussion. "Liberal newsletter mass mailings" is a very odd thing to call a blog. But hey, what does reality matter?

As for the racial issue, reports make clear that Zimmermann used a racial slur, which rather suggests that race was very much on his mind. Dragging in a different case, without any evidence of racial hatred involved in it, is not a reasoned or helpful contribution to the discussion. It might make a member of the singularly tedious brotherhood of professional white victims feel better, but it does nothing to advance discussion of the actual issues here.

As for the whole attempt to claim that a person wearing a hoodie somehow deserves to be regarded as a danger to society, I note that Bill Belichick wears a hoodie in public, that a good number of my white neighbors wear them and that I myself in all my dazzling whiteness have been known to wear them - sometimes in company with my admittedly imperfectly white wife when we go to the mall. Doubtless we all deserve to be stalked and murdered by Zimmermann, because, you know, people wearing hoodies are clearly up to no good, even on a cold and windy March day. Or maybe not.

The salient facts here are that a 17 year old boy, armed with candy and a drink, was shot dead by an older, heavier male who had been stalking him with obvious racial animus on his mind. What was the boy's crime? Why none. What is the right wing response? To slander the dead black youth and ginn up ludicrous claims about how his photo had been whitened, while trying to make the man who stalked and killed him into a victim. How long will they abuse our patience? As long as they think they can get away with it.

"Why is it that most threads avedis participates in, end up being about avedis?"

Because you'd rather attack and malign the messanger as opposed to deal with the message.

This thread was classic. Brett started, per usual, nicely addressing important information gaps in the sources that were used in support of Dr S' racist hypothesis.

This piqued my interest. I had started seeing the Trayvon story all over. I don't really care about Trayvon per se any more than I do anyone else i read about in the paper who died young and suddenly and less so than those who die young and suddenly in service of their country or fellow man. But I do care about my country and how it's citizens think and the dynamics of mass media and democracy. So, based on Brett's comments, I look into the Trayvon thing some more. It's turns out that people here, as well as elsewhere, are wildly quoting all sorts of things that are materially false (and no, I'm not going to f'ing link to those things here as they are already mentioned in dozens of other posts).

So, what I see here is a bunch of people that want to believe a certain story regardless of the facts because it fits their world view. And I see bigger fish happily manipulating people like many of those here because they are playing politics, making money, getting fame, etc

So then people here just keep repeating what they want to believe, like "well they should have ID'ed the body and notified the parents faster than three days", implying, I suppose, lack of concern for dead black kids. There is ample reportage out there that says the parents were notified the next day. In fact the parents themselves say they were notified the next day. So I mention this as in, "see, you guys might have jumped to conclusions based on incomplete or misleading reporting". The response to me, is basically, "avedis, you're a poopoo head and a defender of gun carrying racists."

Then I get Gary Farber coming at me personally as opposed to addressing the arguments, facts and possibility that maybe Zimmerman isn't a racist and maybe this isn't a racist incident. Farber is master of, perhaps orginator of, the OBWI weasel (weasel as in a dance/shuffle - not the animal - though he may have one of those stashed somewhere for fun as well). Smoke and mirrors. "Who says that it's about racism? " "you owe Dr S an apology". Well, to my mind, there is a reason DR S' post contained all that material about the southern racist past, about specific racism in Florida and just a few miles away (as the doc notes) in modern times this event with Zimmerman/Martin.

Silly me, I figure there's an implied intended, on Dr S' part, connection; as in the recent event is a continuation of the racist past. Perhaps I look for too much meaning here. perhaps Dr S is just a spastic and all sorts of disconnected thoughts spew from her brain to the typepad and her posts are more like an ink blot test or something. I thought there was a logical flow leading from the past century up to racism in Z versus M.

And of course there was.

I don't need Farber's crap.

Why bring up A-stan? Because if we are all so interested in poor Trayvon because he got shot to death young for no good reason, then why no interest in guys about his age that are also getting shot to death young for no good reason in wars that accomplish nothing? Why no posts on that? Note Farber cannot/will not answer.

Nor will the headliners. Why? They don't give a fnck. It doesn't fit their agenda. They don't have the backbone to deal with it. So, it's a gender issues and race issues blog. Kind of stuff you get in the first couple years at any LA undergrad program at a state school these days. That's cool. Why not just admit it? Why is that so hard to do?

