Sunday Links

Sunday, April 29th, 2012
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94 Responses to “Sunday Links”

  1. #1 |  Gordon | 

    TSA has an anomaly in their rectal area — their head is lodged firmly in it.

  2. #2 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Gordon,

    That’s hardly an anomaly among government functionaries. It’s practically a job requirement.

  3. #3 |  marco73 | 

    Re: TSA. I just can’t wait until they expand to train and bus stations, schools, and maybe every Interstate entrance ramp.
    Come on, all the mother-in-law should have to do is hand the thugs a couple dollars. Worked for smuggling cocaine.

  4. #4 |  Mattocracy | 

    “Georgia police kill a man, then arrest his parents for getting angry about it.”

    Jesus, this happened up the road from where I used to live. Even if this was a justified shooting, you’d think the cops would understand that family would be pissed off and think of something else to do besides to arrest them.

    Sabbath Nut Punch.

  5. #5 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “Re: TSA. I just can’t wait until they expand to train and bus stations, schools, and maybe every Interstate entrance ramp.”

    They tried this in a Savannah GA Amtrak station and the
    reponse was so hostile–even from Amtrak– they discontinued it.
    I predict they don’t have the resources to turn the whole
    damn country into a police state, as much as they would enjoy that…

  6. #6 |  Burgers Allday | 

    @Zimmerman:

    Let’s hear the 45 phone calls.

    Mayella Ewell community supported her, too (and although fictional, she was a very real three dimension human being type character, kind of like the woman in Cattfish).

    If you really believe that Zimmerman is the man you think he is (and he might well be), then you should not be afraid of the calls. If you are afraid of the calls, it means that this Reuters study is a dog-and-pony show and you know it.

    The real Zimmerman, the one Trayvon Martin faced, I mean, is the Zimmerman of the 45 calls. Whether that is good or bad for Zimmerman I cannot say until I hear the calls. The calls are more real than the opinions of the anti-Trayvon neighbors who are tired of having their stuff stolen by black teenagers.

  7. #7 |  TomG | 

    The whole idea/attitude requiring banks to report “excessive” deposits is sick and inimical to the concept of a free society. And laws that ban structuring ought to be unconstitutional.
    (It’s a bit like laws banning large-scale purchase of certain OTC drugs declared suspect. Too many people think that if you structure deposits, or if you buy a LOT (how much?) of a certain OTC drug,why you must have a bad reason to do that. Well frankly, it’s no one’s business!)

    I’m sure that because the politically connected can usually get away with it has something to do with the fact that there’s no strong push to overturn these laws.

  8. #8 |  Other Sean | 

    Still holding tight to the first draft of this story, eh Burgers?

  9. #9 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Still holding tight to the first draft of this story, eh Burgers?

    I am the only one who is consistent.

    Everyone else down in the comments was saying that the only thing that matters is what happened when Z and M reunited on the fateful night and that anything that happened before that was irrelevant — both legally, and as a matter of us regular folks making up our regular minds about what happened. Mr. Balko didn’t go as far as the commenters in saying that the calls were irrelvevant, but he was decidedly uncurious about them (thus kind of supporting those who sed the calls were irrelevant).

    Now some favorable, pre-encounter stuff happens and he is suddenly interested in that (but presumably still not the calls).

    So, yeah, I am the only one who is consistent. And I also seem to be one of the very few who has reserved judgement (both explicitly and in my deepest heart, too).

    Burgers, out!

  10. #10 |  Fred Mangels | 

    @ Zimmerman

    Perhaps another hoax, but I heard something on National Public Radio last night about the Zimmerman case I hadn’t heard before.

    According to someone they were interviewing, when Zimmerman was told by the dispatcher not to pursue Martin, he replied “Ok”. That would, if true, lead me to believe he might have stopped following him.

    Again, maybe just another hoax.

  11. #11 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “A man who identified himself as Robert Clark, James Clark’s brother, said his brother was not suicidal, and that officers did not have to open fire.”

    The casual observer may be confused by this statement, since it has been reported that James Clark had already cut himself at the scene. However, I think it is quite likely that Robert Clark is correct here.

    This kind of incident is fairly common. Drink too much, get pissed off for various reasons and then act out in public. Cut yourself (probably not too deep though; the ME will likely find hesitation marks on Mr. Clark), hold a gun to your head or take pills. Then call the cops or your whoever you are pissed off at at that moment and tell them your going to kill yourself. Yup, I’m really gonna do it this time! When the cops come, keep acting crazy until they shoot you with a tazer a bean bag or, in this case, real ammunition. Are people that do this truly suicidal? Not necessarily. You must admit that this is a good way to get attention.

    I have worked in healthcare security for a number of years now. I interact with a lot of people who are “suicidal” and have injured themselves or overdosed. When they come into the hospital and are expressing suicidal ideations, healthcare organizations are required to keep them for observation. They are admitted whether they like it or not. I am often called to deal with these people when they want to turn their aggession towards their nurses and doctors. You know, when they start yelling about their “rights,” even though many of these patients are intimately familiar with the legal reason for their involuntary stay. Many of them just love a good mind fuck. So are they really suicidal or do they just like to make life rough for us working stiffs in healthcare? As Frank Zappa sang, “I say the odds be 50-50.”

    The phenomenon I have described is known to the police. However, the tactics used in these situations don’t seem to reflect this knowledge. I don’t know if the shooting of James Clark was justified, but I do know that this ritual is repeated over and over again everyday across the U.S.. There has to be a better way to handle these incidents. And arresting the grieving family members is generally a bad idea, of course.

  12. #12 |  Other Sean | 

    Burgers,

    You are indeed consistent, but in the Zimmerman case that’s not exactly a virtue. The line you’re following with “show me the 911 calls” is the same line lots of us followed in the beginning: the one that said Zimmerman was a mall cop style schlimazel, who in his crudity and ignorance acted on the racist impulses that other people feel, but keep private.

    Today, just about everyone can see how grotesquely simple and wrong that was, and lots of us have ample reason to be ashamed of how quickly we swallowed that narrative, especially coming from the very same mainstream media sources we otherwise know to be completely full of shit.

    Face it: there’s nothing on those tapes that will take the complexity out of this story. This one is, and deserves to be treated as, a classic hard case in the tale of American crime and race relations.

  13. #13 |  More Questions | 

    I’m not against the calls, though I doubt they’ll be terribly informative. But, along those lines, what would you want to know about Trayvon to know what happened that night? Would you want to know the details of his suspensions? Prior stints in juvenile hall if any? Whether he participated in the “fight club” he ran at his high school beyond being simply a promoter? Whether he talked to someone the night of the shooting and what he said? And what she said to others about it? Whether he or Zimmerman were on meds or drugs or other things that may impair their judgment? Where his skittles-craving brother was during the shooting and why he didn’t call police/911/look-into-things when Trayvon didn’t show up home?

    Facts are good and more facts are better, I agree. But there are relevant facts on both sides of this whole shooting.

  14. #14 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Burgers Allday,

    Frankly your insistence on listening to those phone calls, which are legally irrelevant, and apparent desire to ignore all other matters leads me to conclude that you are a conspiracy nut in the making. I run into them all the time; people who have latched onto a single aspect of some historical even and insist that it supports their wild surmises, or that how it has been treated by others does.

