Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The latest on the Trayvon Martin affair

Apart from the left-wing/progressive/black-activist 'lunatic fringe' attacks on George Zimmerman after he was acquitted on murder and manslaughter charges, there have been several other developments that have made me alternately nod in agreement and glower with fury.

First, Prof. Alan Dershowitz has rightly castigated Florida state prosecutor Angela Corey over her mind-bogglingly stupid claim that Zimmerman was a 'murderer' - after he'd been found not guilty.  He says Zimmerman has a case for defamation against her.  I'm sure he has, as has the man she fired for revealing to defense attorneys that she had withheld critical evidence from them.  I hope she gets sued for every cent she has, and then some.  To call this 'prosecutorial misconduct' is woefully inadequate.  In my opinion, it can only be described as felonious.  I hope there are criminal statutes that can be applied against her.  (She seems to have a history of this sort of behavior.)

Next, I've never been of one mind with Slate over its political and social opinions, but now and then it publishes an article that makes me think.  Two days ago William Saletan published a very balanced, thoughtful look at the Trayvon Martin case.  It began:

His death wasn’t about race, guns, or your pet issue. It was about misjudgment and overreaction—exactly what we’re doing now to the verdict.

There's more at the link.  Highly recommended reading.

Finally, Robert McCain points out that 'a Miami school cover-up policy led to Trayvon Martin's death'.  He'd been suspended from the school on two occasions for conduct that could be classified as misdemeanor or felony offenses, but the responsible police force had a policy of not bringing charges against schoolchildren, in order to reduce the statistics for juvenile offenses.  Because they didn't do so, Martin remained on the streets - where he met up with George Zimmerman one night.  He wouldn't have been there if Miami school police had done their job.

Plenty of food for thought there . . .



Mad Jack said...

Like my dear old Aunt Petunia used to say, "Coulda, woulda, shoulda. Let ifs and buts be cars and ruts and we're still stuck in the same old place - ice the bourbon, Jackie."

Or something like that. Trayvon Martin was finishing his apprenticeship for being a career criminal. If you want to blame someone else, blame Trayvon's mentor who clearly neglected the part about looking down the barrel of a gun as opposed to over the sights.

This was not a singular event for Trayvon. This was life as usual, this was one more brawl he could win, one more person he could make suffer. Now Trayvon is dead. Oh well.

I hope Zimmerman sues that prosecutor for her back teeth - and wins.

Old NFO said...

Concur with Mad Jack, and this one is getting so far out of hand (and in left field), this 'may' be the straw that breaks the camel's back... Interestingly, it appears NONE of the big protests/demonstrations/etc. have occurred where people are allowed to carry guns...

Anonymous said...

I'll second Jack's and NFO's comments above, and add this: my worry is this will deliberately be kept on a simmer because it diverts attention from Obama's serial failures, and it helps keep the racial warlords in business. Keep it simmering long enough and a single event - misrepresented by a media which has raised misrepresentation to an art form - and it boils over, with calamitous consequences for everyone.

wordlet said...

@Mad Jack Using recreational drugs is hardly an 'apprenticeship for being a career criminal.' There is little to no evidence to suggest that the 'gateway drug' theory is valid. The main thing that leads people to a life as a career criminal is a lack of opportunity (or lack of role models who showcase those opportunities) for a normal career. The conclusions you leap to because of his consensual drug use are simply astonishing. Regularly getting into fights? Regularly 'making people suffer'? His reaction to someone following him in their vehicle for an extended period, and then getting out of their car to confront him while armed, can hardly be said to be indicative of anything approaching his 'normal' life. What occurred that day was tragic, not business as usual.

@Old NFO Aside from the times square you can carry guns pretty much anywhere in the US so... [statement that fits your worldview that guns fix everything && revolution is coming]=false.

@Anonymous ??? Racial warlords? There's a difference between buzz words that can communicate an idea in a neat package (military industrial complex, prison industrial complex, efficient government, etc.) and words that you pull out of a source of spite and vindictiveness to communicate your hatred. Take a guess at which one racial warlords is.

@Peter Starting out a post by calling people who disagree with you the 'lunatic fringe' immediately discounts your opinion in the eyes of anyone who remains unconvinced. It suggests not only have you probably not appropriately considered all sides of the issue, but you feel considering any side other than your own to be an act of lunacy. That's not to say this is true, but it's what your statement suggests.

While there is such a thing as 'false balance' in which you lend false credence to something obviously not true. (sky is purple, obama is kenyan) But given the number of people who think this story is about race, or at the very least class, any article that starts out by saying that this is -not- about race/class is by definition -not- balanced. A balanced article wouldn't be taking a stance at all. It can still be thoughtful, intelligent, considerate, but it cannot be 'balanced.'

