9 Ridiculously Predictable Responses to the Trayvon Travesty

Trayvon-Martin-2

1. The victim was put on trial.

Supposedly, it was George Zimmerman who was tried for a crime. But the jurors were not allowed to hear the testimony of voice experts who say that he was not the one screaming for help in the  911 call.  They also were not allowed to hear about the accused’s arrest record, his alleged history of domestic violence, and other facts from his past that might paint him as a trigger-happy hothead unfit to watch anyone’s neighborhood.

They weren’t allowed to hear about Martin’s past, either (except for his pot smoking, which evidently was considered a vital ingredient); but there was no need.  Propagandists already had done a thorough job of saturating the American psyche with an unflattering portrait of the youngster who was not around to defend himself, and suggesting that because he might not have been a model teen, he deserved whatever he got.

This included lies about his height and weight and photos falsely purported to be of him — circulated by individuals raging about the dishonesty of the “liberal” media for printing actual photos of Martin that were not up to date.  Heck, the brat even had — brace yourself — GOLD TEETH. Die, monster, die!

2. The verdict.

You seriously weren’t surprised, were you? Trayvon Martin had the NAACP behind him. George Zimmerman had the NRA. Get real. Nonetheless, one juror has stated that the accused “got away with murder”.

3. The media predicted riots.

Again.  And they failed to materialize. Again. Although some folks did their best to stir up trouble.

4. People made irrelevant comparisons.

It’s like clockwork. “Well hey, blacks kill each other in Chicago every day, so why make a big deal out of this killing?” The reactionaries don’t stop to consider that if indeed it “happens every day”, that makes it by definition less newsworthy. And why imply that we have to choose whether to care about a single murder victim, mass urban violence, or war overseas? Even the smallest of minds is capable of caring about more than one thing at once.

And of course they also trot out the instances in which a black person kills a white person, and ask where’s the outrage over those.

My old friends over at my favorite gun propaganda website, called (natch) The Truth About Guns, jumped on this bandwagon with a story titled “Black Man Shoots White Teen, Jury Says Self-Defense. And Nobody Cares”.  I assume the writer drew the conclusion that “nobody cares” because there hasn’t been the same level of media coverage or public outcry over the case referred to. He forgets to mention that the story is four years old. But more to the point, he incorrectly characterizes this incident as an “inverse image” of the Martin killing.

Not by a long shot. The black gunman, Roderick Scott, confronted not just one teenager but three. And he wasn’t stalking them or playing Batman; he discovered them actually committing a crime — i.e., burglarizing cars. Furthermore, he warned them that he was armed and ordered them to stay put until police arrive. Whereupon one of them charged him and he opened fire.  The one constant is that it appears both gunmen may have acted rashly, lending substance to the belief that possession of a firearm tends to induce an individual to use it unnecessarily; but the circumstances under which Roderick Scott took a life were quite different from those under which George Zimmerman killed an innocent teen.

Yet the writer of the piece on TTAG  lumps the incidents together and jointly moralizes thus:

Run with a bad crowd, bad things can happen. Act a certain way, dress a certain way, mouth off to the wrong person, and bad things can and do happen.

The problem with this grouping is that one might infer that by dressing and acting “a certain way”, and perhaps “mouthing off to the wrong person” Trayvon Martin was surely guilty of something that warranted his death. And that the boy Roderick Scott shot, who was actually committing a crime, was killed only because he was acting and dressing ” a certain way” or perhaps just “running with a bad crowd.” It’s creepy to realize that so many people who think this way are carrying loaded weapons.

Look closely at the supposedly parallel cases people throw at you, and you’re likely to find substantial distinctions like these. But in case you’re losing sleep over it, it’s probably true that there is more media coverage of whites killing blacks than the reverse. I’ve outlined some of the reasons for this in two previous posts on the topic. (Here and here.)

5. The gun culture waved its bloody flag.

The NRA attacked the media for covering the story, and attacked Attorney General Eric Holder for suggesting that states should review Stand Your Ground Laws — which supposedly means Holder is “pushing Obama’s (shudder) gun control agenda”.  The NRA’s solution for preventing more tragedy of this type is, of course, to pass even more Stand Your Ground laws. Stand Your Ground, which influenced at least one juror’s decision, is a type of law that makes it easier to gun someone down and claim it was self-defense. Except for when it backfires. In fact, Trayvon Martin was the one who stood his ground in Florida, and by reports he was doing well at it without the benefit of any metal implements. But then George Zimmerman invaded his ground and killed him.

6. All the usual suspects mouthed off.

Glenn Beck. Rush Limbaugh. Sean Hannity. Ted Nugent.  (The latter has such a long and fruitful tradition of bigoted, inflammatory, utterly delusional rhetoric that it was inevitable he would end up on the NRA board of directors.) They and their kindred were, as always, locked in mortal combat to see who could make the biggest ass of himself. Or herself — Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin are invariably in on the action as well, determined to demonstrate that they can be Stupid White Men along with the worst of them.

7. White males felt threatened.

Many of them seemed to fear that since it was a black youth killed, it might appear that all white men are killers of black children. Never mind that the killer was only half-white; it pays to be preemptively reactionary. There was even a meme in circulation to the effect that “only in Obama’s America could a brown man kill a black kid, and the white man get the blame.” Notice the linking of the whole thing to a racially mixed president? A nice, classy touch.

Folks. The racial tension Americans have inherited is directly descended from a very long and very brutal history of racial oppression by — drum roll, please — white men. So yeah, it kind of is the white man’s fault. Sorry to be the one to break the news.

8. “Conservatives” attacked “liberals”.

It is an unwritten but immutable law that any time a tragedy occurs, right-wing fanatics must exploit it for political purposes, and use it as an excuse to trash “liberals”. Always. Every time. With no exceptions. Ever. While accusing “liberals” of doing what they themselves are doing.

Accordingly, in one of those twists of Bizarro Planet logic that make the wingers so endlessly entertaining, they proclaimed that them librulz, by drawing attention to racial inequality are actually creating it — that by discussing the ethnic aspects of the Martin case, they are guilty of “race-baiting”. Because we all know that the only way to deal with a problem is to insert your head deep into your ass and pretend it doesn’t exist.