    The phone calls probably do not matter, and may (IANAL) be inadmissible as evidence. What matters is what is KNOWN about the encounter in question – which is damned little.

    We. Don’t. Know. And barring some great revelations, we aren’t going to. And in our legal system, if there is reasonable doubt, the defendant goes free.

    Al Sharpton may, for once in his slimy life, be exactly right. But if he is, unless he has actual evidence that he has not thus far shared with the public, it is purely by accident. Furthermore, even if Sharpton is right, and Zimmerman is the embodiment of racism, the only Racist outcome possible for this trial will be if Zimmerman is found guilty, because if he is found guilty it will be because the jury set aside all matters of law and fact and made a decision based on skin color and threats of race based violence.

    You don’t find a person guilty because you think he’s a swine, or you shouldn’t. Your insistence on evaluating Zimmerman’s character instead of the available facts of THIS CASE lead me to hope and pray that you never sit as juror on any trial of any consequence.

  15. #15 |  Burgers Allday | 

    you are a conspiracy nut in the making

    You are not the first person to think I am a conspiracy nut.

    It is not true.

    But people always think that about me.

    I don’t think it is any one thing about me.

    I think it is the whole “Burgers Allday” package.

    But the important thing to remember is that I am not a conspiracy nut, even though I will not make up my mind until I hear those 45 calls with my own ears. I don’t care if the GGZ / Sanford pd team snow everybody else, but me. My eyes are staying on the ball because I want only the truth and not to be snowed.

    Oh, and FLT93 was shot down, or perhaps dropped out of the sky remotely by autotechpilot.

  16. #16 |  (B)oscoH | 

    I hope this Jeffrey Goldberg is the start of a trend… predominantly statist writers finally expressing outrage when their government infringes on their liberties. Stay tuned for next week when the Five-Oh shoots his dog.

  17. #17 |  picachu | 

    ““There’s an anomaly in the crotch area.””

    Wish I had a dime for everytime I’ve heard that one!

  18. #18 |  Jack Dempsey | 

    @ #11

    Of course it was justified, the police did it, ergo it’s justified, just as the internal investigation will conclude.

  19. #19 |  gersan | 

    Mr. Balko,

    If Trayvon Martin had been a white boy named Trevor Martin, Zimmerman would have already been tried and convicted and rotting in prison right now. And everyone’s attitude would be, “let him rot”.

    I do not want to read any more defenses of George Zimmerman on your site coming from you, because if I do, I will consider this a racist blog and will no longer come here.

    Thanks

  20. #20 |  Les | 

    RE: TSA, it is beyond pathetic that Jeffrey Goldberg is offended that the U.S. has responded to terrorism with the clowns at the TSA humiliating his mother-in-law.

    Goldberg was not only a cheerleader for the invasion of Iraq (while disseminating false claims of WMD’s and links to Al Qaeda), he thinks the U.S. should assassinate Julian Assange, and that someone needs to bomb Iran.

    Horrifically violent death on a massive scale and the murder of people who expose government secrets are a fine and reasonable reaction to terrorism. But his mother-in-law being embarrassed at the airport is unacceptable.

    What a wretched little toad of a man.

  21. #21 |  Les | 

    gersan, why would Radley care whether not someone who baselessly considers him a racist would come to his blog?

    BTW, how many black men does your average racist help to get off of death row?

    Thanks

  22. #22 |  Mike P | 

    Already tried? Please I’ve covered the criminal justice system for a decade now. There’s no way that any case goes to trial in three months after the alleged crime takes place, much less a murder case.

    Police here recently arrested a man for a homicide that occurred over a year ago. He was a suspect from pretty much the beginning of the case, but it took that long for them and prosecutors to build a case they felt confident to go to trial on. And if that trial starts before 2014, much less this year, I will be suprised.

  23. #23 |  Fred Mangels | 

    @ Les:

    BTW, how many black men does your average racist help to get off of death row?.

    Maybe that would be better written: “How many racists help black men get off of death row?”.

    I didn’t catch your meaning when I first read it.

  24. #24 |  JOR | 

    Someone in another thread was wondering what a Bad Cop looks like in the system we have. Regina Tasca is a perfect example.

    Of course, that makes her a good person. Or at least a decent one.

  25. #25 |  JOR | 

    Speaking of Corey Maye, I do remember people raising a big whiny stink over the fact that journalistic and public pressure helped get Zimmerman charged, even though they (and I) have nothing but praise for the journalists whose work helped get Corey saved from death row, and then released entirely. Libertoids may not be racists, but they can be incredibly inconsistent in the the most bizarre ways.

  26. #26 |  picachu | 

    #20 Les, great point!

    Fuck Jeffrey Goldberg. Your mother in law is just collateral damage bitch! You know, like all those kids in Iraq and Pakistan. Small price to pay for your safety right?

  27. #27 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    gersan,

    “If Trayvon Martin had been a white boy named Trevor Martin, Zimmerman would have already been tried and convicted and rotting in prison right now.”

    That alone shows that you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. The shooting took place in Feb. of THIS YEAR. I’m not sure Zimmerman could be convicted and sentenced in this little time even if he were pleading guilty on all counts (any lawyers in the audience have an opinion on that?). To suggest that Zimmerman would be already tried, sentenced, and jugged is to admit that you have a profound lack of understanding of the Court system as it exists.

    In other words, sit down and keep your yap shut on subjects about which you know bupkiss.

  28. #28 |  Fred Mangels | 

    And Gersan seems unaware that Radley posted a link to a story a short time ago about the black guy that supposedly was involved in a defensive shooting but was prosecuted. Radley pointed out that, if true, there might well be racial disparity in the way such cases are handled.

    Anyone remember that one?

  29. #29 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Already tried? Please I’ve covered the criminal justice system for a decade now. There’s no way that any case goes to trial in three months after the alleged crime takes place, much less a murder case.

    all kinds of things can happen.

    look at the criminal case against Julian Heicklen case recently covered here at the Adge blog. Grand jury indicted in Nov 2011, and the case was full disposed of by April 2012. Granted, there was no trial in Heicklen’s case, but there doesn’t always have to be. There may not be in Zimmerman’s case. Those who REALLY follow police brutality stories will recall when Raymond Cobb (white guy, military) got out of Paul Howard’s murder charges (for shooting a black 17 year old to death — forget kid’s name) on self-defense grounds without a trial on self-defense. Of course that one took about seven years. Like I said, anything can happen.

    People don’t usually stand on their right to speedy trials. This is because their appointed defense attorneys tell them not to, primarily because if witnesses die and stuf that usually redounds to benefit of criminal defendant. So defense attorneys get on a sort of autopilot and always recommend delay, and that is a pretty unsecondguessable choice. A private defense team (like OJ’s) usually NEEDS the time to actually do work on the case, so those get delayed, generally, too.

    But, the point is: there doesn’t have to be all this delay. A determined defendant who really wants a speedy trial (and is willing to go without private lawyers or socialized lawyers) can get it.

    I don’t see Zimmerman’s case going to trial in 3 months, but it may well be dropped by then. Or perhaps even dismissed. Depends on the evidence we ain’t seen or heard yet.

