Morning Links

Friday, June 1st, 2012
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112 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Puzzling | 

    To the Z Burger furniture:

    http://dailydealia.com/take-a-seat-at-sugar-heaven-in-boston-literally

    Sugar Heaven in the Back Bay of Boston, MA opened in late March 2010 next door to where I work and I could not have been any happier… They set up a wrought iron type of fence with colorful butterfly like benches and tables inside. It was sweet and people that bought ice cream from their downstairs ice cream parlor would sit outside and enjoy the summer days and nights…

    However, the Back Bay Architectural Commission does not share the same sentiments. According to the BBAC the outdoor seating is deemed “inappropriate” and the guidelines for outdoor furniture state that it must be, “High-quality, durable materials such as metal, or wood seats and backs on metal frames, are preferred. Dark colors and finishes are recommended.”

    The current furniture is also not the original furniture design Sugar Heaven submitted to the Architectural Commission, which they did approve. Turns out the original furniture, which was a more restrained design, was not available when the owner tried to order it, so he chose the current furniture instead. When it arrived the employees painted it bright colors.

    Even after a violation hearing, the committee decided that repainting the furniture black would not make up for their act of inappropriateness.

  2. #2 |  CyniCAl | 

    A Martin/Zimmerman blurb and only one comment? That can mean only one thing: denial of service attack?

  3. #3 |  DoctorT | 

    “Woman breaks into home, cleans, takes out the trash, vacuums, leaves a bill.”

    Well, it’s just a step up from the folks who clean (smear) your windshields at stoplights and expect payment.

  4. #4 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    I must say, I’d rather see police departments sell the pentagon surplus toys than use them.

    I suppose that the sheriff could be garnering political capitol, but his explanation also makes sense to me. My impression is that counties in the Southwest are pretty large areas. Spreading equipment around so that it might be near the site of an emergency, and at the same time arranging for it to be used so that it is in working condition when you might need it strikes me as good planning.

    I wonder if we’ll see a follow-up.

  5. #5 |  Mike | 

    Zimmerman link broken.

  6. #6 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @2 – Comments were down earlier.

    And I see, apparently lots of people think stalking is acceptable in the USA. Well, I’m REALLY sure I don’t want to go anywhere near your country then. I’ve felt safer (as a Jew) in Amman.

  7. #7 |  crzyb0b | 

    I’d like to point out that the furniture in question is being place on a public sidewalk, built at public expense. The public is doing Z burger a favor.

  8. #8 |  Fascist Nation | 

    Zimmerman link broken. I think this was it:

    http://www.talkleft.com/story/2012/5/27/41053/5361

  9. #9 |  xenia onatopp | 

    Actually, Babeu is the first Arizona sheriff that comes to mind for me, but maybe that’s because I voted for his opponent twice in mayoral elections in his hometown of North Adams, MA.

    Fun trivia: Babeu and the equally horrible-in-her-own-way MA attorney general, Martha Coakley, both attended Drury High School in North Adams (so did two of my kids). So did Jane Swift, for those who remember her brief tenure as governor of MA.

  10. #10 |  Other Sean | 

    Drury High in North Adams, you say?

    That place must have some kind of crazy statist brain washing program that turns young people into thoughtless little zombies forever enslaved to the consensus.

    Oh, wait, it’s a school!

  11. #11 |  Fred Mangels | 

    On that piece about El Paso: Shouldn’t “…and staunch drug war opponent Silvestre Reyes….

    I think that should be staunch drug warrior Silvestre Reyes, since the other guy wants to legalize marijuana.

  12. #12 |  David Chesler | 

    Cleaning Fairy — isn’t that the illegal aliens’ argument? It doesn’t matter how we got here, we’re doing some good so we get to stay.

  13. #13 |  Rick H. | 

    #12 David:

    Your analogy would only make sense if the entire U.S. is simultaneously private property and owned by the government. An impossibility. Neither you nor the government owns (or should interfere with) my home, business, or right to contract with whom I choose.

  14. #14 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Rick H.

    While I agree with you in principal, we still need to do something to bring the reality of immigration (both types) and the structure of the immigration laws into better alignment. As matters stand we are taking unconscionable advantage of thousands of people who immigrate here illegally and are therefore trapped in a legal limbo.

    I’m a grouch, so my personal preference for a solution would be the conquest of Mexico, but I’m willing to listen to alternatives.

  15. #15 |  Greg | 

    Does self-defense really apply when someone provokes a fight? Don’t get me wrong- I don’t think Zimmerman committed murder, but doesn’t being an instigator imply some sort of negligence?

    I also believe in some sort of reasonable attempt to use force that is appropriate. I don’t think if I confront someone, start a fight and get my butt kicked, that I should/would pull out a gun and shoot to kill.

    If I’m walking down the street minding my own business and someone starts a fight with me, don’t *I* have my own right to self-defense- that should not be punished by death?

    It seems like both parties were excessive in their use of force and instigation/escalation, IMHO.

  16. #16 |  Bobby | 

    I don’t understand how Jeralyn could argue that the fight broke out at T, ended up at X, without Zimmerman having the opportunity to extract himself from the situation, to put just enough distance between himself and Martin to draw his gun and tell Martin to stop.

    I also don’t see how she could conclude Martin “came up on Zimmerman’s left” at T, when that seems to contradict Martin’s friend’s statement that Martin had seen Zimmerman, and decided to simply “walk fast” rather than run. In that scenario, Zimmerman approaches Martin from T, and the fight and shooting occurs where Martin’s body was found, at X.

    Jeralyn’s statement here is pretty amazing:

    “Demanding someone account for their presence does not provoke the use of force. ”

    Maybe not. What about stalking someone in your vehicle, at night, without identifying yourself. Then, once the person is spooked and runs away, chasing that person through a dark neighborhood? And then, on top of that, approaching that person when you’ve spotted them again?

    If I’ve been followed, and then chased through a dark neighborhood by a stranger who has not identified themselves, I have a reasonable fear of bodily harm. Martin was defending himself from a person that he had every reason to believe was a threat.

  17. #17 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    I would like to look at the Zimmerman case from another perspective;

    If Zimmerman had not been armed, or for some reason hadn’t used the gun he had, and he died while Martin was on top of him, banging his head on the sidewalk (which appears, on the evidence we have now, to be what was going on when Zimmerman shot), would Martin be a murderer, regardless of who started that fight?

    Because it seems to me that if the answer is “yes”, then Zimmerman had a legal right to shoot the person on top of him, regardless of who started the fight. Which is not the same thing as having a MORAL right, mind.

  18. #18 |  Bobby | 

    Why are we assuming Martin was “banging” Zimmerman’s head against the side-walk? Because of two cuts that were easily treatable by the EMTs on the scene? Could they not have been cut when falling onto the side walk? Or maybe, when wrestling for control of the gun, Martin shoved his face into the side walk, causing a cut?

    The medical evidence does not indicate Martin was ruthlessly smashing a defenseless Zimmerman’s head against the sidewalk; there’s no evidence of a concussion, nor were the cuts in the back of Zimmerman’s head anything that warranted a hospital visitation.

  19. #19 |  Bobby | 

    Also, witnesses report Zimmerman was completely coherent, immediately after the fight.

  20. #20 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    Cynical: “A Martin/Zimmerman blurb and only one comment? That can mean only one thing: denial of service attack?”

    I anticipate that there will be 150 to 200 comments before Monday, Cynical. If they get to 300 comments I bet they will magically unlock the buried secrets of the Zimmerman/Martin incident. The sheer force of all the hot air produced on this blog will clear the whole thing up. And the master debaters (hee hee) on this blog will also, miraculously, solve all of the criminal justice problems and racial problems in our society just by arguing endlessly and comparing dick sizes for two days straight. It will all be fine as long as we shout over each other and call each other retards and nazis. It’s the American way of argumentation, Cynical. And, as always, the American way is superior because we say so.

  21. #21 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Bobby,

    Cuts on Zimmerman’s head, plus an eyewitness account (which was being cited as far back as I’ve been following this mess) that Martin was astride Zimmerman’s prone body, banging his head on the sidewalk.

    Now, the eyewitness account may be questionable, but the wounds make it seem more plausible.

    And, sorry if this offends anyone, but if somebody had me down and was banging my turnip on the pavement, I wouldn’t be trying to gage the severity of the damage. I’d be trying to get the sonofabitch off me by any means to hand.

    The legal standard isn’t “in mortal danger, as decided by objective observers after the fact”.

  22. #22 |  Bobby | 

    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/trayvon-martin-shooting-witnesses-change-stories-ahead-zimmerman-133743219.html

    A third witness, “Witness 6,” told police on the night of the shooting that he saw a black man on top of a lighter-skinned man “just throwing down blows on the guy, MMA-style.” He said the lighter-skinned man was calling for help. Interviewed later by investigators, he said he was not sure who was calling for help, and was not sure any punches were thrown.

    From MMA style to not sure if any punches were thrown? Unreliable indeed.

    Again, if Martin was punching Zimmerman, in the head, with Zimmerman’s head against the concrete, the injuries would have been far more severe, if not fatal. Zimmerman’s claim that he was having his head banged against the side-walk is extremely tenuous.

  23. #23 |  Leonson | 

    #22 Bobby-

    Glad to know we have a forensic medical examiner in the group! Where did you go to school?

    Your analysis that the wounds would have been far more severe without any factual data is astounding! I can’t wait to read your paper on it!

  24. #24 |  Bobby | 

    Leonson,

    I have a knowledge of basic physics. The average person can deal several hundreds of pounds of force in a punch. Some of that force is mitigated by your head snapping back. If your head is against concrete, your face is going to absorb the full impact of that punch. Repeated punches like that, as is suggested when you say someone is punching “MMA” style, would result in a lot more damage against concrete than what’s been publicly reported.

    I’m going by the publicly available accounts of the trained medical examiners that treated Zimmerman immediately after the shooting, who said his weren’t severe enough to take him to the hospital. I’m also going by Zimmerman’s publicly released medical records.

    The point is, there’s absolutely no reason to assume the two cuts on Zimmerman’s head were the result of Martin savagely bashing Zimmerman’s head against the ground. That’s the level of brutality C. S. P. Schofield’s suggesting when he posed his “Martin the murderer” example above.

  25. #25 |  r.l.s.3 | 

    I work in an industry where the complexity of science and the knowledge of experts are very respected things and people who form opinions based on “knowledge of basic physics” get laughed out of the room. Bobby should search back a few days, find the link to the article about how knockouts and death occur from punches and read it. He will realize that his “knowledge of basic physics” is just a little too basic, when he compares his statement that “force is mitigated by your head snapping back”, to what really causes damage.

    Incidentally, one of the reasons I never want to stand trial for anything, much less a murder accusation, is that my jury would consist of people with basic knowledge of whatever driving their basic opinions to where ever.

  26. #26 |  Other Sean | 

    Which of the following best describes YOUR Zimmerman posture:

    A.) “I believe Zimmerman is a racist murder who embodies everything wrong with America and who must, in the name of decency, be hanged.”

    B.) “I believe Zimmerman is the innocent if somewhat unsympathetic victim of a criminal assault, who is now being prepared for sacrifice on the altar of racial politics.”

