Saturday Links

Saturday, April 21st, 2012
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153 Responses to “Saturday Links”

  1. #1 |  Bren | 

    Demand for cocaine is down and demand for school, homes and health care is up. Funny how that works.

  2. #2 |  Fred Mangels | 

    In regards the Zimmerman affair: I’ve read at least twice of some supposed witness that saw Martin on top of Zimmerman pounding his head in the ground. Haven’t seen it anywhere in the mainstream press so maybe it’s just a hoax?

    It would seem to me if that was true some news agency would love to spread that around…or would they?

  3. #3 |  B | 

    In light of the the new Zimmerman photo, I posted on another blog that I thought Angela Corey’s choice to skip the grand jury and charge Zimmerman with second-degree murder is looking suspiciously like prosecutor misconduct. Prosecutors should not be allowed to threaten people with decades of undeserved jail time. Then I wrote: “Angela Corey is the next Mike Nifong.”

    I was pounced on by the blog’s author for citing Mike Nifong. My “attention was suspect.” He implied I only cared about cases where non-blacks were overcharged by prosecutors.

    It seems any criticism of the prosecutor or defense of Zimmerman’s rights to a proper trial draws charges of racism.

  4. #4 |  StrangeOne | 

    B,

    When debating people without principles its important to realize that they assume the same of you. A partisan hack or someone with an emotionally charged pet issue will often look for any reason to dismiss your opinion, no matter how grounded it is, as the result of a partisan or emotional conflict. Its why there’s no meaningful debate on cable, most blogs, or really 90% of all human interaction out there.

  5. #5 |  perlhaqr | 

    I’ve used Uber. It’s great. Not merely being able to have a car directed to where you are, but not having to fumble around for your wallet, while seated in a car, makes even the simple mechanics of hiring a car that much nicer.

  6. #6 |  Bramblyspam | 

    The headline immediately reminded me of the game “unexploded cow“.

  7. #7 |  Personanongrata | 

    •TSA mission creep grows to include sending drug-sniffing dogs into bus stations, “random” searches of bags, backpacks.

    “There is one thing in the world more wicked than the desire to command, and that is the will to obey.” ~ W. K. Clifford, mathematician and philosopher

    “The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” ~ Frederick Douglass

  8. #8 |  KBCraig | 

    I don’t care if Zimmerman was the next incarnation of David Duke, or of MLK. Race is irrelevant to the facts of the case.

    The fact is, you can’t use deadly force to end a confrontation that you initiated. When you provoke the fight, you lose the claim of self defense.

    It doesn’t matter if Zimmerman was getting his ass whipped, he still lost the right to use deadly force by pursuing and initiating contact with Martin.

  9. #9 |  contrarian | 

    Re: Uber —

    I think any of us would be upset if we just learned that technology had made our position obsolete. But I have to thank the Taxi Commissioner for writing the op-ed, I had know idea Uber existed until then.

    Just wait a couple of years until self-driving cars arrive. Then the taxi business will devolve into deciding how many cars to own, and how to program them to maximize revenue. I expect we’ll see a blurring between private ownership, car-sharing, car services and taxis. You’ll just subscribe to a service and decide what level of guaranteed availability you want to pay for. And the taxi commissioner’s head will explode.

  10. #10 |  A Modest Proposal | Magic Blue Smoke | 

    [...] tip to the wonderful Radley Balko for both the link and [...]

  11. #11 |  nigmalg | 

    KBCraig,

    And as soon as the State can find evidence that he initiated a confrontation, he’ll be liable for manslaughter. I’m sure they’re looking hard for it.

  12. #12 |  jmcross | 

    @ KBCraig,
    Your third paragraph is simply wrong. At this point in the game, if you don’t know what the law is in florida concerning this matter, you really shouldn’t be commenting.

  13. #13 |  Onlooker | 

    jmcross

    Don’t bother him with the details. He’s already made up his mind.

    The lynch mob will have their blood, by God.

  14. #14 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “But both are examples of lapses in reporting, nearly all of which seemed have erred in the direction if implicating Zimmerman.”

    Hard not to “implicate” Zimmerman when he admits to killing Martin.

    As for the photo of a bloody head: it is, in fact, a photo of a bloody head. A human’s bloody head at that. It might even be Zimmerman’s.

    Also to remember about head wounds:

    “Minor cuts on the head often bleed heavily because the face and scalp have many blood vessels close to the surface of the skin. Although this amount of bleeding may be alarming, many times the injury is not severe and the bleeding will stop with treatment you can do at home. ”

    Thanks, WebMD. http://firstaid.webmd.com/tc/how-to-stop-bleeding-from-a-minor-head-wound-topic-overview

    “And as soon as the State can find evidence that he initiated a confrontation, he’ll be liable for manslaughter.”

    Martin sure as hell didn’t telepathically command Zimmerman to pursue him in his vehicle, get out of the vehicle, and then confront him. There isn’t any evidence Zimmerman DIDN’T initiate a confrontation.

  15. #15 |  Jerryskids | 

    A falling demand for cocaine will only result in a lower price if the supply is not falling as fast as the demand. A rising demand for schools, homes and health care will only result in a higher price if the supply is not increasing as fast as the demand. Funny how that works.

  16. #16 |  jmcross | 

    Well, his 1st paragraph is correct. 2nd half right. 3rd…devolution.

  17. #17 |  awp (Houstonian) | 

    Luckily I don’t ride the bus much.

    When I am on the light rail train, is there some bullshit rule anywhere that I have implicitly consented to a search? Or, If I refuse, will I simply be arrested for “disorderly conduct” while being ordered to “stop resisting”?

  18. #18 |  matt | 

    I saw the part about Zimmerman and the white kid beating the homeless black man like a month ago. Did people really miss that?

    What I see in the picture of Zimmerman’s head is a mild cut. Definitely not in the laceration territory. Even a small cut on the head will bleed like hell (ask a mma fighter).

  19. #19 |  Chris | 

    0.033 ounces of marijuana. That’s almost one whole gram, worth less than $10. The spoils of an investigation, a search warrant, probably a paramilitary no-knock raid, and ransacking a house.

    But here’s the interesting part: the APD didn’t hide this colossal waste of resources, they boasted about it. I doubt even the most ardent drug warrior could read this story and not feel a twinge of remorse, but the APD is so out of touch that they expect accolades for wasting thousands of dollars and ruining this man’s life over not quite a dime bag.

  20. #20 |  KBCraig | 

    jmcross, explain to us ignorant heathens just exactly how Zimmerman and Martin came into contact. Was Martin chasing Zimmerman?

  21. #21 |  Mattocracy | 

    @ Bren and Jerry,

    Cocaine prices haven’t come down because of a drop in demand. The link explicitly says that it is an issue of supply increase.

    You two are right about the demand for heathcare and higher ed. When the gov’t gives out free money for both without increasing the supply, prices go up. It’s a gov’t created problem all the same.

  22. #22 |  Pablo | 

    Re: TSA creep–This whole issue of TSA metastasizing into train stations, subways etc has yet to really be ruled upon by the courts, AFAIK. Im sure the statists will argue that using a bus or train is “a privilege not a right” and that by doing so one consents to a search. I fear the courts may agree–one more step down the slippery slope.

    RE: the police dog–am I the only one who thinks their use to terrorize and apprehend suspects is totally inappropriate? If someone is running from the cops they have no right to take out a sharp instrument and mutilate the suspect in order to take him into custody. So how is it OK to use a dog to do so?

  23. #23 |  albatross | 

    I have almost no faith in any media reports on this case at this point. As best I can tell, the news organizations came up with the story they intended to tell at some point, and have mostly just told that story, hammering whatever facts can be made to fit into the story and omiting the rest.

    If we can see that we’re getting fed incomplete, manipulated, and sometimes made up data, we should be incredibly suspicious of our ability to guess what the right outcome would be here. It’s plausible that Zimmerman killed Martin in cold blood, and it’s possible that Zimmerman killed Martin in legitimate elf defense, and I don’t see how anyone can claim to know which with any certainty when their information comes from media reports.

  24. #24 |  nigmalg | 

    Christopher,

    “Martin sure as hell didn’t telepathically command Zimmerman to pursue him in his vehicle, get out of the vehicle, and then confront him. There isn’t any evidence Zimmerman DIDN’T initiate a confrontation.”

    Once again that word “confront”. We know Zimmerman followed Martin, so I guess that means we can assume there was a confrontation that followed? Or perhaps your mind has tied “confront” with “follow”.

    Sir, I will ask you to watch the bond hearing in full. Perhaps most specifically the bit where Zimmerman’s attorney questions the lead investigator. Please cite the evidence that concludes Zimmerman confronted Martin.

    Thank you and that is all.

  25. #25 |  nigmalg | 

    KBCraig,

    “jmcross, explain to us ignorant heathens just exactly how Zimmerman and Martin came into contact. Was Martin chasing Zimmerman?”

    Once again that is the job of the prosecution. Zimmerman asserted self defense and gave a statement to law enforcement. Now law enforcement needs to show that Zimmerman was not in fear for his life, or was the first aggressor in the confrontation.

    I don’t blame ignorant heathens for a misunderstanding of the law, I just wish there were more careful commenting about it.

  26. #26 |  Burgers Allday | 

    wait a second!!!!!!!!!!

    We are no going to use evidence of good character (the canvassing the neighborhood, not talking about the bloody head photo) as relevant evidence.

    Where all da Trayvon haters now about how irrelevant that all is?

    Play the phone calls. All 45. Then I’ll decide the case. It really is that simple.

  27. #27 |  Burgers Allday | 

    –We are now–

    Looking at you “Some Questions” and that law student(?) that was all curious about my personal life (Cybelle? Argos? Bartelby? something like that). You too, Mr. Roach!

  28. #28 |  Burgers Allday | 

    And what the hell was the Sanford pd thinking to the extent that they failed to take that photo or one like it.

    Holy Christ on a cracker. Did they really think Trayvon’s life was worth so little to society. I mean, obviously they did think it was worth little given how they treated Trayvon’s corpse. But the institutional arrogance involved in NOT taking that photo before deciding NOT to arrest.

    Heads need to roll. Starting with the “Was He Black?” Dispatcher who’s name we still do not know.

  29. #29 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “Once again that word “confront”. We know Zimmerman followed Martin, so I guess that means we can assume there was a confrontation that followed? Or perhaps your mind has tied “confront” with “follow”.”

    You find it easier to believe that Martin leaped from the sidewalk, tore Zimmerman from the vehicle he was following in, pulled Zimmerman back to the sidewalk, and proceeded to beat him so badly that Zimmerman was required to kill Martin in self defense?

    “Please cite the evidence that concludes Zimmerman confronted Martin.”

    Common fucking sense?

  30. #30 |  nigmalg | 

    “You find it easier to believe that Martin leaped from the sidewalk, tore Zimmerman from the vehicle he was following in, pulled Zimmerman back to the sidewalk, and proceeded to beat him so badly that Zimmerman was required to kill Martin in self defense?”

    Zimmerman’s story was that he was attacked while walking outside of his vehicle. While it may not prove he feared for his life, Zimmerman has injuries consistent with his story. I would definitely recommend you read up on some of the variables here.

    “Common fucking sense?”

    Really Chris? You manufactured a straw man story and then based your following judgement as common sense? Please refer to your comments here when discussion reasons why we have innocent until proven guilty. Media is terribly bad at adjudication.

  31. #31 |  Burgers Allday | 

    The evidence that there was a confrontation is that if you call the police on somebody who isn’t doing anything wrong, and especially if the person feels that the police is being called upon him because he is black, then that black human being will tend to confront the person unfairly calling the (presumably and actually) racist police force.

    Usually the opening line is: “what the hell are you trying to do to me there, Beaner?”

    How do ppl NOT know this. I mean, duh.

  32. #32 |  nigmalg | 

    LOL Burgers I can’t take that seriously. Calling the police is not confrontation legally, nor should it be.

  33. #33 |  Christopher Swing | 

    The “straw man story” is what *you’re* essentially asking us to believe, nigmalg.

    “Zimmerman’s story was that he was attacked while walking outside of his vehicle.”

    And just how the fuck did Zimmerman happen to come to be out of his vehicle, and why was Martin even aware of Zimmerman’s presence to begin with?

    Zimmerman initiated a confrontation when he followed Martin, continued to follow him when told not to by police, and got out of his vehicle to confront Martin about his presence there. A cop wouldn’t have probable cause to stop Martin, and Zimmerman isn’t even a cop.

    “While it may not prove he feared for his life, Zimmerman has injuries consistent with his story.”

    They’re just as consistent with a story of a guy who started a fight and shot the other guy when he started to lose.

    And this isn’t a case of “innocent until proven guilty.” Zimmerman is absolutely guilty of killing Martin, by his own admission. The only question is whether he had any right to do so.

  34. #34 |  EH | 

    That Zimmerman photo sure sucks, is that all there is?

  35. #35 |  nigmalg | 

    “And just how the fuck did Zimmerman happen to come to be out of his vehicle, and why was Martin even aware of Zimmerman’s presence to begin with?”

    Because he was out of his vehicle while he was on the phone with dispatch… and Martin allegedly knew he was being followed. That’s not even questioned by the investigators at this point.

    “Zimmerman initiated a confrontation when he followed Martin, continued to follow him when told not to by police”

    Following doesn’t qualify as confrontation. Dispatch only told him he didn’t need to. As far as that goes, there’s nothing to indicate he continued to pursue Martin at this point.

    “A cop wouldn’t have probable cause to stop Martin, and Zimmerman isn’t even a cop.”

    A cop, or anyone else, doesn’t need probable cause to talk to someone. A cop would need “reasonable suspicion” to detain and “probable cause” or consent to search someone. Considering that it’s not a crime to follow or talk to someone, PC or RS doesn’t come into play.

    The key to convicting Zimmerman is proving he initiated a violent confrontation first.

  36. #36 |  jmcross | 

    @KBCraig

    Maybe if you’d be so kind as to cite the FL law that makes Z’s actions(that we KNOW of)a crime, I would be able to agree with you.

    Based on what I know, you’re ideas about Z’s legal position are wrong. It’s in the law. You should read it. I have.

    You can let your imagination run wild coming up with scenarios of how the Z/M close confrontation started. We KNOW how it ended, with one of the two people(that we KNOW of) who KNOWS what happened dead. That is a tragedy. It is not necessarily a crime.

    Z bears a ton of responsibility for the killing of M, even if he is found to have been acting in self-defense. His actions leading up to the shooting may not have been illegal, they were certainly foolish. Seemingly, M’s actions weren’t much brighter. When two fools come together anything can happen.

