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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Politics Kills

Posted by on Thu, Mar 22, 2012 at 9:02 AM

I'd argue that a bullet, and the gun that shot it, played a huge role in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. In the comment threads, gun rights advocates have fallen back on the old "guns don't kill people, people kill people" line. But it might also be reasonable to argue that the Skittles-wielding teenager was killed by politics as much as anything else:

Trayvon Martin was just 10 years old when politicians in Florida passed legislation that, seven years later, is being blamed for letting his killer walk free.

Martin’s Feb. 26 death in a gated suburban neighborhood at the hands of a 28-year-old man is calling attention to Florida’s 2005 “Stand Your Ground” law, which allows the use of deadly force if a person feels threatened. Gunman George Zimmerman was pursuing Martin because he thought the 17-year-old African-American teenager was suspicious and told police he was acting in self defense, though Martin had only a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea on him when he was shot and killed a short distance from the home of his father’s girlfriend.

Florida was the first state in the country to pass such a bill, but they weren’t the last. And like many legislative trends, this one has its roots in the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

It's not like Martin's death wasn't an obvious consequence of the Stand Your Ground law. This is a law that makes it easier to kill somebody, and get away with it. That's its point. And while I'm sure the backers' goal was mostly to allow gun toting citizens to kill actual bad guys, collateral damage like Martin's death was inevitable. And I'm guessing, acceptable to the law's advocates, at least in aggregate.

So yeah. Politics kills. Usually (at least domestically) through neglect. But sometimes, as in Stand Your Ground and other ALEC/NRA backed laws, actively, aggressively, and with full awareness of the consequences. So think twice about your politics before you pull the trigger.

 

Comments (118) RSS

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120
A well regulated militia has nothing to do with "I has a firearms."
Posted by Central Scrutinizer on March 25, 2012 at 5:30 PM · Report this
119
@118
This is why I am keeping this going.

"I don't know about that, but living in a racist society might make him a bit resentful,"

When you had previously posted:
"Perhaps middle class black commit fewer crimes because it is harder for them to get away with stuff."

And:
"I think this makes African Americans less inclined to follow society's rules."

Not to mention your other claim:
"Her entire argument ignores the fact that African-American males shoot and kill people at 10 to 20 times the rate of men from other ethnic groups. When the NPR liberal interviewing her pointed that out she mumbled and changed the subject. Naturally, he didn't press the issue."

So now you're claiming that blacks ARE more likely to commit crimes (justifying the fear of black men) but that it is not THEIR fault because society made them that way (which contradicts your previous claim).
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on March 25, 2012 at 3:12 PM · Report this
118
@117 I don't know about that, but living in a racist society might make him a bit resentful,
Posted by Ken Mehlman on March 25, 2012 at 2:41 PM · Report this
117
@116
So the black fireman is more inclined to commit more crimes than the white fireman but it isn't his fault because past injustices have made him that way.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on March 25, 2012 at 2:09 PM · Report this
116
@115 The stuff you just said seems reasonable. I also think that centuries of horrible abuse at the hands of the white majority has made African Americans less inclined to obey the rules. It's been a long time since I read Native Son, but my recollection of the book is that poverty was not the only thing pushing Bigger Thomas toward irrational and self-destructive acts of violence.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on March 25, 2012 at 1:42 PM · Report this
venomlash 115
@113: Poverty rate alone isn't everything. For example, African Americans might be more likely to live in EXTREME poverty than Latinos, even if the likelihood of living in poverty at all is equal. Additionally, being poor and living in a city center is going to result in higher rates of criminal behavior than being poor and living in a rural area due to how gang entities function.
What do YOU think is responsible for African Americans committing disproportionately many crimes in this country? Do you think it's that they're black?
Posted by venomlash on March 25, 2012 at 11:59 AM · Report this
114
@112
Awesome, isn't it? It isn't often that you get a chance to see this deeply into the racist mindset.

@111
"Perhaps middle class black commit fewer crimes because it is harder for them to get away with stuff."

So the black fireman would be committing more crimes than the white fireman if he thought he could get away with it.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on March 25, 2012 at 8:56 AM · Report this
113
@112 What do you think is behind the high rate of criminal behavior among African Americans, VL? Remember, according to FBI statistics African Americans are responsible for more homicides than all other ethnics groups combined. That would include non-African American latinos. The poverty rate among African Americans is 27%. The poverty rate among Hispanic Americans is 26%. You can read more about that here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/14/us/14c…

If the high rate of criminality among African Americans is simply the result of poverty and Hispanics live in poverty at a similar rate shouldn't latinos also engage in similar levels of criminal behavior?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on March 25, 2012 at 4:21 AM · Report this
venomlash 112
@111: That is straight up the most racist circular logic I have heard in a long time.
"We watch black people closely because they're criminally inclined. We know this because they'd probably be out mugging people if we didn't keep an eye on them."
Posted by venomlash on March 25, 2012 at 12:12 AM · Report this
111
@110 In my experience African Americans are subject to much greater scrutiny from law enforcement than other ethnic groups. Perhaps middle class black commit fewer crimes because it is harder for them to get away with stuff. I don't know.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on March 24, 2012 at 9:58 PM · Report this
110
@109
"I think this makes African Americans less inclined to follow society's rules."

