A Question For The Zimmerman Verdict Protesters: What Do You Think You’re Protesting?

justice-for-trayvon-martinThe protests of the George Zimmerman acquittal taking place around the country on campuses and cities has been largely peaceful, which is something, I guess.  Nonetheless, pointless and misguided protests are, in my view, unethical, as those of you who recall my posts about the Occupy movement will recall. They waste public resources, inconvenience bystanders, and risk violence, not to mention trivializing a key tool of democracy. If you are going to demonstrate, you are ethically obligated to have your facts and grievances straight and clear, and a practical objective in mind. By this measure, the post-verdict “Justice for Trayvon” protests fail.

What do protesters mean when they chant, “Justice for Trayvon,” now? What do they want, and why do they think it is reasonable to want it? I have listened to and read so many radio hosts, talking heads, experts, lawyers, activists, callers, friends and relatives on this story, and the truth is this: those who are angry about the verdict and want to sign petitions and carry placards about it cannot articulate a single legitimate reason that is supportable by fact or law. Not one.

I say this not because I am a “Zimmerman supporter.” I am not a Zimmerman supporter. Nor am I a  Trayvon Martin supporter, though I am sorrowful that his young life was cut short. This isn’t a team sport, and it certainly isn’t a game. Those who have used this sad tragedy to divide, polarize and demonize belong on a splintered spit in Hell. I have pleaded for an honest, rational, fair justification, other than raw emotion, for the indignation over this case, requiring only that the facts cited actually apply to what happened in Sanford, and not a litany of racism through the centurues. I haven’t received them, and that is because they don’t exist.

So I ask the protesters, both on the streets and campuses and the pundits, activists, columnists and elected officials:

What is it that you want, and why do you think this episode is the fair and rational place to make your stand?

These are the answers I am hearing repeatedly:

“Zimmerman should have been convicted.”

If you believe this, then you advocate the elimination of the hallowed “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard of guilt in criminal cases, which means you are willing to see more innocent whites, Hispanics, Asians and blacks incarcerated on less than definitive evidence. The prosecution did not prove second degree murder or manslaughter, because it didn’t have evidence to prove either charge. (Here is Florida criminal defense lawyer Brian Tannebaum’s  blunt take on the criticism of the verdict and some of the media circus act inciting it. Bingo.)

“Just knowing” he set out to kill Martin and that it wasn’t self-defense isn’t enough to convict a George Zimmerman…there has to be evidence that supports it. And if you are an American, you should know this, honor it, and be grateful for it, because when”just knowing” someone is guilty is enough to imprison them, a police state isn’t far behind.

“Something is wrong with the system if an innocent unarmed teen is shot and nobody goes to jail.”

This sounds good, but it is really a call for vengeance and scapegoating rather than accountability, and has the further difficulty of framing the tragedy dishonestly. Someone should go to jail if a crime is committed and proven. Are you arguing that any time an unarmed teen is shot dead, it must be regarded as a criminal act? Is that approach–a no-accident, strict liability—rule what you are after? It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to come up with scenarios where this would be horribly unjust. There is also the problem, if you mean “Justice for Trayvon” and not merely “Justice for Future Trayvons,” that your theory is not consistent with current law. Did you know the Constitution forbids prosecuting people for acts that weren’t illegal when they were committed, and made criminal subsequently? Are you protesting against that principle? If you are, then you are giving up the right to know when you are committing a crime, and your protection from being made retroactively a criminal at a government’s whim.

It is irresponsible to argue that “something is wrong” when you haven’t a clue what. The fact that you don’t get the desired result in every case does not prove that the system is flawed, and as I already pointed out, the jury system in this case performed perfectly: it acquitted a defendant when there wasn’t enough evidence to convict, no matter how may fools were screaming for his head.

“It’s open season on black teenagers!” 

“I find it very hard to accept that it’s ‘lawful’ to shoot an unarmed 17-year-old boy dead as he walks home,” the reliably idiotic Piers Morgan tweeted Sunday morning. If you are protesting because you have a fantasy version of the truth you want to maintain accurate, have fun in your world, but don’t pollute mine. Jeffrey Toobin, a legal analyst who should know better, tweeted that Trayvon Martin “got the death penalty for buying Skittles in a hoodie.” Shame on him. He’s a lawyer and a news analyst, and he’s deliberately making the public stupid while stirring up unrest. There was no evidence that Zimmerman “executed” Martin, who was killed as  a consequence of a direct physical altercation, for which he may share some culpability. Zimmerman had no idea what he was carrying—that is the purest moral luck. Martin’s death wouldn’t have been any more or less of a tragedy or undeserved if he had been carrying a human head in that bag. The hoody outfit legitimately made Zimmerman suspicious, just as it would have made him suspicious if Trayvon were wearing a Guy Fawkes mask or was dressed as Zorro.”

“Trayvon’s civil rights were violated!”

Apoplectic liberal screamer Bill Press shouted, “We’ve gotta join the NAACP…and put some pressure on. God, Eric Holder, man, he’s disappointed us so many times. He’d better come through here. File the case against George Zimmerman for violating Trayvon Martin’s civil rights.” Irresponsible and foolish: where’s  evidence, Bill? The prosecution couldn’t prove that Zimmerman shot Martin out of hatred, animus and prejudice, and the Justice Department won’t be able to prove that either. Oh, I wouldn’t be surprised if Holder allows such a wasteful, unethical prosecution to go forward to make the NAACP happy, because he is a total embarrassment, partisan and incompetent, as  Attorney General, but literally no respectable legal analyst believes that such a case can be justified or won, which is the same thing.

“The verdict shows the contempt America has for black men!”

African-American TV commentator Tavis Smiley actually said this in public, on ABC, and a more disgraceful utterance it would be hard to find or imagine. By following the rules of evidence, the jury of six refused to find guilty a defendant who had not been adequately shown to be guilty as the law has required for centuries, and Tavis takes from this that all of America has contempt for black men. Adherence to principles of justice means contempt for black men, ergo, Smiley’s protest is to refuse to adhere to principles of justice?

“Only a white man can “stand his ground” in the U.S!”

This trope arises because the narrative on the Zimmerman case began with focus on state “stand your ground” (SYG) laws, of which Florida has one. The case did not involve SYG; it wasn’t mentioned in the trial. Never mind: most of the protesters and the media critics either didn’t watch the trial (Tannebaum: If you didn’t see the trial, stop criticizing the verdict, it just makes you look stupid.”) or just pretend stuff was in it that wasn’t.

Then there are all of the micro arguments inside the macro one, that Zimmerman is obviously guilty. They come up again and again, relentlessly, basing fury and indignation on false facts:

  • Martin was racially profiled!  Prove it. Even the judge, who was leaning over backward to help the prosecution win its lame case, refused to let the State say this. There was no evidence. None. The presumption that Martin must have been racially profiled because he was black and Zimmerman is (sort-of) white is itself racist. There was no proof at all.
  • Zimmerman was guilty because he was carrying a gun. Unquestionable wrong. The gun was legal, and he was licensed to carry it. This is the point where the Sandy Hook “Guns are evil and those who own them are too!” crowd further warp the “Justice for Trayvon” crowd. Yes, if Zimmerman didn’t have a gun, Martin wouldn’t have been shot. He also wouldn’t have been shot if Zimmerman lived in Georgia. Protest for tougher gun laws in you want, but it has nothing to do with “Justice for Trayvon.”
  • Zimmerman was guilty because he disobeyed an order from the police not to follow Martin. 1) Getting out of your car is not a crime, or the element of a crime. 2) Zimmerman was not “ordered” to do anything. 3) The 911 dispatcher has no authority to order him to do anything, and disobeying a dispatcher’s advice is his right. 4) We don’t know that Zimmerman did follow Martin after he got out of the car, but assuming he did, it hs no bearing on his self-defense claim.
  • If Zimmerman had just called 911 and not followed Martin, the kid would  be alive. And if George  didn’t have a gun, Martin would be alive. And if Martin took a different route home, or didn’t look confused, or wasn’t stoned, or had, as I’ve noted before, simply walked up to Zimmerman, introduced himself, explained where he was going and not been drawn into an argument, he would be alive….or maybe not. “But for” is not necessarily the same as guilt or even fault, legally, ethically or logically. In the Multiverse, I’m sure there are versions of this confrontation where Martin gets home without encountering Zimmerman, where he survives, where the two meet but don’t fight, where Zimmerman stays in his car, where Zimmerman doesn’t have a gun and Martin gives him permanent brain damage, and on, and on and on, even a version where Martin and Zimmerman becoome close friends years later, and go on joint speaking tours about bridging the racial divide. Yes, Zimmerman is the primary actor in the set of unintended circumstances that led to Martin’s death. That doesn’t make him a criminal, and we don’t want the law to make that an automatic criminal offense.

