Morning Links

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012
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258 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Cornellian | 

    “Grandmother, first-time offender sent to prison for life. She tried to import about a ton of cocaine. But because she wasn’t connected, she couldn’t play the informant game.”

    It’s the criminal law version of the old saying, if I owe the bank $100, that’s my problem, if I owe the bank $100 million, that’s the bank’s problem. Get a job as a head of a drug cartel and you’ll have plenty of information to trade for a more lenient sentence if and when they catch you.

  2. #2 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Martin/Zimmerman: Very happy to see info from autopsy and injuries. However; early reactions seem to ignore the fact that Martin had just as much right to “stand his ground” as Zimmerman. But, Martin didn’t have a gun, just his teenage mind, long arms, and fists against a grown man who has admitted to following (and possibly admitting to aggressively confronting) him.

    PS: The government of Yemen is terrible and the US-backed changes are terrible.

  3. #3 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Lets hear those 45 calls. The fact that there was a fight should be the start of the inquiry, not the end.

  4. #4 |  Doubleu | 

    You need to fix the text in the first link; “The white gun-toting vigilante Zimmerman had minor injuries while murder victim Trayvon Martin had more injuries than previously thought”

  5. #5 |  Doubleu | 

    Headline of the day… that is licks, not kicks, and I don’t know what is worse.

  6. #6 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    From the Granny story:

    “Our criminal justice system is broke; it needs to be completely revamped,” declared Terry Nelson, who was a federal agent for over 30 years and is on the executive board of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

    30 years and he finally decides the system is broken AFTER he stops working there? Granted, he might have been one of the biggest advocates for reform while employed as a state thug, but that would be fucking rare to combine with a 30 year career.

    Holy Green Mile!

  7. #7 |  KristenS | 

    I’m just failing to see how a mutual hand-to-hand fight means someone gets to shoot and kill someone else?

  8. #8 |  Leonard | 

    “WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said the new information helps Zimmerman more than state prosecutors.”

    I thought this was so obvious as to insult the intelligence of the reader. I was about to make fun of it. However, then I read the comments here.

  9. #9 |  Alex Wolcott | 

    The FBI entrapment regimen is particularly heinous. One has only circumstantial reports from which to draw conclusions, but it seems to me as if substantially NONE of the people that the FBI entraps into conspiring for these attacks ever has the actual ability to bring it off. I remember the people who were supposedly going to blow up the Sears Tower couldn’t have figured out how to blow up a Sears shopping bag on their own.

    And I would about guarantee that none of these idiots ever would have advanced beyond the talking stages of their “conspiracies” on their own. Oh, but wait, even the talking stages will get you jacked for 20 years of Fed time.

  10. #10 |  Marty | 

    Yemen looks like a little monkey fed a $200 million US tax peanut with Obama as the zoo keeper… or, maybe we’re the zoo keepers.

  11. #11 |  Burgers Allday | 

    I’m just failing to see how a mutual hand-to-hand fight means someone gets to shoot and kill someone else?

    If the police are on your side in the fight, and you know that police are on your side in the fight, then you can do what you want.

    The fact that police didn’t seem to have bother documenting the two black eyes and the broken nose is a red flag.

    The fact that this info is trickling out late also makes it somewhat suspect. The cuts on the head are real — I saw the picture. These other alleged injuries, eh, maybe. Are there x-rays? Are the images real? Could be.

    Let’s hear those phone calls, though.

  12. #12 |  Radley Balko | 

    (and possibly admitting to aggressively confronting)

    Where is your evidence for this? You can’t just throw something out that is that completely unfounded, then cover yourself by using the word “possibly.”

    I’m just failing to see how a mutual hand-to-hand fight means someone gets to shoot and kill someone else?

    Zimmerman claims Martin was on top of him, punching him, and slamming his head into the sidewalk. It wouldn’t be at all difficult to kill someone that way. We don’t know if that’s really how it happened. But if it is, that would certainly be a case where deadly force would be justified.

    “The white gun-toting vigilante Zimmerman had minor injuries while murder victim Trayvon Martin had more injuries than previously thought”

    This is sarcasm, right?

  13. #13 |  Eric Y | 

    The FBI is considering federal hate crimes against Zimmerman now because the special prosecutor’s shaky second degree murder charge looks weaker and weaker (not that the affidavit of probable cause was strong to begin with). Assuming both charges stick, that can potentially turn it into a death penalty charge.

    http://www.wftv.com/news/news/local/fbi-seeks-charge-george-zimmerman-hate-crime/nN5pR/

  14. #14 |  Radley Balko | 

    The fact that police didn’t seem to have bother documenting the two black eyes and the broken nose is a red flag.

    A black eye wouldn’t show up for several hours. The police did document the broken nose.

    The fact that this info is trickling out late also makes it somewhat suspect.

    As opposed to all the information that came out within the first few weeks that turned out to be completely false?

  15. #15 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Burgers,

    All the phone calls in the world won’t change that the Media picked a narrative, and altered matters to fit it (the phone call edit, and showing 5 year old pictures of Martin at 12). At this point Zimmerman, be he innocent or guilty as a cat in a goldfish bowl, has no reasonable expectation of a fair trial. If any form of Justice is rendered, it will be by the workings of Karma, rather than by the actions of any human agency.

    The phone calls do not matter. No matter what they contain, one side of the controversy will be able to say “are they real or altered?”. It will still devolve into “That bigot killed an African American Choirboy” vs “Brave immigrant defends himself and neighbors against young thug-in-training”

  16. #16 |  CyniCAl | 

    “Another legalization group gaining momentum is Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). According to their mission statement, LEAP is made up of current and former members of law enforcement who believe current drug polices fail to address the problems of crime, drug abuse, and addiction. However, membership is not actually limited to those currently or formerly associated with law enforcement so even criminals can become one of their members.”

    Holy irony Batman. I suppose somewhere there might be a law enforcement officer who’s NOT a criminal. Somewhere. Maybe. But I doubt it.

    White hot hate.

  17. #17 |  CyniCAl | 

    I peg the over/under on Martin/Zimmerman comments today at 100. Web traffic gold!

  18. #18 |  Mattocracy | 

    Both sides of the Zimmerman/Trayvon case keep putting their own spin on the events to justify what they believe happened. There is no hard evidence to support that Trayvon was fleeing from Zimmerman (punching someone in the face and breaking their nose doesn’t equate to running away). But who knows, maybe Zimmerman grabbed Trayvon and Trayvon had to swing at Zimmerman to break free. Zim could be fabricating his wole story or it could be comepletely accurate. It’s all just wild speculation.

    One speculation of events sounds more convincing than the other depending on who you support in this case.

  19. #19 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    What is really going to tick off the Zimmerman haters is that, under British Common Law, if the prosecution’s case is bullsh*t and the defense’s case is horsesh*t, ties go to the defendant.

  20. #20 |  Eric | 

    That FBI story is right on. Every time they trumpet a big “terrorist plot” arrest, it seems like there is an FBI guy or three that just happened to infiltrate the group.

  21. #21 |  Eric Y | 

    I’m curious how the feds are going to try trotting out the hate crime angle. That case is even weaker than the murder charge.

  22. #22 |  Deoxy | 

    Once again, bigotted Zimmerman haters, the evidence all supports Zimmerman’s original story, told immediately at the time, while giving no support at all to any of the numerous carefully crafted storylines for how evil Zimmerman is the terrible racist murderer, even with lots of time to sit and think about it.

    It’s POSSIBLE that Zimmerman indeed threw the first punch and simply missed entirely… but, as there’s absolutely no evidence that supports that, that still leaves the prosecutors with absolutely no evidence of who started the fight.

    In short, there’s still no ethical way to bring charges.

    Well, unless the prosecutors lied on the stand at the bail hearing.

  23. #23 |  Bob | 

    The Onion should write a story about an FBI “Terror sting” where it turns out all the terrorists are FBI agents trying to infiltrate.

    That would be so classic.

  24. #24 |  SJE | 

    O/T: “On Point” last night had a great hour about the lawsuit being filed against the government by people who are on the no-fly list but cannot get removed. It includes a former US Army dog trainer.

  25. #25 |  David | 

    The Onion should write a story about an FBI “Terror sting” where it turns out all the terrorists are FBI agents trying to infiltrate.

    Oh God, we’re living in a game of Paranoia.

  26. #26 |  Burgers Allday | 

    As opposed to all the information that came out within the first few weeks that turned out to be completely false?

    No, the false early information (and some of the early information that this crowd still takes as true) is suspect, and the late info on the broken nose and black eyes is suspect, but for somewhat different reasons.

    What should have happened is that the police should have done a much better job documenting the injuries than they did. And, yes, they should have arrested him. For his own good, if nothing else. But, even if they did not arrest, they should have collected evidence that made it clear to a fretful public that this killer was okay to release. They didn’t make that kind of record. Just like they didn’t check Trayvon’s cell phone in the morgue for three days while his parents fretted.

    How much can Zimmerman be held accountable for the good old boy police work? How much is it fair to blame him for this too-little, too-late showing that there were good reasons not to arrest?

    That depends upon the 45 calls.*

    FOOTNOTE:

    * speaking of the 45 calls — it was originally supposed to be 45 calls spread over only two years. Then, the story changed and it was 45 calls over 8.5 years (or something like that). One way that such an error can happen is that somebody miscalculated the time period over which the 45 calls came in. However, there is another possible explanation for this error. A less innocent one. I think you know what I am driving at here without me even spelling it out. When I say “early information that is taken as true, but is still suspect to me,” the 45 calls in 9 years is a good example of that.

  27. #27 |  Leonard | 

    Eric #21, I disagree. The murder charge, at least with all known evidence, is a slam-dunk for the defense. The standard here is “beyond reasonable doubt”. Is there at least some possibility that Zimmerman is telling the truth? Quite a bit more than possibility — my reading is now up to about 90%; I wonder if even a hater like Mr. Allday here has no reasonable doubt about Zimmerman’s innocent.

    Have you ever been on a jury? People take it seriously, and for those even a little bit squeamish about putting the hammer of the law down, “reasonable doubt” is a pretty high hurdle.

    The Federal case at least has the advantage (from the POV of railroading a man) of attempting to divine his thoughts. This is inherently ill-defined, so there is a much better chance that a slick prosecutor can bamboozle the jury. Injuries give you something concrete to latch onto; parsing “these assholes” in a 911 call, not so much.

    And of course, there is at least some suspicion that Zimmerman “profiled” Martin. There is no strong evidence of this, mind you — but it is logical that he would have, and you can probably infer it into his 911 call if you try hard. There had been a series of burglaries at The Retreat at Twin Lakes; in all of the instances where the race of the perpetrators was known, they were black. So it is reasonable to guess that Zimmerman may well have been extra suspicious of an unknown black teenager. That is, he may have “profiled” him. (Profiling being the rational use of statistical information.) Although racial profiling is rational, it may also be “hate”, and thus, illegal. (I was under the impression that private profiling was still legal in these US, but maybe I am wrong about that.) I still don’t think conviction is a likely outcome, but I do think it is more likely than a jury having no reasonable doubt about who initiated the physical confrontation.

    The Federal case will certainly proceed, but as a political matter. The left has really stepped in the crap on this one; they feel they must support their black clients, who via the magic of the press are now beyond reason on the matter, and likely to riot, thereby harming the electoral prospects of the left. OTOH, they’ve got little or no proof that Zimmerman acted illegally, so their best move is just to throw the book at him. This not only stalls for time (justice delayed!), and least past this year’s election, but it also allows them to say to their clients, 2 years from now when the final “not guilty” comes down, that they tried. And who knows — maybe they’ll get lucky and railroad the poor schmeck.

  28. #28 |  Leonson | 

    I don’t see how prior calls would even be relevant in a murder 2 investigation.

    Perhaps if the feds press hate crimes charges then yes, but otherwise irrelevant and possibly prejudicial.

    Also, I love how every piece of evidence that has come out supports Zimmerman, but people like Burgers are still strongly against him.

    I wonder what it would have taken to prove the world is round to Burgers.

  29. #29 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Report: Autopsy showed broken skin on Trayvon Martin’s knuckles. Medical records also show that George Zimmerman had “a pair of black eyes, a nose fracture and two cuts to the back of his head.”

    CNN explained this morning that this is meaningless info in view of the fact that Martin was senselessly murdered by Zimmerman.

    If you aren’t ready to send Zimmerman to death row on the basis of information that was available within hours of the attack, then you are obviously a race-hating stalker who probably beats up black children in your spare time.

    The feds are apparently considering a hate-crime prosecution against Zimmerman (in case Zimmerman escapes justice by, you know, being acquitted). Thankfully, double jeopardy is prohibited by the Constitution so Zimmerman only has to worry about being tried twice.

  30. #30 |  Leonson | 

    “However, there is another possible explanation for this error. A less innocent one. I think you know what I am driving at here without me even spelling it out.”

    Totally. Aliens. You nailed it, the little grey bastards are messing with us again.

  31. #31 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    “(and possibly admitting to aggressively confronting)”

    Where is your evidence for this? You can’t just throw something out that is that completely unfounded, then cover yourself by using the word “possibly.”

    No problem, RB.

    http://miami.cbslocal.com/2012/04/12/george-zimmerman-to-make-first-court-appearance/
    http://colorlines.com/archives/2012/04/george_zimmerman_court_affidavit_zimmerman_confronted_martin.html
    http://www.inquisitr.com/219240/prosecutors-say-george-zimmerman-confronted-trayvon-martin/
    http://www.newser.com/story/143967/prosecutors-zimmerman-confronted-trayvon.html
    While I don’t believe probable-cause affidavits to always be factually correct, and this one in particular is lacking in evidence since Martin is dead, I don’t think that referencing the state’s affidavit warrants a criticism of “throwing something out completely unfounded”.

    George Zimmerman profiled Trayvon Martin, pursued him, frightened and intimidated him, confronted him, and then shot him in the ensuing struggle. At least that’s what prosecutors intend to prove in the case against Zimmerman, according to the probable-cause affidavit filed Thursday (April 12) by Special Prosecutor Angela Corey.

    I used the word “possibly” for the modifier “aggressively” because Zimmerman absolutely did confront Tayvon per the affidavit (evidence). The definition for “aggressively” is subjective, so I will not introduce it as an absolute. This, unless I’m completely wrong on this, is what the state will try to convince the court that Zimmerman did. Is my use of “possibly” fair? I think so. In fact I think it is very thoughtful wording on my part.

    Your thoughts?

    Evidently (for others…not RB), if you regret the fact that Martin needlessly died (Zimmerman himself doesn’t feel great about killing the kid and wishes–per his friends–he’d done things differently), then you must hate Zimmerman, be a bigot, etc., etc… This is not much different than Team Red/Blue thinking.

  32. #32 |  Matt | 

    Still think Martin had more reason to stand his ground than Zimmerman. He was by all accounts the one being pursued, unfortunately he’s not around to tell his side of the story. If you are following people around at night, don’t be surprised if they break your nose for you.

  33. #33 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    •Obama makes it illegal for U.S. citizens to criticize the government of Yemen.

    Isn’t this a rather hyperbolic reading of the order?

  34. #34 |  Dave Krueger | 

    This case proves to me that no one is immune to the lynch mob mentality. Even a number of my libertarian friends were very quick to jump on the bandwagon on this. As has already been said, we don’t really know what happened. The entire coverage of this case is saturated with emotion, politics, and closed minds. What is it that makes people so incapable of just withholding judgement until the case is made at trial?

  35. #35 |  Zargon | 

    I can’t remember if I’ve previously suggested this or if I deleted that comment before posting, but you really should put Trayvon Martin updates in their own threads because they invariably take over the comment section on every single “assorted links” post they’re included in.

    And I’ll take the over, on 100.

  36. #36 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    My personal suspicion with regards to the Zimmerman case is that he started the fight, then when he realized he was losing wanted to pull a gun and show the guy he attacked. Unfortunely it looks like it’s going to be hard to prove that, so he’s probably going to get away with it.

  37. #37 |  MH | 

    Agree, the case is chalk full of reasonable doubt.

    Boyd @ #2 makes a point I’ve seen before, that Stand Your Ground also applies to Martin — that Martin would have had the right to defend his lawful presence on the street from Zimmeran who (perhaps) appeared to be stalking him. But that seems like too much of a stretch to say force can be justified from an inference, rather than direct knowledge that someone is threatening your life or others.

  38. #38 |  Paul Antosh | 

    What is it that makes people so incapable of just withholding judgement until the case is made at trial?

    Dave,
    I believe people are confusing a position of sorrow that a young man was killed (maybe needlessly) and a position that a crime was committed. Stacked on top of that is a law in Florida that raises legitimate concerns for people’s safety. Laws are often bad and don’t always reflect right, wrong, good, or bad. They just reflect legal and illegal. Without a doubt some people are judging this case too early, but not everyone.

  39. #39 |  Burgers Allday | 

    I wonder if even a hater like Mr. Allday here has no reasonable doubt about Zimmerman’s innocent.

    As I have said, I am explicitly reserving judgement until I have heard the 45 calls (or more, if there really are more).

    As I have said before, it is as likely that these calls will paint a sympathetic portrait of Zimmerman as a negative one. It may well be Zimmerman’s lawyer who wants these calls introduced when he is tried. If the calls seem level headed and neutral then the defense atty probably will want them in (although the Sanford pd will not want to cough them up, and there may be some “horsetrading” on that point).

    A lot of ppl claim to have an open mind on Z. But, Burgers, and only Burgers, walks the walk and talks the talk on that particular brag.

    Burgers, out.

  40. #40 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    What is it that makes people so incapable of just withholding judgement until the case is made at trial?

    Don’t forget that had it not been for the public outcry, there wouldn’t even be a trail. This incident was a non-story for a month and a half, during which the police and prosecuters just swept it under the rug.

  41. #41 |  Matt | 

    @ #33 Dave- Certainly Mr. Zimmerman is entitled to a fair trial. However, I think it’s important to point out that without the media coverage of this case there never would have been a trial.

  42. #42 |  Leonson | 

    You’ve criticized every piece of evidence that suppports Zimmermans story, but you claim to have an open mind?

    We’re talking hard factual evidence here, not heresay or anything else.

    All along you have been been riding on the fact that you want to make your decision not by the facts in this particular case, but by 45 calls made either over 2 or 8 or 9 years, none of which are actually related to the current situation.

    Rather than base your decision on facts and evidence you want to base it on your interpretation of calls that are completely unrelated to the issue at hand.

    The only walking and talking you’re doing is the crazy kind.

  43. #43 |  Eyewitness | 

    #29 Dave Krueger “Thankfully, double jeopardy is prohibited by the Constitution so Zimmerman only has to worry about being tried twice.”

    You mean three times — the first time is in the press.

  44. #44 |  B | 

    #27 wrote: Although racial profiling is rational, it may also be “hate”, and thus, illegal.

    Is that true? Every time the police release a suspect’s description on the evening news, they’re encouraging the public to profile. If I’m told by police that a young black male, 5’8″-6’2″, 140-180 lbs is suspected of committing burglaries in my neighborhood, and I pause to take a second look when I see a young black male, have I committed a hate crime?