I think of this incident as two cars (under certain circumstances considered deadly weapons) driving head on into each other. Right before the crash Car1 swerves to the right, Car2 reacting before his brain has time to register he should turn right (opposite direction), turns in the same direction. Leading to a crash that kills the driver of Car2. They both made mistakes (driving head on into each other, getting in an altercation in the first place) but as in most car fatalities, there probably wouldn't be any criminal charges filed unless an illegal form of driver impairment (cellphone,alcohol) was involved.

They both made mistakes, one of them died, the court has found the other not guilty, the best we can do is learn from it, and not demonize either party or their families.

tweell said...

Travis: I'm impressed by your lack of clue.

No, not everyone who does drugs becomes a criminal. However... just about every criminal is a drug user. Trayvon's behavior prior to death is not in question, neither his drug use nor his violent demeanor.

I see that little nuances like 'may issue' versus 'shall issue' have escaped your laser focus. 'May issue' means that a firearm permit can be denied for any reason, or no reason at all. If you have a concealed carry license in Oakland, CA, for instance, you are either a police officer, a politician, a professional bodyguard or wealthy. 'Shall issue' means that the permit is granted unless a real problem exists. In these areas, the common citizen can be armed if they so desire. Now, show those riots in 'shall issue' states.

Ah, we must only use liberal buzzwords, not nassty conservative talk. Well, none of your words fit Al Sharpton, who encourages mayhem while profiting from it. Come up with some adjectives that do a better descriptive job, and we might use them.

I guess that 'lunatic fringe' offends you as well. Again, come up with a better name for those who threaten death to a man who has already proven he will deal it out if necessary. They've made it much easier for him to defend himself in court for killing someone, if he ever has to do so again. Brilliance, or lunacy?

Our host has not stated that his is a balanced opinion, that I can see. Why should he care for your demands that he do so?

Your example could use some fine-tuning. Car1 swerved towards Car2, then started swerving back before Car2 swerved at him in response. For that, Car1 has been castigated, persecuted and prosecuted, all because Car1 had a different paint job.

Since the food for thought was spurned, I figured a cluebat was in order. Your approach is better, Peter, but one never knows what might work.

wordlet said...

@tweell I'm impressed by your lack of respect for civil discourse..

By 'his behavior prior to death is not in question' are you implying it's so obvious he was a criminal, or just that it's a non-issue? If you're saying it's a non-issue, I agree. I was disputing Mad Jack's assertion that this his drug use meant he was a criminal, and therefore dangerous enough to kill out of hand.

Thanks for the info on shall issue vs may issue. Personally I've never had to deal with it, I live in Arizona where we have unrestricted concealed carry.

However, to the point at hand, A brief search revealed the following states with protests and shall-issue (or less restrictive) laws:
Florida (obviously)

Given the only may-issue (or more restrictive) states I found in my short search with protests were:
New York
I'd say I was correct in saying there is no correlation between the availability of guns, and the presence of protests.

I would not consider prison industrial complex (what ideology would support rampant imprisonment of citizens for profit?) or efficient government (a variant of small, or limited government) to be liberal buzzwords. I attempted to use buzzwords from both liberal, conservative, and centrist views. If I failed, my bad.

I would call Al Sharpton, and everyone else who regularly appears on cable news to discuss their opinions rather than facts, a TV personality. I'd say his equivalent is Glenn Beck. He spent days saying he had news that would (paraphrasing) 'rock the country' and 'take down the GOP, Democrats, and many members of congress' all to promote his new show on TheBlaze. Obviously he profited from the hype, and obviously those parties still exist, and no members of congress were 'taken down.' So he profited from nonsense. This is what happens when people choose to get their news from people who are beholden to advertisers.

Personally I change the channel whenever a news program brings on a 'panel' to 'discuss an issue.' I don't need or want random TV personalities to debate issues for me.

Lunatic fringe doesn't 'offend' me, there are indeed people deserving of the title. I'm just suggesting that such labels are unproductive, and potentially counter-productive. If you begin to believe anyone who disagrees with you is an idiot, what's the point in talking to them? The point of course, is to get your points across, hear their arguments, test their validity, identify flaws, so you can arrive at something approaching common ground, or at the very least, mutual understanding.

I wasn't referencing his opinion as being balanced/not balanced, I was referencing his description of the article he linked. While I might agree with, or at least find the arguments in that article reasonable, that does not make them balanced.

Perhaps we need some diagrams for all these car analogies...

The Great and Powerful Oz said...

The Zimmerman trial turns out to be a good way for me to identify churches that I want to have nothing to do with. If they are sobbing that it's so sad that Zimmerman was found guilty, time for me to move on. And I have identified some already.

