Thursday, March 29, 2012

In Reply: No Visible Blood, and No Protective Gloves (Trayvon Martin)

In reply to: Aren’t There Photos of George Zimmerman’s Supposed Injuries?

What struck me as far more questionable than the lack of obvious injury was the lack of obvious blood on his clothing (his own or Trayvon's, who was reportedly shot while above Zimmerman) and the lack of protective gloves on the officers handling his clothing, which are standard in a situation where there's any possibility of exposure to blood-borne disease (not to mention evidence contamination).

I don't doubt that there was a physical altercation between them, but this video does make me question the extent of it. (No matter how slight the scuffle though, I'm really surprised that the officer doing the search of his clothing before bringing him inside wasn't wearing gloves. While I'm sure it's not the way they portray it on the TV dramas, I'd think it difficult to contain all those blood drops and body bits during a close quarter shooting like this.)

Comment submitted 3/29/12, 4:15 PM (or thereabouts... If I had any idea it wasn't going to appear when submitted, I would've paid more attention...)

(There is no indication that this blog is moderated before the fact but, while some submissions appear immediately, others never get posted at all, and there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it all. [My first guess was that comments containing links were vetted and those without them were not, but this comment has no links, leaving me stumped.])

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

In Reply: "Just because we wrote a play, it doesn't mean he's obligated to dutifully perform the part we wrote for him..." (Trayvon Martin)

In reply to "Trayvon Martin and The Case of Yellow Journalism" (A post (editorial cartoon, to be exact) that has since been deleted from The Daily Texan website.)

"Don't give me your BS idealistic answer . Tell the TRUTH. You KNOW the answer. Don't you fucking tell me you don't hold your belongings just a little closer when you see a black man walking towards you at night."

But is the real problem here the black man walking down the street, or you/my/our response upon seeing him? Even if the statistics are all true, and not biased themselves by the attitudes of police officers, judges and we jurors (the same attitudes you describe, ironically, creating a self-perpetuating cycle of justification), isn't the real problem here that no matter how many black men commit crimes, we are not justified in being prejudiced against that particular black man on our street, who is an individual, and not beholden to behave according to the biased stereotypes we created for him and for black men in general?
Just because we wrote a play, it doesn't mean that he has to become an actor in it, dutifully performing the part we wrote for him and his kind.

He isn't the problem. We (or more specifically, our biased attitudes that make us hold our belongings closer) are.

(And I say this as a guy who does sometimes tense up when I see certain folks dressed or behaving in certain ways...)

Posted (& subsequently deleted, along with everything else at that post) 03/28/12 08:11 PM

In Reply: Similarity Breeds Familiarity

In reply to a comment at the Daily Texan post "Trayvon Martin and The Case of Yellow Journalism," an editorial cartoon that was subsequently removed from the site, along with all commentary about it.

Most of your rant is just downright disgusting and not worthy of reply, but I was intrigued by your comment about human nature... (which as best as I can recall, was that people are racist by nature.)

I agree that there is a certain bias for tribalism--to have a more positive view of those like you (which implies a less positive view of those different from you)--but I don't know that I'd call it racism or bigotry, necessarily. A lot of the time, it's just a matter of being able to more easily identify with folks with whom you share some common trait...

Look at national politics, where the accepted common wisdom is that Mormons will support the Mormon candidate, women will vote for the woman, Texans will vote for the candidate who is (or ever was) from Texas, Irish for Irish, gay for gay, same college, and on and on..., (There's even evidence that the bald are more likely to support the candidate with the least hair, plumbers the one who once worked as a plumber, etc.)

It's the same in most other aspects of life, too... ...and most people don't even give it much thought... Similarity breeds familiarity, I guess...

It is a bias, but I don't think it's necessarily bigotry or racism (though it can become that, of course...) It's just that like naturally attracts like, and people have an affinity for people who "mirror" them in some way.

To say otherwise is to suggest that those Mormons who support the Mormon candidate and Texans who vote for the guy who was born in their hometown (or the next town over) in Texas are bigots for doing so, and I just don't agree that that's the case...