  30. #30 |  Mattocracy | 

    I consider gersan an idiot troll whose absence from this blog would be very appreciated.

  31. #31 |  Onlooker | 

    @ (B)oscoH

    Yeah, what I couldn’t help thinking is, “Where the hell have you been Goldberg? This has been going on for a LONG time.”

    But it’s good to see the outrage spread.

  32. #32 |  Onlooker | 

    Egad, I didn’t even know all that about Goldberg. Makes that article all the more ridiculous, and offensive, in that context.

  33. #33 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Mattocracy,

    On consideration, I second the motion.

  34. #34 |  RT | 

    @ gersan. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  35. #35 |  Other Sean | 

    I had a slightly different objection to Gersan’s post at #19: if Trayvon Martin had been a white boy, we would never have heard of him, and we wouldn’t be talking about this case now.

    This isn’t 1960, when the world really could be divided into evil reactionary racists and noble fighters for civil rights. These days we have the worst of both: we have private spasms of anti-black libel, balanced by public fits of pro-black mythologizing, with plenty of bizarre and hypocritical combinations in between.

    We have affluent white liberals who can’t shut up about tolerance, yet carefully live their lives in total segregation. We have poor white folks who share life and love unpretentiously with blacks and hispanics, without ever having learned the preening language of multiculturalism. We have millions of black kids in jail for breaking totally absurd and unequally applied laws, and yet we also have a few million black kids who have done plenty to deserve the suspicion people feel toward them.

    Not being seen as racist is a big part of the white middle/upper class identity these days. That’s why the American Apparel crowd hates Zimmerman so much. He tried to deal with black youth crime by running a neighborhood watch and carrying a gun, when he should have moved four zip codes away and abandoned the local school district, just like their parents did. And just like they will in a few years, once they have kids and trade that downtown loft for a bedroom suburb.

    Zimmerman, poor fool, just didn’t know the rules of the game.

  36. #36 |  Les | 

    Fred, you’re probably right. But just imagine if gerson actually tried to figure out the answer to my question. I like to imagine.

  37. #37 |  Rune | 

    So what you are telling me is that the LEO penchant for dog-killing is what led to this situation?

  38. #38 |  picachu | 

    Other Sean “This isn’t 1960, when the world really could be divided into evil reactionary racists and noble fighters for civil rights. These days we have the worst of both: we have private spasms of anti-black libel, balanced by public fits of pro-black mythologizing, with plenty of bizarre and hypocritical combinations in between.”

    That was a really well written couple of sentences!

  39. #39 |  DJB | 

    Very well stated Sean #35.

  40. #40 |  Fred Mangels | 

    Indeed, one of the best comments I’ve read on any blog. I added a link to it from my blog.

  41. #41 |  CyniCAl | 

    #35 | Other Sean — “We have affluent white liberals who can’t shut up about tolerance, yet carefully live their lives in total segregation.”

    Wow, you know my parents well. Ties in with the NYTimes editorials. If it’s printed in the Times it must be true.

  42. #42 |  Ted S. | 

    The “structuring” anomaly was bad enough without knowing the name of the politician in question. And then I read the article and discovered it was Wicked Eliot Spitzer getting away with it.

  43. #43 |  B | 

    #35 Other Sean wrote: “That’s why the American Apparel crowd hates Zimmerman so much. He tried to deal with black youth crime by running a neighborhood watch and carrying a gun, when he should have moved four zip codes away and abandoned the local school district…”

    I was talking to a Canadian about using guns for self-defense. He is disgusted by the idea. I told him I live in the inner city and I’m a diminutive white guy. He said I should move. It’s shocking that white flight and de facto segregation is socially acceptable among liberals. Do they even realize what they’re saying?

  44. #44 |  Other Sean | 

    Thanks for the kind remarks, #38 through #43. I grew up deep in the pale of white flight myself, but thanks to a dose of downward mobility, I eventually ended up living in an actual city.

    You know the old “forgotten man” formula, which describes the coercive nature of so many social programs? I really think that fits the prevailing approach to race relations in America.

    Here we have a case where A (liberal middle/upper class whites) and B (politicians, intellectuals, and the media) have some very definite ideas about how C (middle/lower class whites) should feel toward X (lower class blacks and hispanics).

    This beauty of this scheme is that apart from occasional displays of fake outrage it requires no real work from A or B, while it allows them to continue feeling morally superior to both C and X.

  45. #45 |  Cyto | 

    I’ve had some experience with the northeastern segregated liberal. I ran into some Long Islanders when I was at Duke University some years back. They had a good time opining about how racist the south was and how much more enlightened they were back home. Some of their opinions rang so strangely off-key that I asked them about their high schools. One kid proudly proclaimed that one of the girls in his class was black. – wait, what? One kid in your class – does she sit next to you? Oh, no…. not actually in his classroom – she’s in the same grade as him. Out of a class of 3,000.

    As far as I know, the most racist private schools in my home town weren’t that segregated.

    Other Sean’s point about the lack of color lines among the poor are well taken. I’d even go further to say that you are more likely to find close inter-racial friends and dating among those who make off-handed use of racially insensitive epithets. At least, that’s been my experience. Who’s more likely to drop the n-word: Buffy from Vasser in her Benneton cardigan or Sue from the trailer park in her Wal-Mart tank top? And which is more likely to have a boyfriend of a different race?

  46. #46 |  Belle Waring | 

    If Buffy goes to Vassar I imagine she can afford a cardigan from somewhere a bit nicer than Benetton. And she’s genuinely unlikely to say n1gger because it’s gauche. Sue from the trailer park…where’s the trailer park? Florida? Alabama? Nevada? America’s kind of big, and all, and contains Mississippi, for better or worse, and for the most part very much for the worse. Sue might throw around n1gger right and left AND have a black boyfriend for all we know.

    People may want to IMAGINE Buffy is more likely to say outright racist thing. But now you are just preening over your fantasy superiority to some nebulous American-Apparel wearing, NYT-reading, unarmed (and worse than that–possibly Canadian) jerks, who live in an all-white suburb cowering in fear of the black youths they profess to support. You all, apparently, or your poorer counterparts in libertariandom, keep it real in the inner city, “shar[ing] life and love unpretentiously with blacks and hispanics.” You are, nonetheless, armed to the teeth, because, and I don’t want to be racist, but, “we…have a few million black kids who have done plenty to deserve the suspicion people feel toward them.” Ah yes, THOSE, kids, right. you can tell because they wear their hats sideways; that’s how you know who to share life and love with unpretentiously, and who to shoot the everliving fuck out of.

  47. #47 |  B | 

    Sue might throw around n1gger right and left AND have a black boyfriend for all we know.

    That was exactly Cyto’s point. Buffy shuns racial slurs and lives in an all-white zip code. Sue uses slurs in conversation but she’s also comfortable living in mixed communities.

    Just so you’re clear, let me break it down for you.