In the end, it appears that the protesters are just, you know, protesting, because they really, really wanted someone or something to blame for Trayvon’s death, the persistence of racial injustice, the fact that there is no neat, deserving villain in the tragedy as much as everyone has tried to make a non-racist, Peruvian/black/Caucasian into a white, racist murderer, and the escape of their designated scapegoat for all the past atrocities and indignities white American has perpetrated against African-Americans and a little thing called a fair trial and the requirement of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt foiled their plans. It’s a tantrum, and it deserves all the respect tantrums usually deserve.

 

 

 

127 thoughts on “A Question For The Zimmerman Verdict Protesters: What Do You Think You’re Protesting?

  1. As a clarification – Stand Your Ground is used to avoid prosecution. Since he was prosecuted, it became irrelevant. Now, duty to retreat is another concept that would have come up in the case, had FL had such a requirement. But it does not.

    So, Stand Your Ground had no bearing on this case, the defendant was acquitted on plain old “Self-Defense”.

    • Not to get too semantic here, but if you don’t have a duty to retreat aren’t you by definition standing your ground? I’m not talking about the stand your ground law, I’m talking practically.

      • Semantically – Yes, I think that makes sense. However, people who are discussing “Stand Your Ground” are referring to the law and saying that it is flawed and the reason Zimmerman was acquitted. He attempted to find umbrage under the Stand Your Ground law to avoid prosecution and it failed. (Though it probably should not have.)

        “Duty to Retreat” is another specific concept that requires a person to attempt to leave a confrontation before using lethal force.

        (I am not a lawyer, so if I’ve butchered this – please put me in my place.)

        • Again, I understand the legal difference — I want a practical difference. If you don’t have a duty to retreat, doesn’t that mean that you are holding the line, not backing down, standing your ground, etc.?

          • In this case duty to retreat (or SYG) was not an issue because the defense’s case was that Zimmerman had no ability to retreat ( stuck between Martin and the sidewalk). What Stand Your Ground Laws do is establish by legislative act the specific points at which the duty to retreat shifts to the right to stand your ground, and they do vary from law to law. Duty To Retreat is a directly opposed doctrine to Stand Your Ground, in any given circumstance you either have a duty to retreat or a right to stand your ground and even in places where you have a strong duty to retreat (say the UK) there is a point at which you no longer have a duty to retreat (called in the UK Retreat To the Wall). Even without a Stand Your Ground Law or equivalent judicial precedent the furthest a duty to retreat usually extends is to where retreat is dangerous – the duty to retreat does not require running into a burning building to avoid confronting an attacker.

            The Florida law which established the SYG/DTR changeover point also had a section about presumption of the validity of assertions of self-defense, but that is not part of SYG, it was just passed as part of the law which established SYG. this has caused some confusion among the commentariate.

              • Tex, just out of curiosity, do you know how Texas’s Castle Law would apply, if at all? Since there are so any “What Ifs” out there, thought I’d add one more…”What if it happened in Texas?”

                  • Dan, I am not sure the rules are as clear-cut all over Texas as you explain there. I’ll have to ask one of my relatives, who is mayor of a small town in Texas, and whom I can trust is up-to-date and most literate about gun laws (and whom I trust as more ethical than myself).

                    • It is simple but not as simple as Dan makes it out.

                      Here’s a summary of the law:

                      You can protect a third party’s property IF

                      under the circumstances you reasonably believe them to be you would be justified in protecting your own property* and you reasonably believe that someone is stealing their property

                      OR

                      if you reasonably believe the third party requested you to protect their property, or you are legally obligated to protect their property, or if the owner of the property is immediate family or under your care or resides with you.

                      *You are justified in using force to protect your own property to the degree you reasonably believe the force is immediately necessary to stop the other person or to recover stolen property (provided the force is used immediately after theft or in fresh pursuit).

                      You are justified in using deadly force to stop the following specifically named acts: arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during nighttime, or criminal mischief during nighttime. Also justified in using deadly force to prevent someone who has committed those acts from fleeing (if they are fleeing with stolen property).

                      But that isn’t it, it is wrapped up by stating:

                      You are only justified using deadly force to protect or recovery your property (or another’s property) if you reasonably believe there is NO OTHER WAY to do so or if discovering another way to do so, that other way would expose you to substantial risk of death or serious injury.

                      —–

                      I don’t necessarily think a simplistic statement of “just look up Joe Horn” automatically says Texans can just blow away people stealing their neighbor’s stuff, although Texans certainly are empowered to defend their neighbor’s property within reason. Upon reading the law there are few more reasonableness items that have to be taken into consideration and exhausting other means prior to taking deadly force.

                    • But AM, I know your level of honor. You’d never egg someone’s house because you know vandalism is wrong and you respect the sanctity of private property. I know you wouldn’t not do it simply because a property owner may not be able to tell what you are up to and shoot you.

                      I know fear of lawful reprisal isn’t governing your decisions but that the high road of civic virtue is your guide.

                • I’m not a lawyer, but a cursory reading would be that the Texas Laws would resolve this episode fairly similarly…simply because Texas, like the other States, and anyone using American style judicial process would require proving accusations beyond reasonable doubt, and regardless of which State this event occurred in, the Prosecution simply didn’t have evidence or testimony to back the charges.

                  Since the castle doctrine wasn’t applicable, I’m not sure answering the question is relevant, but here’s the wording (provided I’ve made no typos) of the “castle doctrine” as it is found in the Texas Concealed Handgun Laws:

                  “A person who has a right to be present at the location where the force is used, who has not provoked the person against whom the force is used, and who is not engaged in criminal activity at the time the force is used is not required to retreat before using force as described by this section.

                  For the purposes of Subsection (a) (that is the subsection describing justifiable use of force), in determining whether an actor described by Subsection (e) (that is the subsection in the paragraph above) reasonably believed that the use of force was necessary, a finder of fact may not consider whether the actor failed to retreat.”

                  • Thanks for the research, Tex. It needs to also be noted that the law traditionally allows citizens greater leeway in the use of deadly force after the hours of darkness, particularly in cases of home defense. In Zimmerman’s case, this was a matter of his being a night watchman for an entire neighborhood. Naturally, the crux of this case is one of self-defense.

  2. ..some jobless millenials saw some 60s vietnam protests in movies and decided that today, the street was less boring then their mom’s couch. They deserve the cynicism they get. How about picking the right injustice to complain about.

    • No kidding! If I had it my way, we’d be protesting how police routinely violate the 1st-5th amendment rights of anyone they want only to receive a slap on the wrist. Meanwhile, they get what they want in the short term.

      There are plenty of Youtube videos to display this phenomenon. Photography Is Not A Crime (PINAC) does a great job showing how if you video-record in public, you better be prepared to spend a night in jail. Even though certain police departments have been devastated in court, they still continue with the same conduct that put them at the court’s mercy to begin with.

        • As such, any arrests involving recording the police is a clear violation of a person’s civil rights, and thus opens both the individual officers, the department, and whatever controlling governmental organization there is (city, county, state, whatever) open to a civil suit that would be exceedingly expensive for the defendants.

          • Open to a civil suit? Yes. Actually losing the civil suit with significant damages? Rare. The deterrence factor isn’t there yet.

            • Exactly. There’s no law that punishes an officer for violating someone’s rights. An officer can lie to you and then act on that lie in a way that violates your rights, destroy evidence, shoot your dog and you are essentially facing an uphill battle to recover damages, let alone find a way to impose a penalty on the individual that did this to you.