    Don’t be like Z and M.

  37. #37 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “Because he was out of his vehicle while he was on the phone with dispatch… and Martin allegedly knew he was being followed. That’s not even questioned by the investigators at this point.”

    And he got out of the vehicle, talking on the phone, following Martin.

    “Following doesn’t qualify as confrontation. Dispatch only told him he didn’t need to. As far as that goes, there’s nothing to indicate he continued to pursue Martin at this point.”

    Except that you just said he got out of the vehicle still talking to dispatch, obviously in range of Martin if he could be “attacked.”

    Of course he wasn’t pursuing him at that point – he fucking caught up to him.

    “A cop, or anyone else, doesn’t need probable cause to talk to someone.”

    But they do if they’re going to keep bothering them after they’ve initially talked to them. Once Zimmerman doesn’t fuck off as asked, he’s the one harassing Martin. And Martin’s the one that has the right to stand his ground at that point.

    Unless you want us to believe that Martin just up and attacked Zimmerman as he returned to his vehicle, dragged him back to the sidewalk, and started beating him in a rage. Because you think Martin was some sort of rabid animal an inch away from murderous assault at all times?

    The key to convicting Zimmerman is the jury believing at all his claim that he didn’t initiate a confrontation. I see a lot more evidence here that Zimmerman started this and not Martin. Zimmerman just had the gun.

  38. #38 |  nigmalg | 

    Chris, how much bullshit are you going to throw out there?

    1.) “he fucking caught up to him”
    2.) “Once Zimmerman doesn’t fuck off as asked”

    Where did you get this from? I’m at the point where I can’t take anything you say seriously. Please for our enjoyment back these accusations up with something.

    “Except that you just said he got out of the vehicle still talking to dispatch, obviously in range of Martin if he could be “attacked.””

    Zimmerman’s story was that he was attacked later, by surprise, after he got off the phone with dispatch.

    “I see a lot more evidence here that Zimmerman started this and not Martin. Zimmerman just had the gun.”

    Really? Because I see ZERO evidence Zimmerman attacked Martin first. And that’s a bit important considering it’s all that matters here.

  39. #39 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Mighty white of you nigmallig.

    I am actually surprized that Mr. Balko is not taking you to school (at least not yet) here.

  40. #40 |  nigmalg | 

    What of my comments would Mr. Balko have a problem with Burgers?

  41. #41 |  Burgers Allday | 

    That is up to Mr. Balko. I find him inscrutable, just like Greenfield finds me ignorant AND insane.

  42. #42 |  AlgerHiss | 

    Regarding the TSA, here’s a UK Guardian piece that notes the USA giving up on freedom and liberty. The comments are quite interesting.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/apr/18/tsa-mission-creep-us-police-state

    Land of the free? what a joke.

  43. #43 |  nigmalg | 

    Huh? Are you complimenting Radley or criticizing him?

    I love your posts Burgers. They have a wealth of entertainment value.

  44. #44 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “Where did you get this from?”

    Unless Trayvon Martin could also teleport like Nightcrawler, Zimmerman had to be pretty close in order to be attacked while he was already walking away, even.

    I don’t see any evidence that Zimmerman didn’t attack Martin, nor do I see any evidence that Martin attacked Zimmerman. One guy was walking home minding his own damn business. The other was busy playing pretend cop and trying to assert authori-ta he didn’t even have. It’s a hell of a lot more plausible that the cop-wannabe trying to swing his dick around started something than it is some kid just walking home did.

    All that matters here is that Zimmerman convinces a jury that he had a legitimate fear for his life through no fault of his own. He sure as fuck isn’t convincing me.

  45. #45 |  nigmalg | 

    “I don’t see any evidence that Zimmerman didn’t attack Martin, nor do I see any evidence that Martin attacked Zimmerman.”

    Lets see,

    1.) No evidence Zimmerman *didn’t* attack Martin
    2.) No evidence Martin did attack Zimmerman

    So you’ve found evidence that Zimmerman *did* attack Martin? Or do you admit that is also unknown?

  46. #46 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Neither complimenting nor insulting. And I am pretty sure he knows that, inscrutability notwithstanding.

  47. #47 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “One guy was walking home minding his own damn business. The other was busy playing pretend cop and trying to assert authori-ta he didn’t even have. It’s a hell of a lot more plausible that the cop-wannabe trying to swing his dick around started something than it is some kid just walking home did.”

    Try reading the rest, nigmalg.

  48. #48 |  nigmalg | 

    There’s no relevant content in that quote Chris. You’ve claimed that Zimmerman was trying to assert authority. It may very well be, but I can’t substantiate that. What does that have to do with evidence of confrontation that we were previously discussing?

    What evidence have you seen that would indicate Zimmerman did any of the following:

    1.) Caught up to Martin
    2.) Was told to go away by Martin
    3.) Stopped or detained Martin
    4.) Initiated violence against Martin

    Do you have anything?

  49. #49 |  BamBam | 

    Keyboard warriors unite! No one has all of the data regarding this Martin/Zimmerman drama. I would go as far as stating that what data you think you have may be false, as has already been proving on several media “reported” items.

    How about realizing that no one in internet land can make a sound judgment based on the available data in this case, so you shouldn’t make a judgment at all because you’re basing judgments solely on speculation? Is the need for blood that strong, that a complete and accurate (as much as is possible) data doesn’t matter?

    Why not be more upset at the constant desecration of liberty by police? Why not focus on that, as there is mounds of data to easily prove a deep systemic problem with police, their unions, their warrior mindset, etc?

  50. #50 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “It may very well be”

    Yeah, he was only being Mr. Community Watch Guy. By his own admission. As he had countless times in the past.

    You’re forgetting, nigmalg. I don’t have to prove any of that. Zimmerman has to prove to US that he had a legit reason to kill Martin.

    That entire quote is relevant. It’s not contested that Martin was walking home not bothering anyone, it’s not contested Zimmerman was being Neighborhood Watch Guy as was his habit. You’re asking me to plausibly believe that naturally Martin was the threat and Zimmerman was totally innocent of doing anything wrong. That doesn’t add up.

  51. #51 |  nigmalg | 

    My comfort level about commenting on this case was improved after the bond hearing. There were very specific questions asked of the prosecution that showed the weaknesses in their case.

    I’m worried people are going to support the absolute travesty of justice that is prosecuting someone out of mob fear, or politics.

    This whole thing smells like a lynching.

  52. #52 |  Christopher Swing | 

    BamBam: I would like to know if Zimmerman has some compelling evidence to present that proves Martin attacked him. I already know Zimmerman killed him. Zimmerman hasn’t presented anything that convinces me he wasn’t the aggressor, the police apparently did a terrible job investigating, and then there’s Zimmerman’s former judge father’s influence to consider…

    And I’m not calling for his blood. I think he should be arrested and tried in court… which is happening.

    I also think it’s he should be convicted. If any new evidence comes to light, I’ll might change my mind.

  53. #53 |  nigmalg | 

    “You’re forgetting, nigmalg. I don’t have to prove any of that. Zimmerman has to prove to US that he had a legit reason to kill Martin.”

    He doesn’t have to prove that Chris. He only has to assert it as an affirmative defense. It’s the prosecutions job to refute it through evidence that impeaches his story.

  54. #54 |  Christopher Swing | 

    That might keep him out of prison, but it doesn’t make him not a murderer.

    When you’re only defense is “but it’s legal!” regardless of whether or not it’s right, you’ve got a problem.

    It’s legal for a cop to decide you’re carrying too much money and take it from you, and keep it. Too bad if you don’t have the money to fight to get it back.

    But that’s legal, and I expect to hear no crying from you about it.

  55. #55 |  markm | 

    “He sure as fuck isn’t convincing me.”

    Obviously not, because you’re so bigoted you will believe that “We don’t need you to do that” is an order not to. Nice support for Burgers “beaners” comment, too.

  56. #56 |  Christopher Swing | 

    markm: If you want to go there, I could posit that your credulous assumption that Martin was the aggressor might say something about what you think of black teenagers.

    But then, I’m not a jerk like you are.

  57. #57 |  nigmalg | 

    Chris, not only is it a legal requirement for the State to prove the *crime* it’s also completely correct. It’s one of the last fundamental concepts of freedom that we have left in this country. You are innocent until proven guilty.

  58. #58 |  Christopher Swing | 

    But like I pointed out, we know he’s not innocent.

    The SYG law in Florida might get him off for killing Martin, but it doesn’t make him innocent. Not even judged “not guilty” makes someone innocent.

    In the end, Zimmerman still murdered Martin. The only thing he’s got in his defense for not going to prison is the SYG law that might let him claim it was justified.

    So no. Zimmerman’s not innocent. He was at best justified, and even that’s shaky, and honestly, not very convincing.

  59. #59 |  nigmalg | 

    “But like I pointed out, we know he’s not innocent.”

    We don’t know that.

    “So no. Zimmerman’s not innocent. He was at best justified, and even that’s shaky, and honestly, not very convincing.”

    If he’s justified, he’s not guilty of manslaughter. Innocence is left up to your personal moral compass. You may have a different interpretation of the dangers of violent contact than Zimmerman, and if found justified, a reasonable person.

    Entertain Zimmerman’s story in your mind. If Martin did initiate a violent attack first, and was effective, what would be a reasonable reaction? What if he did in fact make an effort to slam Zimmerman’s head into the concrete? When is it reasonable to use deadly force?

    And don’t cop out and say that you wouldn’t be in that situation in the first place. I get it, I wouldn’t either. But entertain the narrative here.

  60. #60 |  Mike P | 

    One commentor said that you can’t claim self defense if you kill someone in a fight you initiate. Actually, you can.

    But you have to establish two things:

    1) You reasoably feared death or serious injury.
    2) You reasonably believed you could not escape.

    That’s obviously a dififcult hurdle, but plenty of people have successfully done so.

  61. #61 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “We don’t know that.”

    We absolutely know he murdered Martin. You’re just splitting hairs at this point. You’re also presuming that it matters more that it was legal than if it was right.

    So if we should just shut up about things that are legal but not right, why the hell are you even hanging around this site? Because there’s plenty of things covered here that are legal that we get upset about because they’re not right.

    Sorry, I try to entertain Zimmerman’s story but I can’t get past the part where it makes no damn sense. Martin was a raging monster that was slamming Zimmerman’s head against the ground… and only managed to make a minor cut doing so. Apparently not even the cop who interviewed him bought it… it was the attorney above him that made him cut Zimmerman loose.

    When is it reasonable to use deadly force? In lots of situations. Zimmerman’s doesn’t even remotely look like one from what we can tell.

  62. #62 |  nigmalg | 

    “We absolutely know he murdered Martin. You’re just splitting hairs at this point. You’re also presuming that it matters more that it was legal than if it was right.”

    Splitting hairs?! There’s such thing as justified homicide. It’s the difference between right and wrong. Freedom and Jail. Murder != Justified Homicide.

    I’m left to assume you’re being willfully dense at this point.

    How about this Chris,
    If Zimmerman’s story is accurate, would it be justifiable homicide in your opinion?

  63. #63 |  Christopher Swing | 

    And you’re intentionally ignoring what I keep saying:

    “You’re also presuming that it matters more that it was legal than if it was right.”

    “So if we should just shut up about things that are legal but not right, why the hell are you even hanging around this site? Because there’s plenty of things covered here that are legal that we get upset about because they’re not right.”

    Which leads me to believe you’re the dense one here. You’re specifically equating right and wrong with legal and illegal:

    “It’s the difference between right and wrong. Freedom and Jail. Murder != Justified Homicide.”

    And I’m telling you that right/wrong and legal/illegal aren’t the same thing. If you really believe that, I believe you’re on the wrong site.

  64. #64 |  nigmalg | 

    If Zimmerman’s story is accurate. I don’t believe he was wrong. Regardless of what the law says.

    I’m wondering if you’ve judged Zimmerman to be wrong here because he’s (a) not telling the truth; or (b) even if his story is accurate, it didn’t necessitate lethal self defense.

    You’ve already made it clear you believe (a). I’m making it clear that we can’t prove (a), and I disagree with the premise of (b).

    That’s my whole argument.

  65. #65 |  nigmalg | 

    Let me clarify even more. I don’t doubt Zimmerman’s story as you do. This is why we’re disagreeing on right and wrong. I think his story is plausible.

  66. #66 |  Christopher Swing | 

    (a) his story isn’t plausible, and you’d have to be kind of gullible to believe it.

    (b) doesn’t enter into it.

    So you’re not denying that you believe right and legal are the same thing, AND you’re saying it doesn’t matter because you believe Zimmerman’s story despite there not being much evidence to back it up?

  67. #67 |  nigmalg | 

    Of course I believe something can be both morally wrong and legal. You gave civil asset forfeiture as a perfect example, and I agree with you.

    I’m giving the benefit of the doubt to Zimmerman precisely because he’s being charged with a crime with very shaky evidence and millions of people piling on to offer summary punishment.

    I don’t find his story to be outlandish. You’ve already been wrong on some very serious circumstances surrounding the incident and continue to base your decisions off of these misinterpretations.

  68. #68 |  r.l.s.3 | 

    Christopher, your blended argument of right and wrong with legal and illegal is muddy, illogical and hard to follow. What are you trying to debate? It’s hard to tell.

    Let’s get one thing straight: Murder, by definition, is always both wrong and illegal.

    Homicide on the other hand is not always illegal, and whether it is wrong or right is dependent on your personal view.

    What we know: Zimmerman committed homicide. You can opine that he committed murder, and that’s fine for you. Others may disagree, and the opinion, I’m sure, that will matter most to Zimmerman is his jury’s.

  69. #69 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “I’m giving the benefit of the doubt to Zimmerman precisely because he’s being charged with a crime with very shaky evidence and millions of people piling on to offer summary punishment. ”

    So basically you feel sorry for him. And I’d say the evidence he didn’t commit a crime is shaky here. Even without Martin able to speak for himself. But why feel sorry for the dead guy?

    “I don’t find his story to be outlandish.”

    Sure, Martin would totally attack that guy. That’s easy to believe. If Martin didn’t attack the strange man accosting him from an unmarked vehicle with no uniform and badge in the middle of the night when followed by him, of course he would when that guy turned his back. Who couldn’t resist such a target?

    “You’ve already been wrong on some very serious circumstances surrounding the incident and continue to base your decisions off of these misinterpretations.”

    Name fucking one.