They even attacked President Obama on the same grounds.  (They’re under the illusion that he’s one of them librulz himself, but that’s another story.) One meme making the rounds said “If Trayvon Martin had been killed in Afghanistan, Obama wouldn’t even know his name.”

WTF???  Can you think of any president — or the leader of any nation — in the entire history of the world who was able to rattle off the name of every soldier who’d died in the line of duty? This has nothing to do with anything — except that Barack Obama is expected to perform 200 times as brilliantly as any mere mortal in order to avoid being classified as an evil failure.

9. Most people got it wrong.

Okay, so many of them librulz did make themselves easy targets. Not by “race-baiting”, but by focusing on the wrong question — just like practically everyone else.  It isn’t a matter of racism, but of racial bias/ racial inequality. It’s unlikely that George Zimmerman harbors any blatant hatred of African-Americans. What’s far more probable is that Martin’s ethnicity was a factor (even if an unconscious one) in his being targeted for harassment that led to his death.

I once attended a talk by former NBA superstar Bill Russell, who said something I’ll never forget: “I don’t care what color you are, if you say you’re not prejudiced, you’re lying.” He said prejudiced rather than racist, but they’re two markers on the same scale. And it was quite a punch in the gut to my teenage self who’d smugly assumed that I’d purged every remnant of my Southern WASP heritage.

I don’t know if Mr. Russell was entirely correct, but he was definitely on the right track.  As I’ve subsequently learned, most people do make snap judgments based on superficial characteristics, including skin color. Among other things, this means that people tend to consider darker skinned persons less trustworthy — and this attitude even prevails among darker skinned persons themselves! It’s a complicated problem with no pat solution. Sometimes its manifestation is very subtle and unconscious; sometimes it’s overt and ugly. But it’s always present.

Do them librulz sometimes go overboard in their consideration of race as a potential motive? Sure. That doesn’t mean they’re wrong to consider it all. Trayvon Martin is dead because someone regarded him as a “suspicious character”. And his killer is a free man because the jurors, despite their misgivings, felt compelled to accept his claim of self-defense — even though he instigated the altercation, aggressively stalking the youth even after being told by police to knock off the Rambo routine. If you’re really convinced that race couldn’t possibly have been a factor in all of this, you’re living in cloud cuckoo land.

 

47 thoughts on “9 Ridiculously Predictable Responses to the Trayvon Travesty

  1. POP, about this post, I agree in part, but would hesitate to decry the outcome of the trial for this reason: Our justice system is dedicated to protecting the innocent as well as prosecuting the guilty. So, while racism and/or racial profiling may have played a definite part in Zimmerman’s self-justifications for being a hot-dog and disobeying police, the jury fulfilled its responsibility by determining the verdict based on the facts of the case–facts that did not overcome a reasonable doubt.

    I haven’t heard of voice experts being denied the opportunity to identify Trayvon’s voice as the person in peril, and I do personally think it was more high-pitched and typical of a teenager rather than someone about 30 years old (which I believe was approximately Zimmerman’s age). but what I did hear is that the defense also wanted to introduce voice experts that could disclaim Martins experts, so I assume the judge didn’t want to give too much weight resulting in even more confusion, being introduced by experts either side. I also have heard that previous records of misdemeanors and petty crimes are often not to be considered by a jury because these might have no real relevance in judging the motives of a current defendant. It is a shame though that Trayvon was portrayed as sort of a thug or juvenile delinquent for doing what just about all kids, and nearly anyone over 30, has done anyway–namely, smoke pot. I don’t know if the judge really approved of this or if the Jury was left with this impression after the defense made the accusation and was given a big “objection sustained,” by the judge, in favor of the prosecution. At least that is how such prejudicial evidence is often portrayed as being disallowed in television courtroom dramas.

    As far as Trayvon’s physical prowess, I think most of us are in pretty good shape as teenageres, and he could have posed a real threat to an older (softer) Zimmerman.

    But all of these things aside, do you ever wonder how many defendants are carried out of the courtroom kicking and screaming about their innocence, who really were innocent?—this not being just a theoretical observation since we all know that many people have been exonerated and even saved from execution by the introduction of DNA evidence that was not available at the time of their conviction. Imagine being someone who is really innocent and then spending a couple of decades, potentially being beaten up and/or gang raped, as a result of being found guilty of something that person did not do!

    So while the facts of the case may not all have been made clear, and although clever defense attorneys may have made use of this obscurity, in their favor, the jury just was not presented with evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. The only eye-witness (who may have been lying or mistaken) reported that Trayvon was on top and raining blows onto Zimmerman. And, Zimmerman may not have had his head pounded on the concrete as much as he suggested, but man!, how many of us are possessed of such a calm reasoning, that we can tell ourselves in the midst of being attacked, that we are alright because our head may have been slammed only twice? I would suggest that many of us would feel extremely threatened by ANY aggressive action–let alone what MAY have transpired between Zimmerman and Trayvon.

    Getting back to those people on death row, who are freed by DNA evidence–were their judges, juries or Lawyers, absolutely convinced of their guilt, just as Zimmerman may have been considered guilty by many of us? Dld an outraged public cry for execution or possibly life in prison, because they also, were so absolutely certain?

    Even if the jury did not know the full story, they just could not convict without more direct and compelling evidence, and it would be tragic to convict a man, based on only feelings and intuition—especially if that man was released from prison twenty years later, with a shallow, “sorry we were wrong,” from the government. It is so, so, so important to require evidence that does not leave room for a reasonable doubt–simply because you or I could be the next to be imprisoned.

    This case does not impress me as one that was crystal clear, such as Rodney King’s or OJ’s. No one had a video of Trayvon being on top and savagely beating Zimmerman, but no one had Zimmerman caught in such and act either!

    In OJ’s case, the jury was obviously bamboozled by clever defense attorneys. They had to be, in order to ignore the blood all over OJ’s car, which matched the DNA of the victims as well as his own! No doubt Simpson’s money helped immensely with his case, because here, a black man DID get away with murdering two white people–primarily because the jury was stupidly convinced that a murderer–desperate to hide his crime, would have consciously chosen not to wear a glove that was a little bit too small for comfort, or that someone with something like a 9 billion to one chance of sharing OJ’s DNA, could not be ruled out. In this trial innocence resulted IN SPITE of overwhelming evidence beyond a reasonable doubt!

