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Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, and "The Retreat at Twin Lakes"

I stopped following the Trayvon Martin story as soon as I read that Zimmerman, carrying, followed Martin even when the dispatcher told him not to. [But read on....] Because, come on, who doesn't want to whack an uppity nigra? And then walk? So, because I haven't mastered the material, I'm not sure if the jury's verdict is -- as a verdict -- right or wrong, if that's the most important part of the story, which I'm not sure it is. So I'd like to give a number of perspectives.

First, young black men:

The Zimmerman Jury Told Young Black Men What We Already Knew

It is a complicated thing to be young, black, and male in America. Not only are you well aware that many people are afraid of you—you can see them clutching their purses or stiffening in their subway seats when you sit across from them—you must also remain conscious of the fact that people expect you to be apologetic for their fear. It’s your job to be remorseful about the fact that your very nature makes them uncomfortable, like a pilot having to apologize to a fearful flyer for being in the sky.

If you’re a black man and you don’t remain vigilant of and obsequious to white people’s panic in your presence—if you, say, punch a man who accosts you during dinner with your girlfriend and screams “Nigger!” in your face, or if you, say, punch a man who is following you without cause in the dark with a handgun at his side—then you must be prepared to be arrested, be beaten, be shot through the heart and lung and die on the way home to watch a basketball game with your family. And after you are dead, other blacks should be prepared for people to say you are a vicious thug who deserved it. You smoked weed, for instance, and got in some fights at school (like I did)—obviously you had it coming. You were a ticking time bomb, and sooner or later someone was going to have to put you down.

Second, the quality of Zimmerman's Defense team:

(And did the Prosecution really think a jury composed of 5/6 white women was ideal for a verdict in its favor?)

Third, the jury. I hate to link to Buzzfeed, but:

A key to deciding if Zimmerman was guilty of second degree murder was whether the defendant had malice or ill-will toward Trayvon Martin. This was on display as the prosecution’s opening salvo was what Zimmerman said when he called 911 the night of the shooting: “Fucking punks, these assholes always get away.” The jury did not see this as an example of malice towards the victim.

Alrighty, then.

Nevertheless, PolicyMic:

Like the typical plot trajectory of the simplest Hollywood movie, the conclusion in the Zimmerman trial ended exactly like it was supposed to. The jury in the Zimmerman case was left with their hands tied after the specifics of the trial played out. The jury only had three options to convict Zimmerman with: murder, manslaughter, or not guilty. 

Media outlets like the one above completely miss the point of the verdict. When it came time for the jury to make a decision, the story was no longer who killed Trayvon, but what state of mind the shooter (Zimmerman) was in. 

Second degree murder necessitated "a depraved mind without regard for human life," which the prosecution could not prove. With manslaughter, the jury would have to believe that Zimmerman's shooting of Trayvon was "neither excusable, nor justified." 

But the Zimmerman defense made clear that the shooting was "justified" — necessary self-defense of a man being attacked.

The jury apparently pondered manslaughter the heaviest, but in the end wasn't convinced that Zimmerman wasn't himself in immediate danger, thus necessitating the use of force.

Thus the not guilty verdict. ...

In a trial where details are hazy and interpretation critical, the jury had to see through a fog of arguments and make the best possible decision. They did that with the information they had, based on the narrow definition of Florida law in a case that had major local and national implications.

Fourth, the facts of the case as presented to that jury. I'm outsourcing this to the great bmaz at emptywheel, who's fought the good fight on any number of occasions:

I have said this from the get go: In the case of State of Florida v. George Zimmerman, under the actual facts of the case from the State of Florida’s own disclosure, as opposed to hype from Benjamin Crump and his public relations team, who have self interest from representation of family members in a civil damages case, not to mention well meaning, even if uninformed, mass and liberal media, there has never been a good factual rebuttal to George Zimmerman’s own account of self defense. You know why? Because there is not any compelling rebuttal within the facts as adduced in the investigation and entered in the record at trial. And the presumption of innocence and burden of proof in the American criminal justice system still mean something.

Yes, I know what I am saying runs counter to the popular meme and what people emotionally feel and want to hear. But everything I have noted from the start of this case has been borne out in the trial evidence and resulting posture as the case heads to closing arguments and to the jury for deliberation. ...

Did you know that powerful local mayoral office politicians involved themselves, by meeting with only the victim’s family and their attorneys, in an improper ex-parte manner, to go over the most critical evidence during the early stages of the investigation and before said Martin family members’ statements were relied on to file charges? I bet you did not, but that has been the testimony in the trial record.

Did any of you see the other neighbors, of all races, in Retreat at Twin Lakes who testified on Zimmerman’s behalf about the the facts of the case, that Trayvon Martin was the aggressor on top of Zimmerman when the shooting occurred, and the crime afflicting the neighborhood and the need for the neighborhood watch program? My guess is you did not. But that, too, is part of the evidence in the trial record.

Did any of you see the parade of witnesses that laid the foundation for the fact Trayvon Martin was the aggressor in the actual critical physical encounter between him and Zimmerman, and was on top of Zimmerman, and beating Zimmerman, both moments before, and at the time of, the key gun shot? And supported by both the case detectives and one of the foremost expert pathologists, Dr. Vincent di Maio, in the world? My guess is you did not. But that, too, is in the trial record as hard evidence.

And outsourcing to Jeralyn, who I also trust on these matters and who is, one might remember, a defense attorney:

Here's what I wrote last week on the legacy of the George Zimmerman case. It's as true today as it has been for the past 16 months.

The legacy of this case will be that the media never gets it right, and worse, that a group of lawyers, with the aid of a public relations team, who had a financial stake in the outcome of pending and anticipated civil litigation, were allowed to commandeer control of Florida's criminal justice system, in pursuit of a divisive, personal agenda.

Their transformation of a tragic but spontaneous shooting into the crime of the century, and their relentless demonization of the person they deemed responsible, not for a tragic killing, but for "cold-blooded murder," has called into question the political motives and ethics of the officials serving in the Executive branch of Florida's government, ruined the career of other public officials, turned the lives of the Zimmerman family, who are as innocent as their grieving clients, into a nightmare, and along the way, set back any chance of a rational discussion of the very cause they were promoting, probably for years. [More....]

Fifth, systemic racism in statistical terms. Frontline frames this data in "Stand Your Ground" terms, which as bmaz points out, is irrelevant. Nevertheless:

Pretty appalling. Just like this is appalling.

Sixth, I go back to what I wrote when I first heard about the events:

Zimmerman fired the gun. But who really loaded and cocked it? I'll helpfully mark the ugly parts:

Problems in the 6-year-old community [so-called; 6 years is not long] started during the recession [recession is ugly], when foreclosures [foreclosures are ugly] forced owners to rent out to “low-lifes and gangsters,” [gangs are ugly and racism is ugly] said Frank Taaffe, a former neighborhood block captain.

Taaffe sounded chagrined [still ugly] when he noted that the complex is now majority-minority. Census figures show Retreat at Twin Lakes is 49 percent white, non-Hispanic, 23 percent Hispanic, 20 percent African-American and 5 percent Asian.

He suspects Zimmerman got tired of thugs “and reached his breaking point,” Taaffe said. “But why was he carrying a gun? [FL gun laws are ugly] Why not carry pepper spray or a Taser? That’s bizarre-o.” ...

It’s unclear what Zimmerman, who is married, does for a living [DISemployment is ugly], although he once owned a pressure washing company [more ugliness].

"The Retreat at Twin Lakes" sounds like a little corner of hell, and in hell, people behave hellishly. But built made the hell? Looks to me like "The Retreat" is awash in pain and suffering from the recession, foreclosures, DISemployment, and all the evils that come from that, including racism, gangs, and free-floating guns.

Zimmerman pulled the trigger. But the 1% who own and run this country put the gun into his hands -- through recession, foreclosure, and DISemployment -- and then stood back. I mean, of course somebody is going to get shot. Somebody black.