  70. #70 |  B | 

    There doesn’t need to be much evidence to back up Zimmerman’s story. In a free society we take people at their word until we find out otherwise. Zimmerman professed self defense and while he may have acted stupidly prior to the confrontation, I see no evidence that he initiated it or that he shot Martin without cause. Without evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, I will believe Zimmerman and I won’t want to see him rot in prison.

    There is no such thing as “justice for Trayvon.” There is just justice. A just verdict probably means Zimmerman deserves to be acquitted. People who ignore the evidence and prefer the narrative that Zimmerman killed a child in cold blood are seeking “vengeance for Trayvon.”

  71. #71 |  More Questions | 

    A few clarifications.

    One, while the police make a big deal about Martin’s right to be in the neighborhood, which is true, it is also the case that Zimmerman had a right to be there, has a legal right to ask people who they are and what they’re doing without getting sucker punched, and is generally allowed to do his thing. He did nothing illegal if he, as he said, asked Martin who he was and likewise did nothing wrong in calling the police if he felt Martin was suspicious for appearing to wander aimlessly, not being a known resident of the neighborhood, etc. I agree it may not have been wise or prudent to do all that (at least the verbal questioning part), but he clearly had a legal right to do it. He is allowed to “profile” whatever that means, and he’s allowed even to confront as long as he’s not engaging in assault and battery. Just to point out the obvious, Trayvon did not have a legal right to start punching someone because his feelings were hurt or he felt he was being racially profiled and hassled. He’s only allowed to use self defense if he was reasonably in fear of physical harm, battery, etc.

    Two, once Zimmerman has raised “some evidence” of self defense, in the murder/manslaughter trial, the burden shifts to the prosecution to prove that it was not self defense beyond a reasonable doubt. This doesn’t seem possible. They admitted at bail hearing they had no evidence to contradict his account of Trayvon starting the fight, didn’t look at or even ask for medical records supporting Zimmerman’s account, didn’t have fancy voice analysis or even parental testimony on who was screaming on the tape, and that they don’t have evidence to contradict Zimmerman’s testimony that Trayvon doubled back after an initial confrontation. This situation is a hallmark of the pre-DNA world of criminal justice and the reason we have the reasonable doubt standard at all: often we’ll never know exactly 100% what happened, but in cases like that it’s not appropriate to throw people in jail and label them felons, even if we have our own private views on the matter.

    Three, as for what makes sense, it doesn’t really make sense that an armed man would get into a physical fistfight with a man that he thinks is unarmed. When you’re carrying a gun, every fight is that much more dangerous due to that risk. And if he was hellbent on murder, why get in a fight at all and why call the cops at all?

    Four, I invite everyone to poke around wagist.com and halfsigma.com. There is substantial evidence that DeeDee’s story (i.e., Trayvon’s “girlfriend”) has a million holes in it and was custom made by Crump to fill in gaps in their weak public relations strategy. She seems fairly nonplussed about Trayvon’s death and never mentions “wow, was talking to Trayvon and it sounds like he got in a fight” on her voluminous twitter comments. In addition, from wagist, there is substantial timeline evidence that Martin double backed to confront Zimmerman, as Trayvon had ample time to get home before the fistfight ensued.

    Five, as for the bloody head, I agree it could be worse and probably looks worse than it is. At the same time, it was probably really darn scary to get his head slammed into the sidewalk if that really happened and to have his mouth covered to stop him from breathing if that really happened and the only requirement of self defense is that he was reasonably in fear of his life or great bodily harm, not that he sustained multiple actual great bodily harms before he used force.

    Finally, even if Zimmerman started a physical altercation, he can be restored to his legal right of self defense if his opponent significantly escalated matters. This is the law in Florida and most states. In situations like that, there is a duty to retreat not overiden by “stand your ground” but retreat doesn’t seem like a realistic option if Zimmerman indeed shot Trayvon while he was pinned on the ground.

  72. #72 |  nigmalg | 

    Chris,

    How about four.

    Comment #29: “…tore Zimmerman from the vehicle…”
    Comment #37: “…Of course he wasn’t pursuing him at that point…he fucking caught up to him….”
    Comment #37 “…Once Zimmerman doesn’t fuck off as asked, he’s the one harassing Martin…”
    Comment #37: “…dragged him back to the sidewalk…”

    These cute little hypotheticals/assertions you came up with haven’t even been claimed by Zimmerman or the State in this case. You brought them into the conversation to bolster your own misunderstanding and bias. They are purely a product of your rectum sir.

  73. #73 |  Christopher Swing | 

    They were presented as hypotheticals, not facts, dumbass. In fact, they were presented as the ridiculous hypotheticals you would need to believe in order to reach some of YOUR presented conclusions.

  74. #74 |  nigmalg | 

    “You find it easier to believe that Martin leaped from the sidewalk, tore Zimmerman from the vehicle he was following in, pulled Zimmerman back to the sidewalk, and proceeded to beat him so badly that Zimmerman was required to kill Martin in self defense?”

    You presented your hypothetical as a straw-man argument claiming to argue for me, or the defense in general. You did that in spite of the much simpler explanation given by Zimmerman himself.

    You are being dishonest.

  75. #75 |  Christopher Swing | 

    The much-simpler explanation Zimmerman gives that Martin attacked him for no discernible, plausible reason? That Zimmerman never made the entire encounter possible in the first place by following Martin in the first place?

    Are you too stupid to realize that’s not an argument for the defense, but an intentionally absurd example illustrating that Zimmerman not only made the situation himself, but is more likely to be the one that initiated aggression?

  76. #76 |  More Questions | 

    It seems most likely to me that Trayvon not knowing Zimmreman was armed and feeling “dissed” and harassed would start swinging much more readily than Zimmerman, who presumably knew he had a gun on his person and knew that any fistfight or wrestling match might lead to his gun getting taken and used against him. Plus, it’s not going on a limb to say 17 year olds are probably a little more willing to throw down that 28 year old who are married and own a home. Also, having a gun, it seems reasonable that Zimmerman felt more empowered to at least ask Trayvon who he was and what he was doing and wouldn’t start swinging initially since he knew the cops were on the way since he had just called them. Being somewhat familiar with law and law enforcement, he probably knows that would be a recipe for getting arrested or at least having a long night of questioning at the police headquaters. It also seems plausible that he was initially following Trayvon at distance so he could see where he was and where he was going for when the cops finally did arrive, that’s why he left and looked down the “dog run” a 100 yards or so from his car, and that Trayvon doubled back, as explained in great detail as matching all the 911 call timelines over at wagist.com

  77. #77 |  r.l.s.3 | 

    Christopher, I find it entirely plausible that Martin would attack Zimmerman because Zimmerman was following him. But this doesn’t support your argument that Zimmerman was the aggressor. Attacking someone for merely following you is not justifiable use of force, in fact it’s a good way to get yourself arrested for assault.

    Again, your arguments are not coherent. I make no judgement in this whole matter, but I do enjoy a good debate. You need to step up your game, man, and make more sense.

  78. #78 |  nigmalg | 

    “The much-simpler explanation Zimmerman gives that Martin attacked him for no discernible, plausible reason?”

    If Zimmerman’s story is just as outlandish why bother making it more so with the ripping him out of the car rhetoric? Why do that unless you’re trying to manufacture controversy?

    “Are you too stupid to realize that’s not an argument for the defense…”

    I am stupid for choosing to monopolize the comments in an effort to show you the logical fallacies you’re perpetuating.

    It’s clearly not going to happen.

    You and I will have to agree to disagree. Maybe some other commenters will chime in with their thoughts.

  79. #79 |  r.l.s.3 | 

    I was wondering, nigmalg, when you were going to come to that conclusion. I knew it had to come some time.

  80. #80 |  More Questions | 

    As for who confronted whom, don’t forget that in Benjamin Crump’s recitation of Trayvon’s “girlfriend’s” (i.e., Dee Dee AKA Daisha Brianne Mitchell) discussion of her telephone conversation with Trayvon, she said Martin said, “Why are you following me” first and then Zimmerman responded, “What are you doing around here?” Then she says the phone went dead.

    Of course, she didn’t initially go to police, tweet about this at all at the time, apparently was not grief stricken or in the hospital as Crump claimed, and gave Crump (not the Sanford PD) an affidavit that we don’t know to what degree Crump helped prepare and massage. Nonetheless, her discussion of the order of events, is as above.

  81. #81 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “If Zimmerman’s story is just as outlandish why bother making it more so with the ripping him out of the car rhetoric? Why do that unless you’re trying to manufacture controversy?”

    No, just showing how absurd your position was. It’s a rhetorical tool, one which apparently sailed over your head and now you’re trying to recover.

    “Christopher, I find it entirely plausible that Martin would attack Zimmerman because Zimmerman was following him.”

    That’s your decision to make. I don’t share that conclusion.

    “But this doesn’t support your argument that Zimmerman was the aggressor.”

    Stalking someone isn’t aggressive? Let me follow you around in the middle of the night and we’ll see how you feel about it.

    “Attacking someone for merely following you is not justifiable use of force, in fact it’s a good way to get yourself arrested for assault.”

    We don’t have any evidence that Martin attacked Zimmerman. We only have the claim of the guy who’s still alive.

    You haven’t shown my arguments aren’t coherent in the first place, r.l.s.3, much less again.

  82. #82 |  r.l.s.3 | 

    “The much-simpler explanation Zimmerman gives that Martin attacked him for no discernible, plausible reason? That Zimmerman never made the entire encounter possible in the first place by following Martin in the first place?”

    Damn, Christopher, all I was doing was agreeing with you that Martin probably didn’t attack Zimmerman for no reason and that it was entirely likely that Zimmerman made the encounter possible by following him. Now you claim that’s not your position? Again with the incoherence.

    As for stalking, you are ignorant of what that word legally means. Feel free to hit someone because they followed you on a single occasion because they were suspicious of you. Then call the cops on your “stalker”. See if it doesn’t get you arrested.

  83. #83 |  Christopher Swing | 

    r.l.s.3, that was a reply to nigmalg, not to you. I think you’re the one that’s confused here.

    “As for stalking, you are ignorant of what that word legally means. Feel free to hit someone because they followed you on a single occasion because they were suspicious of you. Then call the cops on your “stalker”. See if it doesn’t get you arrested.”

    I wasn’t using it in the legal sense, I was using it in the colloquial sense. If you want an argument limited exclusively to legal definitions, go to a courtroom.

    Tell you what, I’ll follow you around in the middle of the night and you can tell me if you feel threatened or not. Context is everything.

  84. #84 |  jmcross | 

    I was surprised when the state’s investigator admitted they did not have Z’s medical records. Z’s mouthpiece also made hay of the probable cause affidavit laying the “confrontation” at Z’s feet. The investigator stated they had no evidence as to who started the fight. I thought they might have an unknown witness who saw the whole thing. It seems not.

    My opinion is the SA felt the pressure to have Z arrested, and sooner rather than later. Even Z’s attorney seemed glad he was behind bars, that he was safer there than on the streets. Vengeance was threatening to supersede Justice.

    The maps and timelines at the wagist site mentioned at #70 are good. Not sure I buy the M doubled back theory though. There are several routes M and Z could have taken that put them together at the scene. The scene is almost exactly halfway between two crossways and on/near the bisecting cement walkway.

    My speculation is that they spotted each other again at a distance and both closed the gap with similar intentions: Who are you and what are you doing? Seems doubtful one surprised the other.

    However these two came together in conflict, ~90 seconds later the media-whores had a pot to stir and vast chunks of the 24/7 opinion/news cycle and blahgosphere are filled as far as the eye can see.

  85. #85 |  r.l.s.3 | 

    Christopher, if you are just trying to state that Zimmerman was wrong for following Martin, I don’t think you’ll get much argument here. But some of your other statements indicate you are trying to argue his culpability in a murder. And your using Zimmerman’s “stalking” to do it. Which just doesn’t fly.

    Seriously, man, just what is it you are trying to say? Maybe try a step-wise argument to help us all understand. Here’s a very simplified version of mine:

    1. Zimmerman sees Martin walking and follows him
    2. A physical confrontation between the two takes place
    3. Martin was shot Zimmerman and is dead.
    4. Don’t really know who initiated the physical assult
    5. Therefore, don’t really know if Zimmerman has committed murder or justified homicide.

    That’s my position. That I don’t know. My only opinions on the matter are that Zimmerman seems to be somewhat of a jackass for following Martin, and that the Prosecutor should have taken the case to a grand jury. Neither of these things have any bearing on Zimmerman’s culpability in a murder.

    Seriously, man, I am just trying to make sense of your position.

    Now you try.

  86. #86 |  r.l.s.3 | 

    sorry, should read “shot *by* Z”

  87. #87 |  Leonard | 

    It is sad and amazing the depths of mental contortion the Zimmerman haters are getting to here. It immediately brings to mind Jon Haidt’s recent quote: “The fundamental rule of political analysis from the point of psychology is, follow the sacredness, and around it is a ring of motivated ignorance.” The press and the left have built up Martin as a sacred purely innocent victim of racism. Willful ignorance such as Burgers Allday, KBCraig, Christopher Swing, etc. are displaying here is religious in nature.

    The law is simple. You can follow someone. You can verbally confront someone. Neither of these are crimes. You can even follow someone who is black. Still not a crime. You can “profile” him (believe that his race raises the a priori chance he is a criminal) — the state mostly cannot, but you can. Still not a crime.

    You cannot attack someone who is doing nothing wrong. Not with a gun, not with a fist. Once you do, you are a criminal, and, if you continue the attack to the point where the victim “reasonably believes” you are going to inflict “great bodily harm” — which is a low bar — you can be lawfully shot by your victim. Shot, and killed, if that’s how it goes. So it went for poor Trayvon. Or at least, that’s what all the known evidence indicates.

    I hasten to point out here that according to Zimmerman’s story, corroborated by Martin’s girlfriend, it was Martin, not Zimmerman, who began the verbal “confrontation”. This aggression verbal confrontation mildly suggests Martin was one who hit first. There is no known eyewitness evidence except Zimmerman’s about who initiated the violence. But certainly what we know is nowhere near “beyond a reasonable doubt” in either direction. Thus, Zimmerman will walk.

    This is the proper result. According to all the evidence we know about, Zimmerman is not a criminal. And I will disagree even with some of his defenders here: what he was doing — protecting and serving his neighbors — is an admirable thing. We need more men like him. Not less. We need them getting out of their cars, walking the neighborhood, and keeping their eye on strangers. We need them to “confront” those strangers, and ask them what they are doing there. We need criminals to know that they won’t get away with it.