              • There’s no law that punishes an officer for violating someone’s rights.

                There is, actually. It is Title 18 U.S.C. § 242, the statute they used to convict the cops involved in the Rodney King incident.

                VERY broadly, it places criminal penalties on a large number of types of people – but mostly law enforcement – who in the performance of their duties (under the “color of law”) violates someone’s civil rights without due cause. Certainly arresting someone for a crime isn’t going to get them tried, but arresting someone when there is not a crime – and the officer knows that there is no crime – then they are screwed.

                Assuming the DOJ does it’s job.

                I think we all know how likely I think that actually is.

                But a civil suit would, likely, end up settled out of court at the strong urging of the city’s insurer.

                So no, there isn’t anything that would actually cause them to learn a lesson.

        • This would be true only in the 7th Circuit of course. Other jurisdictions could find differently — although they shouldn’t.

  3. “The hoody outfit legitimately made Zimmerman suspicious, just as it would have made him suspicious if Trayvon were wearing a Guy Fawkes mask or was dressed as Zorro.”

    I can see your point about Guy Fawkes (I get questioned every time I wear mine) and Zorro, but, how does a hoody outfit “legitimately” make Zimmerman suspicious?

    • Covers his face. Suggests a desire to hide or be hard to identify. Worn by a stranger? I’d be suspicious. I’d never assume the race of someone wearing one though, since my own son, who is plaid, wears one.

      • Couldn’t Piers Morgan tell you that a common ASBO in England is the court prohibiting teenagers from wearing hoodies?

        It also isn’t illegal to blacken my face, wear all black, and walk through people’s yards at night right next to the houses where I can easily glance in the windows, I would expect that if I did so, someone might ask me what I was doing. If I gave a homeowner any lip about it, I would expect to get in a confrontation because to any reasonable person, I am doing something suspicious.

    • Well, if millions of people dressed like Zorro and Guy Fawkes for stylistic reasons, that would be a stupid reason to deem someone suspicious.

    • It makes a person no more legitimately suspicious than a leather jacket, a beard, bangs or a brimmed hat (which obscure one’s face), putting one’s hands in one’s pockets, or walking with one’s head down. It’s a frigging article of clothing.

            • I didn’t forget Tex — I’m talking ONLY about the hoody reference. Geraldo (and I’m not a fan, but I will defend him here) caught a ton of grief over telling today’s youth not to wear hoodies. Geraldo was right. If I had a son, I also would tell him not to wear one depending on where we live. Because a lot people associate hoody with hoodlum. This is unfair and wrong on several levels, but I would rather my son stay alive then die over his right to free expression.

              • Oops dang. I totally misread your comment. I thought I saw you said “people don’t leave their hoodie down in the rain”…. You know, because its raining… Basically implying his behavior was completely 100% non-suspect. I don’t even see how I saw the word “don’t”

                I retract my commentary.

              • It’s not wrong. In an area where you are unknown, don’t dress in ways that evoke fear and distrust. You have a right to dress in a slouch hat, a black mask, black pants, horizontal striped jersey, and carrying a satchel, but people might think you’re burglar. Unfair? If I try to egt on a plain wearing my “Jihad! Death to the infidels!” T-shirt, is it unfair that the passengers get nervous? On TV, kids in hoodies are shown robbing people. On Criminal Minds, a gang in hoodies went around randomly shooting people. You have a right to make strangers feel uncomfortable, but it’s a stupid thing to do, and they have a right to act according to what their experience tells them is threatening.

                • And that’s why you’ll see more and more Justin Carter cases. We have to stop making assumptions about free expression. If you wore that t-shirt, I would laugh out loud. Others would call the police and you could end up in jail.

                • “You have a right to make strangers feel uncomfortable, but it’s a stupid thing to do, and they have a right to act according to what their experience tells them is threatening.”

                  I’m going to use that as a launching point for the following.

                  Walking While Black was an issue decades ago. I recall a TV program in the Los Angeles area in the late 1960s or so (Joe Pyne?), a kind of talk show and issues-discussion format, that covered the case of a black man who frequently walked late at night through neighborhoods other than where he resided. He just…walked. His physical presence was imposing; he sported dreadlocks (a much less familiar hairstyle in that time and place) and walked fast, confidently, in a manner which another person observing him at the same time and place might consider unsettling, suspicious, even ominous or threatening. He used the same sidewalks that were available to everyone. There were no curfews or other ordinances he was violating.

                  What impressed me most about the man was, he was inspiringly (to me) articulate. It seemed obvious to me that what he did, he did for deliberate provocation. But, he did nothing illegal and, as far as I knew ethics at the time, nothing unethical. He was tweaking the culture – tweaking the stifling, widespread racial biases in that culture – where they needed and deserved to be tweaked. He was exercising his right to make strangers feel uncomfortable, but in his case, I do not believe it was a stupid thing to do; it was courageous and forward-thinking. He walked in a land of strangers who acted according to what their LACK of experience told them was threatening.

                  Simply by his walking, he was protesting legitimately and civilly. Still, he caused a huge stir, because…well, because, as far as the reality of the unnecessary uproar was, he was a black man walking late at night in a neighborhood where he did not reside. For that, he suffered the knee-jerk reactions of racially biased suspicion. I wish I could recall better, but I am almost sure he was on TV precisely because the residents of the neighborhoods where he walked had called police frequently to report a suspicious person – and, he had been arrested at least once, but probably arrested, detained and charged multiple times, for no good reasons, but only in essence for Walking While Black. I remember vividly part of what he said on the show about the American system of justice at that time: that it was “schizophrenic.” I believed then, and believe now, that he had a valid point.

                  A new schizophrenia appears to be emerging and afflicting the American justice system. It is the schizophrenia that advocates “Presumed Guilty with Innocence Unprovable,” but only in selected cases involving incidents and related issues between persons of certain dissimilar races.

                  The cases are selected by unelected community-energizing persons and by representatives of organizations mostly unaccountable to the general public; I refuse to call such energizing persons “leaders” or “organizers,” even “activists,” and I refuse to call such organizations “community service” oriented. The unaccountable organizations – and, their similarly unaccountable representatives, referred to nevertheless (annoyingly) as “leaders” – increasingly are connected to the currently elected and appointed political leadership (such as it is) of the country, at all levels, to the extent that they are acknowledged as the chief enablers of said political leadership’s ostensibly legitimate governing authority and legitimate uses of power – the “base.”

                  The new, schizophrenic “justice” is a race-based racket that fosters discord, division, public tensions, interracial animus, intimidation, threats and public violence, even at the behest of the enabled governing powers, to promote specified, desired outcomes in the selected cases – even outcomes that are the opposite of true justice in an ethical sense – in spite of the design of the system which, when operated diligently according to its design, in the overwhelming majority of cases justly averts and blocks unjust outcomes, even in the selected, “schizophrenic” cases.

                  I do not know how to cure the emergent schizophrenia. I can only diagnose it, and attempt to urge larger populations than those under the rackets’ influences to organize, act, sacrifice and “fight,” insofar as civil, ethical, and just conduct characterizes ultimately constructive “fighting,” to determine and promote effective treatment and eventually, a cure.

              • That’s right, you do. And since Zimmerman called 911 with that complaint, it is hard to argue that isn’t what he THOUGHT he saw.
                Our house faces a church parking lot. I have called 911 and said, two cars with their headlights shining into my living room seem to be meeting up and some kind of a transaction is going on—looks like drug deal. The lot is known for such activity. They flee, and later say they were looking at baseball cards. And maybe they were, but my presumptions were reasonable.

                  • I prefer not to walk on sidewalks at night, because that is where too many little dogs poop. So, it’s either walk in the street – obviously, too dangerous an option – or, walk on the lawns.

                    Now, what reasonably circumspect person is going to walk on someone’s lawn at night, and NOT look TOWARD the house, AT the door, and INTO the windows? You just never know what kind of creepy, racist hothead is going to come sprinting out of a house to confront you, so you had better be ready to exercise your Duty To Retreat. Even if you do risk suffering the moral luck of slipping on chihuahua poop on the sidewalk, tumbling into the street, and getting run over by a cyclist without headlights, helmet or reflectors – or, getting stalked by a vigilante.