    C.) “I’m way too cool to discuss anything as common as the Zimmerman case.”

    D.) “I will remain neutral until more information becomes available.”

    I’ve heard a lot from A, B, and C, but I wonder……how many readers here actually fall into category D.

  27. #27 |  r.l.s.3 | 

    Other Sean,

    I think my plate is fairly full with a serving of “D”, but I must admit to a little bit of “B” garnish on the side.

    But I’m really not all that interested in the case itself.

    What I find interesting (and sometimes entertaining) are the innumerable positions and opinions people take on the case — from the uneducated and emotional, to the well informed and logical, and all other combinations thereof. Humanity is fascinating, and much can be learned by watching.

  28. #28 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Other Sean,

    How about;

    F) “I believe that, as matters stand, Zimmerman should not be convicted on the charge that has been brought against him. I also believe that various groups have, for various reasons, tried to make Martin look better than the facts warrant, and turned a possible tragedy into a nasty farce.”

  29. #29 |  Bobby | 

    @ r.l.s.3

    I didn’t argue that there isn’t a threat of death from a blow to the head. I’m arguing the likes of C.S.P. Schofield have extremely little reason to believe the cuts on Zimmerman’s head were caused by his head being “bashed” against the ground, over than any number of other ways that it could have happened in a fight on a sidewalk.

    It’s ironic to see him complain about people trying to make Martin look “better than the facts warrant”, while assuming the worst about Martin’s possible actions.

    I think the Murder 2 charge is an overreach, but he certainly should be liable for manslaughter. His actions were ridiculously reckless, aggressive, and threatening.

  30. #30 |  Bobby | 

    There’s an undercurrent of racism in the analysis here, and I suspect people like C. S. P. Schofield are so ready to assume Zimmerman had his head repeatedly bashed against the ground. Imagine if we read about this scenario:

    A black guy stalks a white woman from his car, in the middle of the night. The woman, spooked, runs away, and the black guy gets out of his car and chases her. She looses him for a while, until he spots her, and hurries towards her. When he’s a couple yards away from her, she tazes him.

    Who’s the aggressor here?

  31. #31 |  Bobby | 

    The first sentence above should read:

    There’s an undercurrent of racism in the analysis here, and I suspect that’s why people like C.S.P. Schofield are so ready to assume Zimmerman had his head repeatedly bashed against the ground.

  32. #32 |  Bobby | 

    @r.l.s.3

    To respond to the end of your post:

    “He will realize that his “knowledge of basic physics” is just a little too basic, when he compares his statement that “force is mitigated by your head snapping back”, to what really causes damage.”

    I was talking about the types of bone fractures you’d find on Zimmerman’s face if his head was pinned against the pavement while being punched “MMA” style, vs the types of injuries you’d expect to see if he were standing upright.

  33. #33 |  Highway | 

    #7 | crzyb0b | June 1st, 2012 at 10:57 pm
    I’d like to point out that the furniture in question is being place on a public sidewalk, built at public expense. The public is doing Z burger a favor.

    You have absolutely no clue that this is true. The ‘public sidewalk’ could have been extorted out of the developer of the building, as many are, as a condition of permitting the building as a commercial space, and who was then required to give it to the ‘public’. As for ‘favors’, when does putting ridiculous conditions and requirements turn into less of a ‘favor’ than a hindrance?

  34. #34 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Bobby,

    There’s certainly enough racism to go around. Still, so far as I can see all the scenarios that have been put forth to condemn Zimmerman depend on reading tea leaves, or demanding a degree of forbearance that the law does not, in fact, require.

    If there is actual evidence that Martin wasn’t on top of Zimmerman when the shot(s?) were fired, I haven’t come across it. It may be a lie, but based on what has been made public so far, if it is it is a lie that seems likely to stand.

    My position is less that Zimmerman is innocent than that unless there’s something damming that we haven’t seen only two people know, and one of them is dead.

    Further, given the circus that has grown up around the case, and barring some physical evidence that we haven’t seen, I have to say that if Zimmerman is found guilty THAT will be racism. On the merits of the case as we know them, not only should Zimmerman be found innocent, but the prosecutor should be fired and possibly disbarred.

    Zimmerman’s previous 911 calls do not matter. Zimmerman’s race (and Martins’ for that matter) does not matter. What matters is that society cannot produce a ‘perfect’ justice system, and will have less chance to have a decent one if we follow along with this “we don’t like this guy, so if it looks like he might get off with the laws we have then they must be changed” crap. And that is as true of the O. J. Simpson trial as it is for this one.

    We are too goddamned fond of trying to make sure we punish people we are ‘sure’ are Bad People, and it leads to far too many unjust persecutions.

    As Mr. Balko has show on this blog again and again, law that makes sure that nobody escapes for lack of evidence is not justice.

  35. #35 |  Other Sean | 

    C.S.P.,

    “…law that makes sure that nobody escapes for lack of evidence is not justice.”

    But don’t you see: that’s why it is essential that Zimmerman should be accused of racism. That’s why Bobby accused you of racism – or, begging the pardon of his clumsy weasel words, an “undercurrent of racism” in your analysis – in the comments above.

    The charge of racism does not require evidence, and it removes personhood from the charged. Racism is never defined until after the fact; there is no such thing as compliance. You will be told what the rules are, once you have been caught breaking them. Racists do not deserve due process, nor it is necessary to answer the arguments of a racist.

    You failed to denounce Zimmerman in sufficient terms. Now, you must be denounced. The court of racial justice is the perfect judicial instrument: everyone charged is guilty, and everyone who charges is innocent…both by definition.

  36. #36 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Other Sean,

    I know. And I sometimes, when I am feeling particularly vicious, wonder what would happen to the Democrat Party’s racial quislings if the people they bamboozle for their Masters ever figured out how thoroughly they were being betrayed by the likes of Al “photographic negative of a White Racist Cracker” Sharpton.

  37. #37 |  Bobby | 

    @ OtherSean, wanna point out where I accused Zimmerman of racism? I’m pretty sure I haven’t.

    The irony is pretty amazing. In the process of complaining about the exaggerated claims of racism surrounding the case, you completely distort what I’ve been arguing. I guess I’ve been sterotyped, because I’m skeptical of Zimmerman’s defense? lol

    @ C.S.P.
    You really haven’t answered the question I’ve directed at you for a while now. Why do you believe the cuts on Zimmerman’s head were caused by his head being “bashed” against the ground, over than any number of other ways that it could have happened in a fight on a sidewalk? The witness you mentioned has since recanted his statement, soooo…

  38. #38 |  Bobby | 

    Let’s talk about the evidence:

    1) The Talk Left post assumes Martin confronted Zimmerman where they marked T on the map. Why do they assume this? No witnesses saw this, and it seems to contradict Martin’s girlfriend’s testimony.

    2) It also contradicts the dynamics of the situation as we understand it from the 911 calls. Zimmerman was following Martin. Martin ran away from Zimmerman, who got out of his car and Martin, muttering that “these punks always get away”. (That statement, by the way, is going to be used by the prosecution do demonstrate a depraved state of mind, which is necessary for the murder charge). Why are people quick to believe Martin, who was running away, decided to double back and jump Zimmerman?

    3) Talk Left assumes the fight started at T, and ended up at X. That’s about what, 20 yards? How does that distance get covered if Zimmerman is helpless, and unable to extract himself from the situation? He only needs enough distance to pull out his firearm and command Trayvon to halt.

    4) The alternative situation, as described by Martin’s girlfriend, fits the facts better. Trayvon was hiding out, he was spotted by Zimmerman. Martin’s girlfriend begs him to run, but he says he’s just going to “walk fast” (which only makes sense if he’s walking fast away from Zimmerman). Zimmerman runs after Martin and confronts him at X, where the shooting occurs.

    In this situation:
    - The original dynamics stay the same. Zimmerman is pursuing Martin through out.

    - We don’t have to account for how the shooting took place some 20 yards away from where the Talk Left post assumes the altercation started.

    - There’s no contradiction here between Martin’s girlfriend’s testimony and anything reported by the witnesses the Talk Left post has labeled as “useful”

  39. #39 |  Bobby | 

    The sentence in point 2 above should read:

    Martin ran away from Zimmerman, who got out of his car and ran afterMartin

  40. #40 |  Other Sean | 

    Bobby,

    I didn’t say you accused Zimmerman of racism, I said you accused C.S.P. of racism. Which you did (obviously enough) back in comment #31.

    But while we’re on the subject: are you pretending not to notice that Zimmerman stands accused of racism by just about everyone on your side of the argument? And would you care to go on record saying that you differ from them?

    Would you care to say: “I realize that George Zimmerman became suspicious when he saw an unknown young black kid walking through his neighborhood, and I have no problem with that”?

  41. #41 |  Bobby | 

    @Other Sean

    Are you kidding me?

    But don’t you see: that’s why it is essential that Zimmerman should be accused of racism. That’s why Bobby accused you of racism…

    …You failed to denounce Zimmerman in sufficient terms. Now, you must be denounced. The court of racial justice is the perfect judicial instrument: everyone charged is guilty, and everyone who charges is innocent…both by definition.

    So you’re pretty much admitting that your entire rant there was one giant red herring? I appreciate the honesty.

    Further, if you really believe there’s no difference between saying “that argument has undertones of racism” and “the person making this statement is outright racist”, you’re a dope.

    Anyhow, the only act on the part of Zimmerman that implies prejudice is his profiling of Martin, because of his skin-color. But this certainly doesn’t imply the level of racism he’s been accused of, and his prejudice there is understandable given the break-ins that occurred in the weeks prior.

    So I don’t have a problem with that with his suspicion. That said, it’s pretty inexcusable for him to have:

    - Failed to identify himself as a member of the neighborhood watch to Trayvon

    - Failed to simply ask Trayvon what he was doing in the neighboorhood before calling 911

    - Run after Trayvon when he ran away. His job as a member of the neighboorhood watch is simply to report suspicious activity to the police, not chase suspects.

    - Approached Trayvon when he spotted him again, as the evidence suggests.

    These were all ridiculously reckless actions that lead to an unnecessary killing.

  42. #42 |  Other Sean | 

    Bobby,

    Oh…there is a difference between “between saying ‘that argument has undertones of racism’ and ‘the person making this statement is outright racist’.”

    The first is a gutless insinuation. The second is at least straightforward. You should not be proud of using the first.

  43. #43 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @34 – And that’s why, of course, you’ve decided that Travon is guilty, and are calling to disbar the prosecutor.

    I don’t think there’s just a HINT of racism in your stance, bluntly.

  44. #44 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @42 – So it’s impossible in your view to separate the argument from the person? Ah, that does explain some of your OTT over-reactions in the past.

  45. #45 |  Other Sean | 

    Leon,

    Well, I once tried to separate you from one of your arguments, and I’m pretty sure that IS impossible.

  46. #46 |  Bobby | 

    Oh…there is a difference between “between saying ‘that argument has undertones of racism’ and ‘the person making this statement is outright racist’.”

    The first is a gutless insinuation. The second is at least straightforward. You should not be proud of using the first.

    lol

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M54rv3hfIkc

  47. #47 |  libarbarian | 

    Re Zimmerman:

    Another analysis based on taking Zimmerman’s account of being “attacked” at face value. I wonder if the Jury will do this, considering he has now been cold-busted lying to the court about bond issues. You’re a defendant in a case where your credibility is going to be very important and you lie about how much money you have and then forget that jailhouse phone-calls are recorded? WTF?