Seventh, the more I blog, the more I see the elephant in the room: Nobody wants to talk about how people make their money -- that is, their relation to the means of production -- or talk about what the new normal of savage inequality and second- or third-world jobs and living and working conditions is doing to people. Everybody wants to talk about something else, especially race, no matter which legacy party your talking about. But race is a fictive construct -- albeit with real world effects (rather like money, if you think about it). So why are we talking about it?

‘Why I Don’t Want to Talk About Race’
Tom, I don’t want to talk about race because it gives weight to a fiction that was created to oppress. It has no basis in biology and is a social construction in this country that was engineered to maintain access to free labor. The fiction created by race distorts the reality in which we live.

Plus, as a black person, I am called on often to speak for my “race.” I can never give an opinion without it being assumed to be that of a multitude. So when a white person asks me my opinion about an issue that can be related to race, I suspect that there is going to be a moment later when that white person is going to say, “Well, I have a black friend, Steve, who says…” And that will be the black authority on the subject.

Black people can’t talk to white people about race anymore. There’s really nothing left to say. There are libraries full of books, interviews, essays, lectures, and symposia. If people want to learn about their own country and its history, it is not incumbent on black people to talk to them about it. It is not our responsibility to educate them about it. Plus whenever white people want to talk about race, they never want to talk about themselves. There needs to be discussion among people who think of themselves as white. They need to unpack that language, that history, that social position and see what it really offers them, and what it takes away from them. As James Baldwin said, “As long as you think that you are white, there is no hope for you.”

When you went to Africa, you said “you were the minority for the first time in your life.” That’s not true. You have been the only adult in a room full of children, the only man in room full of women, the only non-incarcerated person in a jail. In America if you were a minority at a hip-hop concert in Compton, you would still have the privilege that accrues unbidden to persons designated as white, with all of the political, social, and economic access that comes with it.

What you experienced in Africa, Tom, was that the apparatus that supports the dominance of white skin was absent. It has nothing to do with being a minority someplace, you were free of the prison that is whiteness in America. You could have brought all that privilege with you and manifested it when you saw Cole with Protus, but you didn’t. Letting go of that allowed you to show Cole that he can connect with another person independent of the color of their skin.

Do you remember how Clinton was vilified for wanting to have a national conversation on race? People thought it was unnecessary, that he was a “race traitor,’” that it would lead to reparations for slavery, that it would make white people feel bad for things that were not their fault. White people don’t want to hear about race because the don’t want to be called “racists” or they cannot see how they are responsible for something they didn’t do. That report talks a lot about white privilege. It was no surprise to me that it was not widely read and discussed.

Whiteness to me is oppression. And it oppresses not just black people, but people who think it offers them something other than dominance over their fellow man. Poor white people have been sold a bill of goods that offers them white supremacy and takes away jobs and economic growth.

Tom, I have never, not once, thought of you as white. I think of you as a father, a husband, a brilliant businessman, a feminist, a Quaker, and most of all as a friend. You have never treated me as whiteness demands that you treat me. I don’t want to talk about race because if I do, I stop being an artist, an educator, a godfather, a gay man, and most of all, human.

Finally, I hope people will pardon my cynicism, but I'm not into Strategic Hate Management, even against people who are worthy of hate. I cannot bear to be told to feel in a certain way, even if I agree that I ought to feel that way. So manufactured outrage, even when the outrages are real leaves me cold. In the Trayvon Martin case, in FL -- just as in the Wendy Davis case, in TX -- we would be wise to remember that the case file for Strategic Hate Management is held by the Democratic nomenklatura,* who have done squat for blacks, very little for women, and who have reinforced the power of the FIRE class who own "The Retreat at Twin Lakes" where George Zimmerman so usefully killed Trayvon Martin, and, as they owned it, made it what it is today.

Because maybe, just maybe, if Obama's HAMP program hadn't been deliberately enginered to make home-owners worse off and to "foam the runway" for big banks, The Retreat at Twin Lakes "community" would have been spared the stress of foreclosure after foreclosure (2009; 2013), Trayvon Martin might be alive today, and George Zimmerman wouldn't be a killer. Something to ponder.

NOTE * We might even wonder if we're seeing Obama's Southern Strategy.

UPDATE Speaking of "Who owns The Retreat at Twin Lakes?"

Of course, this is screen shot from Zillow today, and not from the time that Zimmerman killed Martin. Nevertheless, the image shows a community under stress not of its making, from the ongoing foreclosure crisis. Crabs in a bucket.

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Comments

Submitted by hipparchia on

Because maybe, just maybe, if Obama's HAMP program hadn't been deliberately enginered to make home-owners worse off and to "foam the runway" for big banks, The Retreat at Twin Lakes "community" would have been spared the stress of foreclosure after foreclosure (2009; 2013), Trayvon Martin might be alive today, and George Zimmerman wouldn't be a killer. Something to ponder.

ugh.

so if all those uppity queers and niggers and wetbacks and womenfolk would just quit their bitching and come together and work on making life better for the straight white dudes, then the straight white dudes would quit shooting them, bashing them and interfering with their medical decisions?

color me skeptical.

Submitted by lambert on

I'm at a loss for how you get that out of what I wrote. If you don't think that being ground down to nothing financially in the foreclosure crisis isn't a stressor that brings out the worst in an entire community -- links supplied, did you check them? -- I suggest you check your own privilege, which last I checked, includes a job -- unlike both Martin and Zimmerman, neither of whom had work, and neither of whom, last I checked, were straight white dudes.

A smidge of reading on the gated community shows concerns about petty theft, and that's at least one reason for the neighborhood watch. It's exactly the same as metal theft up here -- a sign of economic stress.

I'm not saying that white racists are going to be canonized and that black people are going to be treated equally if the banksters boots weren't on everybody's throat and everything's rainbows and ponies. I am saying that when people aren't on the edge financially all the fucking time they tend to behave a bit better. Maybe no neighborhood watch. Maybe a little bit more budget for other safety measures. Maybe a bit less anger all around. Maybe Zimmerman actually gets a job so he's not wandering around at night with a gun.

I would have thought that a putative leftist and New Deal defender would have some understanding that the real economy actually affects people's lives and the quality of their behavior, for better or worse. Guess not. As you say, Ugh.

Submitted by hipparchia on

just out of curiosity, didn't you say you once live in philadelphia? and if so, did you live (and work) in mostly white, mostly black, or mostly integrated areas?

Submitted by hipparchia on

I suggest you check your own privilege

lol.

It's exactly the same as metal theft up here -- a sign of economic stress.

are y'all shooting each other yet?

answer: no http://www.cityrating.com/crime-statistics/maine/#.UeWk9UDhG0c (unlike some places... http://www.cityrating.com/crime-statistics/florida/#.UeWlFEDhG0c)

I am saying that when people aren't on the edge financially all the fucking time they tend to behave a bit better.

probably true for the most part. there are certainly ancestors in my family tree who were awful assholes during the great depression and who might have been somewhat better-behaved had they not been financially crushed. and the nazis in 1930s germany and the neonazis in modern-day greece (and other countries to a lesser extent) would probably not have gained a foothold had there not been world-wide depressions then and now.

but the u.s. has a long and rich history of well-fed, well-off, gainfully-employed unstressed white people not really caring all that much, if at all, about black people.

CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

You know, not so long ago in Leftyville we made the case that it was wrong to associate criminality with the actions of an almost eight year old. If George Zimmerman was guilty of what is alleged by his cousin and was sexually exploiting her into his teen years then that's another matter but one which would be, given the unfortunate earlier pattern of behavior that would be its background, a difficult one for me to judge legally or morally except that I think it has little relevance in determining Zimmerman's guilt or innocence in the Trayvon Martin shooting. Of course a lot of people believe whether or not a defendant is guilty of the crime he's being tried for he's probably guilty of something so what injustice could ever come from a conviction.

But let me change the subject to something I do know for sure. The account of how George Zimmerman came to cross paths with Martin has, as one of its elements, that GZ made it a habit on Sunday evening to drive to Target. Therefore it was, as he heading out of the complex in his truck on that fateful Sunday evening that GZ saw TM on foot in the rain. (For orientation, see especially the third and fifth graphics here. In a comment I posted earlier I linked to a map with two egregious errors, one having to do with which was the side of the walk where the fight took place, and the other where TM is alleged to have walked toward GZ's vehicle, that would have taken place when GZ was stopped at the clubhouse.)