    Who’s more likely to drop the n-word: Buffy from Vasser in her Benneton cardigan or Sue from the trailer park in her Wal-Mart tank top?
    Answer: Sue

    And which is more likely to have a boyfriend of a different race?
    Answer: Sue

    Who is the better person?
    Answer: Sue

  48. #48 |  Belle Waring | 

    More pertinently to the Reuters article, who ever doubted Mr. Zimmerman is a complete human being, in the round, with good sides and bad, who is kind to people whom he cares about, and even sometimes charitable to those whom he doesn’t know? It’s not necessary to imagine he is a picture of Nathan Bedford Forrest painted on a white sheet to believe that he is guilty of having shot an innocent kid to death, and having shot him because he wrongly suspected him based on the color of his skin. Yeah, there were break-ins committed in the area by black suspects, I thought we knew that? I thought that was the whole point: Trayvon couldn’t get back from a candy run alive because the Neighborhood Watch guy took him for one of the guys responsible for the recent break-ins, just because he was black and the suspects were black. 32% of the damn county is black!

    What’s new here? If Zimmerman hadn’t been armed, against Neighborhood Watch suggestions, Martin would be alive. If he had just stayed in his truck, Martin would be alive. That’s the beginning of the story and that’s really the end of the story. I’m never going to hear anything from Zimmerman that convinces me that a 17-year-old nick-named “Slimm” because he is a beanpole, who has never committed a violent crime in his life, just up and attacks a grown man so he has to shoot his way out to survive. A grown man with priors for violence. A grown man angry that “they always get away.” Unless i see photographic evidence of Martin pulling some ninja shit, Zimmerman’s selling, and I’m not buying, not now, not never.

    Having said that I think that the jury, properly instructed, will and should acquit, for the same reason: we just don’t know what happened. I guess that encourages the next 17-year-old boy in Sanford who needs some Skittles to illegally concealed carry, because the one left standing is the one who waltzes off without any jail time. He could have shot Zimmerman and got off on nothing more than an illegal weapons charge due to Florida’s stand your—ha ha, I had y’all going, right! Naw, they’d try him as an adult, for 2nd degree murder, and convict, and little Trayvon would be lucky if he saw daylight in 2052. That’s just how America rolls.

  49. #49 |  Belle Waring | 

    47: Thanks, you’re right, I misunderstood the initial point about who would say n1gger.

  50. #50 |  Belle Waring | 

    However, I apparently failed on how to post a comment. That exam was tougher than it looked. They only let me post comments at all under an affirmative action quota. No, really, Radley, please remove the extras when you get a chance.

  51. #51 |  Cyto | 

    Also, Buffy wears Benneton not because it is a prestigious brand, but because the “colors of Benneton” advertising campaign fits the metaphor. Sure, it’s as dated as Swatch, but the superficial multiculturalism works for the Buffy caricature in a way that American Apparel just can’t match.

    And if you have to explain the joke….

  52. #52 |  Belle Waring | 

    …then it’s not funny.

  53. #53 |  “Structuring”: who can get away with it, and who can’t | 

    […] the article. (Update Apr. 21: see also Apr. 18 coverage in Baltimore City Paper; & welcome Radley Balko […]

  54. #54 |  M | 

    I’ve always thought Zimmerman just wanted to be a cop so he acted like a cop and that’s why they did a lackadasical investigation/interrogation of him. Because they saw him as close enough to a cop to protect. You don’t have to be a bad person to want to be a police officer.

  55. #55 |  Herb | 

    “Turns out, the guy is a three-dimensional human being.”

    Prisons are full of three-dimensional human beings. Where are their pre-trial fluff pieces from Reuters?

  56. #56 |  Radley Balko | 

    …who ever doubted Mr. Zimmerman is a complete human being, in the round, with good sides and bad, who is kind to people whom he cares about, and even sometimes charitable to those whom he doesn’t know?

    I saw Tweets and blog posts from otherwise smart, calm people who immediately jumped to the conclusion that Zimmerman was a racist. Or a vigilante. When his black friend came out and defended him, again, people who should know better dismissed the friend as a sellout. One thing I found striking about the Reuters piece is that Zimmerman’s black neighbor was willing to defend him, but not to give her name, because she feared repercussions. Not from bigots and racists, but from the liberals and the civil rights community. Read the comments at places like Huffington Post. Much of the country still thinks this was a hate crime. There have been several brutal, racially-motivated attacks across the country over the last few weeks in which the perpetrators called out Martin’s name. (By the way, contrary to early media reports, Zimmerman was shorter than Martin, and only outweighed Martin by 20 pounds.)

    Like you, I don’t know what happened. Like you, my gut tells me Zimmerman instigated this and is morally culpable, and like you, my head tells me there’s also no evidence of that (that we’ve seen), so he should be acquitted. But this story was terribly reported from the start. And whether it was because of the racial element or the gun element, lots of people who are very careful about damning people accused of crimes in other contexts were very quick to pile on Zimmerman.

  57. #57 |  Other Sean | 

    Belle, in #48 you said:

    “If Zimmerman hadn’t been armed, against Neighborhood Watch suggestions, Martin would be alive. If he had just stayed in his truck, Martin would be alive. That’s the beginning of the story and that’s really the end of the story.”

    This chain-of-events argument is becoming very popular lately, because it allows people to evade the growing complexity of the case.

    The problem with that argument is this: whatever you think of racial profiling, whatever you think of gun-toting, and whatever you think of neighborhood watch patrols, the rebuttal for these things cannot be a violent assault at the hands of a 17 year old kid.

    Martin either attacked Zimmerman, or he defended himself against an attack by Zimmerman. We’ll probably never know which. But one position we cannot decently hold is to insist that it’s all Zimmerman’s fault, because he didn’t have the good sense to stay home and be just another a free rider to the benefits of civil order. That would be grotesque.

  58. #58 |  albatross | 

    The useful lesson in this case isn’t about Zimmerman and Martin (except to remind everyone that if that gun you’re carrying makes you more willing to seek out potentially dangerous situations, you should probably rethink whether it makes sense to carry it), it’s about our media and public perceptions. Millions of people “know” a lot of stuff about this case that turns out to just be wrong, or for which there is little or no evidence. The role the mainstream media and blogosphere have played in this is instructive.

    Think about how many things you “know” because you have seen them on TV a lot, or because you’ve seen a whole lot of media reporting them to you. And reflect on the fact that in this case, the initial reports got the description of the suspect wrong–he was originally a big white guy, and instead turned out to be a medium-sized hispanic guy.

  59. #59 |  albatross | 

    What other facts do you “know” from the same sources that are being reported with the same care and attention to detail? What other stories have you accepted because they fit the kind of story you expected or wanted to hear? How much of what you “know” about the war in Afghanistan, or the federal budget, or popular opinion on abortion, comes from the same essentially broken sources of information?

  60. #60 |  Other Sean | 

    Albatross…

    Right you are. If it wasn’t for theagitator.com and a thousand places like it, we really would be blind fools – in this matter, and in so many others.

  61. #61 |  Deoxy | 

    #35 Other Sean’s comment is bloody blog post of the century – man, that was awesome.

    @Burgers – I’m not being inconsistent – I’ve said all along that the calls are irrelevant to the what actually happened, and that race is irrelevant as well. It’s still very useful for Zimmerman’s actual background to come out because so many people DON’T think like I do – the initial so-called “reporting” was such BS that they believe all kinds of bad things about Zimmerman, and for at least a good many people, that’s all that matters. That is, while it means nothing to me, it’s the language some of the people I’d like to convince want to hear.

