Comment of the Day: “Incomplete Ethics Observations On George Zimmerman’s Acquittal”

The defendant found "not guilty" in "12 Angry Men" was also probably guilty...

The defendant found “not guilty” in “12 Angry Men” was also probably guilty…

Charles Green, a treasured commenter on this blog and wise man, manages to perfectly illustrate, in this comment on the post “Incomplete Ethics Observations On George Zimmerman’s Acquittal,” how completely confused and misguided the liberal establishment and the public generally has become regarding race and justice in this country, and how the Martin case has metastasized the problem.  I’ll let Charles have his say, and return at the end.

“This is the Red State revenge for the OJ verdict. Both were infuriatingly irksome to the opposing party; narrowly legal in the “letter not the spirit” sense of the law; and wildly at odds with decency.

“Jack, you really must stop this silly “if he was white” line of argument. There is no racial equivalency between minority and majority cultures, and in particular between black and white in this culture; you simply can’t substitute one variable for the other and expect logical connections to obtain.

“Minorities always understand majority perspectives far better than majorities understand minority perspectives. It’s obvious: why should I, as a white male in the majority (for now), understand what it’s like to be female, or black, or Russian, or handicapped, or any other minority trait in the US of A culture? It is commonsense, but you can check it by talking to whites in Nigeria, Peruvians in Japan, or women in professional sports. The phrase “if George Zimmerman was black” is as logically valid as “if pigs could fly.” He isn’t, and there’s a world of difference. And from a false premise, any logical argument obtains.

“Here’s the story line: An armed person stalks an unarmed person. A death results. No charge is made for weeks. When it is, many people believe the unarmed person is the aggressor, and the one with the gun was defending himself. A jury agrees.

“Add that this happened in Florida, not Wisconsin.

“Translate Version A with the white person armed, and the black person unarmed.
“Translate Version B with the black person armed, and the white person unarmed.

“And you think the two versions are equivalent? Equally common? Equally likely in this society? I’m sorry, but men just don’t bite dogs nearly as often. Not racial? Sure, and neither was the OJ acquittal. The bloody glove obviously proved OJ didn’t do it. I’m not saying the verdicts weren’t both narrowly legal – but let’s not confuse a technical verdict with a much broader sense of outrage that justice was taken for a terrible ride.”

I’m back, and depressed. I just heard Tavis Smiley make the identical argument on ABC’s “This Week,” and the argument amounts to this: forget the real facts of the case, forget the actual defendant involved, or what the law dictates. It would make blacks feel better if we convicted George Zimmerman as a proxy for all the bad white people who have gotten away with racism and hate-based murder.

It is a terrible argument in every way, turning an individual case that had to be and should have been decided on the facts of that single, deadly episode into an event carrying epic symbolism that the facts simply do not support. If Charles, rational as he is, can be seduced by the illogic of this position, who knows how many less astute Americans are? For this I blame the media, the race-grievance industry, and politicians who sought, and seek, to promote racial discord for political gain. But I also fault Charles for not seeing past his biases, which are admirable, but in analyzing this issue, destructive. My comments in bold:

“This is the Red State revenge for the OJ verdict.” This is offensive. There should be nothing ideological about objecting to the series of wrongful events leading to the prosecution of George Zimmerman; if  there is, then the Democratic party has decided to jettison the Constitution. Blacks rejoicing at the acquittal of a man who pretty clearly slaughtered two innocent victims—a celebration based on the colors of the killer and his corpses—was disgusting; I don’t see any high-fives over Zimmerman’s release. This was a tragedy all around, with no winners. There is no question, however, that if the case had proven that the media, elected officials and race-discord promoters could hector the justice system into prosecuting a citizen for a crime it could not prove, and that a poisoned jury pool wold convict him in defiance of the law but consistent with some vague community sense of “decency,” everyone would have lost, and no one would be safe from mob justice, publicly declared guilt and prosecutorial over-reach.

“Both were infuriatingly irksome to the opposing party…” narrowly legal in the “letter not the spirit” sense of the law; and wildly at odds with decency.” Again, I object. What “opposing party”? Is Charles seriously saying that the Left wanted O.J. to get away with slitting his wife’s throat, and Ron Goldman’s as well? Unlike in the Zimmerman case, the prosecution in the O.J trial did present enough evidence to legitimately convict, but the prosecution was incompetent, and O.J.’s All-Stars created a strong case for reasonable doubt. That was a defensible verdict; as a lawyer, I could accept it. The lesson of that trial is that when rich celebrities can buy the best lawyers in the world to go up against government lifers, it’s not a fair fight. If O.J. had a public defender instead of Cochran, Bailey and the rest, he would have been convicted. That’s a big problem.

“..narrowly legal in the ‘letter not the spirit…'” I’m not sure what this means, but it sure is ominous. When the government proposes to take your freedom away, damn right it better adhere to the letter and not the ‘spirit’ of the law. The letter of the law says that the defendant has to be guilty of violating a law as written (not of being generally irresponsible, bigoted, hateful or reckless); the letter of the law says we–that’s right, we, because some day any of us might live or die based on “technicalities”—must be found guilty on the basis of admissible evidence, beyond a reasonable doubt—and not a vague, “well, we all know what really happened, because we’ve seen these cases before” ‘spirit’…the Smiley Standard.

“…and wildly at odds with decency.” I hate to burst bubbles, but the it’s the criminal justice system, not the decency system. The justice system is based on hard evidence and clear laws. What constitutes decency is subjective, and thus a useless standard for objective justice. I think it’s indecent for a prosecutor to give a press conference stating that she is seeking “justice for Trayvon,” when the prosecution’s client is the people of the state, and its objectives must be truth and enforcement of the law, never vindication for a victim.  I’m funny that way.

“Jack, you really must stop this silly “if he was white” line of argument.”  There is no racial equivalency between minority and majority cultures, and in particular between black and white in this culture; you simply can’t substitute one variable for the other and expect logical connections to obtain.” It’s not silly; it is undeniably true. Charles’ own comment proves it is true. Not only can I  “substitute one variable for the other and expect logical connections to obtain,” I must be able to do so, because the criminal laws must not be applied differently to different races. The Constitution says so, and the argument that Zimmerman, who is more black than Elizabeth Warren is Cherokee, can be subjected to an unsupported prosecution because he happened to be lighter than the young man he killed is a flat-out rejection of the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

“Minorities always understand majority perspectives far better than majorities understand minority perspectives.” How’s THAT for a race-based, stereotypical generalization? 

“It’s obvious: why should I, as a white male in the majority (for now), understand what it’s like to be female, or black, or Russian, or handicapped, or any other minority trait in the US of A culture? It is commonsense, but you can check it by talking to whites in Nigeria, Peruvians in Japan, or women in professional sports. The phrase “if George Zimmerman was black” is as logically valid as “if pigs could fly.” He isn’t, and there’s a world of difference. And from a false premise, any logical argument obtains.” No, no, no. This is the law. The law must treat George exactly the same regardless of his color or Trayvon’s color, and if “minorities” can’t grasp that, it’s a  problem, for them and the rest of the nation. If there was “a world of difference,” then that shows why Zimmerman’s prosecution was unethical.

