Trayvon-Zimmerman: Stop This Ethics Train Wreck!

Unstoppable?

The Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman episode is escalating into a full-scale ethics train wreck at a frightening pace, pulling in participants and bystanders alike, and threatening to become a national catastrophe. Usually such things need to play out until all the carnage is exhausted, but this train wreck is different. Too many parties, including the media, are behaving irresponsibly, given the sensitivity of the issues at hand and the possible worse case scenarios. If the train can’t be stopped, it desperately needs to be slowed down.

At this point, however, I wonder if it can. The activists now driving the action obviously no longer care about little nuances like facts, fairness, and law. The participation of Ethics Train Wreck Engineer Extraordinaire Al Sharpton perfectly suits the situation. Whatever the witnesses say, whatever the facts may appear to be to rational and reasonable observers, too many people are invested in the presumption that a white racist shot an innocent black teen for “walking while black,” and nothing short of harsh punishment will avert claims of society-wide racism and the attendant anger, protests, and violence to come.

Disgracefully, more respectable media figures than Sharpton are also throwing kerosene on the fire.  Here, for example, is Pulitzer Prize winning Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson’s opening to today’s column:

“The “Stand Your Ground” laws in Florida and other states should all be repealed. At best, they are redundant. At worst, as in the Trayvon Martin killing, they are nothing but a license to kill.”

Oh, nice. Despite all the emerging questions about the incident, Robinson is still insinuating that Martin was killed by an armed man hunting black kids, and that this is just what white legislatures want. Al Sharpton couldn’t have said it better, or more provocatively. But for Robinson to write that now, in a publication like the Washington Post, even as it appears that Martin may have attacked Zimmerman, and knowing that the New Black Panther’s have placed a bounty on Zimmerman’s head, is truly despicable.

Meanwhile, MSNBC, which is not exactly a respectable new organization but aspires to be one, is throwing its weight and credibility behind the lynch mob mentality by allowing Sharpton to lead his usual blood-lust rallies and yet continue as a host on the cable network. CNN journalist ethics watchdog Howard Kurtz asked, “How on earth can Al Sharpton go there, be an activist, stand with the parents, and he asks people to contribute money, and he went to the Justice Department with the parents of Trayvon Martin. And then he does his [MSNBC] show, and then he speaks at the rally again. He’s covering himself! How can MSNBC allow that?”

Oh, that’s pretty easy to answer, Howard! MSNBC is shameless, irresponsible, reckless and unprofessional, and is perfectly happy, apparently, to plant the seeds of a race riot or twelve.

Not that the rest of the media isn’t doing its part…like by repeatedly using old photos of Martin that make him look like he’s 12, and a mug shot of Zimmerman that makes him seem like an axe murderer. Has any serious effort been made to find fairer, neutral photos? It certainly doesn’t seem so. It also seems like the media has framed this story without sufficient concern about whether its framing is fair or true.

If the damage from  this train wreck is to be minimized, Trayvon’s also parents need to step out of the spotlight and be responsible in their grief. Right now it appears that they are fueling hate, while simultaneously creating cynicism. Was it really necessary, for example, to apply for trademarks for the phrases “I am Trayvon” and “Justice for Trayvon”? I’m sure some helpfully greedy lawyer was responsible, but imagine the reaction if the Brown family had trademarked “Justice for Nicole” during the Simpson trial. Is this about justice, or making a killing on T-shirts?

Today I heard Martin’s father condemning the media for reporting developments in the story, specifically their son’s history of drug use and the fact that he had been suspended from school twice. Wrong: it was the parents who wove the tale of a completely innocent, exemplary kid who never broke a law or a rule in his life. They used this theme to get others to pre-judge George Zimmerman, who now has a price on his head. They may not now object when facts are brought to light that diminish that idealized portrait. If Trayvon was shot without provocation, his previous conduct, good or bad, doesn’t and shouldn’t matter. But it is grossly unfair to participate in the painting of Zimmerman as a monster whose bigotry took the life of a teen angel, and then to cry foul when the media attempts to bring the portrayal of the victim in line with the facts.

I don’t see how Florida officials can make a fair, objective and just assessment now about whether Zimmerman should be charged, as they are operating under a threat of violence by people and organizations who only want a particular result that fulfills a specific ideological agenda. I don’t see how a fair trial could be held if he were charged either, as it will be clear that an not guilty verdict will risk Rodney King-style riots encouraged by agitators like Sharpton and thugs like the New Black Panthers.

Now is the time for President Obama to exert proper and appropriate presidential leadership, unlike his first, ill-conceived and aggravating statement in which he personally identified with Trayvon, and to issue a call for calm, reason, fairness and justice no matter what the investigation ultimately uncovers. When a national organization says that it is trying to raise a posse of 5000 men to hunt down a citizen—Zimmerman—and subject him to kangaroo court and vigilante justice, it is time for some Presidential initiative. So far, all President Obama has done is to participate in this ethics train wreck.

Let’s see if he has the skill, courage and influence to stop it.

 

 

86 Comments

Filed under Character, Citizenship, Family, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, U.S. Society

86 responses to “Trayvon-Zimmerman: Stop This Ethics Train Wreck!

  1. Michael Boyd

    It’s a tough one. I blame the police and the city. Mr. Zimmerman should have been brought in immediately after the shooting and read his rights. He wasn’t wearing anything that identified him as security or law enforcement. What was he doing with a gun off his property? I know he thought about what he did after the fact and immediately realized that things weren’t going to be the same from that time on. At the time no one knew of Trayvon’s past. He possibly did assault George. Both were afraid and let fear get the best of them. It appears no one was in their right mind that night. And now everyone else has lost theirs along the way. I feel for both Trayvon and George. They both made mistakes and it cost both of their lives.

    • You can’t bring him in if it hasn’t been determined that he broke an actual law, and the Florida law can preclude arrest.

      • Michael Boyd

        I don’t know where the shooting took place. If it was on the street, how far away it was from George’s pickup, or if it was close to someone’s house. George told the dispatcher he was in pursuit. In pursuit because Trayvon was acting suspicious? Did George voluntarily leave his pickup or did Trayvon pull him out? Did George identify himself? Did he ask Trayvon what he was doing or where he was going? Did George actually witness a crime taking place? George had a pickup, a gun, outweighed Trayvon by around 100 lbs, and had the nieghborhood’s blessing as a watch person. Trayvon was wearing a “hoody”, and had Skittles and tea. Was Trayvon visiting the gated community or was he cutting through by climbing a fence? I’m looking for intent, opportunity, and capability to commit any kind of a crime. George had the necessary gun permit but is he a licensed in law enforcement? Maybe you don’t have to be licensed in Florida. I would still think that a vigilante would have to give a statement regardless of his authority. Nothing was done to CYA by the police, the city, the gated community, or by George. It sounds like a very poor investigation. Maybe the police can’t make an arrest at that time but they can investigate immediately when deadly force was used in a situation where a crime taking place was questionable. The police’s procedure looks flawed and is hurting George in the long run. It’s sad that it turned into an issue of race when it should be a story of a poor police investigation and the “stand your ground” law. It’s turned into a total cluster____!