                    Besides, walking on lawns eliminates the temptation to pick up any spilled Skittles. If I spilled some on a sidewalk, I could be tempted to pick them up – and pick up dog poop instead.

                    All above is tongue-in-cheek. Except, I do hate dog poop on sidewalks. Skittles, “meh.”

  4. These protests have little to do with the facts. Every attorney who has voiced an opinion agreed the burden of proof was not met, that the prosecution witnesses were poorly prepped, and the 2nd degree murder charge was an overreach.

    However, try to see the case from the point of view of an AA. and understand their frustration:
    1 The image of a baby faced TM is planted in their brain, even though that is not the person GZ faced.
    2. An Unarmed 17 yo got into a fisticuff scuffle, and got shot dead.
    3. Recently, there were two Self defense cases involving black defendants in FL, and they both received long jail sentences. Marissa Alexander didn’t even shoot anyone.
    4. A continuing police narrative that white defendants are treated differently than black defendants.. This is true, esp in Sanford.

    I find it encouraging that people are angry but for the most part peaceful and not destructive.

    It will sizzle out soon i hope.. And Eric Holder already knows there is no DOJ case, he’s just waiting for some other Big story to hide his decision.

    • Marissa Alexander didn’t even shoot anyone.

      And that verdict is bullshit – from the floor to the ceiling, utter bullshit.

      However, she DID fire that “warning shot” in the vicinity of “other parties” (there were people besides herself and the asshole in the room). Had she merely shot the asshole, she’d likely be fine, and if they had been alone, she’s have been fine. I really do think it was the addition of extra people within close proximity that made the difference.

      In addition, within the last 24 hours a black woman actually USED the SYG law in Texas to shoot (and kill) a white male is what appears to be a case of road rage (minor traffic incident/accident, guy becomes enraged, comes at her door in the parking lot of a gas station yelling and kicking her door and trying to open it.

      Assuming her story is true (and it was daylight and certainly there will be at least a witness or video to support or disprove her story), then good for her, clean shoot, carry on with your day ma’am.

      • And can I just say how fucking stupid it is to fire a “warning shot”?

        If you draw a weapon, use it. Period.

        Drawing a firearm and saying “I’ve got a gun!” is asking to have it taken from you and having it used on you. Draw, aim, fire. Don’t draw, wait to make sure they see you have a gun, tell them to stop or you’ll shoot, THEN fire.

        As Gene Hackman said in the movie Heist…

        Joe Moore: He ain’t gonna shoot me?

        Fran Moore: No.

        Joe Moore: Then he hadn’t ought to point a gun at me. It’s insincere.

        • Warning shots are stupid.

          Our CHL class specifically said, if you aren’t planning on killing an assailant when the time comes to do so, then don’t even present your weapon, and if you are going to present your weapon in order to keep an assailant at bay, you better damn well shoot to kill if the assailant chooses not to be held at bay. Intentional warning shots and intentional wounding shots are reckless and dangerous.

      • More the point of the Marissa Alexander case:

        If there wasn’t any idiotic minimum sentencing, she would have like only gotten a year to three for reckless endangerment of a minor or some such other charge.

        But no, minimum sentencing managed to make her self defense case ridiculous.

      • Also, having done a little more research on the Marissa Alexander case:

        In addition to firing a warning shot in the direction of bystanders, it didn’t help her defense by saying she went all the way to her car to retrieve the gun and come back in to fire the warning shot.

        If she claimed she also meant to protect her children, there may be some justification for that. Unfortunately the intent to protect your children is a little less credible when they are in the line of fire.

    • The latter two points are perfectly valid rationales for protest, just not for this protest. And that’s what boggles my mind. I see this averse reaction to a fair trial and I can’t help but hear the message as:

      “The justice system is unfair to black people! So let’s make sure it’s unfair to everyone!”

      If someone finds that black defendants are being convicted of crimes of which they are innocent, maybe he should demand that we, you know, not do that, rather than demanding that the some white-ish guy join the parade of wrongful convictions in order to balance the scales.

    • “And Eric Holder already knows there is no DOJ case, he’s just waiting for some other Big story to hide his decision.”

      You submit he will use the Kim Jong-Un method of getting out of putting his money where his mouth is?

  5. I posted a link to this article on Facebook.

    One my leftist friends from childhood, responded with a link of his own which he legitimately feels provides a counterpoint to Jack’s brutally accurate and rational breakdown of this.

    His link was from the onion.

    I feel that pretty much sums up the whole dichotomy in our nation.

  6. Pingback: The Whole System Failed Trayvon Martin | While you were sleeping

  7. Some good points here, but as a friend rightly pointed out, you kind of loose your case for a “rational” discussion when you hurl names like “the reliably idiotic Piers Morgan,” or “Apoplectic liberal screamer Bill Press.”…..making your case without the name-calling would be much more effective.

        • Actually, CB supports the Tea Party….but believes that once one resorts to derogatory adjectives when describing the opposition, one loses the argument. Certainly we, and Ethics Alarms, can make our case in a rational manner without resorting to the demonizing done so well by the left.

      • You certainly are able to make your case effectively without such derogatory terms. I assume your posts are to aimed to convince people of the rationality of your positions, and I tend to agree with many of them, including this one….but if you demonize those you disagree with, rather than stating clearly and logically why you disagree with them, you only are throwing the proverbial red meat to the faithful. You lose those who might have been convinced by the strength of your points.

        Leave the demonizing and belittling to the Alinsky types….we’re better than that.

        • I agree with your position, if not the application of it. The quote from Morgan was, “I find it very hard to accept that it’s ‘lawful’ to shoot an unarmed 17-year-old boy dead as he walks home.” That is objectively idiotic, a statement that indicates a flawed and rudimentary method of reasoning. The case does not stand for the proposition that it’s ‘lawful’ to shoot an unarmed 17-year-old boy dead as he walks home. It is dishonest and irresponsible for Morgan, an international TV host, to say such a thing. I did not call Morgan an idiot, but said that he is reliably idiotic. This is objectively accurate. He does not deserve respect; nobody who would distort the facts like that does. Civility does not require withholding information. If Morgan said that to me,on TV, I would tell him that it was an idiotic statement, and why.

          I don’t know how familiar you are with Press. Apoplectic was an accurate description of his rant. He is liberal—that’s essentially his job qualification. He was once a co-host of Cross-Fire, and his credentials as a screamer are undeniable. This is not like calling him an asshole. It is wholly descriptive, and Press earned the description. I’m not even sure he would take issue with it.

  8. I have to absolutely agree with Jack Marshall on this one. Trayvon Marin would be alive today if he’d had the simple presence of mind to respond to Zimmerman’s inquiries with a simple “Oh, sorry, mistuh, I sho’ nuff sorry if I’s upsetting you massah suh, howbouts I does a little dance fo’ yo’ suh or maybe’s you’s needin’ a little shoe shine?” I mean the kid was dressed like a teenager for chrissakes — what the heck did he expect to happen to him. Better still, why didn’t the kid have the simple basic intelligence to stay in his house — or even better, back in Africa?.

    • As much as you wish for your distastefully sarcastic to reveal a problem in Jack’s argument, all you are doing is justifying a continuation of no manners and no interaction between people.

      How many violent incidents would be avoided if people stifled pride and learned to just answer questions or ask them without attitude or posturing?

      This one certainly. Mocking the legitimate option of just politely answering a question (even if the questioner is rude) shows you disdain the very mannerly interactions that could easily make life more decent and happier for everyone.

      • Yes, Helmut believes that when being followed by a strange man in unfamiliar surroundings, it is more manly and honorable to escalate the conflict and risk rather than deal with them rationally. No possible cost-benefit analysis or risk calculation supports that approach, which admittedly might seem logical to the incompletely formed brain of a teen. My handy-dandy rule is to take the course less likely to end up making me dead.