    The scenario I outlined does not speak directly to this case. I’m not saying Zimmerman was acting off of a police description when he profiled Martin. I’m just speaking of a scenario where police encourage people to profile based on race.

  45. #45 |  MH | 

    @Zargon: Though I agree with you, Radley has been doing his collection of Morning Links for years and I doubt he will change it, even though it does make the comments threads more scattershot.

  46. #46 |  Nick T. | 

    #33 I think the most important issue from a libertarian perspective is how the police handled the aftermath of this event. That they were dismissive of a black “victim” and played favorites seemingly with a guy who was a wannabe cop.

    I’d like to live in a world where the police were consistently as reluctant to arrest everyone as they were to arrest Zimmerman, but we don’t live in that world. This website sadly reminds us everyday of this unfortunate fact. So it seemed like selective leniency, and playing favorites/disfavorites which is why libertarians might have a natural inclination that is bluntly anti-Zimmerman.

    I think Radley has expressed something like these sentiments with the obviously correct notion that this unfairness does not mean Zimmerman is guilty of murder or should be railroaded into prison.

  47. #47 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Mr. Allday, Burgers to his friends, has decided (based on what legal theory, God alone knows) that Zimmerman’s legal guilt (I don’t think many people believe that he is innocent of taking a human life) can be determined on the basis of 45 phone calls that have no legal relevance, that he has been told by people who should know have no legal relevance, and which (I’m not exactly clear on this point) may no longer exist in reviewable form. He drags this into any discussion, even when it is totally irrelevant to discussion of (for instance) whether there is any LEGAL basis for conviction in the evidence available for public inspection.

    Please go into a corner with the creepy old guys who believe that they see evidence in their tea leaves that Bush planned 9/11 or FRD planned Pearl Harbor.

  48. #48 |  Dave Krueger | 

    How FBI Entrapment Is Inventing ‘Terrorists’ – and Letting Bad Guys Off the Hook

    This is a no-brainer. Bad guys are few, hide from the cops, and conceal their actions. In other words, nailing real bad guys is a lot of work. Innocent people, on the other hand, are everywhere and they are easily conned into breaking the law. This is the strategy of choice for all non-crimes (prostitution, drug use, gambling, etc) because how else are they going to catch people when there is no one to complain?

    Essentially, it’s no longer about criminals and innocents anymore. It’s about cops, who are, by definition, the good guys and everyone else who are, by definition, not cops and therefore fair game.

    There is nothing about government that serves the people. Any benefit to the citizens is purely incidental. Sure, the feds benefit by making a big show of how they “caught the terrorists”, but they would also have benefited if someone actually had blown up a bridge. Unfortunately for them, no one was actually planning to do such a thing, so they created the threat themselves as soon as they found some people likely to buy into their con. There is no telling how many times they try to con people into doing things like this but are rejected.

    Government is an organism that cares only about itself.

  49. #49 |  Eyewitness | 

    #38 Burgers Allday “As I have said, I am explicitly reserving judgement until I have heard the 45 calls (or more, if there really are more).”

    And I am reserving judgment until a team of professional ghost hunters and mediums establishes the whereabouts of all the ghosts that were present at the incident and acquire their testimony. My requirement is just as relevant as yours and would be, I believe, a whole lot more entertaining.

  50. #50 |  Doubleu | 

    This is sarcasm, right?

    It is almost as if I have worked in the MSM isn’t it?

  51. #51 |  Burgers Allday | 

    You’ve criticized every piece of evidence that suppports Zimmermans story, but you claim to have an open mind?

    Counterexample: I never criticized the bloody head photo.

    There are other counterexamples, but just want to show that you are absolutely wrong on this.

  52. #52 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    Calvina Fay, the unofficial “Queen of the Drug War”…

    Fuckin A, I didn’t know we had a 21-st Century Carrie Nation on
    our hands. I can recommend Home Depot if she needs to
    purches a battle axe.
    But with 2 1/2 million already incarcerated, aren’t the numbers against her?

  53. #53 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Please go into a corner with the creepy old guys who believe that they see evidence in their tea leaves that Bush planned 9/11 or FRD planned Pearl Harbor.

    My pet conspiracy theory has always been that Flight 93 was shot down.

    That has been a constant for a long time.

    I don’t think the Bush Administration planned 9/11, although I think actual knowledge / effective consent about the anthrax attack must have gone pretty high up, and constructive knowledge of that attack was up as far as, at least, Cheney.

  54. #54 |  Jack Dempsey | 

    Speaking as someone who has a second career working with animals, my hat is off to this zookeeper for his devotion! I’m not sure I could do what he did, at least not without help from a variety of chemicals before hand.

  55. #55 |  tarran | 

    My pet conspiracy theory has always been that Flight 93 was shot down.

    Your name isn’t Dave Woycechowsky by any chance?

  56. #56 |  Dave Krueger | 

    I quit criticizing conspiracy theorists a while back when it occurred to me that, while I may not buy into their theories, it’s not because I don’t believe the government is capable of doing some very nasty shit to advance their own self-serving interests. In any case, it is the height of naiveté (or intentional ignorance) to believe that government won’t enthusiastically create whatever conditions are necessary to justify a war.

  57. #57 |  Comrade Dread | 

    Once again, bigotted Zimmerman haters, the evidence all supports Zimmerman’s original story, told immediately at the time, while giving no support at all to any of the numerous carefully crafted storylines for how evil Zimmerman is the terrible racist murderer, even with lots of time to sit and think about it.

    Sort of hard for Martin to tell his side of the story being dead and all.

    Oh, Zimmerman will likely walk, which is, if the evidence doesn’t prove his guilt, the correct outcome.

    But gunning down an unarmed man who could have seen you as a legitimate threat is still something he should be regularly condemned and censured for.

  58. #58 |  (B)oscoH, Yogurt Eater | 

    We’re going to have to wait to hear what Zimmerman says actually happened, should he testify in his own defense, then work from there. I have a strange feeling that it will be at least subtly, and perhaps substantially, different from the narratives floating around.

    Reactions to this incident are eerily similar to the “pro-Zimmerman” narrative floating around. Basically, Zimms is getting his ass kicked and head bashed in in the court of public opinion, and then he pulls the “gun”, which are the pictures of injuries, doctor reports, neighbor testimonies, etc. And we’re left with a very sobering situation, where the credibility of team Trayvon looks shot and left for dead.

    I’m not quite cynical enough to think this is simply a political prosecution, set up intentionally with not chance of success, with the sole purpose of placating the community until evidence can be presented and passions die down. Which is why I don’t think we’ve completely figured out either Zimm’s or the true narrative yet.

  59. #59 |  Danny | 

    Information on this Martin/Zimmerman case keeps coming in random little drips and trickles, long after the fact. It feels more like the 19th Century newspaper era than the age of the WordWideWeb.

    Why is this happening in a case that is so fresh, apparently well-documented, and supposedly the subject of urgent investigation?

    As of now, it looks like:

    – Zimmerman gave Trayvon the heebiejeebies by shadowing him;
    – Trayvon confronted him;
    – words were exchanged;
    – Trayvon maybe over-reacted, or maybe caught a glimpse of Zimmerman’s gun and went into full pre-emptive strike mode;
    – Zimmerman was taking a bad enough thrashing, or else feared losing control of his gun, such that he decided to shoot.

    Tragic all around. But this is based on the drips and trickles of information we have gotten so far, and who knows what big “reveal” will come next.

  60. #60 |  Ron | 

    Radley, your one-line synopsis of the article on Yemen (“Obama makes it illegal for U.S. citizens to criticize the government of Yemen”) seems a bit unfair.

    The executive order allows the Treasury Dept. to freeze assets of anyone who obstructs the transitionn in Yemen. Are there past instances where the treasury dept. has construed criticism as “obstruction”?

  61. #61 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Zimmerman gave Trayvon the heebiejeebies by shadowing him

    And also, perhaps more importantly, by calling the police on him for no good reason. It is alarming for anyone to have the police called on them for no reason. But it is probably worse for a black teen in Sanford, FLA. They certainly showed a remarkable amount of callousness toward him after he was dead. Perhaps this reflects on how they would have treated him if he had merely surrendered to Zimmerman and his gun to be turned over to those police.

    It is easy, for some people, to say that Trayvon Martin simply should have allowed the police come out and investigate him for his non-crimes. They don’t understand the stakes that really were involved for Trayvon in this decision.

    I mean, for crying out loud — wasn’t the teen in the gated community in the first place because the school supposedly found residue in a bag of his?!?!? He is supposed to trust the police not to come out and find lots more drugs on him? Lots of you seem to be empathizing too much with Zimmerman and not enough with Trayvon Martin.

    The bare fact that Zimmerman called the police for his groundless (or perhaps racist) suspicion is a “bad fact” about Zimmerman that should not be ignored. I don’t think Trayvon Martin had the luxury of ignoring it. Maybe he is glad he is dead rather than in prison — and from his perspective that may well have been the (unfair) choice he was called on to make.

  62. #62 |  Deoxy | 

    Still think Martin had more reason to stand his ground than Zimmerman. He was by all accounts the one being pursued

    This view I find particularly grating, in that it’s trivially true, but only relevant if you assume at least one of several very significant unknown (and mostly irrational) facts.

    The most obvious is that Zimmerman swung first (or at least obviously threatened imminent bodily harm). This is, essentially, the whole point of contention in the whole thing, really. Somehow, after Zimmerman had lost Martin, they came into contact again, and it came to blows. WE DON’T KNOW who started it. “Standing your ground” doesn’t mean going and finding (or even just waiting out in the open for) someone who is NOT currently following you (Zimmerman had LOST Martin).

    As far as Stand Your Ground goes, once Zimmerman had lost Martin, well, it’s over – go about your business. Waiting around to confront said person is not Standing Your Ground, it’s Looking For Trouble.

    The other main point about the “stand your ground” bit that bothers me is that it’s inherently saying the Zimmerman is benefitting from “stand your ground”… which he’s not. If you’re on the ground getting beat, you already can’t flee, so even under the old standard, he was good to go (assuming he didn’t start it, etc).

    That is, you’re claiming something for Martin that isn’t relevant, and you’re putting something on Zimmerman that isn’t relevant… in one simple sentence. EFFICIENTLY stupid is still stupid.

    Certainly Mr. Zimmerman is entitled to a fair trial. However, I think it’s important to point out that without the media coverage of this case there never would have been a trial.

    And, unless the state agents lied on the stand at the bail hearing, there STILL SHOULDN’T be a trial at all, since there in no ethical chance of conviction (that is, yes, juries are sometimes bamboozled into stupid things, but “we don’t know if he did it, so please convict him” is not ethical!).

    So yeah, the cops did exactly the right thing.

    That they perhaps would NOT have done the right thing if the races had been reversed is a point worth arguing and worth CORRECTING in the jurisdictions where it is true (and there certainly remain at least a few in this country) is not a point in favor of putting Zimmerman through a pointless, unethical trial.

  63. #63 |  Deoxy | 

    Zimmerman gave Trayvon the heebiejeebies by shadowing him

    And also, perhaps more importantly, by calling the police on him for no good reason.

    And Martin knew this… how again? Was he telepathic?

    The bare fact that Zimmerman called the police for his groundless (or perhaps racist) suspicion is a “bad fact” about Zimmerman that should not be ignored.

    Again, you are assuming that Zimmerman is simply lying when he tells the police that Martin is acting suspiciously.

    AND you’re assuming that it’s inappropriate to call the police about a stranger in your neighborhood (when you’ve gone to the trouble, as neighborhood watch captain, to know everyone who lives there) who is a member of a group of well under 10% of the population known to be responsible for an ongoing rash of burglaries in said neighborhood.

    Those are both huge assumptions, and they both tilt very far in the same direction.

    As I’ve said before, how you feel about this case shows more about your personal biases than anything else.

  64. #64 |  Comrade Dread | 

    This view I find particularly grating, in that it’s trivially true, but only relevant if you assume at least one of several very significant unknown (and mostly irrational) facts.

    I don’t really have to assume that at all.

    A stranger was following him without cause. He did try to flee. Zimmerman pursued despite being told that he didn’t need to do so.

    Zimmerman then claims that he lost Martin, but Martin circled around, got the drop on him, and he was forced to shoot. We have to take his word for it as Martin can’t provide his own account of what happened.

    I will agree that he probably isn’t going to be convicted and based on the available evidence shouldn’t be convicted. But he forced the incident and bares a lot of the moral blame for the outcome.

  65. #65 |  Brandon | 

    Ron, the order abrogates the 4th Amendment. That’s bad enough.

  66. #66 |  Steve Hill | 

    This is sarcasm, right?

    The internet is in sore, sore need of an HTML “sarcasm” tag.

  67. #67 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “Again, you are assuming that Zimmerman is simply lying when he tells the police that Martin is acting suspiciously.”

    This is the Land of the Free.
    Let’s get beyond “suspicion” against innocent pedestrians.
    It has to be “reasonable articulable suspicion of a specific crime,”
    not “suspicious” in the vague sense. If it were the latter,
    cops, or wanna-be cops, in this case, could just stop and harass anyone.

  68. #68 |  Les | 

    Ron, besides the creepiness of our government threatening people for obstructing the government of a dictator, it’s not just about obstruction.

    It threatens people who, “… directly or indirectly threaten the peace, security or stability of Yemen.” By organizing a protest? By hosting a popular blog which opposes the current government?

    Combined with the fact that we are now using drones to regularly kill innocent civilians in Yemen (sorry! wrong place, wrong time!), there’s no way to spin this as anything other than astoundingly awful.

  69. #69 |  Burgers Allday | 

    AND you’re assuming that it’s inappropriate to call the police about a stranger in your neighborhood (when you’ve gone to the trouble, as neighborhood watch captain, to know everyone who lives there) who is a member of a group of well under 10% of the population known to be responsible for an ongoing rash of burglaries in said neighborhood.

    Whoops, there it is.

  70. #70 |  Sam | 

    So, in other words, “Zimmerman had injuries, black unarmed teenager deserved to die.” Got it.

  71. #71 |  Cyto | 

    We also learned this week that Zimmerman is apparently not only white, er make that white-hispanic, but also that his great-grandfather is black. So… he’s a white-hispanic-black democrat advocate for minority children who mentors black kids and is a right-wing racist, profiling killer on the side?

    I guess it really doesn’t matter at all who you are. Once the media decides you fit into a narrative, that’s where you are forever. Even the FBI agrees with the wholly manufactured narrative about this guy – if the stories about pursuing hate-crime charges are to be believed.

    Years later Jared Loughner is still routinely held up as evidence of right-wing extremist violence and a disciple of Sara Palin’s targeting of Gifford’s seat – despite the fact that he was a nutter of the left-wing extremist type.

    Sometimes a nut-job is just a nut-job. And sometimes a wanna-be cop is just a wanna be cop who made a series of screw-ups that ended in a life-or-death struggle that cost someone else their life. He doesn’t have to be racist or spend his days carving Klan memorabilia out of decorative soaps to have killed someone. And Martin didn’t have to be an angelic 12 year old choir boy to have deserved to be able to walk home without getting shot.

    And the rest of us don’t have to be perfect angels to deserve to live in a country where the power of the government isn’t brought down on the individual because of feigned outrage by talking head provocateurs on TV.

  72. #72 |  Rich | 

    Trayvon was not breaking any laws Zimmerman with a gun on tape ignores a lawfull order to leave a minor child alone. The armed Zimmerman stalks the minor child who was not breaking any law and that minor child is dead. The dead innocent minor child has defensive wounds on his hands consistant with marks on his stalker/killers body.

  73. #73 |  SamK | 

    Pfsh, profiling isn’t just a damned good idea, the final extension of it is how real police work is actually done.

    i.e. “suspect is a black female weighing 100lb, 5′ tall wearing pink sweatpants and a black halter top.”

    We exclude white girls. We exclude men. We exclude obese and tall women. We do, however, “profile” any woman fitting the rest of that description who might have changed clothes.

    Profiling, as discussed colloquially, has morphed into contact that is conducted only when there is no good reason for it. It’s not. It’s real life.

  74. #74 |  Red | 

    Black thugs sucker and beat people all the time with no provocation:
    http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid35214809001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAACCtbLTE~,Euz3dgEqY7FO41McJges-UDcgJmMTpjJ&bctid=1638604043001

    If Trayvon was doing something similar to these thugs then he probably went for Zimmerman’s gun when he saw it. Zimmerman had every right to shoot Trayvon before he lost control of the gun.

  75. #75 |  Cyto | 

    #31 | Boyd Durkin | on “confronted”

    In the arraignment hearing the state admitted under oath that they had absolutely no evidence to back up the word “confronted” in the charging document.

  76. #76 |  SamK | 

    Zimmerman didn’t ignore any orders.

    Zimmerman didn’t lie about losing Trayvon.

    We know this because it’s *on the taped 911 call*.

    There are unknowns that deserve investigation, but this crap that you’re suggesting about how you shouldn’t be suspicious of black teenagers doing what Trayvon was doing is idiotic. Racism is about one race being better or worse than another, not looking at a black man and saying that he’s a black man.

    Thinking that Trayvon is the one that came back comes directly from what was on the audio, not supposition.

    Thinking that Trayvon attacked first comes from the police reports of bloody knuckles and broken noses, not imagination. (unless the police are lying, which is always a viable possibility)

    Thinking that Trayvon was being followed to an extent that justified a confrontation comes from Zimmerman’s own mouth, on tape, not make-believe land.

    It’s a fucked up situation, but the BS you’re spewing to support your position is both BS and prevents you from focusing on actual, viable arguments. It’s entirely likely that Zimmerman over-reacted. It’s possible he started an aggressive confrontation when Martin approached him, maybe grabbing him by the hoodie and acting tough-guy. There are plenty of ways he could be the bad guy here, please try not to pile more poo on the steaming heap of crap we already have to wade through in this discussion.

  77. #77 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    “Zimmerman with a gun on tape ignores a lawfull order to leave a minor child alone.”

    “We don’t need you to do that.” is not an order. For that matter, I doubt that “Don’t do that” would be a LAWFUL order, but nobody uttered that phrase. So, you have opened your argument with a palpable untruth.

    “The dead innocent minor child has defensive wounds on his hands consistant with marks on his stalker/killers body.”

    Either you are kidding, or your head is in some space I can’t imagine.

    At least Burgers Allday is coherent.

  78. #78 |  MH | 

    “But gunning down an unarmed man who could have seen you as a legitimate threat is still something he should be regularly condemned and censured for.”

    I don’t “regularly condemn and censure” other people unless I have some clear idea of what they did wrong, but I guess that’s just me.

  79. #79 |  Bill | 

    #72: “The dead innocent minor child has defensive wounds on his hands consistant with marks on his stalker/killers body.”

    Are you ACTUALLY suggesting that Zimmerman was bludgeoning Martin’s hands with his eyes and nose?!?!?