    In Trayvon’s case, there was very little substantial evidence and the jury was required not to judge based on speculation or assumptions–doing so may have resulted in the conviction of an innocent MAN, as well as many others who, may have been like you or I. Not only ARE we Trayvon, but in the American justice system, we ARE also, all potential Zimmerman’s!

    Undoubtedly bias was present in Zimmerman’s mind, and, as you so honestly point out, such racial bias–not racism–is present in most of our minds. Zimmerman was also a hot dog wannabe cop who needed to get some kind of life, but no one really can say for certain that he was really guilty. so, while a killer MAY have gone free, a jury that doesn’t know that for sure, has no business convicting anyone based on their own feelings or assumptions!

    As you pointed out, we are all at least a little biased, and our cultural influences cause us all to judge and discriminate to some extent, but while white people are historically the ones who committed a great crime against humanity, please allow me to say that my ancestors weren’t! Judging from family tree research that was done for us many years ago, my ancestors did not own slaves, and in fact, may have had to struggle as indentured servants for years in Finland, before coming to America and homesteading a piece of their own land. I also never heard my father say one derogatory thing about black Americans, and he never used the N word either. Since he was a common working man, during the civil rights era, this has always impressed me as amazing–since I did hear the N word form some of the other Finlanders in my community. I think I may be uptight and biased because of the culture we live in, but I don’t think I need to share guilt for the institutionalizing of slavery by SOME white people. Since many of our ancestors may have come from backgrounds of servitude or discrimination, it would be a disservice also, to pigeon hole all white people as culpable creators of slavery and racism.

    • You raise a good point about the verdict. One of the jurors commented that even though all or most of them thought Zimmerman was guilty, they didn’t have the evidence to convict him. And so, they had to presume he was innocent. It’s certainly possible that Trayvon Martin attacked him, but probably with plenty of provocation. The bottom line is Martin would not have died if Zimmerman had not been playing the part of an armed vigilante. And if there’s anyone who’s suited to the role of an armed vigilante, it’s not him.

      • Thanks, POP

        I totally agree that it was inappropriate for Zimmerman to disobey the police and take on the role of an armed vigilante, but again, he was not on trial for disobeying the police or for being stupid, he was on trial to determine if he killed Martin in self defense or not.

        I think if anything really needs to be questioned it is the “stand your ground” laws in Florida. There is obviously a great potential for abuse because of it. If someone is angered by being flipped the finger during heavy traffic, if that person confronts the finger flipper and feels threatened when this person becomes angry and approaches him with an angry look, this could conceivably be used in his defense if he fires on and kills the flipper.

        But as the law currently stands, Trayvon did have the right to self-defense under the scenario that he claimed happened. Personally I think Zimmerman’s actions could easily be considered as aggressive and, the adjective “Stupid,” is also surely appropriate. But guilty or not, the jury has an obligation to be thorough about their verdict. So, if anything, the jury was not at fault, but rather, the gun laws that may have encouraged Zimmerman’s actions.

  2. POP,

    The beginning of the third paragraph should say, “But as the law currently stands, (Zimmerman) did have the right to self-defense under the scenario that he claimed happened.

    my apologies,
    Peter W. Johnson

  3. I find the bias throughout your piece to be disturbing. It began w a photo suggesting an innocent pleasant looking youth. It concluded w half-truths and inflamed speech when you stated Zimmerman was “aggressively stalking the youth even after being told by police to knock off the Rambo routine.” The picture, like many shown in the media, depict a young man. What you do not seem to want to emphasize is that Martin was taller than Zimmerman and that Zimmerman did not know Martin was a teenager. Your ending was especially distorting. The half-truth in the sentence is, as you know, the police did not tell Zimmerman anything. He was speaking to a dispatcher who made a suggestion. There is no legal requirement to follow the counsel of a dispatcher. Could you please tell me just what “aggressively stalking” is? He followed Martin. Its interesting that you use an inflammatory word like “stalking” rather than what he was actually doing – following. Its interesting that, despite using an inflammatory word like stalking, that you still need to add a physical threat component to it as well – “aggressively stalking”. I wonder what could be the reason behind your language manipulation. I’m thinking its because you know that following someone is not illegal. And its certainly not a reason to justify physically attacking someone. Then I recall that you said the “police” told Zimmerman to knock off the Rambo routine. And again, your choice of language manipulation is interesting. A dispatcher now becomes “the police” (most people will think you mean an officer when you say “the police”). And the dispatcher never used the phrase “Rambo routine”, but it is interesting that you do use it. You make a disguised effort to write an informative article, but you use inflammatory words and half-truths to put forward you own agenda.

    You focus of race. I ask you a question – why is it no one will admit and describe the racial bias against Zimmerman in the aftermath of the trial. Why was MSNBC’s blatant doctoring of the 911 call made by George Zimmerman not a bigger deal. Think about it – a news organization was caught lying and distorting the news to purport a racial bias when that was not what Zimmerman actually said. Why does everyone say this was a result of “Stand Your Ground” and that “Stand Your Ground” is racist when that was never once used by the defense. Why was the District Attorney not immediately fired for withholding key evidence from the defense? It took a whistle-blower for the defense to learn about important text messages on Martin’s phone. And why was it okay to fire the whistle-blower which may actually violate Federal Law? I applaud you’re wanting to focus on race as it relates to the case. But please do not be equally prejudiced and claim some justification.

    • It seems that by “bias” you mean outrage. Guilty as charged. An armed vigilante with a police record was stalking — yes stalking, no matter what euphemisms you want to apply or how you may want to justify it — an unarmed kid, with whom he provoked a conflict and then killed him. Anyone who isn’t outraged over something like that has a problem, no matter who belongs to what race. Talk about manipulation — you mention that Martin was taller than Zimmerman, and seem to suggest, as many do, that this conclusively proves Zimmerman acted in self-defense because he must have been helpless against such a monster. The truth, for whatever the truth is worth to you, is that Martin was indeed taller by 3 inches, but Zimmerman outweighed him by more than 40 pounds. As I mentioned above, the defenders of Zimmerman often add a few more inches and a few more pounds to Martin’s bulk to make him sound more menacing.