        • Zimmerman said in the 911 tapes that Martin RAN first. He ran away. Martin’s first instinct was not to confront but to run. Zimmerman then pursued. This makes Zimmerman the aggressor and no aggressor should get to claim “self defense”… unless at the point where he started losing the battle the aggressor surrendered and stopped fighting or tried to run away.

          • It doesn’t matter what his first instinct was. Zimmerman broke off pursuit. The clock is re-set after Zimmerman gets in his car. Following is not “chasing,” or hunting, or stalking. Thsoe all presume a desire to do harm. A desite to watch, guard, keep tabs on etc. is not a desire to do harm. All of the presumptions of ill will on Zimmerman’s part involve mind-reading. On the other hand, when someone physically attacks you, no matter how legitimately provoked (Martin could have been found guilty of assault and battery), that IS evidence of ill-will, and no mind-reading is necessary.

            • How is it a resetting of the clock?

              It’s funny you use the “mind reading” line as I anticipated it in my mock prosecution closing I posted on my blog. I know what was in his mind because I heard it in the 911 call. His ill will was clearly stated when he described Martin as an f’n punk and an asshole, and part of the asshole [criminals] who always get away.

              • Asshole is not a racial epithet, nor can it be used as proof of racial animus. Obviously. You don’t know what he had in his mind, because asshole doesn’t tell you. You know what you WANT to be his mind.

      • Ugghh Helmut. But let’s talk about this on a different level. We keep saying Zimmerman had no duty to follow 911’s advice. Okay, sure he had no duty. But certainly Martin had no duty either to approach a man who was clearly following him and politely explain that yes, he had a legitimate duty to remain in the neighborhood.

        • Close. The correct parallels between the two acts of 1) Zimmerman getting out of the car, ignoring the correct ADVICE of the dispatcher, and 2) Martin confronting Zimmerman, ignoring the correct advice of his friend to “Run!” Both parties took unwise and reckless actions that led to the violent confrontation, and both contributed to the horrible result. Zimmerman is more culpable, as the adult, as the initiator, but the tragedy was the result of the unstable combination of both reckless courses of action.

  9. Jack can you please explain what law Travon broke. With all this talk i’ve yet to hear exactly what did he do wrong, What law did he brake? Is walking to a store and buying ice tea and skittles a crime? Is that enough to be shot at point blank range and killed!!

    • What??? Are you really that obtuse, or is this an attempt at satire? I’ll assume the latter and give you the benefit of the doubt—yes, I know, some of the loudest protesters about the decision really do reason this poorly. Very funny. Ha. I’d prefer a substantive comment, though.

      • Obtuse which means slow to understan, dim witted! What is so funny about the parents of Travon Martin who had to bury a 17 year son! Satire? Lets try this for satire, this is the most violent country on earth! Thousands are murdered every year! Thousands of parents of all colors have to bury there love ones. and you still have not answered my
        question

        question what law did Travon break to be murdered.? Or in your mind is that un

        have have to bury their

        • Michael, I’m not going to answer your question, because it shows such lack of comprehension of the post, the event, and the issues involves that it indicates that you are, sadly, 1) cognitively disabled or 2) six. In either case, I don’t have the time to engage in the futile exercise of explaining the law and introducing you to the useful concept of common sense.

          I have a seldom-used codicil to the commenting rules that I have only used once before but will again, now. Your next attempt to comment here will be banned. This comment is signature significance—you’re not intelligent enough to contribute positively to the conversation. I’m sorry.

  10. Oh if only protesters were required to have all the facts. We would never see a tea party protest again.

    I would argue that the prosecution DID have enough evidence to convict on at least manslaughter if not Murder 2 but that having the evidence isn’t enough. The prosecution failed to present the evidence properly to the jury and as such the jury came back with an aquittal when the defense was effectively able to place a doubt into their minds that the jury found reasoanble.

    You say that the hoodie outfit legitimately made Zimmerman suspicious. It may in fact have made him suspicious but I call the idea that the suspicion is “legitimate” flawed at the very least. And even if he was suspicious, regardless of the legitimacy, Zimmerman should have let the police do their job.

    As to the civil rights of Martin, one can make the argument that Martin had the right to be in the neighborhood and Zimmerman tried to illegally detain him because of his race (since his race is the reason why Zimmerman was suspicious.. the defense proved this with their calling of the witness who was a victim of a home invasion). Now, I am not sure the civil rights argument would be successful in court. But I can see the argument as being a plausible one.

    And I don’t know about the US. But in Florida it is becoming obvious that only white people can use a “stand your ground” our a “self defense” plea and be successful. Martin was never considered to be standing his ground agains the aggressor Zimmerman. You have several other cases where black people in Florida have been denied the ability to claim self defense or SYG (including the woman who defended herself from an abusive husband for firing a warning shot who got 20 years).

    So called false facts you want proved/

    “Martin was racially profiled! ”

    He was. The people who committed crimes were black. Martin was black. Zimmerman admitted his profiling in his 911 call where he said that these “assholes” all get away. Based on appearance alone Martin was judged to be a criminal and the only similarity between him and the home invader was race. Clearly that is racial profiling.

    “Zimmerman was guilty because he was carrying a gun. ”
    Not sure I have heard anybody making this claim. But he did pursue Martin with a loaded gun. Martin ran away initially (again, 911 tapes). So with the malice Zimmerman had (again, assholes and f’n punks, Zimmerman’s words) for Martin he pursued with a loaded gun. The gun in and of itself doesn’t prove guilt. But if Zimmerman belived Martin to be dangerous enough to call 911, the only reason Zimmerman would approach is because of the gun. That, to me, shows intent.

    “Zimmerman was guilty because he disobeyed an order from the police not to follow Martin”
    Yes, people who call it an order are incorrect. It wasn’t an order. However, the dispatcher did suggest to Zimmerman that they didn’t need him to pursue and he did anyway. Why? Because Zimmerman had it in his mind that he didn’t want another one of these assholes to get away and he set forth to make sure that didn’t happen. As it turns out, he was successful.

    “In the end, it appears that the protesters are just, you know, protesting, because they really, really wanted someone or something to blame for Trayvon’s death, the persistence of racial injustice, the fact that there is no neat, deserving villain in the tragedy as much as everyone has tried to make a non-racist, Peruvian/black/Caucasian into a white, racist murderer, and the escape of their designated scapegoat for all the past atrocities and indignities white American has perpetrated against African-Americans and a little thing called a fair trial and the requirement of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt foiled their plans. It’s a tantrum, and it deserves all the respect tantrums usually deserve.”

    The protestors are mad because there is a system of justice in this country that is broken, especially for black americans. General disparities in booking, conviction, sentencing, etc as compared to white criminals who perform the same acts are one example. The way Florida allows white people to claim self defense but when a black person does it that claim is rejected is another version of this trope. I am sorry but there are many white people in this country who are looking at this from their privileged perspective and they will never know what it is like to be a black person living in this country. They have never had to deal with driving while black, or in this case walking while black. They are typically not the ones who get stopped and frisked in NYC. There are a lot of racial injustices that happen in this country and for a white hispanic to get away with the shooting of a young black kid, they view it as another straw on the camels back.

    • Thank you, whatever your name is (you own me an emmail, by the way) for actually trying to rebut the post. I mean it. This helps. But you can’t and your arguments are oh so wrong, with a lot of bobbing and weaving and conclusions that no one could make who hadn’t decided what happened first.. The Prosecution had nothing, and this comment proves it:

      1. “Martin was racially profiled! He was. The people who committed crimes were black. Martin was black. Zimmerman admitted his profiling in his 911 call where he said that these “assholes” all get away. Based on appearance alone Martin was judged to be a criminal and the only similarity between him and the home invader was race. Clearly that is racial profiling.”

      Baloney. Rancid baloney. “These assholes” is not, and can never be, proof of raciala animus. He was speaking of generic trouble-makers—the fact that they happened to be black does not mean Zimmerman was talking about their race, and more than their gender or species. The obvious target of “assholes” is “home invaders and crooks.” Saying Zimmerman “admitted profiling” is dishoenst and deluded. The prosecutor didn’t try that sill argument, and the judge wouldn’t have allowed it.