  80. #80 |  Brandon | 

    Oh, the race-bait trolls have found the thread. Goodbye until the next post, Radley and regulars.

  81. #81 |  Robert | 

    @ #23 “The Onion should write a story about an FBI “Terror sting” where it turns out all the terrorists are FBI agents trying to infiltrate.”

    Far Side already did it.

    http://media.photobucket.com/image/far%20side%20wolf%20sheeps%20clothing/walski69/myAsylum%2520Overflow/Larson-FarSide-WolfinSheepclothing.jpg

  82. #82 |  Charlie O | 

    The War on Drugs. “but, but, It’s for the CHILDREN!!!

  83. #83 |  Comrade Dread | 

    I don’t “regularly condemn and censure” other people unless I have some clear idea of what they did wrong, but I guess that’s just me.

    Let’s start with assuming that a black teen walking in the neighborhood demanded a response beyond continuing to drive.

    Let’s move on to: his automatic assumption that the black teen was on drugs.

    We can continue with carrying a gun while on neighborhood watch.

    Getting out of his car to chase Martin is another one.

    Ignoring “We don’t need you to do that.”

    All of which led up to a confrontation that left an unarmed young man dead at his hands.

  84. #84 |  Personanongrata | 

    Zookeeper reportedly licks baby monkey’s anus for over an hour

    I guess they didn’t have any Q-tips handy.

    Whats for dinner? Monkey ass and peanuts.

  85. #85 |  Deoxy | 

    So, in other words, “Zimmerman had injuries, black unarmed teenager deserved to die.” Got it.

    Here, let me fix that for you:

    So, in other words, “Zimmerman had injuries consistent with having a large male pounding him into the pavement, as Zimmerman and the only other witness described, black unarmed teenager large male doing the pounding deserved to diewas a legitimate recipient of sufficient force to stop the pounding, including lethal force.”

    In case the strike tag doesn’t work, here it is, fixed without the strikes:

    So, in other words, “Zimmerman had injuries consistent with having a large male pounding him into the pavement, as Zimmerman and the only other witness described, large male doing the pounding was a legitimate recipient of sufficient force to stop the pounding, including lethal force.”

    Age is irrelevant. Skin color is irrelevant. Armed status of pounder is irrelevant. Whether he “deserved” it or not is irrelevant. A whole lot of other context that you omitted IS relevant.

    Whoops, there it is.

    Whoops there WHAT is? I don’t CARE what color he is – I’d make the same argument if there was a rash of burglaries committed by your white males in an area where whites only made up 30% of the population.

    And really, 10% was generous – at 30% black, that means 15% black male, and age 15-25 is more like less than 1/3 of the population, not 2/3s, so really, “less than 5%” would have been more accurate.

    The exact same math would apply to whites in a 30% white area. Similar math would apply to redheads in a majority white area.

    It’s called a DESCRIPTION. Shall we just leave race and even skin color out of physical description? Are we really that messed up?!?

    This is the Land of the Free.
    Let’s get beyond “suspicion” against innocent pedestrians.

    OK, so when several of your neighbors have been burglarized, I’m going to come look in your windows, check your garages for vehicles, and otherwise determine who is home and who isn’t and how much valuable stuff you have in your home.

    Until I actually break in, what would you call that behaviour? “Suspicious” comes to mind. Do you have some other word in mind?

    You’re just trying to deny human nature. That’s stupid.

    Criminals do suspicious things. Non-criminals who do those things, especially when there’s a related crime spree going on, should EXPECT to be suspected and questioned. If they really aren’t committing crimes, they should ALSO EXPECT to be left alone after that, but protecting one’s property and family doesn’t mean ignoring behaviour that is very likely criminal in intent.

    The dead innocent minor child has defensive wounds on his hands consistant with marks on his stalker/killers body.

    I think that’s supposed to be the giveaway that he’s being sarcastic. It’s a sad comment on the state of things when I’m not really sure…

    Thinking that Trayvon attacked first comes from the police reports of bloody knuckles and broken noses, not imagination. (unless the police are lying, which is always a viable possibility)

    It’s entirely possible that Zimmerman swung first and simply didn’t make contact. That seems unlikely for a lot of other reasons, but again, that goes to assumptions and biases – we don’t know.

    Comrade Dread – as SamK pointed out well, you’re claiming things that are quite simply in direct opposition to the direct and public evidence available. Quit making s–t up, it just gets in the way, hurts your own arguments, and inflames passions (besides, the media has made up far more than you ever could, anyway, so it’s covered).

  86. #86 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “Grassroots community efforts to battle legalization initiatives and legislation depend upon and turn to law enforcement for support in keeping illegal drugs off the street and out of the hands of our youth.”

    Grassroots community efforts to battle legalization initiatives? What the hell is this woman talking about? The entities most likely to fight these initiatives are police and correctional officers’ unions and phony “tough on crime” politicians. Sounds like “astro turf” to me, Ms. Fay! And does she really think the drug war is keeping drugs out of then hands of youth. Not this shit again! Listen Calvina, kids know where to get drugs. And thanks to dead-enders like you, they will be getting them from the black market. And we all know that the black market is all about safety and quality assurance. Why do you want more children to die, Calvina Fay ;)

  87. #87 |  MH | 

    @83 Any judgment of Zimmerman ultimately depends on the specific mechanics of an incident for which we have little good information. It’s speculation that Zimmerman was racially motivated; it’s unfounded to criticize him for carrying a weapon, which was legal; it’s possible, but unclear, if or to what extent he was at fault for the confrontation that ensued. It’s irresponsible to condemn someone when you have only a vague inkling of what might have happened, particularly considering how badly the media have reported this case.

  88. #88 |  Mattocracy | 

    Simply saying that Zimmerman went up a shot an unarmed teenager does not accurately describe what happened. That kind of ovesimplification is very dishonest. It’s also not fair to say that Zimmerman started this whole thing by following Trayvon and asking him what he was doing. That, in of itself, is not a crime. There may have been more to it, but no one really knows.

    The only thing we know for sure is that Zimmerman sustained injuries from a fight and Trayvon didn’t really sustain injuries beyond minor ones to his hands. Who actually initiated the physical confrontation is something we’ll never know for sure. Maybe Trayvon was defending himself, maybe he initiated it.

    So it is not fair to speculate that Zimmerman physically assaulted Trayvon or vice versa. There is no physical evidence that gives any more details to this encounter beyond that. There really isn’t any reason beyond biases and prejudices to jump to the defense of either.

  89. #89 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    Somehow, after Zimmerman had lost Martin, they came into contact again, and it came to blows.

    If we accept Zimmerman’s version of events, we have to believe that Martin realized he was being followed, tried to flee, and right after succeeding in doing so decided to, for no apparent reason, turn around and come back to kill his pursuer with his bare hands.

    That story makes no sense with how real human beings behave. I think Zimmerman is lying.

    Unfortunately I don’t think it can be proved that he’s lying.

  90. #90 |  nigmalg | 

    Did the Huffington Post spring a leak?

    So, in other words, “Zimmerman had injuries, black unarmed teenager deserved to die.” Got it.

    No. It is corroborating evidence for Zimmerman’s testimony and is incredibly relevant. On it’s own it doesn’t justify a thing, other than maybe an immoral (and potentially illegal) absence from the prosecution’s affidavit.

    A stranger was following him without cause. He did try to flee. Zimmerman pursued despite being told that he didn’t need to do so.

    Zimmerman continued to pursue him after the 911 call? Zimmerman testified that he began his trip back to his car after telling the operator “OK”. From what I understand, no evidence released provides that this wasn’t the case.

    But gunning down an unarmed man who could have seen you as a legitimate threat is still something he should be regularly condemned and censured for.

    If Zimmerman’s story is true, this shooting should be morally as well as legally justified. “Seen as a threat” is far too vague a position for violence from either side. There needs to be something more substantial to justify force. From Zimmerman’s story, I don’t see circling back after being followed proof of said threat.

    And also, perhaps more importantly, by calling the police on him for no good reason.

    You don’t get to “defend yourself” against someone for calling the police. Not yet at least. That’s just silly.

  91. #91 |  nigmalg | 

    That story makes no sense with how real human beings behave. I think Zimmerman is lying.

    Unfortunately I don’t think it can be proved that he’s lying.

    Neither narrative is particularly sensible. Zimmerman profiling and hunting down Martin seems just as unreasonable. But I suppose if logic always prevailed we wouldn’t have such events in the first place. We can be sure that someone was certainly the aggressor; somebody got physical.

  92. #92 |  zendingo | 

    why is so much more credibility give to george zimmerman over the girl that trayvon was speaking with on his cell phone?

    she says she heard someone confront trayvon, a struggle began and the phone dropped and went dead.

    george zimmerman says that there was no conversation and that trayvon attacked him from the darkness as he walked to his car, saying “zimmerman you die tonight.”

    why does george zimmerman receive so much more credibility when he is the one person in all of this who has the most reason to lie?

  93. #93 |  Bobby Black | 

    So i can start a fight with someone, and when it turns out my bloated butt can’t fight, i can shoot the guy huh? All good? Sure thing.
    Sad state of affairs when someone who is so chickenshit of getting a well-earned ass whipping that he can shoot a guy and be lauded as someone who is “defending themselves”?
    Martin was the aggressor. He stalked that poor kid and started the whole thing. His past shows a pattern of over-zealous and self-appointed vigilantism and this is not an example of bad luck, and self defense. it was inevitable.
    He better be glad the kid he murdered was black, so he will probably get off.

  94. #94 |  MH | 

    “That story makes no sense with how real human beings behave. I think Zimmerman is lying.”

    You’re saying real human beings do not sometimes respond with excessive force to other human beings they perceive to be a threat? (Guess you’re new to this blog!).

  95. #95 |  Mattocracy | 

    “So i can start a fight with someone, and when it turns out my bloated butt can’t fight, i can shoot the guy huh? All good? Sure thing.”

    How do you know Zimmerman started the fight? You’re just making assumptions.

  96. #96 |  Comrade Dread | 

    @93,

    So i can start a fight with someone, and when it turns out my bloated butt can’t fight, i can shoot the guy huh? All good? Sure thing.

    No, you just have to get the other person to go for their gun first. Or if they have no gun, attack you.

  97. #97 |  nigmalg | 

    why is so much more credibility give to george zimmerman over the girl that trayvon was speaking with on his cell phone?

    The only reason the girl’s testimony is in doubt is because of it’s timing and source. The Martin’s attorney was the proxy for it, and it arrived a while after the incident. Attorney coaching is a serious concern.

    In contrast, Zimmerman’s testimony was given immediately after the event without the benefit of a lawyer.

    why does george zimmerman receive so much more credibility when he is the one person in all of this who has the most reason to lie?

    There is a serious incentive for Martin’s family to bend the truth as well. You’ll see why if Zimmerman loses the SYG hearing.

    So i can start a fight with someone, and when it turns out my bloated butt can’t fight, i can shoot the guy huh? All good? Sure thing.

    What is wrong with people? It’s like the same comment over and over again. The entire debate is about who started the fight.

  98. #98 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Trayvon didn’t really sustain injuries beyond minor ones to his hands.

    Forgot the gunshot wound to the chest.

  99. #99 |  zendingo | 

    @91 nigmalg
    “Neither narrative is particularly sensible. Zimmerman profiling and hunting down Martin seems just as unreasonable….”

    the trouble is that george zimmermans call to 911 confirms that he was doing just that, he was following a young man he found to be suspicious

  100. #100 |  Comrade Dread | 

    What is wrong with people? It’s like the same comment over and over again. The entire debate is about who started the fight.

    Except you have comments making an assertion that nothing that Zimmerman did was wrong or worthy of condemnation, which is simply not true.

  101. #101 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    No, you just have to get the other person to go for their gun first. Or if they have no gun, attack you.

    Actually, you just have to ensure you are the only witness and know what to tell the police.

  102. #102 |  nigmalg | 

    the trouble is that george zimmermans call to 911 confirms that he was doing just that, he was following a young man he found to be suspicious

    A competent member of the neighborhood watch?

    Remember it’s the reasonableness of Zimmerman physically confronting Martin, not being suspicious of him. There’s a huge difference.

  103. #103 |  Comrade Dread | 

    And we hit 100 comments. CyniCAl wins a prize.

  104. #104 |  nigmalg | 

    Except you have comments making an assertion that nothing that Zimmerman did was wrong or worthy of condemnation, which is simply not true.

    With the support of evidence, what did Zimmerman do that was worth of condemnation? I would label following Martin as ill-advised form a safety perspective, but certainly not condemnable. If Zimmerman physically stopped, hit, or restrained Martin, certainly condemn away!

  105. #105 |  zendingo | 

    @97 | nigmalg |
    “The only reason the girl’s testimony is in doubt is because of it’s timing and source. The Martin’s attorney was the proxy for it, and it arrived a while after the incident. Attorney coaching is a serious concern.”

    just so we’re clear, what level of credibilty does the phone call between trayvon and his girlfriend merit? the phone company confirms the call took place.

  106. #106 |  nigmalg | 

    just so we’re clear, what level of credibilty does the phone call between trayvon and his girlfriend merit? the phone company confirms the call took place

    I understand. The concern is over the content of the call.

  107. #107 |  zendingo | 

    @104 | nigmalg | May 16th, 2012 at 4:41 pm
    “With the support of evidence, what did Zimmerman do that was worth of condemnation? I would label following Martin as ill-advised form a safety perspective, but certainly not condemnable. If Zimmerman physically stopped, hit, or restrained Martin, certainly condemn away!”

    the only evidence that really matters is the evidence that proves who initiated the altercation. you’ve set a high standard by discounting any testimony that contradicts a very self serving account of what happened given by the one person with the most at stake in this situation.

    i understand you feel that trayvons family has a greater reason to lie than george zimmerman but i think you’re wrong.

  108. #108 |  zendingo | 

    @106 | nigmalg | May 16th, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    “I understand. The concern is over the content of the call.”

    and what level of credibilty does her testimony merit? some? none? who is more trust worthy? trayvons girlfriend or the guy who shot trayvon?

  109. #109 |  nigmalg | 

    i understand you feel that trayvons family has a greater reason to lie than george zimmerman but i think you’re wrong.

    No I agree that Zimmerman has a greater incentive to get himself out of this mess. I asserted that both sides do have incentive to win though.

    and what level of credibilty does her testimony merit? some? none? who is more trust worthy? trayvons girlfriend or the guy who shot trayvon?

    That depends on cross examination. Her testimony can be relevant if it passes scrutiny. I tend to find an individual more credible when it’s impossible or unlikely that they were coached by an attorney or had their statement prepared for them.

  110. #110 |  Sertorius | 

    For those not aware of the site, I strongly recommend the TalkLeft blog for coverage of criminal trials issues The blog is written by a self-described liberal criminal defense attorney, and she is quite sharp.

    http://www.talkleft.com/story/2012/5/16/12944/9520

    Her take, FWIW, is that the “theme” suggested by the state’s affidavit strongly implies the state will admit Martin was the first to get physical, but that somehow Zimmerman’s “profiling” nevertheless made him the aggressor. That’s an incredibly weak theory.

  111. #111 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    Comrade Dread: “And we hit 100 comments. CyniCAl wins a prize.”

    Yep, 100+ comments on this and what has been accomplished? Has Trayvon Martin been resurrected from the dead by the sheer force of your arguments? Do we suddenly know exactly what occurred between Zimmerman and Martin because of the diligence of The Agitator Detective Squad? Oh, I guess not.

    This case–no matter how it is resolved–won’t move the U.S. forward. It won’t improve race relations. It won’t improve the criminal justice system. It is just another great American circus trial. Another reason for people to gather at the courthouse and act like imbeciles. Another chance for people to get on TV–or online, as it were–to yell at each other and attempt to sound like they are authorities on subjects ranging from jurisprudence to forensic pathology.

    It’s another career booster for the likes of Nancy Grace. For fuck sakes, please don’t take The Agitator down to Nancy Grace’s level!

  112. #112 |  RT | 

    #83:

    “Let’s start with assuming that a black teen walking in the neighborhood demanded a response beyond continuing to drive.”

    Should read “teen not known to live in community observed acting in the same manner as other teens that previously burgled homes in the community as recently as a few weeks earlier”

    “We can continue with carrying a gun while on neighborhood watch.”

    Irrelevant. And police suggested to him that he arm himself after earlier burglary.

    “Getting out of his car to chase Martin is another one.”

    Should read “attempted to observe where Trayvon had ran off to”

    Ignoring “We don’t need you to do that.” <<<< LIE!

    So, your adding doesn't add up very well, does it. I mean, don't lie when it's completely obvious that you are lying.

  113. #113 |  EBL | 

    What could go wrong? Black boxes in your automobile and making it a crime to disable them? Your bipartisan Senate at work!

  114. #114 |  EBL | 

    As for Zimmerman and Martin, I hope Zimmerman gets a fair jury and a fair trial. I can’t see how they can possibly convict for second degree murder, but I do not have all the evidence.

    I just hope this case does not become one of the horror stories we sadly see reported here (and thank goodness for Radley for doing that or they would not be reported at all).

  115. #115 |  Alex Russell | 

    We know Martin punched Zimmerman, and we know Zimmerman’s head got pounded on the pavement. The evidence says that much. The question is how the fight got started. I don’t think we’re going to be able to resolve it closely enough – certainly not for a second-degree murder conviction against Zimmerman. But I’m surprised at Balko for saying simply that if Martin was on top of him, punching him and slamming his head into the pavement, which could be fatal, “that would certainly be a case where deadly force would be justified.”

    We have two basic possible summaries. One is where Martin attacked Zimmerman for some unspecified reason. The other is where Martin was defending himself by attacking Zimmerman.

    A question I would like an answer to is whether Zimmerman’s knuckles showed signs of impacts too. You’d think he would have been hitting Martin too, even if it wasn’t as effectively, because he wouldn’t have had his gun out at first. It’s not certain. But a major reason why Zimmerman would *not* have been punching Martin with his hands would be if he was already holding on to the gun when he was jumped.

    If he did have the gun out at the beginning, then either we have a situation where he confronted Martin holding the gun and Martin saw it, or we have a situation where, closer to Zimmerman’s story, he didn’t see Martin and Martin saw the man who had just been following him looking around, evidently looking for him, with a gun drawn.

    Under those circumstances, in both, Martin would have been acting in self-defense by tackling Zimmerman. Well, we’re not trying Martin; Martin is dead. But as for Zimmerman – if Zimmerman did start a direct confrontation with Martin, particularly with his gun drawn so that Martin would have felt he had to do something, and Martin was trying to save himself and doing well, no, Zimmerman would *not* have legal cover for shooting Martin dead.

    Meanwhile the alternative explanation for Martin beating on Zimmerman, a non-Zimmerman-confrontation picture in which Martin just jumped Zimmerman from behind, would be that Martin jumped him… why? General ferocity? I remember Balko looking hard at the Cory Maye case because of a rather loose suggested motivation.