“Here’s the story line: An armed person stalks an unarmed person. A death results. No charge is made for weeks. When it is, many people believe the unarmed person is the aggressor, and the one with the gun was defending himself. A jury agrees.” That may be someone’s story line, but that’s not what happened. Here is the real story: A legally armed person follows a stranger he suspects of being up to no good.  At some point, the two confront each other, and there is a fight.  The gun is fired and the stranger, unarmed, is killed. There are no witnesses. No one knows who was the aggressor, or how the shot came to be fired. The scant evidence supports the claim of the shooter that it was self-defense. No charge is made for weeks, because there is not sufficient evidence to reach probable cause. A media campaign, aided by elected officials and , disgracefully, the President, creates political pressure to bring a case which, many legal experts agree, should not have been brought. At trial, as suspected, the prosecution can not meet its burden of reasonable doubt, but the trial is allowed to proceed. The jury acquits. The only problem with that story is the unethical prosecution, based on “decency” and fear of Al Sharpton. The ending was proper and just.

The jury did NOT necessarily believe that Zimmerman fired in self-defense. It just had to believe that the facts weren’t inconsistent with that version of events. The prosecution had to prove Zimmerman’s story was false. It could not. Under those circumstances, any other finding would have been “indecent.”

“Add that this happened in Florida, not Wisconsin. Translate Version A with the white person armed, and the black person unarmed. Translate Version B with the black person armed, and the white person unarmed. And you think the two versions are equivalent?” In the eyes of the law, they have to be equivalent. 

“Equally common?” Irrelevant. You know what the most common scenarios are, don’t you? White person armed, and white person unarmed, and black person armed, and another  black  person unarmed. So what?

“Equally likely in this society? I’m sorry, but men just don’t bite dogs nearly as often.” This is also objectively offensive and unfair. White people are not out hunting blacks, no matter what Al Sharpton says, but even if they were, there was no convincing evidence of it in this case. Charles is now the one using racial stereotypes. George Zimmerman is sort of white, so it is fair to presume he wants to shoot blacks? Seriously? Prove it, with something better than “he’s white, and white people are, you know, like that.”

“Not racial? Sure, and neither was the OJ acquittal. ” Again, Charles is racially stereotyping, presuming bias. I think gender played at least as much of a role in the O.J verdict, but what played the biggest part, as in this case, as in the Casey Anthony case, was reasonable doubt—just as it is supposed to. 

“The bloody glove obviously proved OJ didn’t do it.”  No, the bloody glove didn’t prove O.J. didn’t do it at all. It created legitimate reasonable doubt that he did do it..

“I’m not saying the verdicts weren’t both narrowly legal – but let’s not confuse a technical verdict with a much broader sense of outrage that justice was taken for a terrible ride.” A non sequitur if I ever read one. If a jury had found Zimmerman, or O.J., or Casey Anthony, guilty when they were not certain that the defendants were guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but only that “decency,” as in, “a mother and her male friend/ a young black man/ a child  is dead who should not be, so let’s send someone to jail because they probably did it,” THAT would be taking justice for a terrible ride.

And the fact that so many Americans can’t instantly see that shows how tenuous our society’s hold on its civil rights really is.

140 thoughts on “Comment of the Day: “Incomplete Ethics Observations On George Zimmerman’s Acquittal”

  1. As a publc defender for more than eight years, I take umbrage at your stereotypical denigration of public defenders as inherently inferior attorneys. I do not calim to be anywhere near as good as OJ’s dream team, but I have, over my forty years of practice, seem a lot of retained attorneys do wrteched jobs at defending their clients, much worse than any of the public defeders with whom I have worked.

    • Who denigrated public defenders? They have neither the resources nor the experience of the super-team, that’s all. I implied nothing more. Under those facts, a typical public defender defense would not have saved OJ. You disagree?

      • I think that OJ’s victory was more acribable to an inept prosecution and eqivocating prosecution witnesses than to his defense team, although the defense team had to be astute enought to pick up on and exploit them. I know some public defenders who could have achieved the same result.

        • I’d love to meet them, and wonder why they haven’t been recruited by Williams and Connolly. If they can confuse a jury about DNA like Barry Scheck, they have a great future.

          Having watched the trial, I found that a lot of those prosecution errors were caused by canny defenders.

  2. Glad you let Charles speak for himself. I agree with much of what he says, especially his “story line”:An armed person stalks an unarmed person. A death results.

    Martin wasn’t looking for trouble; Zimmerman was, and ignored the recommendation to not follow but to let the police handle it.

    I accept that the law didn’t allow for Zimmerman to be convicted. But the fact is undeniable: had Zimmerman not played cop Martin would be alive. For that I feel great regret.

    • Yes, and if Martin had gone up to Zimmerman and said, “Is there a problem? I’m visiting my Dad—he lives over there. Sorry I alarmed you,” he’d also be alive. So what? Both sets of conduct were bad judgment; both were legal. Zimmerman was more to blame, but there is no crime. How do you agree with Charles’ argument, “there is no crime, but it’s a miscarriage of justice not to convict’?

              • I thought Charles’s primary point was that the result was:

                “narrowly legal in the “letter not the spirit” sense of the law; and wildly at odds with decency.”

                • Whatever that means. That justice is indecent? That the letter of the law should be ignored in response to subjective versions of what is decent? That our democracy isn’t strengthened when prosecutors only bring cases against those who can be proven guilty? That we should have show trials to prove that we care about black kids who die, whether there’s really a case or not? That justice should be different according the the color of victim and assailant?

                    • It’s indecent to ensure JUSTICE for ALL by safeguarding the judicial concept of Innocent until Proven guilty to acquit someone when the Prosecution cannot prove an accusation beyond reasonable doubt?

                      Because God knows when we let that standard slide due to public emotion (drummed up by malicious leaders, irresponsible politicians, and media ratings grabbers / narrative-guiders) then there will be Justice for None.

      • If Martin had gone up to Zimmerman and said, “Is there a problem? I’m visiting my Dad—he lives over there. Sorry I alarmed you,” he’d also be alive.”

        Bravo.

        • Let me think… I’m a black teen in Florida; a guy with a gun is stalking me; what are the odds that my considered response will be to walk toward the individual, and say ‘Is there a problem?’.
          It’s not that it’s a bad suggestion, in fact it’s very good. And in broad daylight with a white adult and a good foundation in defusing confrontation, we might expect it. In this situation, if I had to bet money, I’d bet on the kid freaking out. I’d be inclined to do the same.

          • I can’t fucking take it anymore.

            You are assuming – somehow, after some fashion that I can’t even begin to grasp – that Martin knew Zimmerman had a gun. He did not. He was close to his home (according to a prosecution witness) and was out of Zimmerman’s sight for nearly 4 minutes. If you think that he then turned around and attacked a man he knew to be carrying a gun, then Trayvon was – pardon the pun – fatally retarded.

            The only lesson that SHOULD be learned is “don’t jump strange people, because they might shoot you while you beat on them”, but that would require you to not be a fucking moron, which you have amply demonstrated to NOT be the case.

      • Why should he have had to go up to a stranger and explain why he was there? Zimmerman wasnt a cop or a security guard but just a strange man followimg him. I agree that Zimmerman shouldnt have been found guilty , but Martin was under no obligation to explain his presence there to anyone.

        • That’s weird.

          And I guess he would also be entitled to cold cock a guy who had the nerve to ask him and then pummel him until the guy pulled out a gun and shot him.

          • I didnt say he had a right to hit Zimmerman but he was no obligation to explain his presence to Zimmerman. Why would you believe he would be? Who is Zimmerman?

              • So what? That doesnt mean hes obligated to answer it nor is it any of Zimmerman’s business. Zimmerman was out playing cop that doesnt make him a cop .

                  • Tell you what fuctard why dont you pull your head put of your ass before you make stupid comments. He was out playing cop. That undeniable and supported by his actions. Legitimate Neighborhood Watch people don’t carry weapons , they don’t intervene and they dont confront the suspect.