I'll keep this going so that other people will be able to recognize the "logic".

@107
"I'm suggesting that either is a possibility."

So in 107 you say that they may be less inclined to be criminal but in 109 you claim that they are more inclined to be criminal.

@41
"Her entire argument ignores the fact that African-American males shoot and kill people at 10 to 20 times the rate of men from other ethnic groups."

So your current position is that a black fireman is ethnically/culturally inclined to commit more crime than a white fireman.

Seriously, look up the definition of "racist".
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on March 24, 2012 at 9:59 AM · Report this
109
@108 I believe that someone's behavior is influenced by his or her ethnic/cultural background. African Americans are an ethnic minority that has been horribly mistreated by the larger society. I think this makes African Americans less inclined to follow society's rules.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on March 24, 2012 at 9:37 AM · Report this
108
@107
So, in your opinion, if the only difference is their skin color then, in your opinion still, they WILL exhibit different criminal behaviors.

Look up the definition of "racist", okay?

What was that that you had said earlier?
@95
"I say that I have no idea whether the average black firemen or doctor or astrophysicist is more (or less) likely to commit a crime than the average white firemen or doctor or astrophysicist."

So you completely contradict yourself between post @95 and post @107.

You are a troll.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on March 24, 2012 at 9:13 AM · Report this
107
@106 I'm suggesting that either is a possibility.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on March 24, 2012 at 4:12 AM · Report this
106
@105
Are you saying that you now believe that a black fireman is MORE likely to commit a crime than a white fireman?

Because that is what you just implied.
Or maybe you meant that a black fireman is LESS likely to commit a crime than a white fireman.

Which is it?
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on March 23, 2012 at 10:31 PM · Report this
105
@103 "Once you normalize for age / economics / location and so forth you find that a black man WHO CAN AFFORD A PRIVATE LAWYER is no more likely to be convicted of a crime than a white man who can afford his own lawyer."

Now whose pulling statistics out of his ass?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on March 23, 2012 at 9:52 PM · Report this
Backyard Bombardier 104
@102 But the actual fact - that young black men commit crime SEVEN times the rate of the rest of country IS A BIG FUCKING DEAL!... Ignoring this fact, dismissing at a just a legacy of history, or screaming "racism" ever time it's brought up, plays right into the hands of the very people who DON'T want that terrible statistic to change

But here is the problem: Concern Trolling has now derailed the discussion at hand - the case of an unarmed young black man who appears to have been stalked and killed by a white man - away from the racism that appears to underlie this crime and towards the issue of the disproportionate rate of young black criminality.

We can't scream racism every time someone brings up the fact that the crime rate among young black men is high. I agree that to do so prevents a rational discussion of the reasons for that and the solutions to it.

However, we can suggest that racism is at play if, while discussing the apparent premeditated murder of an unarmed young black man by a white man, someone says "Well, you know, young black man do commit crimes at a much greater rate..." Trayvon Martin, unlike his murderer, was never charged with or convicted of a criminal offence. Unlike his murderer, he was unarmed. Unlike his murderer, he was the fucking VICTIM of a crime.
Posted by Backyard Bombardier on March 23, 2012 at 12:54 PM · Report this
103
@102
"Criminals."

So you say that "criminals" commit "crimes". Nice tautology there.

"He made a bullshit exaggerated claim. Sure."

No. The POINT is that he made a bullshit exaggerated claim in an attempt to support a position that would NOT have been supported if he had cite the real statistics.
His claim being that institutional racism does not exist because blacks are up to 20x more likely to kill someone than whites were.

Case 1 - Now, institutional racism cannot be shown to exist if the crime rates are equivalent.

Case 2 - Nor can it be shown if blacks commit a far larger (20x) number of crimes. Then it really is blacks being criminal.

Case 3 - But institutional racism CAN be a factor in the middle ground.

He walked his facts back to Case 3 but still claimed that the position that he tried to establish with Case 2.

"Department of Justice and FBI crime statistics are a bitch but they don't lie."

Define "lie". They're based upon convictions and such. Yet there have been MANY cases where the convictions of "murderers" have been found to be false with new DNA evidence.

And that is another instance of institutional racism. The killer was described as "a black man" and the police caught "a black man" and the jury convicted "a black man" but the man the jury convicted of the crime was not the man who committed the crime.

"Ignoring this fact, dismissing at a just a legacy of history, or screaming "racism" ever time it's brought up, plays right into the hands of the very people who DON'T want that terrible statistic to change."

You are wrong.
Which is what I illustrated with my "black fireman" example.
The issue is not that "blacks" kill people more than 7x the rate that whites do.
A black fireman is no more likely to kill someone than a white fireman is.
Once you normalize for age / economics / location and so forth you find that a black man WHO CAN AFFORD A PRIVATE LAWYER is no more likely to be convicted of a crime than a white man who can afford his own lawyer.
More...
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on March 23, 2012 at 11:48 AM · Report this
102
So if you cannot say that it is the black doctors or firemen or astrophysicists then who is committing all those crimes?