    The point is: I realize we’re all getting wired into positions. The TV editing and the no-Zimmerman-injury were false. Yes. I would be surprised if they can make a murder charge stick for Zimmerman because of the ambiguity. But it is by no means a slam dunk that Zimmerman is blameless here and that his account must be correct!

  116. #116 |  Deoxy | 

    I don’t “regularly condemn and censure” other people unless I have some clear idea of what they did wrong, but I guess that’s just me.

    Let’s start with assuming that a black teen walking in the neighborhood demanded a response beyond continuing to drive.

    When you know everyone in the neighborhood personally and know he doesn’t live there, and when there’s a rash of burglaries being committed by the particular 5% of the population matching that description, AND you’re the head of the neighborhood watch, trying to catch said criminals…

    The particulars (which 5% of the population) isn’t the point – black, white, male, female, young, old. When there’s a recurring crime, you CHECK the strangers who match the description. ESPECIALLY if it looks like they are casing houses.

    Let’s move on to: his automatic assumption that the black teen was on drugs.

    “This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.”

    So, he’s behaving in a way that is suspicious as in criminal OR suspicious as in on drugs – that is, his behaviour is odd.

    “Dispatcher: OK, he’s just walking around the area…
    Zimmerman: …looking at all the houses.”

    So, during a spree of burglaries, a stranger is walking about in the rain, checking out the houses. Yeah, NOTHING suspicious there.

    We can continue with carrying a gun while on neighborhood watch.

    So, when watching for criminals during a crime spree, be sure to go unarmed. Check.

    So, if I ever want to be a criminal, I’ll make sure I do it where YOU live, as it will be much safer than other places, where sane people protect themselves.

    “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.”

    Getting out of his car to chase Martin is another one.

    So, when you’re trying to figure out who is stealing everyone’s stuff, getting a good description, running them off, or witnessing what they are stealing is all counter-productive?

    And it certainly makes Martin look all innocent, checking out all the houses, then running off when he realizes someone sees him doing it…

    See, I can make insinuations, too, and mine are at least based on the actual events!

    Ignoring “We don’t need you to do that.”

    You’re making that up from whole cloth. Here, read the actual transcript, so you can see how ridiculous you sound:

    http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/326700-full-transcript-zimmerman.html

    It goes on for some time after “We don’t need you to do that,” and it’s all about where he’s going to meet the officers, etc. He had clearly given up on chasing Martin.

    All of which led up to a confrontation that left an unarmed young man dead at his hands.

    Yep… and unarmed young man who was pounding him head into the pavement. That’s called “self-defense”*.

    *unless Zimmerman started the physical violence. Ignoring Zimmerman, we don’t know who did, so let’s throw him in jail, since it MIGHT be that he started it? Nice standard of evidence, there.

    If we accept Zimmerman’s version of events, we have to believe that Martin realized he was being followed, tried to flee, and right after succeeding in doing so decided to, for no apparent reason, turn around and come back to kill his pursuer with his bare hands.

    That story makes no sense with how real human beings behave. I think Zimmerman is lying.

    And if we LISTEN TO THE TAPE of the 9/11 call, realize how much time passed after Zimmerman clearly lost Martin, it makes it quite impossible that Zimmerman magically caught up to him again.

    So i can start a fight with someone, and when it turns out my bloated butt can’t fight, i can shoot the guy huh?

    No, if you start the fight, you’re liable if you kill them, generally speaking (if you shove someone, and they turn and kill you, that’s not reasonable – there has to be some reasonable level of “fear for your life or serious bodily harm”, when you didn’t put the other person in such a position).

    The problem is that we have no evidence of WHO started it. Discount Zimmerman entirely, put no stock in what he says, and we’re left with no evidence at all of the pivotal moments – NEITHER of them had valid reason to start a fight, but one of them clearly did, anyway.

    she says she heard someone confront trayvon, a struggle began and the phone dropped and went dead.

    george zimmerman says that there was no conversation and that trayvon attacked him from the darkness as he walked to his car, saying “zimmerman you die tonight.”

    From newspaper accounts:

    Zimmerman told them he lost sight of Trayvon and was walking back to his SUV when Trayvon approached him from the left rear, and they exchanged words.

    Trayvon asked Zimmerman if he had a problem. Zimmerman said no and reached for his cell phone, he told police. Trayvon then said, “Well, you do now” or something similar and punched Zimmerman in the nose, according to the account he gave police.

    and this:

    She then heard Martin saying “Why are you following me” and another voice saying “What are you doing here?” She told Crump they both repeated themselves, and then she thinks she heard Zimmerman push Martin “because his voice changes, like something interrupted his speech.” She heard an altercation and then the phone call was cut off, Crump said.

    When police arrived a minute later, at 7.17pm, Martin was lying dead in the street.

    So, they exchanged words. Gee, that sounds just like what the girlfriend said. As to what actually happened when she couldn’t here him anymore… um, seriously, she just couldn’t here him anymore – that doesn’t tell us ANYTHING about what happened.

    In short, the girlfriend’s testimony and the phone calls (hers and 911) nail down the timeline very nicely, and Zimmerman’s story is A) consistent with said timeline and B) given immediately and without a lawyer.

    And significant parts of it are corroborated by a third party (Martin pounding Zimmerman, Zimmerman calling for help) and by medical accounts (Zimmerman’s injuries, Martin’s lack of injuries other than bloody knuckles and gunshot wound).

    So, either Zimmerman is a great on-the-spot liar, and lucky to boot, or he’s simply telling the truth, but either way, we’ll never really know who swung first.

  117. #117 |  supercat | 

    //But as for Zimmerman – if Zimmerman did start a direct confrontation with Martin, particularly with his gun drawn so that Martin would have felt he had to do something, and Martin was trying to save himself and doing well, no, Zimmerman would *not* have legal cover for shooting Martin dead.//

    The location where Martin confronted Zimmerman was not between the spot where Zimmerman lost sight of Martin and Martin’s house. Why would Martin have gone to that spot, rather than simply going home, if he saw Zimmerman was armed?

    //Meanwhile the alternative explanation for Martin beating on Zimmerman, a non-Zimmerman-confrontation picture in which Martin just jumped Zimmerman from behind, would be that Martin jumped him… why?//

    All of the facts I’m aware of would be consistent with a hypothesis that Martin decided he couldn’t be certain of what Zimmerman might or might not have seen, decided that he really didn’t want Zimmerman to be in a position to identify him for police, and set out to remedy the situation, unaware that Zimmerman was armed. It’s unlikely the public will ever know with certainty whether that was the case, but such a hypothesis would be consistent with all the facts I’m aware of, and would explain everyone’s behavior. As such, the existence of a plausible scenario in which the Mr. Zimmerman’s behavior would be legally blameless would imply the existence of reasonable doubt in any criminal proceeding against him.

  118. #118 |  Deoxy | 

    We have two basic possible summaries. One is where Martin attacked Zimmerman for some unspecified reason. The other is where Martin was defending himself by attacking Zimmerman.

    Such evenhandedness. Here, let me fix it for you:

    We have two basic possible summaries. One is where Martin attacked Zimmerman for some unspecified reason. The other is where Zimmerman attacked Martin for some unspecified reason.

    NEITHER had reason to attack the other. Your entire following argument is crazy – you don’t jump a man with a gun out, that’s suicide! And if Zimmerman doesn’t have bloody knuckles, too, the only reason must be if he had the gun out already?

    Martin had no other injuries, so if Zimmerman had bloody knuckles, it wouldn’t be from hitting Martin, but it does not REMOTELY follow that Zimmerman had his gun out.

    Meanwhile the alternative explanation for Martin beating on Zimmerman, a non-Zimmerman-confrontation picture in which Martin just jumped Zimmerman from behind, would be that Martin jumped him… why?

    And the alternative explanation, in a non-Martin-confrontation picture in which Zimmerman just jumped Martin, would be that Zimmerman jumped him… why?

    The question works equally well both ways. THAT’S THE POINT – we don’t know, and you just assuming it was Zimmerman at best makes no more sense than assuming it was Martin.

  119. #119 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    NEITHER had reason to attack the other.

    Yes, but which is more likely to have done so? The one doing the pursuing, armed and muttering under his breath about how punks always get away, or the one fleeing worrying about some guy chasing him and who after succeeding in getting away decided to go back and kill his pursuer with his bare hands?

  120. #120 |  zendingo | 

    @Alex Russe

    “In short, the girlfriend’s testimony and the
    phone calls (hers and 911) nail down the
    timeline very nicely, and Zimmerman’s story is
    A) consistent with said timeline and B) given
    immediately and without a lawyer.”

    but the girlfriend says she heard someone confront trayvon, a struggle began and the phone dropped and went dead.
    george zimmerman says that there was no conversation and that trayvon attacked him from the darkness as he walked to his car, saying “zimmerman you die tonight.”

  121. #121 |  Eyewitness | 

    @zendingo
    george zimmerman says that there was no conversation and that trayvon attacked him from the darkness as he walked to his car, saying “zimmerman you die tonight.”

    I don’t believe Zimmerman ever said any such thing. Further, if he did, he would most certainly be lying, as Martin would have no way of knowing his name, unless, of course they exchanged business cards before their confrontation. Please provide the source for this extraordinary quote.

  122. #122 |  Alex Russell | 

    //Such evenhandedness. Here, let me fix it for you:

    We have two basic possible summaries. One is where Martin attacked Zimmerman for some unspecified reason. The other is where Zimmerman attacked Martin for some unspecified reason.//

    No, it’s *not* quite that even. We already know that Zimmerman had pursued Martin for some distance. He could have continued, finally intercepting him and confronting him. (I don’t suppose that Zimmerman “jumped” or “attacked” Martin; we have no information to suggest it.) But it’s less clear why Martin would take a violent interest in Zimmerman without provocation.

    //Your entire following argument is crazy – you don’t jump a man with a gun out, that’s suicide! //

    No, it’s a possible terrified move if a person who you think means to harm you is holding a gun that can send bullets at you if you try to run away. If you can reach him, you may be able to stop him, get the gun away, whatever. You can question the wisdom, or whether you would have done it, but it isn’t a fantasy suggestion.

    //And if Zimmerman doesn’t have bloody knuckles, too, the only reason must be if he had the gun out already?//

    No. Please reread the paragraph. I said, “It’s not certain.” Meaning, not certain that he would have been punching. He might have been just shoving, he might not have been able to land a hit, etc. And then I said that his holding a gun would have been one possible explanation. Which is true, it would be.

    //The question works equally well both ways. THAT’S THE POINT – we don’t know, and you just assuming it was Zimmerman at best makes no more sense than assuming it was Martin.//

    I was also saying that we don’t know, you’ll notice. What I was doing as well was answering a tendency among posters in this thread to assume that the picture indicates that Zimmerman’s story is true and that he was not at fault. No, I was not “assuming that it was Zimmerman.” I was saying that 1) it could have been Zimmerman, from what we know, and 2) also I feel I have to assume more if I assume that Martin simply decided to go after Zimmerman.

    Meanwhile, as I said twice, I don’t think they’ll be able to convict Zimmerman. I certainly couldn’t vote guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

  123. #123 |  CyniCAl | 

    Yes, my powers of prognostication know no bounds. ;-)

    For the record, my over/under was on Zimmerman/Martin comments only, not the total comments for the thread, but it’s damn close to 100 just the same.

    And also for the record, that was the longest tl;dr thread I have ever seen here. I am so glad that I am immune to caring about those pathetic Floridians who are so in love with violence. Good luck to the rest of you as you work out your own personal drama.

  124. #124 |  BamBam | 

    Ladies and gentlemen, examine the comments here. This is likely representative of a marginally better than the typical “jury of your peers”. You are screwed.

  125. #125 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @14 – The one critical piece of evidence which hasn’t been contested as far as I know is that Zimmerman went after someone on a vigilante basis. Following someone like that completely negates any reasonable self-defence claim.

    Someone stalking you, someone armed, is a deadly threat.

    @113 – Yes, it’s also required in aircraft. HOW TERRIBLE.

  126. #126 |  Alex Russell | 

    @zendingo, @eyewitness

    Googling, I could find where Zimmerman’s father said, “It’s my understanding that Trayvon Martin got on top of him and just started beating him… Trayvon Martin said something to the effect of ‘you’re going to die now’ or ‘you’re going to die tonight.’” I can’t find anything about Martin saying “Zimmerman” first. Without knowing where that part came from, I wouldn’t factor it in one way or another.

  127. #127 |  supercat | 

    #125 | Leon Wolfeson | “The one critical piece of evidence which hasn’t been contested as far as I know is that Zimmerman went after someone on a vigilante basis.”

    Are you saying that everyone agrees that Zimmerman acted in a fashion that negates any reasonable self-defense claim?

    Certainly most people would agree that Zimmerman attempted, at least for awhile, to keep Martin within sight; I suspect most people would agree he might have done so in a fashion which a reasonable person in Martin’s shoes might have construed as impolite. Such impoliteness, however, would not have justified Martin attacking Zimmerman in such fashion to cause severe bodily harm, nor would they have negated Zimmerman’s right to defend himself when Martin did so.

  128. #128 |  John C. Randolph | 

    To be precise, Obama doesn’t have the power to make it illegal to criticize the puppet government in Yemen. What he’s done is tell his subordinates to go ahead and commit crimes against critics of that regime.

    -jcr

  129. #129 |  Burgers Allday | 

    You don’t get to “defend yourself” against someone for calling the police. Not yet at least. That’s just silly.

    Following with intent to harass is basically illegal in Florida.

    The following is admitted.

    The intent to harrass can be inferred from the bogus call to police.

    What do you think following with intent to harrass is? Do you think it requires the follower to announce: “I am trying to vex and annoy and that is why I am right on your tail.” If you think that you are wrong.

  130. #130 |  Alex Russell | 

    #125:

    //”Certainly most people would agree that Zimmerman attempted, at least for awhile, to keep Martin within sight; I suspect most people would agree he might have done so in a fashion which a reasonable person in Martin’s shoes might have construed as impolite. Such impoliteness, however, would not have justified Martin attacking Zimmerman in such fashion to cause severe bodily harm, nor would they have negated Zimmerman’s right to defend himself when Martin did so.”//

    I should really get out of this thread, but I just did a spit-take… supercat, I don’t think that anyone who suspects that Zimmerman started the confrontation is arguing that Zimmerman provoked Martin with excessive *impoliteness.* Do you honestly think that is the suggestion?

    In the scenarios in which Zimmerman pursues Martin and Martin jumps Zimmerman, whichever way it happens, I’m pretty sure most versions of them imagine that Martin was scared by the pursuit and saw Zimmerman as a threat and was defending himself. You don’t have to believe that was the case, but making up a maximally ridiculous version of the other side’s views and then saying that it’s ridiculous is bad practice.

  131. #131 |  Bobby Black | 

    “So i can start a fight with someone, and when it turns out my bloated butt can’t fight, i can shoot the guy huh? All good? Sure thing.”

    How do you know Zimmerman started the fight? You’re just making assumptions.

    Assumptions? Zimmerman profiled, followed, got out of his vehicle and confronted this kid, who was, by the way, on his phone with his girlfriend talking about being followed and scared enough to start running to get away, when Zimmerman exited his vehicle, against police orders and THAT is what i consider the start of the whole thing.
    What part of that is an assumption? This is all on record. The one defending himself was the innocent kid walking home from a skittles run.
    An over zealous self-appointed douche with a gun and an over blown sense of being Dirty Harry started this whole thing. Zimmerman was not minding his own business and started this whole thing. THAT is cut and dry in a real world.

  132. #132 |  Burgers Allday | 

    That depends on cross examination. Her testimony can be relevant if it passes scrutiny. I tend to find an individual more credible when it’s impossible or unlikely that they were coached by an attorney or had their statement prepared for them.

    Normally the police question a shooter quite a bit harder than they questioned Zimmerman. To the extent his statements aren’t recorded, you can bet they were vetted by the sympathetic Sanford pd (you know, that pd where the sheriff resigned right after this broke and the pd that let trayvon sit in the morgue without investigating who he was).

    In fact, even the recorded statements are being vetted. That is why only som of them have been released and others not.

  133. #133 |  Alex Russell | 

    (That was about supercat at #127, sorry.)

  134. #134 |  Bobby Black | 

    Oh…i forgot. The whole Government of Yemen are Goat Fuckers. Of the non-consensual type.

  135. #135 |  Xenocles | 

    “you don’t jump a man with a gun out, that’s suicide”

    On the contrary; if you’re close and quick you have a pretty decent chance of moving yourself or the gun out of the line of fire before the gunman can pull the trigger. Guns are standoff weapons and confer little advantage against a competent and very close hand-to-hand fighter.

  136. #136 |  Xenocles | 

    @125 Your argument only holds if you think drivers should also be required to file trip plans with the local authorities every time they get in the car.

  137. #137 |  Other Sean | 

    I finally figured out why Burgers’ won’t budge. He’s got a pretty crisp syllogism when you think about it:

    A: Some crime is committed by black people.

    B: Some crime prevention necessarily entails suspicion of some black people.

    C: Ergo, the only way to be sure of keeping yourself completely free of racism is to be indifferent to crime, and to take no part in crime prevention.

    So Burgers’ position is simply this: “it was not okay to judge Trayvon as part of his category (black guys), but it is perfectly fine to judge Zimmerman as part of his category (neighborhood watch guys).” Once the 45 phone calls prove that Zimmerman was indeed someone who cared about crime prevention and felt suspicious toward blacks on several previous occasions, the case can be closed.

    How could there be any prejudice in that?

  138. #138 |  zendingo | 

    although i misqouted both george zimmermans brother and father, george zimmermans story is too self serving to be taken at face value. it’s such a nice package; verbal threats of murder and everything.

  139. #139 |  Nancy Lebovitz | 

    Conditions in NYC holding cells, filth, crowding, various abuses.

  140. #140 |  Mattocracy | 

    @ Bobby Black,

    “What part of that is an assumption?” The part where you said Zimmerman started the fight.

    The only things we know for sure is that Zimmerman followed Martin, there was a physical altercation, and then a shooting. There is no evidence that proves which party initiated the physical confrontation. Following someone to see what they are doing is not a physical assault. It is not the same as starting a fight. I don’t see why this is so hard to understand. You are most definitely assuming that Zimmerman was the first to start throwing punches when there is zero evidence supporting that. And there would be no other justifiable reason for Martin to start hitting Zimmerman unless that was the case.

    I honestly don’t know why Martin would start throwing punches first. I don’t know why Zimmerman would either. We can theorize all day about who might have been thinking what and what these two may have done, but assuming what you think happened isn’t justice nor does it make your theory any more valid.

  141. #141 |  demize! | 

    what a clusterfuck. Im pretty sure I served on a jury with at least one of you mutants. God help us..

  142. #142 |  Other Sean | 

    Demize #141,

    Twelve weeks ago, if I found myself falsely accused of a crime and they gave me a choice between a regular jury and jury made entirely of this blog’s readership, I would have chosen the Agitator jury without a moment’s doubt. I would have said “These people are the committed foes of injustice; they’ll think twice, three times, and once again after that before they go and toss someone into a pit to get raped and beaten for the rest of his life.”