                    • He was out playing cop.

                      No, he was out coming home from Target.

                      That undeniable and supported by his actions.

                      How dare he be out in public. That monster

                      Legitimate Neighborhood Watch people dont carry weapons

                      A shame he was wasn’t “on duty”, and that it is perfectly legal to carry a fucking licensed weapon in Florida, you statist twat.

                      they dont interviene and they sont confront the suspect.

                      Are you a special kind of fucking stupid? Trayvon confronted him. And even if he HAD confronted Trayvon and asked “Hey, what are you doing?” – which is still perfectly fucking legal, I might add – Trayvon was soon on top of him and beating the unholy monkey-fuck out of him.

                      And at that point, it is perfectly reasonable for someone who is horribly out of shape and a shitty fighter to boot to fear that the bigger, far stronger and far better conditioned and experienced person pinning them to the ground might well be trying to kill or main them.

                      And if you don’t think that, then you must be against the concept of self defense, in which case you must be fucking retarded.

                • When common manners go out the window, you can only expect confrontations of violent natures or cold human non-interaction to develop.

                  Yes, if someone asks me what I’m doing, I may not be morally obligated to answer him. But I will.

                  I’d submit that the vast majority of mannerly interactions developed out of the need for humans to be confident the person they are interacting with or even merely passing by bears no ill will or malicious intent towards them.

                  If someone asks me in a nervous tone what I’m doing, or even an aggressive tone, what I’m doing, I may have no Obligation to answer but decency and sense tells me, if I don’t answer or I answer with equitable aggression, I may ratchet up his already apprehensive attitude towards me.

                  • I modify that. You are morally obligated to interact with people as politely as possible, AND from an angle so as to diffuse and keep as civil as possible all interactions, only ratcheting up rhetoric and potential physicality as the other does it, and even then, continuing with the attitude of diffusement.

                    That being said, if your potential words CAN diffuse a situation or interaction or keep an interaction civil, I submit you then are not only morally obligated, but ethically as well.

                    • Before TGT reductio ad absurdum’s that to saying that self-defense is never justified then, I will clarify that that general rule of thumb is applicable early in any interaction.

                      Other factors weigh in if a conversational interaction becomes physical.

                • Youre a real piece of work. Youve ignored everything that doesnt fit your version of what happened.

                  By the way you petty little douche bag I spent ten years in the Corps defending this country. I bet I’ve forgotten more about the use of deadly force and the proper way to use a weapon and when then you will ever know. Sontake your petty bully ass someplace else. The adults here were having a conversation and disagreng like men do until you dumb ass showed up.

                  Oh and by the way if you ever feel like saying any of your bullshit to my face let me know. Ill hand your fucking ass to you and send you to the hospital .

                  • By the way you petty little douche bag I spent ten years in the Corps defending this country. I bet I’ve forgotten more about the use of deadly force and the proper way to use a weapon and when then you will ever know.

                    I think I’ll affectionately refer to this a “Appeal to Pompous Douchebaggery”.

                    Though I’ll agree. You clearly have forgotten a lot about use of force. So point for you there.

                    The adults here were having a conversation and disagreng like men do until you dumb ass showed up.

                    Is that what you are? An adult? Huh.

                    Glad you told me. I was honestly unaware. Your grasp of logic and reason most certainly suggested otherwise. I shall make special note, so I don’t forget.

                    Oh and by the way if you ever feel like saying any of your bullshit to my face let me know. Ill hand your fucking ass to you and send you to the hospital.

                    Feel free to ask Jack for my address. I just e-mailed it to him special.

                    I’ve been threatened by better men then you, and I will tell you exactly what I told them.

                    You’re a fucking coward, and you will never follow through on your threat. Should you wish, against all available evidence, to actually make good on your ham-handed and ignorant threat, you best bring your A game.

                    Because I don’t back down, especially after a threat, no matter how empty it is, and I will always get back up. Always.

                    • Now, THESE are the kind of “men of color” (Bill and AM) who I ENJOY arguing with! (or, just watching argue)

                      Is there a “Justice for George (and Jurors)” Facebook page/fund yet?

  3. Jack,

    Thank you for front-and-centering my thoughts on the subject. Your (excellent) thoughts open up even wider avenues for discussion than mine, and I won’t belabor the points by trying to itemize them. Let me pick one issue, and stay at a general level.

    Actually two issues. First is, as Ethics Bob noted, I also do not disagree that the acquittal was legally justified. That’s not same as justice.

    But let’s go for bigger game – the theme we both mention several times, the issue of race as it relates to justice.

    Your view is very similar to the present Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts. It is a view that says the law ought to reflect high standards, and ought to be color-blind in so doing. My view is that in the real world, that is a beautuiful myth; furthermore, it’s a myth whose furtherance serves to do harm to minorities.

    I’ll play a little race card here: I’m white, raised in rural white America, and spent 7 years married to a lovely African American woman later in life. I will tell you, that completely transformed my thinking about race. I know many people who claim to be color-blind – and every single one of them is white. You will never, ever hear a black person in this country describe themselves as color-blind; and you’ll hardly ever find one who says they know white people who are. Ask yourself – are you in this moment thinking that’s because black people are racist? No – it’s simply because they are in the minority; the minority sees the majority on display every day, and feels the difference. Majority culture people don’t see it, because they don’t have to. They own the cultural rules.

    There are dozens of little day to day ways in which the majority (white) culture assumes a definition of “normal,” “average,” “customary,” and “right,” which are in fact only that way for the majority culture itself. They are as simple as things like “You have to know that song, it was on the Top 40 list!” Wait – whose Top 40 are we talking about? They are as whimsical as white people saying “dance like nobody’s watching” and black people saying “dance like everybody’s watching.” They are as in-your-face as the wildly different social acceptability of the N-word depending on the race of the person uttering it. It is, simply, a profound and deep fact. And at least in my case, speaking for one, it wasn’t until I shared a bed and a life with a minority culture person that I could see it.

    Every minority person is painfully aware of those little ways – and aware that the majority culture is unaware of them. This isn’t racism per se, it’s simply the natural dynamics of a majority/minority culture. Racism comes into play when you own the power and you begin to deny the presence of those little ways. “What? Me racist? No way – if I had said that, I’d be arrested by the PC police!” And so on.

    This is why I argue against the “If he was white” and “if I were black” forms of argument, preferred by John Roberts as well as you. They are the equivalent of economists saying, “Now, if we had perfect competition,” or of shrinks saying, “Now, if we were perfectly psychologically normal.” They are false premises, from which no logical inference can be made.

    Equality of racial situation is a goal, a noble thing to be strived for. It is far, far from a fact. It’s ridiculous to argue about affirmative action in college when a well-off kid (disproportionately white) is X times more likely to have an iPad with a wireless connection than is his poor (disproportionately minority) counterpart. Those are facts. Inequality starts before birth, as is registered in prenatal health statistics.

    The law quite rightly holds people equally accountable for their actions, regardless of race. However, if our laws makes no allowance for real-world facts on the ground (e.g. DWB), then to use Dickens’ terms, the law is an ass.

    Again – I don’t quibble with the Zimmerman verdict per se. But I’ll make a bet with you, Jack. In the Simpson case, 10 years later, 87% of white people polled say Simpson was guilty; 29% of black people say so. My bet is, we’ll see something like that split here, with far more black people saying the verdict was unfair than we’ll see white people saying.