Criminals. A disproportionate of whom are American born black men ages 15-24.

There are not many 15 year old astro-physicists out there.

I fail to see your line of reasoning here. Please explain why you are harping on the professions of a contrasting demographic?

Yeah this dude wildly exaggerated a claim. And maybe he isn't arguing in as good faith as he should. But here you are belaboring a silly point while avoiding another. As far as I can tell you are not arguing in good faith, either. If you want to approach this in good faith then drop it because crime statistics are irrelevant to the case at hand.

If not, discuss it honestly. Department of Justice and FBI crime statistics are a bitch but they don't lie. Matt from Denver (and I assume you as well) keep saying Mehlman was claiming that crime was "inherently" black. But he never said that did he? You guys did.

He made a bullshit exaggerated claim. Sure. But the actual fact - that young black men commit crime SEVEN times the rate of the rest of country IS A BIG FUCKING DEAL! We should be outraged. Outraged at the system for allowing that to happen.

That fact is telling us something is really wrong with our country. Ignoring this fact, dismissing at a just a legacy of history, or screaming "racism" ever time it's brought up, plays right into the hands of the very people who DON'T want that terrible statistic to change.
Posted by tkc on March 23, 2012 at 10:29 AM · Report this
101
@90,

Of course Zimmerman isn't a country club white, otherwise he'd have let the police do their work (taxes don't you know).

One of the things I find disturbing is that, for the most part, only black politicians are shown calling for justice/investigation/federal intervention. Is this due to the focus of news organizations, or a lack of empathy on the part of non-black leaders?

On the topic of hoodies, I wish the protest wouldn't use that as a focus. Anything that takes away from the humanity and individuality of each and every participant, IMO takes away from their desired message. This tragedy wasn't a nameless and faceless act, and should be treated as such. Mr. Martin wasn't a hoodie, he was a person.

Peace.
Posted by Married in MA on March 23, 2012 at 5:13 AM · Report this
100
@70 You are likely wrong. The murder rate was actually highest in the 1930's, not the 1970's, according to some studies:
e.g. sources quoted in http://www.scribd.com/doc/32978392/Murde…
with there being a correlation in crime rate to both the unemployment rate and to the percentage of the population being 20-29-year-old males.

Posted by Biologist in the stix on March 22, 2012 at 10:57 PM · Report this
99
@95
"I say that I have no idea whether the average black firemen or doctor or astrophysicist is more (or less) likely to commit a crime than the average white firemen or doctor or astrophysicist."

Yet you like making up numbers like:
"Her entire argument ignores the fact that African-American males shoot and kill people at 10 to 20 times the rate of men from other ethnic groups."

So if you cannot say that it is the black doctors or firemen or astrophysicists then who is committing all those crimes?

"We all believe and say stuff that is wrong from time to time. Sensible people reevaluate there preconceived notions about what is true in light of new evidence."

Yes, they do. They do not keep making the same claim. Yet you are still making the same claim.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on March 22, 2012 at 10:31 PM · Report this
seatackled 98
I say that I have no idea whether the average black firemen or doctor or astrophysicist is more (or less) likely to commit a crime than the average white firemen or doctor or astrophysicist. Does that make me a racist?

Racist or simply a poor thinker.

The "average" individuals are imaginary. There should be absolutely no difference in the likelihood of their rates of criminality.
Posted by seatackled on March 22, 2012 at 10:08 PM · Report this
aureolaborealis 97
@91: I'm used to seeing significant proportions of white folks declining to participate in declaring race, especially since the 2008 election, apparently as some kind of statement. Completely trackable, because from year to year, the number of white+unknown follows a pretty consistent arc. But, I should point out, it's not crime data. And I'm far off-topic. Carry on.
Posted by aureolaborealis on March 22, 2012 at 9:18 PM · Report this
aureolaborealis 96
@91: Good point ... I didn't assume they would count a murder victim where the murderer or murderers were unknown as a single offender. It looks like that's what they're doing, though.

Posted by aureolaborealis on March 22, 2012 at 9:13 PM · Report this
95
@94 "I say that the average black fireman is no more (or less) likely to commit a crime than the average white fireman. And so on for the other examples. That is because I am not a racist."

I say that I have no idea whether the average black firemen or doctor or astrophysicist is more (or less) likely to commit a crime than the average white firemen or doctor or astrophysicist. Does that make me a racist?

About moving the goal posts. We all believe and say stuff that is wrong from time to time. Sensible people reevaluate there preconceived notions about what is true in light of new evidence.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on March 22, 2012 at 8:52 PM · Report this
94
@86
"Good point. Allow me to rephrase that. Her argument ignores the fact that African-Americns kill people at more than 7 times the rate of other ethnic groups."

Yeah. Did you see my link to "moving the goalposts"? I don't think you understood it. You made an outrageous statement to support your position. Now you are walking it back.