    Now, after a couple months of Zimmerman comments, I’d beg for the most random jury allowable by law: “Bring me the mentally ill, the illiterate, the shut-ins, anything but please god none of my fellow blog reading intellectuals. Oh sure, half of them will get it right, but the other half will die a thousand deaths before admitting they might be wrong!”

  143. #143 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @118 – On the contrary, if someone with a gun was following me and I believed I was going to be attacked, then jumping him is a decidedly better idea than waiting for him to draw.

    @127 – It can certainly make them both guilty of an offence. It can’t make Zimmerman innocent, however. Moreover, again, I don’t believe that self-defence is applicable if he followed him. It’s escalation.

    @136 – That’s a complete straw man. Nobody is contesting the “followed” part, and he’s a known vigilante.

    Most car drivers are not using their trips to stalk people, or act as vigilantes, or… it’s *actions* which matter.

  144. #144 |  EBL | 

    Other Sean: It is sad isn’t it.

    I do not have all the evidence. But the story of George Zimmerman being some sort of monster has completely crumbled. Now the question is whether he crossed the line criminally. He may have. But I sort of doubt (at least from the limited evidence I have) that he did (at least not 2nd degree murder). I have to go with the default position: that he is presumed innocent. The burden is on the prosecution to show what he actually did, with competent evidence.

    I hope the jurors go into this with that sort of skepticism.

  145. #145 |  B | 

    Radley is going to buy a lobster dinner with the ad revenue from Zimmerman/Martin posts.

  146. #146 |  supercat | 

    #130 | Alex Russell | “I’m pretty sure most versions of them imagine that Martin was scared by the pursuit and saw Zimmerman as a threat and was defending himself.”

    Zimmerman lost sight of Martin when he was some distance away. Both of them then moved to the spot where the shooting took place. Zimmerman had a clear reason to go there: it was en route to his truck. Why did Martin go there, if not to confront Zimmerman? If he was afraid of Zimmerman, why did he not simply go home and avoid him? The most logical explanation is that Martin did not fear Zimmerman, but deliberately set out to confront him.

    #129 | Burgers Allday | “What do you think following with intent to harrass is?”

    You tell me. Got a statutory definition? I would expect that it would require that it would require that there be no plausible motive for the accused’s actions other than deliberate harassment. Whether or not one thinks it particularly likely that Zimmerman’s actions were motivated by a desire to determine whether Martin was involved in any criminal activity (such as the recent burglaries) I can’t see how any reasonable person wouldn’t regard it as at least plausible.

  147. #147 |  supercat | 

    #143 | Leon Wolfeson | “On the contrary, if someone with a gun was following me and I believed I was going to be attacked, then jumping him is a decidedly better idea than waiting for him to draw.”

    That would depend upon the range, and one’s judgment of the person’s intentions. If the person were five feet away, and indicated a desire to kill me, and if I thought the person was likely to be a good shot, attacking might be better than running. On the other hand, if someone drew a gun, and yelled “what the fudge are you doing around here”, backing off apologetically would seem much safer. And if the range were twenty feet or beyond, getting and staying out of sight would be the best thing to do.

    Zimmerman lost sight of Martin. If Martin wanted to avoid a confrontation, he could have done so. The fact that Martin deliberately chose to confront Zimmerman puts the responsibility for the consequences solely on his shoulders.

  148. #148 |  ben tillman | 

    I think the most important issue from a libertarian perspective is how the police handled the aftermath of this event. That they were dismissive of a black “victim” and played favorites seemingly with a guy who was a wannabe cop.

    The wannabe cop also had black ancestry.

  149. #149 |  Weird Willy | 

    Wait a minute, what evidence has come out that supports Zimmerman? These medical reports sure don’t, nor do the Martin autopsy findings. These items may be consistent with Zimmerman’s story, but they are also completely consistent with his guilt. If Zimmerman menaced, cornered, grabbed, or attempted to detain Martin or impede his flight before Martin started beating Zimmerman’s head, then Zimmerman is disqualified from a Stand Your Ground defense by statute. It does not matter how much of an ass-kicking Zimmerman was taking, if the facts show that he aggressed Martin at all or initiated the confrontation in any way then the defense is unavailable to him. This is not a question of who landed the first punch, because Zimmerman does not to have thrown a punch at Martin to be guilty as sin. And Supercat, how on earth do you know so many of the particulars in this incident? You are stating as fact things you cannot possibly know!

  150. #150 |  ben tillman | 

    My pet conspiracy theory has always been that Flight 93 was shot down.

    Good Lord, man, the mainstream media contemporaneously reported the accounts of eyewitnesses on the ground who saw the plane get shot down. Your belief is not exactly unfounded.

  151. #151 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @147 -Again, the very fact he was following in the first place afaik negates Zimmerman’s self-defence claim.

    Also, unfortunately, being stalked is something which /has/ happened to me, but fortunately involving a blade and not a gun. Trying to make these determinations without the full evidence is…tricky.

  152. #152 |  CyniCAl | 

    #111 | Helmut O’ Hooligan — “Yep, 100+ comments on this and what has been accomplished? … It’s another career booster for the likes of Nancy Grace. For fuck sakes, please don’t take The Agitator down to Nancy Grace’s level!”

    Helmut, sometimes we disagree and often we agree. And I have never agreed with anything you have written more than this. Amen, brother.

  153. #153 |  ben tillman | 

    Trayvon was not breaking any laws Zimmerman with a gun on tape ignores a lawfull order to leave a minor child alone.

    There was no “lawful order”. It was advice from someone not authorized to give orders. Pay attention.

  154. #154 |  ben tillman | 

    You don’t get to “defend yourself” against someone for calling the police. Not yet at least. That’s just silly.

    I don’t know. You call the police to report a suspicious person because you know the police can and will use force against that person. Under some circumstances, that could justify self-defense where the “suspicious person” knows the police have been called. Of course, in this case Martin had no idea Z had called the cops.

  155. #155 |  Bobby Black | 

    @ Mattocracy
    The only things we know for sure is that Zimmerman followed Martin, there was a physical altercation, and then a shooting. There is no evidence that proves which party initiated the physical confrontation. Following someone to see what they are doing is not a physical assault. It is not the same as starting a fight. I don’t see why this is so hard to understand. You are most definitely assuming that Zimmerman was the first to start throwing punches

    i have assumed nothing of the sort. That’s straight up Strawman.
    My assertions have been, 100% this whole thing happened because of a wannabe Rambo with a history of Vigilantism profiled an innocent kid who was armed with skittles and iced tea because he had the bad fortune of being the same color as some recent thieves in the area and was walking at night through Rambo’s neighborhood. He followed this kid. He stalked this kid. Zimmerman started the entire sequence of events that ended with him shooting somebody that he had profiled, followed and allegedly confronted. i don’t care who hit who when. Zimmerman had no business taking the law into his incapable hands and it ended up in a tragic, yet inevitable end when a dumbass tries to take the law into his own hands. it’s why we laws and armed idiots called cops. THEY come and shoot the black kid, not some wannabe idiot who appointed himself judge, jury and executioner. A properly appointed neighborhood watch knows who lives there, and doesn’t just go around guessing at it, ending in murder by idiot.

  156. #156 |  Burgers Allday | 

    So, during a spree of burglaries, a stranger is walking about in the rain, checking out the houses. Yeah, NOTHING suspicious there.

    Whoops, there it is again. I am not usually one to cry racism. But, that’s racist, folks. That is what racism sounds like. Not good.

  157. #157 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Whether or not one thinks it particularly likely that Zimmerman’s actions were motivated by a desire to determine whether Martin was involved in any criminal activity (such as the recent burglaries) I can’t see how any reasonable person wouldn’t regard it as at least plausible.

    I think it was permissible (but probably a bad idea) for Zimmerman to follow assuming he was only going to call police once he had a good reason to do so.

    Alternatively, I think it would have been okay for Zimmerman to make his bogus call to police, maybe just to err on the side of racist caution, so long as he didn’t follow Martin around. I would prefer that people don’t make bogus calls to police, but you don’t want to do too much to discourage calling police, so it is okay to make a good faith, but groundless call. To put it in a way the gun-nut crowd can understand, this is why it is okay to call the police on someone carrying a gun, even if they are doing it legally.

    What you can’t do, I don’t think, is to follow someone around while making bogus calls. If the innocent followee knows you are calling police then that person has no way of imply leaving the scene to avoid a confrontation. The following effectively becomes stalking. Of course, if the followee doesn’t know that you are on the telephone with police, then that makes it worse. Then the followee sees that someone is not just following, but having a phone conversation with some unknown party about the followee’s movements. Again, following becomes stalking.

    ALSO:

    Let’s assume that the conversation happened this way:

    M.: approaches Z. and asks, “Have you got a problem?”

    Z.: “No.”

    M.: “You do now.” *begins self defense*

    Again, this is stalking. If you are following someone, and that person asks you why you are following (eg, “do you have a problem”) then you have to tell them. Because if you are following someone and refuse to tell them why, then it is naturally going to scare the crap out of them. Your refusal to say WHY you are following is going to harrass, vex and annoy the followee. And the follower knows this.

    If Zimmerman really wanted to follow then it needed to go like this:

    M.: Do you have a problem.

    Z.: I am following you becaus I find your walking in the rain to be somehow suspicious. I have alerted the local constabulary so that your walk can be further investigated as may be appropriate. I am following you so that the police officers can find you when they get here. You, however, may continue your journey at least unless and until the police officers get here. If they arrive then we can take further instructions from them.

    Why do i think Z. needed to say all that when challenged? Because any other answer would be a lie, and lying to someone about hy you are following them is a threat.

  158. #158 |  Cynical in New York | 

    Granted its late but finally the MSM focuses on the incompetency of the local government street gang in the whole case.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/17/us/trayvon-martin-case-shadowed-by-police-missteps.html?_r=2&hp

  159. #159 |  Xenocles | 

    “Under some circumstances, that could justify self-defense where the “suspicious person” knows the police have been called. Of course, in this case Martin had no idea Z had called the cops.”

    Absent other provocations on the part of the caller, there’s no way that calling the police legally justifies the use of force by the suspect in any jurisdiction ever constituted on this planet. You can probably figure out the reason why if you think about it a little.

  160. #160 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Absent other provocations on the part of the caller, there’s no way that calling the police legally justifies the use of force by the suspect in any jurisdiction ever constituted on this planet.

    Of course it is the “absent oter provocations” part that is problemmatic for Zimmerman. Following him at night with a gun was pretty provocative. Not illegal, in and of itself, but provocative in and of itself. If Martin went further and asked Z. why he was being followed and talked about on the telephone, and Z. gave him a bs answer, then that is a very very serious provocation. Not because bs answers are illegal, in and of themselves. Not because following somebody is illegal, in and of itself. Not because reporting somebody to the police without a good reason is illegal in and of itself. It is because these factors combine to, perhaps, form an illegal behavior, and/or a behavior that would cause fear of imminent physical harm in a reasonable young black man in Florida.

    So many posters here are trying to use the divide-and-conquer strategy. Understandable. It is the perrenial favorite of the “results oriented” judge. Now regular folks seemed to have discovered the tack. Hint: it doesn’t always work in court. You can’t count on having a gun-nut hold-out on the jury.

  161. #161 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    Cynical: “Helmut, sometimes we disagree and often we agree. And I have never agreed with anything you have written more than this. Amen, brother.”

    Roger that. Thanks Cynical! I can say for sure that I agree with you quite often these days and I value your critique of government actions. When we disagree, it is often about where we are headed as a country or over questions of designing new systems or societies. I don’t think we have many deep disagreements over morality and that is important.

  162. #162 |  Mike T | 

    I’m just failing to see how a mutual hand-to-hand fight means someone gets to shoot and kill someone else?

    Sweetheart, if a man is on top of you, straddling you and slamming your head into the pavement it is long past a “mutual hand-to-hand fight.”

  163. #163 |  Mike T | 

    And once again, I’ll note the irony that based on what little eye-witness testimony we have of the Martin case, had Martin beaten Zimmerman to death Martin would likely be facing second degree murder and we wouldn’t even hear much about this case. All they would have seen is a black kid in a hoody straddling a man, banging his head into the concrete and him sayin “I wuz defendin muhself” (sure you were, kid). Thug-looking black kid beating to death a community watch captain? Prosecutors love cases like that.

  164. #164 |  Burgers Allday | 

    And once again, I’ll note the irony that based on what little eye-witness testimony we have of the Martin case, had Martin beaten Zimmerman to death Martin would likely be facing second degree murder and we wouldn’t even hear much about this case. All they would have seen is a black kid in a hoody straddling a man, banging his head into the concrete and him sayin “I wuz defendin muhself” (sure you were, kid). Thug-looking black kid beating to death a community watch captain? Prosecutors love cases like that.

    What makes you think they would have figured out it was Martin and caught him?

    If Trayvon Martin had beaten him to death, they probably would try somebody for the beating, but there is no reason to believe that that person would be Trayvon Martin.

  165. #165 |  Mattocracy | 

    @ Bobby Black,

    “i don’t care who hit who when.”

    Well, you should care. Because up until that point, no one had done anything illegal. Walking along the street isn’t illegal. Following someone isn’t illegal. It’s pretty hard to say that Zimmerman was wrong for doing things that weren’t against the law. What makes this a homocide or a murder rests with who got physical first. And no one knows and you can’t prove that one way or the other who did.

  166. #166 |  Leonard | 

    What you can’t do, I don’t think, is to follow someone around while making bogus calls.

    You have a bizarre idea of the law.

    Let’s assume that the conversation happened this way:

    M.: approaches Z. and asks, “Have you got a problem?”

    Z.: “No.”

    M.: “You do now.” *begins self defense assault and battery*

    Fixed that for you. You really don’t have much grasp of the law, do you?

    You can follow anyone you want.
    You can talk to anyone you want.
    You can call the police, or anyone else. Even when following someone else.
    If you are physically assaulted, you can defend yourself.
    If you are under attack and in fear of your life, and cannot retreat, you can defend yourself with deadly force.

    What you cannot do is initiate the use of force against anyone. This would include using a gun to falsely imprison someone. So it is possible that Zimmerman initiated the confrontation by attempting to hold Martin at gunpoint. But that’s the only even vaguely likely scenario in which he is guilty.

  167. #167 |  Burgers Allday | 

    got a case cite for me there, Leonard, old buddy, old pal?

  168. #168 |  Mike T | 

    got a case cite for me there, Leonard, old buddy, old pal?

    He wouldn’t have to cite you a damn thing. Use of force is unequivocally outlawed outside of where common law and statute carve out exceptions. Since the mere act of following someone is not considered grounds for self-defense in any state of the union or in the common law we inherited from the mother country, it is an illegal basis upon which to claim self-defense.

  169. #169 |  DarkEFang | 

    Oh, whoops. I think I tripped the anti-spam alarms with too many links. Submitted again, sans links:

    Here are a couple interesting nuggets:

    1. The medical examination on Zimmerman was performed by Zimmerman’s family physician the morning after the shooting. On the resulting record, Zimmerman’s physician wrote that Zimmerman “had a weapon as he is authorized to carry a firearm, and he fired at the attacker, killing him.”

    2. The autopsy report states that Martin died from a single gunshot wound to the chest fired from “intermediate range.”

    3. The autopsy report also says that the only other injury on Martin was a small abrasion on the left ring finger below the knuckle.

    If anyone wants to know where I got this info, I can provide links. Or you can just do a quick Google search, which is all I did.

  170. #170 |  Alex Russell | 

    supercat:

    //The fact that Martin deliberately chose to confront Zimmerman puts the responsibility for the consequences solely on his shoulders.//
    //Zimmerman lost sight of Martin when he was some distance away. Both of them then moved to the spot where the shooting took place. Zimmerman had a clear reason to go there: it was en route to his truck. Why did Martin go there, if not to confront Zimmerman? If he was afraid of Zimmerman, why did he not simply go home and avoid him? The most logical explanation is that Martin did not fear Zimmerman, but deliberately set out to confront him.//

    Here’s the trouble: you have a logical explanation for why Martin went there, but it’s not the only logical explanation. Martin had just been being followed by someone – he might have changed his route to try to lose him. He might have gotten lost. There’s no special evidence that would put your explanation over the top.

    We’re not going to know. But your explanation isn’t strong enough to demonstrate that Martin went there to deliberately intercept Zimmerman. This matter is going to remain a matter of doubt, but you are wrong to be *certain* on this basis that it’s a “fact” that Martin “deliberately chose to confront Zimmerman.*

  171. #171 |  Klime | 

    Sweetheart, if a man is on top of you, straddling you and slamming your head into the pavement it is long past a “mutual hand-to-hand fight.”

    As long as we’re wildly speculating: One punch to the nose of a guy who just grabbed your arm and you can break his nose, blacken both eyes, and the pavement will cut the back of his head.

    “Me hitting you and you hitting the floor.” Didn’t we learn that from Breakfast Club?

  172. #172 |  Alex Russell | 

    Mike T:

    I’m going to have to give this up – we’re all kind of poinging off our own high-res movies in our heads of our best bets about what happened – but what you say is a needless distortion:

    //Since the mere act of following someone is not considered grounds for self-defense in any state of the union or in the common law we inherited from the mother country, it is an illegal basis upon which to claim self-defense.//

    The people who are suggesting or assuming that Martin was acting in self-defense in the fight, including me, are assuming that under that scenario Martin was responding to a direct confrontation and to direct apparent danger. *No one* is claiming that the mere act of following someone by itself would have been a basis for the person followed to claim self-defense. The question is about what Zimmerman did or didn’t do.

  173. #173 |  Alex Russell | 

    And – yeah. As per DarkEFang, Martin’s skinned knuckles that we’ve all been admitting as part of the evidence just went away.

  174. #174 |  Klime | 

    With the support of evidence, what did Zimmerman do that was worth of condemnation?

    Shot an unarmed boy. He didn’t shoot an armed man with a long history of assaults. Neighborhood Watches carrying guns is a bad idea. I suppose I could try to get Curtis Sliwa to comment on why it’s important to have unarmed watches, and maybe he’d tell us it’s actually a great idea.

    Let’s watch and find out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=494D9VJwrMk

  175. #175 |  MH | 

    “Following him at night with a gun was pretty provocative. Not illegal, in and of itself, but provocative in and of itself.”

    Do we have reason to think Martin knew Zimmerman was armed before the final confrontation in which Martin was shot? If not, Zimmerman being armed can’t be cited as “provocative” as Martin would not have been provoked, not being aware of the weapon. (I wouldn’t actually agree concealed carry is provocative, but the point is moot if Martin wasn’t aware of it).

    “If Martin went further and asked Z. why he was being followed and talked about on the telephone, and Z. gave him a bs answer, then that is a very very serious provocation.”

    What does this mean? I deal with “bs” all the time at work. None of it is a rationale for using violence. A specific, unlawful threat may be considered a provocation. Does evidence of such exist?