      2 “Zimmerman was guilty because he was carrying a gun. ” Not sure I have heard anybody making this claim. But he did pursue Martin with a loaded gun. Martin ran away initially (again, 911 tapes). So with the malice Zimmerman had (again, assholes and f’n punks, Zimmerman’s words) for Martin he pursued with a loaded gun. The gun in and of itself doesn’t prove guilt. But if Zimmerman believed Martin to be dangerous enough to call 911, the only reason Zimmerman would approach is because of the gun. That, to me, shows intent.”

      Intent to what? Intent not to be killed or harmed by someone you think might be a thug.He has a right to carry a gun. To paraphrase Rooster Cogburn, a gun that isn’t loaded isn’t good for anything. he was not brandishing the gun, and Martin (obviously) didn’t know he had one. There is no intent to harm shown by merely having a gun—this is the false presumption underlying much of the demonization of Zimmerman. People like you think of guns as inherent proof of bad intent and bad character—which is biased, ignorant, and silly.

      3. “Zimmerman was guilty because he disobeyed an order from the police not to follow Martin”
      Yes, people who call it an order are incorrect. It wasn’t an order. However, the dispatcher did suggest to Zimmerman that they didn’t need him to pursue and he did anyway. Why? Because Zimmerman had it in his mind that he didn’t want another one of these assholes to get away and he set forth to make sure that didn’t happen. As it turns out, he was successful.

      Mindreading.Mindreading is not evidence. He could continue to follow Martin if he chose. Your statement is unconscionable, presuming intent to kill from events after the fact. This is bootstrapping, and if you don’t know it’s unfair, you should.

      4.“In the end, it appears that the protesters are just, you know, protesting, because they really, really wanted someone or something to blame for Trayvon’s death, the persistence of racial injustice, the fact that there is no neat, deserving villain in the tragedy as much as everyone has tried to make a non-racist, Peruvian/black/Caucasian into a white, racist murderer, and the escape of their designated scapegoat for all the past atrocities and indignities white American has perpetrated against African-Americans and a little thing called a fair trial and the requirement of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt foiled their plans. It’s a tantrum, and it deserves all the respect tantrums usually deserve.”

      “The protestors are mad because there is a system of justice in this country that is broken, especially for black Americans.” So they say. That contention has 100% of nothing to do with this case. Zimmerman IS a black American, and he got justice. (As has been pointed out, he is more black than Plessy, the African-American plaintiff in the landmark SCOTUS case of Plessy v. Ferguson, which was overturned by Brown. There is no nexus whatsoever between the facts of the Martin-Zimmerman case and your reason for protest. You just validated the section you quoted.

      5. General disparities in booking, conviction, sentencing, etc as compared to white criminals who perform the same acts are one example. Irrelevant and inapplicable to this case.

      6. The way Florida allows white people to claim self defense but when a black person does it that claim is rejected is another version of this trope. Huh? Stand your Ground is not an element of this case, and blacks have used it successfully in Florida and elsewhere. It’s a dumb, bad, dangerous law, but protesting a law that wasn’t a feature of the Zimmerman trial makes no sense. (You’re desperate now, aren’t you?)

      7. I am sorry but there are many white people in this country who are looking at this from their privileged perspective and they will never know what it is like to be a black person living in this country. So you are protesting the fact that white people aren’t black? Very Interesting. And stupid.

      8. They have never had to deal with driving while black, or in this case walking while black. FOUL. Sorry, that’s over the line. There is no proof that Martin wouldn’t have been treated exactly the same by Zimmerman if he had been green, yellow or white. Now you’re assuming as facts what is pure speculation.

      9.They are typically not the ones who get stopped and frisked in NYC. There are a lot of racial injustices that happen in this country and for a white hispanic to get away with the shooting of a young black kid, they view it as another straw on the camels back. Out of bullets and rocks, and throwing paces of crap, I see. Protesting a Florida trial for frisking policies in New York City? Brilliant! Blaming the defendant in a case that may not have involved race at all for racial injustices? Makes sense to me!!! WHITE HISPANIC??? Come on. “Don’t confuse me with facts, my mind’s made up.”

      You proved my point.
      Thank you.

      • It’s me. For some reason here my gravatar always gets screwed up and sometimes I get to fix it.

        The “these assholes” in combination with the defense witness of the home invader proves the point. You may not see it or agree with it but it is enough for me.

        The intent is to take action to make sure this “asshole” didn’t get away. Intent to confront a person dangerous enough to call 911.

        And I said self defense, which does not require a stand your ground defense. Perhaps you are so used to dealing with people who keep repeating stand your ground that you put it on me?

        And I used the stop and frisk as one of many examples of racial injustices that still exist in this country. You expect black people to just look at this case in a vacuum. That is impossible to do.

        • 1. That’s disappointing–I though we had picked up two serious, articulate participants from Progressive Land in one week.
          2. “You expect black people to just look at this case in a vacuum. That is impossible to do.” I expect that, because that is the only way to give individuals a fair trial. I expect that, because I expect everyone, regardless of color,to be rational, fair, and not governed by bias and emotion. But mostly I expect that because this case had nothing to do with race, except that the media and elected officials created the false narrative that it was, and refused to let go even when it was clear that the facts didn’t support their framing.

          • Well, I appreciate the complement about being articulate.

            With the Zimmerman trial specifically the jury should have absolutely looked at the case within a vacuum (at least within the vacuum that is George Zimmerman and all relevant items to the case).

            However, black people who are not participants in the trial will look at this beyond the case. They will look at it as another perceived wrong against black citizens in the nation.

            And yes, people should try the best they can to look at things with facts, logic and reason. But we are imperfect beings in an imperfect world and sometimes our emotions get in the way.

            I am toying with the idea that the justice system both worked and failed in this case. It seems contradictory. However, in general I subscribe to the idea that it is GOOD that it is hard to convict people. It is better for a few guilty people to get away with it than it is to have innocent people locked up. So for the general idea of how the justice system is supposed to work, yes it worked. It was difficult for the state to prove its case and ultimately Zimmerman gets to walk away.

            However, according to the innocence project, a large majority of those people that have been cleared by DNA evidence are black people. http://www.innocenceproject.org/Content/What_Wrongful_Convictions_Teach_Us_About_Racial_Inequality.php

            So not only does the system of justice not work the way it is supposed to by shielding us from innocent people going to jail, it impacts the black community in a disproportionate rate. And then throw in the profiling and death of Martin,and you may understand why black people look at the justice system with such disdain.

            And I have never been stopped for what I look like. I have never been stopped by the police for anything other than a valid traffic stop. Never have I been requested to do anything besides show license and registration and proof of insurance. I do know people who are black who have been stopped just because of their race. They are asked what they are doing there. They are automatically subjects of suspicion because of their race. This is their life experience. So while looking at the case with facts, logic, and reason, people are also going to weigh what happened with their life experiences and say “yeah, this is just another case of a black male getting stopped because he was black”.

            • Dude, WHO CARES.
              The jury looked at the case in a vaccuum, objectively, which they were supposed to do.
              The “black people” protesting (in quotes because I give black Americans more credit than you do; I think most of them understand the realities of this case) aren’t looking at this case in a vaccuum, because they can’t, you claim. They are being subjective.

              Again, WHO CARES. If the protesters aren’t making fact-based protests, then no one should be obligated to respect their protests.

              Are we supposed to respond simpky because there are lots of them, and because they FEEL really strongly about it? The fact that 1/3 of Americans may believe that 9/11 was an inside job doesn’t mean that we should take that opinion seriously. It only means that 1/3 of Americans are morons.

              The justice system didn’t fail, in this case, at all.
              So what should you, or the protesters, expect? Mob rule? Verdicts that take into account irrelevant things happening in New York? Maybe we should all get to vote on Zimmerman’s fate, just like on American Idol?

              Attempts like these to justify ignorant, uninformed protests only come off, to me, as insulting to Black Americans. I don’t know if my Black friends are representative of the whole, but I do know that most of them aren’t losing any sleep over this verdict. There are real injustices out there.