Posted (and subsequently removed, along with everything else at the post) 03/28/12 07:46 PM

Monday, March 26, 2012

In Reply: Zimmerman Claims He Went Back To His Car?

In reply to: Trayvon Martin Shooter Says Teenager Went for His Gun - ABC News

"Zimmerman had claimed he had called police about Martin, whom he found suspicious, then went back to his car when Martin attacked him, punching him."

No, Zimmerman was IN his car (at least initially) when he called the police. He then left it to follow Martin when Martin was "getting away," was told by the dispatcher that "we don't need you to do that," (follow the suspect), and he agreed not to continue pursuit, saying "OK."

And yet, the verbal and subsequent physical confrontation between the two men occurred some distance from Zimmerman's car (still parked by the clubhouse and mailboxes make that, parked on the street well over 200 yards away), several minutes later.

If one listens to the report of the 16 year old girl, she indicates that Zimmerman was STILL following Martin at the time the first words were exchanged (based on Trayvon asking the stranger "Why are you following me?"), AFTER Martin tells her he thinks he got away from the guy following him.

I don't know who hit who first, but Zimmerman's story about going back to his car doesn't hold up.

(Photo h/t to marinadedave - Front Page - The Tragedy of Trayvon Martin Read his whole post for more pictures and his insights about the story.)

In Reply: Sure would be nice if we could read Trayvon Martin's account to police, too...

In reply to Trayvon Martin: George Zimmerman's account to police of the Trayvon Martin shooting. - Orlando Sentinel

This story doesn't line up with what the 16 year old girl Trayvon was on the phone with at the time says she heard. She describes Trayvon trying to elude some creep who was folowing him, who again caught up to him after Trayvon thought he'd gotten away from the guy, and who finally asked Zimmerman "Why are you following me?" Zimmerman responded "Why are you here?" After that, the girl hears what sounds to her like a struggle in which Trayvon was hit, before the call lost connection.

In any case, I'm pretty sure from all I've read and seen, that Trayvon was at least as in fear of the creepy guy who kept following him (Zimmerman) as Zimmerman was of that suspicious black guy in the hoodie (Trayvon.) The only difference was, Trayvon kept trying to get further AWAY from the guy he feared, while Zimmerman spent much of the five or so minutes during which the incident moving CLOSER to Trayvon, even going against the advice of the police dispatcher.

There is a pretty good argument to be made that unable to get away from Zimmerman, Trayvon finally stood his ground and defended himself against the unknown creeper following him and whatever harm he thought Zimmerman intended to inflict; an argument Trayvon Martin would've made himself, if he was still alive to tell his side of the story.

memeorandum: Police: Zimmerman says Trayvon decked him with one blow then began hammering his head (Rene Stutzman/Orlando Sentinel)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

In Reply: "Pretending to be "Sheriff Zimmerman" wasn't against the law..." Trayvon Martin

In reply to the following comment at: Fox Tampa breaks silence on Trayvon shooting witness - Charleston Charleston Conservative |
Patrick Klinedinst commented: "Last time i checked 911 dispatchers have no legal authority. They are not LEO's"
Funny that everyone gives that same response, like it's on the talking point list, or something...

I never suggested that the dispatcher's words were a command that carried the force of law... I said they were the words of a person trained to talk to people who find themselves in dangerous, adrenaline-charged situations, and that anyone with the brains God gave 'em would've followed the dispatcher's suggestion. (Even police officers themselves don't charge in and confront folks they believe to be up to no good without back-up, if they can avoid doing so.) I find it awful hard to believe that there are more'n a handful of law enforcement professionals that would advise a civilian to do what Zimmerman did, or defend his actions as smart or safe after the fact. No, pretending to be sheriff Zimmerman against the advice of the dispatcher probably wasn't against the law. But it wasn't smart, and it resulted in the fight (no matter which one of 'em laid hands on the other first, a fact that no witness except Zimmerman is able testify to, given that Martin is no longer with us) and the death of Trayvon Martin.