    To put it another way, it’s granting people their assumptions, then STILL arguing the right points – the fewer things you have to convince people of, the easier they are to convince. Even by the ridiculous standards being used (whether or not he’s a “good person” (meaning “not racist against black people”), not what actually happened), Zimmerman is getting railroaded.

    Or, to put it even more succinctly, it’s fun to hoist idiots on their own petard.

    Shorter judicial philosophy of the New York Times editorial board the vast majority of people, if they are honest with themselves

    Fixed it for you. I do honestly try NOT to be one of those people, but I suspect I am at least sometimes – it’s human nature.

  62. #62 |  Mike T | 

    #48,

    What’s new here? If Zimmerman hadn’t been armed, against Neighborhood Watch suggestions, Martin would be alive. If he had just stayed in his truck, Martin would be alive. That’s the beginning of the story and that’s really the end of the story.

    And if Martin hadn’t followed him back to his truck and tried to be a bad ass gangsta by picking a fight with him, Martin wouldn’t have been shot. It says quite a lot about your worldview that you put the onus on Zimmerman after it’s been established that he left Martin alone and Martin just had to prove how big of a man he was by trying to kick his ass.

  63. #63 |  Pi Guy | 

    Other Sean @ #35, commenters #38-43, OS’s response @#45:

    Zimmerman, poor fool, just didn’t know the rules of the game.

    ^THIS^ is the _thing_ that I think we here, if I may be so bold as to presume, are so totally against with all of our might. The problem is that it’s so subtle that most of us, -WE the Little People- [I have just copyrighted, patented, and trademarked that phrase; you may use it as you wish] –> WE the Little People didn’t know that we were playing a game <–

    Too bad that this got swallowed up in Zimmermangate in the next several comments and was not revisited. (my apologies to the Blog Host; I believe he's registered in the past his disdain for the "gate" moniker…)

    I don't feel that hunting is a sport because the deer doesn't know that it's playing a game. Just imagine how a deer could influence the outcome of, uh, well… "the game", what the deer might be capable of, if it could act on the fact that it, the deer, knows – and, in my Libertopia – the hunter knows that the deer knows it’s a game? I’d say that that ups the stakes for all players in “the game”. In fact, I’d say it’s not a “game” at all until all of the players, the hunter and the deer both, know that the deer knows it’s a game.

    -WE the Little People- [TM, (c) 2012, patent pending] need to demonstrate to them that WE now recognize – no doubt in part due to the good work of such people as Radley – that WE know.

    Then it’s Game On, Bitches!

  64. #64 |  DMoney | 

    @Mike T
    Does any of the audio, etc prove what you’re saying? I’m inclined to believe it, but I thought this was in question. Do we know for certain that Zimmerman left to go back to his SUV or simply asked questions and was attacked?

  65. #65 |  Ted S. | 

    I would never think to speak for Radley, but I hate the [expletive deleted] -gate suffix.

  66. #66 |  Mike T | 

    #64,

    To my knowledge, there is no recording or witness to the actual conversation (though I believe there is a witness who now claims to have actually seen the general interaction). Zimmerman maintains that he was walking back and Martin followed him back and it went something like this:

    Martin: “do you have a problem?”
    Zimmerman: “no”
    Martin:” well you do now” (and lunged at him)

    What Martin’s defenders are missing is that the only evidence that we have is that Martin was shot while straddling a man who claimed to be retreating from him and was beating his head into the concrete. That Zimmerman went armed, against a dispatcher, etc. are irrelevant to the fact that there appears to be no evidence now that Zimmerman actually provoked the attack.

    On the other hand, many of the Agitator’s readers are liberals, not libertarians, which shows why so many of them shriek in terror at the thought that a man might carry a gun and follow someone he suspects of breaking the law. No self-respecting minarchist would find a problem with that.

  67. #67 |  Deoxy | 

    Do we know for certain that Zimmerman left to go back to his SUV or simply asked questions and was attacked?

    On the 911 recording, Zimmerman says he’s lost Martin (something to that effect), the operator says he doesn’t need to follow him, and Zimmerman says, “OK.” Zimmerman claims that he then headed back towards his vehicle.

    All the evidence we have as to locations things happened strongly supports this – the incident took place just slightly off the path from where he ended the 911 call to his vehicle.

    As far as I know, the only known witnesses to how the altercation started and Martin and Zimmerman, so there’s no way to know what actually was said (as Zimmerman can be assumed to say that Martin started it).

    However, there is a neutral third party witness to how what was going on during some important moments of the fight, and that witness agrees with Zimmerman that Martin had Zimmerman on the ground and was pounding him, then the witness went to call the police or something, missing the actual shooting, and when he came back, Martin was on the ground dead.

    So the actual point of contention (who started it) is unknown and, barring some major new piece of evidence, unknowable.

    NEITHER party had any reasonable reason to start a fight; any claims of who did rest on A) believing Zimmerman or B) assumptions.

    The problem with A is that Zimmerman is facing a murder charge and thus has incredible reason to be self-serving.

    The problem with B is that assumptions, statistical claims, etc, suggest what is probable but provide no actual evidence.
    -17 year olds do indeed tend to be much more hotheaded than adults, even those just in their late 20s, but that doesn’t give us any evidence that Martin started it.
    -Even under the assumption that Zimmerman is a terrible racist (not remotely supported by the facts), that doesn’t give us any evidence that he started it

  68. #68 |  Mike T | 

    #67,

    What’s ironic about this case is that had Martin actually beaten Zimmerman to death, he likely would be facing second degree murder because the only evidence uncovered would have been a witness seeing him straddling Zimmerman pounding his head into the concrete. At best, he’d get manslaughter because from all of the evidence available, it would look like Martin was using excessive force with a weak claim to self-defense.

  69. #69 |  Mike T | 

    ** and contra the liberals here, Zimmerman’s possession of a concealed handgun (lawfully carried) and having followed him some distance would have done little for Martin’s defense unless they wish to legalize a principle which would allow women who “think they’re being stalked” to turn around and use high levels of force preemptively.

  70. #70 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Martin: “do you have a problem?”
    Zimmerman: “no”
    Martin:” well you do now” (and lunged at him as soon as he saw Zimmerman’s gun and realized he was putting his hand on it)

    Well, that explains a lot!

    Sounds like Trayvon feraed for his life and tried to save himself as best he could.

    Guess I don’t need to hear those 45 calls now.

    j/k. I still need to hear the calls.

  71. #71 |  Belle Waring | 

    Someone following you by driving at walking speeding in their vehicle (very much not a normal thing to do in a car) who then gets out of the car and stalks you through the bushes, and who is legally armed (and let us now imagine you catch a glimpse of his weapon for some reason) is NOT stalking you. That is not what stalking laws are written for. However, he is giving you, as a reasonable person, grounds to fear for your life. It’s been possible from the start we were in a ridiculous position with regard to Florida state law: Trayvon DID attack Zimmerman mercilessly, but each of the two was legally justified in killing the other under the stand your ground law. So it was just a question of who killed whom first, winner takes all. I personally don’t believe in this “all 17-year-old black kids are schooled in Wu-Tang style hyper violence that makes then ten times as strong as a law abiding man” bullshit, but it seems to play well here.