You'll be happy to know that I won't be back here. I seek intelligent honest conversation. There are some here ready, willing and able to engage in that. Saddly, most not. Especially the headliners.
I am not interested in feminst persecution myths, fags or phony drummed up racism or anything else coming from people that argue like a bunch of pussies instead of discuss like men.

"I am not interested in feminst persecution myths, fags or phony drummed up racism or anything else coming from people that argue like a bunch of pussies instead of discuss like men."

Interesting attempt to strike a pose of heroic manhood while fleeing out the door with one's pants on fire. Not, however, completely successful.

OK avedis, dig this.

As far as I'm concerned, you may not be a troll, but you're a raging asshole.

Every time you engage in a thread, sooner or later the thread devolves into a pissing contest about whether everyone at ObWi is a liberal pussy, and whether we just can't take the brute reality that avedis wants to bring.

I don't know who the f**k you think you are, but as far as I can tell, what you're bringing is just not all that special.

Speaking just for myself, I've spent years hanging on political blogs where virtually everyone had a position opposed to mine. And I had no problem dealing with it, nor did they have any problem dealing with me.

So my inability, or anyone else here's inability, to deal with "the messenger" is not the issue.

The issue is that any conversation with you eventually turns into what a pussy the other guy is, and what a righteous dude you are.

So screw you, dude. That's my reply. As Gary says, bite me. Not because I have any huge disagreement with your point of view, but because you are incapable of engaging in a conversation with other people without it somehow being all about you.

As far as I'm concerned, you're dragging this place down. Any thread you're on turns toxic as soon as you touch it.

On this thread, you have brought exactly one interesting piece of information. I was unaware that Martin's father had been allowed to id his son within 24 hours. If that in fact is true, I'm damned glad to know it, because no parent should have to wait three days to find out their kid is dead.

Other than that, everything else you've brought is horseshit, or off topic.

You want to lecture me about my my lack of an open mind, or my inability to face 'the truth', or any other damned thing? You can leave that in the car, dude, because you have no idea what I'm about, or what truths I can or cannot, or have or have not, faced.

You are entitled to engage with what I say here, and nothing more.

I don't give a flying f**k if you stick around or not. But this is the last conversation you will have with me. Because I have better things to do than waste my time with you. I hope you do leave, and I hope you do not come back, because you have been nothing but a corrosive, destructive presence here.

I invite the other front-pagers to ban me outta here if this is out of line. I'll consider it a very small price to pay.

Bye now.

avedis is just a little cog in the machine, folks. Move along folks, nothing to see here.

To be perfectly honest, I don't think avedis is a cog in any machine. I also think he does not intend to be trolling. He's just kind of a rude dude.

In and of itself, that doesn't bug me. I, personally, am just sick of hearing about how we're all just a bunch of whiny pussies who can't handle avedis' heavy truth.

It doesn't appear to occur to him that maybe folks just aren't won over by what he has to say for reasons other than their personal inability to deal.

Whatever.

If this joint is no longer your cup of tea, fine. No worries. If you don't like the company, go elsewhere.

Just quit b*tching about it. That's all I'm asking.

Apologies to all for the rant, it was likely inappropriate. Windows kernel objects were kicking my @ss, it was late, and I was just fed up.

Onward and upward.

Whether or not somebody is trolling seems completely irrelevant to me. Rudeness and ill-formed arguments are enough, in my opinion, to make them not worth addressing.

Morzer: What was the boy's crime? Why none.

You left out the part where the boy was entirely within his rights under Florida law. Suppose he hit, and even injured, Zimmerman after being pursued. Was he not merely "Standing His Ground" when attacked himself? Perhaps his only failing was that he didn't have a gun with which to shoot Zimmerman.

No dount someone on the right will shortly be making exactly that point. Where is the NRA when we need them?

On the point that there is plenty of "black on black" violence that does not get this level of "liberal" outrage:

Please point out any case of a black-on-black shooting, where the police show up to find the shooter, armed, standing over a dead shooting victim, and the police just LET THE SHOOTER WALK AWAY.

Not saying it never happened, but I'm not holding my breath.

I don't inherently object to ill-formed arguments, as they can sometimes present useful springboards for articulate and informative responses.

Also, sometimes it's enjoyable to hit the piñata.

I don't mind rudeness within limits. My sensibilities aren't so delicate that they can't stand up to some excess, and a bit of rough and tumble is part of the game -- within limits. There's are lines between rudeness and vileness, rudness and personal attacks, rudeness and idiocy.