In Reply: "If George Zimmerman had just stayed in his car and waited for the responding officers, both he and Trayvon Martin would be home with their families..."

In reply to the following comment at Fox Tampa breaks silence on Trayvon shooting witness - Charleston Charleston Conservative |

Bill Logan commented:
"NO gun was INTRODUCED......Z was on the ground being relentlessly PUMMELED per EYE witness.......tra von HAD THE LEGAL DUTY to STOP the ATTACK once the other party becomes defensless....HE DID NOT and was subsequently in the midst of an assault and battery."

Obviously, the other party (Zimmerman) wasn't defenseless enough... He was fully able to shoot and kill Martin. Trayvon Martin should've been armed (so he could "stand his ground" and defend himself against the creepy stranger who was following him) or he should've knocked that man clean out, so he was no longer in danger of bodily harm (like being shot, fer'instance.) Once you commit to physically defending yourself against someone you believe intends to grievously harm you, you don't stop until you're sure your attacker is incapacitated enough so that s/he can no longer do so. (If George Zimmerman took any classes on using his weapon for self-defense, he was likely taught the same. Once you've committed to using your weapon to defend yourself, you don't shoot to wound your assailant.)

My take is that they were both innocent, but each believed the other guy was dangerous, based on actions (and maybe a touch of distrust for someone ethnically different from them, as well)... If Zimmerman had just stayed in his car and waited for the responding officers like he was instructed to do, neither man would've been in any danger from the other or suffered any injuries, and both would be home with their families today.

In Reply: "I don't know what the outcome ought to be, but George Zimmerman ought to be tried before a jury of his peers for killing Trayvon Martin."

In reply to the following comment at Fox Tampa breaks silence on Trayvon shooting witness - Charleston Conservative |

John Lucier posted:
"Yet, this older, aggressive, paranoid, and ARMED male, who was told to remain in his car, had the right to kill this young man? That's what you're all saying"
Yet this young, physically fit member of a football team had the right to assault a fat 35 year old man, pin him on the ground and beat him bloody for asking him what he was doing?

We don't know what transpired in certain passages of time but I don't think you're clear on the law here.

He created the outcome? There were certain lines crossed, we're not sure by whom. It was wrong for Zimmerman to "stalk" Martin though probably not illegal. It was wrong for him to stop and approach Martin, though probably not illegal. Now we come to the legality part- who assaulted whom first? it's not clear and I don't think we have any witnesses to call on for that. They can be yelling N***** and H**** P********* at each others' faces all day, no laws are broken.

SO if all we have is the eyewitness who claims Zimmerman is getting beat by Martin, substantiated by the reports by police about the grass stains and blood on Zimmerman, everything up to that point is either not illegal (by Zimmerman) OR is complete speculation. THEREFORE for legal purposes we begin with Martin assaulting Zimmerman, Zimmerman legally justified in both carrying concealed weapon, and using it in self defense under Florida law.

Zimmerman shouldn't be charged and if he is he'll be acquitted. (based on the facts we have in front of us now.) That doesn't mean he's not a complete dick BTW who probably should have gotten the beating Martin was giving him long ago. The law won't care about that.

The fact that Martin was apparently winning at the time "John" (the eyewitness) saw them in no way proves that Martin started the fight, nor does the fact that Zimmerman was losing justify his shooting Martin (especially if it was Zimmerman who was the first to lay hands on the other.)

There is little argument that it was Zimmerman who sought out and confronted Martin, and I wouldn't be surprised that Martin would make an awful credible argument that he feared for his life and was defending himself as best as he was able, against some creepy stranger with a gun in his waistband who was following him, were he not dead and unable to tell his side of the story as effectively as Zimmerman was able to tell his...

I don't know for sure what the outcome ought to be, but there's no doubt in my mind that Zimmerman ought to be tried before a jury of his peers for killing Trayvon Martin. Both sides deserve to have their day in court.

In Reply: Isn't It Possible That Trayvon Martin Was Standing His Ground and Defending Himself Against A Creepy Stranger Who Was Following Him?