        • All valid questions, and ones that an investigation should answer. I’m reading this morning that the Sanford Police wanted to arrest Zimmerman but were told not to by the State’s Attorney. Not being a lawyer, I’m not sure why he couldn’t have been arrested, then cleared. A trial is the proper place to determine innocence or guilt. But what’s played a significant role in this story making national news is the slow pace of the investigation. Now Jack had previously mentioned that this instance is really not out of the ordinary, and that justice can be slow. Most reasonable folks are willing to wait for justice. But the lack of an arrest, the alleged failure to collect crime scene evidence, the fact that a narcotics investigator and not a homicide detective did the initial interview are leading already sensitive people (and rightfully so) to jump to the conclusion that justice is not being served. While I’m trying to reserve judgement, something about Zimmerman’s story doesn’t feel right. To be continued….

          • I always think about the Jeffrey McDonald case. His family was murdered in 1970 and he was wounded, he claimed, by the Manson-like attackers. He was exonerated in a couple of hearings and at least two investigations. Then the case was re-opened, he was charged with murder, and convicted…1n 1975. He’s been in jail ever since. I have no idea how this would have played out with the internet, or with protesters calling for Justice for the McDonald Kids while officials were trying to sort out everything, but most people didn’t even know about the case until a best-selling book and a TV movie. The point is, he was finally convicted. And yet there are many who think McDonald was railroaded too. Unraveling these scenarios is not as simple as TV makes people think.

            • Addendum—an arrest makes a huge difference, and often causes things to tumble out of control. Look at what happened in the Duke lacrosse case. Those students were seriously harmed, and the reason was that the investigation of the victim wasn’t complete.

              • Bill

                Not only the arrest makes a difference but whether the person being tried is in jail or free on bond during their trial.

          • Walrus

            Urbanregor has it right. The police and State may have botched this irredeemably. People coming behind them are going to have a hard time explaining why they aren’t bringing charges but if evidence is gone or tainted now by the media investigation which, understandably, filled the vaccuum, people will be outraged. But it can be explained. At the end of the day, some responsible State official will have to say they f’ed up and plead for mercy. It can be explained and peace can prevail.

        • Average Joe

          Let’s throw out the Zimmerman’s overzealous neighborhood watch and Martin’s thug issues and get the proper physical dimensions. Zimmerman 5’9″ 160lbs from the video and Martin 6’3″ 150lbs.

          No matter what expired before this event should not make any difference at all in the criminal case.

          Both Martin’s girlfriend on phone with Martin and Zimmerman’s police reports confirm the following….

          Martin, “Why are you following me?”
          Zimmerman, “What are you doing around here?”

          Girlfriends hears noises and line goes dead

          Neighbors call 911 for disturbance and while on call screaming for help and then a gun shot.

          Eye witness places Zimmerman on ground with Martin on top hitting him.

          Eye witness calls out I am calling 911 and goes to get phone but then hears gun shot.

          Eye witness looks again and Zimmerman is still on ground but so is Martin.

          What exactly happened in those few seconds before the shot, we will not know. All we have is Zimmerman’s side of the story which so far is confirmed except for the few seconds before the shot.

          How the two ended up together should not matter. What does matter is it seems that Martin turned to violence when a tragic event could of been solved by Martin just saying “I’m here staying with my dad’s girlfriend”

          • If it is confirmed that the two fought and that Martin was on top, and if it is confirmed that the gunshot was at close range, I don’t see how any conviction for even manslaughter could stick, with or without evidence of racial profiling. Zimmerman made multiple mistakes leading to violence, but once they were actually struggling with the gun in reach of both, reasonable doubt seems unreachable to me…IF the fight can be confirmed credibly. Right now, we still don’t know very much with any clarity.

            • urbanregor

              I’m not sure of the law, so please advise on this question. What happens if party A starts a fight, party b stands is ground and fights back, in the ensuing struggle, party A is losing the fight, pulls a gun and shoots party b?

          • Michael Boyd

            We don’t know for sure who started the physical side of it. Trayvon could have gotten the upper hand and that is when George used deadly force. The mistake George made was getting out of the truck. Then getting out without identifying himself. Then getting out with a loaded handgun. After dark, George has a pickup with lights. He has locks on the doors. He has a window and a voice. He had a cell phone. He had a dispatcher on the line with police on the way. What did Trayvon have but a bag of Skittles, a bottle of tea, and his size? Throw the issue of race out the window. The neighborhood watch captain was poorly trained with his authority and with handling a handgun. I doubt there will be justice in this case because of the recklessness of the police department, the protests, “the stand your ground” law, a poorly trained neighborhood watch captain, the media, biased witnesses, and a kid that should have run for his life regardless of what he looked like. You can’t say for sure if Trayvon started the violence, no more than I can say that George identified himself and took the precautions to protect himself first and foremost. Now there will be a precedent to use deadly force anywhere, (with the exception of where guns are strictly banned) any time with the short statement of self defense.

            • That all sounds about right to me, Michael.

            • Michael Boyd

              One other thing Trayvon could have been a deaf mute (but he wasn’t) George could have done better if he was properly trained to have authority as security or police with a hand gun.

              • But you know…if Zimmerman had been trained and had been a cop, and the same thing occurred, and he was white (or “white Hispanic”), the exact same thing would be happening in every respect. Nothing would be different.

                • Michael Boyd

                  It’s sad, but the truth!

                  • urbanregor

                    I respectfully disagree. Had it been a police officer instead of an untrained, over zealous, no authority having, gun toting, self appointed neighborhood watchman, Trayvon would have been compelled to answer a question like what are you doing here? He owed Zimmerman no such explanation, and Zimmerman had no right to confront him, if that is what happened. I’m trying to reserve judgement, but instinct tells me that Zimmerman forced the issue, when he could have simply stayed in his car and waited for the police.

                    While it’s possible that an altercation with a policeman could have occurred, the actual instances of 17 year old kids fighting and reaching for a police officers gun are rare. Let’s remember, Trayvon had broken no laws, and was exactly where he was supposed to be. The bottom line though, is that we all really want to know more facts. But I for one am tired of people assuming that they’re within their rights to challenge any black person they see, who they suspect is a potential criminal. Neighborhood watches are positive. Armed untrained confrontational vigilantes are not….

                    • 1. There is no obligation to answer a police question.
                      2. Nobody knows that Zimmerman wouldn’t have stooped a white kid under similar circumstances.
                      3. I said that if the same thing had happened with Zimmerman a trained police officer, the response would be the same. Saying that the same thing probably wouldn’t have happened with a cop is changing the subject.
                      4. Your instinct means exactly nothing, and is certainly not criteria to decide what happened. Zimmerman didn’t kill Trayvon by getting out of his car. No law in any state says you can’t get out of a car, or follow someone you are suspicious of. The gun was carried legally. We can be suspicious of anyone we choose. No law is broken until someone initiates contact that without permission, or impedes one’s freedom.