Now why would GZ be in the habit of doing something like that on a Sunday? Because, after the weekend, he returned each Monday to his job. At the risk of making everyone's head explode, here's what GZ was employed doing with some earlier job history and other biographical info thrown in with that answer:

*********
********
Police records over the last several years suggest a man who was quite familiar with 911 dispatchers; who seemed, somehow, to be always in the middle of things. In October 2003, for example, on perhaps his greatest day in civic vigilance, Mr. Zimmerman chased after and assisted in the capture of a man who had stolen two 13-inch TV/DVD players from an Albertsons.

Mostly, though, his calls were less exciting, more anticipatory. Dangerous potholes. Stray dogs. Speeding vehicles. Open garage doors. Suspicious characters. On Feb. 2, he reported seeing a black man in a black leather jacket and printed pajamas in the Retreat; nothing came of it.

This is what George Zimmerman did.

[CMike- Let me point out that the reference here to calls to "911" dispatchers is probably inexact because the reference below to Zimmerman dialing "911" in the Trayvon Martin matter certainly misstates the fact, Z in that instance called 311, the police "non-emergency" number.]

Married now to Shellie Nicole Dean, a cosmetologist who is studying to be a nurse, he was attending college and working full-time at Digital Risk, a fraud-detection company retained by financial institutions. The job seemed a natural fit.

Digital Risk helps institutions like Bank of America and Freddie Mac to rid their balance sheets of the kinds of toxic loans that led to the 2008 banking crisis. Mr. Zimmerman was among hundreds of auditors who work in a four-story office building in nearby Maitland, mining borrowers’ files, sniffing out lies and scrutinizing hardship letters for any hint of deceit that would allow the lender to file a claim.

The role of Digital Risk, as its chief executive likes to put it, is to be “the independent watchdog of the financial world” — though a more apt phrase might be “the independent watchdog for the financial world.”

Mr. Zimmerman, then, was a watchdog — at work and at home, in the Retreat at Twin Lakes. And here in the night rain came another suspicious person, in a hood.

Once again, George Zimmerman dialed 911....
********
********

As for Zimmerman's history of violence, here's the New York Times summary of most of that from earlier in the same article:

********
********After graduating from high school in 2001, Mr. Zimmerman moved to Florida, into a home that his parents had just bought for their retirement in Lake Mary, near Sanford. He began working as an insurance agent with an uncle, but he became a mortgage broker when the real estate market started booming. According to his father, he was making at least $10,000 a month by his early 20s.

When his parents retired to Florida around 2006, Mr. Zimmerman moved into an apartment in Lake Mary with a friend. Then the housing market went bust and, according to his father, George’s employer went out of business. After that, he held several jobs, including at CarMax and Target. He also talked about becoming a police officer.

He seemed to be a young man in search of a path, one who could also show flashes of violence, according to court records detailing Mr. Zimmerman’s difficult summer of 2005. That July, he was arrested after pushing a state alcohol agent during a raid to root out under-age drinking at a popular college bar; the felony charge was reduced and then dropped altogether when he agreed to enter a pretrial diversion program.

About a month later, Mr. Zimmerman and a woman who identified herself as his ex-fiancée traded petitions for injunction, both claiming that the other had resorted to violence: she said he “smacked” her; he said she hit him with a baseball bat. Both injunctions were issued and they expired a year later.

Still, Mr. Zimmerman seemed to have a protective streak — a sense of right and wrong — that others admired. For example, Stephanie, a neighbor of the elder Zimmermans in Lake Mary and a family friend, recalled how George Zimmerman struck up a friendship with one of her sons, Douglas, who is autistic, swimming with him, taking him for car rides and letting him play with Mr. Zimmerman’s dog, Princess.

“He just felt comfortable with George,” she said. “For Dougie, everything was ‘George, George, George.’ ”

Stephanie also recalled a party in early December to celebrate Mr. Zimmerman’s graduation from Seminole State College (though he still needed a few more credits to receive his associate’s degree). He shared his hope to be a judge someday with a small gathering that included two black teenagers whom, she was later told by Mrs. Zimmerman, George was mentoring....********
********

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

NYT article that you link to?

Am very pushed for time (must makes corrections here, and not much time to do it in), so cannot stop and read this lengthy article at this time.

Just wondered so that I can understand the context of the remarks?

Specifically, I'm asking about this excerpt.

*********

Police records . . . .

Once again, Zimmerman dialed 911.

*********

Thanks.

CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

The asterisks were intended to set off the indented copied and pasted text from the NY Times article. Because of the three minute limitation on editing comments I didn't get around to correcting my formatting mistake with the second set of pasted grafs. I don't like using italics when the passages are long, I think that makes them harder to read but by my not using the emphasis feature it does make it less clear it's a quote.

Usually I do use this html tester to see if my links work before posting but it doesn't show paragraph breaks and some other of the formatting that appears at Corrente.

I'll repeat, Zimmerman's February 26, 2012 call to the Sanford police when he was watching Martin was a call to the local police non-emergency number which I'm pretty sure was 311. The "Once again, Zimmerman dialed 911" line comes just before the article's subheading in the article on "page 4" that reads in bold font ‘A Real Suspicious Guy’.

Blizzard's picture
Submitted by Blizzard on

Zimmerman isn't a "white dude". So why is the national media pushing that narrative? (rhetorical)

It behooves us to remember that any shitstorm kicked up by the national media is certain to be in service of the 1%. They and their servants Obama and his federal prosecutors would love nothing more than to incite a race war with the proles at each other's throats, rather than at their lords' and masters'.

I have compassion for the innocent black teenager Zimmerman killed, and for Zimmerman, himself a victim of our vile overlords.

http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/2013/07/wrong-side-of-street.html

Alfa Zog's picture
Submitted by Alfa Zog on

AFAIK, the "Stand Your Ground" law was valid at the time of the shooting. By the way, I was under the impression that acting in self-defense when one's life was threatened was Ok as a defence if charged with murder or manslaughter. But the real point I wish to raise is the possibility that juries from one ethnic group or another (blacks, whites, others, whatever) might give different weightings to the inculpatory evidence and the exculpatory evidence. The reason is that a black person's judgement will be informed by his or her empiral life's experiences, and the same applies for the white person's. The issue of the morality of "Stand Your Ground" (whatever it says or said) is one I'd separate to simplify the analysis. Finally, if Zimmerman did indeed benefit from a legal defence fund, then he could hire "better" lawyers. I view defense lawyers favourably, although I certainly object to "intonations" in closing arguments similar to: "If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit", which Johnny Cohchrane gave in the closing arguments of People of California vs. O.J. Simpson.

techno's picture
Submitted by techno on

This story COULD have had some interesting explanations but I am certain we won't be hearing them. For example:

1) Why were both of these young men unemployed?
2) What is the state of the Black-Hispanic relationship that Zimmerman was promoted to the man / white guy?
3) Lots of black men get shot every day in this country—what makes this one special?
4) With all the misconduct by real policemen, why are we supposed to be upset about the actions of a wannabe?
5) With a Justice Department that cannot find the time to prosecute the thousands of crimes associated with the economic meltdown, where are the going to find the manpower to pursue this matter?

Or is this just another case of a political distraction aimed at the great unwashed?

Submitted by hipparchia on

2) What is the state of the Black-Hispanic relationship that Zimmerman was promoted to the man / white guy?

many hispanic people consider themselves to be white, others consider themselves to be black. see miami, for instance, a city where 70% of the population considers themselves "hispanic or latino" and 73% of the population considers themselves "white" and only 12% consider themselves "white, non-hispanic": http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/12/1245000.html

"Hispanic" is not necessarily the "brown" gradation on some color scale that goes white - brown - black. here's how the census bureau recorded race and ethnicity on the 2010 census: http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-02.pdf

Submitted by hipparchia on

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

also, the spanish enslaved both native americans and imported africans in their coloniztion of the new world. even today, there are people here in the south, the caribbean, and mexico (maybe even into central and south america, but i'm not personally familiar with those countries) of purely spanish descent who consider themselves both white AND superior to black and brown people.

techno's picture
Submitted by techno on

Yeah I know. My best friend is "hispanic" in that his father comes from Mexico City. But in fact his father is 100% French by ancestry.