    And if that’s how the data play out, then there are two possible interpretations:

    1. Racism exists in this society and it affects people’s perceptions, or
    2. One side is totally right (“mine”) and the other side is stupid (“yours.”)

    I am quite confident that the right answer is #1. Can you claim it’s #2?

    • Why is George Zimmerman white? He’s either mixed race or Hispanic. He’s most often identified as Hispanic. I thought all white conservatives hated Hispanics, as well as blacks. Why is Barack Obama black when his mother was white and he was raised primarily by his white grandparents? Tiger Woods doesn’t like being referred to as black because he respects his mother’s Thai heritage. Why is Halle Barry black? Her mother is white Irish Catholic. So how is the Zimmerman/Martin things a black and white thing?

      • Other Bill –
        Ask Halle Barry, or Barack Obama, or any other mixed-race person; they’ll tell you that society identifies them as black in crucial situations. Perhaps this is a heritage of early US society where where had quadroons and octoroons, people with increasingly small portions of “colored” blood.

        Here’s Wikipedia on the subject:
        “The terms were used in law and government to provide a precise code of discrimination and the determination of rights. The use of such terminology is a characteristic of hypodescent, which is the practice within a society of assigning children of mixed union to the ethnic group which is perceived by the dominant group as being subordinate.”

      • It became a black and white thing because that is the way the attorneys hired by Martin’s family set it up. They wanted media exposure and the best way to get exposure was to arouse emotion by presenting the dynamic in a way which played on the black/white race tensions which are already present. The media ran with the story and added even more embellishments to help it sell.

    • Charles….I may be completely wrong but I never got the impression that blacks felt that Simpson was not guilty. Rather, I got the impression that Simpson represented a black man who finally beat the system which had been working against blacks for so long. Am I totally off base?

    • There are dozens of little day to day ways in which the majority (white) culture assumes a definition of “normal,” “average,” “customary,” and “right,” which are in fact only that way for the majority culture itself. They are as simple as things like “You have to know that song, it was on the Top 40 list!” Wait – whose Top 40 are we talking about?

      And that, right there, is the problem. Look: I am white. I don’t think I can name a single song that’s in the Top 40. And if someone were to say to me “You have to know that song, it was on the Top 40 list!”, I would probably be somewhat bemused at the obviously silly suggestion that everybody follows the pop music charts. I would certainly not imagine that the colour of my skin played any part in the fact that I am not interested in the exact same set of things as the (non-existent) perfectly average Mr. Majority.

      You say that “Equality of racial situation is a goal, a noble thing to be strived for. It is far, far from a fact.”, and I agree on both points. But it will never be reached as long as American liberals continue to encourage minorities to view everything through a racial lens. Unarmed black teenager shot by a hispanic? Must be because of racism, never mind the black-on-black crime statistics. Don West’s daughter tweets the word “stupidity”? That can only be a reference to Rachel Jeantel, because she’s black. Right-wingers talking about the IRS scandal? They’re just using “IRS” as a code word for “n****r”. It’s understandable that some black people would feel this way, just as it’s understandable that some white people would be racist against blacks. In neither of those cases does being understandable make it right. So why is one of those things tolerated and even encouraged by the mainstream left?

      By the way, the answer to the question “whose Top 40 are we talking about?” is “the one that is calculated from all record sales, independently of the race of either the artist or buyer”. If your wife thinks that that chart is less relevant to her than it is to a white guy whose favourite band hasn’t had a Top 40 hit in 20 years, then she’s wrong.

      • Phil,

        You provide the perfect example of my point in the way you think about “Top 40.”

        Try Googling Top 40. The first entry you get is “Top 40 – American Top 40 With Ryan Seacrest.” Note the adjective “American,” because that’s only one Top 40 list.

        Now look at Wikipedia’s listing under “Top 40.” Here’s the definition:
        “The Top Forty or Top 40 is a music industry shorthand for the currently most-popular songs in a particular genre.” Note “in a particular genre.”

        More simply put: your definition of Top 40 (which used to be mine too) is “calculated from all record sales.” That’s the correct answer if you’re interested in Nielsen ratings – OR if you happen to be of the majority culture, in which case the most popular for your culture is almost always the one with the biggest sales. You assume that the cultural definition of Top 40 is synonymous with “most record sales.” It even seems obvious to you – anyone who thinks otherwise must be “wrong,” as you so baldly put it.

        But if you happen to be of a minority culture, then the one with the biggest sales, from the majority culture, is hardly your Top 40 at all. Black folks aren’t all that taken with Justin Bieber; a country list will have Taylor Swift but not Robin Thicke, and vice versa for hip hop. Go look at Billboard, and count all the different “Top 40” lists; there are dozens.

        And let’s not forget the UK Top 40 either – did you think people in London consider “Top 40” to be based on all record sales globally, in which case US sales would dominate? Or do you think they might have their own Top 40? Of course they do. So do Spain, Japan and Korea, and they don’t give a damn what sales of records in the US are. It’s a case of geographic centrism, like the “World Series.” It all depends on your definition of majority.

        People in the majority culture, as I said, don’t notice the difference between the majority culture and their own culture, because their preferences conform to the statistical average. But for the minority cultures, the difference is obvious. Ask a Korean. Ask a country music fan. Ask any minority to describe “Top 40,” and you will get a cultural definition, not a record-sales definition. And that cultural definition is drenched in majority/minority presumptions.

        So when you tell me my wife is “wrong” because she “thinks that that chart is less relevant to her than it is to a white guy whose favorite band hasn’t had a Top 40 hit in 20 years,” I would say you’re not necessarily racist, but you’re certainly ignorant. And arrogant to boot.

        • And let’s not forget the UK Top 40 either – did you think people in London consider “Top 40″ to be based on all record sales globally, in which case US sales would dominate? Or do you think they might have their own Top 40?

          As it happens I do think so, yes, because I live in London. I didn’t feel it was necessary in my earlier comment to qualify that I was talking about the US charts because this is a US-centric blog, but since I evidently wasn’t clear enough let me be explicit: I’m talking about the top 40 slots in the US Billboard Hot 100. It ranks pop music singles based on sales and airplay data. It doesn’t AFAIK exclude or alter the weight of any of those data on the basis of the race of anyone involved, so my point still stands.

          But if you happen to be of a minority culture, then the one with the biggest sales, from the majority culture, is hardly your Top 40 at all. Black folks aren’t all that taken with Justin Bieber

          And nor am I. As a matter of fact, most of the music I listen to is psytrance, a genre that, it’s quite likely, nobody else posting here has even heard of. They don’t sell the CD’s I want to buy in high-street record stores, so I have to order them from internet sites and have them delivered from places like Germany and Japan. The only charts that exist for psytrance are those compiled by individual sellers (and I don’t pay any attention to those either). As such I don’t feel the need to “[a]sk a country music fan” for their “minority culture” perspective.

          Note that my race has no bearing on this whatsoever. It’s true that some genres of music have more black fans than white fans or vice-versa, but so what? Predominantly black genres such as hip-hop and R&B are much better represented in the Billboard Hot 100 than some predominantly white genres such as psytrance, extreme metal or ambient.

          People in the majority culture, as I said, don’t notice the difference between the majority culture and their own culture, because their preferences conform to the statistical average.

          If “culture” means race then this is absolutely false. There’s just as much variation in white Americans’ taste as there is in the taste of all Americans, independent of the colour of their skin. If “culture” means something else, then so what? If a psytrance fan gets shot we don’t expect half of the mainstream media to aggressively push the narrative that he was “profiled” because of his taste in music, despite a total absence of evidence that that actually happened.