    “Not because bs answers are illegal, in and of themselves. Not because following somebody is illegal, in and of itself. Not because reporting somebody to the police without a good reason is illegal in and of itself.
    It is because these factors combine to, perhaps, form an illegal behavior,…”

    “Perhaps?” I’d be interested to know what law cites “bs” and calling the police as components of the illegality.

    “and/or a behavior that would cause fear of imminent physical harm in a reasonable young black man in Florida.”

    You’re suggesting that calling the police can be reasonably interpreted as a threat of bodily harm, given the history of race relations in the South? I’m sorry to say I almost agree, but I don’t go so far as to say it’s a rationale for using force against the person calling.

  176. #176 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Do we have reason to think Martin knew Zimmerman was armed before the final confrontation in which Martin was shot? If not, Zimmerman being armed can’t be cited as “provocative” as Martin would not have been provoked, not being aware of the weapon. (I wouldn’t actually agree concealed carry is provocative, but the point is moot if Martin wasn’t aware of it).

    The fact that out of shape guy was following in-shape guy at night and without apparent help (except perhaps over his telephone) was really all the evidence Martin needed to understand that Zimmerman was armed. It is all I would have needed to know if I watched this thing unfold thru a telescop on the moon.

  177. #177 |  Burgers Allday | 

    You’re suggesting that calling the police can be reasonably interpreted as a threat of bodily harm, given the history of race relations in the South? I’m sorry to say I almost agree, but I don’t go so far as to say it’s a rationale for using force against the person calling.

    Linkee-dinkee-doo time:

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

    sometimes great literature is the truest thing of all.

    Read it.

  178. #178 |  Deoxy | 

    No, it’s a possible terrified move if a person who you think means to harm you is holding a gun that can send bullets at you if you try to run away.
    and

    Guns are standoff weapons and confer little advantage against a competent and very close hand-to-hand fighter.

    A pistol in melee has all the advantages of a knife, and MORE. It’s useful for standoff, but it’s also useful in a melee (as long as it has ammo). Most firearms are actually deadlier at point blank range, and pistols have almost none of the disadvantages of longer arms in close combat. Give me a choice between a knife and a pistol, and the only time I’d even consider the pistol is if I was going to face more opponents than I could likely dispatch with the number of bullets I had, no matter the distance (that is, even at point blank, hand-to-hand range).

    Modern rifles are noticeably less useful in close combat than a melee weapon, being basically poorly-shaped clubs (older rifles with bayonets worked decently well as a spear equivalent, still quite useful in close combat), but pistols are short enough to suffer very very little from the barrel deflection problems in close combat that larger arms have.

    On the contrary, if someone with a gun was following me and I believed I was going to be attacked, then jumping him is a decidedly better idea than waiting for him to draw.

    DRAW, yes (well, maybe – if you’d already lost him, jumping him would be worse by far than simply staying away) – already out, NO. That was the argument I was responding to.

    but the girlfriend says she heard someone confront trayvon, a struggle began and the phone dropped and went dead.
    george zimmerman says that there was no conversation and that trayvon attacked him from the darkness as he walked to his car, saying “zimmerman you die tonight.”

    Read what other people have written, ok? Or just bloody do really minor research yourself!

    I’ll quote myself from earlier in this silly thread:

    Zimmerman told them he lost sight of Trayvon and was walking back to his SUV when Trayvon approached him from the left rear, and they exchanged words.

    Trayvon asked Zimmerman if he had a problem. Zimmerman said no and reached for his cell phone, he told police. Trayvon then said, “Well, you do now” or something similar and punched Zimmerman in the nose, according to the account he gave police.

    Moving on:

    But it’s less clear why Martin would take a violent interest in Zimmerman without provocation.

    No, it’s unclear why either would take a VIOLENT interest in the other. Assuming that Zimmerman would be violent is just that – a completely unfounded assumption. Heck, knowing nothing else, I’d assume the 17YO would start it (not considering race at all) – 17YOs are FAR more well-known for hot-headedness than late-20-somethings.

    The one critical piece of evidence which hasn’t been contested as far as I know is that Zimmerman went after someone on a vigilante basis. Following someone like that completely negates any reasonable self-defence claim.

    vigilante: A vigilante is a private individual (or (pl.) group of individuals) who presumes to carry out extralegal punishment in defiance of existing law. (wikipedia)

    So yeah, that’s VERY contested – in fact, that’s pretty much the whole point of contention: WHO started it. Saying that he was a “vigilante” ASSUMES who started it!

    Also, I think the idea that following a stranger who appears to be casing houses (especially during a rash of robberies) is some kind of problem is, frankly, STUPID – that’s what a responsible member of society DOES, keep an eye on his neighbors and watch for the thieves who have been victimizing the area. ASKING someone what they are doing is OK. Following them to ask is OK. (Yes, following them to start a fight with them is NOT, but again, that’s assuming the point of contention.)

    The intent to harrass can be inferred from the bogus call to police.

    This requires assuming that Zimmerman was lying to police, and that he did not really find what Martin was doing to be suspicious. That is, you’ve already made up your mind, facts be d–ned. Not helpful.

    Define for me “bogus police call”. Also, please let me know how Martin would have known Zimmerman was calling the police (since that’s how he would know Zimmerman had intent to harass him, instead of intent to prevent him from burglarizing anyone, even if Martin himself had no intent to do so).

    don’t think that anyone who suspects that Zimmerman started the confrontation is arguing that Zimmerman provoked Martin with excessive *impoliteness.* Do you honestly think that is the suggestion?

    For those arguing that the following itself was the problem, yes, pretty much, that’s what they are arguing.

    They say that alone was sufficient for Martin to “stand his ground” against Zimmerman. Unless Zimmerman was putting Martin in reasonable, imminent fear for his life or of serious bodily harm (and was still somehow doing so when they had completely lost contact with each other, which is pretty much impossible), then yes, that’s pretty much their argument.

    What part of that is an assumption? This is all on record. The one defending himself was the innocent kid walking home from a skittles run.

    THAT RIGHT THERE is the assumption – that Martin was defending himself. NOTHING Zimmerman did up to the point we know for sure puts Martin in a physical “self defense” situation. NONE of the evidence we have (other than Zimmerman’s testimony, which we can discount as self-serving) tells us WHO STARTS THE ALTERCATION. NONE of the actions we know of (yes, that includes the following and the “profiling”, even if he DID have racist intentions, which seems ludicrous, based on the rest of his life) justify physical altercation, from either them.

    Normally the police question a shooter quite a bit harder than they questioned Zimmerman.

    And you know this… how? By all accounts, he was taken directly to the police station (skip the hospital) and held there for questioning for several hours. How many hours of interrogation does it take to figure you’ve got all you’re going to get, especially when the time window in question is well under five minutes (time from end of 911 call to when police arrived)?

    Because of public outcry, there’s been this huge investigation… that has left us EXACTLY where the police got to in short order that day – NO ETHICAL way to charge the guy. What more do you want?

    Nobody is contesting the “followed” part, and he’s a known vigilante.

    You throw that word around, but no, I know of no claims by anyone who actually was involved (that is, not unrelated internet people) that he was previous to this a “vigilante”.

    In other words, you’re making that up from whole cloth and committing libel.

    It can certainly make them both guilty of an offence. It can’t make Zimmerman innocent, however.

    OK, what would Zimmerman be guilty of if Martin is the attacker? Seriously, what’s the charge? Even beyond that, what’s the ethical violation, even if the law doesn’t recognize it?

    If Zimmerman started the fight, sure, guilty, but his actions up to that point are “guilty” of anything!

    So, during a spree of burglaries, a stranger is walking about in the rain, checking out the houses. Yeah, NOTHING suspicious there.

    Whoops, there it is again. I am not usually one to cry racism. But, that’s racist, folks. That is what racism sounds like. Not good.

    Um, I didn’t make a racial reference in that AT ALL – unless “stranger” is somehow a racist comment? Yeah, a reference meant to refer to an unknown person of ANY race is “racist”, but you are “not usually one to cry racism”. I’ll try to keep a straight face when you claim that, just because I’m so nice.

    You are seeing racism where you want to see it; all evidence and actually facts are irrelevant. THAT is what “white hispanic” Zimmerman (who’s 1/2 hispanic and 1/8 black) is up against.

    The really funny part is that, really, even if it WAS racist, it still doesn’t mean that it’s inaccurate – that is, even if the person thinking I’m casing a house is a nasty racist, that does NOT mean that the behaviour I’m engaged in doesn’t look like casing a house to a non-racist person.

    Or, to summarize, if what Martin was doing would look suspicious to a non-racist person, even a racist person would not be incorrect to think it looked suspicious. Simply yelling “RACIST!” is not the same thing as arguing that he is incorrect.

    M.: approaches Z. and asks, “Have you got a problem?”

    Z.: “No.”

    M.: “You do now.” *begins self defense*

    Your “begins self defense” bit there is equivalent to “Mommy, she hit me back first!”

    That is, that’s NOT self-defense! Conversation is almost EXACTLY what Zimmerman claims was said, and all the stuff you are claiming doesn’t mean Martin gets to initiate physical altercation.

    got a case cite for me there, Leonard, old buddy, old pal?

    Um, any of thousands all across the US in hundreds of districts? Seriously, his explanation is the norm, bloody freaking everywhere in this country.

    Unless Zimmerman waved his gun about or started the altercation, Martin had NO reason to get physical. Unless Martin started the altercation, Zimmerman had no reason to get physical.

    Once again, it all boils down to that (unknowable) fact, and which you think happened reveals more about you and your biases than it does about this case.

    Personally, I’m biased (reasonably, I think, based on the evidence) that it’s much more likely that a 17YO (of any race) would get a hot head and start a fight over some imagined insult than that a late-twenty something just finishing a degree he paid for out of pocket (that is, who had a lot to lose and had lived out in society on his own for several years) would do so. Also, generally, statistics show strongly that people who carry are MUCH LESS likely to start fights. None of that has any bearing on the actual facts of this case, that’s just the odds.

  179. #179 |  Deoxy | 

    Oh bloody crap. I screwed up the blockquotes. Somebody shoot me.

    That’s a nasty wall of crap now, and I apologize.

  180. #180 |  MH | 

    Providing such a specious argument and not answering my other questions doesn’t instill confidence you are correct.

  181. #181 |  JLA | 

    If Zimmerman’s story is true then it seems to me that Trayvon’s biggest mistake is that he didn’t finish bashing Zimmerman’s brains in. If he did then nobody would be defending Zimmerman’s story because Zimmerman wouldn’t have a story to defend. As Winston Churchill said, “History is written by the victors.”

  182. #182 |  Deoxy | 

    OK, there’s one part of that big pile of block-quote screwup that I want to stand alone, because I think it’s more important than any of the nitpicking or any of the specifics to this case at all.

    So, during a spree of burglaries, a stranger is walking about in the rain, checking out the houses. Yeah, NOTHING suspicious there.

    Whoops, there it is again. I am not usually one to cry racism. But, that’s racist, folks. That is what racism sounds like. Not good.

    Um, I didn’t make a racial reference in that AT ALL – unless “stranger” is somehow a racist comment? Yeah, a reference meant to refer to an unknown person of ANY race is “racist”, but you are “not usually one to cry racism”. I’ll try to keep a straight face when you claim that, just because I’m so nice.

    Nope, can’t do. Calling that racism is utter and complete bullshit.

    You are seeing racism where you want to see it; all evidence and actually facts are irrelevant. THAT is what “white hispanic” Zimmerman (who’s 1/2 hispanic and 1/8 black) is up against.

  183. #183 |  Roland | 

    So this is the world some of you want. Some guy doesn’t like the way you look, follows you, starts a fight with you, you manage to defend yourself, he pull out a gun and blows your head off, and he walks away free because it happened in a dark alley with no witnesses and he claims he was STANDING HIS GROUND[tm]. That’s the world you want.

  184. #184 |  SamK | 

    Yeah, the racism thing has pretty much made it impossible for me to suspend any more disbelief and actually read Burger’s posts.

  185. #185 |  Deoxy | 

    If Zimmerman’s story is true then it seems to me that Trayvon’s biggest mistake is that he didn’t finish bashing Zimmerman’s brains in. If he did then nobody would be defending Zimmerman’s story because Zimmerman wouldn’t have a story to defend. As Winston Churchill said, “History is written by the victors.”

    To a certain point, that’s true – ethically, we’d be in the same place we are now (we don’t know who started it), but logistically, it’s pretty hard to beat someone’s brains in TO DEATH and still be in fear for your life as you are applying the blows that actually kill (sometimes it happens fairly early and easily, but that’s somewhat random).

    That is, if you are in fear for your life and you shoot someone, you were in fear for you life when you fired. If you are in fear for your life and you beat someone into unconciousness, well, they’re unconscious now, so you can’t (reasonably) be in fear for your life any more (from them).

    To insure that he actually died would have (probably) taken actions which clearly occurred well after the point of “fearing for your life”.

    For comparison, if Martin had merely been incapacitated instead of killed by the first shot, once it was clear he was incapacitated, if Zimmerman had shot him AGAIN, well, then we’d have an open shut case of murder 2.

  186. #186 |  JLA | 

    @182

    What I was pointing out is that if Martin had killed Zimmerman then Martin would be telling the story, not Zimmerman. The whole point is that there’s two sides to every story, so you want to make sure that the other guy doesn’t get a chance to tell his side.

  187. #187 |  MH | 

    “For comparison, if Martin had merely been incapacitated instead of killed by the first shot, once it was clear he was incapacitated, if Zimmerman had shot him AGAIN, well, then we’d have an open shut case of murder 2.”

    Well, that certainly depends on how “clear” it was. I think it might be hard to prove he was incapacitated and defenseless after the first shot, as there’s nothing wrong with firing multiple shots in self defense. One shot isn’t guaranteed to have stopping power, though in this case it was enough.

  188. #188 |  AlgerHiss | 

    From the Calvina Fay story, we learn of the NNAOC: The National Narcotics Officers’ Associations’ Coalition.

    http://www.natlnarc.org/

    Probably no other group will protect Fourth Amendment rights than these fine folks.

  189. #189 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    The whole point is that there’s two sides to every story, so you want to make sure that the other guy doesn’t get a chance to tell his side.

    One shot. That’s pretty good aim.

  190. #190 |  CyniCAl | 

    #177 | Deoxy — “That’s a nasty wall of crap now, and I apologize.”

    No worries, Deoxy. It’s been a nasty wall of crap for, oh, about 169 comments now. And running.

  191. #191 |  Mike T | 

    #171

    The people who are suggesting or assuming that Martin was acting in self-defense in the fight, including me, are assuming that under that scenario Martin was responding to a direct confrontation and to direct apparent danger.

    Key word: assume. You have a he-said, she-said where the only third party witness showed two evenly matched men on the ground with one pounding the other’s skull into the pavement (a move any reasonable person would say is intended to maim or kill). In terms of actual evidence, there isn’t really that much that supports Martin. Most of it supports Zimmerman.

    *No one* is claiming that the mere act of following someone by itself would have been a basis for the person followed to claim self-defense. The question is about what Zimmerman did or didn’t do.

    You have people in this very thread claiming that following someone with a concealed weapon is highly provocative…

  192. #192 |  nigmalg | 

    You also have people asserting on this outlet that they have enough evidence to put Zimmerman away for murder, if they sat on his Jury.

    If that doesn’t scare the shit out of everyone here, we’re in an especially sad state of affairs.

  193. #193 |  thefncrow | 

    Any chance that the “broken skin on his knuckles” bit is going to be updated, now that we know that it’s actually “a quarter-inch gash on one knuckle”?

    Also, according to the version of events Zimmerman reportedly told police (as relayed to Trayvon’s father), Zimmerman’s claim is that Trayvon covered Zimmerman’s mouth with his left hand and punched him with the right. Not exactly looking good for anyone looking to spin that one solitary wound as justification for the murder of a teenager.

  194. #194 |  nigmalg | 

    Also, according to the version of events Zimmerman reportedly told police (as relayed to Trayvon’s father), Zimmerman’s claim is that Trayvon covered Zimmerman’s mouth with his left hand and punched him with the right. Not exactly looking good for anyone looking to spin that one solitary wound as justification for the murder of a teenager.

    I don’t understand what you’re trying to say here. The injury to Martin’s hand(s) wouldn’t justify self defense for Zimmerman? Wasn’t there also bruising on Martin’s knuckles? Would it make more sense to use the palm of your hand when forcing someone’s head down to the concrete?

  195. #195 |  nigmalg | 

    Zimmerman was diagnosed with a “closed fracture” of his nose, two lacerations on his head – one of them about an inch long, black eyes, a bruised upper lip and cheek, and a minor back injury

    We’re left to assume that either Zimmerman’s doctor was lying or Zimmerman’s wounds were self-inflicted.

  196. #196 |  thefncrow | 

    “Wasn’t there also bruising on Martin’s knuckles?”

    If there was, it wasn’t reported by the medical examiner, who reported that the only injury other than the gunshot was the small quarter-inch gash below the knuckle on his left ring finger.

    “I don’t understand what you’re trying to say here. The injury to Martin’s hand(s) wouldn’t justify self defense for Zimmerman?”

    I’m saying that, even taken in the absolute best light for Zimmerman, the injury sustained contradicts Zimmerman’s version of events. The assumption that was made from “cuts on Trayvon Martin’s knuckles” was, “Oh, that backs up Zimmerman claims that he was being punched”. Except that it doesn’t, because the only wound on Trayvon Martin was a tiny gash on his left ring finger while Zimmerman claims he was being punched by Martin’s right, a hand which shows no scrapes, bruises, or injury of any kind.

    That’s taken in the best light. There’s also no indication of whether the gash was fresh or not, which means that it’s entirely possible that the gash was something Trayvon Martin sustained prior to the entire Zimmerman incident and the only actual injury of any kind he sustained is the gunshot wound.

  197. #197 |  thefncrow | 

    Actually, strike the last thing. Apparently it was fresh.

  198. #198 |  Other Sean | 

    Deoxy #180,

    If you stand back and read the entire thread all at once, you get a really clear picture of how the anti-Zimmerman crowd defines racism and how they define the initiation of force. Both definitions are terrifying.

    First, they know racism when they see it, and it is whatever they say. Second, because we all know for certain that Zimmerman was suspicious of one black person on at least this one occasion, he is definitely racist.

    But the really creepy part of the definition, is that the progressive side in this dispute clearly accepts the idea that a racist = someone against whom it is okay to use violence. Or, racism = violence, so for them it is doesn’t matter what facts have emerged or will emerge. By definition, for them Martin can never be the aggressor.

    That’s how they come to define “following” as “initiation of force”, or one poster outrageously put it (#157), “lying about why you’re following someone is a threat”…justifying the use of force.

    So that’s where we are. Racist = Person with no rights.