  72. #72 |  Belle Waring | 

    #62 etc. I put the onus on Zimmerman when I assume he wasn’t the victim of a brutal beatdown from a kid with no priors, who went out for candy, but decided to come back with some attempted murder on a random dude he never met, AND candy. What the hell? I just don’t buy it. Don’t. Yeah there was A cut on Zimmerman’s scalp. Not a big one. Totally consistent with the kid fending him off. He should have some photos of him with his face looking like ten kinds of hell, I guess he’s sitting on those? I will find those more convincing.

    “On the other hand, many of the Agitator’s readers are liberals, not libertarians, which shows why so many of them shriek in terror at the thought that a man might carry a gun and follow someone he suspects of breaking the law. No self-respecting minarchist would find a problem with that.”

    Liberals are not afraid of guns. We know they don’t burn you when you touch them, like the New York Times tells us. Because there are liberals from South Carolina, and there is nothing else to do but shoot at things in the Palmetto state. Well, you could go smoke weed and go crabbing; that’s sounding more appealing all on a sudden. Anyway, I live in Singapore right now, where they have the mandatory sentence of death by hanging for possession of a firearm, so I don’t even have a BB gun.

    Where the shrieking begins is “carry a gun and follow someone he suspects of breaking the law.” Nuh-uh. Don’t. Call the fucking police. Suspect? Sole basis for suspect in this case: criminals doing the break-ins were black. Trayvon Martin was black. THAT WAS IT. When you get people bitching Zimmerman was a racist, this is because THAT WAS SOME RACIST SHIT RIGHT THERE. He was playing cops and robbers and someone is dead for real. The real cops are racist screw-ups enough on their own; we don’t need to introduce amateurs. Allow me to re-introduce the sole element linking Trayvon to the series of break-ins. BEING BLACK. Was he supposed to do something about that while visiting?

  73. #73 |  Belle Waring | 

    I have to go to work (and on Labour Day; it’s a travesty) but I’ll just say: Radley, Zimmerman’s being a real human being, in the round, is perfectly consistent with his being an awful racist cut out of a Stormfront magazine. Everyone is a real person in the round. Everyone loves their mom, or has a neighbor who is their friend, or takes coffee to the bus driver, or whatever.

    A book came out a few years back of Nazi guards at Auschwitz having picnics on the weekends together with the nurses from the Mengele ward, and drives in the countryside, and visiting quaint churches. They looked like lovely people, quite nice. I’m sure one of them always took coffee to the poor guard at the front who had to stand in the cold all day sending people either straight to the chambers or to the barracks. But so what? They worked at Auschwitz. There’s no amount of their neighbor back home saying they were always such a lovely boy that’s going to make that OK.

    Zimmerman is nothing like that on the worst reading, my point is just that when I say I say I never doubted he was a real person in the round it’s just this: everyone is. That doesn’t stop them from also being murderers, or racist, or just cold tyrannical fathers, or bad people. Nathan Bedford Forrest himself was a real person. He was also a traitor to the Unites States and a terrorist after the end of the Civil War. We sometimes see the worst of people in the media, then something closer to the truth and are surprised; sometimes vice versa, either way is silly. I’m sure Zimmerman was a good altar boy, a faithful Christian, a man who loved his mother, who cared deeply about his community; he had black friends as well as white, he had been through scarring experiences that left him anxious. All that can be true and more, and he can still be racist, he can still have shot Trayvon out of our society’s wtches’ brew of racism and fear against young black men.

  74. #74 |  anne | 

    Other Sean: You speak the truth well.

  75. #75 |  Mike T | 

    Belle,

    Trayvon DID attack Zimmerman mercilessly, but each of the two was legally justified in killing the other under the stand your ground law.

    If Martin followed him back then no, he wasn’t covered. Get that through your thick skull. It doesn’t matter whether Martin was in mortal fear for his life when he saw Zimmerman following him. Under the Stand Your Ground law, the moment that Zimmerman turned around and left, Martin was no longer legally “in fear of his life” because Zimmerman was retreating.

    This is why I commented on the irony that Martin would be facing second degree murder if he had successfully beaten Zimmerman’s head in. With the only witness (who didn’t hear the exchange) just seeing Martin straddling a man and beating his head into the concrete, he’d be guilty of excessive force leading into second degree murder if Zimmerman died.

    Call the fucking police. Suspect? Sole basis for suspect in this case: criminals doing the break-ins were black. Trayvon Martin was black.

    Imagine that. If 9 out of 10 of the last break ins were done by a particular demographic, it would just totally make sense to ignore that pattern. He should have taken a page from TSA by treating every person he didn’t recognize coming into the neighborhood as a possible robber…

  76. #76 |  Mike T | 

    ** that way we could joyfully show our tolerance by making sure that everyone experiences the pleasure of being treated like a potential criminal.

  77. #77 |  Deoxy | 

    He should have some photos of him with his face looking like ten kinds of hell, I guess he’s sitting on those? I will find those more convincing.

    Go read some of the descriptions of him from people who actually saw him. Until then, really, you’re being an idiot, because, by all publicly available data (unless you think it’s a very large conspiracy), yes, he took a pretty good pounding.

    Yeah there was A cut on Zimmerman’s scalp. Not a big one.

    Do you know how much force it takes to cause an IMPACT cut (which is what that would be – laceration would be the medical term)? Seriously, a hit strong enough to cause of one those is cause for SERIOUS concern when it happens to a child on ANY part of the body, much less the head. It’s not that different with an adult, especially on the head.

    Seriously, people can take hits hard enough to get concussions without getting one. That’s some major beat down.

    Having seen such on my own children a couple of times, they were both an area with bone directly underneath, and they were both very small… but VERY deep. They didn’t bleed a huge amount, but they did keep bleeding for a long time.

    That is, there weren’t much to look at, but the level of trauma required to create them was large, and they took quite some time to heal.

    Unless you are a medical professional or otherwise knowledgeable about wound types, perhaps you shouldn’t dismiss something just because you don’t think it look impressive enough.

    criminals doing the break-ins were black. Trayvon Martin was black. THAT WAS IT.

    Actually, it was also that he was a stranger in the neighborhood, AND that he was acting suspicious (like he might be casing houses).

    As such, the captain of the neighborhood watch (that is, the guy his neighbors are trusting to watch their stuff in the middle of a rash of robberies) should do exactly what he did – try to ask the guy what’s up.

    Now, if they runs off, that doesn’t give him right to get physical… but WHO actually started it is the whole point of contention, eh?

    That is, everything we know of that he did (that is, while he was on the phone to 911, and a few other things) were reasonable and responsible things to do. We WANT people doing those things, and only thugs and criminals have anything to fear from them.

    If there’s someone casing my house, I’d bloody well LOVE for my neighbor to do something about it. If there’s someone doing something which looks very much like casing my house, I’d still bloody well LOVE for my neighbor to do something about it. ASK them what they’re doing.