        • Fidel Barrera

          It seems like you don’t have the full knowledge of that incident. I’m sure I don’t have it either. How can you tell that the police procedure looks flawed and it should be a story of poor police investigation? By saying these, do you think that you are jumping into conclusion just like the others?

          • Michael Boyd

            I agree with you Fidel. I don’t have all the facts. But since the situation is out of control, I am blaming the police. At the time, I didn’t know that George was brought in for questioning. I have never heard whether the police considered the case closed or it was still in the process of an ongoing investigation. It seems to me that the parents aren’t satisfied with the justice being served and it took off into the media. I don’t think that justice is being served to George either because of the police’s mishandling of the case. There was a communication breakdown and I think George has become a victim. He was also poorly trained with his authority and the proper use of deadly force. There could have been charges and a hearing after an investigation. I didn’t hear of that part. A person was killed. Many police departments are put on administrative furlough after using deadly force. I never heard whether George’s gun, truck, description of injuries, or clothes were part of the crime scene investigation. And yes, it should have been considered a crime scene investigation since evidently Trayvon was in the process of committing a crime of assault on George. It’s a travesty it has gone this far. Instead of one dead, George has lost so much due to the police’s poor handling of this situation.

  2. Michael Ejercito

    From what I read, the case should ultimately turn on whether George Zimmerman had backed off after his initial pursuit.

    • Fidel Barrera

      I don’t think so. Following an individual is not illegal just like what the paparazzis are doing and as long as you respect their space. I think it is who assaulted who that will ultimately decide this case.

  3. fattymoon

    Jack, I wish there were some way to stop this Ethics train wreck, but I’m afraid not even Superman, let alone President Obama, could bring a halt to the rising tide of hate.

    We (Occupy Las Cruces http://occupylascruces.wordpress.com/ , the NAACP, and anyone wishing to attend) will hold a candlelight vigil Friday night for Trayvon Martin. It will be a somber affair, with no calls for justice, just quiet reflection, a time of peace. I will read Khalil Gibran’s poem from The Prophet, On Death… http://www.katsandogz.com/ondeath.html

    Other participants may also contribute poems, songs, or whatever moves the Spirit.

    I pray this rising tide can be turned back, but, in truth, I fear the worst.

  4. Pingback: Trayvon-Zimmerman: Stop This Ethics Train Wreck! | Ethics Alarms « Ethics Find

  5. michael

    I had not looked into this story until yesterday since it looked like hopelessly mired racial minefield. My first instinct was correct. Some interesting points I noted are:

    1. This follows the PC racial hierarchy perfectly. A Hispanic man shoots a black man. The black man is automatically right because he is a higher priority on the scale.

    2. This is continually referred to as a white on black hate crime even though Zimmerman is only slightly more white than Tiger Woods. Reclassifying him as white lets the media make it a racist incident.

    3. Lots of people picked up on the gun angle. No one has picked up on the gated community angle. I have never been as afraid of a place in my life as I was visiting a relative in a gated community. I felt more welcome and less likely to be arrested when I drove onto a naval base and stood feet from a row of submarines. The place has extremely tight security, was walled all around, had it’s own shops, police, chain restaurants, etc. I really felt like I was a barely tolerated visitor in a totalitarian country and I wondered what would happen if I stepped out of line just a little bit.

    From what I have read about this, I suspect Zimmerman is an overly zealous busybody homeowner’s association officer who finally confronted someone more dangerous than the guy with the nonstandard mailbox. There was a struggle, he was injured, and he shot the kid. Whether the shooting was justified or not will probably never be known now that the pressure groups are involved. Ironically, this is exactly why the ‘stand your ground’ laws were passed. They were to keep people from getting railroaded for murder due to political or social pressures. They make it so that you have to be proven guilty, you no longer have to prove your innocence.

  6. urbanregor

    The ethics train wreck didn’t start with Trayvon, his parents, Zimmerman or the media. It started when the Sanford police failed to do a proper and thorough initial investigation. The stand your ground law is now being called into question because even the sponsors (they hardly were authors) of the bill didn’t conceive of it being used to stop the investigation or arrest of someone who takes another’s life in unclear circumstances. The police simply took Zimmerman’s claim of self defense as fact, and did nothing else. Now we get lawyers trying to spin the story to their advantage, and a potential criminal that now realizes that in “standing his ground” he might have tread on someones.

    What turned this into a national story was the trivialization of an unarmed child being gunned down, and little being said or done. Now we’re getting lots of both, and we don’t like that either. Given this countries racial past, and the sheer number of instances of blacks being killed, followed by a scant or sham investigation, you really wonder why it sets off some folks? I’m by no means wanting to justify the actions of the New Black Panthers. But I can’t help but wonder if we’d be talking about this if a credible investigation had been done from the beginning. Or if Zimmerman had told the events the next day, versus a month later. How is it fair to expect Trayvon to answer to a man he doesn’t know, yet we’re OK with his killer simply claiming self defense?

    I don’t want riots, but we all need answers and we need them fast….

    • Except that the justice system doesn’t work fast, and when it does, it makes mistakes. This matter wasn’t handled especially slowly. Sometimes the police take months or more to make an arrest—look at the Lacey Peterson murder. Zimmerman’s testimony and the witness’s aren’t for public consumption until there’s a charge. And we still don’t know that this is simply about an unarmed “child” being gunned down, not at all.

      The train wreck started, I think, with the “Stand your ground” laws, and the determination of activists to find a rallying point against them. They decided to exploit this case, and may have picked the wrong one. You don’t know if Trayvon attacked Zimmerman and was beating him. Maybe they both had the gun and it went off accidentally—you don’t know, and neither do the police…or they aren’t ready to say.

      • In absolute terms you’re right. There’s a lot we don’t know. But to my knowledge, there’s been no testimony to date, and that is the problem. Zimmerman and some witnesses have been questioned. But was it under oath, or part of any legal proceeding? Or simply part of the proverbial “ongoing investigation”? Again perhaps not “simply”, but it has been widely reported that the gun was Zimmerman’s. I can’t imagine that the presence of a weapon of any kind found to be Trayvon’s wouldn’t have been reported, as it would clearly have bolstered the claim of self defense. The other huge issue that I”m waiting to hear specific on, is where the shooting took place. media reports and phone calls have had Trayvon running away from Zimmerman, and Zimmerman leaving his car. So if in fact a fight occurred, who’s ground was it?

        At this point the genie is out of the bottle. We all must continue to call for calm, while we call for justice. And justice may or may not be an arrest. Credible answers, and a believable story would be a good start. Both are currently in short supply….