But:

I am not interested in feminst persecution myths, fags or phony drummed up racism or anything else coming from people that argue like a bunch of pussies instead of discuss like men.
People can be interested in whatever they wish, but saying on ObWi that you have no interest in anything said by someone who discusses it like a woman, or a "fag," or is a "fag," in my opinion falls under the rubric of "also for the record, the more offensive racial slurs and epithets will be deemed to 'profanity' for the purposes of this rule" and absolutely under "We have no desire to censor people whose views we disagree with. However, there is a difference between stating and defending an unpopular position on the one hand, and repeated drive-by insults on the other, and the fact that we welcome the first does not mean that we must accept the second. We therefore reserve the right to warn and, if necessary, ban commenters who show a consistent pattern of blatant disrespect toward groups of people (e.g., people of a given race, military status, sexual orientation, or religion), when that disrespect is coupled with an apparent lack of interest in providing evidence for one's views or engaging in reasoned argument about them."

Outright repeated misogynistic or gay-hating statements are not acceptable.


If I missed this part of the discussion, I apologize, but I did hear one reason for non-arrest that seems free of racism: the concern that as soon as Zimmerman is arrested he will move to dismiss.

Under Florida law (as far as I can tell), the Stand Your Ground law allows the defense to file a motion to dismiss regarding the applicability of the Stand Your Ground immunity. Dennis v. State, 51 So. 3rd 456 (2010). That is because the statute not only allows an enhanced self defense affirmative defense, it contemplates that a defendant has a substantive right to not be “arrested, detained, charged, or prosecuted as the result of the use of legally justified force.” 776.032(1). That means evidentiary hearing on a motion to dismiss as soon as an arrest, detention, charge or prosecution happens. Under Dennis and Peterson v. State, 9083 So.2d 27 (2008)) the burden of proof for the defense is a preponderance (i.e. more likely than not) that the statutory immunity applies. The prosecution cannot get out saying there is a factual dispute or there is probable cause to believe the use of force was unjustified (reasoning: the law already mandated that a trial judge make a PC determination either before or shortly after a defendant is taken into custody; new law providing immunity from “criminal prosecution” must be interpreted in a way that gives a defendant more protection under the basic rule of statutory construction that a statute must be interpreted in a way to avoid rendering a portion of a statute meaningless).

If the defendant meets his burden, the prosecution has to rebut or the charges are dismissed. If dismissed, the prosecution cannot re-file without additional information. I’m not a criminal attorney, but I wonder if there is a jeopardy argument here. Under a regular “probable cause” motion to dismiss, the prosecution can re-file with any new information. Is the case any different after an evidentiary hearing under 776.032? Even if subject to the normal rule, you would want all your information in up front to overcome a motion to dismiss.

Zimmerman will presumably argue 776.013(3), which says if he is not engaged in an unlawful activity and is attacked in a place he has a right to be he has no duty to retreat and can meet force with force if he thinks it’s necessary to prevent great bodily harm. So he says he saw Treyvon, called the cops, they suggested he stay in the car but didn’t order him to so he got out to see what the guy was doing. Treyvon ran away, he didn’t find him, and as he was going back to my car Treyvon attacked him (note: this is for purposes of argument only ). There is corroboration for his story.

In rebutting this, the girlfriend’s testimony will have admission problems, as McKinneyTexas noted. The prosecutor has to be concerned about the sufficiency of “young voice” id’s and an eye witness who saw Zimmerman after the death of Treyvon. OTOH, there are the apparent epithets.

If the above is correct, waiting for a grand jury seems like the smart move. Let the evidence develop in the meantime, see if more comes out during the grand jury, and then move forward if the evidence is sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss. Doesn’t excuse initial investigation, but it does explain why the current prosecutor is proceeding deliberately and not rushing to arrest.

Of course, I could be completely wrong.

thanks bc, that is very good information.

I'm curious about why the phone call with the girlfriend would have admission problems. I'll go back up and read McK's comment to see what he said. I may have more questions after that.

Based on the facts as I understand them, proving Zimmerman is guilty of a crime may be difficult. IANAL, of course.

The key, to me, is the lack of a witness to the beginning of the fight.

We know that Zimmerman was following Martin, and that Martin noticed. We know Martin sped up (fast walk/run), based on both the gf's account and Zimmerman on the 9-1-1 tape. Gf says Zimmerman demanded to know what Martin was doing there, while Martin demanded to know why Zimmerman was following him - then the call goes dead.

... gap ...