    We also need more civility among young men who think they can get away with assaulting and battering a person who has annoyed them. Assault and battery deserve punishment. Martin did not deserve to die for his crime, but unfortunately for him, the choices available to his victim were not very fine-grained, nor was there time to think. But Martin’s death may in a small way have a silver lining. Assuming that Zimmerman is exonerated in court (which I expect at this point, given the truly astounding admissions of the prosecution at the bail hearing), then the right signal will be sent to all aggressive young men in all the concealed carry states. That message: be more careful about initiating felonious violence, it might just get you shot if you choose the wrong victim.

  88. #88 |  Christopher Swing | 

    So you’re keeping better track of when I’m actually talking to you, r.l.s.3?

    No, r.l.s.3, I said:

    “‘And as soon as the State can find evidence that he initiated a confrontation, he’ll be liable for manslaughter.’” (nigmalg)

    “Martin sure as hell didn’t telepathically command Zimmerman to pursue him in his vehicle, get out of the vehicle, and then confront him. There isn’t any evidence Zimmerman DIDN’T initiate a confrontation.”

    Later nigmalg would amend this to initiating violence.

    Zimmerman did murder Martin. His justification doesn’t hold up well at all, even under SYG.

    But thankfully, there will now be a trial to test that justification. Sorry if that’s an inconvenience, but I think the dead person deserves that inquiry in this case.

  89. #89 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Leonard:

    Conversely, Martin, feeling his life endangered by an unknown person chasing him in the middle of the night, had no duty to retreat under the law. And verbally telling them to leave you alone or ask why they’re following you is not against the law, either.

    Unless you don’t believe Martin had the same right to defend himself from a perceived threat under the law. You’re already convinced he committed a crime.

  90. #90 |  r.l.s.3 | 

    Thanks for the tag-in nigmalg, this was fun for a bit, but I’m tagging out now.

  91. #91 |  B | 

    Well said, Leonard.

  92. #92 |  r.l.s.3 | 

    “And I will disagree even with some of his defenders here: what he was doing — protecting and serving his neighbors — is an admirable thing.”

    I wholeheartedly agree with this. I just have an issue with the way Zimmerman went about it, or at least my perception of how he went about it.

    If you are going to approach someone who is simply walking down the street, it should be done with a smile, with purpose, and you should begin the conversation from a distance with a nice loud “Hello, I’m so and so from the neighborhood. You look lost, can I help you find your way?” Or some such. You should, as soon as possible, remove any doubt about your intentions. My impression, and I could be wrong, is that Zimmerman’s methods invited the same suspicion from Martin that he was feeling toward him.

  93. #93 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “We also need more civility among young men who think they can get away with assaulting and battering a person who has annoyed them. Assault and battery deserve punishment. Martin did not deserve to die for his crime, but unfortunately for him, the choices available to his victim were not very fine-grained, nor was there time to think.”

    You’ve not only already decided Martin committed a crime, you’ve also decided it was Zimmerman’s place to instantly deliver punishment. You just apologize a bit for it not being “fine grained” enough.

  94. #94 |  Deoxy | 

    Christopher Swing:

    The issue here is who initiated the violence. Nothing Zimmerman or Martin did up to that point was wrong or illegal.

    Forget biases, opinions, logic, speculation, or any of that stuff – NEITHER party had any good reason to attack the other. One of them did anyway, and claiming to know who it is, essentially, showing bias*.

    What evidence do we have (not counting Zimmerman himself) of who started it?

    None. No witnesses, no other evidence (that has been made public).

    WE DON’T KNOW.

    By the standards of evidence and guilt in this country, Zimmerman should not even be on trial – there’s no evidence of who started it. There’s no reason to think EITHER of them started it.

    Here’s the problem: EITHER way we go about this, we are equally likely to be wrong, over time and in multiple such cases.

    Do we assume guilt and put an innocent man in prison half-ish of the time?

    Or do we assume innocence and let a guilty man go free half-ish of the time?

    “Innocent until proven guilty.” Due to the ease of abuse if it’s the other way around (and there are plenty of countries like that for comparison – Mexico, for instance), we choose to let the unproven guilty go free instead of punishing the unproven innocent.

    I strongly agree with that. By that standard, Zimmerman should go free – we don’t have any evidence of who assaulted whom, so we don’t know who the responsible party is.

    To be a little more explicit, you seem to be assuming Zimmerman started it – that would make the shooting a murder. Many of the defenders are assuming Martin started it, which would make it self-defense.

    Legally AND morally, neither of these assumptions are valid (though people are still going to do so – even I do it, and I think it’s a waste of time).

    Each side has their reasons, and as best I can tell, almost ALL of those reasons are pretty good – Zimmerman had a long history of doing this sort of thing and NOT starting anything, Martin had no reason to double back, Martin certainly could have taken Zimmerman’s following as evidence of something sinister (though that doesn’t make it OK for him to start violence, IF he did), Zimmerman had every right to patrol his own neighborhood and ask strangers what they were doing there, etc, etc.

    NONE of those reasons excuse whichever party DID actually start the violence. Somehow, for no logical reason anyone can come up with, one of them did, anyway.

    * though I think most people thinking it’s Martin are showing an AGE bias, not a race bias – swap the races, and they’d come down the same way: the young guy started it, as they have a higher tendency for hotheadedness across all racial groups. But really, guesswork and assumptions like that are irrelevant, either way.

  95. #95 |  Deoxy | 

    “We also need more civility among young men who think they can get away with assaulting and battering a person who has annoyed them. Assault and battery deserve punishment. Martin did not deserve to die for his crime, but unfortunately for him, the choices available to his victim were not very fine-grained, nor was there time to think.”

    You’ve not only already decided Martin committed a crime, you’ve also decided it was Zimmerman’s place to instantly deliver punishment. You just apologize a bit for it not being “fine grained” enough.

    Whether Martin was in fact the guilty party here or not, the first statement you quoted was certainly accurate – it may or may not have applied to Martin personally, but I think we can all agree that hotheaded young men (of all races) do indeed start fights like this (though that STATISTICAL evidence doesn’t mean Martin did in this particular case), and, even if Zimmerman is a murderer (we don’t know), a “silver lining” of the situation would be this lesson.

    That would not justify a murder (if that’s what happened – we don’t know), but it would be nice to salvage at least something good out of this horrendous mess.

    In terms of what’s best for society, I’d have to say that assuming Martin was the attacker certainly has the best outcomes:
    -Zimmerman, legally and ethically, shouldn’t be punished (since we don’t know what happened), so it would keep him from being lynched
    -And prevent race riots. Yay!
    -Message to young hotheads who attack people who “diss” them: don’t do that, you might get killed for it, and your killer won’t be punished.

    On the other hand, we can assume Zimmerman started it:
    -Zimmerman has a good chance of being lynched
    -Race riots. Fun. :-/
    -Message to people being attacked: don’t defend yourself.

    EITHER WAY this actually happened, since we can’t prove it, one set of assumptions works MUCH better for society (including black society – NOT “works best for society as a whole because blacks pay the price for it”).

  96. #96 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “One of them did anyway, and claiming to know who it is, essentially, showing bias*.”

    Which means we shouldn’t just accept Zimmerman’s claim and forget about it.

    “By the standards of evidence and guilt in this country, Zimmerman should not even be on trial – there’s no evidence of who started it. There’s no reason to think EITHER of them started it.”

    There’s still a dead person and a living person’s justification that isn’t terribly convincing. What a terrible world we live in where Zimmerman actually gets a day in court.

    How terribly unfair it is that you can kill someone in this country and people aren’t required to take you at your word that you absolutely had to and never bother you about it again.

    “To be a little more explicit, you seem to be assuming Zimmerman started it”

    It couldn’t have happened at all if he hadn’t been playing pretend-cop in the first place.

    “Zimmerman had every right to patrol his own neighborhood and ask strangers what they were doing there, etc, etc.”

    But it clearly wasn’t very smart of him to do so. He did it so badly this time, in fact, that he managed to create a situation where he shot and killed someone.

    “Many of the defenders are assuming Martin started it, which would make it self-defense.”

    For Martin, against some random person following him for unknown reasons? It’s not like he had any reasonable fear that Zimmerman might hurt or kill him, right? I mean, never mind that Zimmerman was the one who actually killed someone.

    I mean, hey, why didn’t he just call the police? It’s not like the Sanford PD has an especially bad rep or anything. /sarcasm

    Also, you forgot something:

    -Message to young black people being attacked: don’t defend yourself. You might get yourself killed and people will think it’s best for society to blame it on you.

    And really, I’m glad you know what’s best for black society. I’m sure it’s appreciated.

  97. #97 |  jmcross | 

    I usually avoid troll baiting, but here goes…

    @CSwing
    You keep stating that Z’s story isn’t convincing. What part?
    1) that M cold-chocked him?
    2) that M pinned him to the ground?
    3) that M was banging his head on the ground?
    4) that Z feared M would cause further harm to him?
    5) that Z cried out for help from his neighbors and none of them came to his aid?
    6) that when seconds counted the cops were only minutes away?

    Your entire argument seems to revolve around the fact that Z chased the retreating M prior to the shooting and that is all that matters. Anything that happened after Z exits his vehicle is his fault. M is excused, even if he is the one to initiate violence. M is dead and Z should pay.

    I gotta tell ya, I don’t find that convincing. I doubt a reasonable juror would either. And reasonable doubt is so so important in this case. Somehow I doubt that matters to you.

  98. #98 |  Xenocles | 

    There’s a lot of critiquing of the scenario playing out here, which is appropriate since a lot went wrong and it’s good to try and learn from it. However, this talk is blending into the discussion of whether the state should punish the surviving actor. Those who are saying yes don’t seem to have much in the way of evidence to support that position – in fact, the only evidence they seem to be presenting is the way the known facts appear in the light of their incredulity of Zimmerman.

    I’m sorry, but the pillars “I don’t believe Zimmerman” and “Zimmerman seems like a bad guy” don’t satisfactorily prove the assertion “Zimmerman murdered Martin.”

    I don’t know how the fight started. Zimmerman says Martin attacked him. What evidence exists to contradict him? It’s not an absurd idea on its face; is it really so implausible that a young man felt wronged, got angry, and threw a punch at the person he felt wronged him?

    If the evidence to prove murder exists, I hope it’s found and presented. I have no love of murderers. But I’m not willing to put a man in prison for most of his life based on the say-so of a bunch of people who like me have no idea what happened.

  99. #99 |  nigmalg | 

    I’m sorry Chris,

    “Later nigmalg would amend this to initiating violence.”

    I just wanted to reiterate that the only “confrontation” that matters here is violent confrontation; I clarified my stance on purpose. Following someone is not illegal. Talking to someone is not illegal. Nothing we know indicates Zimmerman broke the law.

    I understand that you HATE not hearing Travyon’s side of the story. This situation is unfortunate. Even if Martin survived, both stories would be hearsay and the investigators would still try to impeach either one as they’re attempting to do of Zimmerman.

    You’ve based your conclusion the weakest of circumstantial evidence. This evidence that Martin couldn’t have caught up to him by surprise and hurt him like he did. It’s the same evidence that suggests Martin couldn’t have outrun Zimmerman.

    “What a terrible world we live in where Zimmerman actually gets a day in court.”

    Keep in mind that defendants should only be charged if there’s a real likelihood they’ll be convicted in court; that’s beyond any reasonable doubt. If you send defendants to trial on flimsy evidence, you’ve caused some pretty serious gashes to liberty:

    1.) Likely not-guilty defendant has to spend tens or hundreds of thousands defending themselves
    2.) Likely not-guilty defendant loses their right to basic freedoms enjoyed by other individuals pre-trial
    3.) Likely not-guilty defendant loses their job and friendships
    4.) Prosecutors have absolute immunity leaving no one responsible for botched or retaliatory prosecution

    We can have thorough investigations with competent *independent* agencies without needing a trial. The trial should only come in when the PC has been satisfied and the State believes they will win. Chris will claim that this is what’s happened in this case. I’ll claim it’s a political prosecution attempting to calm nerves. And round-and-round we go.

  100. #100 |  Belle Waring | 

    jmcross: I’ll be presumptuous and respond to your response. The answers to 1-6 are: no, I don’t believe him. I don’t believe Trayvon Martin just jumped Mr. Zimmerman and used the super-ninja skills they teach you at Menacing Black Youths Summer Academy to pin a larger man to the ground and hit the crown of his head pretty lightly on the ground. I don’t believe a 28-year-old man was pleading for his life in a high falsetto when he had a gun on him.

    The crown of his head, let’s all think on that, because what the hell? And all of us know scalp wounds bleed like crazy; repeated pounding of a bare head against the pavement with such force that Mr. Zimmerman feared for his life would have made it look like they were filming a remake of Carrie up there.

    I think it’s manifestly clear that if Zimmerman had merely been willing to stay in his car and let the police deal with the non-existent problem of someone buying Skittles, no one would have gotten shot. Open and closed there.

    Some commenters are psychic: “We need them getting out of their cars, walking the neighborhood, and keeping their eye on strangers. We need them to “confront” those strangers, and ask them what they are doing there. We need criminals to know that they won’t get away with it.” Why is confront in quotes, does it involve torches? Who are these “strangers”? Only the subscribers to Southern Partisan may ever know.

    Still and all, I think Zimmerman can’t be shown to have done anything beyond a reasonable doubt, that he should be and will be acquitted, and that like a lot of people who asked for justice for Trayvon I am satisfied that he has been arrested and will be subjected to what I hope is a fair and speedy trial. Those of you muttering about race riots should look in your hearts and try to think better of your fellow citizens, even as you demand that they think only the best of you.

  101. #101 |  More Questions | 

    While we don’t have airtight and undisputed evidence of what happened and who started what, Zimmerman’s testimony is evidence in a court of law. He said Martin started it and he said that it was him (Z) screaming on the tape, and so did eyewitness John. And while his injuries may not have impressed everyone, they exist and are consistent with Z’s story.

    No reasonable prosecutor prosecutes under these circumstances. It’s all a product of race hatred generated by Sharpton the dishonest Benjamin Crump and other assorted fools, coupled with the idiocy of Angela Corey.

    PS Speaking of general life experience we use to piece these things together. Take a look at Sanford’s most wanted and Sanford’s general run-of-the-mill weekly arrests. It’s disproportionately black. DOJ stats show 7-10X higher rates of violence among blacks. These are facts and this is reality. These proportions are even higher among young men, as crime for all races is a young man’s game. So yeah I have a little background making it easier to believe what happened. This prejudice if you will is not irrefutable, but let’s have a little reality check. If Z were a woman and I said the man started it, that would be believable to most, even though that too would be rooted in a sensible prejudice. Here it’s no different and the numbers supporting this view are just as sound and verifiable as our general view that men are more dangerous than women.