The problem here is that as far as I can tell, the black community is quite angry about the fact that Hispanics have displaced them in the politics (and certainly the economics) of the land. It is not the fact that Hispanics are "white" because most of them are not.

But no matter how you slice it, the Zimmerman / Martin incident had almost nothing to do with "racism" no matter what Sharpton claims.

Submitted by hipparchia on

But no matter how you slice it, the Zimmerman / Martin incident had almost nothing to do with "racism" no matter what Sharpton claims.

prediction: once enough black people start waving guns around in front of white people black-panther-style (probably even without actually killing them!) then concealed carry, open carry, castle doctrine, stand your ground, et al are suddenly going to lose all their luster. again.

techno's picture
Submitted by techno on

Black people waving guns won't scare any of the gun owners I know. One has a walk-in safe in his basement to contain all his weapons. Another owns 24 Kalashnikovs (among MANY others) to represent the different nations that built them. Anyone who wishes for an escalation of gun violence in this country is truly crazy.

CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

On WWII and culture difference between California and Mississippi

What was on their mind to be bombing Pearl Harbor and sh*t? They sat around saying, "We bombed Pearl Harbor! They'd never f**k with us again!" ("We're going to California then we bomb...") "No need! Pearl Harbor is enough!"... Coz they'd been to the University of California. It's all white people, laid back. They hadn't been down to the University of Alabama in Mississippi. I'm not lyin', they got white folks down there they keep on a leash in the basement!

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

Zimmerman's the son of a white American judge and a woman from Ecquador. He was not raised an a Hispanic-American either, and if you had to identify what cultural/ethnic group whose values he learned, it would be those of white middle class America.

So yes, it has everything to do with race.

I can guarantee that if those six women on the jury actually thought this case had nothing with do with race, they wouldn't have acquitted him, because if it wasn't about race that means THEIR sons aren't safe anymore either. But since their sons aren't black, they aren't worried this could happen to them.

techno's picture
Submitted by techno on

The Martin-Zimmerman incident has dozens of interesting and important factors that are worth discussing—from why Neighborhood Watches get established to the concept of entry-level gated communities, from what Zimmerman believed about his role in the community to why Martin wasn't in school learning biology that day.

But not for folks like you—nuance is not your thing. For example, I can easily argue the main reason the jury acquitted Zimmerman was because they saw a man who made a series of mistakes while trying to be respectable by protecting his neighbors. But no, you must have your racism argument even though to do so you must first convert the son of an Ecuadorian woman into "the man." I wasn't aware that the definitions of racism were so flexible—but hey, you're the expert on racism.

Fine! I'll try to be the expert on all the rest. It's more interesting out here without blinders, anyway.

Submitted by hipparchia on

you must first convert the son of an Ecuadorian woman into "the man."

and you are ignoring the very real possibility that the white father may have converted the son of an Ecuadorian woman into 'the man.'

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

The white father who has expressed very racist opinions on air, who was a former judge who likely instilled in his son the belief that these "asshole punks" always get away.

It also ignores the history of assault, domestic battery in Zimmerman's FL arrest record, and the molestation allegations he moved to FL to escape.

techno's picture
Submitted by techno on

Actually, no he was not. That was part of the problem. Even so, lambert's point about economic distress is certainly valid

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

Really, it was 7pm what does whether he should have been in school have to do with anything? Students go to school in the evening now?

Yes he was suspended from school, that has absolutely nothing to do with whether he would have walked to a convenient store for snacks during an NBA game.

Submitted by jawbone on

school entirely.

Most people would have considered him to still be a high school student.

But, again, in this economic situation with such high unemployment, to ask why two young men didn't have jobs raises the question of what that would show.

Why did you make that an important point?

MsExPat's picture
Submitted by MsExPat on

The way that outrage at the Zimmerman verdict instantly turned into the meme-of-the-moment on Twitter and Facebook reminds me a lot of what happens in mainland China when the government wants to distract the public from a political corruption or environmental scandal. In China, the powers that be will start fanning the flames of nationalism (with a healthy dose of anti-Japanese or anti-Western racism added). Works every time.

Here racism is the trigger instead of nationalism, but otherwise, the effect is the same: get people stoked up, the noise level drowns out other news (like NSA snooping, the FAIL of Obamacare, etc.).

The other complicating factor, as Blizzard points out, is that Zimmerman doesn't fit the profile of the White Boy Kills Black Boy narrative at all (tho' I doubt that most of the people outraging away on Twitter realize that.) His father looks to be Caucasian, but in appearance Zimmerman favors his mother, a Peruvian with Afro-Peruvian antecedents (check this picture of Zimmerman's great grandfather). Anyone from Latin America would understand the complicated bloodline, but most (North) Americans still haven't grasped the racial nuances of mixed cultures; we need to assign things to black and white categories.

How would someone who looks like Zimmerman be perceived, racially, in Miami? (I know Miami pretty well, and I'd say: depends. A white Cuban would peg him, perhaps, as "Indio" or "Mulatto", certainly as a South American. Some white Americans might categorize him as black, or certainly non-white Hispanic. Here in New York, depending on his dress and what neighborhood he was in, the cops might even do a stop-and-search on him.) I'd be very curious to know how George Zimmerman sees himself, racially, and suspect it is very fluid, contextual.

All of which sends me back to Lambert's position that Martin-Zimmerman is actually about class, not race, and particularly about what the grinding, relentless pain of the dismantling of the middle and working class is doing to our people, regardless of what color skin they are in.

A narrative that is inconvenient. We're at the point where it is more socially acceptable to be outraged by (manufactured) racism than we are by ruling class pillaging. Of course this what the Obama campaign exploited--and another reason why I'm made queasy by the anti-Zimmerman pile-on.

Submitted by hipparchia on

I'd be very curious to know how George Zimmerman sees himself, racially, and suspect it is very fluid, contextual.

the more relevant question probably is not how george zimmerman sees himself but how he saw "black teenager dude in a hoodie."

ot1h, he sounds like enough of an asshole and enough of a hotshot that he might have acted the exact same way towards anybody whose actions were exactly the same as trayvon martin's.

otoh, there's a lot of cultural conditioning (some of it subliminal, some of it not) that goes on in the u.s. that "darker skin than mine/ours" equals "scarier, more suspicious, more crime-prone than me/us." zimmerman doesn't have to be a consciously-decided card-carrying aryan-nations-r-us neo-nazi for things to go wrong here. in fact, he can be perfectly sympathetic with the abstract idea that "blacks are people too" and still react more rashly in a tense situation when confronted with a black person than a white person.

hard to say for sure, and i hope he doesn't ever get a chance to repeat the experiment.

Rangoon78's picture
Submitted by Rangoon78 on

Looks like you've come down on one side of this issue. I guess I have too.

I followed the case through the trial. A great resource was the Obot Jerilyn over at talk left. I think she did some fine work that didn't tow the Prog line. FWIW

Jerilyn:

It is unfortunate when any 17 year old loses his life, whether to illness, accident, suicide or murder. It is indeed a tragedy for the family he or she leaves behind. But when a 17 year old physically attacks another person, breaking his nose and banging his head against a cement surface, the other person is allowed to defend himself. Once charged, it became the job of the jury to decide whether a reasonable person in his situation would have believed that deadly force was necessary to prevent great bodily harm from that attack.
http://www.talkleft.com/story/2013/7/15/2534/37292/crimenews/Lawyers-Rea...

Rangoon78's picture
Submitted by Rangoon78 on

With all due respect (what a line to set a person on edge) I think you could further employ some of your remarkable analytical ability to this issue. I am a fan.