A black fireman is no more likely to kill someone that a white fireman is.

"However it is a bit of a problem for Michelle Alexander's theory that the criminal justice policies of twenty-first century America are 'the new Jim Crow.' "

Again, when you make a statement and "support" it with numbers you make up ... and those numbers are then shown to be false ... but that does not affect your original statement, does it? It seems that your claim is independent of facts.

"I'm not deliberately avoiding stuff I don't have a good answer for."

Really? Because it sure seems that way. Because that is what you keep doing.

Take the average black fireman. Is he more likely to commit a crime than the average white fireman?

Or how about the average black doctor. Is he more likely to commit a crime than the average white doctor?

Or the average black astrophysicist. More likely to commit a crime than the average white astrophysicist?

I say no. I say that the average black fireman is no more (or less) likely to commit a crime than the average white fireman. And so on for the other examples. That is because I am not a racist.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on March 22, 2012 at 8:36 PM · Report this
BLUE 93
Lots of good posts so far. My $0.02... Just as today's hot weather can't be attributed to global warming, a single murder can't be attributed to questionable law.
Posted by BLUE on March 22, 2012 at 8:31 PM · Report this
92
@89 If at some point on this comment thread you've scored a point against me, and I have failed to acknowledge it, then I do apologize. Lots of people say lots of stuff on a long comment thread and you have to pick and choose what you want to respond to. I assure you, I'm not deliberately avoiding stuff I don't have a good answer for.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on March 22, 2012 at 7:43 PM · Report this
91
@88 If the "unknown" category is all white people, then how would a murder cases which was never solved and in which the police never obtained a physical description of the suspect be categorized? Notice the proportion of murder victims assigned to the 'unknown race' category is much smaller than the proportion of murder offenders given that classification. Could that be because victims rarely flee the seen before the cops show up?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on March 22, 2012 at 7:24 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 89
@ 85, maybe you can explain what makes his arguments "good faith?" In my opinion, good faith debaters actually answer the points you bring up. Mehlman has failed to do so many times on this thread alone.

For example, he said that the known facts were a few. I provided a link to a site that had compiled many more, all sourced from reputable media sources, and he had nothing to say to that. Nothing. At. All.

I say Mehlman is NOT arguing in good faith. He's arguing the way Seattleblues sometimes did, when he was able to keep his bile in check. It may seem reasonable because it isn't confrontational, but there's more to fair debate than that.
Posted by Matt from Denver on March 22, 2012 at 7:02 PM · Report this
aureolaborealis 88
@53, 63, etc:

FWIW: As someone who occasionally deals with the kind of data presented at the FBI page, I can tell you that when race is "unknown," or "not given," it's almost always white, for a variety of intuitively obvious reasons. To the point that in situations that are not racially charged, and there is little potential for negative drama over it, that category often gets pooled with white, without comment. Taking that into account, that data ends up looking a little different ... something like 9,000 murders by white people vs. 6,000 by african-americans.

@66: Further info ... http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/cri…
Posted by aureolaborealis on March 22, 2012 at 6:31 PM · Report this
lark 87
@Venomlash,
Hmm? Why the pettiness regarding "several" vs. "46 times" Zimmerman calling 911?
That's silly.You missed my point. You and I are in agreement that Zimmerman should be arrested and tried? Right? I also support the repeal of the law.

Regarding "white" vs. "white/hispanic" again misses a point in my posting. I asked the rhetorical question "What would the fallout be if the perp was a black male on the Neighborhood Watch?". That's all. One can wonder about that. Right?

I merely disagreed with Fnarf. It isn't about institutional racism. I support what Trayvon's. Mother said yesterday in NYC. It isn't about race it's about justice.

And, tkc has a point. I don't believe mehlman is a racist. Further discussion is needed.
Posted by lark on March 22, 2012 at 6:22 PM · Report this
86
@83 "Her entire argument ignores the fact that African-American males shoot and kill people at 10 to 20 times the rate of men from other ethnic groups."
That does not appear to be correct.

Good point. Allow me to rephrase that. Her argument ignores the fact that African-Americns kill people at more than 7 times the rate of other ethnic groups.

@84 "Perhaps that 10-20X figure isn't accurate, but it is still true because I was speaking from my heart."
WHAT. THE. ACTUAL. FUCK.
If it's not accurate, calling it true is a bit of a stretch, buddy!

That was an attempt at levity. Perhaps it was out of place.

@85 "The distasteful fact of disproportionate black on black crime is fucking irrelevant in [the Trayvon Martin] case."

I agree. However it is a bit of a problem for Michelle Alexander's theory that the criminal justice policies of twenty-first century America are 'the new Jim Crow.'
Posted by Ken Mehlman on March 22, 2012 at 6:15 PM · Report this
85
Hey. Man you guys are piling on somebody who is attempting to argue in mostly good faith. This game of "oh, goody I get to yell at the racist" is bullshit. Knock it off.