    No one disputes there was a fight in which Zimmerman got injured. The question is what started the fight and whether, as Zimmerman alleges, a kid with no history of violence suddenly decided, without direct provocation or even a face-to-face encounter, to fly at someone and savagely attempt to crush that man’s skull with his bare hands.

  48. #48 |  supercat | 

    #43 | Leon Wolfeson | “And that’s why, of course, you’ve decided that Travon is guilty, and are calling to disbar the prosecutor.”

    An honest prosecutor should only bring charges in cases where a reasonable jury would likely to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. For an honest juror to legitimately convict Mr. Zimmerman, he would have to find that Mr. Zimmerman’s claim–that he was not seeking to physically engage Mr. Martin but was attacked anyway–was totally implausible. Unless there’s some significant evidence that hasn’t been made public, there’s no way the prosecutor could reasonably expect to come anywhere close to meeting that burden.

    Among other things, it’s not hard to imagine plausible motives that Mr. Martin might have had for attacking Mr. Zimmerman (e.g. he might have thought Mr. Zimmerman might have seen him do something that he didn’t want to have reported, or he might have thought Mr. Zimmerman needed to be ‘taught a lesson’). Whether or not one thinks it especially likely that Mr. Martin had such a motive, it’s certainly plausible; other people have committed similar attacks in similar situations. I really can’t think of any plausible motive Mr. Zimmerman might have had to engage Martin in melee combat in such fashion as to let Martin get on top of him, and cannot think of any situation where someone with a legally-concealed weapon has acted in such fashion.

  49. #49 |  Other Sean | 

    Supercat,

    “…a kid with no history of violence…”

    The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. The lack of any KNOWN violence in Trayvon Martin’s past is totally irrelevant to this case.

    Everyone with a history of violence had to start somewhere, and that somewhere is usually male adolescence.

    Martin either committed assault that day, or he didn’t. There is nothing in his mostly private, unrecorded past that will answer that question for us.

  50. #50 |  Bobby | 

    Other Sean, per usual, misses the point, because he’s obviously not all that birght.

    The Talk Left post makes the assumption that Martin initiated the confrontation, based on nothing but Zimmerman’s testimony.

    C.S.P’s assumption that the cuts on Zimmerman’s head was caused by Martin bashing his skull against the pavement, rather than any number of other ways it could have happened in that fight is based on nothing but Zimmerman’s testimony and the testimony of a witness that has since recanted. Since I pointed out the witness has recanted, C.S.P. refuses to explain why he assumes Zimmerman was getting his head bashed in.

    We don’t know what happend, but given what we do know of the events of that night, and given Martin’s lack of violence in his past, and Zimmerman’s reported past aggression, if we were to make the assumption about who initiated the confrontation, the assumption should be Zimmerman started the conflict. The fact that people are so eager to paint Martin as the aggressor is certainly interesting.

    Don’t conflate the above point with arguments about Zimmerman’s legal chances.

    In court, Zimmerman has to be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and barring some unknown evidence, there may be reasonable doubt that he is guilty of second degree murder. But in arguing this point, we should be careful about making unreasonable assumptions about Martin’s actions that night. Both the Talk Left post and commentators in this thread have done so.

  51. #51 |  Bobby | 

    Off course I typo in the middle of an insult. God dammit.

  52. #52 |  Other Sean | 

    Bobby,

    Don’t feel bad. I’m pretty sure that typo was the most informative part of your comment.

  53. #53 |  Bobby | 

    Given you’re demonstrated inability to follow arguments, and your habit of wildly reacting to what you think is being discussed, I’m not surprised.

  54. #54 |  Other Sean | 

    Okay, Bobby…help me then. Help me follow this argument, help me understand what’s really being discussed when you say things like:

    “The fact that people are so eager to paint Martin as the aggressor is certainly interesting.”

    What exactly does that mean? What’s interesting about it? In a violent encounter between two people, someone had to be the aggressor. Some say it was Zimmerman, some say it was Martin. Both seem pretty eager to say what they are saying.

    So please, explain what you meant by “interesting”.

  55. #55 |  Bobby | 

    Just that, it’s interesting that there’s an assumption that Martin was the aggressor, despite the evidence pointing more heavily to Zimmerman initiating the confrontation.

    The Talk Left blog was, supposedly, doing a straight analysis of the facts on hand, and yet makes the completely unfounded assumption that Martin initiated the confrontation at point T, marked on their map. (See post #38) above. Why?

    C.S.P. has refused to answer why he assumes Martin was banging Zimmerman’s head against the side-walk, despite the fact that there’s no evidence to make us sure this happened over any of the other plausible ways Zimmerman could have gotten those cuts on his head during a fight on a sidewalk. Why does he automatically assume the worst about Martin’s actions?

    In both cases, these commentators are clearly biased against Martin, as they’re embracing negative assumptions about Martin’s actions as the truth. What do you think the source of their bias is, Other Sean?

    *prepares for Other Sean’s wild over-reaction*

  56. #56 |  Other Sean | 

    “These commentators are clearly biased against Martin…What do you think the source of their bias is, Other Sean?”

    That’s what I am asking you. You claim to see a bias, you should be the one to say what it is.

  57. #57 |  Bobby | 

    Wait, I “claim” to see bias? No, their commentary is pretty clearly biased against Martin in a way that’s not supported by evidence.

    If you don’t think that’s the case, explain why not.

  58. #58 |  Other Sean | 

    Okay, I’m sorry. You “pretty cleary” see a bias in some of the commentary here.

    What kind of bias do you think it is?

  59. #59 |  Bobby | 

    Ok, you obviously want to avoid talking about Talk Left’s and C.S.P’s assumptions. Why is that? (Somehow, I don’t expect you to answer)

    In the Talk Left’s case, the author of that post has a background as a defense attorney, so the most obvious theory is she’s looking at the case as if she were the one representing Zimmerman, and that’s what’s coloring her analysis. Perhaps she wrote up something that she would present to court, when defending Zimmerman, rather than a completely objective analysis of the facts.

    In C.S.P.’s case, I have no idea, and he’s abandoned this thread, so I likely won’t get an answer from him. It could be a bit of racism coloring his analysis, as I suggested up thread, when calling him out on claiming Martin was banging Zimmerman’s head against the sidewalk, and using this assumption as a basis for his “Martin the murderer” hypothetical.

    You read that earlier and became completely unhinged, and I fully expect to see you do it again. The word “racism” causes you causes you to vomit hyperbole, conflate the arguments of everyone you perceive to be on “Trayvon Martin’s side”, and completely lose the ability to understand the nuance of an argument, assuming you had that ability in the first place.

  60. #60 |  Other Sean | 

    So you think it’s a defense lawyer perspective in Talk Left’s case and possibly racism in the case of C.S.P.

    Since most people have never been defense lawyers, can I take it that you think racism is the more common motive among people who believe Martin was the aggressor?

    Are there no other reasons why someone might believe that? Or have we pretty much completed the list?

  61. #61 |  Bobby | 

    Hey Other Sean,

    Racism could be an influence in both cases. In C.S.P’s case, there’s no other reason that’s apparent, and he hasn’t bothered to answer why he’s making the assumption he’s making, so we don’t know.

    Just out of cursorily, have you seen this post?
    http://www.theagitator.com/2012/04/04/qualified-immunity-strikes-again/

    Do you think it’s fair to think the officer might be racist?

  62. #62 |  Bobby | 

    *curiosity

  63. #63 |  Other Sean | 

    “In C.S.P’s case, there’s no other reason that’s apparent…”

    He’s written several thousand words on the subject, spread out across several threads. You are not persuaded by his reasons…okay, that’s fine.

    But how do you get from that – from not accepting C.S.P’s arguments – to the conclusion that racism is most likely a factor in his analysis.

    In other words, since you’re choosing not to take him at face value, where is the evidence of racism? What racist things has he written or said?

    (I promise I’ll read that other thread later, but for now let’s stay with this one.)

  64. #64 |  Bobby | 

    He spelled out his reasons for believing so in this thread, and they were rebutted so easily that it’s laughable. He was relying on two facts:

    - There were cuts on Zimmerman’s head
    - There was a witness that claimed he was being assaulted “MMA-style”, who later recanted and said he wasn’t even sure he saw a punch thrown.

    …That’s it. Based on that, he acts as if the cuts on Zimmerman’s head were definitely caused by Martin slamming his head against the ground, rather than it being scratched during the stuggle on the side-walk, etc.

    He uses this piss-poor reasoning to paint a hypothetical in which the victim of this shooting could be considered a murderer. The fact that he’s so eager to assume the most violent assumptions about Martin suggests some racial bias.

    That isn’t to say it proves racial bias, but it’s certainly not absurd to suspect it. That post you promised to read later; read it right now. Balko suggests the officer in question acted as he did due to racism. He did so in spite of the fact that there’s no “clear evidence of racism” that was admissible in court, and despite the fact that the officer had not been reported to have said or written any racist things.

    So, I’ll ask you again. Do you think it’s fair to suspect that racism played a role in that officer’s actions?

  65. #65 |  Other Sean | 

    As I said, I’ll read the other thread after I finish this comment, and I promise to answer your questions about it next. In the meantime, let’s finish this point:

    What we have here is this: C.S.P believes something, and you are convinced he is wrong. Rather than continuing to explain the reasons WHY you think he is wrong, you have given up any attempt to persuade him (or other who think as he does). You have skipped ahead to construct a theory about his (and by extension their) motives, specifically arguing that his judgement in this case has most likely been impaired by racial bias.

    Have you ever heard of the logical fallacy known as “Bulverism”?

  66. #66 |  Bobby | 

    lol, “Bulverism”?

    I’m not “assuming” his argument is wrong, I demonstrated his argument his wrong.

    I didn’t “give up” trying to persuade him; he left this thread. I’d be thrilled if he came back and finally answered the question I’ve been asking him.

    Ok, now go read that post and come back.

  67. #67 |  Other Sean | 

    To demonstrate something, in the context of an argument, means to conclusively prove it. You have not done that. Unless a video emerges from some previously unknown source, no one will be able to “demonstrate” what really happened that day between Zimmerman and Martin.

    You have your preferred explanation; others have their’s. That why people come here to debate and exchange points. Surely you must recognize the difference between an argument that you find convincing and an argument that rises to the level of undeniable proof.

    But even so, why specifically assume racism on the part of those who differ from you? Why not simply accept that, in a case where proof is unavailable and only two options exist, there is bound to be something like a 50-50 split. Which seems to be what we have here: about half the commenters favor Martin as the aggressor, the other half favor Zimmerman, with only a few genuinely undecided people in between. That’s what you would expect, if there were no bias at all.

    So…why racism, then? What about this case makes racism the best alleged motive with which to bulervize your opponents?
    _____________________________________________________________________________

    I read the other story. A sad and tragic episode, indeed. I guess the intended relevance is: if it’s fair to assume racism on the part of that officer, then it must be fair to assume racism on the part of Zimmerman. Is that what you meant in sending me there?