In reply to: The Trayvon Martin Narrative Changes Suddenly: Witnesses Say Martin Beat Up Zimmerman Before Being Shot | THE WESTERN EXPERIENCE

I don't mean to be difficult, Jason, but how has the narrative changed?

The witness testimony of "John" (quoted above) isn't new. It's been a part of the story (even in the MSM) since the night after Trayvon was shot. (Here's a report from a Fox station in Orlando, on 2/27/12 - the night after the incident - that includes John's eyewitness testimony: Man shot and killed in neighborhood altercation).

Even if "John's" recollection of what he saw is 100 percent accurate, it doesn't prove that Trayvon was the aggressor, or that Zimmerman was justified in shooting him. It only proves that whoever laid hands on the other first, Trayvon got the upper hand. Losing a street fight does not justify shooting the guy who won--especially if the loser started the fight, which is at least as possible as the alternative. (No one is claiming to have seen the initial verbal or physical contact between Trayvon and Zimmerman. One ear witness--the 16 year old girl that Trayvon was on the phone with--says that Zimmerman came up to Trayvon and shouted "What are you doing here?!?" before there were sounds of a scuffle and the phone went dead.) The girl also says Trayvon was trying to avoid the guy who was following him (she even told him to run away from the guy), and according to the tape of Zimmerman on the call with the police dispatcher, Zimmerman was told not to follow the alleged perpetrator he was calling about, which he agreed not to do.

There is no evidence or testimony suggesting that Trayvon ever approached or "attacked" Zimmerman, and lots suggesting that Zimmerman pursued and ultimately confronted Trayvon Martin. While we don't know which man initiated physical contact or why, a credible supposition can certainly be made that Trayvon, finding himself unable to get away from this stranger who was following him, and fearing that Mr Zimmerman intended to do him harm, lashed out to defend himself. We don't know for sure because, unlike Mr Zimmerman, Trayvon isn't here to tell his side of the story. I'm not saying this is definitely what happened. I am saying it's possible that Trayvon was at least as in fear for his life as Mr Zimmerman was, and believed he had at least as much cause to defend himself as best he could from bodily harm, even if that meant incapacitating the other guy long enough so that he could get away from him. (Isn't that the goal of self-defense training; to do at least enough damage to the aggressor to escape the situation and thus not be hurt yourself?)

One thing seems pretty clear... Had Mr Zimmerman stayed in his truck by the mailboxes and met the responding officers the way the police dispatcher asked him to, neither man would've had cause to stand their ground or defend themselves--Zimmerman, from a suspicious-looking guy in a hoodie, and Trayvon, from a creepy older stranger who was following him through the neighborhood--and Trayvon would likely still be alive.

Posted March 25, 2012 at 12:09 am

Links: Stinque � New Witness is Old Witness Who Saw Part of Fight But Didn’t See Start of Fight
memeorandum: Witness: Martin attacked Zimmerman (WTVT-TV)
memeorandum: Beth Stebner / Associated Press:
Now witness claims TRAYVON attacked Zimmerman

Saturday, March 24, 2012

X-Post: When Hoodies Kill...

"Live never to be ashamed if anything you do or say is published around the world -- even if what is published is not true." - Richard Bach, Illusions

Geraldo Rivera - 8:10 PM - 22 Mar 12
Justice will come to Zimmerman the Fla shooter-but I'm trying to save lives like Trayvon's-Parents Alert: hoodies can get your kid killed

Its not blaming the victim Its common sense-look like a gangsta & some armed schmuck will take you at your word

Its sad that I have to be the one reminding minority parents of the risk that comes with being a kid of color in America--channel the rage
Geraldo in a Hoodie

I'm willing to give Geraldo a tiny bit of slack on this... I believe that in his own ham-fisted way, he's trying to say the same thing as Toure, in his TIME article "Trayvon Martin: Advice for Young Black Boys After Tragedy":
"You will have to make allowances for other people’s racism. That’s part of the burden of being black. We can be defiant and dead or smart and alive. I’m not saying you can’t wear what you want, but your clothes are a red herring. They’ll blame it on your hoodie or your jeans when the real reason they decided you were a criminal is that you’re black."
There is bigotry in this country and in this world, and it's not only young black boys who fall victim to the negative stereotypes and irrational fears that others hold about them, or the acts those stereotypes and fears engender. "Advice for Muslims..." "Advice for Jews..." "Advice for Young Gay Men and Women..." "Advice for Young Girls..."