          So when you tell me my wife is “wrong” because she “thinks that that chart is less relevant to her than it is to a white guy whose favorite band hasn’t had a Top 40 hit in 20 years,” I would say you’re not necessarily racist, but you’re certainly ignorant. And arrogant to boot.

          So then enlighten me. Pretend that I’m American (false) and that the overwhelming majority of music I listen to does not make it into the Billboard Hot 100, or ever get played on an FM radio station (true). Explain why the Billboard Hot 100 is more relevant to me than to your wife, please.

          • “As a matter of fact, most of the music I listen to is psytrance, a genre that, it’s quite likely, nobody else posting here has even heard of. ”
            ***********
            You are correct, philwild, I never heard of Psytrance, so I had to look it up.
            While I have a different taste in music, I still find it interesting your music has its roots in Goa and the hippies there.
            I remember a book I read several years ago describing the Goa hippie lifestyle, “Goa Freaks”. Wild! But fascinating as counter cultures often are.

            • Oh, I’ve heard of it…

              I stand corrected.

              I just refuse to accept the notion that it is, in fact, music. 😉

              I take exception to the systematic marginalisation of psytrance by the American establishment. Mark my words, you’ll be seeing my Million-Fluorescent-T-Shirts-With-Pictures-Of-Mushrooms-On-Them March just as soon as I can find a million psytrance fans who aren’t too high to walk.

          • PhilWild,

            Psytrance, wow, that’s new on me too, and interesting to hear of your geographic locations. I gotta go look that one up.

            I think I must have mis-communicated, and somehow led you to believe that my wife and I were having a dialogue about the record industry’s accounting practices. Here’s a rough outline of how the dialogue went (this was early in our courtship):

            –Me: That reminds of the song Gimme Shelter.
            –Her: What song?
            –Me: You know, by the Stones, Gimme Shelter.
            –Her: Don’t think I know it.
            –Me: You must, it was Top 40!
            –Her: Whose Top 40?

            The point I took from it (and the one she intended me to take from it) was that my musical preferences largely coincided with the the majority of US record buyers, as they pretty much share my demographic. She, like a whole bunch of black people, tended to follow other music. I generalized my view of popular culture; she was reminding me that my culture was not necessarily her culture, and I generalized at my own risk.

            She KNEW that she was ignorant of my favorite music, because my music was majority culture. By contrast, I did NOT KNOW that I was ignorant of her favorite music, because I was unaware of minority culture. I knew the Stones’ discography; she knew James Brown’s. I assumed the majority view applied (which, usually, it does, by definition); she was constantly aware that the majority view did not always apply (as, for example, to her).

            I could have (should have?) used other examples, though they tend to be more incendiary. The phrase “out of wedlock” generally carries more opprobrium in white gatherings than in black gatherings. People who put their feet up on the glove box in the passenger seat of a car are invariably white, not black. And a hundred others. You will rarely find a black comic’s routine that doesn’t touch on race, because it’s a constantly-present feature of reality (Cosby a notable exception); by contrast, you rarely find white comics joking about race, because it’s just not that noticeable.

            Black people know all these differences, because they are in the minority; white people tend to be unaware of them, because they are in the majority. Minority people see two realities – majority people see one.

            In many ways, the dynamics of black and white are not about race per se, they’re about majority and minority. The same dynamics would obtain if the races were reversed. (I’ve never been to Lagos, but I wonder if that hypothesis might carry water).

            I’m off, gotta go download some psytrance; thanks for that.

            • Here’s a rough outline of how the dialogue went (this was early in our courtship):

              –Me: That reminds of the song Gimme Shelter.
              –Her: What song?
              –Me: You know, by the Stones, Gimme Shelter.
              –Her: Don’t think I know it.
              –Me: You must, it was Top 40!
              –Her: Whose Top 40?

              The point I took from it (and the one she intended me to take from it) was that my musical preferences largely coincided with the the majority of US record buyers, as they pretty much share my demographic. She, like a whole bunch of black people, tended to follow other music. I generalized my view of popular culture; she was reminding me that my culture was not necessarily her culture, and I generalized at my own risk.

              That’s a perfectly sensible point to take from it. What I don’t agree with, though, is that assuming that other people know the same music as you is somehow more insensitive to ethnic minorities than it is to any other kind of minority. A black person who grew up in Detroit in the 80’s is more likely to listen to electro than a white person who grew up in predominantly white suburbia – but then so is a white person who grew up in Detroit in the 80’s. Race is entirely incidental to the issue. It’s the same bizarre logic behind affirmative action. You write, “It’s ridiculous to argue about affirmative action in college when a well-off kid (disproportionately white) is X times more likely to have an iPad with a wireless connection than is his poor (disproportionately minority) counterpart.” If that’s true, which I don’t doubt, then you surely agree that it’s poverty, not race, that makes the difference. So why support a solution that has almost certainly led to cases where a wealthy black kid took a university place from a poor white kid with better grades? It’s like pointing out that women mostly have long hair and men mostly have short hair, and therefore offering free smear tests to anyone with long hair. Is there really no better way to determine who is disadvantaged academically than just guessing on the basis of skin colour? And even if there isn’t, does it help black Americans in the long run to implement a solution that means blacks who legitimately earned their places at university will go through life having people suspect they didn’t? A solution that gives endless ammunition to white racists?

              Black people know all these differences, because they are in the minority; white people tend to be unaware of them, because they are in the majority. Minority people see two realities – majority people see one.

              I’m not arguing against the proposition that black people living in America are reminded of their race on a daily basis. I’m arguing against the proposition that we should therefore respect all racial grievances as legitimate, because although many of them are, many of them aren’t. The ones that aren’t can be small and inconsequential, such as when a black man takes more offence than I do at the assumption that he is familiar with the Top 40. Or they can be large and consequential, such as when people protest en masse because NBC told them that George Zimmerman is a racist. Do you think that this helps race relations? I’ve been reading what white supremacists on the internet have been saying about the trial, and let me tell you: black people rioting is exactly what they want.

              I’m off, gotta go download some psytrance; thanks for that.

              I recommend you check out this.

    • 1. Almost across the board, lawyers agree that there was no basis on which to convict Zimmerman based on the evidence presented and apparently in existence. That means to me a) it was wrong to indict him 2) that he was indicted more for show than out of the required good faith belief that he was legally guilty, or that he could fairly be found so, and 3) the protests and anger are based substantially on ignorance of a civic fact that responsible citizens should not be ignorant of.

      2. The complaints of the most vocal critics, almost entirely African American, continue to rely on non-facts. The “Stand Your Ground Law” was not a factor in the case—stop saying that blacks should also have the right to “stand their ground.” There is no evidence that Martin was racially profiled—none at all. Zimmerman was not “ordered” not to follow Martin, and in any event, a 911 operator has no power to order us to do anything. And the claim that Zimmerman was, as Ruth Marcus wrote today and others keep saying, as if its a talking point, “morally responsible” for Martin’s death is either speculation, confirmation bias, or propaganda. Wht is Martin HAD been a burglar? Same dress, same time, same reaction by Zimmerman—and the same thing had occurred? What if Martin was a 26 year-old hardened criminal? What if he was a white hardened criminal? Would everyone be saying Zimmerman was “morally responsible” then? This was, in great measure, moral luck. Bad luck.