    Because if so, I don’t understand. We’re not talking about Zimmerman at the moment, we are talking about C.S.P. and his comments. Nothing in the link you showed me establishes a principle that would makes it fair to accuse a fellow commenter of racism without evidence.

    Perhaps you can explain that.

  68. #68 |  Bobby | 

    Here’s my argument against C.S.P.

    #29 | Bobby | June 3rd, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    I’m arguing the likes of C.S.P. Schofield have extremely little reason to believe the cuts on Zimmerman’s head were caused by his head being “bashed” against the ground, over than any number of other ways that it could have happened in a fight on a sidewalk.

    See that I emphasized “over”? I’m not arguing that it definitely didn’t happen, I’m arguing that there’s absolutely no reason to assume that it did. Zimmerman could have gotten those cuts in any number of ways during a struggle on a sidewalk, especially if he was on his back. Yet, C.S.P. insists it happens, and uses this assumption to justify his “Martin the murderer” analogy.

    Why does he insist on assuming the worst possible actions on the part of Martin? Why doesn’t he acknowledge some of the evidence he cited is lacking? He’s obviously biased against Martin; I suspect his bias may have something to do with racial prejudice on his part.

    You suggested that it’s unfair to suspect this, because I don’t have any clear “evidence of racism”. Because I don’t have an example of “racist things has he written or said” Well, we don’t have that kind of proof about that officer either. To correctly rephrase what just wrote:

    if it’s fair to suspect racism on the part of that officer, then it must be fair to assume suspect on the part of C.S.P.

  69. #69 |  Other Sean | 

    The problem with your analogy is that both the officer from Bellaire Texas and Zimmerman did provide you at least one apparent basis for charging them with racism: they both seem to have formed suspicions of people shortly after noticing that they were black. (Whether that’s enough to accuse someone of racism is another question, which we can set aside).

    But here’s the thing: C.S.P. hasn’t done anything like that. He just has a different interpretation of Zimmerman’s wounds than the one your prefer. He disagrees with you about the chain of events in a fight that neither of you witnessed. In that fight there are only two options: either the black kid started it (his guess), or the half-hispanic guy with the jewish surname started it (your guess).

    Why is one position more racist than the other?

  70. #70 |  Bobby | 

    Because he’s arbitrarily picking the position that incriminates the black kid, sans evidence to support it. You’re acting as if both our positions have equal merit. They don’t.

    Would you like to explain to me why anyone should believe the cuts on Zimmerman’s head were caused by Martin repeatedly slamming his head into the ground over the possibility that they were cut when he fell to the side walk, and during the struggle on the side walk?

  71. #71 |  Other Sean | 

    As a matter of logic, both positions do have equal merit, because both are capable of explaining the known facts, and there isn’t clear proof in either direction. Actually it would be better to say that both positions have equal demerit, because they are both impossible to prove or disprove, but whatever.

    You think a half-hispanic guy shot a kid for no good reason, when his own life wasn’t in any real danger. C.S.P thinks a black kid beat a man about the face and head, endangering his life and leaving him no choice but to shoot in self defense.

    What, other than the fact that you believe it, makes your position immune to a counter-charge of racism?
    _____________________________________________________________________________

    I’m curious how you’d answer the following…

    Four men enter a building; one is black, one is white, one is asian, one is hispanic. After an hour inside, the asian is shot in the back and killed. None of the surviving men will confess to the killing. The white blames the black, the black blames the hispanic, and the hispanic blames the white. After that everyone remains silent as they wait for their attorneys.

    Three investigators are assigned to the case. The first detective feels sure it is the white guy, the second thinks it must be the hispanic, and the third detective is convinced it’s gotta be the black.

    Question: is the third detective a racist for thinking as he does?

  72. #72 |  Bobby | 

    What the hell is up with your strawman habit?

    As a matter of logic, both positions do have equal merit, because both are capable of explaining the known facts, and there isn’t clear proof in either direction.

    Tell me, what do you think my position is? I spelled it out pretty damn clearly above, but given what you wrote here, you seem to have missed it. Just tell me what you believe I’m arguing, so I can clarify.

  73. #73 |  Bobby | 

    Hint

    #71 | Other Sean | June 7th, 2012 at 2:18 am
    You think a half-hispanic guy shot a kid for no good reason, when his own life wasn’t in any real danger. C.S.P thinks a black kid beat a man about the face and head, endangering his life and leaving him no choice but to shoot in self defense.

    This isn’t what I’m arguing, dolt.

  74. #74 |  Other Sean | 

    It’s always a sign of confidence when someone starts throwing words like dolt around in an argument. You’re a classy guy, Bob.

    But if I’ve been unfair to you in summarizing any of your positions, tell me where.

  75. #75 |  Bobby | 

    Here’s my argument, again:

    #29 | Bobby | June 3rd, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    I’m arguing the likes of C.S.P. Schofield have extremely little reason to believe the cuts on Zimmerman’s head were caused by his head being “bashed” against the ground, over than any number of other ways that it could have happened in a fight on a sidewalk.

    I’m not making a positive argument about what happend. C.S.P. is making the positive argument that Zimmerman was having his head bashed in, and I’m expressing skepticism about that, and pointing out that there’s no good reason to believe that over any of the other possibilities.

    The burden of proof then, lies with C.S.P. Read up on the concept:

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

    When debating any issue, there is an implicit burden of proof on the person asserting a positive claim. “If this responsibility or burden of proof is shifted to a critic, the fallacy of appealing to ignorance is committed”.

    To claim that both our positions have “equal demerit” is to imply I need to be able to prove he’s wrong. You’re committing the fallacy mentioned in the wiki.

  76. #76 |  Other Sean | 

    Ah, but your claim entails a positive claim – namely, that Zimmerman shot Martin without having first his head bashed in, and thus without a proper basis for self defense. Philosophically, whenever two sides put forth competing fact patterns to explain an event – in this case a confrontation that ended with a shooting – BOTH are making positive claims.

    The only negative claim available here is being made by the few people who have still taken no side. The negative claim in this case is to say “there was a fatal shooting, but that’s all we know for sure.” Those are the only people who can defend their position as one of metaphysical default. You gave that up many comments ago.

    Also, I must point out that your concern for the burden of proof seems to very conveniently disappear whenever it’s time to accuse someone of hidden racism. Is that a special category of assertion that does not require evidence?

    And would you mind terribly answering my question from the bottom half of comment #71?

  77. #77 |  Bobby | 

    Ah, but your claim entails a positive claim – namely, that Zimmerman shot Martin without having first his head bashed in, and thus without a proper basis for self defense

    Hey look, you’re still making stuff up. Please quote where I argued this.

  78. #78 |  Other Sean | 

    Bobby,

    Okay. As you know, Zimmerman’s claim that he feared for his life is based on the idea that he was suffering potentially life-threatening head trauma in his fight with Martin.

    In #18 and #24, you argue that Zimmerman was not in danger of serious head trauma, neither by getting his head bashed in against the pavement, nor by “MMA style blows”. Indeed, the whole tendency of your early comments in this thread was to argue that Zimmerman’s wounds are inconsistent with his own account – and so, of course, inconsistent with a reasonable fear for his life.

    In #29 you argue that Zimmerman should be charged with manslaughter, meaning that he should be found NOT to have acted in self-defense.

    Thus have you taken an either/or position between one of two positive claims.

    And the icing, of course, is #31, where you throw out the idea that racism is probably the reason why someone would disagree with you about this.

    Here are the relevant pastes:

    #18 – “The medical evidence does not indicate Martin was ruthlessly smashing a defenseless Zimmerman’s head against the sidewalk; there’s no evidence of a concussion, nor were the cuts in the back of Zimmerman’s head anything that warranted a hospital visitation.”

    #24 – “Repeated punches like that, as is suggested when you say someone is punching “MMA” style, would result in a lot more damage against concrete than what’s been publicly reported.

    #29 – “I think the Murder 2 charge is an overreach, but he [Zimmerman] certainly should be liable for manslaughter.”

    #31 – “There’s an undercurrent of racism in the analysis here, and I suspect that’s why people like C.S.P. Schofield are so ready to assume Zimmerman had his head repeatedly bashed against the ground.”
    _____________________________________________________________________________

    But if you now believe that Zimmerman DID act in self-defense, of course that would change things quite a bit.

    Is that what you are saying in #77? Or, if you are really so concerned that I have misrepresented you, of course you could sum up your position in a few lines…to prevent any further confusion.

  79. #79 |  Bobby | 

    Head Bashing
    Hey, let’s take a look at the burden of proof wiki again:

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

    When debating any issue, there is an implicit burden of proof on the person asserting a positive claim. “If this responsibility or burden of proof is shifted to a critic, the fallacy of appealing to ignorance is committed”.

    I’m not sure what planet you’re from, here, but when you criticize an argument, you proffer evidence and arguments that undercut the one you’re criticizing. The medical evidence does not conclusively prove Martin was ruthlessly bashing his head in. Zimmerman the facial injuries we’d expect if Martin was “punching his head in, MMA style, with Zimmerman’s head pinned to the pavement”.

    Perhaps Martin throws weak punches, or shoved Zimmerman’s head into the pavement in a manner that didn’t cause serious head trauma. That’s possible, but in that case it undercuts the argument that this was a lethal situation.

    We can’t know for sure, but we can debate on what’s the more likely situation. Again, I’m demonstrating that the situation C.S.P. is assuming is poorly supported by the evidence.

    Accusations of racism
    Balko wasn’t making a positive argument when he implied the officer in that shooting was racist. The burden of proof isn’t on Balko to prove the officer is racist. He’s just pointing out that his actions strongly suggest that.

    Ditto me and all of my arguments about how C.S.P’s argumentation suggests racism.

    liability

    I just looked up the definition of liable to link to you, and saw there’s a difference between legal liability and the normal use of liable. I was using liable in this sense:

    “The picnic is liable to be spoiled by rain”

    As in it’s not certain it’ll happen, but you run the strong risk of suffering that fate. Apparently, legal liability means you are guilty. That’s not what I was trying to argue.

    I was arguing that he most certainly should be tried for it, as there’s enough evidence to warrant prosecution. Either you or C.S.P. have suggested that Zimmerman’s Murder 2 conviction itself would “be racist”, because the evidence against him his so thin. That’s not the case with manslaughter.

  80. #80 |  Bobby | 

    The above sentence:

    Zimmerman the facial injuries we’d expect if Martin was “punching his head in, MMA style, with Zimmerman’s head pinned to the pavement”.

    should read

    Zimmerman’s facial injuries are not what we’d expect if Martin was “punching his head in, MMA style, with Zimmerman’s head pinned to the pavement”.

  81. #81 |  Other Sean | 

    Really? In a sentence where you were discussing the criminal charges against Zimmerman – “I think the Murder 2 charge is an overreach…”- in that sentence, you decided to use “liable for manslaughter” in the NON-LEGAL sense of the word “liable”. And then the next day you had to look “liable” up on wiktionary to remind yourself you had used it that way?

    I’m sorry to be blunt, but that seems frankly desperate on your part.