  102. #102 |  Ben | 

    “what he was doing — protecting and serving his neighbors — is an admirable thing. We need more men like him. Not less. We need them getting out of their cars, walking the neighborhood, and keeping their eye on strangers. We need them to “confront” those strangers, and ask them what they are doing there. We need criminals to know that they won’t get away with it. ”

    All other things aside – I agree that since we have no evidence one way or the other of who started what, Zimmerman should walk – I completely disagree with the quote above.

    I don’t want to live in a neighborhood where suspicious busybodies follow and interrogate every minority who happens to walk down the street. That sort of environment is noxious to harmony and tolerance. And I think those two things are much more important than some vague sense of safety or security that some people (particularly old and white people) seem to want to impose on their neighborhoods. It’s paranoid, it’s racist or ageist, and it’s antithetical to the idea that I have of how our society should act, which is that you let people go about their business unless you have a good reason not to.

  103. #103 |  r.l.s.3 | 

    Ben,

    I used to believe like you. I arrived home one night and there were 4 kids across the street, hanging out. I didn’t recognize them, but what the heck, they were just hanging out. I had no issue with them. Until they walked across the street and put a gun in my face. My neighbors said that they had been hanging out there for quite some time, looking suspicious, but no one wanted to do anything about it.

    No one is suggesting harassment of every person walking down the street, but if you’re not paying attention to your neighborhood and your surroundings, and doing something about people who seem out of place, bad shit can happen to you.

  104. #104 |  Burgers Allday | 

    I don’t want to live in a neighborhood where suspicious busybodies follow and interrogate every minority who happens to walk down the street. That sort of environment is noxious to harmony and tolerance. And I think those two things are much more important than some vague sense of safety or security that some people (particularly old and white people) seem to want to impose on their neighborhoods. It’s paranoid, it’s racist or ageist, and it’s antithetical to the idea that I have of how our society should act, which is that you let people go about their business unless you have a good reason not to.

    I fully agree with this. And, yes, I have been mugged by a small group of people of Trayvon Martin’s age and race. It was not fun. It still doesn’t mean that I get to call the police on black people for no reason. And that is what Zimmerman did. That is the one bad thing we KNOW he did.

    Of course, police need the capacity to tell a caller: “Look, you are calling us for no reason. If you see something that is genuinely suspicious then we will respond, but here at the Sanford pd we do not respond to black man walking alone in the rain calls. We just don’t. It would be retarded to respond to a call like this one, Geoge. Normally I would spare you the tongue lashing, but this is, what? the 45th time? C’,mon. Behave yourself and stop hassling this black guy you see walking alone in the rain.”

    What should have happened “ain’t rocket science.”

  105. #105 |  Other Sean | 

    When I woke up this…early afternoon, I thought: “I’ll wander over to the Agitator and check in with the Trayvon conversation. Surely by now people will have stopped pretending to KNOW things they don’t, can’t, and may never know.”

    And a fine morning it is!

  106. #106 |  Christopher Swing | 

    jmcross: When you accuse me of being a troll because you disagree with me, you’re not worth talking to.

    Xenocles: “I don’t know how the fight started. Zimmerman says Martin attacked him. What evidence exists to contradict him? It’s not an absurd idea on its face; is it really so implausible that a young man felt wronged, got angry, and threw a punch at the person he felt wronged him?”

    Or felt he was in legitimate fear of his life and exercised the same right to stand his ground as Zimmerman had. Just because he exercised the same right doesn’t make him guilty.

    “But I’m not willing to put a man in prison for most of his life based on the say-so of a bunch of people who like me have no idea what happened.”

    He’s not in prison and we’re not putting him there. He’s going to have a trial. That’s not exactly a terrible thing.

    nigmalg: “I just wanted to reiterate that the only “confrontation” that matters here is violent confrontation; I clarified my stance on purpose.”

    Yeah, you had to backpedal when you realized Zimmerman initiated the confrontation by his actions.

    “Following someone is not illegal. Talking to someone is not illegal. Nothing we know indicates Zimmerman broke the law.”

    Just because he had the right to do something doesn’t mean he’s immune to the consequences of what he did. He had a right to create a situation that would cause fear in Martin, so what was Martin’s only option? To run away?

    You have the right to do all sorts of stupid, negligent shit that can spiral out of control. That doesn’t mean you’re immune to the consequences of those things.

    “You’ve based your conclusion the weakest of circumstantial evidence. This evidence that Martin couldn’t have caught up to him by surprise and hurt him like he did. It’s the same evidence that suggests Martin couldn’t have outrun Zimmerman.”

    Actually, you’re the one that has a definite conclusion and asserts that if Martin defended himself at all that justifies Zimmerman killing him. Zimmerman killed Martin. He murdered him. Martin is dead. That’s not up for discussion. (Unless you’re crying that “murder” can only be used in a courtroom sense here? In that case, GFY, this is the comments section of a blog. Quit whining.) What isn’t known for sure is whether Zimmerman was actually justified or not. I don’t think it’s likely. I never said it was impossible.

    You want to talk about conclusions based on no evidence, look at yourself, nigmalg.

    Belle Warning: YES. You get it.

    r.l.s.3: Please let us know what Crazy Old Man refuge you and Leonard move into, so the rest of us “outsiders” can avoid it. And warn everyone under the age of 40 to stay away lest they get shot. What, you and Leonard don’t want an official police state, just a casual, citizen-staffed deal where everyone runs around demanding to know if they belong there?

    Burgers Allday: If only the Sanford police had given Zimmerman that tongue lashing he apparently needed so badly.

  107. #107 |  Burgers Allday | 

    If only the Sanford police had given Zimmerman that tongue lashing he apparently needed so badly.

    As I have stated before, my suspicion is that they were using him in the manner of a drug dog. I think the Sanford pd was using George Zimmerman and was encouraging George Zimmerman.

    To put it more lawyerly:

    I think Zimmerman made the call that got him beat up in subjective good faith that was not objectively not reasonable. In at least some jurisdictions there is actually case and/or statute law regarding this very circumstance. It is something they teach for the bar exam, for example.

    I do not think that the Sanford pd responded to the call in good faith. And that lack of good faith very much started with the dispatcher (but did not end there). To me, they are a much bigger problem than Zimmerman, and it is a problem that is not getting the attention it should.

  108. #108 |  Xenocles | 

    “Or felt he was in legitimate fear of his life and exercised the same right to stand his ground as Zimmerman had. Just because he exercised the same right doesn’t make him guilty.”

    I’m perfectly willing to grant that this may have been the case, but there is a bit of a lack of evidence to support it. Opposing it is Zimmerman’s claim and some physical evidence that (at a minimum) doesn’t seem to contradict it. It sucks that the only other witness to the entire incident is dead, but that’s the scenario we were dealt. In the absence of evidence to contradict Zimmerman’s testimony, we can’t discount it.

    “He’s not in prison and we’re not putting him there. He’s going to have a trial. That’s not exactly a terrible thing.”

    He spent time in jail and is now subject to restrictions on his liberty under pain of forfeiting a six-figure bail. He will almost certainly incur thousands of dollars in legal fees no matter how the case turns out. That’s pretty lousy if there’s not much of a chance of conviction, and if the publicly available evidence is all that the prosecution has then I think he’s almost certain to walk. I’d certainly vote to acquit. The prosecutor has said that she has the evidence to convict, and I guess we’ll see.

    “Zimmerman killed Martin. He murdered him. Martin is dead. That’s not up for discussion. (Unless you’re crying that “murder” can only be used in a courtroom sense here? In that case, GFY, this is the comments section of a blog. Quit whining.) ”

    See, this makes you almost not worth talking to. Murder is a technical term with a technical definition (many definitions, actually, but all of them specific). Not all killing is murder. Killings justified by the law are by definition not murder. Some other killings not justified by law are not murder either. Even if you want to veer off into your own world where murder is whatever you say it is, you’re making extraordinarily conclusive statements about what happened. You’ve all but admitted previously that you don’t know what happened; you just believe one explanation over another.

    You have no evidence that Zimmerman is lying in his account, you have merely your prejudice. This hearkens back to what I said earlier about you wanting to put him in prison based only on your say-so. Either this is the case or 1) you don’t believe murderers belong in prison or 2) you do in fact have some sort of actual evidence to back up your claim.

  109. #109 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “He spent time in jail and is now subject to restrictions on his liberty under pain of forfeiting a six-figure bail. He will almost certainly incur thousands of dollars in legal fees no matter how the case turns out.”

    Jail isn’t prison. Bail isn’t prison. Sucks that killing someone is still such a hassle, huh?

    “See, this makes you almost not worth talking to.”

    Allow me to reiterate: Unless you’re crying that “murder” can only be used in a courtroom sense here? In that case, GFY, this is the comments section of a blog. Quit whining.

    If I’m not worth talking to, stop talking to me. If you really believed that you wouldn’t be responding, would you?

    “You have no evidence that Zimmerman is lying in his account, you have merely your prejudice.”

    Newsflash: we’re allowed to consider someone’s testimony and decide if we think they’re trustworthy or not. That’s not a bad thing.

    “This hearkens back to what I said earlier about you wanting to put him in prison based only on your say-so.”

    And that’s still you putting words in my mouth. You’re wrong. That’s not what I said. I have said that he should be put on trial. I didn’t say he should be convicted and put in prison.

    If you’re not willing to actually read what I write, stop talking to me.

  110. #110 |  Xenocles | 

    “I have said that he should be put on trial. I didn’t say he should be convicted and put in prison.”

    Then what’s the point of the trial?

    Regardless, you have claimed outright that Zimmerman is a murderer. That is a strong claim with a relatively fixed definition. Back it up or quit running your mouth.

    “If I’m not worth talking to, stop talking to me.”

    Done.

  111. #111 |  jmcross | 

    Hmmm, let me think…

    @ That Which Shall Not Be Named
    Piffle & twaddle.

    @ Belle
    “…super-ninja skills they teach you at Menacing Black Youths Summer Academy…”
    “…and hit the crown of his head pretty lightly on the ground.”
    “…pleading for his life in a high falsetto when he had a gun on him.”

    I see what you did there. Agendas, how do they work?

  112. #112 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “Then what’s the point of the trial?”

    To find out if the person should be convicted, duh.

    “Regardless, you have claimed outright that Zimmerman is a murderer. That is a strong claim with a relatively fixed definition. Back it up or quit running your mouth.”

    Go fuck yourself, word police. Feel free to try and silence me.

    “Done.”

    Fuckin’ finally.

  113. #113 |  r.l.s.3 | 

    “Those of you muttering about race riots should look in your hearts and try to think better of your fellow citizens, even as you demand that they think only the best of you.”

    I try to. I really do. But people will riot over such silly things as winning a championship basketball game. So I’m not hopeful.

  114. #114 |  Deoxy | 

    Christopher Swing:

    “Murder” is MORAL term as well as legal, and it is NOT synonymous with “kill”. You are stated as fact that Zimmerman killed Martin intentionally and without justification – that’s what “murder” means, morally speaking. No legal-ese there.

    There’s still a dead person and a living person’s justification that isn’t terribly convincing. What a terrible world we live in where Zimmerman actually gets a day in court.

    When there’s no legal or moral chance at conviction (as in the current situation, unless there’s some serious non-public evidence), then yes, that’s terrible. Sure, juries will do all kinds of dumb things from time to time, but that’s an(other) argument AGAINST just charging him and rolling the dice.

    Simply throwing everyone into court (at the horrendous costs mentioned multiple times above) for anything that they can’t absolutely prove they DIDN’T do is stark raving insane. Also, arguably, EVIL.

    Morally, ethically, and legally, there simply isn’t the evidence to prove murder. As such, putting him on trial for it is MALICIOUS and WRONG.

    “To be a little more explicit, you seem to be assuming Zimmerman started it”

    It couldn’t have happened at all if he hadn’t been playing pretend-cop in the first place.

    No one is disagreeing with that. SO WHAT? It is irrelevant to the question of who started the fight.

    Yeah, you had to backpedal when you realized Zimmerman initiated the confrontation by his actions.

    The question is who started the PHYSICAL confrontation, and that’s what is almost always being referenced with the word “confrontation” in this argument, because it’s really all that matters.

    Yes, yes, Zimmerman could be said to have started a “confrontation”, but THAT kind of confrontation (the kind he definitely and admittedly started) is quite legal, moral, and ethical (that is, I can get out of my truck and ask a question to any random passerby – in fact, I could even chase them, catch up with them, and ask them! Not always wise, obviously, but not wrong).

    Quit calling people”word police”, when you are doing it at least as bad.

    Or felt he was in legitimate fear of his life and exercised the same right to stand his ground as Zimmerman had. Just because he exercised the same right doesn’t make him guilty.

    “Someone following you” != “legitimate fear for your life”… unless you are assuming Zimmerman attacked him or was running around with his weapon out (at which point, I would question the sanity of anyone “standing their ground” with their bare hands, eh?).

    The problem here is that it, again, boils down to who started the fight.

    As I said before, I can grant you all the other stuff you want, and the things you keep saying that I think are downright stupid, and it STILL doesn’t get to a legitimate prosecution for murder – the evidence (at least what’s public) simply doesn’t exist.

  115. #115 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Deoxy: “Simply throwing everyone into court (at the horrendous costs mentioned multiple times above) for anything that they can’t absolutely prove they DIDN’T do is stark raving insane. Also, arguably, EVIL.”

    Good thing I’m only talking about Zimmerman then, isn’t it?

    “Morally, ethically, and legally, there simply isn’t the evidence to prove murder. As such, putting him on trial for it is MALICIOUS and WRONG.”

    You’ve seen all the evidence, even that not available to the public, then? Why do you have the same access as the prosecutor?

    Ah, that’s right. You haven’t, and you don’t. So you can’t know it’s malicious and wrong.

    “Quit calling people”word police”, when you are doing it at least as bad.”

    I didn’t say a word could only have a specific definition for this discussion. I haven’t word-policed anyone. First I’m calling for everyone ever to be put on trial and now I’m the one that’s really word-policing. Do you actually read anything I type?

    ““Someone following you” != “legitimate fear for your life””

    Cool. So I could follow your mom walking alone down the street in the middle of the night, and you wouldn’t think there would be any concern there? How about if I follow her in a vehicle first, then stop and get out and continue to follow her on foot when she tries to avoid me?

    Context means a lot, doesn’t it?

    “The problem here is that it, again, boils down to who started the fight.”