            • Most firms now have Diversity Committees (there’s an unfortunate number of non-white and female attorneys that leave the practice of law, but that can be the subject of another post.) Anyway, one of the things we routinely heard from our Latina or Hispanic female attorneys on this committee is that they could never wear black slacks with white blouses to work. Because, just about every time they did, they were asked by a male white attorney to clean out a conference room, bring beverages to a meeting, etc. I.e., they would be mistaken for cleaning or catering staff because of their appearance. That has never happened to me and I don’t know what that feels like. I think there are a lot of liberals who can agree that the verdict was correct and, at the same time, acknowledge that there remain serious race problems in America — especially in the justice system.

      • May I also add, if I may to Jack’s responses:
        1 – Zimmerman had a history of making unnecessary 911 calls about suspicious persons. 44 times over 8 years! At least three of those calls were about suspicious WHITE folks. NO, what he did was NOT racial profiling and that is the reason the word “profiling” was not even allowed in court.
        3 – a 911 dispatcher is NOT a cop
        I also submit that Zimmerman challenged police over a cover-up of the beating of a homeless black man by a white police lieutenant’s son and he mentored underprivileged children, most of the black.
        Ugh, every time I hear the words white hispanic I want to throw up!

          • How so, Beth? When the argument is that he was racist who was racially profiling and the past shows he had called 911 on others of different races, not just black but hispanics and whites also. The neighborhood itself had a higher percentage of minorities than whites so it would only make sense that the figures would add up this way.

            • This doesn’t reflect the racial percentages in the neighborhood. Look, I’m not saying he’s racist, I’m only saying that these numbers don’t help the argument.

              • Sadly, they wouldn’t reflect the percentages, Beth. One stat that our racist visitors are citing happens to be accurate: Black Americans are 7-8 times more likely to commit a crime than whites.

                • That’s not true. In the U.S., blacks are more likely than whites to be arrested for a crime and much more likely to be convicted of a crime. That’s not the same thing as committing a crime.

                  NYC’s stop and frisk program’s statistics show the error here. Blacks are considerably more likely to be convicted of gun crimes. There is also a larger portion of the overall black community than the overall white community that is found to have guns through stop and frisk. Of the people actually stopped and frisked, though, blacks are less likely than whites to be found with weapons. How can that be? Well, blacks are stopped at an incredibly higher rate than whites, especially compared to population sizes.

                  The statistics just show that blacks are arrested and prosecuted at a higher rate, not that they act badly at a higher rate.

                  • By the only tools we have to determine the racial break-down in crime, it is clear that blacks commit a disproportionate number of crimes. The exact percentage is open to question: the fact itself is not. The crime victim’s breakdown also supports the data.

                    • By the only tools we have to determine the racial break-down in crime, it is clear that blacks commit a disproportionate number of crimes.

                      What? If the tools we have are known to be inaccurate, then using them is invalid.

                      The exact percentage is open to question: the fact itself is not.
                      How does that jibe with the following? “One stat that our racist visitors are citing happens to be accurate: Black Americans are 7-8 times more likely to commit a crime than whites.”

                      The crime victim’s breakdown also supports the data.

                      Does it now? Can you point me to a study that isn’t horribly flawed? That takes into account the horribleness of eye witness identification? That takes into account our bias to see attackers as darker skinned than they actually are?

                      Sorry, but this is, again, an invalid tool.

                      Compare this discussion to the discussion that women are paid 22% less than men.

                    • The fact that the data has confounding elements—we don’t know who commits all crimes, just who is arrested and convicted—doesn’t make it invalid. The woman-male discrepancy is simply a made-up stat. There are more black victims of crimes. Blacks die violently at the hands of other blacks more often by far than whites die of violence by whites. To assume that the statistics are meaningless would require the belief of an organized conspiracy to ignore white crime and imprison blacks. And that rationalization does affirmative harm, as it allows policy-makers to avoid addressing a serious problem by pretending it is imaginary.

                    • The fact that the data has confounding elements—we don’t know who commits all crimes, just who is arrested and convicted—doesn’t make it invalid.

                      INo, the fact that we know it’s invalid makes it invalid. We know there are biases in enforcement. The stats from the stop and frisk program show that the bias in enforcement can cause the difference in statistics of the result of enforcement. As such, we can’t believe enforcement represents behavior. This isn’t a difficult concept.

                      The woman-male discrepancy is simply a made-up stat.

                      Just like “Black Americans are 7-8 times more likely to commit a crime than whites.” Both were based on something, but that something was not valid and not representative of what it claimed to be. This is a direct parallel.

                      There are more black victims of crimes. Blacks die violently at the hands of other blacks more often by far than whites die of violence by whites.

                      I assume you meant as percentages of the population. That would be true. Neither stat says blacks commit more crimes than whites.

                      To assume that the statistics are meaningless would require the belief of an organized conspiracy to ignore white crime and imprison blacks.

                      I didn’t say the statistics are meaningless, I said they don’t represent what you claim they do. That’s actual fact (as opposed to your usage of the word).

                      There’s no need for an organized conspiracy. Biases don’t require conspiracies. I don’t think there’s a conspiracy to make girls like the color pink, but there’s clearly pressure for girl’s to like the color pink.

                      And that rationalization does affirmative harm, as it allows policy-makers to avoid addressing a serious problem by pretending it is imaginary.

                      Your strawman rationalization could cause harm. Do you know which policy-makers ignore the actual causes of crime? Those that believe blacks are just more violent than whites instead of it being a socioeconomic issue. Do you know how that comes about? Because of people backing statistics that don’t represent what they claim they do. Your logic was right here, but your premises were backwards.

                    • Invalid but not meaningless? That’s fascinating.

                      They are the best data we have. I think the better analogy is to the divorce stats, thought they are better than that. Blacks commit a greater percentage of crimes than their percentage in the population—that has a lot of factors in it, but its true. How much more? I cited the stat to say that the fact that Zimmerman may have reported a higher percentage of blacks than the population demographics is consistent with the fact that the they also commit more crimes. That is true.

                    • Invalid but not meaningless? That’s fascinating.

                      It’s basic logic. That the stats are invalid to show X doesn’t mean the stats don’t show anything. There is meaning in them, but there is meaning in them about crime commission rates.

                      They are the best data we have.

                      And we know it’s invalid for this purpose.

                      I think the better analogy is to the divorce stats, thought they are better than that.

                      Why are divorce stats a better comparison than female pay? Can you support that? What’s the last clause suppose to mean. I get that you meant “though” instead of “thought”, but it still doesn’t make sense to me.

                      Blacks commit a greater percentage of crimes than their percentage in the population—that has a lot of factors in it, but its true.

                      Citation needed. I’ve pointed out that your stats are invalid. Simply reclaiming your belief is ridiculous.

                      How much more? I cited the stat to say that the fact that Zimmerman may have reported a higher percentage of blacks than the population demographics is consistent with the fact that the they also commit more crimes. That is true.

                      What? You cited an invalid stat to support your purpose. You didn’t even believe the stat, it was just a proxy for your belief that there is a difference. That’s just like what happens with the women’s pay discrepancy.

                    • Sophistry, sophistry and quibbling. Any set of stats relating to this issue–neighborhood, victims, location, criminal records, convictions, prosecutions—point to the same conclusion. Your argument would be equally well applied arguing that evolution is a myth, or global warming. There are reasonable conclusions that cane be made from the available data.

                    • edit:
                      “There is meaning in them, but there is meaning in them about crime commission rates.” should be “There is meaning in them, but there is no meaning in them about crime commission rates.”

                    • That’s a long list, but “criminal records, convictions, and prosecutions” all have the same profiling bias. Similarly, “neighborhoods and locations” are the same thing. You really had 3 items in your list.

                      I’ve already shown the issues with using enforcement and victim beliefs.

                      That leaves neighborhood/location. Neighborhood/location crimes line up better with socioeconomic status than with race. There is a greater percentage of blacks in low socioeconomic status than whites, so this would be a valid reason that black crime rates to be higher than white crime rates. This would also help explain the enforcement issue and victim reports. Unfortunately for you, though, this doesn’t help what you’re trying to use the different rates of crime for. The neighborhood is what matters, not the race of the people in the neighborhood. Unless you’re claiming the blacks in the neighborhood are poorer than the whites in the neighborhood, you have nothing.