    Are you in fact saying that you don’t want Zimmerman charged with EITHER murder second or manslaughter? If not, what would you charge him with, if you were the prosecutor in this case? Would you charge him at all?
    ______________________________________________________________________________

    While I wait for your answer, let me revisit the burden of proof issue:

    Say you and I leave a perfectly cooked steak in a room with a child and a dog. When we come back, the steak has disappeared. The kid says: “It wasn’t me. I didn’t eat that steak. I was asleep.”

    I say: “I believe you, kid. The dog must have eaten the steak.”

    You scream “No! Where is the drool, where are the scratch marks on the table, why isn’t the dog agitated from eating red meat. There would be evidence of these things if the dog had eaten the steak. Why are you so eager to implicate the dog? Do I detect an undercurrent of anti-doggism in your theory?”

    Now…you may try to avoid saying the words “therefore, I think the kid ate the steak”, but since there is not other option, you cannot avoid the implication. And that, sir, is where you take ownership of a positive claim. You cannot argue that the dog is innocent without arguing that the kid is guilty, and vice versa for me.

    The only negative claim available is “The steak is missing. We don’t know what happened, and we may never know for sure.”

  82. #82 |  Bobby | 

    Both from your behavior in this thread, and this comment here:

    #44 | Leon Wolfeson | June 3rd, 2012 at 9:58 pm
    @42 – So it’s impossible in your view to separate the argument from the person? Ah, that does explain some of your OTT over-reactions in the past.

    It appears you’re a pretty aggressively stupid person. You’re literally incapable of following an argument, and simply rant at the strawmen and red herrings you construct. As I said before, it’s pretty amazing to watch.

    I mean, jebus, look at this:

    Are you in fact saying that you don’t want Zimmerman charged with EITHER murder second or manslaughter?

    No, idiot, I’m pretty clearly arguing Zimmerman should be charged with manslaughter. I wasn’t trying to argue the evidence makes him clearly guilty, but the evidence released so far definitely warrants the facts be reviewed in court.

    More stupid: I pretty clearly explained I wasn’t aware there was a that “legal liability” meant guilt. Now you’re acting as if I’m backtracking, despite the fact that the other definition of the term is completely in line with all my arguments. If you want to see an example of a diatribe, why don’t you take a gander at your rant in post #35, the responses in posts #37, #40, and #41. You’re embarrassing yourself.

    Ditto with your piss poor “who ate the steak” analogy:

    therefore, I think the kid ate the steak”, but since there is not other option, you cannot avoid the implication. And that, sir, is where you take ownership of a positive claim. You cannot argue that the dog is innocent without arguing that the kid is guilty

    Just so I can demonstrate how damned stupid are you, please tell me what “the kid is guilty” is analogous to? That Zimmerman didn’t think he was shooting in self-defense?

    ‘Cause, you know, if they’re struggling on the sidewalk, Martin sees his gun, they start fighting over the gun, it’s perfectly understandable for Zimmerman to believe he was in a life and death situation, especially since the situation had already come to blows, and they were fighting over control of a deadly weapon.

    But in that situation, Martin’s also purely acting in self-defense, which is a far cry from the situation C.S.P. is assuming, where Martin is savagely beating Zimmerman’s head into the ground, trying to kill him.

  83. #83 |  Bobby | 

    If you want to see an example of a diatribe

    ->

    If you want to see an example of backtracking

  84. #84 |  Other Sean | 

    Wait…so you think Zimmerman should be tried for manslaughter, but you don’t think he’s guilty of (excuse me, liable for) manslaughter.

    What then would be the purpose of the charge? You do realize we have an adversarial system in which the act of charging says: “this person is guilty in the eyes of the prosecution, and we believe we can prove it”.

    It certainly is not a valid use of the charging power to prosecute someone for the sake of “just making sure” or “can’t be too careful” or “I haven’t decided, but I’d love to know more”.

    If you merely wanted that, why not call for a grand jury instead? Why not simply call for an extended police investigation?

  85. #85 |  Other Sean | 

    Oh, I forgot to answer your question about the steak analogy:

    In the matter of Trayvon Martin’s shooting, there are only two possibilities:

    1) Zimmerman acted in self defense when he shot Martin (which entails the idea that Martin had gone well beyond self-defense in attacking him).

    2) Zimmerman did not act in self-defense when he shot Martin.

    To put it even more simply Because self-defense is a COMPLETE defense, either Zimmerman IS a murderer, or Martin WAS an attempted murderer.

    Leaving aside the epistemological problem that we may never know which one it was, the truth has to be one of these.

    Do you still fail to grasp the analogy? And have you switched to a position of no preference, or are you still sticking with option 2)?

  86. #86 |  Bobby | 

    #84 | Other Sean | June 8th, 2012 at 1:05 pm
    Wait…so you think Zimmerman should be tried for manslaughter, but you don’t think he’s guilty of (excuse me, liable for) manslaughter.

    What then would be the purpose of the charge? You do realize we have an adversarial system in which the act of charging says: “this person is guilty in the eyes of the prosecution, and we believe we can prove it”.

    hahahaha, really?

    Based on the evidence made available to the public, there’s more than enough reason to want to review all the information in a court of law. That’s what I want. I don’t know all the facts that the prosecutors and defense know, and I won’t have it the evidence systematically explained and analysized

  87. #87 |  Bobby | 

    …for me as it will for the jury. You keep complaining about people presuming Zimmerman’s guilt without all the facts, yet insist that I must declare him guilty if I want the evidence reviewed in court.

    You’re really something else.

  88. #88 |  Other Sean | 

    When a reader of this blog starts saying “Hey man, I just want to see evidence systematically explained and analyzed in a court of law”, I guess it’s time to start keeping my eye out for signs 2 – 7 of the apocalypse. Your faith in the criminal justice system is sudden, jarring, and totally disingenuous.

    When it happens, the Zimmerman trial will be one of the most repulsively politicized, media saturated events of the present century. Barring another war or terrorist attack, it WILL be the biggest circus attraction in American life for months on end. Careers will be made or lost in public life, in the practice of law, in publishing, broadcasting, lobbying, entertainment, etc. And at the end of it all, the defendant will find out whether his life has been destroyed or merely damaged.

    But the one thing that trial certainly will not be is a search for truth – unless one means that in a novelistic sense, as fodder for the next Tom Wolfe. Most of the evidence that exists in this case either has been, or will shortly be, leaked to the press. There will probably be no great secrets or revelations from this point forward. We already know about as much – or should I say as little – as we are ever likely to know. I’m afraid you wait in vain for answers.
    ______________________________________________________________________________

    I went back just now and read your comments in this thread from start to finish. Your early posts show a passionate, undoubting campaign against Zimmerman and his defenders. They do not reflect the tone of wait-and-see skepticism you’ve been striking for the past two days. In between you called me an idiot and broke decorum in various other ways, but you do seem to have changed your mind a bit.

    I’m sure you’ll deny any change in your position; that is standard practice, isn’t it? You may even have another go at insulting me, though I suspect by now you realize it doesn’t have much effect. Probably you’ll just ignore this comment, as perhaps we’ve gone far enough for one thread.

    But for what its worth, I think you changed your position for the better here, and I commend you for it.

  89. #89 |  Bobby | 

    My first post criticized the baseless assumptions of the Talk Left blog post, which was supposed to be a unbiased view of the facts. From there, I went on to criticize C.S.P’s assumption that Martin was bashing Zimmerman’s head against the ground.

    This is an undoubting campaign against Zimmerman and his defenders? It’s an interesting “you’re either with us, or against us” mentality you’ve got going there.

    It’s also pretty impressive to see you insist people shouldn’t pass judgement until all the facts come to light in the court proceedings, while simultaneously insisting the court proceedings shouldn’t happen because it “obviously” wouldn’t be a fair trial. wtf?

    Between that, your rant in post #35, and C.S.P’s claim in post #34 that finding Zimmerman guilty would most definitely be “racism”, you two have a nice little conspiracy theory schtick going. Look out guys! The PC-goblins are out to put innocent people in jail! If it could happen to Zimmerman, it could happen to you, the next time you go out and chase frightened black teenagers at night!

    While I certainly can’t say this for sure, I’m pretty confident in assuming that you’re a bit of a bigot, C.S.P.

  90. #90 |  Other Sean | 

    Accusations of racism and bigotry are not trivial things to throw around. First you accuse C.S.P., now me. One might be amazed to see it took so long. Who’s next? Jeralyn Merritt? Radley Balko? Alan Dershowitz? They all disagree with your interpretation of the Trayvon Martin incident in nearly the same way.

    If they have reasons other than racism, then why can’t C.S.P. and I have such reasons too? And how can you presume to tell the difference? Is there perhaps a higher standard of evidence for alleging racism against famous people and people who can ban you from this board?

    Don’t you see the grave potential for abuse and mental cheating inherent in an ad hominem tactic that let’s you dismiss arguments you don’t like, simply by suggesting that the makers of those arguments must be racist?

    Most of all, why do you feel no compunction when smearing other people with such a serious charge. Are you not concerned with the undeserved harm it might do, if and when you are mistaken?

    _____________________________________________________________________________

    And for the record, I have never suggested anyone should stake anything on the outcome of the trial. And I don’t think this trial will be flawed because of political correctness (though a dose of that cannot help), I think ALL trials are flawed, all the time.

  91. #91 |  Bobby | 

    Actually, so far as I’ve seen, Balko hasn’t directly commented on the case, aside from his initial post in which he explained why he hadn’t commented on the case, to date. So, I’m pretty sure you’re making stuff up again.

    And, my apologies! You never said anyone should stake anything on the outcome of the trial! Let me amend my statement:

    “It’s also pretty impressive to see you insist people shouldn’t pass judgement until all the facts come to light, while simultaneously insisting the court proceedings, which is the process in which the facts are established shouldn’t happen because it “obviously” wouldn’t be a fair trial.”

    It’s also impressive to see you so offended at the notion that I could be so reckless in suggesting you and C.S.P. may be a little bigoted. Impressive, because of you’re resounding support of his post #34, where he declared any and all people responsible for Zimmerman being found guilty are racist!.

    Tell me, do you shower in hypocrisy in the morning, or is it a something you consume over the course of your day?

  92. #92 |  Other Sean | 

    You are quite wrong about our host. He’s hardly remained silent about this case since his initial cautious post back in March. He’s posted abundant links, some of them annotated, and he’s jumped into Zimmerman related comment threads more than is typical for him. Indeed, the whole reason why we are having this conversation is because he recommended the Talk Left post you despise so much.

    Actually, you’d do really well to use the search feature and follow Mr. Balko’s trajectory from start to present.

    He begins, as we all did, believing that Martin’s death looked like a straight-up case of murder or manslaughter, with plenty of mens rea for the guy holding the gun. Then, a series of shocks as it became clear just how shamelessly the traditional media had tried to shape this story into a didactic “after-school special” narrative about gun rights and the stand-your-ground law. When that fizzled, and the race angle proved to have more traction, the media gratefully switched their lens. Next was the infamous search for whispered epithets on the 911 tape, the doctored audio from NBC, etc.

    By mid-April, Balko was openly expressing his disgust with the coverage of this event – not, as you might hope, because he wanted the media to slander MORE people with charges of racism – but simply because he saw that they were getting almost everything wrong in this case, and getting it wrong on purpose.