        • That’s for sure. The problem now is that when reaction has shifted into the mode where people are invested in being “right”, there is an active resistance to the truth, and a refusal to accept it or even recognize it if it appears. I heard a radio today who was told by the host that a credible witness says that Trayvon was on top of Zimmerman punching him. “I seriously doubt that,” he said. What? How can he “doubt” it, any more than he can be sure it’s true?

          I heard another women who heard the altercation say that she’s sure, contrary to other reports, that it was Martin crying for help, not Zimmerman. “It must have been Trayvon, because the cries stopped after the gunshot,” she said. Huh? Yes, you stop crying help after you’re dead…you also stop crying “help” after the OTHER guy is dead. People aren’t looking to find out what happened; they’re looking to prove that what they want to have happened did happen. It’s confirmation bias run amuck. .

      • Bill

        “You Dont Know.” Whenever I’m tempted to comment on this horrible situation I keep telling myself that.

        No one right now has all the facts, at least of all myself and others who are getting their information from the internet and the media; but a great number of people have an opinion on what happened or who did what to who and when.

        The thing that scares me is that even if someone speaks up and says “let’s wait until we have all the facts” they will be shouted down and be accused of being a racist and being insensitive.

      • fattymoon

        You said, “The train wreck started, I think, with the “Stand your ground” laws, and the determination of activists to find a rallying point against them. They decided to exploit this case, and may have picked the wrong one.”

        Jack, I believe this incident IS a true rallying point, but the issue here is MUCH broader. As NYT op-ed columnist Paul Krugman writes, “Florida’s now-infamous Stand Your Ground law, which lets you shoot someone you consider threatening without facing arrest, let alone prosecution, sounds crazy — and it is. And it’s tempting to dismiss this law as the work of ignorant yahoos. But similar laws have been pushed across the nation, not by ignorant yahoos but by big corporations.

        “Specifically, language virtually identical to Florida’s law is featured in a template supplied to legislators in other states by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-backed organization that has managed to keep a low profile even as it exerts vast influence (only recently, thanks to yeoman work by the Center for Media and Democracy, has a clear picture of ALEC’s activities emerged). And if there is any silver lining to Trayvon Martin’s killing, it is that it might finally place a spotlight on what ALEC is doing to our society — and our democracy.”

        You can read the rest here… http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/26/opinion/krugman-lobbyists-guns-and-money.html

        Jack, perhaps this is not the correct place, or the correct time, for you to offer your opinion on ALEC’s activities, but, I do hope at some point you will share your thoughts on this organization.

        • I have to find someone I respect more than Krugman, and do some research. His article made me gag; he’s getting worse. Double guilt by association—ALEC is evil because of the corporations that support it, which are evil because they support ALEC. All those corporations, or most of them, also support the Red Cross, United Way and Seseme Street. This—”Private charter schools, for example, appear to deliver a lot of profits but little in the way of educational achievement”—for example, is classic Krugman garbage, like his infamously declaring that there are no real horror stories of brutal rationing and insufficient health care in Great Britain. And Koch paranoia drives me insane, especially from people like Krugman who have never uttered a breath of alarm about George Soros.

          Ugh, what a horrible article. He acts as if interest groups
          writing legislation is sinister and unusual. It’s certianly not unusual—much of his beloved health care law was written by lobbyiists or with the assistance of lobbyists. So what? An who cares what legislation is proposed? It’s up to legislators to read, understand and pass responsible legislation. irresponsible legislation is not the fault of interest groups who support it. Krugman et all really think that organizations brain wash people with money and influence alone, which is why the Left seems increasingly focused on promoting censorship of words,
          advocates and ideas.

          I need to find some analysis of ALEC that I can trust, or do my own. Heaven’s to Betsy, they propose legislation that they think they can make money off of! THAT’S not just not new, but all-American; at first blush, this looks like just another Media Matters boogie man. But again..let me try to wash off the pre-bias of Krugman’s condemnation (if he condemned snakes, I’d kiss one) and get some facts from a trustworthy source.

  7. I’ve learned from years of reading about these kinds of incidents that It’s almost always a mistake to pick a side (as opposed to addressing an issue) on these kinds of stories when they are breaking. Shooting incidents like this, where one person claims self-defense, are extremely fact-dependent, and the media often leaves out important facts, if they even know them. And one fact can turn everything around. Zimmerman shoots an unarmed kid, that sounds like a murder. Then maybe it turns out the kid was beating him up, and that sounds like self defense. But then maybe Zimmerman chased the kid, which would mean he can’t claim self-defense and we’re back to murder…and so on. Activists just make it worse, because they commit to a theory of the story and refuse to let go.

  8. Yep…human brain is designed to look for the clues that support its “truth,’ but how it decides on the truth is beyond logic.

  9. Eeyoure

    I wonder if it would be a constructive step, if “use a gun, get arrested” laws went into effect, alongside the “stand your ground” laws. Without knowing more about the s.y.g. laws, but recalling that in some jurisdictions at least, “use a gun, go to jail” laws either exist, existed, or were proposed, perhaps use-a-gun-get-arrested laws would satisfy some of the currently unsatisfied demand for “justice” in future shooting incidents.

    • Michael

      As an indication how muddled this is, many people are complaining that Zimmerman was just released on his word after the incident, but the police are saying they questioned a still bleeding Zimmerman for 5 hours.

      The ‘use a gun, get arrested’ laws were part of the reason the ‘stand your ground’ laws now exist. It is just too hard to prove your innocence in these cases. It is too easy for prosecutors and juries to give in to public pressure. Usually after some outrageous miscarriage of justice, the public takes the matter out of the hands of the police and prosecutors because they are found to be untrustworthy in these matters. It comes down to this, would you rather let someone who stepped over the line go free, or send an innocent person to prison for the rest of their lives? Choose 1.

    • Swinging from one polar extreme to the other seldom accomplished anything. There are plenty of circumstances where deadly force applied by a citizen defending home or life is and should be acceptable, and a presumption of guilt for using a tool you have a right to own is a swing too far.

      • Eeyoure

        “…a presumption of guilt for using a tool you have a right to own is a swing too far.”

        Jack, what you say there was on my mind as I posted my earlier comment, and I agree in principle. Obviously, I am not very literate in police procedure – haven’t been arrested enough times, or involved in enough situations with police, I guess. I suppose a man who has been involved in an incident like the one involving Martin and Zimmerman could be taken into police custody for questioning without a formal arrest, and that action would be sufficient and consistent with “justice for all,” even when a death by shooting occurred. I just wish that there was more the rest of us could do, to resolve the discrepancy between actual justice that is truly called for and the apparent, perceived, unaddressed injustice (if any) that the shooting and death embodied – let alone, exemplify and inspire greater universal civility and reason while the best possible construction of the truth about the incident is done.