Im also a fan of Marcy Wheeler who states:

Uncomfortable Truth: The State Of Evidence in the George Zimmerman Prosecution | emptywheel
I have said this from the get go: In the case of State of Florida v. George Zimmerman, under the actual facts of the case from the State of Florida’s own disclosure, as opposed to hype from Benjamin Crump and his public relations team, who have self interest from representation of family members in a civil damages case, not to mention well meaning, even if uninformed, mass and liberal media, there has never been a good factual rebuttal to George Zimmerman’s own account of self defense. You know why? Because there is not any compelling rebuttal within the facts as adduced in the investigation and entered in the record at trial. And the presumption of innocence and burden of proof in the American criminal justice system still mean something -

http://www.emptywheel.net/2013/07/11/uncomfortable-truth-the-state-of-ev...

jo6pac's picture
Submitted by jo6pac on

but as Lambert correctly pointed out.

Uncomfortable Truth: The State Of Evidence in the George Zimmerman Prosecution Posted on July 11, 2013 by bmaz - See more at:

I'm going agree with Lambert on this with also agreeing with some of ExPat thoughts. This economy is only going to get worse and we are seeing more and more of this sad thing happening all a cross Amerika. The elite and their mouth pieces have everyone at each others throats at a time when we citizens should be earing down the ivory towers. It doesn't look to promising to me for a future in Amerika or that fact anywhere in the world.

Everything is on schedule, please move along.

Submitted by lambert on

.... and turns it into a roach motel. The Democrats are experts at using people's good hearts and best intentions against them. Obama is especially good at it.

No, I don't want to vote for a Republican who thinks shooting black people is OK when white people feel threatened. Given the givens, it's an outright license to kill.

And no, I don't want to vote for a Democrat who keeps DISemployment for black people permanently and disportionately high, didn't do squat about foreclosure (disportionately impacting black people), didn't do squat about mass incarceration (disportionately impacting black people), didn't back off drug enforcement (disportionately impacting black people) and on and on and on. And all of of those policies kill too, just through subtler pathways and chains of cause and effect.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

I agree that the way the MSM and the Democratic Party takes up all these issues serve only as distractions.

But I sort of disagree that "it's only Republicans who think shooting black people is OK."

I've listened to snippets of Michael Smercomish's radio program over the past couple of weeks (because he covered this case, somewhat).

I couldn't tell the difference between the comments of "conservative" Dems and Republicans. (Many of his callers "self-identify.")

Racial prejudice cuts across all party lines.

Heck, a "conservative is a conservative," in my book.

And there are so many around here, I couldn't "stir them with a stick," if I tried, LOL!

Submitted by MontanaMaven on

The Democrats are experts at using people's good hearts and best intentions against them. Obama is especially good at it.

I'm going to use this phrase. I am making it my phrase of the week. I have now chosen a story of the week and phrase of the week to repeat as often as I get a chance at a store or at the watering hole. Last week my story of the week was the annihilation of an entire downtown by a oil tanker train owned by vulture capitalists. Showing the before and after pictures to people on my I Pad and saying, "If it happened here, we would be the 50 people in the bar that were disintegrated.". As I spoke, we actually had oil tankers sitting on our train tracks. More oil from the Bakken traveling on its way to the West Coast. Point out that the company rigged the system to have only one engineer/one employee for a whole train. That it had tankers whose walls were too thin.
I haven't come up with my story of this week yet. But it always will focus on economic injustice and the class war.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

Just kidding!

Seriously, I will have to come back to elaborate on this late this evening, but for now I'd like to thank Lambert for the post.

Agree with him, MsExPat, etc., that we need to have a conversation regarding "inequality and The Great Recession."

And I do think that racism was an ancilliary motive, in this case. It seems to me that the "progressive community" (and especially Dem Party apparatchiks) would have helped Trayvon's case a great deal more if they had not concentrated on this crime as being racially motivated.

For Pete's Sake, a young man was wrongfully dead. THAT should be all that matters.

However, IMHO, this is not typically the type of crime that results from economic displacement and hardship.

What is, is what we've seen a huge increase in over the past couple of years--"spree killings."

Also, I think that one major impetus for this incident that hasn't been discussed (and should be) is Zimmermann's "conservative mindset."

His background just "screams" this toxic worldview.

It's called "authoritarianism."

Speaking of "Neighborhood Watches"--Mr A and I helped form and obviously participated in one over twenty years ago (with the aid of the local Police Department).

Now, Mr. A's background includes a "Sharpshooter Ribbon"--Air Force, and Air Force "contracted" martial arts instructor.

And he never patrolled these watches brandishing a gun or his nunchucks--both of which he was quite capable of using effectively.

And that was because his motives were not "twisted," as I believe that Zimmermann's were.

I'm sure that this will be used by the Democratic Party as another means of instilling fear in its base (at the polls).

And that's a crime, as well.

Submitted by lambert on

That's not the same thing as saying racism is a single cause; it's embedded in a larger system that goes way beyond motive; that's the point of the foreclosures, permanently high DISemployment, etc.

No, I don't have a model and I couldn't draw a diagram. The elite have a portfolio of opportunities they maintain...

Racism is useful. Also to many of the players.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

Look at Texas State Senator Wendy Davis . . .

Look, I'm certainly glad to know that Ms. Davis defends abortion, but while "everybody and their brother" were hyperventilating over the filibuster, and even suggesting that she be nominated as President (snark), I "Binged" an article that pointed to her boasting about not being a liberal, and running as a "centrist, fiscal conservative."

(It's on my other computer, so I'll Tweet it when we get back.)

And progressives sit and wonder how it is that the Democratic Party is leading the charge to cuts "entitlements."

It's BEFORE we try to elect politicians to a high office, that we should scrutinize their "fiscal policies"--NOT AFTER!

Submitted by MontanaMaven on

The Democrats use these causes to rile up the base and also to keep the base smug. "Our values are sooo much better than those racists, misogynists, and homophobes. We are good FOLKS, don't you know!"
Also the meme I hear all the time from Democrats is "Those conservatives all watch Fox News. They are soooo low information people." "Oh yeh," I say, "Where do you get your news?" "NPR and, of course, Rachel Maddow." Ugh. Then I write down on a napkin: counterpunch.org and blackagendareport.com. And for business people nakedcapitalism.com.

Rangoon78's picture
Submitted by Rangoon78 on

They said "not guilty" but we know better. As does the Onion:

Zimmerman Found Not Guilty, Technically, But C’mon

“The jury acted within the letter of the law, I guess, if you want to be official about it, and acquitted Mr. Zimmerman of both second-degree murder and manslaughter charges,” said legal scholar Jeffrey Frazier about Zimmerman’s culpability in the events of February 26, 2012, which, trial or no trial, have been pretty clear all along, right? “Mr. Zimmerman did not violate any Florida state laws—although, please, give me a break—and is an innocent man, I suppose, if you’re sticking to the strict legal definition of that word.”

“And thus, this trial was properly conducted in full accordance with the U.S. justice system,” Frazier added. “For whatever that’s worth.”

[…]

“I ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son,” said Obama in an address Sunday, sighing. “We are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken.”

“But c’mon,” added Obama.

http://www.theonion.com/articles/zimmerman-found-not-guilty-technically-...

Oh, and so glad your partner is not twisted.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

regarding my dear husband's "state of mind," LOL!

Actually, if you reread my sentence,

"And that was because his motives were not "twisted," as I believe that Zimmerman's were,"

you'll notice that I was quite careful to describe his [Neighborhood Watch] "motives" as twisted, and did not apply that description to him carte blanche.

OTOH, perhaps it wasn't "fair" to compare Zimmerman with someone with Mr A's background, since he (Mr A) is unusually capable of defending himself.

I do believe that Zimmerman's ultra conservative (authoritarian) mindset had much to do with his reaction.

From both personal, and especially professional experience (counseling individuals with conservative backgrounds), I can assure you that many of them are incapable of seeing gray areas--in any matters.

And this inability can lend itself to hampering one's ability to process threats appropriately--which can lead to overreaction.