    After that, his links and comments have tended strongly toward the skeptical view. And to his credit, once the ebb tide began, with previously downplayed or unknown evidence flowing back in Zimmerman’s favor, he’s never hesitated to post the relevant links, even when it meant making his own initial position look doubtful.

    Take a look at this comment he made more than a month ago: “Like you, my gut tells me Zimmerman instigated this and is morally culpable, and like you, my head tells me there’s also no evidence of that (that we’ve seen)”.

    In one sense, that’s not too far from your own position. But in another, it’s miles apart, because while Balko is HONEST about harboring a hunch that no longer fits the known facts, you insist that your position is so self-evidently clear that people who disagree with you must indeed be racist.

    So…here you are, hanging out at the blog of someone who we both admire, someone who has proven that it’s possible to take reversals against your opinion like a man…someone who has shown you exactly how to do that with integrity and class…and yet still, you think it fit to call people idiots and racists because they differ with you.

    That’s just inexcusable…

  93. #93 |  Bobby | 

    A quick google search brought up a post about special prosecutors being political positions, a charge that she initiated the case due to public pressure, and a post summarizing people calling the murder 2 charge ridiculous.

    Is this Balko’s claim?

    “Like you, my gut tells me Zimmerman instigated this and is morally culpable, and like you, my head tells me there’s also no evidence of that ”

    If it is, he’s wrong. There’s certainly evidence for his moral culpability. The question is whether or not there’s enough evidence to find him legally culpable.

    You act as if you’re taking the moral high ground here, joining in with Balko’s disgust at facts that the media is ignoring. Yet, in this own thread, you insist on ignoring and debating the facts presented here. You and C.S.P. have outright ignored every last argument I’ve made critiquing the Talk Left post and the assumption that Martin was trying to bash Zimmerman’s skull in. Instead of debating the evidence, you brush it off, saying both positions have equal merit, and complain about unfair accusations of racism.

    I’m not calling you an idiot simply because you disagree with me. I’m calling you an idiot because of hypocritical positions like this:

    you insist people shouldn’t pass judgement until all the facts come to light, while simultaneously insisting the court proceedings, which is the process in which the facts are established shouldn’t happen because it “obviously” wouldn’t be a fair trial

    and this:

    It’s also impressive to see you so offended at the notion that I could be so reckless in suggesting you and C.S.P. may be a little bigoted. Impressive, because of you’re resounding support of his post #34, where he declared any and all people responsible for Zimmerman being found guilty are racist!

    And for constantly misrepresenting my arguments, conflating them with those arguments you define as belonging to “team Martin”.

    Yada yada. If you’re really annoyed at people ignoring evidence, why don’t you discuss my critique of the talk left post in post #38? Why don’t you explain to me why we should believe Zimmerman’s cuts are from Martin trying to bash his skull in, rather than all the other ways it could have happened during a fight on a sidewalk

  94. #94 |  Bobby | 

    Incidentally, when I mentioned above that Zimmerman can still be convicted of manslaughter, I read about that here:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mari-fagel/the-george-zimmerman-case_b_1428622.html

    Why was George Zimmerman charged with 2nd degree murder instead of manslaughter?

    When special prosecutor Angela Corey announced she’d be charging him with second-degree murder, it came as a surprise because it seemed like all signs were pointing towards manslaughter. Now, she’ll have to prove Zimmerman intentionally killed Trayvon Martin, as opposed to the lesser standard, which would be easier to prove to a jury. Knowing the political ramifications Corey faces should she lose the case, she definitely took a risk by charging him with second-degree murder, which leads us to believe there has to be evidence out there that we don’t know about yet that convinced her she’d be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman had the intent to kill. Whether or not there is some smoking gun here that proves this, it was still a wise strategy on Corey’s part, as a jury can always find him not guilty of second-degree murder but guilty of manslaughter. A jury can never find someone guilty of a higher charge, but they can always find him guilty of a lesser charge, so in a sense, she’s covering her bases.

  95. #95 |  Other Sean | 

    Bobby,

    I never said that a Zimmerman conviction would be inherently racist. C.S.P. said that. If you can find any comment where I expressed a blanket endorsement of his opinions, happy hunting.

    Another thing I have never expressed is any hope that truth will emerge from the court proceedings. That’s your thing. I fully expect the trial to be a foul stew of tragedy and farce. Check comment #90 again, if you need to be reminded.
    _____________________________________________________________________________

    Now, if an innocent lurker were to read your last few posts out of context, they might get the impression you were narrowly concerned with the medical details of Zimmerman’s cuts, with no wider opinion about the case that might justify someone categorizing you as a member of Team Convict-Zimmerman.

    However, anyone who goes back far enough to read comment #16 will see very clearly that you DO have a general theory of the Zimmerman case, rather than a few specific gripes about Jeralyn’s take on the physical evidence.

    Once again, there is no shame in that…but why fall back on the idea that you are simply carrying a torch for the proper application of the law? For example, back in #16 you said: “Jeralyn’s statement here is pretty amazing: ‘Demanding someone account for their presence does not provoke the use of force’.”

    Legally her position is totally unassailable. So clearly you do not disagree with her as a matter of law, you disagree as a matter of justice, morality, etc. But why equivocate, sometimes pretending to speak for the law, then conveniently switching away from the law whenever it fails to suit you?

    Why not simply say: “I hate this Zimmerman guy. I hate every decision he made that day, and I want to see him punished for causing the death of that kid. I want it, even if our flawed legal system does not.”

    After all, I’ve managed to be consistent in the other direction: I don’t care what the law says. I don’t care how Zimmerman got those head wounds, as long as he got them from Trayvon Martin. Fists, feet, elbows, pavement, head butts, it doesn’t matter to me. An attack on the head is an attack on the brain and is therefore life threatening. If Martin attacked Zimmerman with ANY variety of multiple blows to the head…for me, that establishes a sufficient condition for Zimmerman to have acted in self defense.”

  96. #96 |  Other Sean | 

    Oh, yeah…and if I really have misrepresented any of your arguments, it would be easy enough to arrange the relevant quotes side by side. You can copy what you said, and paste that next to anything you think is a straw man of your views.

  97. #97 |  Bobby | 

    #95 | Other Sean | June 10th, 2012 at 4:53 pm
    I never said that a Zimmerman conviction would be inherently racist. C.S.P. said that.

    He made that statement in post #34, and you whole heatedly supported him in post #35. If you had any issue with his accusation of racism there, you didn’t express it then. Indeed, you never expressed any sort of disapproval for it for the entirety of this thread. Your outrage over “unfair accusations of racism” has been extremely selective, directed at only people you associate with “Team Trayvon”

    #95 | Other Sean | June 10th, 2012 at 4:53 pm
    Another thing I have never expressed is any hope that truth will emerge from the court proceedings. That’s your thing.

    Yep, that’s my thing, because I actually understand how the court system works. Regardless of the outcome of the case, the facts will be established in the discovery process. Both the prosecution and the defense will have to submit the facts they’re going to present to the jury, prior to doing so, to allow the opposing side to properly review them.

    #95 | Other Sean | June 10th, 2012 at 4:53 pm
    For example, back in #16 you said: “Jeralyn’s statement here is pretty amazing: ‘Demanding someone account for their presence does not provoke the use of force’.”

    Legally her position is totally unassailable.

    Yes, it’s assailable. Let’s assume the worst case for the prosecution: Martin threw the first punch. For that to be a warranted use of force, it would have to be construed as an act of self defense. To establish it as an act of self defense, the prosecution would have to demonstrate Martin had a reasonable fear for imminent bodily harm. Jeralyn is completely misrepresenting the situation my suggesting that the only thing Zimmerman did that night was demand Martin to account for his presence. We know for certain that Zimmerman was following Martin in his vehicle as Martin was walking through the neighborhood. We know for certain that Zimmerman never identified himself. We know for certain that, after Martin decided to run away, Zimmerman ran after him. And based on the testimony of Martin’s girlfriend, as well as the location of the shooting, there’s good reason to believe Zimmerman approached Martin to confront him about his whereabouts.

    From Martin’s perspective he was being stalked, at night, by a stranger who does not identify himself even after he walked right up to the vehicle. After he decides to run away, the stranger exits the vehicle to run after him. That alone gives Martin a reasonable fear of bodily harm.

    On top of that, if Zimmerman was the one to approach Martin after spotting him again, Martin has even further reason to believe he was in imminent danger.

    All of this matters, and all of this is left out of Jeralyn’s analysis.

    #95 | Other Sean | June 10th, 2012 at 4:53 pm
    Oh, yeah…and if I really have misrepresented any of your arguments, it would be easy enough to arrange the relevant quotes side by side.

    There are several examples, but the first is enough. Feel free to explain how your rant in post #35 had anything to do with what I was arguing up to that point.

  98. #98 |  Other Sean | 

    If there were several examples, you would have found them. As things now stand, you haven’t even found one.

    I was perfectly clear in comment #35 about which part of C.S.P.’s post I meant to support. It was (and surely this cannot be difficult to understand) exactly THAT PART WHICH I COPED and pasted before adding my own remarks.

    I understand the discovery process well enough, I just don’t have any faith in it. Because you err badly in saying “both the prosecution and the defense will have to submit the facts they’re going to present to the jury.” Not all facts can be entered into evidence, and not all evidence entered can be called “facts” (the testimony of witnesses, for example, is clearly something other than fact).

    But really this should concern you more than me, since so much of what you believe hinges on the irretrievable mental state of a dead kid who cannot tell anyone what he felt that day.

    Why in the world would YOU want to confine the discussion to what is allowable within the narrow limits of the rules of criminal procedure?

  99. #99 |  Other Sean | 

    Thinking about it a little further, I realized just how much your outlook depends on this elaborate theory you have developed about Martin’s state of mind. I completely missed it the first time through your last comment:

    Zimmerman’s self defense argument troubles you enormously, and you test it against an exacting standard. No problem there. But flip the coin around and suddenly you show the greatest ease in constructing a self-defense argument for Martin. Here you are creative, persistent, and unquestioning. Here you are willing to do things I doubt you’d do anywhere else…such as give credence to the testimony of a personal friend.

    Be honest with yourself, Bobby. If someone claimed self-defense after shooting a cop who attacked him during an incident of police brutality, would you even be talking about what the cop’s girlfriend (or “phone friend”) had to say about the case?

    What if someone tried to sway you by pointing out that the dead cop “had no prior history of excessive force,” while the defendant was a unlikable weirdo who was always mixed up with trouble. Would you stand for that?

    If a couple of witnesses who first supported the defense suddenly changed their stories and then appeared a press conference with the FOP, would you be favorably impressed?

    Of course not! You’d tell anyone who tried to use those arguments to go fuck himself, and you’d be right to do it.

    So why does Martin get the uncritical treatment?

  100. #100 |  Bobby | 

    #98 | Other Sean | June 10th, 2012 at 9:17 pm
    If there were several examples, you would have found them. As things now stand, you haven’t even found one.