If it's due to past injustice or dysfunctional culture or both, the disproportionate rate young black men commit crime IS higher that young white men by a statistically significant degree. Not 10 to 20 times. But enough to be very troubling. And for fuck sake that is worth examining with out screaming "Racist! How dare you!" every five seconds. Acknowledging it shouldn't get anybody riled up. And maybe considering some additional cause OTHER than slavery 200 hundred years ago is also no reason to shit your pants. Okay? Lay off the guy.

The fact is right wingers won't think talk about honestly it because - well - they don't care how many young black men get incarcerated. And left wingers won't talk about it because - well - it rubs a particular set of assumptions uncomfortably. The problem is the cause of this issue at this go beyond current institutional racism and it's very hard to fix without EVERYBODY being honest. And even then I'm not sure we can fix it. We sure can't fix it by screaming at a dude on internet thread.

Anyway. To Ken Mehlman - The distasteful fact of disproportionate black on black crime is fucking irrelevant in THIS case. A case of an unarmed young man murdered by a violent criminal. A criminal who apparently has the weight and power of local law enforcement shielding him. And THAT is a type power disparity or racism we CAN do something about.
Posted by tkc on March 22, 2012 at 5:28 PM · Report this
venomlash 84
@71: "Perhaps that 10-20X figure isn't accurate, but it is still true because I was speaking from my heart."
WHAT. THE. ACTUAL. FUCK.
If it's not accurate, calling it true is a bit of a stretch, buddy!
@81: According to Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Restoration of Erathia, 20-49 is classified as "lots", and "several" means 5-9. So it would be more correct to say that he called 911 lots of times.
@82: It is racist to suggest that African-Americans are inherently more criminal than whites.
@83: There you go! Case control studies help account for potential confounding factors.
Posted by venomlash on March 22, 2012 at 5:14 PM · Report this
83
@82
"Is it racist to suggest that African Americans are incarcerated at a higher rate than whites because African Americans are more likely to commit crimes than white people?"

Yes. Yes it is racist.
Take the average black fireman. Is he more likely to commit a crime than the average white fireman?

Or how about the average black doctor. Is he more likely to commit a crime than the average white doctor?

Or the average black astrophysicist. More likely to commit a crime than the average white astrophysicist?

I say no. I say that the average black fireman is no more (or less) likely to commit a crime than the average white fireman. And so on for the other examples. That is because I am not a racist.

"Her entire argument ignores the fact that African-American males shoot and kill people at 10 to 20 times the rate of men from other ethnic groups."

That does not appear to be correct.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on March 22, 2012 at 4:58 PM · Report this
82
@80 Is it racist to suggest that African Americans are incarcerated at a higher rate than whites because African Americans are more likely to commit crimes than white people? Remember, it's Michelle Alexander with whom I'm taking issue. I think George Zimmerman is probably guilty of murder and the Sanford Police are certainly guilty of dereliction of duty.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on March 22, 2012 at 4:20 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 81
@47,

Evidently, he's called 911 several times since he's been on the Neighborhood Watch.


He called 911 46 times, not "several".

That said, Fnarf I categorically disagree with you. When I first read of the story, Zimmerman, the perp was identified as white. Later and (now current) reports indicated he was white/hispanic.


The cops made the same assumption we all did when confronted with a perceptibly white man named Zimmerman. As far as they were concerned, he was white. Every action they've taken since then belies their breathtaking racism.

And there are many *white* Hispanics, including millions of residents of Spain.
Posted by keshmeshi on March 22, 2012 at 3:57 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 80
@ 76, now you're trying to put words in my mouth. Classy.

Tell me why, in light of the arguments YOU have made on this thread, that I should NOT consider you a racist. Because all I have from you are two things: irrelevant, poorly supported assertions which do nothing to refute Fnarf @ 14, and NO answers for the fact-based posts regarding the racist nature of this murder of Trayvon Martin.
Posted by Matt from Denver on March 22, 2012 at 3:56 PM · Report this
meanie 79
Compare and contrast the use of force in this case to the recent trail of officer Hayes. Was force justified? Probably. Could steps have prevented it, sure.

Is it a massive conspiracy about the current race war and gun culture!?

probably not

I like how the pictures of zimmerman are from a booking a decade ago, and the pictures of the martyr innocent 17 year old ( one year from military service / adulthood ) are from his preteen years playing high school football.

Emotion isnt involved in this at all. National riots to the rescue!
Posted by meanie http://www.spicealley.net on March 22, 2012 at 3:53 PM · Report this
78
@75
"In my opinion the brazen racism, sexism, and homophobia of those days was terrible. However, I think crime was less of a problem then."

A country where rum runners where shooting each other with submachine guns.
Didn't Dillinger and his gang kill at least 6 law enforcement agents?

I'm sure you can supply a link to something similar within the past 5 years. No, you cannot.

The law was written so that the guys with the macho fantasies would have a legal excuse to act them out. Not because there is more crime now than in the past.