The fact that Zimmerman could not process that evening's events with more discernment speaks volumes (especially in refusing to follow law enforcement's instructions to cease following Trayvon).

Of course, this personality trait is very typical of conservatives.

As was the overzealousness which he demonstrated in his Neighborhood Watch duties.

When all is said and done, the fact remains that a young man who was simply minding his own business (at least, initially) had his life taken.

And personally, I consider that to be a tragedy.

Submitted by jawbone on

I was initially prepared to grant that the “system” worked in that a jury made a decision, finding “reasonable doubt” that Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin in self defense.

I believe that Zimmerman wanted to take out a “punk” black kid, but I could not prove that other than to note his many calls to the police, most of which seemed to find black guys looking to him like perps. But, if I had been on that jury, in good conscience I could not have found Zimmerman guilty of murder two. Just too much doubt as to what was knowable about what happened.

Now, after listening to several analyses of the state's entire prosecution, I got this sick feeling that either the charging person, a woman whose name I’ve forgotten but who has a strong tendency to overcharge, made an irredeemable error which screwed the dead Trayvon and his family…or she deliberately set in motion a trial which could only result in the killer's acquittal.

She went with second degree murder as the charge, which most analysts said was very wrong as it was almost impossible to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Zimmerman intended to kill Trayvon and was not in fear for his life. A he said/he said, and one was dead. And dead men tell no tales..

Several law professors said a jury could easily have accepted a charge of reckless endangerment, which, while not as dramatic as 2nd degree murder, would have meant prison time for Zimmerman and, I think, he would not be allowed to conceal carry as an ex-con

Zimmerman recklessly ignored the police instruction to stay in his truck, to not get out, to not follow Trayvon, to wait for the police to arrive. Zimmerman rejected all these instructions and recklessly pursued Trayvon, trailing him both in his truck and then on foot.

I heard some other charges which would have passed muster and been easily proven, but can’t recall them. However, the charging DA or special prosecutor did not even deign to mention such charges.

Now, the killer can continue to hunt his prey.

Then I had a sickening thought that it was not a mistake for her to have made such a difficult to prove charge, but that it was a set up to permit the state to claim justice was being done but Zimmerman would never be found guilty. Which I cannot prove, but, suddenly, it all made sense.

I still feel sick to my stomach that that may well have been the PTB’s scheme all along.

Submitted by lambert on

I looked at the jury selection; but overcharging is a much more cogent argument.

"The system worked" given the givens of the jury trial; but the jury can only try what's before them (modulo nullification, not sure how that would work here.)

NOTE Adding "overcharging" in the sense of what would be needed to get a conviction given the evidence. Yes, "process oriented."

CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

If a divided jury is allowed to weigh a lesser included charge then the jury members can placate one another and split the baby by voting to convict on a lesser charge (and in this case this would have been without knowing the penalties for the lesser charge is almost as severe as for a second degree murder conviction). And further, overcharging is an oft used device by the state to gain leverage when negotiating for a plea deal which, imo, essentially strips the accused of his right to a trial by threatening a more serious sentence than the accused should be facing if he avails himself of that right.

Here's the way CBS reported the prosecution's efforts to include lesser charges for consideration as online as the case wound down:

A jury will consider a lesser charge of manslaughter as well as a second-degree murder charge against accused murderer George Zimmerman, a judge has ruled. But a request by prosecutors for the jury to also consider a lesser charge of third-degree felony murder - an offense that includes the commission of child abuse - drew heated opposition from the defense.

And in a follow-up:

The jury will not be able to consider a lesser offense of third-degree murder as they weigh the fate of accused murderer George Zimmerman, a judge ruled Thursday.

Zimmerman, 29, is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin.

The proposal from prosecutors to include the lesser charge in jury instructions drew outrage from defense attorney Don West in the courtroom Thursday morning. West said prosecutors hid their intent to introduce the lesser charge, premised on the idea that Zimmerman committed child abuse when he shot and killed Martin, 17.

Going to trial on a lesser charge than manslaughter would have been entirely unacceptable to members of the general public who were outraged by Zimmerman's actions or, at least, by what they had heard about them.

Lambert's opening observation that, "I stopped following the Trayvon Martin story as soon as I read that Zimmerman, carrying, followed Martin even when the dispatcher told him not to," would be a little easier to sign onto if the assumptions therein were not hotly contested points of fact. Check out both the maps and videos here and the transcript below of the Zimmerman phone call to police non-emergency. Also it might be of some interest to listen to the tone of the conversation between Zimmerman and dispatcher Sean Noffke with Noffke's added comments made at trial during the YouTube clip beginning at 8 minutes 3 seconds.

[Washington Post transcript - CMike's bolding]:

Dispatcher: Sanford police department, line is being recorded. This is Sean.

Zimmerman: Hey, we've had some break-ins in my neighborhood and there's a real suspicious guy. It's Retreat View Circle. The best address I can give you is 111 Retreat View Circle. This guy looks like he's up to no good or he's on drugs or something. It's raining and he's just walking around looking about.

Dispatcher: This guy, is he white, black or Hispanic?

Zimmerman: He looks black.

Dispatcher: Did you see what he was wearing?

Zimmerman: Yeah, a dark hoodie, like a gray hoodie. And either jeans or sweatpants and white tennis shoes.

Zimmerman: He's [ unintelligible ] just staring...

Dispatcher: Oh, he's just walking around the area..

Zimmerman: Looking at all the houses.

Dispatcher: Oh, ok.

Zimmerman: ... Now he's just staring at me.

Dispatcher: OK, you said it's 1111 Retreat View, or 111?

Zimmerman: That's the clubhouse.

Dispatcher: That's the clubhouse?

Dispatcher: Do you know what the...He's near the clubhouse right now?

Zimmerman: Yeah, now he's coming towards me.

Dispatcher: OK.

Zimmerman: He's got his hand in his waistband. And he's a black male.

Dispatcher: OK, how old would you say he looked?

Zimmerman: He's got a button on his shirt. Late teens.

Dispatcher: Late teens? OK.

Zimmerman: Mhmm. Something's wrong with him. Yep, he's coming to check me out. He's got something in his hands. I don't know what his deal is.

Dispatcher: Ah, OK, just let me know if he does anything.

Zimmerman: Get an officer over here.

Dispatcher: Yeah we got them on the way. Just let me know if this guy does anything else.

Zimmerman: OK. [static] These a------- they always get away. When you come to the clubhouse you come straight in and make a left. Actually you would go past the clubhouse.

Dispatcher: Ah OK, you said it's on the left-hand side from the clubhouse?

Zimmerman: No, you go in straight through the entrance and then you make a left, you go straight in don't turn and make a left...s---, he's running.

Dispatcher: He's running? Which way is he running?

[CMike- It is at precisely this moment that the car door chimes are heard, as if this is the moment Zimmerman opened his vehicle door and exited.]

Zimmerman: Down toward the other entrance of the neighborhood.

Dispatcher: Which entrance is that that he's heading towards?

Zimmerman: The back entrance.

Dispatcher: Are you following him?

Zimmerman: Yeah.

Dispatcher: OK, we don't need you to do that.

Zimmerman: OK.

Dispatcher: Alright sir, what is your name?

Zimmerman: George. He ran.

Dispatcher: Alright George, what's your last name?

Zimmerman: Zimmerman.

Dispatcher: And George, what's the phone number you're calling from?

Zimmerman: 407-***-****.

Dispatcher: Alright George, we do have them on the way. Do you want to meet with the officer when they get out there?

Zimmerman: Yeah.

Dispatcher: Alright where you gonna meet with them at?

Zimmerman: If they come in through the gate, tell them to go straight past the clubhouse, and uh, straight past the clubhouse and make a left. And then they go past the mailboxes. They'll see my truck.

Dispatcher: OK, what address are you parked in front of?

Zimmerman: Um, I don't know. It's a cut-through, so I don't know the answer.

Dispatcher: OK, do you live in the area?

Zimmerman: Yeah, yeah.

Dispatcher:
What's your apartment number?

Zimmerman: It's a home, it's 1950, ah c--- I don't want to give it out loud, I don't know where this kid is.