      • No, I mean “bias”.

        I find your style of response interesting. You seem to engage the very “propaganda prop” that you accuse others of. You take one point, that I say Martin was actually taller, and leap to the conclusion that because of this one point I am saying this “proves” the case. Of course, in this instance, you are saying that I am doing such – when you know that I in fact made no such assertion. What I find interesting is that the very behaviors of which you accuse others are the very ones you employ in debate.

        I am outraged though. But you and I are outraged over decidedly different things. You say nothing about respected institutions who have blatantly distorted records or withheld evidence. You scream for justice but ignore the illegal acts as long as those acts appear to be helping you get your justice. And why should you be outraged by these acts when you are doing the same thing on a smaller scale. You distort the evidence. You engage in rhetoric. If you truly believed your cause, then the facts as they are would carry your cause. In short, you are no different than the extremist groups you criticize so frequently.

      • If you didn’t mean your observation about Martin’s size to be a justification for Zimmerman’s actions, why bring it up at all? You’ll notice that I said you “seem to suggest”. From this you conclude that I “seem to engage in the very “propaganda prop” that you accuse others of.” Interesting. I am indeed outraged over “respected institutions who have blatantly distorted records or withheld evidence”. I comment about such matters all the time. But that has no material bearing on the central issue being discussed here. Nothing changes the fact the Zimmerman was reckless, and an innocent teen died because of it, and Zimmerman walked free. And nothing changes the fact that race MAY have played a role. And if you can come up with specific examples (which you’ve spectacularly failed to do so far) of how I’ve distorted the evidence, I’ll dance a ring around the moon.

  4. Certainly, the actions of Zimmerman were uncalled for, and he could be considered an “aggressive” stalker simply because, a dispatcher, who. although possibly not qualified to act as a real police woman, presumably conveyed the correct protocol, and told him not to follow Zimmerman anyway!

    Yes, elements of racism may have been involved in Zimmerman’s actions and motivations, but the trial was about whether he acted in self defense or not. So, the jury did the only thing it could when deciding not to convict on the basis of lacking real and valid evidence against him—and whether guilty or not, the jury upheld legal tradition and precedence by realizing its own limitations when not ascertaining the truth “beyond a reasonable doubt”

    unfortunately though, zimmerman should have suffered some more severe kind of consequences as a result of his irresponsible actions. This may have convinced other, future hot shots, not to act so rashly!

    • Peter, I fear you are stepping away from the point of my comment. My comment to POP was directed more towards his language manipulation in the very article that he criticizes Nugent and Hannity for inflammatory speech (hypocritical much?). My point is that those condemning Zimmerman appear to be behaving far more racist and prejudicial than those defending him. My question to POP is why is this racial bias being essentially brushed aside as inconsequential.

      Now, regarding your reply, I’m afraid I could not more strongly disagree to your definition of “aggressive”. By your definition my children were “aggressive” little monsters. And to suggest that the courts “should” also punish people for allegedly “irresponsible actions”, as opposed to illegal actions, is dangerous in the extreme. Who gets to decide what is “irresponsible”. The courts are empowered to enforce our laws, not to be our moral police.

      And let’s be clear on something, Zimmerman is being punished everyday for his “irresponsible actions”. Spike Lee tweeted Zimmerman’s address (which turned out to be wrong) in a suggestion of vigilante violence. There continue to be suggestions of vigilante violence against him. Do you really think he will ever be free to live a normal life again?

      • Rob,

        I did hear your complaints about the language used in the POPs blog, an example of which is the statement, “the police told Zimmerman to knock off the Rambo routine.” I am not as sensitive to Statements like this which are not literally true, because they are often used as a literary device employed in order to convey the writers opinions. while I agree accuracy is important, I don’t think many other people reading the POPs comment would have believed the Police or any advising authority literally used the word “RAmbo.” However, your point is a good one.

        To me it is obvious that the allegations of racism on Zimmerman’s part involved the fact that he very likely decided to go against the advice of the dispatcher and instead, to follow Trayvon, just because of his race and appearance. However, I think it is hard for anyone to completely avoid profiling anyone, since the cultural input that is constantly bombarding all of us, often supports such stereotyping. i..e. would even the most intelligent and worldly traveller never have a fleeting thought that he or she should avoid boarding a plane, because and angry looking Arabic person wearing traditional garbs, was also boarding it? However, on the other hand, zimmerman was not like mosts children, who commonly act on impulse and without understanding—instead he was a fully grown adult who had, I assume, received specific training from the police about the does and don’t concerning participating in a neighborhood watch program. So, when he took it upon himself to deliberately take actions that were not recommended, this very fact, could easily be an indication of “aggressive” behavior.

        As I stated, no matter what motivated Zimmerman, and even if racial profiling was involved (whether Zimmerman was truly guilty or innocent) the jury fulfilled its obligation and did not convict without evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. But to give the other side a break, isn’t it true that defense lawyers also tried to portray Martin as a pot smoking hood who angrily flaunted the law?

        How we feel about any of these observations, depends in part on the mind-set and the biases we all have, but as a journalist the POP is expected to use a wide range of adjectives to make his points. While truth and accuracy are very important, it is probably impossible for any writer to avoid using their own forms of descriptive language to convey their personal points. But I don’t think the POP went overboard in this department.

        Yes, Zimmerman will suffer for many years from the judgments by the Court of public opinion, and he will face many difficulties because of those judgements. However, I think that some form of lesser punishment could have been OFFICIALLY rendered, in order to satisfy all parties involved, since, if I am not mistaken, there is such a thing as “negligent homicide” which can result from not using common sense, and instead, taking reckless actions which could very well result in unintended and tragic consequences such as those that resulted from Zimmerman’s overzealous actions. I think some OFFICIAL PUNISHMENT, would have acted as a deterrent for people who might also decide to act against better advice, urging them let the police take care of the problem instead!