"Her entire argument ignores the fact that African-American males shoot and kill people at 10 to 20 times the rate of men from other ethnic groups. "

That does not appear to be correct.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on March 22, 2012 at 3:21 PM · Report this
77
Zimmerman is a paranoia-fueled Southern vigilante who's fixated on blacks. As such, he obviously wasn't thinking about the Stand Your Ground law. He simply saw someone who triggered his paranoia and went after that person and killed him, because for that person to even be in Zimmerman's "territory" was a threat. That kind of paranoia is actually similar to Middle Eastern males who need to subjugate or even kill women if they dare to appear in public spaces, which the males feel they own.
Posted by sarah70 on March 22, 2012 at 3:16 PM · Report this
76
@74 So you think black people committed more crimes before the civil rights movement than they do today?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on March 22, 2012 at 2:58 PM · Report this
75
@73 In my opinion the brazen racism, sexism, and homophobia of those days was terrible. However, I think crime was less of a problem then.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on March 22, 2012 at 2:56 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 74
@ 70, I reject your submission on the grounds that it's unfounded and - again - pulled out of your ass. Do your homework. And more importantly, learn some history. The entire African American experience is one of dealing with white racism, both directly and as a consequence of the past.

As for your post @ 71, I see you're trying to be funny. In the context of this whole thread, though, it's just sad.
Posted by Matt from Denver on March 22, 2012 at 2:53 PM · Report this
73
@71
"Perhaps that 10-20X figure isn't accurate, but it is still true because I was speaking from my heart."

And what is in your heart? Or are you trying to be funny now because you've been dragging this on for so long?

"It's hard to find accurate statistics going that far back, but I know that before the 1960s crime rates were far lower than they are today."

The good ol' days. Everything was better back then. At least you remember it as being better because you have no memory of it.

Prohibition ended in 1933.
John Dillinger died in 1934.
Al Capone died in 1947.
Search Google for the term "cocaine-crazed Negro brain".

Fun facts!
Prohibition gave us the Mafia!
Magnum ammo was invented in 1935 (right year?) because the rum runners during Prohibition wore bullet proof vests.

Ah, the idyllic paradise that was yesteryear.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on March 22, 2012 at 2:46 PM · Report this
72
There is only one thing responsible for that poor child's death, and that is the man that killed him.

Posted by scratchmaster joe on March 22, 2012 at 2:43 PM · Report this
71
@69 Perhaps that 10-20X figure isn't accurate, but it is still true because I was speaking from my heart. Similarly, George Zimmerman's life may not have been in danger when he fired the fatal shot, but in his mind I'm sure he was defending himself from a big scary negro. See, highly relevant.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on March 22, 2012 at 2:37 PM · Report this
70
@68 There was certainly more racism in the '30s, '40s, and '50s than there is today. Were African Americans less law abiding then? I doubt it. It's hard to find accurate statistics going that far back, but I know that before the 1960s crime rates were far lower than they are today. Most likely that means all ethnic groups, including African Americans, committed fewer crimes in those days. I submit to you that there are other cultural factors at work.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on March 22, 2012 at 2:24 PM · Report this
69
@65
"Perhaps I overstated my case a bit."

You said 10x to 20x more.

"However, even if ..."

So whether your original numbers were right or wrong is irrelevant to your position?

Moving the goalposts.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moving_the_…

And, again, it does not matter because Martin was not armed nor did he have a criminal record.

And yet you keep going on about it. Even when your numbers are shown to be incorrect.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on March 22, 2012 at 2:16 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 68
@ 64, no. It isn't relevant to @ 14, because this wasn't a police shooting. And @ 65, if you have doubt about institutionalized racism, maybe you can explain how the cycle of poverty and broken families that produces criminals is NOT a direct result of that. (Remember - the broken families cycle, which arose thanks to slavery, is a key cause.)
Posted by Matt from Denver on March 22, 2012 at 1:59 PM · Report this
Posted by harriettubman on March 22, 2012 at 1:58 PM · Report this
Backyard Bombardier 66
@63: Further to that, blacks are also far more likely to be victims of homicide:

http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/homicid…

Most homicides in the US are intra-racial. The vast majority of the "black violence" that racist dickheads like to piss their pants about is directed at other blacks.

In the US in 2005, 17 homicides were commited by a black person against a non-black stranger. In the same year there were over 2100 homicides commited by a white person against another white person they were acquainted with.

http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/homicid…

Zimmerman was in a fuck of lot more danger from his family, friends, and co-workers than he was from Trayvon Martin.

In fact, his best defence against Martin - if he was so fucking scared - would have been to introduce himself. In 2005 there were only two homicides commited by a black person against a non-black acquaintance.
Posted by Backyard Bombardier on March 22, 2012 at 1:56 PM · Report this
65
@63 Perhaps I overstated my case a bit. However, even if a black person is only seven times as likely to commit murder as a white person, don't you think that casts some doubt on Dr. Alexander's assertion that the high rate of incarceration among African Americans is the result of institutionalized racism?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on March 22, 2012 at 1:53 PM · Report this
64
@59 True, none of this has any bearing on whether George Zimmerman was justified in shooting Trayvon Martin. However, I think that it is relevant to Mr. Fnarf's assertion (@14) that the way the Sanford cops handled the investigation is symptomatic of institutionalized racism throughout Florida law enforcement.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on March 22, 2012 at 1:31 PM · Report this
63
@53
Your original statement in post # 41 was:
"Her entire argument ignores the fact that African-American males shoot and kill people at 10 to 20 times the rate of men from other ethnic groups. When the NPR liberal interviewing her pointed that out she mumbled and changed the subject."