Dispatcher: Ah OK, do you want to meet with him right near the mailboxes then?

Zimmerman: Yeah, that's fine.

Dispatcher: Alright, George I'll let him know to meet with you out there.

Zimmerman: Actually could you have him call me and I'll tell him where I'm at?

Dispatcher: OK, yeah that's no problem.

Zimmerman: Do you need my number or you got it?

Dispatcher: Yeah, I got it, it's 407-[***-****]?

Zimmerman: Yeah, you got it.

Dispatcher: OK, no problem, I'll let them know to call you when they're in the area.

Zimmerman: Thanks.

Dispatcher: You're welcome.

CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

...Dispatcher: He's running? Which way is he running?

[CMike- It is at precisely this moment that the car door chimes are heard, as if this is the moment Zimmerman opened his vehicle door and exited.]

Zimmerman: Down toward the other entrance of the neighborhood.

Dispatcher: Which entrance is that that he's heading towards?

Zimmerman: The back entrance.

Dispatcher: Are you following him?

Zimmerman: Yeah.

Dispatcher: OK, we don't need you to do that.

Zimmerman: OK....

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

portion of the transcript was describing Martin running "away from" Zimmerman, because Zimmerman said, when asked by the Disptacher, "Which way is he running?"

"Down toward the other entrance of the neighborhood."

which sounded to me, as though Martin was running "away from" Zimmerman at that point (no longer toward him).

At any rate, it is puzzling to me that Zimmerman was "too fearful to speak his apartment address over the phone," when he had just described Martin as running down toward the "other" entrance to the complex.

That doesn't make a great deal of sense to me.

But, I guess it's a moot point, now.

Rangoon78's picture
Submitted by Rangoon78 on

The continued vilification of George Zimmerman may provide a catharsis for a segment of society; but, he was tried by a jury and found not guilty of murder and not guilty of manslaughter. Are teachers really going to add their name to the continued witch hunt?

Teachers unions urge federal action against George Zimmerman

And here is the letter that AFT President Randi Weingarten sent to AFT members:
Last night, a Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman, a man who killed an unarmed teenager in cold blood. While we believe in the rule of law and while the jury has spoken, the implications of the acquittal are profound. It is disappointing that a racially profiled, unarmed African-American young man can be shot dead with no consequences for the perpetrator.
Urge Attorney General Eric Holder and the U.S. Justice Department to continue their investigation.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/07/15/teachers-...

Submitted by lambert on

... of something. And apparently the #37B types won the day. So in my mind this goes back to the prosecution butchering it.

"6 Fearful Women" instead of "12 Angry Men" -- Sorry, but that really was the composition of the jury, and that really was what the defense played on.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

all traits which "go to the heart of authoritarianism."

We should be mindful that Florida is chock-full of the "Chuck Colson" variety of fundamentalist churches. (Full disclosure, lived in Tampa, FL.)

Several years ago, I heard an audio snippet from a local church--supposedly mainstream Baptist--not "hardshell," in which the minister made reference to "the Antichrist" having hair of wool. Hmmmmm, wonder what he meant by that?

Seriously, I don't imagine that we'll ever really know "how" there jurors arrived at their verdict.

I suspect that a great deal of rationalization is going on with all of them, right now. And that will only intensify in the days and months to come.

I suspect that they've seen nothing of the negative onslaught which is bound to follow (which I intend to completely avoid, I might add. Heck, I stayed out of the Democratic Party 2008 primary "war"--I sure don't have the stomach for this fight, LOL!) That is not to say that they won't have vocal defenders, as well.

Another election cycle down the drain. Sigh!

BTW, according to Mark Thompson's radio program, the call for the Justice Department to charge Zimmerman with a crime (hate?--not sure what they were talking about) is very intense.

And with the midterm elections coming up, and the Dems in the doghouse with its base on SO many issues, the Dem Establishment will probably get behind this initiative (at least rhetorically), so that they can "rally the base."

Their cynicism knows no bounds . . .

[Sidenote: I believe that Trayvon's parents would be well-advised not to get the Justice Department involved, but to file a civil suit, and choose to have it heard by a judge--if they have that option in Florida.]

Submitted by lambert on

Says Louis CK.

Back to the mode of production, eh? (Not that wage labor doesn't have its own difficulties, as the pre-Civil War "slavery as a positive good" theorists were quick to point out.)

It's not surprising that the othering needed to sustain a trade in living human flesh should be virulent and persistent and corrode everybody it touches. (And where did the money for those English country houses beloved of Jane Austen fans come from, eh?)

The persistence is even less surprising when we remember that (I would argue) the Slave Power never really accepted defeat, and installed (I would argue) the world's first authentically Fascist regime with "reconstruction" (and the KKK as the "deep state" of the former Confederacy. And that this regime persisted on a continental scale at least to the 50s.

Also, of course, and to this day, there are plenty of people who like the idea of slavery just fine -- as long as they get to be the owners. People like that tend not to be in the public eye (at least not in that mode), and tend not to have Confederate decals on their trucks (if indeed they have trucks, as opposed to yachts). They're untouchable, they have impunity, and under The Sachs Conjecture, they're morally pathological (as, given outcomes, one would expect).

"As you all know, you can't believe everything you see and hear can you."

beowulf's picture
Submitted by beowulf on

Interesting thread (and links to Talkleft). I really don't think race had anything to do with it. Once the police saw that Zimmerman had a broken nose an bleeding from the back of his head and that Martin had blood on his fists and was seen by an eyewitness on top of Zimmerman beating him, they didn't need Columbo to figure out whodunit. Every single thing that happened after this was simply race baiting.

Cops divide the world into perps and citizens. They knew Zimmerman was a citizen before they even got there.. I've never heard of anyone convicted or even charged with murder after calling 911 for police assistance prior to the shooting (with a lawfully carried gun, no less). In other words, not only did Zimmerman place himself at the scene at the crime, he invited the police to meet him there! That's not how perps behave.

Oh yeah and I've never heard of anyone convicted of anything after the arresting officers testify they believe defendant's story. Its a shame this case even went to trial.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

MSNBC and many progressive blogs, "talking heads," radio talk show hosts, etc., took up Trayvon's defense based almost solely upon this tragic event being "racially motivated," which I believe was a mistake. Especially in Florida.

OTOH, it may have been necessary to bring Zimmerman to trial. Certainly, I do believe that the tragic events of that evening called for a court hearing. Our system is not perfect, by any means, but it's all that we've got.

I must say though, that I don't personally draw a lot of comfort from the observation (which is accurate) that many "cops" have a binary view of the world.

As a matter of fact, they are often the "epitome" of authoritarian personalities, LOL! And frankly I'd be a bit concerned that this trait might inadvertently tend to "color their perceptions," and therefore their testimony.

I also observed this during my long career as a civilian with DOD.

Of course, one could argue that various personalty traits will influence all the players. And that might be.

But IMO, the most toxic and self-serving traits (on balance) are those of the authoritarian personality.

My hope is that the progressive "blogging community" can override this tragic story, and force the Democratic Party to actually confront electoral issues in the upcoming midterms.

At the same time, I believe that the turn of events regarding the Zimmerman verdict should be discussed, but in a much broader context than a political/racial context.

But, I hold out little hope that this will happen. ;-(

Submitted by hipparchia on

which I believe was a mistake. Especially in Florida.

i'm curious, why "especially in florida?"

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

Loathing, and Cowardice."

I don't mean to be offensive to Floridians (I've lived in Tampa), but the state appears to have been transformed into a "hotbed" of the most extreme conservatism (especially regarding religious fundamentalism) that I've seen in years.

We refuse (literally) to visit our family there--mentioned that above. Of course, it's not the only place that we "avoid," if that makes any difference, LOL!

Actually, Mr. A has to go to Florida on business, occasionally. But since he doesn't pack a gun, he dreads it, and he never stays overnight if he can avoid it.

Our relatives are quite elderly, and can't "start over," or frankly they would have moved over a decade ago.