    Good thing we’re going to have a court trial to get to the bottom of it, instead of people arguing on blogs.

  116. #116 |  jmcross | 

    @ Cthulhu
    I’m convinced!
    Any person who kills another goes on trial, no exceptions! Soldiers, cops, doctors, whoever! Fuck it!
    Any person who puts their space heater too close to their curtains and starts a fire goes on trial for arson! Fuck’em! Idiots!
    Any person who has sex with their partner when the other really doesn’t feel like it…RAPIST! No means no.
    Any person who borrows their neighbor’s power tools…”Got a receipt for that, scumbag? No? STOP RESISTING!”

    Yeah. That sounds about right.

  117. #117 |  jmcross | 

    Because trials never turn out like…you know…fucked up or anything.

    http://www.theagitator.com/2012/04/12/john-mcneil/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O._J._Simpson_murder_case

    ***
    There are vocal qualities peculiar to men, and vocal qualities peculiar to beasts; and it is terrible to hear the one when the source should yield the other. Animal fury and orgiastic license here whipped themselves to daemoniac heights by howls and squawking ecstacies that tore and reverberated through those nighted woods like pestilential tempests from the gulfs of hell. Now and then the less organized ululation would cease, and from what seemed a well-drilled chorus of hoarse voices would rise in sing-song chant that hideous phrase or ritual:

    “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.”

    http://www.dagonbytes.com/thelibrary/lovecraft/thecallofcthulhu.htm

  118. #118 |  Belle Waring | 

    It seems unreasonable to say that one man can shoot another to death, in cold blood or hot as may be, for we will never know, and not even be arrested. That seems to be the consensus position of the majority here. Merely being arrested is too great an imposition on someone who has shot and killed another person. WTF?

    Has the prosecutor overcharged? Yes, because she’s trying to scare him so he’ll plead out to a lesser charge, and also because politicians are breathing down her neck. Welcome to 80% of the non-trials that land people in prison in America. Start bitching about that a little more. It does mostly affect black people, though, so it may not catch your interest in the same fashion.

    Just think what people on these boards would be saying if Zimmerman were a cop? I realize that police are sworn professionals with extra powers and extra duties, so that when they kill an unarmed citizen not committing a crime it’s a particularly heinous blow to the body public. But would you all take the word of a 28-year-old officer that a 17-year-old attacked him out of the blue, and that even though he shouted “stop resisting” the kid had him down and made a move for the gun and he had to shoot him? You all would laugh that out of the room. Why the sudden credulity for the wanna-be cop?

  119. #119 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Belle: They can actually empathize with the cop wanna-be.

  120. #120 |  Xenocles | 

    “It seems unreasonable to say that one man can shoot another to death, in cold blood or hot as may be, for we will never know, and not even be arrested. That seems to be the consensus position of the majority here. Merely being arrested is too great an imposition on someone who has shot and killed another person. WTF?”

    So you’d arrest a person who killed in a clear case of self-defense? Good to know. (If you’re talking strictly about the Zimmerman case, feel free to amend your categorical statement accordingly.)

    “Welcome to 80% of the non-trials that land people in prison in America. Start bitching about that a little more. It does mostly affect black people, though, so it may not catch your interest in the same fashion.”

    You must be new to these circles.

  121. #121 |  Leonard | 

    Belle, Zimmerman was arrested. He crazily waived his right to an attorney, and let the police question him withou council present multiple times over several days. Then, they let him go because they realized they did not have a case. You’re not allowed to detain Americans just because the press has lied about them. You have to charge them with a crime.

    I really hope you are not for prosecutors overcharging just to score political points with a mob. Regardless, there’s a difference between this overcharge and the 80% or whatever: most of those are at least arguably plausible. Here, the prosecution team has overstepped so far that someone may end up disbarred. We’re not quite in Nifong territory here, but close.

    If Zimmerman were a cop it would make me less likely to believe him, although if he had been off duty and in his own neighborhood, only somewhat less. The reason is that cops know they will get cover from other cops, and lots of leeway from prosecutors, and so they know they can get away with almost anything. Zimmerman had no reason to think that.

    The reasons people believe him are because:
    (a) Zimmerman’s testimony matches all the known evidence and eyewitness testimony, some of which he did not know about at the time, including Martin’s girlfriend’s report that Martin initiating the verbal confrontation.
    (b) After the shooting, Zimmerman didn’t try to escape arrest, he waived his right to an attorney, etc. All the sort of things you’d expect from an innocent (if naive) man.
    (c) It’s hard to think of a plausible motive for Zimmerman to attack Martin, but easy to think of a plausible motive for Martin to attack Zimmerman.
    (d) Zimmerman was beaten up; it’s hard to figure out how ending up getting beaten up would happen if you were hunting someone down with a handgun.
    (e) Martin had run off past Zimmerman and Zimmerman had lost sight of him. The confrontation happened ~2 minutes after that, yet Martin’s house was just 250 feet away. Do the math yourself. Martin had plenty of time to get home, where he would have been perfectly safe. But he didn’t go home, or at least didn’t stay there. He doubled back.
    (f) Martin had twitter and youtube postings which show him as a thug life wannabe, making it more plausible that he hit first. (Did you see the fight video “Anthony vs Curtis” that he posted? Down the memory hole for obvious reasons, but copies are still out there.)
    (g) Martin was male and 17; this sex/age is known for hotheadedness and macho stupidity, especially when around peers (recall that Martin had an audience to perform to: his girlfriend).
    (h) the press, and well meaning people like you, have been trying so hard to get Zimmerman lynched.

    OK, I admit (h) is not a good reason.

  122. #122 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “The reason is that cops know they will get cover from other cops, and lots of leeway from prosecutors, and so they know they can get away with almost anything. Zimmerman had no reason to think that.”

    No, he didn’t. He’s the son of a judge, after all, not a mere cop.

    (a) Most of the “evidence” we know about is Zimmerman’s story to begin with. We only have Zimmerman’s word that Martin “initiated a confrontation” by addressing him antagonistically. For all we know Martin just asked why he was being followed. It would be hard for Zimmerman’s story not to match since he provides it all. More importantly, the police didn’t believe him and wanted to charge him… until the DA’s office told them not, citing SYG difficulties.
    (b) Or from a guy who knows there’s no story but then one he’s going to tell.
    (c) Trying to hold Martin for police is one very plausible motive.
    (d) Pfft. He had a minor cut on the back of his head and a bloody nose. He wasn’t beaten up so badly that he needed any substantial medical care. People get hurt worse falling off bikes.
    (e) Martin had no duty to retreat, even if this conjecture is correct. And we don’t know that this conjecture (courtesy the Wagist site, I imagine? Not slanted at all) is correct.
    (f) Zimmerman’s been arrested for domestic violence, and only had his charges dropped after completing pretrial diversion. A little more damning than some tweets and (alleged) youtube videos. Which holds more weight: an arrest record or Twitter?
    (g) Well, you got some stereotyping in there anyway, didn’t you?
    (h) People “like us” aren’t trying to get anyone lynched. Settle the fuck down. Zimmerman’s been arrested, a meaningful investigation has ensued, and hey, a prosecutor decided to file charges. There’s going to be a trial. That was the most many people hoped for. Now at least this is going to be adjudicated in an actual court of law instead of just being ignored.

  123. #123 |  Belle Waring | 

    People are using the word “lynched” to describe someone who has killed a black kid, and is now being arrested. I’ll grant he’s quite plausibly being over-charged. It’s also possible he shot in pure self-defense and is being terribly wronged. But in a state where black people were getting lynched for real, in the “castrated, hanged, and set on fire, in front of a happy mob who brought the kids and were enjoying sandwiches and buying postcards to send to the folks in Tampa”-sense, not all that long ago, this is insensitive on the most charitable reading, pointlessly inflammatory at the median, and motherf#@king racist at the other end. I calls’em like I sees’em. And sorry, having someone call you out on saying some racist s&*t is not a horrible thing a thousand times worse than any actual racist thing that happened anywhere, ever. It just means you might have said something racist. And you know what? Robert Byrd was racist. I was glad he died. See? So easy.

    Xenocles: I am not new to these circles, I just never have bothered to comment before. I have been a faithful reader of the blog for many years. I think Mr. Balko and I disagree on many things, but his work on the Cory Maye case alone puts him in the solo class of “people whose blogging ever had any amazingly good real-world outcome.” I never doubt that Radley is motivated by a love of liberty rather than racism, though reading this thread I really can’t say the same for his commentariat. I have heard Radley complain that a justice system in which such a huge percentage of offenders plead out is necessarily fucked up, but just above me I see…”Regardless, there’s a difference between this overcharge and the 80% or whatever: most of those are at least arguably plausible.” Yeah, and we know that because…all those black guys are in prison? My dental fillings told me? You can trust prosecutors except Larry Nifong and this other bitch? What? Color me unconvinced about Leonard’s libertarian bona fides in this area.

    “Martin had twitter and youtube postings which show him as a thug life wannabe, making it more plausible that he hit first.” Really? Are we really going to go there? When you were 17, did you never, ever try to act like your favorite rock star, but never ever?

  124. #124 |  Radley Balko | 

    I think Belle Waring’s point is important.

    Lynch mob is absolutely the wrong phrase to use with this case. Need to give some thought to historical and geographic context, here.

  125. #125 |  nigmalg | 

    Chris,

    I post this question out of curiosity.

    Normally an aggressor is not entitled to self-defense provisions of Florida Law. These are the exceptions given to someone who was initially an aggressor.

    (a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or
    (b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.

    What’s your opinion of 776.041?

  126. #126 |  phlinn | 

    I have some quibbles with statistical claims (direct evidence is NOT the subject of this comment) that the system is prejudiced against blacks. Simpson’s paradox is important. If someone doesn’t know what it is, and can’t construct an example of it (which means they don’t actually understand it), then they shouldn’t be using statistics to make any sorts of arguments at all, because they are assuming more certainty to their predictions than is justified.

    First, a constructed example. Assume blacks and whites commit some crime at the same rate, let’s go with 20%, and that all jurisdictions are the same size. Let jurisdiction A be 70% black, 30% white. Let A have a conviction rate for that crime 13 blacks and 6 whites. Let B and C be 70% white, with conviction rates of 7 whites, and 2 blacks. The total populace is 33.33% black, 66.66% white. The total conviction count is 17 blacks, 19 whites, so blacks are 47.2% of the convicted. Despite each jurisdiction being more lenient with blacks, and blacks not actually committing at any higher rates, the correlation of blacks with the jurisidiction that is tougher on crime in general leads to an over representation.

    Relevance to the real world: For various reasons, higher population density correlates with higher crime rates per capita. Urban areas have a higher percentage of black populace than rural ones. Even ignoring all other factors, that alone would increase the underlying black crime rate. Blacks do in fact commit a disproportionate number of homicides for example. This particular issue is not sufficient by itself to explain it. Anyone who looks at those numbers and concludes that the concentration of blacks causes the higher crime rates is an idiot racist. Anyone who looks at those numbers and concludes that blacks don’t actually commit crimes at higher rates is just an idiot. They do, but we don’t know why, and it remains wrong to judge an individual based on membership in a group which he or she has no choice in unless no other information is available. In the real world, additional information is always available.

  127. #127 |  nigmalg | 

    phlinn,

    Why don’t you control that with a simple population density calculation among different racial groups? Say number of people per mile?

  128. #128 |  Some Questions | 

    Philnn, I don’t see why we need to look at the “real cause” when we have useful predictive information that is visible unlike, say, someone’s DNA, 1040 form, or family life. I agree we don’t need to resort to statistical inference nearly as much when we have an actual person whom we know important information about –like a long string of disciplinary problems at school–but when ordinary people or police are making decisions about where to live, where to send their kids to school, and whether to consider a person “suspicious,” there’s no reason the very useful (1SD higher crime rates) information about race should be ignored. In practice, almost no one really ignores it, including black people. Plus here you had the added factors of age, sex, and the fact Trayvon was a pedestrian (this last item is itself important, as almost no one walks anywhere in Florida).

    And race matters in both directions. My dad worked at the NYC transit authority back in the 70s. He was working nights and fell asleep on the subway. He woke up in Harlem and was awakened by a black officer asking what he was doing there, explaining white people only come up there to buy dope. My dad explained and, perhaps not believing it or alternately being a bit protective, the cop made him get on another subway car and escorted him several stops on the subway out of the neighborhood.

  129. #129 |  Leonard | 

    Chris, when I see Radley routinely posting shocking stories of injustice based on the corruption in the system that favors sons of judges, I’ll take that charge seriously. We see stories of police abusing their power almost every day. Not so, sons of judges.

    I got (e) first from wagist, in the sense that some of the locations are given there, and I could not discover them myself. But the same info including a map has appeared in the NYT. Do you trust the NYT? Of course you do. But you should work it out for yourself. There were 2-3 minutes between when Zimmerman lost sight of Martin and when the fight happened. Listen to Zimmerman’s 911 call. Where is the clubhouse? The mailboxes? Where is the back entrance? You can see the scale of things on google maps. Check it yourself and see.

    On (g), I sure did put some “stereotypes” in there! 17 year old boys are far more aggressive than average Americans! (You can verify this at a hate site called the “FBI” here; see page 5-6. Or just ask any criminologist.) My god, next I’ll be telling you that adults are taller than children, men taller than women, and Danes taller than Americans. Stereotypes by the fistful! The hate never ends!

    Belle, my favorite rock star when I was 17 was not a thug. I admired him for his musical talent, in particular his funky bass lines. Not for his real-life actions, which I knew nothing about. About the most I acted like him would be playing air bass, badly. And perhaps correlated with that — though who can truly claim causation? — I managed to never commit assault and battery. Perhaps there is something funky to a good assault that I am just missing. But in any case, the issue here is not whether I coulda/woulda/shoulda acted like a funky thug when I was 17. It is whether there is any reason to think Trayvon Martin might have acted like a thug, funky or not, when he was 17. And there I just don’t understand how you blithely avert your gaze from the evidence.

  130. #130 |  Christopher Swing | 

    nigmalg: “I post this question out of curiosity.”

    No you don’t, you post it out of trying to create a “gotcha,” probably in reference to Martin having a right to defend himself. Since you want to play the Blog Lawyer Game, preceding section invalidates.

    776.012

    “A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:

    =snip=

    Martin can lawfully use non-lethal force if he reasonably fears the unknown person that has been following him by vehicle and on foot, who is not any sort of uniformed law enforcement officer or guard and had not identified as such, is about to harm him.