Your supporting documentation shows:
Total murders: 15,094
Killer was white: 4,849
Killer was black: 5,770
I'll go with a US population of 300,000,000.
80% white
13% black

... math happens ...

So there is 1 homicide where the killer is white for every 49,494 whites.
And 1 homicide where the killer is black for every 6,759 blacks.

Scary, yes. But no where near your original claim of 10x to 20x.

And totally irrelevant to this discussion where Martin was NOT armed and had NO criminal record.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on March 22, 2012 at 1:14 PM · Report this
raku 62
Ken Mehlman- Wow, thanks for the link with info that white men commit over 40% of murders despite being only 31% of the population - meanwhile, they are the most economically and socially advantaged group in the nation, so they have no excuse besides their violent nature.

Not to mention, they committed every single terrorist act in the country in the past 20 years.

Good point, law enforcement needs to pay more attention to white men who appear to all be sociopaths - "shoot first, ask questions later."
Posted by raku on March 22, 2012 at 1:06 PM · Report this
seatackled 61
Precisely. I wouldn't have engaged had I realized.

I've kind of stopped.
Posted by seatackled on March 22, 2012 at 1:04 PM · Report this
Jeffrey in Chicago 60
@59 re:@58:

"None of this has any bearing on the case, but your pursuit of this point speaks a lot about you."

Precisely. I wouldn't have engaged had I realized.
Posted by Jeffrey in Chicago http://www.somethingawful.com/flash/shmorky/babby.swf on March 22, 2012 at 1:03 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 59
@ 58, that's because other racial groups don't have the history of their families being broken up that African Americans do. That's one consequence of slavery that reverberates greatly today. Poor family structure plays a huge part in the cycle, and it's one that's much more endemic to African Americans than other races, even among the impoverished. But there are broken families among the other races, and they produce most of the violent criminals.

None of this has any bearing on the case, but your pursuit of this point speaks a lot about you.
Posted by Matt from Denver on March 22, 2012 at 1:00 PM · Report this
58
@57 A few simple google searches will show you that Baltimore, Maryland and El Paso, Texas have similar poverty rates, yet Baltimore's murder rate is 17 time that of El Paso. That's only one case, but most academics and researchers who study these things agree that the high rate of criminality and violence among African Americans results from more than just poverty.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on March 22, 2012 at 12:52 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 57
@ 53, find me stats that show what percentage of poor people commit these kinds of crimes, regardless of race.

I never said that the idea that violent crime committed by blacks was high - given how many of them live in poverty with poor family structures, which is a consequence of institutional racism, it's a given. But you said "10 to 20 times higher" which is a number straight out of your ass. I notice you don't try to say how many times higher it is now. Why is that?
Posted by Matt from Denver on March 22, 2012 at 12:42 PM · Report this
SPG 56
@50, I'd look at the putting up the hood as an FU to the racist stalker. Hoodies can be seen as threatening to old folks, so it may have been an attempt to make himself look tougher to avoid being harassed. Obviously we really don't and won't know, but since you were asking why someone would do that...
Posted by SPG on March 22, 2012 at 12:27 PM · Report this
55
@52 I believe we refer to that as "malcompetence."

Incompetence plus malign intent. FI: The Bush administration was malcompetent.
Posted by tkc on March 22, 2012 at 12:25 PM · Report this
seatackled 54
@50

I think to me it came across similar to the question of what a woman was wearing when she was sexually assaulted. I think even the question of whether pulling his hood on made him more vulnerable is immaterial, too--he was vulnerable by being black.

But as for why, it could simply be because it was raining.

http://www.google.com/search?q=trayvon+m…
Posted by seatackled on March 22, 2012 at 12:22 PM · Report this
53
@43 According to the Uniform Crime Reports for 2010, in the majority of homicides in which the perpetrators race was known the killer was black. You can read more about that here:

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/cri…

According to the US Census, in that year African Americans made up 13.6% of the US population. You can read more about that here:

http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/brief…

Based on those numbers, can you see why African-Americans might be subject to greater scrutiny by law enforcement?

@40 I agree that the use of deadly force against an unarmed 17 year old with no criminal record seems hard to justify. Still some of the comments on this thread remind me of Bonfire of the Vanities.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on March 22, 2012 at 12:15 PM · Report this
52
@49
Very likely. But that is my own prejudice against them (racist "Southerners").

I think the easier thing to focus on is the "bad cops" by reason of "incompetence".
Being incompetent does not exclude being racist. But it is a lot easier to show incompetence in this instance.
To show racism you'd need racist statements from the cops or you'd have to establish a history of racist behavior. Which can be difficult. And will always be subject to "controversy" by other people who see nothing wrong with such behavior.