  5. Peter, I may disagree w your conclusions regarding the Zimmerman trial, but I also respect your opinions and your honest portrayal of the facts. I disagree most vehemently though w your portrayal of POP. I believe he became guilty of the very behaviors he seeks to condemn.

    POP, I believe I did list specific examples of evidence you distorted. Peter and I have been talking about one. So, I guess you better start dancing. Its not surprising that you cannot see your distortions though. At first, I thought you did it intentionally. Now, I suspect your own bias is so deeply ingrained that you cannot see it.

    I will likely not be responding any further and will soon delete this blog from my reading list. I had hoped writing would be cathartic – it wasn’t – for my own feelings and issues stemming from the trial and all that surrounded it. (FYI – I don’t live too far from there).

    • The best you’ve been able to do is complain that I said Zimmerman was stalking — but you’ve given no good reason why that word is inappropriate– and complain that the picture I used depicted Martin as a “young man”. That’s what he was, if “man” is an appropriate label for a minor. Since nobody knew he was going to be killed, it’s not surprising that there is a shortage of recent photos that are demonic enough to placate his demonizers. All photos necessarily were taken in the past. In the case of Zimmerman, a photo being 3 or 4 years old wouldn’t make a huge difference, but in the case of Martin it does. That doesn’t mean that showing old photos of him is trying to manipulate anyone. I used an undated photo, so I’m not even certain how old it is, but it by no means portrays him as sweet and innocent. Frankly, I won’t miss you. There are plenty of other detractors around to offer the “you do what you accuse others of” soundbite, with no substance to back it up.

      • “There are plenty of other detractors around to offer the “you do what you accuse others of” soundbite, with no substance to back it up.”

        Yeah, it’s not like you rely on opinions or anything….

        POP opinion #1 – “Roderick Scott caught a kid committing a crime, and merely attempted to hold him at bay until police arrived, whereupon the kid attacked him.”

        The “Professor” bases this on, well, nothing. Unlike Zimmerman, there is no evidence that Scott suffered any injuries from the person he shot.

        POP opinion #2 – “George Zimmerman caught a kid committing the crime of “looking suspicious”, aggressively pursuing and accosting him until the kid fought back.”

        Apparently, the “Professor” saw the entire incident go down from beginning to end. Shame he wasn’t called in as a witness during the trial…

        POP opinion #3 – “it’s quite clear that he (Zimmerman) initiated the confrontation; and had he not been armed, it’s unlikely that he would have engaged in the cowboy swagger that caused it to turn violent.”

        See my response to #2.

        There’s a 99% chance that POP’s response won’t contain a “REPLY” button….

      • You’re attempting to rehash what’s already been covered, “Someone” or “Mitch” or whatever your name is. And all you’re accomplishing is making yourself appear more foolish and childish than you probably are. You seem to have some talent there; I urge you to go use it constructively and productively.

      • Anoymous,

        What else was Martin revealing about his character by simply walking through the wrong neighborhood?…. Of course Zimmerman was only judging Martin by his own suspicions about a black kid in a hoody! There was no sign on that hoody saying “THIEF, DRUG DEALER, OR MUGGER.”

        Zimmerman deliberately disobeyed advice not to get involved and didn’t wait for the police to respond first. From these simple facts it isn’t unreasonable to think he was acting aggressively by following Martin, and, that he responded violently when Martin dared to respond to his narrowly based suspicions. One need not rely on surveillance footage to question Zimmerman’s actions in light of these basic facts that are already known!

        Oops, there I go agreeing with someone again. What comment forum in any blog has ever suggested that readers disagree with each other and then engage in a reasonable dialogue about those disagreements? I guess that make me an attack dog, huh!

  6. There was absolutely no evidence that GZ committed a crime, and plenty of evidence that Traythug did. I’m glad that No-Limit-N!66@ is dead!

  7. “but the circumstances under which Roderick Scott took a life were quite different from those under which George Zimmerman killed an innocent teen.” Oh, quite true “Professor.” For example, Roderick Scott did not suffer any injuries prior to shooting Christopher Cervini. Zimmerman, however, was subjected to an assault by a so-called “innocent teen.” Also, I like how you previously stated in a different article that “it’s quite clear that he (Zimmerman) initiated the confrontation; and had he not been armed, it’s unlikely that he would have engaged in the cowboy swagger that caused it to turn violent.” Very interesting statement, especially from a website that claims to “offer solid fact without becoming pedantic, and personality without relying on opinion.” Yeah, whatever you say bud. I eagerly await what will undoubtedly be a “brilliant” response from you or your attack-dog Peter W Johnson.

    • Roderick Scott caught a kid committing a crime, and merely attempted to hold him at bay until police arrived, whereupon the kid attacked him. George Zimmerman caught a kid committing the crime of “looking suspicious”, aggressively pursuing and accosting him until the kid fought back. But please, please, please don’t take my word for it. Read up on it yourself.

      • “Roderick Scott caught a kid committing a crime, and merely attempted to hold him at bay until police arrived, whereupon the kid attacked him.” Scott suffered no injuries. He wasn’t “attacked” by Cervini. Did the kid charge at him? I don’t deny that possibility, but keep in mind that Scott’s testimony is all that we have. We never heard from Cervini, the YOUNGSTER WHO WAS NOT AROUND TO DEFEND HIMSELF. Also, funny how you claim that Zimmerman was “aggressively pursuing and accosting him (Trayvon) until the kid fought back.” Gee, really? You have surveillance footage of the incident or something?

      • Both Martin and Zimmerman made phone calls just before the killing that paint a very clear picture of what was going on. Keep doing your homework.

    • Anonymous,

      The truth is that the POP and I have disagreed about several of the points he makes in his articles. I am hardly his attack dog, and I resent having my own ideas reduced to merely petty and biased cheer-leading for the POP!

      I don’t suppose you would care to admit that, you also, often share the same opinions with the authors of certain blogs. Does that make you merely that blogger’s “attack dog”?

      • “I resent having my own ideas reduced to merely petty and biased cheer-leading for the POP!” Resent all you like. You may now proceed to put forth a verbose, 50 paragraph response.

        “I don’t suppose you would care to admit that, you also, often share the same opinions with the authors of certain blogs. Does that make you merely that blogger’s “attack dog”?” I don’t aggressively defend the opinions of biased bloggers. Can you say the same?