    For all Martin knows Zimmerman is a mugger or the like. It’s not like Zimmerman was approaching Martin in full daylight on a crowded street. So please stop pretending like Martin had no right to feel threatened.

    But now I suppose you’ll want to get into the following sections, including 776.041, and what Zimmerman gets to do.

    Guess what? You’ve only proved that Florida’s SYG law is a fucking mess. I believe Balko’s even stated he doesn’t entirely agree with them and I agree.

    Phlinn, do you read what Balko writes?

    “The anger and outrage about how black people are treated in the criminal justice system is well-founded, well-supported, and consistent with my own experience reporting on these issues (although I think the common denominator is increasingly more poor than black).”

    Leonard: So you’ll only believe it if Balko reports on it? That’s some dedication.

    (e) So you originally got it from a pro-Zimmerman site, and try to say the NYT is saying the same thing, but there’s no mention of the alleged “doubling back” at the NYT. Just a Google map.

    (g) It’s still a stereotype, and you haven’t provided any evidence that it applies to this specific individual. But you have managed to be a complete dick in your reply. Congratulations! I’m surprised you managed to leave “black” out as long as you were listing stereotypes, but maybe even you knew using “lynch” in (h) might be going a bit too far as it was in trying not to look like a racist jackass.

    I notice you’ve ignored Zimmerman’s arrest record versus your point (f), “teh twitters and youtubes.” As long as you’re going to bring that up, it’s fair to bring up actual criminal arrests, isn’t it? No answer?

  131. #131 |  phlinn | 

    @nigmalg: That won’t actually resolve the issue, which goes beyond that one component. The real world is sufficiently messy that we can’t correct for all confounding variables. However, how often do you actually see anyone post on differences in crime rates between racial cohorts that actually acknowledge that it’s not justifiable to make judgments based on overall rates? I’m also not sure trying to determine the best way to remove urbanization from consideration is actually easy. It’s at least plausible that urbanization increases crime rates for everyone, but more for minority groups due to isolation from mainstream.

    @Some Questions: I did not use the phrase “Real cause” at all. It was beyond the scope of the comment. I suppose that I should have clarified and said it’s wrong to base judgement solely on skin color when other information is available. Sometimes the skin color provides some context, but it is wrong to deny other people the ability to define themselves primarily as individuals. Racists will ignore other relevant information to cling to their race based judgement.

    To reiterate: Anyone who makes any claims at all about groups based on group statistics, but who doesn’t understand simpson’s paradox, is not worth listening to at least regarding those particular claims. That certainly includes both Al Sharpton and David Duke.

  132. #132 |  Some Questions | 

    Can you please explain your argument. You say Simpson’s Paradox is highly relevant to race. So could you state: Simpson’s paradox means ____; therefore, in the context of race and crime rates, what appears to be ___ may in fact be _____ or _____, and thus, we cannot conclude race is a reliable predictor of _____.

    Obviously many individual variables predict for crime, such as youth, sex, age, poverty, IQ, illegitimacy, prior crimes, community type, etc. And some of these variables are endogenous with one another, so things like poverty, illegitimacy, and low IQ run together. In my view, IQ is often the key variable, and low IQ whites and low IQ blacks both commit a lot more crime than higher IQ whites and blacks, though race still has some independent predictive power even after other variables are removed.

    John Lott’s research on this is good. He chiefly set out to explore the independent impact of concealed carry laws on crime. But in the process he talks a lot about the predictive power of race on crime and the independent value of any of these variables on crime predictions.

  133. #133 |  Some Questions | 

    I should add, unlike many other factors, race, sex, dress, and age are all much more visible to people in the shoes of Zimmerman or a patrol officer making decisions that may affect their own and the community’s safety in contrast to poverty or illegitmacy or any other relevant “social factor” in a community’s crime rates.

  134. #134 |  Deoxy | 

    Lynch mob is absolutely the wrong phrase to use with this case.

    There is an unproven claim that someone not of a favored race murdered someone of a favored race, and there’s a large group of people publicly and proudly (with their own names attached) calling for his death by vigaliante/mob action, facts be d—ed.

    How is that not a lynch mob? How is that not a lynching (if they do it)?

    Historically, yes, that was done by white southerners to black males; how many decades must pass before we can use the term for something very similar? Heck, people don’t often complain when holocaust is used on things that are at least in a similar vein, these days, and that was worse, and the derived uses seldom even register on the same scale… and it was MORE RECENT, even.

    Deoxy: “Simply throwing everyone into court (at the horrendous costs mentioned multiple times above) for anything that they can’t absolutely prove they DIDN’T do is stark raving insane. Also, arguably, EVIL.”

    Good thing I’m only talking about Zimmerman then, isn’t it?

    No, you’re espousing a principle, and our system is a precedent-based system. If that’s the principle that we use, at least thousands would go through this, based on who gets coverage in the media (and that’s the best way to interpret it).

    “Morally, ethically, and legally, there simply isn’t the evidence to prove murder. As such, putting him on trial for it is MALICIOUS and WRONG.”

    You’ve seen all the evidence, even that not available to the public, then? Why do you have the same access as the prosecutor?

    Ah, that’s right. You haven’t, and you don’t. So you can’t know it’s malicious and wrong.

    Bloody crap – I’ve carefully qualified my statements more than ANYONE on this bloody blog! WHAT IS ENOUGH FOR YOU?!?

    “based on publicly available info” – I’ve said that NUMEROUS times.

    I’ve been trying very hard to give you the benefit of the doubt, assuming you are arguing in good faith, but I’m just about to conclude that you are a simply closed-minded racist who cares nothing for actual facts.

    If this case were exactly identical except the reversal of races (Martin were hispanic, Zimmerman were black), I would be arguing exactly the same points I’m making now. Would you?

    I didn’t say a word could only have a specific definition for this discussion. I haven’t word-policed anyone.

    Here are some of your quotes from this very thread:

    And just how the fuck did Zimmerman happen to come to be out of his vehicle, and why was Martin even aware of Zimmerman’s presence to begin with?

    Zimmerman initiated a confrontation when he followed Martin, continued to follow him when told not to by police, and got out of his vehicle to confront Martin about his presence there.

    Word-policing the sue of “confrontation”

    The SYG law in Florida might get him off for killing Martin, but it doesn’t make him innocent. Not even judged “not guilty” makes someone innocent.

    In the end, Zimmerman still murdered Martin.

    Word-policing “innocent”.

    “We don’t know that.”

    We absolutely know he murdered Martin. You’re just splitting hairs at this point. You’re also presuming that it matters more that it was legal than if it was right.

    So if we should just shut up about things that are legal but not right, why the hell are you even hanging around this site? Because there’s plenty of things covered here that are legal that we get upset about because they’re not right.

    Word-policing “murder”.

    I could go on.

    ““Someone following you” != “legitimate fear for your life””

    Cool. So I could follow your mom walking alone down the street in the middle of the night, and you wouldn’t think there would be any concern there? How about if I follow her in a vehicle first, then stop and get out and continue to follow her on foot when she tries to avoid me?

    Context means a lot, doesn’t it?

    Why yes, yes it does… and that context STILL doesn’t make it OK for “my mom” to attack you. It STILL boils down to who actually physically attacked whom. Just like I (and so many others on here) keep trying to tell you.

    There’s no way to know beyond a reasonable doubt, so there’s no reason to bother with a trial, as it can only end in acquittal. (Again, “unless there’s some serious non-public evidence”. Sigh – can we PLEASE just start assuming that qualifier?!?!?)

    “The problem here is that it, again, boils down to who started the fight.”

    Good thing we’re going to have a court trial to get to the bottom of it, instead of people arguing on blogs.

    And again, unless they have some kind of other evidence (which looks VERY unlikely, unless they were LYING ON THE STAND in the bail hearing), NO, it ISN’T a good thing, because there is no moral or ethical way to return anything but “not guilty” (which, as you have helpfully pointed out, does not mean “innocent”).

    It is a WASTE of taxpayer money, the time of everyone involved, and a LOT of a private citizen’s money… a private citizen that we have no chance of actually convicting (Again, “unless there’s some serious non-public evidence”. Sigh – can we PLEASE just start assuming that qualifier?!?!?).

    To put the PRINCIPLE in a bit clearer relief, let’s say you defend yourself using lethal force. There’s no moral or ethical way to PROVE you murdered the other guy (as there’s a plausible self-defense claim), but hey, you killed him, and you admit you killed him, so hey, off to trial for you, buddy!

    Seriously, is that the standard you want to live under? Guilty until proven innocent?!? No matter how little evidence there is against you?

    People “like us” aren’t trying to get anyone lynched. Settle the fuck down. Zimmerman’s been arrested, a meaningful investigation has ensued, and hey, a prosecutor decided to file charges. There’s going to be a trial.

    By all accounts, and by the results of this second “meaningful” investigation (unless they were lying on the stand in the bail hearing), it would appear that the first investigation was just as meaningful, and that the result was actually more accurate: “We can’t possibly convict this guy, so let’s NOT CHARGE HIM ANYWAY.”

    (Again, “unless there’s some serious non-public evidence”. Sigh – can we PLEASE just start assuming that qualifier?!?!?)

    Not charging doesn’t mean they didn’t do a meaningful investigation or that they are just “ignoring” it. It just means they results of the investigation (even a “meaningful” one) were not sufficient for charges.

    Just for the record, what would it take for you to be satisfied that no trial was necessary? A certain number of witnesses? Video? A written, notarized statement from the deceased?

    The only good thing I can think of about this trial is that, while there is always the chance of the jury returning a stupid or unjust verdict, at least afterwards (assuming they don’t), he’ll be able to shield himself with the double-jeopardy clause.

    (Again, “unless there’s some serious non-public evidence”. Sigh – can we PLEASE just start assuming that qualifier?!?!?)

    Have I sufficiently qualified all of that? I can paste that in a few more places, if that would help you.

  135. #135 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “No, you’re espousing a principle, and our system is a precedent-based system. ”

    Fuck you, telling me what I’m saying. I’m talking about Zimmerman, even if you want to believe I’m talking about every situation ever.

    When did I tell someone NOT to use the words confrontation/innocent/murder? Because those are not examples of that. Do you know what word-policing is? Are you in some way completely fucking mentally deficient?

    Based on that alone you might just be too stupid to have any sort of discussion with. The rest of your rant just confirms it.

  136. #136 |  Some Questions | 

    I’m not sure what either of the last two posters are trying to say. Is this a “Facebook Generation” thing where no one knows how to write a coherent argument?

  137. #137 |  Christopher Swing | 

    You can’t give a coherent reply aside from “fuck off” to something as incoherent (and deliberately obtuse) as Deoxy there.

  138. #138 |  BamBam | 

    Christoper Swing @ 96:
    There’s still a dead person and a living person’s justification that isn’t terribly convincing. What a terrible world we live in where Zimmerman actually gets a day in court.

    Christoper Swing @ 106:
    He’s not in prison and we’re not putting him there. He’s going to have a trial. That’s not exactly a terrible thing.

    It’s very obvious to me, and I’m sure many others here, that Christopher Swing is a troll. The sheer amount of contradictory and illogically connected statements proves this quite readily.

  139. #139 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Ah, I’m a troll for pointing out that a day in court isn’t so terrible, and obviously not the same thing as being summarily thrown in prison without a trial.

    I possibly may have also used sarcasm in a willful manner.

    BamBam, I would submit that you’re an idiot, and you’re mad that you can’t come up with a better response.

  140. #140 |  Leonard | 

    Chris, I will believe in “judge’s son privilege” abuse if I see anyone at all reporting on it, and either (a) I trust them as an honest reporter (i.e. Balko has credibility in this sense), or (b) I don’t trust them but I can judge the problem myself from the sources available on the net. I have seen nothing of either sort. I used Balko only as a metonym there.

    So this is where you put up or shut up. Give me a source for the idea that judge’s sons abuse the American justice system. And I don’t just want bending a rule in one incident here or there. I am talking about anything of the sort of undisputed badness equal to what Balko reports here all the time. (Puppycide as a de facto routine police tactic; using SWAT teams for minor warrants; routine warrant service in the middle of the night; forensic “expertise” abuse; cops getting away with crimes of various sorts.) Because, you know, letting a man get away with murder if he some distant connection, as you are implying, is a really bad thing. You’d think such abuse might get out. Well, I’d think that, anyway.

    (e) I am not asking you to believe me or wagist about whether Martin must have doubled back. I am asking you to use your own brain to determine the truth of it, based on the known facts about the case — when 911 calls happened, where people were, etc. This data is summarized best at wagist, IMO, but you can re-derive it yourself if you don’t trust them. That is why I point you to wagist or NYT. For the data. Where the SUV was. Where the shooting was. Etc. Of course the NYT didn’t mention Martin doubling back. Why would they? It’s an inference that is not obvious unless you use at least one milliamp of brainpower. But more importantly, it interferes with the narrative.

    (f) Of course it is “fair” (and relevant) to bring up Zimmerman’s arrest record. Duh. Do I really have to say that? If you want my opinion, both of the incidents are basically bullshit. (The plainclothes cop in the one incident probably did the exact kind of shit Balko documents all the time here. In the other incident, it was he said/she said as to whether he initiated it.) Still, they do raise my priors on whether or not Zimmerman might have somehow initiated a fight. The thing is, knowing Martin’s personal history raises my priors on him a lot more. And also, knowing Zimmerman’s other personal history (which I forgot to mention before), tends to lower my priors on him. I assume you know about this stuff, but discount it.

    (g) You obviously don’t understand what a generalization is. A generalization does indeed apply to every member of the relevant group, in the absence of better, individuated knowledge. You don’t need to prove it applies to an individual; it applies until you prove it doesn’t. Of course, accurate stereotypes about people are not typically very strong. Young men commit most crime; but even so almost all young men are not criminals. But the point here is we have strong a posteriori knowledge of criminality: someone struck first, either Zimmerman or Martin.

  141. #141 |  Belle Waring | 

    Deoxy: people absolutely can, will, and do complain when people compare anything to the Holocaust, even when the thing in question is a brutal mass killing such as the Armenian genocide by the Turks. That’s the chief industry of the Jewish Anti-Defamation League. I would give you 500-1 on them denouncing it if President Obama were to compare a US citizen’s having to stand trial for killing someone, to the Holocaust. So yes, you have to wait a little more. Also, you can’t say nigg%r, but black people can say it to each other?! That is probably the least fair thing to happen since the Holocaust. Aw, Abe Foxman just called me, ok, really unfair.