People see others the way they choose--and the way they're taught--and sometimes what they see has little basis in objective reality. Your clothes, your color, your size, the way you walk or talk, speaks to people (and to their prejudices), and whether or not what they hear is the truth, they will treat you accordingly.

So, while I think it's probably smart for parents to warn their kids that there are bigots and other assholes who may try to harm them because of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation--either based on those factors alone or together with the style or color of the clothes they wear, music they listen to, or other innocent and semi-innocent activities they pursue--nether the parents or their children should ever lose sight of the fact that it is the bigots and assholes who are the problem, not the demographics of the kids or the clothes that they wear.

Black kids in hoodies (women in sexy clothes) (men leaving gay bars) are not "just askin' for it," no matter what some seem to think.

Deepest pic I've seen yet, RIP Trayvon Martin. Hoods up! on Twitpic

Then he remembered he was on FOXNews and knew he needed to start digging. - Lawyers, Guns & Money (With special mention: "You might think it is a very appropriate quote for the situation, except in this case the “gun” is Trayvon Martin’s hoodie, not Zimmerman’s entirely too non-metaphorical gun." and "I’m going to slightly defend the sentiment behind the first quote ...", the latter of which likely inspired this whole post.)

Trayvon Martin: Advice for Young Black Boys After Tragedy | TIME Ideas |

TheFactChannel's YouTube videos pretty fairly address the aspects incident and it's aftermath, and this video has about 35 minutes of 911 calls (and some commentary), which is the most comprehensive collection I've seen...

Trayvon Martin killing: When did hoods become associated with illicit activity? - Slate Magazine

Tragedy Gives The Hoodie A Whole New Meaning : NPR

The Associated Press: Trayvon Martin, my son, and the Black Male Code

A Wingnuts and Moonbats X-post

"New" Eye Witness in Trayvon Martin Murder

In reply to: Witness: Martin attacked Zimmerman and Riehl World View: As Media Reports Conflict, Why Was Trayvon Martin Photo Altered?

Doesn't the timeline have Trayvon on the phone with a 16 year old girl and (according to the girl, anyway) trying to AVOID Zimmerman when he is confronted?

And under FL law, wouldn't Trayvon have the right to stand his ground / defend himself against this stranger who was following him around the neighborhood and more than likely confronted him on a dark rainy street, even though he didn't have a gun like Mr. Zimmerman did? If a stranger grabs you (or knocks your phone out of your hand, or otherwise lays hands on you or your personal property), are you not allowed to strike him to defend yourself (or is it only self-defense if your response is to fire your gun)?

Even assuming "John's" witness testimony is entirely accurate, there is no doubt that Zimmerman pursued Trayvon, and likely initiated both the verbal and physical contact between them. That the man Zimmerman was following bested him in the struggle--a struggle that may've been the result of Trayvon defending himself against the creepy guy following him, rather than the other way 'round--is not proof of who initiated what or whether the shot that killed Trayvon Martin was justified. If Mr Zimmerman had let the police do their job the way the 911 dispatcher told him to, the confrontation--and the gunshot that killed Trayvon--never would've taken place. It remains to be seen whether common sense has any place in FL law.

Posted: Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 04:06 PM

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

X-Post: St. Baldrick's Video - Taking It All Off In Support of Childhood Cancer Research

My nephew and his uncle get their heads shaved to benefit childhood cancer research.


You can still donate, even if you're reading this 11 months after I posted it. (After that, you might want to search for our 2013 event page.) Please follow this link, and give as generously as you can: St. Baldrick's 2012

A Goodness and Goodwill X-post

Nerd Score (Do nerds score?)