    If they run off, that strongly suggests that they WEREN’T there for legitimate purpose. No, that doesn’t mean I get to kill them… unless they jump me and start beating the crap out of me. WE DON’T KNOW which one of them started it, but up to that point, we know that Zimmerman hadn’t done anything wrong, and we know that Martin had legitimate reason to be there… but was indeed not a regular resident, so he was at least a stranger to Martin.

    If we have to guess, or give the benefit of the doubt to SOMEONE, I’d go with the guy whose neighbors all trust him, who’s acting responsibly in several important ways, rather than the 17 year old who doesn’t live there.

    And I’d say EXACTLY the same thing if the races were reversed – race is irrelevant to me.

    One more thing: carrying a gun. Yeah… sorry you have such a problem with that. You should see someone about that – it’s a tool, just like any other. At the range it was used in this case, a hammer or knife would have been about as effective, so it’s really not an issue… you have problems with those, too?

    Heck, at the range used in this case, a hypodermic filled with sufficient insulin would have been about as effective. And just as deadly.

  78. #78 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    > Do you know how much force it takes to cause an IMPACT cut

    To the head? Not much at all. You’re making some good arguments, but stick to stuff you know about.

  79. #79 |  Cbalducc | 

    Meanwhile, what is going on with “Kyle”, the man whose beating by the Bogota, NJ police started the troubles for Ms. Tasca? Are he or his family suing the police or the town? I hope Ms. Tasca testifies on their behalf. Unfortunately, if there is a financial settlement, it won’t solve the problem of out-of-control cops.

  80. #80 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Someone following you by driving at walking speeding in their vehicle (very much not a normal thing to do in a car) who then gets out of the car and stalks you through the bushes, and who is legally armed (and let us now imagine you catch a glimpse of his weapon for some reason) is NOT stalking you.

    actually under Florida anti-stalking law, you are guilty of “agravated stalking” (there is no plain old “stalking” charge in FLA that I saw) if you do this twice. An the Fla courts have been clear that the two instances can be only seconds apart.

    I don’t know if this will end up mattering in Z’s case, but it might.

    The part you are not properly considering is that Z was trying to sic the police on Trayvon for no rel reason. That is what turns the following into harrassment. It is one thing to call the police on somebody who deserves not to have the police called on them. It is another thing to be calling the police on someone for no reason and then try to help the police by following wherever you go (such that you cannot avoid police encounter by simply keeping on walking). When a person is calling police on you for no reason, then you don’t know what that person is telling the police. If the police are willing to drive right on out to investigate a complaint based on nothing — well that just makes the situation that much more evil and scary from Trayvon’s point of view. he is going to believe that Z. was lying to police, and probably dropping contraband left and right as he followed Trayvon down the garden path.

    Because there is no way that it would be reasonable to believe that Zimmerman called the police over NOTHING and then the police dispatcher answered that they would send men out because the suspect was black. That is what happened, of course. But how would Trayvon have been able to guess that. It is so ridiculous (yes, I know it happened) that we cannot charge Trayvon with that constructive knowledge.

  81. #81 |  Burgers Allday | 

    If there’s someone casing my house, I’d bloody well LOVE for my neighbor to do something about it. If there’s someone doing something which looks very much like casing my house, I’d still bloody well LOVE for my neighbor to do something about it. ASK them what they’re doing.

    But Trayvon wasn’t doing these things.

    He was walking alone in the rain and looking all around in a hooded sweatshirt was doing this while wearing his black skin. Actually, Z had to be prompted by the friendly policeman for the skin color part, but Trayvon really was black as they found out when they hauled his corpse to the pauper’s morgue).

    But, the point is: no casing. Nothing that looked like casing.

    Now, if I saw somebody calling police on me for no reason, then I would call 911 myself because I would see the suspicionless call to police as a threat to my well being. If it turns out there is a good reason to call (that I was unawre of) then fine. But if I can’t see why they are calling police on me, then I have every right to suspect foul play. But that is easy for me to say. I don’t live in FLA. And I am not black.

  82. #82 |  Deoxy | 

    > Do you know how much force it takes to cause an IMPACT cut

    To the head? Not much at all. You’re making some good arguments, but stick to stuff you know about.

    Really? Because my son fell from his bunk bed and hit the back of his head hard enough on the door knob to knock himself unconscious and suffer a moderate concussion, and he didn’t get one. In fact, the only common examples I’ve seen of it (including one of ones I mentioned in my children) is kids falling in the bath (especially getting out) and hitting their chin on the edge of the tub, and even then, it’s not remotely every time.

    Falling out of trees doesn’t do – the ground is too soft. I’ve never seen one from falling on the sidewalk , though I’ve seen plenty of hard falls on the sidewalk (hmm, that seems relevant for some reason)…

    I’ve been around a lot of kids over the years and seen a lot of common kid injuries, and impact cuts are pretty darn rare.

    Heck, I knew a guy who had no feeling in his forehead (childhood injury) who delighted in hitting his head on things hard enough to make everyone in the room cringe… and he never got one in the years I knew him, and WOW, those were some hard hits.

    Because there is no way that it would be reasonable to believe that Zimmerman called the police over NOTHING and then the police dispatcher answered that they would send men out because the suspect was black. That is what happened, of course.

    It’s amazing how bad things can look if you are just willing to ignore the relevant facts that you don’t like.

    The police were coming because Zimmerman claimed Martin was behaving suspiciously. As part of the description, the police asked for his race. Considering the rash of recent burglaries, I would bloody well hope a stranger acting suspiciously is worth asking a few questions!

    It’s certainly possible that Zimmerman was lying… but that’s an assumption, a clear point of possible bias – your previously established opinion will very well predict whether you accept the assumption or not.

    Zimmerman’s own history (now that there’s been some actual reporting done) strongly suggests that he was not lying, and almost certainly not for racist reasons even if he was – he could certainly have been mistaken, though.

    But really, even if that were the case, that still does not establish who started the physical altercation. It’s still not really relevant.

    Zimmerman could be a flaming, vile racist, lying through his teeth about poor innocent Trayvon, and, barring a history of false complaints to the police, I would still expect the police to come and check it out. Also, it would not justify a physical assault from either person on the other.

    In short, none of that matters. At all.

  83. #83 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Zimmerman’s own history

    Good point. Let’s hear the prior 45 calls. We have forgotten about those.

    But sticking with Trayvon’s pov, as I was in the last post, Trayvon had every right to believe that Zimmerman was trying to get him into some kind of police trouble.

    There may (or may not) be a right to call the police on anybody you want for any reason you want, no matter how stupid.

    There may be a right to follow anybody you want for any reason.

    There is not a right to follow somebody around and call the police on them at the same time unless there is a good reason to do that. Absent the good reason, it is classic harrassment and also puts the person in immediate danger that you are a lunatic who is trying to get the police to arrest you.

    Of course, what Z. only works if he knew that the local police were racist (and would answer a call about nothing so long as the “suspect” was black). Did Z know this? Had he pulled this stunt before?

    These questions can be answered, but we need access to the evidence.

  84. #84 |  Deoxy | 

    There is not a right to follow somebody around and call the police on them at the same time unless there is a good reason to do that.

    Um, yeah, there is. Seriously, where do you get the idea that there isn’t?