Look, when we lived there, it was pretty cool. And I'm certainly not suggesting that there are no nice (and nonracist) people living there, However, for whatever reason, it seems that conservative extremism has literally exploded there.

And that's the reason that I would be reluctant to bring a case to Court there, that deals with issues related to racial prejudice or profiling.

BTW, have you heard what 2 of the 6 jurors have said about the case?

One (according to Smerconish) said that the only reason that the case went to trial was because of the protests.

(I didn't catch the circumstances, for sure. Heard "voir dire," but surely she didn't say that during that, and still get on the jury. Go figure.)

And Smerconish played a clip of Juror B37 saying:

"I think all of us thought race did not play a role," the juror said. "We never had that discussion."

I have a feeling that she might consider being a bit more circumspect, in the future.

If she had said that they discounted "race" due to lack of evidence to support that charge--that would be one thing.

But to admit to "dismissing," and not even giving any consideration to this issue, when the case has been portrayed by many, internationally, as a case of possible "racial profiling."

Jeeezzz!

I wouldn't have gone there, had it been me.

Anyway, sorry if I offended you Hipp. Or any other Floridians.

This is not the first time that my family has "boycotted" a state, when we disapproved of their politics. And it probably won't be the last, LOL!

.

Submitted by hipparchia on

somewhere, can't find it right now, I've got a video clip of jeb bush saying florida is the wild west of the east. and that was before things got this weird.

sorry if I offended you

I moved here from texas... in fact, i'd been living not too far down the road from ron paul's district. just about my entire life has been lived in one long bubble of crazy. :)

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

well, not born in Texas, but in another "very red" part of the country, LOL!

Maybe that's why I have such little tolerance for conservatism, anymore.

But again, I truly didn't intend to "demean" the many good people who reside in that state, by insinuating that "everyone" who lives there is a right-winger.

I know better than that.

We've boycotted FL for now, but "truth be told," if my relatives were to get too sickly or decrepit to travel to visit us (or meet us), I'm sure that we'd "break" the boycott, LOL!

The disappointing thing about Florida is that when I was growing up (and lived there), it was "unlike" the Deep South--which I'm sure you know. Had a bunch of northern transplants, etc.

It was really cool.

And now the "religious right" has ruined that. ;-)

Submitted by Hugh on

Why did Zimmerman creepily follow (as in wouldn't you be creeped out and angry if this happened to you) a young black male, not for anything he did but who he was, a young black male (profiling)?

Didn't the fact that Zimmerman was armed with a gun cause him to continue to push toward a confrontation? If he had been unarmed, would he have continued to pursue Martin even after being told not to by the police? Would he have gotten out of his car?

Somehow because Trayvon Martin managed to land on top of Zimmerman the idea is that Martin was the aggressor and Zimmerman was the victim, but in fact Zimmerman had acted repeatedly in an aggressive manner toward Martin, and he did so because he was armed and ready to use deadly force against anyone who got in his way. If Martin was psychic rather than confronting a sicko nutcase like Zimmerman, he would have fled. Instead he stood his ground, attacked his stalker, and got killed for it.

[I posted a comment at NC covering some of this same ground: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/07/links-71613.html#comment-1314851 ]

Submitted by hipparchia on

Why did Zimmerman creepily follow (as in wouldn't you be creeped out and angry if this happened to you) a young black male, not for anything he did but who he was, a young black male (profiling)?

you bet I would be creeped out and angry, and scared too. and if I were a young and strong and fit and impulsive teenage dude and worried that this creep might be planning to break into somebody's home and shoot them, I might even feel compelled to tackle and disarm the creep first and get help later.

Instead he stood his ground, attacked his stalker, and got killed for it.

yep. and if he'd been the one to eventually use deadly force and had killed Zimmerman instead, would he have been granted the same privilege (the privilege of standing his ground) by law enforcement and the jury? my guess is no.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

Zimmerman continued to pursue Treyvon--who was actually "trying to get the heck out of there?"

Actually, I was struck by the somewhat "paranoid" tone of Zimmerman.

But, like I said--authoritarian personalities are often "cowardly," so maybe I shouldn't have been. ;-)

CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

1) The prosecution made a sincere effort to get George Zimmerman convicted.

2) It's not fair to assume Zimmerman continued to pursue Trayvon Martin after the dispatcher told Zimmerman "we don't need you to do that."

3) BTW, it's not clear when the phone call started that Zimmerman knew Martin was black nor that Zimmerman was hostile to black people generally nor that Zimmerman was one of those types of people who wanted, as Lambert put it, "to whack an uppity nigra."

3a) There's very little to indicate that Martin, at any time, "was actually 'trying to get the heck out of there...'"

In my opinion, I don't think people should be allowed to carry concealed and if they are allowed to carry concealed they should bear a very high burden of using good judgement whenever and where ever they do so. However that's not the way the law sees it in Florida, nor in a lot of places where the law there allows certain people to carry concealed and imposes no great obligation on those doing so to avoid getting into confrontations.

A lot of the rest that is surrounding this case is people crediting their imaginations and world-views as to what they think a 15/16th non-black must have been thinking when he got involved in a conflict with a black person that turned deadly and how a particular black youth must have been conducting himself prior to suffering a fatal gun shot wound delivered by the non-black person with whom he had been fist fighting.

Submitted by lambert on

(I've been off trying to wrestle ObamaCare into submission. It's not happening.)

As far as #1, not so sure. Details like apparently Jeantel's mike not being placed right. If the FL legal establishment is as incestuous as ME's.....

I perhaps didn't make it clear in a sloppy lead that I turned off with the narrative in the state described. Hence the attempts to recontextualize.

CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

One of the most interesting aspects of this affair is how it has shown that even if you're a pretty sharp news consumer, if you're just listening to the MSM reporting and glancing at some tribal blogging on a heavily covered news story, one that has been covered for months on end, you've got a real good chance of coming away from those sources without knowing some of the most basic facts of the matter.

Submitted by jawbone on

down to his shoes.

Also, the photo doesn't capture any grass stains or mud on tops of Trayvon's white shoes.

Zimmerman's atty, apparently based on what he learned from George Zimmerman, demonstrated how Trayvon was kneeling on the (then wet grass, it was raining), pounding George's head against the deadly weapon, concrete. The photo does not dispositively show whether Trayvon was close enough to a sidewalk to have fallen backwards completely onto grass.

It seems to me, that if there were a struggle, with Trayvon on top at some point, his slacks would have been showing grass stains, wetness, maybe mud.

Does anyone who followed the trial know whether this photo was introduced? Were there better photos which showed the condition of his slacks and shoes? This photo would seem to undermine George's version of events. BUT...is it possible the flash for the camera affected how the slacks appeared from the knees down? However, surely the police had retained the clothing? OR...was that part of what the Sanford PD screwed up in terms of evidence? Were the clothes introduced as evidence?

Via Sabina Becker, blogger with a strong opinion on this.

http://www.sabinabecker.com/2013/07/this-is-what-first-degree-murder-loo...

CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

Neither party was on the top of the other as witnessed by Jonathan Good who thought Martin was on top and by Selma Mora who thought a dark skinned man was on the bottom and the larger of the two on top? Martin was the one who got beaten up though he was unmarked except for light injuries to his knuckles (oh, and the gunshot wound) and Zimmerman was bruised and cut when the police showed up within minutes of the fatal shot?

There was no fight at all and it was Martin yelling for help in the face of a man pointing a gun at him which, I guess, is the way someone might try to diffuse such a situation? (That wouldn't be my strategy in such a situation though it might be if I was being beaten.)

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

blogger (attorney) named "Fred" (his wife's name is Rachel)--and I absolutely don't remember their usernames (don't read the blog but once in a while)--wrote extensively about the actual "evidence," as I recall.

It was fairly interesting, but the discourse got so nasty on the part of some bloggers, that I quit reading it just months into the "case."

For months, he wrote very long daily diaries (and sometimes more than one).

At any rate, don't know where he came down in the end, but early on he was convinced that the evidence pointed to Trayvon's death being a "wrongful" death, by law.

So anyway, jawbone, if I can remember his user name, LOL, I'll post it here.