Toejam said...

Mr Travis McHenry,

Your inane Liberal rantings and scolding of some of my very dear & astute friend's opinions is absolutely uncalled for.

The jury heard the facts and rendered a verdict based upon those facts.

So please don't act like a Liberal enforcer from the D.O.J.'s "let's stomp on American's 1st amendment rights" Gestapo.

Leave that swill-tossing thuggish job to AG Holder and his merry band of bullies.

Mad Jack said...

Travis McHenry: Where did I say anything about drug use or gateway drugs? I didn't.

No one wakes up some morning and decides that they're going to start being a brawler. Trayvon had been fighting for quite a while and he had the skill set to prove it.

Rather than avoid confrontation or walk away from it, Trayvon pursued confrontation and brawling.

When Trayvon and Zimmerman confronted each other, it was Trayvon who knocked Zimmerman down with a punch to the face, then jumped on top of him and started pounding Zimmerman's head on the sidewalk. It's that last that makes lethal self-defense a valid option.

Trayvon had been smoking pot before the encounter, which in my mind is of little importance. So he smoked pot, so what? It's not the best thing to do, but it isn't the end of the world.

Trayvon could have run away from Zimmerman, and he didn't. Trayvon made that choice, no one else made it for him. Now he's dead, and I'm sorry for his mother and family - his father will get over this in short order.

tweell said...

Lack of respect for civil discourse? Let's see: I didn't disparage your person, your ancestry, or use any foul language. Ah, so daring to disagree with your progressive viewpoint and ossified beliefs is uncivil? Ha.

Trayvon Martin, had he been in Arizona, would have been in juvie instead of wandering around. The (former) chief of police had a deliberate policy of not dealing with such, in an attempt to make his statistics look better. This may be a non-issue to you, but since he would have been alive...

Now, let us talk about goalposts, and your seriously lame attempt to move same. Riots are not the same as protests. If you need to learn the difference, I suggest you go to downtown Oakland and see for yourself. Perhaps you can even experience it first-hand!

Yes, you failed the balanced buzzword test, but that's not surprising, given your obvious progressive leanings.

You could call Al Sharpton a TV personality, if you want to avoid the 98% of what he is and has done. He's a preacher with the blood of innocents on his hands; riots that he incited have caused the deaths of at least eight people. NBC tried their best to whitewash his public image, and from your statements it looks like they succeeded with a segment of the population. Too bad.

I don't believe that you're an idiot, and I'm sure that Peter doesn't either. I would label you as willfully ignorant. In any case, you are entitled to your opinion, but not your own set of facts. Truth is not in the mind, truth simply is. You can call it unbalanced, doing so will not change the truth.

Forget the car analogy, obviously you are having trouble with it. Let's go with something more simple. I come over and start beating on you. You can stop the beating by saying 'bang'. When do you say it?

Wraith said...

Folks, young Trayvon killed himself. He just did so in a roundabout way.

That's how I look at it.

wordlet said...

@tweell Telling someone you are surprised by their 'lack of [a] clue' and need a 'cluebat' is disparaging and uncivil.

Given how horrible juvie is at getting kids back on the straight and narrow that probably would have only served to delay things... At least, if this had happened in Arizona, there wouldn't be that whole ridiculous hoodie angle to the story, it's too hot here to wear them most of the year. >_<

I don't think I've made many progressive claims here...The main one would be my stance on drug users not being criminals. Many libertarians share this view, so it's hardly indicative of the rest of my political beliefs. I lean to the right on a number of issues (guns,immigration, etc.), but I do lean to the left on some others. This doesn't make me 'a progressive' it makes me 'a person' with varied opinions.

Oakland is hardly a shining example of peaceful protesting (which is nothing new, and given their crime and poverty rates, hardly surprising). But there were also protests in Tucson, Little Rock, and Houston. None of which had violence that I can find reports of, so at the very least, they were primarily peaceful. Even if you could find a few bad apples in those protests, it doesn't invalidate the message of everyone else who showed up.

As a rule, I avoid 100% of what Al Sharpton is and has done...I don't watch NBC, or get my news from any NBC-related channels or websites. They're the worst rated network for a reason, they suck. That MSNBC manages to lose to CNN in ratings is truly an achievement worth commemorating.

If I was willfully ignorant, why would I be here? I want to understand your views, and expand my horizons. I think the best way to do that is to do exactly what I'm doing here.

I didn't 'have trouble with' the car analogy, I was making a facetious reference to the fact that your additions to the analogy had caused it to become more complex than the situation and events you were describing. Which sort of defeats the point of an analogy.