A witness says Martin was on top of Zimmerman, punching him. Then shots. Another witness says she heard Martin calling for help before the shots. Zimmerman says that was him, not Martin.

The gap is a big problem. Zimmerman claims he was attacked from behind (i.e. w/o provocation/justification). I find this... not terribly plausible, but I can't prove otherwise.

I know what I think. But what can be proven is another matter.

A new wrinkle:

The lead homicide investigator in the shooting of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin recommended that neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter the night of the shooting, multiple sources told ABC News.

But Sanford, Fla., Investigator Chris Serino was instructed to not press charges against Zimmerman because the state attorney's office headed by Norman Wolfinger determined there wasn't enough evidence to lead to a conviction, the sources told ABC News.

. . . Serino filed an affidavit on Feb. 26, the night that Martin was shot and killed by Zimmerman, that stated he was unconvinced Zimmerman's version of events.

Zimmerman, 28, claimed he shot Martin, 17, in self defense.

One complicating factor in the investigation was that the first detective to interview Zimmerman about the shooting was a narcotics officer rather than a homicide detective.

The State Attorney's office said only "no comment" when asked about the affidavit today.

What I think is that Zimmerman was automatically suspicious of Martin because he's a black young man. The hoodie was gravy. That's something that young black men live with pretty much every day.

Zimmerman thinking his presence there was "suspicious" makes him more or less as racist as most other folks who aren't black. Which is to say, it's just in the freaking air.

From all of the information we have at hand, my guess is that Zimmerman, who had been tailing Martin in his car for something like a half hour, got out of his car and confronted him.

Then they got into a fight.

Then Martin got the better of him.

Then Zimmerman shot him.

I would find it likely, given the "stand your ground" law in FL, that the AG would prefer not to press charges because it won't be an easy case to make. There was a fight, Zimmerman did have injuries.

But the basic reason Martin is dead is because (a) Zimmerman was automatically suspicious of him because he was a young black man, and (b) Zimmerman way overstepped the bounds of what he was prepared, by way of personal common sense or training, to handle in that situation.

He should have stayed in his car and waited for the cops to come, like the dispatcher recommend that he do.

I doubt he will be charged, but IMO he is responsible. Not because he's a blatant racist, because I doubt he is. Or, at least, it's less than clear that he is. But because he's a knucklehead.

Carrying a gun doesn't make you a cop.

I'm hesitant to speak for black people, because I'm not one. But it makes perfect sense, to me, for black people to find this whole case a source of tremendous outrage.

Because their boys can't walk home from the 7/11 without automatically being the target of suspicion. Still, after all these years. And when some wound-up dude like Zimmerman ends up shooting somebody, it's more likely to be one of their kids than not.

I don't find their anger hard to understand.

"Zimmerman thinking his presence there was "suspicious" makes him more or less as racist as most other folks who aren't black. Which is to say, it's just in the freaking air."

I completely fail to understand why the "who aren't black" was necessary here, except as a gratuitous way of sneaking in the absurd claim that blacks aren't racist.

.

But the basic reason Martin is dead is because (a) Zimmerman was automatically suspicious of him because he was a young black man, and (b) Zimmerman way overstepped the bounds of what he was prepared, by way of personal common sense or training, to handle in that situation.\

And (c) Zimmerman had a gun. And (d) Zimmerman probably thought he could shoot someone because guns and "self-defense" are the new black, and he felt threatened.

So, is what we have here institutional racism, a one-off event in which "who hit who first?" is ambiguous or what?

I'm hesitant to speak for black people, because I'm not one. But it makes perfect sense, to me, for black people to find this whole case a source of tremendous outrage.

Because their boys can't walk home from the 7/11 without automatically being the target of suspicion. Still, after all these years. And when some wound-up dude like Zimmerman ends up shooting somebody, it's more likely to be one of their kids than not.

Russell, I find the outrage problematic. I can't do links (Slarti, I've tried, I really have), so here is an article that discusses statistics, and other things: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/294357/why-manipulate-tragedy-trayvon-martin-heather-mac-donald.

Yes, it's from National Review Online, so perhaps that is a problem (not for me, but for others, or maybe not). It looks to me like (a) death by gunshot in Martin's age/race demographic is perhaps the leading cause of death for that demographic and (b) the vast, vast majority of such deaths are perpetrated by members of that same demographic, i.e. the crime is far more often than not, black-on-black.

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.

But, I am willing to be educated.

Final note: I was troubled by what appeared to be a lack of diligent investigation. Phil and bc have brought forward information that puts that in context, i.e. there is more to that discrete issue than met the eye.