  199. #199 |  Robert | 

    “The gunshot wound entrance was from a bullet fired from “intermediate range,” or two to four inches”

    (2 to 4 inches is not “intermediate range”. That’s contact distance)

    “a soot ring abrasion and a two-inch by two-inch area of stippling on his body”

    Soot ring means very close range. All those people who were going “uh-oh” when they heard the term “intermediate range” just got a face full of facts.

  200. #200 |  nigmalg | 

    thefncrow,

    How would you explain Zimmerman’s injuries?

  201. #201 |  DarkEFang | 

    The big problem with Zimmerman’s injuries is the following leap in logic:

    - On February 26, Zimmerman is uninjured.

    - On February 27, Zimmerman is injured.

    - Therefore, Zimmerman’s injuries were inflicted during the scuffle with Trayvon Martin on February 26.

    If Zimmerman had been held under observation overnight and treated by a doctor in the morning, we could be relatively certain that those injuries were caused by Martin. Because Zimmerman was allowed to leave, there’s a gap of time in which those injuries could have been inflicted by someone else.

    And we also have the issue of Zimmerman being examined by his personal physician, instead of an ER doctor. Of course, that might not be an issue if his physician’s notes didn’t sound like a memo from Wayne LaPierre.

    Once again, the sloppy performance of the local police makes it impossible to definitively answer an important question related to this case.

  202. #202 |  John | 

    I’d love to see statistics on the average number of comments generated by articles with “Zimmerman” in the body versus those without. Not accusing Balko of playing to this, I just love scrolling down the main page and seeing “50, 50, 50….. 200, 50,50…”

  203. #203 |  Deoxy | 
    Zimmerman was diagnosed with a “closed fracture” of his nose, two lacerations on his head – one of them about an inch long, black eyes, a bruised upper lip and cheek, and a minor back injury

    We’re left to assume that either Zimmerman’s doctor was lying or Zimmerman’s wounds were self-inflicted.

    I was going to say you nailed it, but I didn’t expect anyone to actually say so so immediately… a mere six posts later!

    If Zimmerman had been held under observation overnight and treated by a doctor in the morning, we could be relatively certain that those injuries were caused by Martin. Because Zimmerman was allowed to leave, there’s a gap of time in which those injuries could have been inflicted by someone else.

    Yes, it could easily have been ALIENS!!!!!!

    Seriously, he was treated by EMTs at the scene before he went to the police station – there’s bloody VIDEO of him in the police station with the cuts in question on the back of his head and (IIRC) medical tape on his nose, applied by the EMTs.

    NOTHING is enough for the racist Zimmerman haters, is it? I think we could probably magically come up with actual, unaltered video of what happened showing Martin totally initiated it, and they would STILL blame Zimmerman.

    “Look, right there! He’s assaulting poor innocent Trayvon’s fist with his nose, the evil bigot!”

  204. #204 |  Mattocracy | 

    Fuck yeah, 200 comments.

  205. #205 |  thefncrow | 

    “Seriously, he was treated by EMTs at the scene before he went to the police station – there’s bloody VIDEO of him in the police station with the cuts in question on the back of his head and (IIRC) medical tape on his nose, applied by the EMTs.”

    Would you like to provide this? I want the actual video where you can see both of these items. The medical tape on his nose especially, because on the video of his entrance to the police department you get several good looks at his face and there are no visible bandages on his face.

    I’m well aware of the Photoshop-enhanced screengrab where people claim you can see cuts, but there are other spots in the video of Zimmerman where you get well-illuminated shots of the areas where his head where those cuts supposedly are, and the cuts are somehow mysteriously not visible in those shots, almost as if the “cuts” being claimed were artifacts of the “enhancement” of the photos via Photoshop.

  206. #206 |  EBL | 

    Okay, I denounce Barack Obama’s literary agent for spreading this rumor…

  207. #207 |  Other Sean | 

    Deoxy #200,

    You’ve understated it. Even if a re-animated Trayvon zombie popped up and said “I totally attacked that guy, and would have bashed his brains in given another minute to do so. Also, I WAS about to commit a burglary. Hahahaha, suckers!”

    Burgers, et. al., would say it was false consciousness or zombie Stockholm syndrome making him say that.

  208. #208 |  Bobby Black | 

    Mattocracy.
    Your Strawman methodology is getting tired. I Never said Zimmerman broke any laws stalking and profiling the poor kid who he ended up killing. I said he was an idiot for doing it. He had no business starting the chain of events starting from the moment he took a gun in his hand, and profiled this kid. He is an idiot for starting it, and it seems obvious his fat ass couldn’t fight if he got his ass beat by a 140 pound teenager, and shooting would be his only recourse after he decided to stalk the kid. This didn’t have to happen. Martin is a moron. His record speaks of a history of paranoid, aggressive behavior, and an over-blown sense of his ability and place in the food chain. Someone unqualified for the job, ill-equipped to carry out his duties as a neighborhood watchman, and ignorant of police advice to stand down from an un-needed pursuit, all while armed…as i said….this wasn’t an accident.
    This was inevitable.
    I have just as much sympathy for cops who kill a dog for defending their territory or a person for defending their homes from idiot cops actions.
    Wannabes are dangerous when they can get a gun, but can’t buy common damned sense.

  209. #209 |  Xenocles | 

    Deoxy:

    How do you square this:

    “A pistol in melee has all the advantages of a knife, and MORE. It’s useful for standoff, but it’s also useful in a melee (as long as it has ammo). …”

    With this:

    “Give me a choice between a knife and a pistol, and the only time I’d even consider the pistol is if I was going to face more opponents than I could likely dispatch with the number of bullets I had, no matter the distance (that is, even at point blank, hand-to-hand range).”

  210. #210 |  JR | 

    The point on the Yemen EO is to threaten the substantial assets of Saleh and his family, which is taking a looooooooooooooong time to leave power there. So it’s kind of a threat, get out or we’ll take the money you stole from the Yemenis. All of it is associated with the effort to make the transition from Saleh to Hadi non-violent, and it’s working to some degree. I don’t see it as aimed in any way at criticism of the Hadi regime, which is pretty weak and I haven’t seen anyone targeting particularly from the US press.

  211. #211 |  Deoxy | 

    Heh, I wrote it backwards – I meant “knife” in that last part (which is clear, since wanting a pistol ONLY when you were going to run out of bullets is stupid). Yep, stupid typo, came from trying to rewrite it more clearly. Fail! Heh.

  212. #212 |  Deoxy | 

    Someone unqualified for the job

    …of watching the neighborhood – something that takes EYES and TIME. Forest Gump would qualify for that.

    ill-equipped to carry out his duties as a neighborhood watchman

    I guess you aren’t referring to actual equipment, since you criticize him for carrying his gun, but then, that would make this redundant with the first point…

    Or is it just that you are racist against hispanics?

    ignorant of police advice to stand down from an un-needed pursuit

    I’m really tired of this particular outright lie. Go check the bloody transcript of the 911 call.

    all while armed

    Yes, because the world would be better place if Trayvon had bashed his brains in. Dirty mexican bastard. Wait, I mean cracker. Crap, can’t make up my mind.

    He had no business starting the chain of events starting from the moment he took a gun in his hand, and profiled this kid.

    He had EVERY business doing EVERYTHING we know of up until he hung up with 911 – all the stuff you are complaining about. It’s called “Being a responsible member of society”.

    Now, if he started things with Martin, yes, that was bad, gun or no gun.

    But if Martin started it with him, well, it’s a bloody good thing he took that gun with him.

    Either way, the gun being present either A) exacerbates something already wrong and illegal or B) saved him from a serious beating, possibly to death. It’s either neutral or pure positive – stop complaining about that, as you’re just losing ground.

  213. #213 |  Xenocles | 

    Yeah, and I don’t fully disagree with you. It’s just that there are a lot of scenarios when the unarmed person wins handily against the guy with a pistol – mostly a function of fighting being very dependent on the mental fitness of the fighters.

  214. #214 |  DarkEFang | 

    I think its safe to say that a lot of the posters here have problems with police getting involved in people’s business. Why do so many of us seem to have no problem with a self-appointed pseudo-cop getting involved in people’s business?

  215. #215 |  RT | 

    @ Bobby Black:

    OK, first you have to pass a test. Do you believe that there is ever any legitimate use of a firearm in self defense? Answer yes or no.

  216. #216 |  Brandon | 

    #134, can a goat give consent?

  217. #217 |  supercat | 

    #196 | Robert | “(2 to 4 inches is not “intermediate range”. That’s contact distance)”

    Intermediate range implies the existence of entrance wound stippling of a type which will often occur at distances between 12″ and 18″, but is not uncommon at distances as short as 6″ or as long as 36″ (various sources seem to vary somewhat on the distances, but I’ve seen nothing that would indicate the term would rule out distances in the 6″-12″ range). Note that if Martin was on top of Zimmerman and trying to smash his head on the concrete, it would be expected that their torsos would be some distance apart, so “intermediate range” is consistent with Zimmerman’s recounting of events.

  218. #218 |  Brandon | 

    Did Radley get enough ad revenue from this thread to retire?

  219. #219 |  Mattocracy | 

    Ah yes, when in doubt, accuse someone of strawman. You should look up that word to see what it really means.

    You’re kind of moving the goal posts here.

    “I Never said Zimmerman broke any laws stalking and profiling the poor kid who he ended up killing. I said he was an idiot for doing it.”

    But in post 93 you said:

    “and this is not an example of bad luck, and self defense.”

    If you don’t think its self defense, makes it kinda sounds like you’re saying Zimmerman broke the law.

    So what exactly are you saying? The fact that Zimmerman followed someone means he was no longer allowed to use self defense if attacked?

  220. #220 |  Weird Willy | 

    I get the impression from reading this thread that neither prostitution nor confidence fraud are crimes. After all, (a) dressing provocatively is not illegal, (b) charging and accepting money for the performance of personal services is not illegal, and (c) having sex is not illegal (at least not until Republicans are able to expand their political sway a bit further). Therefore, prostitution cannot be a crime. Likewise, (a) telling someone BS stories is not illegal, (b) taking money from someone is not illegal, (c) forming contracts is not illegal, (d) failing to perform under a contract is not illegal (though it does make someone subject to an action for breach), (e) possessing or maintaining funds you have not earned through specific performance is not illegal, and (f) refusing to return money to someone who is dissatisfied with you is not illegal. Ergo, neither prostitution nor confidence fraud are illegal.

    Zimmerman admittedly chose to arm himself, go out in the rain, closely follow an unarmed young man who was innocently returning to his family at the home of his father’s fiance, continue his pursuit of the young man in a manner that the young man’s conversational partner confirms he found threatening, exit his vehicle to pursue the young man on foot, and then kill the young man in a resulting altercation. You might think that Zimmerman might be guilty of initiating this confrontation while he himself was committing a crime, and this would be especially pertinent in a state renowned for charging people with crimes under the common law (remember the Rosemary Furman case). Prosecutors may have actual evidence before them, and don’t have to rely on third-hand, potential BS contentions like “the only third party witness showed two evenly matched men on the ground” and other drivel derived from one-sided communications with the media. But this is the wrong approach, as I showed above. What you should do is atomize the elements of a crime, separating and dissociating them in a manner that destroys their context, and argue that this means no crime could have occurred. Prostitution is not illegal, confidence fraud is not illegal, and killing an unarmed youth in an altercation you seem to have initiated is not illegal. Remember, atomize, dissect, dismember, and decontextualize a perpetrator’s conduct, and the crime disappears.

  221. #221 |  EH | 

    Not only am I not sure 1/4″ qualifies as a “gash,” but on a knuckle? There’s not enough meat to “gash” there.

    Language can steer meaning, keep your eyes open, people.

  222. #222 |  nigmalg | 

    Prostitution should be legal, as no one was defrauded. There is a victim in cases of fraud. It’s also much clearer, as the fraudulent activity is the prime motive. It pains me that you’ve tried to use these scenarios as comparative examples.

    Zimmerman admittedly chose to arm himself, go out in the rain, closely follow an unarmed young man who was innocently returning to his family at the home of his father’s fiance, continue his pursuit of the young man in a manner that the young man’s conversational partner confirms he found threatening, exit his vehicle to pursue the young man on foot, and then kill the young man in a resulting altercation.

    You forgot the part about how Martin was alleged to have returned to meet Zimmerman. He was so paralyzed with fear that he simply had to confront the man following him. I suppose we can choose to assume that allegation is false, but then you’d have to throw out a bit more of your assumptions as well.

  223. #223 |  Other Sean | 

    Weird Willy #216, You said…”continue his pursuit of the young man in a manner that the young man’s conversational partner confirms he found threatening.”

    You call Trayvon’s girlfriend his “conversational partner”, and you accuse OTHER people of dropping context?

  224. #224 |  Weird Willy | 

    Ah, so now you are able to discern between the “prime motives” underlying each scenario, which of course requires that you know Zimmerman’s prime motive. Your powers of discernment are completely amazing! Apparently, then, you should only perform the dissection – decontextualization – dissimulation process when you know in advance what prime motives underlie the conduct.

    I agree, prostitution should be legal. That is completely irrelevant, but I do agree. There is no need to assume that Zimmerman’s allegation that Martin postured to meet him is false, because such movements may be completely irrelevant to Zimmerman’s defense. If Martin determined that his best course of action was to challenge his stalker, he was entitled to do so, and his “return” (interesting choice of words there) would not relieve Zimmerman of his culpability. Also, unless you are trying to make a determination regarding Zimmerman’s guilt at the present moment, instead of allowing him to stand trial, there is no need to assume either the truth or falsity of Zimmerman’s allegations regarding Martin’s “return” to him. Simply let him stand trial for the admitted homicide of an unarmed youth, let him assert his defense in light of whatever evidence the prosecution has available, and see what results from the process.

  225. #225 |  Weird Willy | 

    Yes, I call Martin’s conversational partner his conversational partner, for the purpose of distinguishing the fact that she was a witness purely through the means of her conversation with Martin at the time of the attack. If you want to refer to her as his girlfriend while paying attention to that distinction, fine, so be it, it does not change a thing. No, I do not accuse other people of dropping context, I observe the pure and simple fact that other people have been deliberately destroying the whole context of Zimmerman’s actions instead of treating them as the composite act they constitute.

  226. #226 |  Goober | 

    Guys, the entire case hinges on who physically assaulted who first. No one broke any laws until the first fist flew. That’s all there is to it. All this other crap about following people being illegal (it isn’t), and it being okay to assault someone who follows you because they didn’t give you a satisfactory answer as to why they are following you (it isn’t) is BS.

    It all comes down to the first punch – the first physical contact. Who threw the first punch? If it was Z, he’s a murderer. If it was Trayvon, then Z is innocent.

    All this other crap is just that – crap.

  227. #227 |  (B)oscoH, Yogurt Eater | 

    FYI, according the the document dump, Intermediate Distance is between 1″ and 18″.

  228. #228 |  Other Sean | 

    Goober #222,

    Yes, thank you. That you should have to explain THAT to a group of people held together by their shared hatred of violence is just amazing.

  229. #229 |  Weird Willy | 

    Goober, you have explained nothing in real or useful terms. You cite contentions that no one has made, and you seem to think that sort of thing is impressive. There are numerous scenarios in which Martin may have struck the first blow and Zimmerman would remain completely guilty, and it is at least theoretically conceivable that Zimmerman could have struck the first blow and been innocent. Your comment displays precisely the type of ignorance and misrepresentation that has marred much of this thread and for which honest and intelligent people have absolutely no use.

  230. #230 |  RT | 

    Attention Trayvon supporters. Now that images have been released showing Zimmerman in the police car with a smashed nose and blood all over his face, and also in light of the report that the gun was fired from a range of 2 to 4 inches, we must call an “all hands” operation to once again move the goalposts. I realize that we still have sore backs and aching muscles from operations “Move the Goalposts” # I, II and III, but we cannot slack off in our attempts to reframe the debate once our demands for additional evidence have been met. Keep up the effort, get out there and start ‘humpin!

  231. #231 |  Other Sean | 

    Weird Willy #225,

    Okay, provide one each. One scenario where Zimmerman was attacked first, and yet is guilty, and another one where Zimmerman attacked first and yet is innocent.

    Let’s hear it.

  232. #232 |  ben tillman | 

    Absent other provocations on the part of the caller, there’s no way that calling the police legally justifies the use of force by the suspect in any jurisdiction ever constituted on this planet.

    And who gives a shit? Talk about missing the point!

    Calling the police for the purpose of having them arrest someone for committing a non-crime is suborning the police to conspire with you to commit a crime against the non-crime-committer. True or false?

  233. #233 |  Other Sean | 

    Ben #229,

    The crime of false reporting, if that’s what you mean, happens when someone maliciously accuses you of committing a crime they KNOW you did not commit.

    There is no crime called “false suspicion” or false “can you come by and check this out please officer”?

  234. #234 |  Xenocles | 

    You certainly missed the point, Ben.

  235. #235 |  Leonard | 

    Latest from ABC news: Martin had THC, the drug found in marijuana, in his blood on the night of his death, according to the autopsy.

    So much for “profiling”. Zimmerman thought Martin looked like he was on drugs because… he was on drugs.

  236. #236 |  Weird Willy | 

    No problem, although I will stick with the terms to which I responded (“It all comes down to the first punch…Who threw the first punch?”) because I am tired of this constant remorphing of the discussion.

    Scenario 1) Zimmerman stops and attempts to detain Martin when Martin is engaged in no illicit action, committing the crime of false imprisonment. Martin “thr[o]w[s] the first punch” with legal justification in an attempt to relieve himself of the false imprisonment, and Zimmerman subsequently murders him.

    Scenario 2) Regardless of whether or not Zimmerman was committing a crime when he accosted Martin, Zimmerman clearly expresses a “good faith” intent to disengage from him and leave at peace, but Martin refuses to allow him to do so. Martin threatens Zimmerman’s life as he pursues his erstwhile attacker, after which Zimmerman “threw the first punch” in order to complete his withdrawal. While I can conceive of circumstances in which Martin would have been morally justified in choking out Zimmerman and using any level and extent of force against him under this circumstance, the statute actually states that if Zimmerman declares or makes his good faith effort to disengage after precipitating the conflict Martin may be harmed if he continues his defense. Martin would have been required by the statute to allow Zimmerman his disengagement and wait to see if Zimmerman subsequently harms or kills him, and if Martin did not allow it Zimmerman would have been entitled to “thr[o]w the first punch,” subsequently kill Martin as the situation escalated, and escape culpability. Florida Statute 776.041(2)(b) (Use of Force by Aggressor).

    Wow, that was easy. Thanks for setting the bar so low!

  237. #237 |  Weird Willy | 

    Just as an afterthought…

    Scenario 3) Zimmerman engages Martin, “thr[o]w[s] the first punch” before making any attempt to disengage, then announces and makes his good faith attempt to retreat. Martin then starts beating the hell out of him instead of waiting to see if Zimmerman is actually buying time to renew his assault, and Zimmerman shoots him. Under Chapter 776, Zimmerman again would have been allowed to “thr[o]w the first punch” and still be excused for committing the homicide.