If I'm supposed to be Zimmerman in that analogy you're ignoring the part where I follow you in my car, exit my car against police advice, and confront you. Obviously none of those actions are deserving of getting the crap beaten out of me...but on some level I should have seen it coming. If saying 'bang' means you die, I'd personally look for other options. I have 2 brothers, and am quite accident prone (broken bones, stitches), so I'm confident in my ability to recognize if a beating was getting life-threatening. The major concern I would have would be if you were to see my gun and potentially use it against me. I can see why I'd bring it, a hoodie could potentially be hiding any manner of weapons. But it's important to not let you get close enough to take the gun. I would probably draw it to keep you at a distance rather than getting in the brawl in the first place.. If I chose to carry a gun on a daily basis it's primary purpose would be to prevent fights, not end them.

wordlet said...

@Toejam My comments have not been inane, liberal, or rants. I suppose these are all subjective, so you're certainly entitled to your opinion. I've tried to make my comments substantive, and constructive. The only case where I would agree I was scolding, or rude was with Old NFO, to him, I apologize for that. I have not stomped on, nor would I wish to stomp on, anyone's first amendment rights. I've only been exercising those very same rights by responding to their comments.

@Mad Jack I made assumptions (my bad). I wasn't sure where you were getting the notion that he was on his way to being a career criminal from. Since the main thing I've heard to give evidence of his character is his drug use, I assumed that was what you were talking about. I guess the fact that he punched Zimmerman at all is evidence that this probably wasn't his first fight..but not everyone who has been in a few fights, (schoolyard, bar brawls, sibling rivalries) and would not hesitate to fight someone for following them, is a criminal. Personally, I don't know many people who would fight someone just for that, so I get your point. I'm not here to dispute the jury's decision, I respect it. But I do disagree that Trayvon's only option (or best option) was to run away, I think they both made mistakes. I accept that which one of them has the greater share of blame is a matter of opinion, but I think it's indisputable that Trayvon does not deserve 100% of the blame.

@Wraith Saying it was suicide implies Zimmerman had an inactive role.. Zimmerman's gun had an inactive role, and guns used in suicides certainly don't pull their own triggers, but Zimmerman is a living breathing thinking human being. The trial proved his actions weren't criminal, but that does not mean his actions had no influence on the events that occurred.

tweell said...

Ah, to tell the truth is now uncivil, is it? Interesting definition, there. In that case, I will proudly speak truth, be it ever so uncivil.

So, you agree that Trayvon was heading for trouble and it was just a matter of when. Excellent admission, now please remember that for later. As far as institutions such as juvenile and adult incarceration go, it is the individual who must decide to change and then do it, these places just keep them out of circulation for a while. Changing someone without their agreement is forbidden in any civilized country; think about it.

Good, you see that any violence happened where gun laws disarm the common citizen, and didn't happen where the common citizen might be able to defend himself. I see that you are no longer clueless!

Now, I suggest that you go and listen to (or at least read the transcript of) the call Zimmerman made. Note that the dispatcher asked Zimmerman which way Trayvon ran. At this point Zimmerman got out of his truck and began following Trayvon on foot. When the dispatcher realized this, they asked him if he was doing so, then said he didn't need to do that. Zimmerman said Ok. At this point, Zimmerman stopped and started going back to his vehicle. Clues here: the dispatcher asked where Trayvon was going, and Zimmerman went to check. HE WAS DOING WHAT THE DISPATCHER ASKED HIM TO DO! After the dispatcher realized their mistake, they told him "We don't need you to do that."
Note that this is not an order (and the dispatcher isn't a policeman, their words do not have the same force of law), but Zimmerman acknowledges and does so. Again, doing what he was told by the dispatcher. Zimmerman agrees to meet with the police by his truck and gives the location, so now he has to stay there. He has lost sight of Trayvon, and is not hunting the youth.

Zimmerman was where he told the dispatcher he would be, only with a broken nose, other damage, and of course Trayvon's body. This doesn't require Sherlock Holmes to figure out what happened, just a person who's spent a bit of time collecting the facts and not willfully ignoring any that don't fit the frame the media fit him with. Zimmerman's story fit the facts and the (admittedly incomplete) witness accounts, while the other side's story... didn't.

That was the right answer - the gun comes out before any beating starts. Excellent! Zimmerman didn't have that opportunity. Having a pistol in hand when you are expecting an officer is a BAD idea, they get a bit jumpy and have been known to shoot folks that are flashing firearms. It was overcast, raining, and Trayvon managed to jump him.

There's an interesting demonstration that is done in some self-defense classes, called the Tueller Drill or 21 Foot Rule. The 21 foot rule states that the average person with a knife or sword can get to and cut a person in about the same time that the average person can draw and fire a handgun. If someone is within that distance, they can get to you before getting shot. That is something more to think about.