      3. The fact that minorities are more sensitive to racial divisions, which I certainly believe, is not the same as saying their perception is always accurate, fair, or true. The great tragedy of the black experience in the US is that blacks often cannot know when they are being held back by racial prejudice and when they are simply the victims of cahance, discretion, or their own failures, so racism is the automatic assumption. It is a case of “just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean I’m not being followed,” but those constantly presumed to be biased observe individuals who use racial bias to explain every setback misfortune, and they become cynical and annoyed, with justification. The fact that—perhaps—Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee may really think that criticism of Barack Obama, with his record, is necessarily based on race does not mean she is more perceptive about race relations than I am. That presumption of bias is deranged, if genuine, dishonest if not, but objectively absurd in any event. Your statement about minority’s perceptions adopts the fallacy that a subjective view is necessarily more accurate than an objective one. In fact, the opposite is the case. Tavis Smiley is a bright man, but when he says, as he did today, that the veridct in the Zimmerman trial proves the contempt American has for black men, he simply shows that the black experience in America has rendered him incapable or rational thought on some issues. The verdict shows that the jury followed the law, and if a black jury had convicted Zimmerman on that paltry evidence, they would have been the racists.

      4. The theory, which you seem to be positing, that the law should be calibrated according to presumed racial influences would do nothing but guarantee permanent, and justified, racial resentment in all directions. OK—cultural influences and disadvantages born of segregation result in higher crime rates among blacks. So every black man get one free robbery? Every white man who kills a black man gets judged by a predominance of the evidence standard, because in the past so many guilty racist killers went free? Roberts’ position is the only fair and equitable position there can be. Legislating inquality and unfairness to supposedly cure inequality and unfairness is a Bizarro World solution—and, I would argue, a cultural trap. When does it end? Presumably never.

      5. None of which has anything to do with this case. A misleading and factually false portrayal of the episode took hold and was embraced by activists—a racist white man decided that a young angelic kid was a criminal because he was black, hunted him down, and shot him, as a racist police department let him go, just like in the days of Mississippi Burning. Except that Zimmerman wasn’t a racist–he voted for Obama in 2008, and had good relations with African Americans. He didn’t assume Trayvon was up to no good because he was black—he assumed that because the are had been plagued by crime, and he was a stranger. He didn’t hunt Martin, intending to shoot him, or at least no evidence says so. The shooting came out of a physical confrontation, and Zimmerman had real injuries. Zimmerman was shorter than “the kid,” who, like Zimmerman, was no angel. Finally, Zimmerman wasn’t white (so the media cooked up the “white Hispanic” label—truly transparent shoe-horning) The episode was about race only because activists and partisans chose to represent it as such for reasons of political leverage, and that was utterly wrong in every way.

      6. In this case, not in all cases, but in this case, the answer to your last question is, sadly #2. There are not always two sides to every controversy, and every controversy isn’t Roshomon. The argument that “a kid is dead, so someone must be guilty of a crime and should pay” is, I have to be blunt, simplistic and juvenile. Sometimes bad things happen, and this was perfect storm. Unless a crime can be proven, one should not be assumed. We don’t know what happened that night, and in this country, we don’t put people away when we don’t know what happened. That is something to celebrate, not to protest.Since all the villainous perceptions of Zimmerman are based on the erroneous assumptions I listed above and the desire to make him the scapegoat for centuries of white abuse—even though he’s not white!—, and since the position that the jury verdict was unjust is nothing more or less than a misunderstanding of the standards required for conviction, yes, that side is just plain wrong.

      7. There is racism in America, but the Martin-Zimmerman case only showed one side of it—the racism of black ideologues. The other side just wasn’t there, whether they thought they saw it, wanted to see it, or just pretended to see it.

      • Jack,

        Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I think you make a lot of good points, particularly about the law and the facts in the case, and I don’t want to minimize them. I will repeat what I said right up front above: “I do not disagree that the acquittal was legally justified.” I still don’t. Stipulated. Agreed. Done.

        I have no idea why you think I’m suggesting the law “should be calibrated according to presumed racial influences,” but for the record, I’m not.

        What I am suggesting is that some laws have the effect of discriminating. A height restriction on amusement park rides discriminates against young people. It’s a discrimination we accept. Rest rooms with “women” on the door discriminate against men, and again we have no problem with it. But we do have problems with laws whose effect is disproportionate with respect to issues we agree on – like equal racial, gender etc. treatment under the law.

        Examples? Gerrymandering. Jim Crow laws. Voter registration criteria, at various points in our history (primarily in the South).

        The “wrong” here is that an unarmed man is followed and shot to death by a stranger – and there is apparently no law under which the killer can be held accountable. As a practical matter, your “if he was white” hypotheticals notwithstanding, the particulars in an interracial case like this will translate 95 times out of 100 into a white shooter and a black victim. That’s the practical real world effect of the law as presently written. (Yes yes I know black on black and white on white crime – I’m talking about the odds when two races are involved).

        But here’s what worries me. You say “there are not always two sides to an argument.” You say, “The complaints of the most vocal critics, almost entirely African American, continue to rely on non-facts.” You say that Tavis Smiley is a bright man, but “the black experience in America has rendered him incapable or rational thought on some issues.”

        Your view is that “The episode was about race only because activists and partisans chose to represent it as such for reasons of political leverage,” and they were “utterly wrong.”

        The majority of black people see racism in this case. You, however, do not. You attribute this dichotomy to your being fact-based and right, and them being non-fact-based and wrong. And most white people, I suspect, agree with you.

        So the one obvious FACT here is that black people and white people have very different views. Yet you view this obvious racial division not as evidence of a fundamental disconnect about the nature of justice, but of bad thinking on the part of one side.

        Jack, read your own words, and tell me the difference between what you’re saying, and saying that, “Basically, the vast majority of black people in this country are wrong, because they are racist.” (Even Al Sharpton doesn’t put it so strongly).
        [For a good summary piece on white denial of racism, see
        http://www.laprogressive.com/whites-deny-racism/ ]

        I just think this is just not your best thinking. You do an admirable job of parsing ethical dilemmas that have flummoxed me for years; you have changed my mind on half a dozen occasions (and hey, let’s be honest, changing one’s mind is a damn rare thing!). On this issue, maybe you call Tavis up and ask him for a private, one-on-one, not-for-attribution, no-quotes allowed, discussion, and just listen. It’s not easy to do from the majority side of the house, but it’s valuable.

        • The first half of your reply to Jack hinges on this wildly speculative line of yours:

          “The “wrong” here is that an unarmed man is followed and shot to death by a stranger – and there is apparently no law under which the killer can be held accountable.”

          Please, you cannot look at the evidence and testimony in the trial as possible scenario. You simply cannot.

          Oh and if that wrre the scenario, there ARE laws under which the killer could have been held accountable.

          The second half of your article is just a justification for mass hysteria: if Enough people have an misguided view of the world, then that view is legitimate. Never mind that view has been cultivated by individuals who have profited from its perpetuation.

          Your assertion is summarized thusly:

          White people can never truly see the racism in this country. Only black people can truly see it and appreciate it.

          The inevitable consequence of that attitude:

          But trust us, its still there. We need it to be there otherwise we wouldn’t have a fall back position to blame others for our failing family structures, our rampant crime statistics, our epidemic drug usage, or our slipping economic status.

          What? Our president is black? Countless representatives and senators are black? Well you’re a racist so shut up.

        • “The “wrong” here is that an unarmed man is followed, attacks the stranger by beating his head into the sidewalk, and is THEN shot to death by that stranger”.

          There, fixed it for you.

          Isn’t lying by omission an ethical fail? Do you work for NBC? I am contemplating the NBC person who cut out part of the 911 tape to make it appear GZ was pursuing TM primarily because he was black.