                      Your argument would be equally well applied arguing that evolution is a myth, or global warming.

                      You’re the one misusing statistics here, not me. My arguments are with valid flaws in the data. Your arguments are for ignoring evidence that doesn’t match your conceptions. It’s for ignoring context. You are the one acting like a creationist, not me.

                      There are reasonable conclusions that cane be made from the available data.

                      Yes. Poor people commit more crimes than non-poor people. Blacks were severely disadvantaged for years. That combined with existing bias towards blacks caused a belief that blacks were criminal. This belief has caused a self-replicating bias down through the years. That’s a reasonable conclusion.

                    • I grew up in a poor rural community. Interestingly, just about 100% of the residents were white until the 1990s. In any event, 100% of the crime was white on white (burglaries, deaths, we even had a serial killer). Crime is socio-economic — if you look at the poorer segments of society, that’s where the crime will be. If it’s a poor black community, most of the crime will be black on black. If it’s latino, it will be latino on latino. The race/crime stats in this country are indicative only of the fact that poor people commit crime and most minorities are still economically disadvantaged.

        • I believe the term “white Hispanic” came into play after the media liars realized they had jumped the proverbial gun (pun intended). They SO wanted it to be an anglo gun nut! They presented it that way from the beginning, and when it was realized that GZ was Hispanic they invented the “white Hispanic” label. I suppose we are whatever “Race” the media says we are.

            • Yes, it’s on census forms as well.

              I think Bill G’s assertion is valid and that the media merely lucked out that the term “Hispanic, white” is used on official forms.

              It seems highly likely that the media did exactly as most everyone else did, including me, and assumed that the name Zimmerman was pretty solidly a white dude.

              When it turns out he wasn’t, the media, true to it’s unprincipled form, didn’t retract it’s commentary, because to do so would go against the narrative they wanted to push, but simply glommed on to the term to save face under the appearance of “Hey we did the research, we’ve been completely accurate this whole time”.

              • Yes, perhaps “glommed” is better than “invented”. I don’t think I’d heard “white Hispanic” before, though I had heard “white, non Hispanic”.

                • Yeah, I wasn’t looing directly at a census form when I said that, I think “white, non-Hispanic” actually is the term.

                  In which case, the media did invent “white Hispanic”

              • Also consider that I don’t consider the “white Hispanic” label (pre existing or not) to fit GZ. Sure, sometimes you meet someone with blond hair and blue eyes with the last name Hernandez. That does not fit GZ: He looks pretty Latin to me. He certainly doesn’t look like a Swedish immigrant, that’s for sure.

                • Neither do I. I was purely an association necessary to advance the narrative of the media and aid the race-baiters in continue to add to the distrust and division in this nation.

        • Additionally, no one is discussing the simple fact that the 9-1-1 dispatcher (who isn’t an authority anyway) didn’t actually advise Zimmerman to stop, merely telling him “we don’t need you to do that”.

          This certainly can be interpreted as “stop”, but not necessarily to someone who is already observing someone he suspects of potential wrong doing and may feel that “actually y’all probably do need me too, you don’t see what I see, you don’t see the intricate arrangement of streets and apartments that this guy could disappear to” (an attitude supportable by his “these assholes always get away” comment).

          This is exacerbated by the fact that the 9-1-1 dispatcher never re-asserted that Zimmerman’s continued observation of Martin wasn’t necessary, but continued his discussion on the phone indicating that they would give the police his number and the police would call him when they arrived.

    • I am sorry but there are many white people in this country who are looking at this from their privileged perspective and they will never know what it is like to be a black person living in this country. They have never had to deal with driving while black, or in this case walking while black. They are typically not the ones who get stopped and frisked in NYC.

      I have no experience of being a black person living in America, but I can tell you about my experiences living in the UK: I’ve had a suspicious resident follow me in a car when I was walking at night on the street where my parents live. I’ve been stopped and questioned by the police for the crime of walking in the woods with a rucksack. I’ve been “randomly” stopped and searched under the Terrorism Act. Racial profiling isn’t just a problem in America, it happens everywhere.

      By the way, I’m white.

  11. The protesters are getting their desired effect; people are afraid to talk. Zimmerman is more than likely going to be charged with civil rights violations by the DOJ. Race-baiters are using this as proof of discrimination. The POTUS is going to use this to further his rhetoric against guns of all types.

    I watched one scene from the trial that irked the hell out of me. It was the judge asking ZImmerman multiple times if he was going to testify. She overruled his attorney multiple times and just kept asking. I couldn’t watch any other part of the trial after that.

    • I will absolutely agree with you that the portion of the trial where the Judge kept asking if he would testify was bugging me as well.

      It falls under the whole ridiculous notion that our country seems to be heading to that in order to utilize your 5th amendment right to remain silent that you have to say something. That just makes no sense.

      • Yes, when I have the stomach to list all the 7,342 miscreants on all sides of this mess, this will weigh hard against the judge. If Zimmerman had been convicted, there is no way it would have withstood an appeal

    • Joshua, you touch on why I asked, in another comment, more in seriousness than sarcasm, whether a Facebook page and fund has been set up yet for justice for George and the jurors. Zimmerman is going to have to change his identity and make himself invisible, if he wants to live his full natural life unharmed by others. The jurors may need the same help as George to keep themselves unmolested and able to live normal lives. I can’t believe one of the jurors is already planning to do a book. What a fool. I wish more people just did their duty and shut up. But noooooo: It’s Twitter Time, When Everything MUST Be Other Than What It Seems.

  12. I place a substantial portion of the blame on the media. The biggest problem with the media is they think they have to be “fair” and give equal time to any ridiculous point of view. Someone arguing the moon is made of cheese is given equal time with those who have evidence it is made of minerals. They never seem to point out the craziness of the the cheese side yelling at increasing volume to make up for a lack of facts. The media will only say that they have passion for their “cause.”

    Perhaps I miss the old days when media outlets had reporters specializing in certain fields so they knew the subjects on which they reported. Instead you have parrots just repeating what others said as demonstrated with with the misidentified pilots in the Asiana Airline flight 214 crash (Easily found on youtube).

    I have only limited hope for Mr. Zimmerman’s lawsuit against NBC in somehow changing the media’s behavior. But we keep getting these stories making villains of Richard Jewel (falsely accused of 1996 Olympic bombing), The Duke Lacrosse Team (falsely accused of rape), George Zimmerman (falsely accused of being a racist gun nut vigilante).

    Thoughtless emotional tweets of the misinformed are not sources of news.

    • “Thoughtless emotional tweets of the misinformed are not sources of news.”
      ************
      Yes, that is another thing.
      Some of the stuff being tweeted on Sunday was unreal.

    • I blame the media too, and not just because they give the absurd points of view “equal time”. Indeed, they INVENT absurd points of view. Moon made of cheese? YES we have a block brought back by Apollo 27 in 1981! That is PROOF the moon is made of cheese! Lets blast that “fact” on every network day and night until everyone believes our narrative! Anyone who denies it is a tea-partying nutjob! Nevermind that the last moon landing was Apollo 17 in 1972… can’t let facts get in the way, can we??

  13. The reason a lot of people are still protesting is because of the media.
    And their lies.
    Yesterday morning, Mark O’Mara was on The View when I clicked by.
    Normally, I would rather have a root canal than watch The View but I wanted to hear what he was saying.
    I heard it and then went to work.

    Later on in the evening, I clicked through all of the cable news/ talk shows, and EVERY single one of them, Sean Hannity included (I mention him because he has a lone viewpoint on the Zimmerman matter), was reporting “untruths” or at the very least, gross exaggerations of the facts.

    You know there are still people out there who think they are getting the truth or the facts from the media.
    Not to mention, we can’t even expect our own PRESIDENT (or anyone who works for him for that matter) to tell the truth.

  14. There is a difference between saying someone IS a jackass and someone ACTS like a jackass.
    Or expressed a jackass’s view.
    Now in the case of Piers Morgan, a special case to be sure, all three might easily apply. hahha j/k

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