      • I can’t speak for Peter, but I can say that if he “aggressively defends” discussions here, he’s not defending “opinions”. Is this blog biased? Of course. Being human, I have no choice but to be biased. But that’s not the same as opinion. See previous discussion on Shades Of Subjectivity.. And stay tuned for future posts on opinion and false equivalence.

      • Anonymous,

        I have never considered myself as an “aggressive defender,” of anything in the POP’s blogs. perhaps you think agreeing with the thoughts of another is an act of aggression. I suggest you look up the words, response, defend, emphatically and aggressive, in the Dictionary. None of their definitions is confined to an act of aggression when simply responding to the writings of another.

        When I go on for many paragraphs it’s usually because I have a lot to say, or because I am responding to a comment which is itself, quite lengthy. Sorry for bothering you by using my First Amendment right to free expression.

        On the other hand, your forte seems to involve trying to pick a fight by aggressively denying first amendment rights when they are used by others. Instead of considering or rebutting my statements you chose instead to launch an Ad- Hominem attack concerning my character.In my book that’s really an aggressive attitude to take when opposing the ideas of another based only on your opinions about their writing style, and/or their agreements with certain authors concerning the points those authors make—really?

        When it comes to people with your attitude, I don’t fool myself into thinking that any amount of words can convince you of something you don’t want to acknowledge. But please allow me the simple freedom to have my say!

      • For what it’s worth, Peter, my recommendation is to not bother responding to people like this at all — it only encourages them. They are not interested in discussion, but only in combativeness. They are time vampires, and will suck up as much of your time as you’re willing to give them. Ironically, they also unwittingly provide fodder for future discussion. This individual has supplied several excellent illustration of false equivalence, which as it happens was already on my drawing board for a future post. He also offered common misconceptions about such matters as opinion, First Amendment rights, censorship, etc. etc. etc. But they’re useful only up to a point, and quickly become predictable and tiresome, compelling me to write them off. I don’t want them taking up valuable real estate on these pages, and I don’t want readers to get the impression that this is just one more forum for the kind of schoolyard cattiness they already can find in so many other places.

      • POP,

        As I told him, his forte seems to be picking fights by resorting to ad-hominem insults, so I thought I would respond to that tactic. But I am well acquainted with similar comenters on other sights, who, like him, only create an endless cycle of accusations and rebuttals. My first post near the very top of this thread speaks for the fact that I disagree with you at times and tell you so. As far as I am concerned that’s the best way to refute his BS. I will no longer respond to more of the same from turds like him!

  8. Anonymous,

    I also suggest that you read my first comment near the top of this thread. In it you will clearly see that I differ with the POP on several points, regarding the Trayvon Martin and Zimmerman trial. One of those is that, considering the circumstances, the jury delivered the correct verdict based necessarily, only on the direct evidence that was available to them. How’s that, especially when coming from a supposedly mindless attack dog?

    • Gosh Peter, looks like the “professor” is doing to me what I was allegedly doing to you (i.e. “denying first amendment rights”) I realize he’s a piss-poor debater, and no fan of people that point out his contradictions, but to quote you, “allow me the simple freedom to have my say!” Oh wait, I guess that only applies to those who march in lockstep with the opinionated diatribes that the “professor” posts here.

      • Anonymous,

        That’s quite inverted and convoluted logic you have regarding the First Amendment—If anything the POP has honored my rights, by printing my comments, even though several of them have differed with his, concerning controversial issues.

        As far as First amendment freedoms belonging only to those who march in lockstep—NOT! It seems to me that several of your posts, although belligerent in nature, have also been printed on this thread.So, you have not been censored–Instead your 1st Amendment rights have also been honored. What you are really complaining about is the fact that others on this site, disagree with you and have effectively debunked many of your claims–which is also a freedom guaranteed to any, and all of us, having the right to free speech.

        Look up the word diatribe also. The POP doesn’t use abusive speech to make his points, Rather, he uses satire, tongue in cheek humor and reason to make them. If you actually want to discuss such points, on a forum which, (believe it or not) is designed for open and free discussion of its articles, then I might respond to your opinions. Otherwise I will ignore any further arguments about issue which have little or nothing to do with the actual posts concerning the topics on this website. Have a nice day, and enjoy the rest of your life!

      • “That’s quite inverted and convoluted logic you have regarding the First Amendment” You’ve got a real knack for irony, dontcha? Aren’t you the same guy that was previously insisting that I was somehow attempting to “deny” YOUR first amendment rights? And, um, how exactly was I doing that? Was I lobbying congress to have you kicked off the internet?

        “So, you have not been censored” Incorrect, Peter. Numerous posts that I have submitted have not been approved. How is that not censorship? Please, enlighten me.

        “What you are really complaining about is the fact that others on this site, disagree with you and have effectively debunked many of your claim” lol Oh man, what fantasy world do you live in? By all means, point outwhere I have been “debunked.” If anything, you and the “professor” seem to be upset over the fact that I rightfully pointed out his contradictions (i.e. offering OPINIONS concerning the actions Roderick Scott and George Zimmerman and passing them off as facts)

        “Look up the word diatribe also.” The POP doesn’t use abusive speech to make his points, Rather, he uses satire, tongue in cheek humor and reason to make them.” Does he use “ironic or satirical criticism”? Because, um, that’s also considered a DIATRIBE by definition. (But what does Merriam-Webster know?)

        “If you actually want to discuss such points, on a forum which, (believe it or not) is designed for open and free discussion of its articles” Yeah, it’s so open to the idea of free discussion that the owner frequently blocks posts that don’t meet his approval…

        “Otherwise I will ignore any further arguments about issue which have little or nothing to do with the actual posts concerning the topics on this website. Have a nice day, and enjoy the rest of your life!” Oh yeah, I totally believe that, Peter.

        And here comes another response from the “professor’s” loyal defender in 3…2…1….