      • Michael

        Perhaps, but I have lived in several states that passed such a law and the reason for the passage was a case that made it clear that any barrier to self-defense can and will be abused by prosecutors.

        When it comes down to it, the way laws are written and the criminal justice system works, there is no set of circumstances where you can used deadly force without the possibility of being convicted of murder without these laws. Years ago in Detroit, several teenagers broke into a man’s garage and were robbing him. He was alone with two young grandchildren. He got a revolver just before they kicked in the door from the attached garage and pointed a gun at him. That man (in his 70′s) shot the teenager and spent the rest of his life in prison. Why? The public was outraged that he shot a “good, caring, wonderful” black teenager. The community activists also stated that because the man had a nice house and belongings, he ‘owed’ it to less fortunate blacks to share his good fortune (by letting them steal from him). The prosecutor caved to the community pressure and decided that self-defense didn’t apply because the teen hadn’t stepped into the house proper and was still in the garage at the time. Since the teen hadn’t shot at him and he didn’t know if he would, self-defense didn’t apply.

        These ‘stand your ground’ laws are all there because people do not have faith in the criminal justice system. They see it being abused and manipulated (as in the case above). What is needed is a comprehensive reform of our criminal justice system. When people have faith in the system again, these laws won’t be necessary.

        • Years ago in Detroit, several teenagers broke into a man’s garage and were robbing him. He was alone with two young grandchildren. He got a revolver just before they kicked in the door from the attached garage and pointed a gun at him. That man (in his 70′s) shot the teenager and spent the rest of his life in prison. Why? The public was outraged that he shot a “good, caring, wonderful” black teenager. The community activists also stated that because the man had a nice house and belongings, he ‘owed’ it to less fortunate blacks to share his good fortune (by letting them steal from him).

          What was the name of this man?

          • Michael

            I’m looking, but it was in the early ’90′s. If you ever tried to search for a specific news article about a shooting in Detroit, you can see my problem.

            • Eeyoure

              Sheesh, Michael, your account of that Detroit case has me wondering if it was on Eastwood’s mind when he made the movie, Gran Torino. Detroit! (I used to mutter that city’s name, sometimes shout it, like a curse word, to vent my frustration when doing my own car maintenance.)

          • Yes, I’d like that too. I don’t doubt the account, but there has to be more to it than that. The system is crazy, but not usually THAT crazy.

            • Yes, I’d like that too. I don’t doubt the account, but there has to be more to it than that. The system is crazy, but not usually THAT crazy.

              If the system ever got that crazy, we would have to destroy it to ensure no one else suffers.

  10. James Flood

    Most shocking is that there has been an active BOUNTY on a US citizen for days and the Department of Justice has done nothing about it. Eric Holder must be too busy looking for less acceptable examples of domestic terrorism.

  11. crella

    What I find astounding is that it’s perfectly OK to try a white man or men in the press (this case and the Duke case) but to hint that a black may have actually committed the crime they are accused of is ‘racist’. Why isn’t it racist to play judge jury and executioner in the press for white suspects?

    • What I find astounding is that it’s perfectly OK to try a white man or men in the press (this case and the Duke case) but to hint that a black may have actually committed the crime they are accused of is ‘racist’. Why isn’t it racist to play judge jury and executioner in the press for white suspects?

      What we need is tit-for-tat retaliation.

  12. crella

    Well, predictably, on any forum I talk about the need for due process I’m being called an f’n racist…commenting on Spike Lee’s actions is being called ‘fomenting hate against blacks’.

  13. From LewRockwell.Com

    It’s not just the cops who “take care of their own”: the practice permeates the entire political establishment (which is why neither you nor I received a multi-billion dollar bailout when the “big boys” did. It is also quite evident in the media’s handling of the Trayvon Martin killing: as terrible as that event was, it would have received virtually NO attention had this young man been shot, under the same circumstances, by a government cop. It may be one of the intended — but disguised — consequences of all this reporting and opinionizing to call into question the practice of alternative systems of crime prevention (e.g., Neighborhood Watches, private security firms, self-protection by individual homeowners, etc.) leaving this function in the hands of the state. What will become of the state’s monopoly on the use of force if individuals can protect themselves? This is not to excuse Mr. Zimmerman’s alleged actions — private parties are no more justified in committing wrongful acts against other persons than are state hired-guns — but may explain the amount of time spent on this incident when contrasted with the recent killing of 17 civilian Afghans (Did I miss Al Sharpton’s take on that act of mass murder?).

  14. Walrus

    Excuse me, but your bias is showing! I agree that it is an Ethics Train Wreck coming because of all this extra-legal commentary (that means, “outside the criminal justice system”), but that is precisely the point: there is no “Trayvon Martin case,” as the shooter of Martin is a free man, free to go to Europe, or do whatever (provided he isn’t attacked by angry citizens) because te city of Sanfors and the State of Florida concluded on Feb 26 that there was nothing to see here. So why can’t people in a free society complain about it an try to prove to authorities and people of good will that an injustice has been done. As a result of this, Florida State says it will look again and DOJ will look for a federal civil rights angle but as of today, this is a done deal and people are angry that “that’s it!”

    There’s no “pre-judging” as you say because Sanford and the State of Florida decided a judge need not see this. They said it was “case closed.”. Your comparisons to OJ ring false ( and race confused) since there Oj was charged with murder. No one has been charged here after over a month.

    All the swipes at Sharpton etc just more indications that you believe it is more responsible to accept white law enforcements perspective of the world, that this was just some black kid up to no good and that a Southern posse gets to decide that. Don’t get confused btw arrest, trial, and conviction. I don’t know that George Zimmerman should be convicted ( I have my thoughts) but not only is this not a trial in the media (it would be ethically dubious at this point), but he isn’t even an official suspect. Can you really believe that this police force would have told a black guy in same situation that he was free to go without even a grand jury or someone other than the polic chief making the call? That he would be released to travel the world? That’s why people are pissed. Why not charge him, since so much is suspect (even the investigating officer wanted to charge him), and let this be decided by a court. You’re damn right that people should demand the justice system look at this. In the absence of it, people like you want to bring up tidbits of the kids high school record to sugges that it’s oK for cops to make on the spot judgments and hope that the facts bear it out later in the media. How do you call yourself ethical if you don’t even demand a trial in this case. Ethical in what country?

    • Sorry, ignorant comment. The case is not closed. The investigation is ongoing. A month before charging is nothing—not unusual, and no indication that a charge won’t be forthcoming. Zimmerman can’t leave the country, unless he wants to banish himself. The decision not to charge, if it comes, will be based on the law, the facts, and whether there is enough unequivocal testimony to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to a fair-minded jury.

      Don’t call me biased for not endorsing a lunch mob, as you are. Criticizing a law enforcement decision is one thing, threatening violence if law enforcement doesn’t knuckle under to mob rule and threatened violence is something else. I have no bias at all, except to see the justice system work…I was a defense attorney and a prosecutor, and I know how the system works. People have the right to, for example, protest Casey Anthony’s acquittal, but it is pointless and ignorant, because justice is not a popularity contest.