    Oh look, you didn’t bother explaining how your post #35 had anything to do with what I was arguing up to that point. Instead of explaining how you didn’t misrepresent my argument, you just say you didn’t. Thumbs up! If you’d like to ignore another example, check out posts #65 and #66

    #98 | Other Sean | June 10th, 2012 at 9:17 pm
    Because you err badly in saying “both the prosecution and the defense will have to submit the facts they’re going to present to the jury.” Not all facts can be entered into evidence, and not all evidence entered can be called “facts” (the testimony of witnesses, for example, is clearly something other than fact).

    Hey look, this is an example of you making a stupid statement. If you don’t believe both sides of this case are going to submit every available fact to support their case to court, you’re not that bright.

    #98 | Other Sean | June 10th, 2012 at 9:17 pm
    so much of what you believe hinges on the irretrievable mental state of a dead kid

    The argument I made in my last post demonstrates there was a reasonable fear for Martin to fear he was in imminent danger, and that’s the case regardless of what his mental state really was. It’s impossible for the legal system to know exactly what was going on in anyone’s mind, so the legal norm in these types of situations is for jurors to decide if it would be reasonable for anyone in Martin’s position to fear they were in imminent danger from Zimmerman. The situtation isn’t black and white, and it’s exactly these types of situations that call for judges and jurors to analyze the facts and make a judgement call.

    All that said, it’s a perfectly reasonable assumption that Martin was frightened of Zimmerman, given the fact that he ran away from Zimmerman. Tell me, what other reason could you possibly come up with for Martin to have run away from Zimmerman? If you actually bother answering this question, I’m sure it’ll be revealing.

    #98 | Other Sean | June 10th, 2012 at 9:17 pm
    Be honest with yourself, Bobby. If someone claimed self-defense after shooting a cop who attacked him during an incident of police brutality, would you even be talking about what the cop’s girlfriend (or “phone friend”) had to say about the case?

    What if someone tried to sway you by pointing out that the dead cop “had no prior history of excessive force,” while the defendant was a unlikable weirdo who was always mixed up with trouble. Would you stand for that?

    If a couple of witnesses who first supported the defense suddenly changed their stories and then appeared a press conference with the FOP, would you be favorably impressed?

    Of course not! You’d tell anyone who tried to use those arguments to go fuck himself, and you’d be right to do it.

    Actually, yes, I’d certainly take the cop’s girlfriend’s testimony seriously, especially if it were in line with all other facts in the case. Yes, witnesses recanting would make a difference. I guess you wouldn’t, because it looks like your prejudice against police officers prompts you to ignore facts that don’t support your pre-concieved notion of the officer’s guilt. Thank you for demonstrating the degree to which you let your personal prejudices bias your analysis of the facts.

  101. #101 |  Bobby | 

    This sentence in the last post:
    The argument I made in my last post demonstrates there was a reasonable fear for Martin to fear he was in imminent danger

    should read:
    The argument I made in my last post demonstrates it was reasonable for Martin to fear he was in imminent danger

  102. #102 |  Bobby | 

    From comment section of the “Tragic Scenarios” post Balko linked to a few weeks back:

    http://www.juliansanchez.com/2012/03/22/tragic-scenarios/

    Julian Sanchez // Mar 22, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Martin could be acting in self-defense, on the basis of a reasonable belief that Zimmerman was threatening him or preparing to attack, whether or not Zimmerman had actually intended to threaten or attack him.

  103. #103 |  Other Sean | 

    Bobby,

    Forgive me, but I now get the terrible impression you haven’t really been keeping up with recent developments in the case. I notice that the last two outside links you’ve recommended come from March and mid-April. Which makes sense, because everything else about your narrative cries out that you formed it around that time, without benefit of the skeptical perspective that even some of the mainstream media has since (grudgingly) acquired.

    In other words: while truth is certainly NOT a popularity contest, it is worth noting that your views, though widely shared two months ago, now make you a Zimmerman case extremist, simply by virtue of standing still. Many people who started out thinking as you do, have found themselves reluctantly obliged to consider AT LEAST an even money chance that Martin was the aggressor.

    And since you cite the Sanchez piece, let me quote from it directly:

    “Just in case it wasn’t clear enough, I’m not saying I think this is what happened, or even especially likely compared with other alternatives. I’m just wary of…seizing on the first version of events that fits the initially available facts, and then locking yourself into that as the only possibility. It is, as a rule, a good idea to generate alternative hypotheses even when you think your first one is probably correct.”

    Have you followed that advice, Bobby? Of course you have not and cannot follow it. You can’t follow that advice, because you believe it would be racist to use your imagination in building a case against Martin, even as you consider it a duty to fight racism by using your imagination to build the perfect case against Zimmerman.

    Can you really fail to see that as a double standard? Better yet: can you prove me wrong by constructing a credible version of events in which Martin was the aggressor?

  104. #104 |  Other Sean | 

    I’ll answer a few points from #100, but I notice with sorrow that you’ve lapsed back into a habit using insults when reason fails you.

    1) Post #35 was a response to C.S.P. in which you were mentioned. It was not a response to you, and it proves nothing in the way of misrepresenting you.

    2) You said: “If you don’t believe both sides of this case are going to submit every available fact to support their case to court, you’re not that bright.”

    As you know there are rules limiting what can be admitted at trial. Or as I said with sufficient clarity before: “not all facts can be entered into evidence”.

    3) You said: “The argument I made in my last post demonstrates there was a reasonable fear for Martin to fear he was in imminent danger, and that’s the case regardless of what his mental state really was.”

    Read that again, please. Fear is a mental state. You are making a mental state argument, even as you deny making a mental state argument.

    4) You continue to use the word “demonstrate” to mean “what happens when Bobby writes something that Bobby really believes”. That is not what the word demonstrate means…not in comment #66, nor again in comment #100.

    5) You said: “Actually, yes, I’d certainly take the cop’s girlfriend’s testimony seriously”

    I’m sorry…but in this case I simply think you’re lying. Of course, it would be even worse if you aren’t lying, because for someone like you who is concerned about bias, it’s hard to find a more disqualifying bias than being a cop’s wife or girlfriend in a police brutality case.
    _____________________________________________________________________________
    I am suddenly reminded of this:

    A logic and rhetoric teacher once told me: “You know how to tell when you’re winning an argument? It’s not when the other guy concedes. No one ever concedes. But when he refuses to concede even the most obvious points in your favor, when he refuses to concede that up is up and down is down, that’s how you know you’re winning.”

  105. #105 |  Bobby | 

    #103 | Other Sean | June 11th, 2012 at 11:08 am
    1) Post #35 was a response to C.S.P. in which you were mentioned. It was not a response to you, and it proves nothing in the way of misrepresenting you.

    You claimed I was suggesting his analysis may be biased by bigotry because I didn’t want to deal with the facts. That’s completely misrepresenting my argument. I was suggesting his analysis was bigoted, because he was ignoring the facts, and refused to account for that.

    Also, posts #65 and #66.

    #103 | Other Sean | June 11th, 2012 at 11:08 am
    Forgive me, but I now get the terrible impression you haven’t really been keeping up with recent developments in the case.

    Like most of your posts in this thread, you make an assertion, and completely fail to back it up. If there’s evidence that’s been brought to light that contradicts the arguments I’m making, please enlighten me.

    #103 | Other Sean | June 11th, 2012 at 11:08 am
    Read that again, please. Fear is a mental state. You are making a mental state argument, even as you deny making a mental state argument.

    You quoted the typo I corrected in the next post. It was meant to read:

    The argument I made in my last post demonstrates it was reasonable for Martin to fear he was in imminent danger

    It looks like you’re completely unable to understand this argument:

    - No amount of evidence can possibly prove exactly what mental state a person is in
    - Juries and judges can only infer a person’s mental state based on circumstantial evidence.
    - As such, when judging the merits of a self defense claim, judges and juries must decide if the situation being examined would cause a “normal” person to believe she/he were in imminent danger.
    - This legal standard could easily be applied to the facts of this case to demonstrate it was reasonable for Martin to believe he was in imminent danger.

    I’m not simply relying on a baseless assumption about Martin’s mental state here, nor do I have to prove what his mental state really was. I’m sure this all is wayyy over your head.

    #103 | Other Sean | June 11th, 2012 at 11:08 am
    4) You continue to use the word “demonstrate” to mean “what happens when Bobby writes something that Bobby really believes”. That is not what the word demonstrate means…not in comment #66, nor again in comment #100.

    Says the guy that refuses to back up his claims with any sort of evidence, what-so-ever. Way to be a hypocrite!

    #103 | Other Sean | June 11th, 2012 at 11:08 am
    5) You said: “Actually, yes, I’d certainly take the cop’s girlfriend’s testimony seriously” I’m sorry…but in this case I simply think you’re lying.

    lol

    #103 | Other Sean | June 11th, 2012 at 11:08 am
    can you prove me wrong by constructing a credible version of events in which Martin was the aggressor?

    The most credible version of events that has Trayvon as the aggressor would be the Talk Left post we’ve been discussing, which assumes Zimmerman’s testimony is correct, and he was jumped at point T. I already discussed this in length in post #38, and it’s an extremely problematic scenario, for the reasons I listed above.

    Sanchez’s version of events, in which neither person is guilty of assault, is much more plausible scenario that comports with all the available facts, and is completely in line with everything I’ve been arguing. And in that scenario, Zimmerman’s actions are reckless, and could could make him legally liable for manslaughter.

  106. #106 |  Other Sean | 

    1) That typo changes nothing in the meaning of your statement. I noticed the first time that you prefer speak in terms of what Martin’s mental state WOULD have been, instead of what it actually was. But since we can never know the latter, that’s a meaningless distinction. You still end up making a mental state argument.

    2) You wrote: “Sanchez’s version of events [is one], in which neither person is guilty of assault…and in that scenario Zimmerman’s actions are reckless, and could make him legally liable for manslaughter.”

    So you think Zimmerman is guilty of manslaughter without also being guilty of assault? That doesn’t matter, because you still identify him as the aggressor in a non-legal sense. In other words, lawyerly language aside, you still think “Zimmerman started it” in every important sense of those words.

    3) Sanchez’s version depends on Trayvon Martin thinking like a SPLC activist who also happens to be a martial arts master. See for example, this hilarious passage written in the style of a Spillane novel:

    “And when Zimmerman exposes the gun, Martin reasonably concludes that he’s about to become the victim of a hate crime. He could run—but he won’t outrun a bullet, and risks being shot in the back. It seems like his only chance is to disable and disarm this nut before he can draw the weapon. It’s a risky gambit, but in another few seconds, Zimmerman will have time to draw the gun and fire, so Martin doesn’t see any other good options.”

    Only someone who’d never been in a real fight could have written that, because it attributes a fantastically implausible thought process to the mind of a 17 year old under the influence of adrenaline, who at this point in his life and education probably has no idea what a “hate crime” is.

    4) You wrote: “You claimed I was suggesting his analysis may be biased by bigotry because I didn’t want to deal with the facts. That’s completely misrepresenting my argument. I was suggesting his analysis was bigoted, because he was ignoring [YOUR INTERPRETATION OF] the facts, and refused to account for that [I.E. FAILED TO CONVINCE YOU].”

    Now let me take the irrelevant padding right out of that paragraph:

    It reads: “You claimed I was suggesting his analysis may be biased by bigotry…that’s completely misrepresenting my argument. I was suggesting his analysis was bigoted…”

    And there you have it. As long as you don’t have evidence of actual bigotry, I don’t care why you THINK you accused someone of bigotry. That’s a serious accusation to make, and you made it without evidence.