        • For the record, I think you do a service to all by being tenacious in this matter, Charles.
          But:
          A. “The “wrong” here is that an unarmed man is followed and shot to death by a stranger – and there is apparently no law under which the killer can be held accountable.” Every “wrong” cannot have a legal remedy. We are suffocating in laws already. In the case of some wrongs, getting the law and the government involved is truly a cure worse than the disease. Here is a well-read case from the old Ethics Scoreboard, that I re-posted here. That’s really the issue at hand, though it was just a civil case.

          That said, the framing of the case you are using is slanted by omission. Self-defense is a crucial feature of our laws and our rights. There will always, always be situations where the law doesn’t fit the facts, and in a free society where citizens have a way to know when they will be breaking for the law, we cannot just adjust the law after the fact. As you know, ex post facto laws are unconstitutional, and that’s a vital prohibition. An unarmed man was followed—do you want that to be a crime? I don’t. That’s how they caught the child killer in “M.” And Travon wasn’t shot to death by a stranger: he was, according to a plausible account that could not be disproven on the facts, shot to death while beating u a stranger, who was in fear of his life. Do you want THAT to be illegal? I sure don’t, and I don’t think anyone rational would. I think much of the bias against Zimmerman is, as the President, once again using the death of a minor to stump for gun control, implied yesterday, that a lot of people don’t think it should be legal for George Zimmerman to have a gun. Well, I respect that, but its’ not the law, and not the law at issue in this case.

          B. As a practical matter, your “if he was white” hypotheticals notwithstanding, the particulars in an interracial case like this will translate 95 times out of 100 into a white shooter and a black victim.” 1) I’d like some documentation of that. I very much doubt that 100-1 is even close to the right stat, but I’ll be convinced by data. 2) In statistics, I very much doubt that Zimmerman would count as “white”—a key fact that shows how distorted this event was to make it fit the “racist America” narrative.

          C. “The majority of black people see racism in this case. You, however, do not. You attribute this dichotomy to your being fact-based and right, and them being non-fact-based and wrong. And most white people, I suspect, agree with you.” This is a classic false dichotomy, Charles. Most Americans believe in ghosts and angels—that doesn’t mean I have to concede that they have a leg to stand on. A majority of blacks believe that the CIA invented the AIDS virus to kill them. A huge number of progressives believe that George Bush bombed the World Trade Center, and an absurd number of conservatives think Obama was born in Kenya. Polls show that many Americans think Obamacare has been repealed. I don’t care: this all is demonstrable nonsense. So is the belief that the martin-Zimmerman episode definitely, provably, involved racism.

          For confirmation bias isn’t analysis. As I said before, activists believe this because they want to, and it’s to their advantage to do so. I am about to write on this topic exactly, but as a preview, I have listened to and read the arguments of angry “Zimmerman has to be held accountable” zealots for a day now, and I have yet to read a single justification that isn’t based on falsehoods, irrelevancies, or speculation assumed to be fact. I would welcome a real argument…frankly, I’m shocked that I haven’t heard one. But the reason I have not is because such facts don’t exist. Thus your contention comes down to the cliche, “You are welcome to your own opinion, but not your own facts,” and my dad’s favorite, “Don’t confuse me with facts, mu mind’s made up.” I’m sorry that so many blacks made up their minds about what happened and why without considering the facts. But that is entirely the reason for the phenomenon you cite, and because of that, it deserves concern and analysis but not respect. An opinion based on emotion, needs and biases is not a respectable opinion.

          • I’d like some documentation of that.

            So would I. I’ve heard the opposite, albeit from sources I don’t consider very trustworthy. For example, a study by the “white separatist” New Century Foundation claims that in 2001-2003 blacks were 39 times more likely to commit violent crimes against whites than the reverse. It claims that this comes from the National Crime Victimization Survey, but I can’t see a way to easily extract the relevant numbers from the vast amount of data on the NACJD website so I haven’t checked whether it’s true.

            • Phil, let me clarify before starting an unnecessary sub-shit storm. I did not intend to claim a statistic about proportions of killings by race. I was suggesting a purely hypothetical case: that if you asked someone to PUT MONEY DOWN on the more likely of two scenarios given a set of facts (Florida, nighttime, car, armed/unarmed, neighborhood watch, dead person unarmed), where one scenario was black/white and the other white/black, that 95 out of 100 people would put their bet on the configuration that did in fact go down.

              I doubt there are any statistics on that, it’s a pretty narrow hypothetical: but I’m just asking, What do you think the odds would be given that data?

              To be clear – I was not claiming anything one way or the other about the racial mixture of shooters and victims.

              • I was suggesting a purely hypothetical case: that if you asked someone to PUT MONEY DOWN on the more likely of two scenarios given a set of facts (Florida, nighttime, car, armed/unarmed, neighborhood watch, dead person unarmed), where one scenario was black/white and the other white/black, that 95 out of 100 people would put their bet on the configuration that did in fact go down.

                I doubt there are any statistics on that, it’s a pretty narrow hypothetical: but I’m just asking, What do you think the odds would be given that data?

                I imagine that most people, myself included, would be more likely to put money on the white guy armed/ black guy dead scenario (it’s a trick question, of course: the correct answer is half hispanic, half white guy armed/ black guy dead). That’s to be expected, and I don’t have any problem with it. I don’t even have much of a problem with the knee-jerk assumption that the “white” guy was probably a racist; there is, after all, enough historical precedent that one can’t help but be informed by when mentally filling in the gaps in our incomplete knowledge of what happened. I do have a problem with the many, many people who are still asserting that George Zimmerman is a racist, now that we have easy access to a lot more information, very little of which supports the racial narrative and quite a bit of which contradicts it.

                To be clear – I was not claiming anything one way or the other about the racial mixture of shooters and victims.

                OK, sorry for misreading your post.

                • Thanks Phil, you didn’t necessarily misread me, more of a case of me not having been clear in the first place.

      • Its unfortunate that this situation has been so heavily distorted for political purposes. I would blame BOTH sides, but the TM fans are guilty of about 90% of that.

        There are some good takeaways here buried under all of this. I estimate that GZ should have taken the same concealed carry class as I. In that class they stress that concealed carry holders are NOT cops. You do NOT escalate situations or pursue criminals. If someone is moving away from you, let them go, even if they are in the act of committing a crime. The fact that GZ *did* pursue TM to some extent grants him some culpability… not a lot, but some.

        (ducks)

          • You are probably right. I’m not sure that the indicated “Advice” in CW class is any more than that. Similar to the 911 “advice” indicated in this case… interesting, but not binding.

      • Jack –
        First, you’re welcome (for helping drive your traffic through the roof). And thanks for your straightforward hew-the-line approach to debate. And to (most of) the commentary, it’s enlightening.

        Enough of my voice. Readers might enjoy the current BusinessWeek column on the topic, called George Zimmerman’s Acquittal: Four Blunt Observations.

        http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-07-15/george-zimmermans-acquittal-four-blunt-observations

        For context, I think of BusinessWeek as pretty centrist politically. (Used to be even right wing, before that label got re-defined). The author of the piece, Paul Barrett, is a former editor and legal affairs correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, not known for its left-wing hysteria. He even used to cover the Supreme Court, and got a law degree to boot, from the same school as Chief Justice John Roberts.

        Y’all will love his first point; though taken all four in combination, I think he’s pretty balanced.

        http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-07-15/george-zimmermans-acquittal-four-blunt-observations

        • The first point is true but irrelevant. “Fault” is not legal guilt, nor should it be. And not taking the advice of a dispatcher is neither criminal nor negligent. As it happened, it was not the right thing to do.