      “Can you really believe that this police force would have told a black guy in same situation that he was free to go without even a grand jury or someone other than the police chief making the call?” Yes, happens all the time, but as in this case, the police chief didn’t make the call, the DA did…and that’s his job. You have no basis to say the decision was based on race…under the law and the facts, it’s a tough case to make.

      At no point do I say that cops are justified in using deadly force on “sap judgments,” but they are tough judgments where the lives of two people, not just one, are at risk. You’re seeing bias because that makes it easy for you. Everyone who is shot has a mother who is pissed, and who thinks someone else was to blame. That by itself proves nothing.

      Finally, “All the swipes at Sharpton etc just more indications that you believe it is more responsible to accept white law enforcements perspective of the world, that this was just some black kid up to no good and that a Southern posse gets to decide that.” unmasks you as race-baiting jerk. Sharpton has proven that he will lie and encourage violence to enhance his own power, publicity and influence…he’s untrustworthy and a hustler, and that’s why he desreves every swipe he gets. I never said, or implied, or believed that he was a “black kid up to no good”—I don’t know what he was, and neither do you.

      If the facts and the evidence and the law support an indictment, then I support a trial. If they don’t, and there isn’t enough to convict him, I don’t support a trial, and “demanding a trial” when the people doing the demanding are people like you—interested in show trials rather than justice—has no place in the justice system at all.

      • Walrus

        Let me make sure I understand what you are saying so we can establish that it is not as contemptible as it sounds. Are you saying that the parents of Trayvon Martin and people of good conscience in this country should have accepted the original decisions of the Sanford Police Department and the State to release George Zimmerman on Feb 26th?

        The State of Florida is taking another look at this because of the outrage first expressed by African Americans in Florida, and then in the black press, and then by African American columnists like Charles Blow in the New York Times, and finally by a wide cross-section of Americans, including over a million people who signed a petition on change.org. Not to mention the mainstream media jumping on to story three weeks after Zimmerman’s release. Almost all of these people argued that the police investigation should have not ended on the day following the shooting. As a result, you have a botched investigation that makes it all the more difficult for any prosecutor to bring this case (where’s your ethical alarm on that? The absence of any concern there is another example of your bias).

        Are you saying people should have let sleeping dogs lie?

        You wrote:

        “Too many parties…are behaving irresponsibly, given the sensitivity of the issues at hand..,”

        And the police and the State were responsible? They are taking a look now because people did not idly accept their decisions. What’s irresponsible about petitioning the government. I thought America was founded on that principle.

        “Activists….obviously no longer care about little nuances like facts, fairness and law.”. So are you saying that the police and the State armed with these things and processes acted responsibly. People lookin at the limited facts available say no! They believe they should have gathered more facts, prosecuted, and proceeded to a fair trial, where there could be an orderly, rule bound, sifting an evaluation of the facts. That was not going to happen until people protested. Hopefully now it will, now that people know they can’t sweep this under the rug.

        You suggest these protesters should defer to “whatever the facts may appear to be to rational and reasonable observers…” huh? You mean “the man” and “law and order” types who say “well the kid was probably up to no good.” I’m sorry but most reasonable observers think there waa a miscarraige of justice in not charging this shooter. They accept that there may be another side to the story but, just like in the Bernard Goetz case and in many others, think a jury should decide.

        I want to agree with you on the photos. I don’t know why the first pictures of Martin were of a younger kid, but what would it prove if it were more up to date, like the more recent ones of him in his hoodie? Would your “rational and reasonable observers” say, “aha! A black thug! He looks like a guy who deserved to be shot?” what difference would it make and doesn’t it prove your opposite point? That such a photograph would have appeals to people’s stereotypes?

        You say “parents… need to be responsible in their grief.”. And do what? Say, “thanks mr. Man,” after they dismissed the case? Come on! You also say they are “creating cynicism.” Wouldn’t you be after the State refused to prosecute?

        • You are hopeless.
          The state has NOT refused to prosecute.
          The State is investigating.
          You cannot arrest because a lot of people are upset. You need evidence and facts.
          You are advocating justice by tantrum.
          YES the parents should have shut up, and let the system work.
          None of the things you cite are why the state is investigating. That is nonsense. The justice system does not do or not do something because of a bigoted columnist like Blow and protests by people who are simply casting facts to fit a convenient narrative.
          “most reasonable observers” do NOT think that there is a miscarriage of justice at this point, because reasonable observers know that they don’t know what the hell happened yet.
          “The Man”…give us a break and grow up. Nobody wants to see an unarmed kid get killed, and nobody wants to see anyone get away with murder. Nobody sane has suggested that Tryavon deserved to get killed or was “up to no good.”
          The choice of picture, like so much else, was designed to warp perceptions of the event and portray a 6’1″ young man as a little boy to ratchet up the anger. When I saw the photo and read the first reports, I thought a maniac had just shot a 5′ child in a hoodie. That’s not what happened. whatever happened. What do you mean, “what difference does it make?” It’s untrue, that’s the difference.
          Why not use a picture of an angel…that would avoid stereotypes. You’re talking nonsense.
          THE STATE HAS NOT DISMISSED THE CASE AND HAS NOT REFUSED TO PROSECUTE! You don’t care about facts, you just want to write your own story, like Sharpton and the rest. Dishonest, reckless, irresponsible, unfair and un=American…and stupid.

          • Walrus

            Wow, ad hominem attacks when logic fails you. Sorry you can’t bully your way to a persuasive argument. Is this your “pound on the table” resort? You know and we all know that if people in Florida had not protested, the police investigation would not have resumed. Show me what evidence you have to the contrary. Although I am not sure what benefit there is to my continuing this conversation with you when you are so mendacious and resort to insults when challenged.

            • You are hopeless. That’s not an insult, it’s a diagnosis. You mischaracterize the case as “closed” when it remains open. Over and over again. Simply holding to a false version of fact isn’t a challenge, it’s either cheating, or dishonest, or willfully ignorant, and it wastes my time.

              Who doesn’t want justice in the case? But following the law doesn’t always result in justice…it results in the rule of law. The rhetoric about “the Man” is just labeling to avoid giving professionals respect for trying to do their jobs. Sorry: presuming racism every time the system doesn’t work to your advantage is lazy and facile, and I will react negatively to that every single time.

              At this point, the parents and vigilantes may have ensured that Zimmerman can’t get justice, which means Trayvon can’t get justice either. So I guess your nostrum will be some riots. Good plan. Right from the beginning, good plan. But hey, blowing off steam is worth warping the justice system and spreading hate.

              Sharpton, of course, isn’t “right,” and Lowry is wrong, and not for the first time.