Haha, black leaders talk about the problem of black on black crime like, literally, all the time. You just are not, shall we say, in their target audience.


(And yes, I do find links to a publication that unrepentantly fought desegregation to be more than a little problematic. I am definitely not interested in articles on race from anything that would publish J0hn D3rbyshire and M4rk St3yn. Google-proofed because heaven forbid they ever find this place.)

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.

This is the kind of claim that reduces many liberals to a spluttering mass of inchoate rage. I will only note a few things:
1. Whites run this country, not blacks.
2. Black poverty rates are a national disgrace. There is an obvious reason for this.
3. As a general rule, I am just as outraged by blacks lynching white folks....wait, that didn't happen.
4. I was astounded to find out that most murders of white folks are committed by other white folks. I guess something must be done.
5. The larger problem is white racism. Most white folks today dismiss the idea out of hand.
6. There is a lot of material out there where more could be learned on this subject.

But, I am willing to be educated.

For that I am grateful, and it is genuinely appreciated.

I completely fail to understand why the "who aren't black" was necessary here, except as a gratuitous way of sneaking in the absurd claim that blacks aren't racist.

Sorry, poorly worded.

What I take to be Zimmerman's suspicion of Martin for no reason other than the fact he was black is fairly common among people who aren't black.

It's not the only species of, for lack of a better word, ambient racism, and the American black population partakes of their share.

I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why this instance--statistically rare--sparks such outrage

I doubt that I'm the guy to be handing out education on this topic, but I'll take a stab.

It's quite true that young black guys killing young black guys is much more common than white neighborhood watch dudes killing young black guys. And, I think everyone, including the black community, understands that.

And, I think the black community is quite outraged about young black guys killing young black guys, along with whoever else is in the general vicinity.

All of that said, black people, especially young black men, live with other people being more or less constantly suspicious and apprehensive of them. Regardless of who they are, what they're doing, whatever.

Young black guy means scary guy. Whether it makes any sense or not.

I think it wears people out, living with that. I know it would get under my skin.

I have enough black friends, and have seen them in enough situations like this, to know they're not making it up.

It's like going through life with two strikes against you, before you even get out of bed.

And god forbid that your kid actually screw up. Then, it's just proof that your kind of people are exactly what everyone thinks they are.

So, I understand why this case would make them angry. The kid was walking to his father's house, from the 7-11, with an iced tea and some skittles. And Zimmerman pegged him as "suspicious", "on something", one of the "assholes" who "always get away".

I feel very confident that, had Martin been white, he would not only be alive, he would barely have attracted Zimmerman's attention.

How many 17 year old kids who were not black boys did Zimmerman follow around? I don't know, but I'm going to guess the number is quite small, likely zero.

I could be wrong about that, but I think the odds are in my favor.

Living with stuff like that, all day every day, wears people down. You feel like you don't belong in your own country.

So, it makes sense to me that black folks are damned angry about this.

What I take to be Zimmerman's suspicion of Martin for no reason other than the fact he was black is fairly common among people who aren't black.

And just to make sure it's clear that my comment here is not about finger-pointing, I am also prone to this.

I will avoid a young black guy more often than I'll avoid a young white guy, all other things being equal.

If I'm parking my car and young black guys are around, I'm more likely to make sure it's locked than if some young white guys are hanging around.

It's in the air.

....except as a gratuitous way of sneaking in the absurd claim that blacks aren't racist.

An incredibly irrelevant and gratuitous remark.

Perhaps some day in an imaginary distant universe when a black neighborhood "watch cop" stalks and kills a young white kid because he "looked suspicious" walking around in a gated black community we will be able to discuss black racism, and the presumption by a large segment of the black community that the kid "brought it on himself"....thus opening the door to discuss the pressing problem of high white crime and white on white murder rates.

Um, wow.

Yes, Brett, I think you do fail to understand.

I did not read that as any sort of attempt at saying "blacks are not racist." Russell said, basically, that non-blacks probably struggle to imagine exactly what anti-black racism is like.

...

Look, as we were leaving our parking garage at work today, my wife and I saw a black man walking (slowly, kinda meandering) around. There have been some smash & grab jobs lately. She remarks, upon seeing him, that she finds him suspicious. He was dressed, btw, in office-work type attire. My wife found herself thinking that might be a good disguise for a thief.

This is not someone who thinks black people are bad, or that they should be kept down, or whatever. But that, right there, is one particular iteration of 21st century racism.