          • (Replying to this late because I only just noticed it on account of being unable to load some of my emails yesterday:)

            The first point is true

            No, it absolutely is not. It says “The police dispatcher told Zimmerman to stay in his car.” That didn’t happen. The only thing that bears any resemblance to that is the dispatcher’s statement that “we don’t need you to do that” – which the dispatcher testified in court was not a command – but that wasn’t said until after Zimmerman had already left his car.

            I really have tried to keep an open mind about this case, but that becomes a lot harder to do when I see the mainstream media keep pushing falsehood after falsehood after falsehood in an attempt to make Zimmerman out to be the villain.

  4. This is my first reading of this blog. I think it won’t be the last. Rarely have I seen someone have his ass handed to him as totally and completely as charlesgreen has and still have the temerity to keep coming back for more.

    • We don’t dialogue on here to see people ‘have their asses handed to them’.

      Charles Green typically responds with thoughtful, considerate and articulate view points.

      He may be wrong on this topic (as generally left leaning people are somewhat deluded on this topic) but that doesn’t mean he can’t be confident in his responses. Given openness and rationalism, he may change his mind. But he, like the rest of us, are not here to watch a solid ass-handing.

        • I dunno about CG being civil… is presenting a false narrative civil? I called him out, above, because he again pushed the narrative that GZ pursued TM down and killed him. This omission of key events is clearly deceptive and has been used to inflame divisions about this case from the beginning.

          • I have no doubt that those who use this misrepresentation believe it. If you listen and read in the Zimmerman-baiting media, that’s the impression you get. I just had an argument with a radio host on this very issue. “There is no proof that Zimmerman was “stalking” Martin. He was following him. Following is not stalking.” “Well, let’s say he was,” the host said. “WHY should we say that, if there was no indication that he was in fact stalking him? That just muddles the issues,” I asked.

            • Its not so much whether GZ was “stalking” or “following” TM it was the fact that they routinely omit the attack on GZ. This was clearly relevant and to omit such is pretty dishonest IMO.

              One could probably write a book about all of the deceptive or outright phony narratives presented in this case. Here is another one I consider very dishonest is the whole “armed” vs “unarmed” scenario. As in “But, but… he shot an UNARMED youth!”. Fact is, people are killed by “unarmed” assailants all the time. The fact that I am not “carrying” does not make me harmless. People use their bodies as weapons, and almost anything at hand can be turned into a weapon in a second: Bottle, rock, brick, lamp, tools, etc… etc… Consider this, you are more likely to be killed by hands or feet than a so-called “assault rifle”. Consider – http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2912115/posts

              Excerpt: “The FBI murder statistics do not differentiate between types of rifles. There are about 100 million rifles in the United States. In 2009, the last year in which numbers have been reported, there were 13,636 murders. Guns were used to murder 9,146 people. Hands and feet were used to murder 801 people. Blunt objects were used to murder 611 people. Rifles were used to murder 348 people, and that is all rifles, of which assault rifles are only a small fraction. Assault rifles are used so infrequently in homicides that many police departments almost never see them; in 2009, there were nine states that did not have a single murder c0mmitted with any rifle.”

              • Good points. The unarmed vs. armed argument is based on the presumption that using deadly force in a confrontation with an unarmed individual is inherently unjustifiable, and that if an adversary is unarmed, there must be a non-lethal response. That is not always true, however.

      • Perhaps I was wrong. Maybe this will be my only visit. I don’t really care why you post here. Your assumption that my motivation for posting here is to see someone get pwned says much more about you than it does me.

        My post was intended as a salute to the vigorousness of the debate. The fact that I agree more with Jack’s position than Charles’ (as apparently do you) doesn’t lessen my appreciation for Charles’ attempt.

        Interesting that the tone of your post to me comes across as condescending not only to a new commenter but to Charles and other “deluded” people as well.

        • I’m sorry. My mistake I misinterpreted what I feel was the blatant obvious intention of your post.

          My mistake completely. I do recommend however that you reconsider using phrases about seeing asses handed to people when that isn’t what you are eager to see. I also recommend you freshen up on the connotation and denotations of the word ‘temerity’ as well.

          • te·mer·i·ty
            /təˈmeritē/
            Noun
            Excessive confidence or boldness; audacity: “no one had the temerity to question his conclusions”.
            Synonyms
            daring – rashness – audacity

            My usage of the word was exactly as I had intended. When I need any further advice from you on how/what I should post I’ll be sure to ask for it.

            • Did you really use the google search definition to justify that?

              Try a reputable dictionary, which will support the connotations attached to that word that led me to interpreting your comment as having complete disregard for Charles Green’s confidence in his opinions.

        • And to avoid making blatantly ignorant comments such as that I agree with Charles Green, you may wish to peruse the several disagreements we have had. You may even bother to the posts in this specific article where I clearly do not agree with him.

          Or is laziness another of your fortes along with inability to communicate your intentions?

          • “The fact that I agree more with Jack’s position than Charles’ (as apparently do you) doesn’t lessen my appreciation for Charles’ attempt.”

            My intent was to indicate that we both agreed with Jack’s position. But I can see how it is possible to allow your emotions to cloud your interpretation.

            Had I thought you agreed with Charles I would have posted:
            “The fact that I agree more with Jack’s position than Charles’ (as apparently you do) doesn’t lessen my appreciation for Charles’ attempt.”

            That being said I’ll endeavor to be more clear in the future as to avoid confusing you.

            • Your intent was to show we both agreed with Jack’s position??? Then you justify that by shifting a word that doesn’t change the meaning of anything, considering the modifying clause by context is still attached to the term “Charles’ position”

              Come on man, you’ll have to do better than that.

  5. Greetings, one and all. For several months, my wife has been sending me copies of Jack’s blog via e-mail, and I finally became enough of a fan that I joined as well. I explain this so that all will know that I have read Charles’s comments for a while. I have always found him to be as advertised, thoughtful, intelligent and articulate (I suspect erudite, as well but have no way of knowing). However, when he says ” You attribute this dichotomy to your being fact-based and right, and them being non-fact-based and wrong.” My belief is that this is exactly the case and that it, in fact, should be. Racism is not an easy thing to prove, but the fact of it’s existence is, regrettably, obvious. Unfortunately, asserting racism in this juries verdict, simply because the victim is black (not you, Charles, but the population who believes that) is specious in the extreme. Being fact-based makes you right, being non-fact-based means you have an opinion or a belief.

    I would also take issue with the assertion that a white man cannot experience racism. You have obviously never lived on an Indian reservation.

    • The frequent (in fact constant) insertion of race into any and all matters (such as how any disagreement with the President is due entirely to his race) means that claims of racism are taken less seriously, even when they might actually be appropriate.

      I would also take issue with the assertion that a white man cannot experience racism. You have obviously never lived on an Indian reservation.

      Or lived in an area, or attended school, where white was indeed a minority.

      • Yes, it is becoming a true “boy crying wolf” scenario where REAL incidences of supremacy will be lost in the noise.

    • Dragin_Dragon, thanks for the kind words. I agree with everything you say here, with the possible exception of the Indian reservation comment, and there simply because I don’t think I understand the point you are trying to make.

      Fact-based is always better, and non-fact-based deserves criticism. At the same time, there is not always agreement about what is fact-based and what isn’t, and that’s usually where the arguments get going.

        • Ah, I hear you. And so I agree with all the things you’ve said. Though note, that’s a case where “white” is a clear minority in a very clear and closed social system; that’s exactly the dynamic that feeds racism. It’s more about minority and majority than white or black.

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