      • Anonymous,

        I never accused you of denying my first amendment rights. Instead, my intent was to point out that your belligerent attitude showed a lack of respect for such rights, which also belong to others. Instead you simply dismiss the valid points others make, and effectively deny those ideas as if you think they are meaningless, and have no virtue as logical and legitimate observations. This means you show little respect for their first amendment rights and are (in essence), denying the legitimate opinions or others. So, because you arbitrarily turn a deaf ear to others, it seems to me, you would (prefer) denying their first amendment rights rather than engaging in respectful and meaningful debate!

        Legally, of course, we are not on trial, or trying to literally defend our personal rights to free speech. But when I asked you to please stop your angry and aggressive verbal assaults long enough to respond directly to my points,rather than automatically denying them,the disregard and disrespect you showed for my opinions indicates to me, that you would prefer denying the first amendment rights of others instead of being decent enough to actually listening to those who exercise them.

        As to the rest of your post—We live in a country that respects freedom of expression, but that hardly means we can deny the the owner of a website the right to remove inappropriate or obscene comments. You’d be surprised to know how many website make use of this discretionary right to preserve the quality of reader’s comments. And,to not acknowledge this, makes me think that you must have been living in a cave for the last 30 or forty years.

        If you want me or any other commenter to respect your posts, then try a little less nasty and a lot more tolerant. Its time you grew out of the foolish desire to kick sand in the faces of the other “sissy” comenters, and instead, become a reasoning human being (who is also, willing to listen to reason). I assume you have been diaper and potty trained, but apparently you have forgotten how to act with civility when commenting on a reputable website!

  9. Anonymous,

    Just thought I’d also point out that the POP HAS responded to many of your posts, and any objective observer would know that he has indeed, debunked many of your claims by using facts and common sense. But instead you have been wasting time insulting me, and trying to raise my ire. But by doing so you are wasting my time, as well as yours, since it could better be spent by discussing legitimate differences of opinion, and encouraging honest debate!

    • These individuals often get confused (or pretend to ) about the distinction between editorial policy and censorship — hardly surprising, since they’re also frequently confused about what constitutes opinion. The truth is, I have only one editorial guideline on these pages: I don’t allow troublemakers with nothing to say. And I’m extremely lenient even on that; I give everyone, even the most obnoxious of persons, several chances to make a valid point. But when they just make the same bogus arguments over and over I have to draw the line. It’s extremely difficult to write even one comment that gets barred here. To do so on a consistent basis is a feat of truly superhuman prowess.

      • POP,

        I have made what I believe is my last response to “anonymous,” and, because I noticed that it was “awaiting moderation,” I hope you will not find that remark inappropriate in any way.

        I know that the word, “opinion,” refers to ones own ideas which are not necessarily factual, but I have found another, interesting definition in my 11th edition of The Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

        Opinion—“A belief stronger than impression and, less strong than positive knowledge.”

        This definition of “opinion,” supports the idea that in cases like the Martin-Zimmerman trial, jurors might reach their verdicts based on convincing evidence which, although not 100% provable, nonetheless, does provides a basis for reaching a valid verdict—a decision which is still made based on what is known “beyond a reasonable doubt,”
        although beyond perfect proof.

        In this regard I refer to the opinions that you have, as well as those everyone else forms by using convincing knowledge that is never
        completely infallible, yet does lead to very feasible conclusions.

        Many cases that involve conflicting testimony are able to be resolved by forming judgments based on where the evidence leads, or how probably the case is for affirming the legitimacy of that evidence. Therefore, although many cases are not beyond some degree of doubt, they are decided anyway based on the lack of reasonable doubt that might discredit such evidence.

        I say this because I am not sure of how you define opinion, but according to the definition in my Dictionary, I think it is sometimes permissible to reach conclusions based on knowledge which goes beyond mere impressions. Just wanted to clarify my understanding of the word “opinions!”

      • Unfortunately, I’ve been forced to place all comments in moderation, in order to keep the discussion civil. Alas.

  10. Anonymous,

    Here again is my statement:

    “On the other hand, your forte seems to involve trying to pick a fight by aggressively denying first amendment rights when they are used by others.”

    Take note of the words, “SEEMS to involve.”

    My point was to criticize your disregard for the legitimate views of others as being similar to denying their First Amendment rights. Once Again, this is not a courtroom and I am obviously not legally challenging the idea that you literally do this!

    And, when I say you have not been censored, I obviously mean that, despite the fact that several of your belligerent posts have been diatribes (which have very little to do with honest discussions about the issues raised by the article that this forum is meant to be about). Believe it or not, that IS tolerance being shown toward you, even though you are seldom tolerant of others.Instead you would rather insult their characters, by using ad-hominem attacks, that have little to do with what other comenters actually say.The very fact that you are trying to goad me into some sort of irrelevant argument only reinforces my observation that you often take the attitude of a bully trying to kick sand in the face of others. But how would I know if you are offended by reading these descriptions of your style? You only continue to make nasty, snarky, comments which are a dead give away that my comments have gotten to you!

  11. Anonymous,

    This statement above:

    “And, when I say you have not been censored, I obviously mean that, despite the fact that several of your belligerent posts have been diatribes (which have very little to do with honest discussions about the issues raised by the article that this forum is meant to be about).”

    Should have been followed by something like, “you continue to show extreme disregard for the validity of the arguments made by others.”

    • An additional comment about my own post, above:

      My point was really that (anonymous), acts (as if ) the freedom of expression guaranteed in The First Amendment is not legitimate when others exercise it to freely express their own ideas, and, that their comments somehow contain very few valid and sensible ideas, and/or few objective observations.

      Although I think anonymous knew very well what point I was trying to make, he was somewhat justified in offering a rebuttal that pointed out the erroneous words I used. However, he still seems far too eager to pick fights by aggressively denying that first amendment rights, when they are used by others, also have Merritt.

      Of course I hope that my actual point is apparent when considering the context within which it was made, and, I believe most readers can easily discern my intended meaning. However, I chose an unfortunate combination of words, that logically could be considered as directly contradicting my intended meaning. So anonymous had a perfect right to question those words.

      In my defense, I’d like to point out that, most of us make statements that are not intended as being literally true,yet are still valid ways to consider a legitimate point—this being in the case, his belligerent disregard for respectful debate made me feel (as if) he would (prefer) to arbitrarily deny any points that myself, or others, freely express—(in effect refusing to see the legitimacy expressed in the comments made by others)—who also have the right to free expression!