    Now, if the call is frivolous, the police may fine you, and if you make a habit of it, when there is no good reason, it fall into harassment.

    But if someone is “acting suspiciously” (which is what he was reporting), then yes, I’d hope a responsible neighbor would follow them and call the police.

    For instance, if that had happened with some of the actual thieves (and there had been several), then there would at least be witnesses to what they did, etc, etc.

    The point is, I can walk the streets, and I can take the same path as you. You could do that do me. It’s called “freedom”.

    And, if I do those things to you, you can turn around, tell me off, call me all sorts of names, and demand that I leave you alone. This is also called “freedom”.

    But I don’t get to follow you and start a fight with you. But you also don’t get to get followed by me and start a fight with me.

    If Zimmerman was just being a terrible racist (which seems extremely unlikely, based on what else he did in his life), then I find that morally repugnant… but it still doesn’t make him unable to defend himself. Whoever started the fight is the one who is responsible for what happened – Z or M.

  85. #85 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Um, yeah, there is. Seriously, where do you get the idea that there isn’t?

    There is such a thing as an inappropriate call to police.

    He had no real reason to suspect that Trayvon was committing any crimes.

    Like I said, it it one (relatively minor) thing to make an inappropriate call to police (as long as the caller doesn’t lie).

    It is another (much more culpable) thing to make an inappropriately call to police and at the same time to follow the person that you are inappropriately calling on. These two not-nice things add up to more than the sum of their parts. Z. did both at the same time. It is the difference between following and following with intent to harrass.

    You can have an intent to harrass (if you don’t act on it).

    You can follow if you don’t have an intent to harrass.

    You cannot follow with an intent to harrass. This is the thing that Z. did that was so bad prior to the encounter. It is the call that shows his bad intent.

  86. #86 |  Deoxy | 

    You cannot follow with an intent to harrass. This is the thing that Z. did that was so bad prior to the encounter. It is the call that shows his bad intent.

    Actually, I’d say that, from the fact that he was calling 911 and saying that he thought this guy was acting suspiciously, I’d say he was following with an intent to prevent a crime.

    In fact, that’s pretty much exactly what he said he was doing, what his neighbors thought he was doing, and what all the other facts suggest he was doing.

    If Martin had simply said, “Hey, I’m visiting my relatives” and dropped their names, pointing to the house he was staying at, does anyone really think that Zimmerman would still be following him?

    Checking on the activities of suspiciously-acting strangers is a generally reasonable thing to do. It’s a VERY reasonable thing to do when said stranger is acting suspiciously and a member of the same 1/6th of the population (black males – and young black males would be an even smaller portion of the population) as several people responsible for an ongoing string of burglaries in the area.

    That’s how you prevent said burglaries. That’s how you try to clean up a neighborhood with a crime problem.

    Or, as poster #25 said above, should you just abandon the neighborhood and move to a better zip code? What are YOUR suggestions?

  87. #87 |  Deoxy | 

    Just to act pre-emptively, if the description of said burglars was that they had red hair, I’d suggest stopping people with red hair. Physical description includes skin color – that doesn’t make it racist.

  88. #88 |  Burgers Allday | 

    No. Knowingly setting a bunch of racist Sanford pd officers on an innocent black guy, acting innocently, is not “trying to prevent a crime.” It, rather, is “trying to keep black people out of the gated burbclave by discouraging them with blue meanies.”

  89. #89 |  Justthisguy | 

    Mike P, Florida has a speedy trial law. Zimmerman is going to court before the election.

  90. #90 |  Deoxy | 

    No. Knowingly setting a bunch of racist Sanford pd officers on an innocent black guy, acting innocently, is not “trying to prevent a crime.”

    Seriously, you just keep making stuff up – that’s commonly known as “lying”.

    Zimmerman claimed Martin was acting suspiciously, like he was casing a house. Does that make it true? Of course not.

    But it doesn’t make it false, either, and assuming it is, and that Martin is a just a scumbag racist trying “sic the cops on the evil black kid” is racist OF YOU.

    It also doesn’t match ANY of the known facts about Zimmerman.

    “Have you stopped beating your wife?”

  91. #91 |  Deoxy | 

    t, rather, is “trying to keep black people out of the gated burbclave by discouraging them with blue meanies.”

    And this is just plain silly, since there were plenty of black RESIDENTS of those homes.

    You’re being a closed-minded racist and accusing everyone else of your problem.

  92. #92 |  Burgers Allday | 

    And this is just plain silly, since there were plenty of black RESIDENTS of those homes.

    sure like Trayvon Martin. The Sanford pd was willing to let them live there so long as they didn’t walk around in the rain looking at stuff. and if Trayvon had made it home, you can be sure they would have pulled a Sgt. Crowley on his family.

    The message comes thru loud and clear. I don’t know what subjective intentions Z. had (although his intentions look suspiciously bad).

    But, the Sanford pd really dropped the ball and did it in a racist way.

    They really needed to say:

    “We are not hearing anything that indicates a need for police action. Thank you for your call, but we will decline to take action on this. Also, don’t harrass the guy whoever it is.”

    Instead its: was he black? Yeah? We’ll be right out.

    Zimmerman may have invoked these racists for non-racist reasons, but that isn’t clear.

    Lot of racists have black friends and such.

    Ultimately it doesn’t matter whether Zimmerman’s suspicions were sincere or insincere or racist or non-racist. He was wrong and unreasonable in calling police. His suspicions were wrong and unreasonable. However, even that would have been fine if he just called police and let it go. But when you start following somebody around with paranoid suspicions that they are a criminal — that is bad. That is not the type of thing one can do and still expect to maintain the right to defend oneself.

  93. #93 |  Deoxy | 

    He was wrong and unreasonable in calling police. His suspicions were wrong and unreasonable.

    Right… because you were there and saw what Martin was doing, right?

    Seriously, people – YOU DON’T KNOW THIS STUFF, and any claim that you do is ridiculous. The police SHOULD NOT be saying the stuff you said they were saying – they had a credible report of someone casing houses, someone who matched the description of several other someone’s who had been burglarizing those houses a lot recently.

    But hey, since those people are members of a favored political group, the people living there should just suck it up and live with it? REALLY?

    What Zimmerman claims he was doing is called “being a responsible member of a community”. Was he being a racist and lying to the police? Considering his life history, that seems ludicrous, but it’s possible.

    But to say that the police are racist against black because they are willing to come protect the homes of black people from other black people is psychotic.

    you can be sure they would have pulled a Sgt. Crowley on his family.

    Really? You can be sure of that? Because they had done that to so many the residents there?

    Just to be sure I understand this right, you’re claiming that Martin didn’t do anything that could be reasonably construed as suspicious, and that everyone else in the general vicinity are black-hating racists? Including the black people who live there and continue to support Zimmerman?

    You’re veering off into tinfoil-hat territory. You clearly have your own racist bigotry problems, and I’m no longer going to waste my time trying to get through to you.

    Yes yes, now you get to have the last word – enjoy.

  94. #94 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Right… because you were there and saw what Martin was doing, right?

    Umm, no. I know that his suspicions were bs because he attempted to articulate why he was suspicious of Trayvon and his articulation was bs.

    I have a bs detector and it works.

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