This is what people mean when they say such things are "in the air." Black man = trouble is something that is freaking EVERYWHERE in our culture.

I put in a mild "or, he could have forgotten where he parked" and left it at that. FWIW, she agreed. Thankfully, neither of us have delusional savior complexes + firearms. ;)

Thankfully, neither of us have delusional savior complexes + firearms. ;)

Right. We're all guilty of something, some wrongheadedness of some kind. Enforcing those concepts lethally is where there's real trouble. (Politically it's also a problem, but at least the victims can try to fight back.)

"the absurd claim that blacks aren't racist"

A claim which appears to exist only in the fevered imagination of a person attempting to drag the thread away from the topic of Trayvon Martin. You know, the murdered black kid who dared to wear a hoodie while walking down the street packin' candy.

that, right there, is one particular iteration of 21st century racism.

Yes, that's exactly what I'm talking about.

Thanks Rob.

Stereotypes exist. This is apparently a crazy assertion to some.

And yes, I'm guilty too at times. I catch my unconcious brain doing it. I fight it. But it's there to be fought. And it got there somehow. Damn, I don't even really know exactly how (it was not my parents, or any personal experiences).

This case, regardless of whether Zimmerman is found guilty of anything, really bring that to the fore. Zimmerman, like so many, has internalized the stereotype. The difference between him and I is probably a dash of paranoia, some personal experiences, a strong desire on his part to play hero, and of course possession of a deadly weapon.

http://www.timwise.org/2012/03/trayvon-martin-white-america-and-the-return-of-dred-scott/>Dred Scott lives

I'd be interested in hearing McT's take on the release of Trayvon's school records. Not trying to catch you out here, but I think that this is much more a problematic manipulation given that an official must have released these.

"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."

As Russell said, probably initially because of the apparent tardiness or apathy of law enforcement to investigate the killing.

I read the National Review piece you linked to. Yes, there are problems more serious in terms of life lost than the one presented by Trayvon Martin. So what? Does that mean we have to shut up about him? Does it invalidate the concerns his killing reminds us of?

I think you're right that it could be true of a corporation like CNN or MSNBC that they are coldly seeking to exploit a newsworthy event and are hypocrites in that they have no time or coverage to spare for more pressing and large-scale social problems affecting the black community.

However, proving that someone's a hypocrite doesn't invalidate everything they say. If CNN is a hypocrite for not devoting more coverage to other issue affecting AAs, that doesn't have a lick to do with Trayvon Martin, it just proves that they're inconsistency.

The NRO is doing what is known on message boards as concern trolling.

It is also funny to see NRO bemoaning the lack of serious treatment of black issues.

"Family breakdown, not white racism, is the biggest impediment facing blacks today"

Maybe white racism (or institutionalized racism, if you prefer a colorless label) causes family breakdown? Maybe we have incredibly harsh drug laws that disproportionately affect and punish the poor, who are disproportionately black, creating a permanent underclass of people who cycle in and out of prison with few opportunities to extract themselves?

This is why I don't go to the NRO for interesting commentary on racial issues - or anything else for that matter. If we feel like talking about white racism as a possible cause of apathy to the murder of a black kid, I see no reason to heed the NRO's plaintive mewling of "won't somebody PLEASE think of black-on-black crime."

Especially when black community orgs, churches, anti-gang initiatives, etc are all knee-deep in these issues, every day, as Phil noted.

"But when that justice comes, as it most surely will"

That line was a knee-slapper.

As for avedis, my conviction that he is a troll comes from the fact that I frequent message boards that are a lot lower on the intellectual totem pole than this one - I know what serious trolling looks like.

But even if he isn't a troll, who cares? Is there some kind of unrebuttable law against banning people so long as they spew lies/misconceptions in good faith? His contributions require ENDLESS nitpicking because of his (take your pick) intellectual laziness or deliberately sloppy writing, uncritical receptiveness to racist and homophobic argument, and oversimplification. I mean, Gary Farber is very interesting to read, but NOT on the topic of the six millionth reason avedis is wrong.

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.

My outrage is about the killer standing over the body with the gun, and the cops saying they can't arrest him because he claimed "self defense."

And as we are looking at the law, it appears the cops may be right, which should generate more outrage over a ridiculous law.

"and the cops saying they can't arrest him because he claimed "self defense.""