      This may seem like additional semantics and it may be true that it is, but I really did not want to give the impression that he literally and legally wanted to deny the First Amendment right of others. I regret that I didn’t clearly express my meaning, and that, my choice of words may have been confusing. So, rightly or wrongly, it was appropriate that he pointed out such a logical contradiction in my statements.

      I still think I am justified to point out his rude treatment of others, and I think most readers can easily understand what I was trying to say. But in the interest of fairness I must give him credit for bringing up the apparent logical disconnection concerning the words I expressed—and that others might have interpreted them as a literal claim that he actually, and legally, tries to suppress the views of others, when in actually, I was discussing his callous attitude. He may not believe it, but when comenters on this site discuss articles while showing tolerance and respect for others, many of us can acknowledge the errors that we might have made, and accept any good evidence that we might actually be wrong. However, I still don’t think he really has made many solid points. But, in the spirit of respect, I will admit that his issues concerning what my what my actual words conveyed, does warrant consideration and actually does have Merritt.

  12. Anonymous,

    In regards to your recent comments—accusing the POP of spreading opinions rather than facts, among other things;

    I recall that the testimony involving voice experts stating that the screams heard belonged to Trayvon, was thrown out. The defense’s voice experts who claimed they belonged to Zimmerman, also had their opinions thrown out. But it is easy to conclude that this issue, intended to reveal information about who was the aggressor, was unfairly disregarded in favor of Zimmerman, whose attorneys reduced it to merely involving a case of reasonable doubt.

    And, as stated before, Zimmerman deliberately ignored advice that he should not follow Trayvon. Therefore it is obvious that he became the aggressor, and that he was likely the one who created the terrible consequences that followed. One need not have witnessed the entire incident to have this opinion about what likely happened!

    In any court case, legal decisions are often derived by advancing logical opinions about things that were not directly seen–otherwise there would be little need for trials.

    My perception is that the POP has brought up some very feasible points and, has appropriately rebutted many of your contentions. But to your credit, you are finally focusing more fully on the actual issues raised in his article rather than being confrontational, belligerent and insulting, simply because your points have been brought into question.

  13. Anonymous,

    “Key word being OPINION. That’s my point, fool. Were you not paying attention? The very idea of Zimmerman “accosting” Trayvon is nothing but a mere OPINION, not a fact. So glad that we agree.”

    You’re quite right, the POP like anyone else expressed his opinion based on considering the facts that were known about the incident—the most damning of which was Zimmerman refusal to let the police handle the situation and instead,deliberately disobeyed the advice of the telephone operator who told him not to follow Trayvon. Would someone who wasn’t interested in being an aggressor have deliberately disobeyed this advice?

    The point is, that you also don’t have anyway to be completely sure of the “facts,”and thus, you also have your own “opinions” about what happened.
    The article written by the POP was based on we do know, and the likelihood that some of these things point to the irresponsible actions of Zimmerman. Then like anyone else he expressed an educated opinion of what happened. And neither, he, you, I, or anyone else needs infallible and completely objective evidence in order to reach an educated conclusion!

    You’re also quite right that I am angry with the way you miss-characterize my own understanding of the facts in the Zimmerman-Martin trial. What I glean from the news reports and articles I have read, is that Zimmerman, committed some very foolish acts which lead to the tragic end of a young man’s life. This young man was merely walking through a neighborhood where Zimmerman assumed he didn’t belong. As I said, his hoody had no words on it such as, THIEF, CRIMINAL, OR TROUBLE MAKER—Zimmerman was the one who jumped to these conclusions and then decided to take the law into his own hands, perhaps not pre-meditatively, but none the less, by disobeying wise advice NOT to follow Trayvon.

    Despite all of these obvious red-flags that reveal Zimmerman’s foolishness and perhaps, his delusional understanding of the role he played as a mere neighborhood watch volunteer, I believe that the jury did the right thing when exonerating him due to lack of evidence. This is because we all know that innocent men are often convicted—some of them spending decades on deaths row before being exonerated by DNA evidence. Therefore, a jury should make absolutely sure of where the evidence leads them, before an innocent defendant is sent to prison for perhaps, the rest of his life.

    I honestly don’t know beyond a reasonable doubt that Trayvon attacked Zimmerman first, but I also know that you don’t either. Rather, as you say, you also didn’t have the benefit of a security tape, nor, did you witness the entire incident. But, what you don’t seem to understand is that speculations about the events that actually unfolded can be made by observing what IS known, and verdicts ARE reached by examining evidence that points to facts, beyond a reasonable doubt—the most important words being “reasonable doubt.”

    In a perfect world each trial would be an open and shut case, or an indisputable slam dunk. But all the facts are seldom so easily obtained, and, therefore juries often must employ their opinions when reaching a verdict even though all the facts are not objectively known. The POP’s article expresses his conclusion that Zimmerman shouldn’t have been exonerated and was acquitted due to cleaver legal maneuvers by the defense—an opinion that seems quite reasonable, and one formed as the result of discussing what we DO know. He then decided to write an article about the trial and express his opinion about where the facts led him. Yet sadly, you have chosen to ignore all of the opportunity provided for respectful debate, and instead have made insulting, belligerent comments, to those who disagree with your assessments of the Zimmerman trial. For that reason it’s obvious that you too, feel a great deal of anger about what has been said on this post, since you have launched almost every Ad-hominem attack you can, with the possible exception of calling my mother a tramp, and then expected NOT to be insulted in return.

    You seem to think that this forum exists primarily as a way to vent your anger about the idiots and fools who attempt to make their valid points in mutually respectful and civil discussion. And, yes I too am angered by the insults you aimed at me—like any real human being would! But, I am tired of beating a dead horse,when trying to make you understand the repugnant way you come across when refusing to give others any credit for their own reasonable ideas! So it’s fruitless for me to continue trying to persuade you of something you won’t ever understanding, or even admit might be logically feasible in the responses of others. Consider yourself a winner! You have helped waste the time of everyone on this forum, and have increased the misunderstandings we all have when refusing to engage in honest and respectful debate!—something I am sure you are proud of!

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