  238. #238 |  JLA | 

    @231

    Well, there you have it. Trayvon was smoking “the marijuana.” Zimmerman innocent. Case closed. We can all go home now. Because anyone who has ever read Radley’s blog knows that ALL people who smoke marijuana are guilty of anything you want them to be guilty of (especially the black ones, e.g. Cory Maye).

  239. #239 |  ben tillman | 

    You call Trayvon’s girlfriend his “conversational partner”, and you accuse OTHER people of dropping context?

    She wasn’t his girlfriend. She was just a friend.

  240. #240 |  Flight_714 | 

    “A lot of ppl claim to have an open mind on Z. But,
    Burgers, and only Burgers, walks the walk and talks the
    talk on that particular brag.”

    *applause*

    I had some suspicion a while back as to the true nature of your approach (I believe it was a comment involving the phrase “that’s just the BurgersAllday package”) but this seals it. You, sir, are a man so far ahead of the comedic curve you might as well be a chrononaut fresh out of the temporal capsule; your metal helmet hisses as you release the environmental seals in order to gaze upon our barbaric and antiquated wasteland with your natural eyes. In short: comedy genius.

  241. #241 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Actually newcomer, latecomer Weird Willy also seems to have an open mind and could see it having gone either way. He also seems to genuinely want to know what happened, rather than merely wanting to prove Z. innocent or guilty.

    There is (unfortunately scant) evidence that points in both respective directions.

    There is also evidence we have not heard. How persuasion that evidence is remains to be heard (and perhaps seen).

    My biggest fear is that this case will be resolved without the release of the unheard evidence. I think that outcome is pretty likely here, and it is a bad outcome for society. This is one case where we really should know how Z. and the Sanford police really were operating. And that is true whether Z. was a model neighborhood watch captain, or a busybody who would arbitrarily and habitually called police on people who were not doing anything wrong.

  242. #242 |  Bill | 

    “Latest from ABC news: Martin had THC, the drug found in marijuana, in his blood on the night of his death, according to the autopsy.

    So much for “profiling”. Zimmerman thought Martin looked like he was on drugs because… he was on drugs.”

    Depending on the details of the test, that could mean that Martin had been smoking that night, or might have smoked a week or more before that.

    Setting aside the “Zimmerman was right! He was on drugs!” thing, if he had been smoking shortly before the encounter, does that make you think it was more or less likely that Martin attacked Zimmerman out of the blue?

  243. #243 |  jmcross | 

    Sadly, I expect long, banal threads like this to become the norm when Balko moves to HP. Is there a filter for TEH STUPID?

    I’ll second the motion that Martin/Zimmerman stories be given separate treatment. I can see where RB might not want to be seen putting too much emphasis on the Z/M meme, but the comments on this subject are a sandstorm of misinformation and race baiting/paranoia in the face of all other topics when included within news links.

  244. #244 |  Other Sean | 

    Willy #232 -(I’ve had trouble posting this response, so I’m sorry for the delay, and even sorrier if it ends up appearing as a duplicate post).

    You were supposed to come up with Scenario 1, where Martin initiates and yet Zimmerman is guilty, and Scenario 2, where Zimmerman initiates and yet is still innocent.

    In Scenario 1, “false imprisonment” would require Zimmerman to initiate violence, so that is not a valid example of Martin being the initiator. Just saying “Stay put, son, the cops are on their way” is not false imprisonment.

    Scenario 2 suffers from the same flaw. You say “…Zimmerman clearly expresses a ‘good faith’ intent to disengage from him and leave at peace, but Martin refuses to allow him to do so…” If Martin “refuses” by any forceful means, he is the initiator and not Zimmerman. If he merely says, “Stay put, old man, I’m not through with you”, that is not an initiation of force.

    Both scenarios hinge on you conflating the idea of “confrontation” with the idea of “initiation of force”.

    Scenario 3 is a tiny bit closer, but it stills fails because once violence has been initiated, no one is under any obligation to believe an aggressor when he says “okay, truce…I’ll leave now.”

  245. #245 |  nigmalg | 

    Calling the police for the purpose of having them arrest someone for committing a non-crime is suborning the police to conspire with you to commit a crime against the non-crime-committer. True or false?

    Irrelevant. The problem lies not in the calling of the police, but in the way the police handle the call. If the police arrest or beat someone for a non-crime, they’ve committed the crime, not the caller.

  246. #246 |  Deoxy | 

    Zimmerman admittedly chose to arm himself, go out in the rain, closely follow an unarmed young man who was innocently returning to his family at the home of his father’s fiance, continue his pursuit of the young man in a manner that the young man’s conversational partner confirms he found threatening, exit his vehicle to pursue the young man on foot, and then kill the young man in a resulting altercation.

    All of which is COMPLETELY FINE, right up to the point that one of them started the altercation – WHO started it is the question, because that’s when the wrongness started.

    Up to that point, neither of them had done anything (that we know of) wrong – by all accounts (except Zimmerman’s, BEFORE the shooting), Martin was simply walking home, and Zimmerman was watching for criminals.

    Even if we completely give (for the sake of argument) that Zimmerman was COMPLETELY wrong about Martin’s behaviour, we still only get to a point of both parties being mistaken about the other, nothing more.

    I don’t have to “atomize the elements” or “destroy the context” at all – in fact, in context, Zimmerman’s actions make EVEN MORE SENSE and are even more obviously the “responsible citizen” thing to do (at least up until the end of the 911 call).

    Remember, atomize, dissect, dismember, and decontextualize a perpetrator’s conduct, and the crime disappears.

    Remember, assume which party is the “perpetrator” (evidence be hanged), and the crime becomes obvious.

    Simply let him stand trial for the admitted homicide of an unarmed youth, let him assert his defense in light of whatever evidence the prosecution has available, and see what results from the process.

    The problem is, unless the prosecution lied on the stand in the bail hearing, we already know the ethically required result: not guilty. There is no ethical way a prosecutor can tell the jury, “We don’t know who started it, so just hold the survivor guilty.”

    The trial itself, in this case, in unethical and a form of punishment. It may be better than the alternative (no trial, even if it’s the right thing to do, probably increases the odds of Zimmerman being lynched at this point), but that doesn’t make it ethically right.

    Calling the police for the purpose of having them arrest someone for committing a non-crime is suborning the police to conspire with you to commit a crime against the non-crime-committer. True or false?

    If you honestly don’t believe they are committing a crime, then you are submitting a false police report, which is a crime.

    But how is that relevant? Even if you believe Zimmerman was simply lying to the police, that does not remotely justify Martin assaulting him, so the self-defense claim still rests entirely on who started the altercation.

    Guys, the entire case hinges on who physically assaulted who first.

    Technically, I have to agree with Weird Willy in that you can start an altercation without being the first to physically assault the other – that is, one can throw the first punch in self defense in very specific and rare occasions.

    However, “who started it” is the still correct standard (and it usually comes down to who swung first, so that’s a reasonable shorthand, IMO), and none of the actions we know of from either party were a legitimate “start” for the other to defend themselves. ONE of them “started” it (making credible death threats, for instance, would work, coming from either one – Z or M), and, discounting Zimmerman, we don’t have any way to know who.

    Because anyone who has ever read Radley’s blog knows that ALL people who smoke marijuana are guilty of anything you want them to be guilty of (especially the black ones, e.g. Cory Maye).

    That was not the point AT ALL – Zimmerman haters keep saying Z is a terrible racist who clearly “profiled” him.

    “This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.”

    And look, he WAS on drugs – that is, Zimmerman is NOT just some evil racist who “profiled” him.

    That’s the whole point, there – it’s still entirely possible that Z initiated the altercation, in which case, he would still be guilty.

  247. #247 |  demize! | 

    I have heard, and or listened to the 45 taped prior calls to the Sanford police and have come to a determination that they are irrelevant. This is my ruling. I will cite the court to now longer reference this under penalty of contempt of thread. I have instructed my bailiffs to thrash, taze and or beat about the face and neck any juror or spectator who refuses to comply with my ruling. So sayeth I the Honarable demize! of the Eastern Federal district OYE OYE, ETC, ET AL, AD HOC AD ABSURDIA.

  248. #248 |  zendingo | 

    @246 | Deoxy |

    “And look, he WAS on drugs – that is, Zimmerman is NOT just some evil racist who “profiled” him.”

    because having THC in your blood stream is exactly the same as being hyped up on PCP or Cocaine. Right? the THC in trayvon martins system confirms he was up to no good.

  249. #249 |  Bobby Black | 

    @MAttocracy…i want you know i DO see how you see this. I just do not agree that the self defense from getting your ass kicked from a confrontation you started is a good one. Cops use that one all the time. It’s how i see it is just different. This was an avoidable tragedy. Martin did not start it. Yet he is dead. How is this not a sad thing?

    Deoxy…Since my words are obviously so important to you that you would dissect themin such a manner, i am honored, and I guess i should retort. You and i stand on polar sides of this CASE not the issue. Your claim i am “losing ground” is just in your own head. You are just impossible to argue with, because you are the kind just to assume much, accuse all, and blah blah blah. Zimmerman took the law into his incapable hands. That is my problem. You can parse and pick all you want, i do not stand alone in my views, and you have nothing of “facts” to dissuade me any more than I do you. You are spinning off further and further into your own little world on this, and the best thing I can do is say…good luck bro. I wish you well. Accusing me of racist leanings is further proof of your lack of empathy, or rather cognizance of arbitrary views, and lack of ability to have a civil discussion with anybody who dares to disagree with you. Race card. What race am i chum? What’s my age and how do i vote? You assume much. You know nothing of me, and argue with a figment you put on me in your own mind. Enjoy that. Hope it works out.

    @RT Absolutely i do.
    Ex Army. Hunter. Current multiple gun owner. I will shoot and kill anybody who attempts to hurt my family, no hesitation. I will NOT however, take off down the street in armed pursuit of somebody on unfounded suspicions of ill intent. My business begins at my lawn, and ends at that same edge going to the street. If i had seen a kid in a hoodie running from my garage, or at my window, there would be no doubt, and there would be no debate. I was defending me and mine.
    i fail to see how i would I live with myself, much less defend my actions if i were to have killed an innocent teenager who was minding his own business while i was not.
    There are bad people who would come and harm me and mine… and defending my property is one thing. This Zimmerman guy was not trained in any way to do what he did, and he has killed an innocent kid, and ruined his own life as a direct result of his ignorance.
    I fail to see how this can’t be seen by so many people. The fistfight would not have even started if Zimmerman had been sitting in his living room having a life of his own.
    It is my neighbor’s responsibility to protect their houses and cars from break ins. They sell guns and security devices everywhere here in Louisiana.
    I hope that answers your question.

  250. #250 |  EBL | 

    http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/2012/05/witness-testimony-collaborates-george.html Third party witness testimony and now the coroner’s report all support Zimmerman’s version of events. It still leaves open whether he (unlawfully) provoked the fight, but I cannot see murder with these facts.

  251. #251 |  AnonymousCoward | 

    @zendingo #248

    Or for that matter that he was even high at the time, because obviously when someone is no longer high all of the THC in their system magically disappears.

    Considering this is the same guy who says that a pistol is better than a long arm in close combat leads me to believe you’re squared off against an autodidactic polymath of such epic proportions that continuing the discussion will probably be unfruitful.

  252. #252 |  Deoxy | 

    Zimmerman took the law into his incapable hands. That is my problem.

    No, you ASSUME Zimmerman took the law into his own hands – that is indeed a problem, and it’s YOUR problem.

    Up to the point of the altercation (some time after the 911 call), Zimmerman didn’t “take the law into his own hands” any more than ANY concerned citizen watching out for his community does… and every decent society wants that.

    Did he start the actual fight? I DON’T KNOW, and neither does anyone else (except Zimmerman, who may be lying, and Martin, who is dead).

    But the REASONS you are condemning him are wrong, unethical, and immoral. Full Stop.

    Accusing me of racist leanings is further proof of your lack of empathy

    No, it’s me trying desperately to understand where you’re pulling stuff from and running out of other options.

    you are spinning off further and further into your own little world on this

    No, I’m checking the actual laws, and investigating actual moral and ethical requirements and standards. And I’m giving the full benefit of the doubt, despite my own (inherently biased, like everyone else) opinion of what probably happened – whichever one started the altercation is the guilty party.

    That’s the law, that’s the ethics, that’s the morality of what happened. All the stuff you’re complaining about and citing as reason it’s Zimmerman’s fault are legal, ethical, and moral.

    Who’s in their “own little world on this”?

    This Zimmerman guy was not trained in any way to do what he did

    Right, only trust trained professionals to protect your stuff! Nobody who isn’t “Ex Army” or a “Hunter” should EVER try to protect themselves or their stuff! And certainly not anyone else’s stuff either, no matter what level of trust those other people put in them!

    It is my neighbor’s responsibility to protect their houses and cars from break ins.

    Which they were doing… by working together and trusting each other to watch each other’s stuff, since no one who actually works or otherwise ever leaves their house can be on guard 24/7.

    The fistfight would not have even started if Zimmerman had been sitting in his living room having a life of his own.

    Nor would it have happened if aliens had abducted either one of them before hand! Darn aliens, not doing their job…

    To answer that a little more seriously, I’d HATE to have you as a neighbor:

    “Hey look, honey – somebody’s breaking in to the neighbor’s house and stealing all their stuff. Well, those thieves better be glad they didn’t break in over here, because I’d shoot them. Now, what’ on TV?”

    Seriously, you’re BLAMING Zimmerman for being a responsible member of a community, trying to help his neighbors out, watching out for the thieves plaguing the community. It’s about one step removed from blaming him for hurting Martin’s fist with his nose.

    Whoever started it (M or Z) is to blame for the actual altercation and killing – what happened up to then was at worst a case of fairly reasonable mutual misunderstanding.

    Considering this is the same guy who says that a pistol is better than a long arm in close combat

    In melee combat, such as a fist-fight or a grapple, you’d rather have a long arm (which works basically like a funny shaped club, for all you’re likely to be able to shoot them with it) instead of a pistol (which has a short barrel for just such a purpose)? Really?

    I mean, goodness, all those professional military types, who openly carry both kinds of weapons, are really just idiots, since the long arm is superior to the pistol, even in the type of situation the pistol is specifically meant for? Ok, then.

    When you have no other argument, a nice-sounding, sarcastic ad hominem is always a great retort, and if you can throw big words in there, hey, all the better.

    Or for that matter that he was even high at the time, because obviously when someone is no longer high all of the THC in their system magically disappears.

    Whether he was actually high at the time is likely another one of those things in case that we can never know; the point was how reasonable or unreasonable it might have been for Zimmerman to think that Martin was “on drugs or something.”

    Drugs in the system make that imminently more reasonable. I don’t see how that’s even up for discussion.

  253. #253 |  Deoxy | 

    because having THC in your blood stream is exactly the same as being hyped up on PCP or Cocaine.

    No, because “This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something” is pretty darn reasonable, and not evil evil “profiling”, if the guy he’s talking about is actually on drugs. That is all, no more, no less – the claim of self-defense still rests on who started the altercation.

  254. #254 |  zendingo | 

    @253 | Deoxy |

    “No, because “This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something” is pretty darn reasonable, and not evil evil “profiling”, if the guy he’s talking about is actually on drugs. ”

    and what does someone who is on drugs look like? how do i identify their behavior? what patterns are visible?

    has george zimmerman specified what exactly made trayvon martins behavior so suspicious?

  255. #255 |  Ariel | 

    My own two cents: most of the people that are giving Zimmerman the “reasonable doubt” are sticking to what is known however poorly it is known. The other side just makes shit up from “stalking” to “vigilante”, from “he provoked by having a gun” (concealed carry for god’s sake Martin had x-ray vision at night?) to “it was a legal order he disobeyed” (I read the transcript, that is just a lie if you read the transcript too, if newspapers I can understand) to so many BS scenarios that my head spins.

    It only matters who started the violence and left the other with no choice. If Zimmerman did, may he rot in prison, if Martin did, well teenagers make bad decisions. Unfortunately, if Zimmerman did we may never know that he did, but I won’t go into the sickness of “he must have cuz Martin’s dead”.

    Anyone ever watch “The Boondocks”?

  256. #256 |  Bobby Black | 

    Deoxy. You are just looking to argue, and you fail to see outside your own skull what myself and many others are trying to say though willful belligerence. You claim there is some sort of right to everything you say, and are willing to project your own assumptions of my state of mind including throwing race about as if that is some sort of sticking point with me. Truly a sad thing that you have this kind of confrontational attitude about this, and are willing to bandy such tripe about as some sort of factual reasoning, and I see you as wrong on most things on this subject. That’s life Deox. Try to live with that won’t you? i hope you don’t lose much sleep while typing out your 90 page retort to the World According To You. You may have the last word, as i see how important that kind of thing is to you….so yammer on my friend. I am just glad we aren’t the jury deliberation room together. Peace and chicken grease.

  257. #257 |  Ariel | 

    Bobby Black,

    You are in the group that just makes shit up, all said and done. Sorry.

    So Deoxy may, just may, have pegged you. I’ve read this whole damn thread, the transcript, newspaper articles (which are really, really poor on presenting the actual facts, just read in my state paper “he was ordered” when he wasn’t), and other blogs, pro or con.

    It still comes down to who started the violence and left the other with no choice. Not hurt feelings.

  258. #258 |  AnonymousCoward | 

    In melee combat, such as a fist-fight or a grapple, you’d rather have a long arm (which works basically like a funny shaped club, for all you’re likely to be able to shoot them with it) instead of a pistol (which has a short barrel for just such a purpose)? Really?

    Really.

    I mean, goodness, all those professional military types, who openly carry both kinds of weapons, are really just idiots, since the long arm is superior to the pistol, even in the type of situation the pistol is specifically meant for? Ok, then.

    Can you link to some training manuals which support your position? Or some experts in self defense that support you? Or even a movie where the tactical military guys put away their long arms and start clearing rooms with pistols?

    Because I think you’re just prognosticating, and actually have no background in the topic nor have you done any research.

    When you have no other argument, a nice-sounding, sarcastic ad hominem is always a great retort, and if you can throw big words in there, hey, all the better.

    I’m showing a pattern of behaviour. If you have a history of making definitive statements without any expertise or backing I think that’s very germane to consideration of your other arguments.

    http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/ad-hominem.html

    If I said you have an ugly face, or you consort with prostitutes that would be and ad hom. As it stands you’re pulling your statement about pistols being better in self defense out of one of your orifices, and your only justification is what you think sensible.

    Disarming someone with a pistol is much easier than disarming someone with a long arm, provided that person has a modicum of expertise with both. The long arms are easier to use as shooting weapons, and while neither is an ideal melee weapon having a big club is much better than a small club.

    If you can provide some of the info I asked for earlier, or perhaps a statistical comparison of pistol users who were disarmed or shot with their own weapon versus long arms I might start considering your opinion on other matters. Without that, I think that you’re good at argumentation but that your arguments aren’t necessarily informed ones (read: the THC gambit).

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