Seriously? You seriously think it went down that way? Because the Florida law doesn't say you can't arrest somebody who claims self defense. Basically, it says you can't arrest them if they claim self defense, and you lack probable cause to believe they're lying about it.

So, this dude is claiming somebody he shot punched him in the mouth, and was beating his head against the pavement. He's got a busted lip and the back of his head is bloody. There's a witness who says he saw the dude on the bottom being beaten. All your evidence is consistent with his story.

Where do you find the probable cause in that?

There's a conscious effort underway to carve away details from this case, in order to turn it into the ideal instrument with which to attack "Stand your ground" laws. But those pesky details keep creeping back in and ruining the narative.

So, this dude is claiming somebody he shot punched him in the mouth, and was beating his head against the pavement. He's got a busted lip and the back of his head is bloody. There's a witness who says he saw the dude on the bottom being beaten. All your evidence is consistent with his story.

Where do you find the probable cause in that?

Because given the other facts of the case -- Zimmerman following Martin in his SUV, Zimmerman calling the cops, Zimmerman pursuing and confronting Martin on foot -- it was MARTIN who was exercising HIS right to self-defense, as he quite likely had a reasonable belief that he was about to come to serious harm at Zimmerman's hands.

There's a conscious effort underway to carve away details from this case, in order to turn it into the ideal instrument with which to attack "Stand your ground" laws.

Martin was the one standing his ground. Zimmerman pursued him, found himself in a fight he couldn't win, and shot his way out of it.

Are you under the misimpression that you have to have a firearm to exercise your right to self-defense and to Stand Your Ground? Because that's patently silly. Or, hey, maybe you just want every fistfight to escalate into a gunfight, so long as "the right people (wink, wink)" win every time. I can't read your mind.

It is a shame that avedis left before I had a chance to ask him what "race" he thinks Martin and Charlie Sheen are. Or Cameron Diaz. Or Charlotte Ayana. Or Rita Hayworth.

Oh, and BTW, Zimmerman's other 911 calls, which include not only considering stray dogs, potholes and piles of trash to be police emergencies, but also:

In August 2011, he called to report a black male in a tank top and shorts acting suspicious near the development's back entrance. "[Complainant] believes [subject] is involved in recent S-21s"—break-ins—"in the neighborhood," the call log states. The suspect, Zimmerman told the dispatcher, fit a recent description given out by law enforcement officers.

Three days later, he called to report two black teens in the same area, for the same reason. "[Juveniles] are the subjs who have been [burglarizing] in this area," he told the dispatcher.

And last month, on Feb. 2, Zimmerman called to report a suspicious black man in a leather jacket near one of the development's units. The resident of that townhouse, Zimmerman told dispatch, was a white male. Police stopped by to investigate, but no one was there, and the residence was secure.

Even little children were not safe from George Zimmerman, Mall Cop:
On April 22, 2011, Zimmerman called to report a black male about “7-9” years old, four feet tall, with a “skinny build” and short black hair. There is no indication in the police report of the reason for Zimmerman’s suspicion of the boy.

There's a conscious effort underway to carve away details from this case, in order to turn it into the ideal instrument with which to attack "Stand your ground" laws.

That may be, but we also have a clear statement from the original sponsor of the law stating that this kind of situation is *not* what the law was intended to protect.

It also appears that the original investigator wanted to press charges, and was asked to stand down by the AG. Which is not exactly the same thing as saying Zimmerman's clean.

I don't live in FL, so the "stand your ground" law has no effect on me. I do live in MA, where a similar law was just proposed, and you can bet your @ss I will be on the horn to my rep about it, and I encourage anyone living in MA who is reading this to do the same.

I don't personally own a gun, and I can't think of anything I personally own that I would kill anybody over. But that's my business, and other folks have the right to make their own decisions about stuff like that.

But not retreating from a home invasion is not, remotely, the same as "not retreating" from a fight that is the result of your stalking somebody with no good cause.

If this is what comes of "stand your ground", I do not want it in my state.

On the other hands there are lots of examples of the other side leaving out info or prsenting speculation as fact too.
E.g. I have yet to see a proof that Mr. Zimmerman's nose got broken (at least that should be easy). For the other injuries there seem to be only witness acounts that could be biased and could not be physically proven anymore. Then there is the alleged tampering with eyewitness accounts that contradict Mr.Zimmerman's version of the events. It also seems beyond dispute that Mr.Martin's dead body got drug tested (negatively!*) while Mr.Zimmerman was not. I see systematic attempts to play up alleged or real contra-legal activity of both participants while suppressing the same for the respective other.
What I see independent of what really happened is gross incompetence/negligence on part of the police that follows a bad tradition that at least in the past was definitely racially motivated. The case is seen as exemplifying that scandalous tradition and thus drew the spotlight towards it. Had the police done its job by the book, there likely would not have been the public outrage even if Mr.Zimmerman got a full acquittal.