              • Walrus

                I’ve seen no indication that the police pursuedthis investigation in the time between the night of the shooting and the State’s announcement some weeks later that they would assign a special prosecutor to review this. Please show me otherwise. I may e wrong. I am not aware of the police doing additional investigation after the State’s attorneyfirst declined to arrest Zimmerman. I appreciate that since the “new” investigation has begun the media circus creates all kinds of complications for a trial, but what evidence do you have that Sanfordand the State were still investigating after that first night and didn’t need pressure from the public to do more.

                • If there was “evidence” it would be an incompetent investigation. Unlike the media, the prosecutors do not announce their findings. They are interviewing witnesses, checking forensics,and avoiding leaks. Especially if they are finding evidence that is incriminating, they must keep it under wraps. Releasing information prematurely results in sanctions, biased jury pools, and in this case, a dead defendant. The silence is evidence enough.

                  The law enforcement authorities are not accountable to you, or me, or the parents or the CBC. They are accountable to the law, and that means doing their work quietly and diligently without being rushed and making mistakes because activists are impatient. There will be a formal announcement of either an arrest or that Zimmerman has been cleared, and at that point, an explanation of what the state thinks the facts are.

                  • Walrus

                    Thisisasmokeandmirrorsresponse.suretheinvestigationisongoingnowbutthankstotheMartins’attorney.Butthepolicedidaninitialinvestigationwhichwasincompetent.hereiswhatSpecialProsecutorAngelaCoreytoldTheMiamiHerald:”I can tell you that the police went to the state attorney with a capias request, meaning, ‘We’re through with our investigation and here it is for you,’” Corey told the newspaper.

                    • What was that, performance art? You obviously are determined to believe what you want to believe. Just as Jesse Jackson wants to believe it’s all about hoodies, though there’s no indication of that. Just as the race hustlers want this to be a case of a white man hunting down a black man is cold blood, though that doesn’t fit the shooter, the testimony, the 911 calls, or the likely facts. It is possible that the investigation is complete, that there is no valid reason to charge Zimmerman, and that they are waiting for all the agitators to shut up and for the hysteria to cool down before they deliver the bad news…which is called justice.

                    • walrus

                      I apologize for the garbled message. This webpage is not iphone-friendly, or you’re trying to censor me. :-)

                      The essence of my reply was this: I grant you that an investigation is underway now, but there was an earlier incompetent investigation that terminated. Angela Corey, the Special Prosecutor noted this in a nterview with the Miami Herald, where she said:

                      “I can tell you that the police went to the state attorney with a capias request, meaning, ‘We’re through with our investigation and here it is for you.’”

                      Because that bungled investigation led to not even an arrest, people protested. Thanks to those good people, the State has resumed investigating.

                      I appreciate that now that the State is investigating again, much of what people are saying in the media will compromise it. At the same time, many of these people, understandably, have little trust in the criminal justice system to whom you want them to now defer. I also don’t disagree that Jackson and Sharpton (you’re quite obsessed with them, when it’s 73% of America that wants to see an arrest) capitalize on this distrust. But it doesn’t change the fact that many people–minorities especially–have reason to believe that if they don’t speak up they’ll get railroaded.

                    • There is too much chicken and egg here to say “they have reason to believe.” Among the reasons they have is that ABC. CNN, and NBC misrepresented evidence to make it look like Zimmerman was a racist, and elected officials, including the President, implied or stated outright that Martin was shot because he was black. At a certian point, its a self-perpetuating myth, fueled by conformation bias. It is completely possible that Trayvon’s race had nothing to do with his death at all, and the decision so far not to prosecute relates to the law and the evidence, not the races of the two participants. So how does this episode, in fairness, support ANY prior assumptions, unless someone wants it to?

                      People like Sharpton, Jackson, Spike Lee. Bobby Rush and Maxine Waters are why 73% of the public want Zimmerman arrested when they don’t know what happened. That, and the fact that they are ignorant of the justice system

                    • Among the reasons they have is that ABC. CNN, and NBC misrepresented evidence to make it look like Zimmerman was a racist, and elected officials, including the President, implied or stated outright that Martin was shot because he was black.

                      One then must wonder why they would do such a thing, and it was explained at the LewRockwell.Com blog.

                      It’s not just the cops who “take care of their own”: the practice permeates the entire political establishment (which is why neither you nor I received a multi-billion dollar bailout when the “big boys” did. It is also quite evident in the media’s handling of the Trayvon Martin killing: as terrible as that event was, it would have received virtually NO attention had this young man been shot, under the same circumstances, by a government cop. It may be one of the intended — but disguised — consequences of all this reporting and opinionizing to call into question the practice of alternative systems of crime prevention (e.g., Neighborhood Watches, private security firms, self-protection by individual homeowners, etc.) leaving this function in the hands of the state. What will become of the state’s monopoly on the use of force if individuals can protect themselves? This is not to excuse Mr. Zimmerman’s alleged actions — private parties are no more justified in committing wrongful acts against other persons than are state hired-guns — but may explain the amount of time spent on this incident when contrasted with the recent killing of 17 civilian Afghans (Did I miss Al Sharpton’s take on that act of mass murder?).

                      What these dishonest media hacks want is to turn people into victims and to enable criminals. They hate the idea of people resisting criminals.

                    • Creative, but way too complicated.

                      The reason is that the newsmedia is run by too many knee-jerk liberals who really believe America is irredeemably racist, and who hate guns, AND support keeping all minorities in a position of permanent presumed victimhood, requiring eternal special treatment. They believed Zimmerman was a racist who used a gun to hunt an innocent black kid who was an angel sent from heaven, because that’s what they learned was the way of the world in college,and that the bad white pigs wanted to let the racist get off. So they set out to prove it, or, if they couldn’t, achieve “justice” by any means necessary.

    • fattymoon

      Walrus, I feel your energy, and I feel your anger. Justified it is, in my opinion.

      What you have to understand (and maybe you already grok this) is that the judicial system is terribly fucked up. Corrupt almost to the core. (Jack’s not going to like that, but, hey, he believes much the same when it comes to Occupy and the public education system). And attorneys, even the estimable Jack Marshall, are – perhaps by loyalty, or perhaps for other reasons (use your imagination) – obliged to protect and defend that system. (As am I, when I suggest Jack is overreaching when he says that public education is out of control with regards to sexual predators… for I am a retired teacher of almost 30 years service, now subbing, and, although I realize there are sexual predators in our schools, I am not willing to blankedly ((not a word, but should be)) condemn the system as a whole. Our public education IS fucked up, but for reasons other than sexual predators.)

      • You don’t really think I suggested that sexual predators are the cause of the public education meltdown, do you> I do believe they are a symptom of it.

        • fattymoon

          No, Jack, what I DO suggest is that you tend to go WAY overboard about topics about which you are passionate, Occupy and public education in particular (I know you are passionate about many other areas of concern, but these two areas are where you and I tend to clash). Your postulates would be more effective if you sometimes spoke well of your “enemies” (in this case Occupy and public education).