    Also, in re: acting like your favorite rock star. If your favorite rock star was laying down funky bass lines, but wasn’t Kim Deal’s sister, then I absolutely guarantee he was having sex with underage groupies. It’s not even conceivable that be wasn’t. Bass players pull all the tail, this is well known. Girls come in for the lead singer, get disappointed when he picks their hot friend, and then get it on with the bassist. Do they check ID before they let hot chicks in the limo? Naw. So if I were to bring up your favorite bass player, and how you had occasionally cracked your friends up by preening like him (this is what facebook is, dudes), in an underage rape case against you, would that seem reasonable or fair? Would it seem like a bunch of bullsh&t? Oh, wait, it would seem like a bunch of bullsh$t.

    For the rest of you positing various sea-monkey experiments free of modern racism, I always wonder, when was the date when racism was no longer a significant problem in US society? Because we all know it was before, what with the lynchings, and the domestic terrorism of the Ku Klux Klan, and the not voting, and so on. I figure you guys know that. When was the magic moment. 1986? When?

  142. #142 |  More Questions | 

    1975 or so.

  143. #143 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Leonard:
    Tenn. judge reprimanded for releasing arrested son
    Published 09:45 a.m., Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    UNION CITY, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Court of the Judiciary issued a public reprimand against an Obion County judge for ordering the release of his son after an arrest for driving under the influence.

    The court that investigates complaints against Tennessee judges posted the reprimand on Monday against General Sessions Court Judge Jimmy C. Smith.

    According to the reprimand obtained by the Union City Daily Messenger (http://bit.ly/IkwOMY ), Smith admitted that he had set the condition for release of his son, James Cutler Smith, who was arrested in October 2011 and later pleaded guilty to a violation of the implied consent law.

    The court found this was a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which says a judge shall disqualify himself in a proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might be questioned.

    I’ll let you find several hundred other examples of judges’ sons getting special treatment in less than a fucking second with a Google search term sequence even a child should be able to put together themselves. Since you seem to need evidence that judges have ever pulled strings for their children ever in history or something.

    (e) Sounds more like something you really want to believe, if only because you think it makes Martin look bad. It’s both conjecture and irrelevant, because Martin was under no obligation to run straight home.

    (f) So you’re sticking with your story that Zimmerman’s arrest for a violent crime holds less weight than posts on Twitter and Youtube that aren’t even crimes.

    That is insane.

    (g) It’s still a generalization, and unless you can prove it applies to the specific person in the specific case we’re talking about, useless. And dishonest in light of the fact that whoever threw the first punch may have been justified and legally right to do so. Don’t forget 776.012 up there in 130 (the comment number now, provided nothing is in mod queue).

    More Questions: you know, at least the other people pretending racism doesn’t exist in this thread aren’t obvious about it. But, oh, wait:

    #141 | Radley Balko | April 16th, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Though this doesn’t mean Trayvon wouldn’t have been shot or ended up in jail at some point judging by his No Limit N****A lifestyle.

    And with one sentence, you undermine everything else you’ve written by revealing yourself to be a racist asshole.

    Nice work.

    Being a racist asshole around here is a bit of a habit for you.

  144. #144 |  Xenocles | 

    “Lynch mob is absolutely the wrong phrase to use with this case. Need to give some thought to historical and geographic context, here.”

    Is it really, though? Prior to Zimmerman’s arrest there were certainly a loud group of people who were agitating for extrajudicial direct action against him. You had people like Spike Lee encouraging people to terrorize Zimmerman at what was thought to be his home address. You had folks like the New Black Panther Party offering money for the extrajudicial kidnapping or killing of Zimmerman. It certainly seems appropriate to call those people a lynch mob.

    It’s not appropriate to limit the word to only white-on-black racially motivated extrajudicial killing. This is especially so in light of the fact that the word itself comes from the name of the man who first started lynching people n this country – a white justice of the peace having white Tories killed during the American Revolution. We’re going to run out of words if we have to use a different one for each nasty event in history regardless of what characteristics they share.

  145. #145 |  More Questions | 

    That was his twitter profile; do you think calling himself that was racist? Or just me noticing?

  146. #146 |  phlinn | 

    @ Christopher Swaig: I do in fact read Balko’s work. Frequently. I’m just also aware that the incarceration rate for blacks is partially influenced by an actual greater rate of criminality. I am not claiming this greater rate is inherent, but it is observable based on victim reports, which occur before the criminal justice system has a chance to influence it. I have seen someone who claimed that the incarceration rate about matched the general crime rate for some crimes. On the other side, I’ve seen claims about drug related crimes and the lower incarceration rate for whites, but said discussions are about as fair as lumping all car accidents where someone was drinking who wasn’t the driver as alcohol related. Not all drug related crimes are the same. Shooting a rival gang member is in fact worse than burglarizing a home for drug money.

    @Some Questions: My argument was not that Simpson’s paradox is highly relevant to race in particular. It’s relevant to any attempt to make strong claims based on statistics, especially if one confounding variable (race, sex, poverty, you name it) is broken out but others such are ignored. I frequently see such arguments, and IIRC this thread contained a few. I could have been thinking of another thread I suppose. Most likely the discussion of Julian Sanchez’s article.

    I am aware that the results of IQ is consistently lower in blacks (for whatever reason, but it’s worth noting that bias in the tests themselves does not explain the gap) and that it’s also correlated with crime and poverty rates, more strongly than crime and poverty correlate with each other. However, it’s not clear which way the causality runs. Lower IQ leads to poverty, but poverty leads to lower IQ. A group with a higher crime rate is going to make themselves poorer. John Lott isn’t wholly wrong, but IIRC he makes stronger claims than statistics can really justify.

    The reason I didn’t discuss root causes is that regardless of why, blacks are more likely to be murderers than whites, but the chance of any given one being so is vanishingly small for both groups. Hence, it’s better to deal with much better predictors, such as the specific cirumstances I encounter one in.

  147. #147 |  Leonard | 

    Chris, your example is lame. Let me spell it out. I am looking for the sort of “judge’s son privilege” abuse that is analogous to what you hypothesize has happened in the Martin shooting. Thus, you must use your google-fu to find a case where a judge uses his influence to subvert justice for his family, but not via his own judgments (as in this odd TN case you found), but via other people in the criminal justice system. I.e. in the Zimmerman case, either the police or the prosecutors during the first few weeks. And your case must also have the property that the abuse of justice must be grave. I am not talking about allowing a guy to be released on bail the next day after a DUI. I am talking about a murder being hushed up.

    (e) Still refusing to think for yourself. We agree that Martin was under no obligation to do anything. The question is what he did, and how he and Zimmerman happened to meet where they did. This is highly relevant, because if they had not met, nothing could have happened. You are sticking your head in the sand. A perfect example of Haidt’s claim: you are displaying “motivated ignorance”.

    (f) Yes, I am sticking with that. No, it is not insane. There is a reason: what Martin chose to say about himself and how he chose to portray himself when nobody was watching except his friends, is an honest representation of who he wanted to be. What shows up in police records is a very refracted view of a person. They may contain gross untruths. For example, in my opinion, in the undercover cop’s sworn statement that he clearly identified himself to Zimmerman. Well, maybe he did. But maybe he didn’t. Do cops ever swear to stuff on police reports that is untrue? You seem to believe not.

    What this gets back to is personal judgment. You seem to place great trust in the honesty of police — a bit odd around these parts, but certainly a respectable opinion. Whereas I do not. I do place trust in the idea that what a person places on twitter or youtube is what he or she wanted to put there.

    (g) Again, you don’t understand what a generalization is.

  148. #148 |  Deoxy | 

    “No, you’re espousing a principle, and our system is a precedent-based system. ”

    Fuck you, telling me what I’m saying. I’m talking about Zimmerman, even if you want to believe I’m talking about every situation ever.

    In that case, you are specifically saying we should take the law, which is great and fine in many other situations, and NOT APPLY IT to Zimmerman.

    Those are you choices. Either there is a legal principle, which can be applied in all relevant cases, or you are advocating going outside the law. Pick one.

    Of course, ethically, which I find more important than law, there’s no going outside of ethical positions, by definition. You ARE advocating an ethical position – to treat Zimmerman as you are advocating is to advocate treating any other person in his position the same way.

    Now, “in his position” can include (in terms of ethics) all kinds of things not included in our legal system, such as skin color (for one VERY loaded example). I asked about that earlier, and you haven’t responded…

    Do you know what word-policing is?

    Yes, though I suspect you don’t, since you’re DOING IT AGAIN RIGHT HERE.

    Seriously, man, I’ve made long, careful, deliberate, self-consistent, and patient responses, and the best you can manage is “Fuck you”?

    I’m not being deliberately obtuse. In fact, I’ve gone to great lengths to carefully explain my reasoning on a great many points.

    And so, to what is likely (based entirely on your earlier responses to others on this thread) your great delight, I am no longer going to respond to you.

    You “win” – you can continue to shout your illogical, self-inconsistent, and tyrannical (in outcome if implemented) views, and I will no longer try to help you see your illogic or inconsistency.

    Good luck in life. If you apply the same level of thoughtfulness and manners anywhere else in your life, you’ll need it.

  149. #149 |  Deoxy | 

    Deoxy: people absolutely can, will, and do complain when people compare anything to the Holocaust, even when the thing in question is a brutal mass killing such as the Armenian genocide by the Turks.

    I was referring to using the word “holocaust” (not capitalized), which happens with some frequency, not direct comparisons to the Holocaust.

    But even your counter (the ADL) is weak – that’s their bloody job, eh?

    Words evolve, take on a generalized meaning. That’s how language works – take an idea which requires a lot of explaining, and use a word to represent that whole explanation. Make it general, so that it applies in a lot of places.

    Deliberately silly example: thermos. “Thermos” was a company that made “insulated bottles”. They became so dominant that people now just call an “insulated bottle” a “thermos”.

    Since “lynch mobs” and “lynching” existed by name BEFORE it became popular in a certain place and time to apply them exclusively to black males, and especially since we are generations removed from that place and time, getting in a huff about it is, well… racist, most likely, though in a much softer form, at least, than we usually use that term for.

    Or, in fairly bald appeal to authority, let me point you to wikpedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynching

    It quotes the legal definition of lynching, a felony in every state in the US, and it doesn’t mention race at all, except in the parts dealing with history of the US – but NOT so much in history in other places.

    In short, “lynch” has been a term in general use for other things besides Jim Crow era behaviour both before AND after said behaviour. It’s a useful term to describe a very specific form of behaviour, and race is only one of several possible motivations for said behaviour.

    Example: “Palestinian lynch mobs have murdered Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel.”

    So yeah, I think an apology for getting on your high horse about that term is in order.

    (Just for a fun comparison, I quote everyone’s favorite poster on this thread: “Go fuck yourself, word police.” Hard to argue with logic like that!)

  150. #150 |  Christopher Swing | 

    More Questions: “That was his twitter profile; do you think calling himself that was racist? Or just me noticing?”

    The fact that you don’t get that it’s neither of those things that’s it, still, actually adds dumb to the “racist asshole.”

    Leonard: Oh look, you moved the goalposts. How surprising!

    That a teapot is orbiting the sun in an eccentric orbit is an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary evidence.

    That children of people with power and status get breaks is as old as human society and not extraordinary at all.

    The opposite of that is in fact an extraordinary claim, which you have not provided any extraordinary evidence for.

    The fact that I can get you to argue against it, that you will argue like an idiot against an obvious generalization that hurts your defense for Zimmerman, yet you’ll paragraphs later fight for a generalization that you think hurts Martin (even though it doesn’t): priceless.

    “(e) Still refusing to think for yourself.”

    Ah, so that’s what you think disagreeing with your conclusions means. It must be a terrible burden being so much smarter than everyone else.

    “This is highly relevant, because if they had not met, nothing could have happened.”

    So if we believe that, Zimmerman is at least if not more culpable, since he initiated the following and continued it even after being advised that he didn’t need to anymore.

    “(f) Yes, I am sticking with that. No, it is not insane. There is a reason: what Martin chose to say about himself and how he chose to portray himself when nobody was watching except his friends, is an honest representation of who he wanted to be.”

    Ah, so you’re confusing bravado with accuracy.

    “For example, in my opinion, in the undercover cop’s sworn statement that he clearly identified himself to Zimmerman. Well, maybe he did. But maybe he didn’t. Do cops ever swear to stuff on police reports that is untrue? You seem to believe not. ”

    I’m only saying I believe it about Zimmerman. You can make the fallacious assumption that that means I believe every cop ever, but that doesn’t make that true. It just makes you an asshole.

    Do people who shoot unarmed teenagers ever lie about having a reason to? You seem to believe not. See? I can do it too!

    “I do place trust in the idea that what a person places on twitter or youtube is what he or she wanted to put there.”

    And obviously 100% accurate, and never exaggerated or even goofy.

    But like I said, fighting tooth and nail against one generalization and then for another right here. Now that’s entertainment.

    Deoxy: Oh, you’re free to keep essentially arguing with yourself about the only options I’m “allowed” to mean and the stupidity of using “lynching” in regard to this case. You’re also free to look like a clueless racist jackass while doing so.

  151. #151 |  Some Questions | 

    More Questions: “That was his twitter profile; do you think calling himself that was racist? Or just me noticing?”

    The fact that you don’t get that it’s neither of those things that’s it, still, actually adds dumb to the “racist asshole.”

    The last sentence is an example of the kind of rip-roaring rhetoric we can expect from the half-educated Twitter Generation. Also, outside of th e DNC HQ and CNN, you don’t get to win every argument simply by invoking “racist” or “racism” or “clueless racist jackass” like some kind of incantation. The questions surrounding this case are not if something is racist or not, but rather if some position or another is true.

  152. #152 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Some Questions: The entertaining part is that not only do you demand the obvious be spelled out for you (you still made a racist assumption, duh) but when it isn’t, you launch into a rant about it.

    And then you top it off claiming your racism is OK as long as you can claim it’s true.

    Keep digging that hole! ;)

  153. #153 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “Breaking News of the Day: Zimmerman’s Bond Revoked: The Orlando Sentinel’s Jeff Weiner is reporting via Twitter that George Zimmerman’s bail has been revoked, and that Zimmerman must surrender within 48 hours.”

    “Weiner reports that the prosecution is saying Zimmerman and his wife “may have committed contempt of court by lying,” arguing that Zimmerman “misrepresented, misled and deceived the court” during a bond hearing regarding his U.S. passport and his family’s financial situation.”

    via http://tinfoilandtea.tumblr.com/post/24209713192/stfuconservatives-nefariousnewt

    Welp, looks like Zimmerman’s not so good at telling the truth after all.

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