*while being suspended from school for alleged drug use based on circumstantial evidence (I do not make any claims about the validity either for or against).

I'd be interested in hearing McT's take on the release of Trayvon's school records. Not trying to catch you out here, but I think that this is much more a problematic manipulation given that an official must have released these.

Yep, it's problematic given the absence of a subpoena and the privacy that normally attaches to school disciplinary and grade records. Some school activity stuff is open record, like membership in a club or on a team. Suspensions and the like are private.

The encounter is a mess, both sides have their advocates and many others, from what I've read, on both sides of the spectrum are pretty balanced in their views. Martin was probably not the cookie baking boy scout he was first portrayed to be, Zimmerman may not be the trigger happy loon some say he was. Someone at the school probably felt obliged to spill some beans to balance what he/she thought was an unbalanced picture. As an aside, I am very careful not to pitch my clients, as right as they may be, as angels. It just paints a bigger target.

Typically, encounters like this begin with words and escalate to blows then a gun comes out, usually from the guy who is losing the fist fight part. So, who swung first and under what provocation? And was the gun drawn and fired because the fight wouldn't end or because the shooter was angry and wanted pay back? Without eye witnesses, or even with them, it will be really hard to know.

I have to bail, big trial next week, not going to settle. I wouldn't mind a post down the road to follow up, not on this discrete issue, but the issues raised by BP at 7:20 and Russell at 7:23.

Wow. You go on vacation for a few days, and look what happens.

Looks as if it's been handled; thanks to russell, Gary, and the general commentariat.

My position on this is largely in agreement with that of Sebastian, here.

So, who swung first and under what provocation?

The question I have, that nobody will probably ever be able to answer, is whether Zimmerman ever answered Martin's question:

Why are you following me?

Zimmerman's statement was apparently, "What are you doing here?". Not, "Excuse me, I'm with the neighborhood watch, I don't think I've seen you here before, we've had some break-ins, I'm just keeping an eye out for strangers".

Just "What are you doing here?". After following him around, without making any other attempt at contact, for something like a half hour.

Zimmerman was apparently not dressed in any kind of uniform, and was driving his own, presumably unmarked, vehicle.

Was there any reason for Martin to know Zimmerman was part of a neighborhood watch?

Or was, from his point of view, Zimmerman just some dude who had been stalking him around the neighborhood for a while, in spite of his attempts to walk (and then run) away, and who had now left his car and was approaching him on foot?

Did Martin see that Zimmerman had a gun?

What, exactly, was his responsibility to "wait and see" what kind of character Zimmerman turned out to be?

Given the limited facts that we have, it's hard for me to see Martin as owning much, if any, responsibility for this.

Zimmerman should have stayed in his damned car and waited for the cops to show up. He shouldn't have pursued Martin, either by car or on foot, after the dispatcher told him to stand down. He shouldn't, per the neighborhood watch rules if I have them correctly, have been carrying his weapon on his neighborhood watch rounds. Having decided, in spite of all of the above, to pursue Martin on foot, he should have clearly identified himself and what his business was.

Any one of those things would have resulted in Martin likely being alive now. Eating skittles and drinking iced tea in his dad's living room. All of that is on Zimmerman. As I see it.

Martin's dead now. IANAL but it seems to me that if you cause someone's death through your own preventable foolishness, you bear some responsibility. Maybe not murder, but something.

Thanks to McT for his response and I'll try to get something up per his request for the weekend

The NR stgatistics sited by commenters upthread might be right. In fact, I think the stats themsleves are correct. However the stats don't address the wuestion of wether or not racism was part of Zimmerman's motivation or whether or not racism negatively effects the lives of black men to a significant degree. What the stats show is that there are other problems faced by black men and black families besides racism and I don't think anyone denies that.

SUppose someone did a study on shootings of innocent people by people who claimed self defense or claimed to represent the law. SUppose your study broke out the results by race. Then you would have a study with relevant data.

Or maybe you could do a study wherein people were asked to pick out a picture of a criminal and break out their choices by the race of the person doing the picking and the race of who got picked. I think most people are smart enough to beat that sortof test, though.

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