    What’s worse is you keep sticking with it all this time.

  107. #107 |  Bobby | 

    #106 | Other Sean | June 11th, 2012 at 2:39 pm
    . I noticed the first time that you prefer speak in terms of what Martin’s mental state WOULD have been, instead of what it actually was. But since we can never know the latter, that’s a meaningless distinction. You still end up making a mental state argument.

    *Face Palm*

    You clearly don’t understand how our court system works, and attempts to explain it to you are hampered by your severe deficiencies in reading comprehension. How about you check this out; it has pictures, so it might be easier for you.

    http://thecriminallawyer.tumblr.com/post/14597572112/6-mens-rea-i-didnt-mean-to

    from the above link:

    The harm is the same in each case, and yet most people would feel that none of the adults are equally culpable.

    The difference is not in the harm done, but in the MENTAL STATE of the person who did it.

    Again, it’s impossible to know, for sure, what anyone’s mental state is, but people’s mental states matter in criminal cases, and they have to be inferred from circumstantial evidence.

    #106 | Other Sean | June 11th, 2012 at 2:39 pm
    So you think Zimmerman is guilty of manslaughter without also being guilty of assault?

    This is a revealing passage.

    1) It’s yet another example of you misrepresenting my argument. I’ve repeatedly said, in this thread, that I’m not arguing that he’s certainly guilty of manslaughter, only that there’s enough evidence to warrant the situation be reviewed in court. In my last post, I said “Zimmerman’s actions are reckless, and could make him legally liable for manslaughter. I haven’t been calling you a stupid person because I’m unable to rebut your arguments. I’m calling you a stupid person because you can’t seem to understand the posts you’re responding to.

    2) You clearly don’t understand the difference between manslaughter and assault. Assault implies the accused intended to harm the victim. If the result is death, the charge is elevated to a charge of murder. Manslaughter, on the other hand carries no intent to harm. A drunk driver that accidentally kills someone, driving home, is charged with manslaughter, even though the driver didn’t intend to harm anyone.

    #106 | Other Sean | June 11th, 2012 at 2:39 pm
    In other words, lawyerly language aside, you still think “Zimmerman started it” in every important sense of those words.

    Um, duh? He followed a pedestrian in his car, failed to identify himself, and ran after the kid when he ran away. Even Sanford police officials have publicly commented that the situation could have easily been avoided if Zimmerman had identified himself and just waited for the police. There’s absolutely no debate there. The debate’s over how legally culpable Zimmerman is for Martin’s death.

    I was suggesting his analysis was bigoted, because he was ignoring [YOUR INTERPRETATION OF] the facts, and refused to account for that [I.E. FAILED TO CONVINCE YOU].”

    What’s my interpretation, dunce? I haven’t claimed to know how Zimmerman got those cuts on the back of his head. I’ve offered other, plausible, ways in which it might have happened. I’m criticizing C.S.P.’s positive argument, which isn’t supported by the evidence. If you think it is, please point to the evidence that conclusively proves, Zimmerman didn’t get those cuts on his head from when he fell to the side walk, during the conflict. Or while they were wrestling each other, on the ground. Or even proves that Martin didn’t shove Zimmerman’s head into the sidewalk during the struggle over the gun. Please point to the evidence that proves Martin was attempting to kill Zimmerman by bashing his skull in. You continue to avoid discussing the facts of this case, why don’t you start?

  108. #108 |  Bobby | 

    Hey, Other Sean, you said it was clear that I haven’t been following the case recently. I asked you to bring up new evidence that contradicts my position. Why haven’t you provided it yet?

  109. #109 |  Other Sean | 

    I’ve said clearly enough that I don’t recognize the legitimacy of our legal system, don’t trust it, don’t care for the slippery way it jargonizes and sucks meaning from otherwise useful words, don’t agree with its rules of evidence, etc. Those beliefs are a big part of why I enjoy reading and commenting on this blog, as they seem to be widely shared by other readers and commenters. I’ve also said I expect that system to be at its very worst in the Zimmerman case, as its faults grow monstrous under an enhanced diet of publicity and political pressure.

    In other words, it’s not that I don’t understand the American criminal justice system. I understand it quite well. It’s just that I DO NOT LIKE IT.

    Here’s an example: You wrote “…but people’s mental states matter in criminal cases, and they have to be inferred from circumstantial evidence.”

    As a description of how things work in criminal law, that’s accurate enough for me. But I’m curious: why would you accept that as the way things OUGHT to work? And even if you believe that principle should rule in matters of law, why would you apply it outside of a courtroom – in a discussion like the one we’re having now?

    As a mater of logic, it really is just laughably absurd. Think of all the questions our legal system has simply evaded or failed to answer on this one point alone…

    What is fear? How would you measure different quantities of it? Why should it not matter that different people have different tolerances for fear? What is a reasonable person? How can you tell if someone is reasonable person? Does a reasonable person always act reasonably? How can you tell when they don’t? Given that different people are capable of massively different interpretations of circumstances and fact patterns, why would anyone think that circumstances and fact patterns make a good basis for inferences about mental state?

    A bit more philosophically: if the harm of killing is that it destroys a life, why SHOULD it matter if someone kills by careful intention or by clumsy passion? Dead is dead, after all.
    ______________________________________________________________________________

    Here’s an even cleaner example that has no special bearing on this case:

    Courts like to believe in something called “credibility”, and they encourage jurors to attach a lot of importance to this when judging the testimony of witnesses.

    Have you ever stopped to asked yourself what “credibility” means? If it means anything, it means that there are some people who can and should be trusted, just because they haven’t (to the knowledge of the listener) been caught in a lie.

    Get that good and clear: A “credible” witness is not someone who hasn’t told any lies, it’s someone one who hasn’t recently been caught in a lie.

    But, as we all know, everyone lies. No human tells the truth all the time, and most lie on a fairly regular basis, in various different ways (by commission, by omission, by deliberate misleading etc). And when there is anything to gain or lose, the tendency to lie becomes even stronger.

    So the choice is between: a) witnesses who got caught lying, and b) witnesses who didn’t get caught lying. There is no category c) witnesses who simply never lie.

    Yet our court system likes to pretend there is, and has been pretending that for years. Does that not bother you?

  110. #110 |  Other Sean | 

    … because if it doesn’t bother you, it damn well should. For years the same legal system in which you now put so much interest and faith has encouraged the public to believe that cops (who seem to lie more than anybody) are not just trustworthy, but UNCOMMONLY trustworthy.

    Ever been to the voir dire in a criminal case? The defense attorney usually asks the prospective jurors: “Would you find it impossible to believe that a police officer was lying?” Several people always answer “yes” or say “I’d find it difficult but not impossible.”

    Where do you think they got that idea? They got it from the very same legal system with its jargon, its glamour, its power, its home field advantage, and its innumerable pretenses of moral legitimacy.

    But look who stands on the other side of that grotesquely unfair fight. Half the time it’s some black kid with no money who now looks terribly awkward in an off-the-rack suit. If he talked to the police before meeting his public defender (and god knows they almost always do), I guarantee you he got himself caught in at least one admissible lie.

    So what happens when the cop says one thing and he says another? You know what happens. Even though this is a clearly a case of he said / he said between two people who each have plenty of reason to lie…even though these two men are supposed to be equals in the eyes of the law…even though everybody knows deep down that EVERYBODY LIES…the court system encourages the jurors to believe the cop on the grounds that he is a credible public servant while the defendant is just a lying little shitbird.

    Do you really want use the words and concepts of that legal system to try to understand Trayvon Martin’s death?

    All this law talk seems uniquely unsuited to someone with your concerns and your point of view. To say nothing of the fact that it stands in the way of a much more interesting discussion we could be having, on the social and moral aspects of this complicated event.

  111. #111 |  Bobby | 

    #109 | Other Sean | June 11th, 2012 at 11:16 pm
    A bit more philosophically: if the harm of killing is that it destroys a life, why SHOULD it matter if someone kills by careful intention or by clumsy passion? Dead is dead, after all.

    That you’re honestly asking this question is pretty revealing. The rest of your post is one long rant against our legal system, detailing a bunch of problems with it, and then hilariously concluding that no one should expect any sort of justice from it.

    I think we can wrap this up. This’ll be my last post here. To sum up your performance in this thread:

    1) You claim to be outraged at baseless charges of racism made by people that you label as part of “team Martin”, yet have absolutely nothing to say by baseless charges of racism when it’s made by people you’d label as part of “team Zimmerman” such as those made by C.S.P. in post #34

    2) You insist people shouldn’t pass judgement until we have all the facts, but you insist that the best way to establish these facts, a court proceeding shouldn’t happen, because it’s imperfect.

    3) You have gross misconceptions about how our legal system should work, as indicated by the quote at the top of this post.

    4) You have a habit of making assertions that you refuse to back up. For example, you insist that I haven’t been keeping up with the latest developments, yet you refuse to provide the “new” evidence you think I’m missing. You insist that C.S.P.’s argument about how Zimmerman got his cuts on the back of his head is just as valid as mine, but refuse to actually discuss the evidence, even when I directly ask you about it:

    I’m criticizing C.S.P.’s positive argument, which isn’t supported by the evidence. If you think it is, please point to the evidence that conclusively proves Zimmerman didn’t get those cuts on his head from when he fell to the side walk, during the conflict. Or while they were wrestling each other, on the ground. Or even proves that Martin didn’t shove Zimmerman’s head into the sidewalk during the struggle over the gun. Please point to the evidence that proves Martin was attempting to kill Zimmerman by bashing his skull in.

    5) You’ve continuously misrepresented my arguments, likely because you simply can’t follow them. Examples post #34, where you claimed I was trying to avoid discussing the facts. Then there’s your hilarious misapplication of a logical fallacy discussed in posts #65 and #66. And, of course, your repeated claims that I think Zimmerman is definitely guilty, in spite of my repeated insistence that I’m only arguing the case should be reviewed in court.

    You’ve proven yourself to be one big ball of strawmen, red herrings, self-righteousness, and hypocrisy. Cheers!

  112. #112 |  Other Sean | 

    Bobby,

    Your little summary was nasty, narrow-minded, and void of content. I don’t think I’ll answer it in kind.

    It’s a sad thing when a man can’t bring himself to imagine a world beyond the little details that surround him at one passing moment of history.

    In the course of this exchange I have learned many things. You, I fear, have not used the opportunity nearly so well.

    There are many lessons to be gained from Trayvon Martin’s death. The ones that matter in the long run cannot be found where you are most comfortable, hiding down in the concrete particulars of the case. You waste your time worrying about whether a man got his head scratched this way or that, or what some made-up legal precedent says about inferring states of mind, or who is and who is not a racist. All that is sand.

    Throughout this very long discussion I noticed that, when possible, you prefer to avoid questions of general principle, and you seem to hate being confronted with hypothetical or abstract propositions. Perhaps you are one of those who believes it’s somehow pragmatic not to engage with matters of philosophy.

    If so, that’s really too bad. You miss a lot that way. You’ve missed a lot already. Here’s hoping you wake up some morning and change your mind.

    Sean

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