          Sorry, Jack, I didn’t mean to go off track here (see how ii works?).

          • Not off track at all. Point taken, though not exactly accepted. Occupy, whatever the virtues of some of its individual participants and adherents, has lived down to my most dire predictions and some, and embarrassed its cheerleaders among the pundit class while exposing the cynicism of the elected officials who tried to use it for political expediency.

            Public education isn’t really a good comp, because it does have a legitimate purpose, and once worked rather well. My criticisms of the educational profession are hardly hyperbole—it still has no ethics standards; it still protects misconduct and incompetence. There are good and trustworthy teachers, just as there are smart and serious Occupy members. Just not enough, and apparently less with each passing year.

            • Michael Boyd

              I know off track as well. I appreciate your thoughts on the Occupy and the education system, Jack. I agree with both assessments. I have been fortunate that the public school system I was in was excellent as my kids has been. However, I do believe overall the system is taking a nosedive .

              • fattymoon

                Agreed, Michael. The education system is in a tailspin. I wouldn’t send my kid to a public school. And I’m a public school teacher.

      • 1) The justice system is most certainly not “corrupt to the core,” and it would require a lot of paranoia or imagination to seriously believe that, much less prove it. It is fallible, and far from perfect, but overwhwelmingly stocked with good, smart, fair and dedicated people.
        2.) Did you really write “grok”?

        • fattymoon

          The Oxford English Dictionary defines grok as “to understand intuitively or by empathy; to establish rapport with” and “to empathise or communicate sympathetically (with); also, to experience enjoyment”. (Kinda funny that “grok” is the only think I grokked in that book.)

          Then I would have to say that the public education system “is fallible, and far from perfect, but overwhwelmingly stocked with good, smart, fair and dedicated people.”

          • fattymoon

            One more thing, Jack, quoting you here… “So our schools are crawling with sexual predators, and the problem seems to be increasing.”

            That’s what I’m talking about… you going way overboard about topics you are passionate about. Today I’ll be subbing at a school somewhere. I hate to think that whatever school I end up at is crawling with sexual predators.

            • I supposed whether “crawling” is appropriate depends on one’s tolerance of the level of infestation. Right now, more than a hundred child molesting teachers are being outed every year, and that means that a significant number…2X? 6X? 10X?…are out there molesting away until their chosen prey talks. I think, in a field where parents are mandated to entrust their children to the practitioners 7 hours a day, 5 days a week, 10 months a year, that qualifies as crawling. You are welcome to disagree. If over a hundred bathers were eaten by sharks every year, nobody would go to the beach. If postal carriers raped over 100 citizens each year, we’d shut down the postal service. If the military had a hundred soldiers every year that went around killing innocent civilians, I’d say the military was crawling with maniacs. What if 100 pilots next year go on a crazy rant mid-flight like the Jet Blue pilot last week? I won’t be flying, but I will be saying that the once Friendly Skies are crawling with crazies.

              I’ll say this now: Congress is crawling with crooks, fools and incompetents. Wall Street is crawling with greedy, anti-social bastards. Occupy was crawling with Communists, anarchists, hypocrites and people who had no idea what the hell they were talking about. Journalism is crawling with arrogant, biased, under-educated amateurs.

              The bottom line for me is trust. Can I trust that my lovely teenage daughter won’t be seduced by her math teacher or soccer coach? Can I trust that my handsome,hormonal 17-year-old son won’t be picked out as prey by his English teacher? Why would I? Apparently playing the statistics game allows administrators to shrug off the problem and say, “All aberrations. It can’t happen here.” Better that they think of the incidence as crawling, and call Orkin.

              One last thing. If 100 college sports programs were found to have Jerry Sanduskys on their campus, would it be fair to say that university athletics were crawling with sex criminals? Or would you call that “going overboard”?

          • Oh, I know what it means.It’s just that the last person I heard use it was wearing a Nehru jacket and love beads.

  15. FrancisFarmer

    .
    ————————————.
    COMMENT:
    ————————————.

    Wow — it seems so obvious to me
    that Zimmerman’s “self-defense”
    claim is nothing more than …

    S-kittles
    H-oodies
    I-ced
    T-ea

    and how he feels the world is unable
    to see him for what he really is
    as he piles up and throws his

    S-kittles
    H-oodies
    I-ced
    T-ea

    “self-defense” claim at us all.”

    ————————————.
    RELATED LINKS:
    ————————————.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/31/trayvon-martin-shooting-911-call-screams_n_1394224.html

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/FarmFamily/trayvon-martin-case-george-zimmerman_n_1392591_145066428.html

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/FarmFamily/trayvon-martin-case-george-zimmerman_n_1392591_145073593.html
    .

    • Well, I can say with certainty that anyone who wasn’t with the two parties in this matter who presumes to say that anything about it is “obvious’ is completely full of

      S-kittles
      H-oodies
      I-ced
      T-ea

      …none of which, by the way, has anything to so with the case…and if THAT isn’t also obvious to you, your opinion on the matter isn’t worth

      S-kittles
      H-oodies
      I-ced
      T-ea.

      Otherwise, good comment.

  16. crystal

    all i have to say is if trayvon had killed zimmerman he would be in jail despite of the “stand your ground law” and we all no this..

    • You don’t “no” this, and have no basis to say it.

      • Walrus

        Jack, I appreciate that you see yourself as a rational, logical, and fair-minded, just-the-facts kind of guy but I don’t see how as a forme defense attorney you can hold this perspective of the criminal justice system. When have you ever seen a black person kill a white person in this country and be let go by the police without a trial? How can we even suggest that the justice system is even-handed when it comes to racial minorities in light of all the data available that shows otherwise. I appreciate the Renaissance thinker objective-stance but you have to include all the facts of the country we reside in. You suggest that all the “race hustlers” and “race baiters” in this country will so grossly influence the wheels of justice here but you won’t acknowledge the greater realities of our history, society, and politics that stack the deck against African American suspects every day? You very casually refer to the “lynch mob” against George Zimmerman with no appreciation of how commonplace the lynching of blacks was sanctioned in this country up until the mid-20th century (with postcards circulated depicting the events). Outside of a few acts of random hoodlums, there’s never been in state-sanctioned harassment or lynching of whites for any crime against a black person (and hundreds if not thousands the other ways around–no exaggeration). Are you unable to factor into your assessment of how our justice system works any historical or political realities? The justice system is a living, breathing organism that reflects the society. You are aware of all the atrocious things the Supreme Court has stated over time regarding the rights of blacks (Justice Taney in the 1850′s: blacks in this country have no rights that the white man is bound to respect). You may want to say this is all old history, but please name precisely what year the criminal justice system in America completely purged itself of racial prejudice. No, seriously. Because you can’t deny it was once there. When is that precise demarcation point where it all went away?

  17. Pingback: Trayvon Martin « Ethics Blog

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