Instead, focusing on "incompetence" (may "neglect"?) should be easy. And it gets easier every day that passes that they cling to their original statements and actions.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on March 22, 2012 at 12:07 PM · Report this
balderdash 51
I feel like if they really want to enable this kind of machismo culture-of-honor bullshit, they should really just legalize dueling. Why take half-measures? At least in a duel both people nominally have a fair chance, and I would think that more likely than not, the hormone-fueled rageheads like Zimmerman would expend their fury challenging each other instead of hunting innocent kids.

(Note: I am not actually endorsing this course of action.)
Posted by balderdash http://introverse.blogspot.com on March 22, 2012 at 12:03 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 50
FWIW, @22, i am in no way saying Martin "asked for it" by putting up the hood. in fact i said that already. i agree, @37; he had every right to wear whatever he chose in what ever way he wished - the hood is immaterial to the crime.

i'm just trying to understand the thinking behind making yourself (what seems to me) more vulnerable. i like peripheral vision; it's been very useful to humans as a species.

but once race is added to the mix, perhaps Martin felt it wise to hide his face from Zimmerman - which is why this is a tragedy that resonates.
Posted by Max Solomon on March 22, 2012 at 12:02 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 49
@47,
I'm not sure I understand what you mean. I agree with Fnarf @14... actually, I'd go a step further and say that Southern law enforcement DOES care about blacks' rights - they feel blacks don't HAVE any rights! At the very least, they feel white rights supercede black rights in any and all situations.

Perception of race leading to discrimination is the very definition of racism. And in the South (at least, in North Florida and in Georgia, where I lived for many years), it IS institutionalized. They don't hide their racism. It's not even subtle. They wear racism as they would a badge of honor... a badge that they're a "True Southerner."

(I know not ALL southerners are racist, but no where else have I seen it so blatantly accepted and even preferred by so many)
Posted by Urgutha Forka on March 22, 2012 at 11:55 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 48
@ 47, if most of those black males are having their murder investigations shafted by racist cops who are letting the suspects off without a proper investigation (or even witness tampering), then yeah, where are those rallies????
Posted by Matt from Denver on March 22, 2012 at 11:41 AM · Report this
lark 47
Goldy, @8 & @14 Fnarf,
First of all, my condolences to Trayvon's parents. It's a terrible tragedy anyway one looks at it. The Florida law should be the target of just criticism and eventual repeal. Zimmerman should be arrested and tried. He sounded like a paranoid goofball. Evidently, he's called 911 several times since he's been on the Neighborhood Watch. That's ridiculous.

That said, Fnarf I categorically disagree with you. When I first read of the story, Zimmerman, the perp was identified as white. Later and (now current) reports indicated he was white/hispanic. @8 has a point. What would the fallout be if the perp was a black male on the Neighborhood Watch? As a result, I don't believe it was "institutional racism". I believe it was and is the "institutional (almost universal) PERCEPTION" of the young black male especially one wearing a hoodie in our society.

I agree with Trayvon's mother who announced at the rally yesterday in NYC that it isn't about "black or white" people. It is about justice. I believe the law should be attacked and Zimmerman brought to trial. It should not be about race. Otherwise, why aren't there rallies for the thousands of black males killed by gunfire each year in America?


Posted by lark on March 22, 2012 at 11:36 AM · Report this
46
@37 Well. Using a hoody as a way to hide your identity can certainly be the classic precursor to aggression, depending on the context. Personally it does spike my spidey senses if somebody walks up on my at night with a hoody pulled up. But if I'm bigger or not under threat or what ever, yeah, you're right, I'm not going to go stomping the guy down looking for a fight (unless there is prone body the guy is running away from or something).

Zimmerman, a violent criminal himself, went way out of his way to cause this tragedy.
Posted by tkc on March 22, 2012 at 11:33 AM · Report this
45
@27
"About all we can say at this point is that the local cops didn't properly investigate the shooting."

Then you need to familiarize yourself with the facts that have been established so far. Primarily the recorded phone calls to the police. Right now you are denying that such facts exist.

@24
"i guess i'm asking - could martin have died anyway, even without the stupid stand your ground law?"

I think that is impossible to determine.
But since that was his immediate claim when the cops arrived less than 5 minutes after he killed Martin it does seem to have been something he considered.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on March 22, 2012 at 11:33 AM · Report this
Jeffrey in Chicago 44
@41 That's your argument against institutionalized racism? Really?
Posted by Jeffrey in Chicago http://www.somethingawful.com/flash/shmorky/babby.swf on March 22, 2012 at 11:32 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 43
@ 41, "10 to 20" times? Come on. If you can't find a reasonable stat, don't pull one out of your ass.
Posted by Matt from Denver on March 22, 2012 at 11:32 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 42
Hoodies ftw!
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on March 22, 2012 at 11:29 AM · Report this
41
@34 I haven't read her book, but I hear the interview she gave to Fresh Air. Her entire argument ignores the fact that African-American males shoot and kill people at 10 to 20 times the rate of men from other ethnic groups. When the NPR liberal interviewing her pointed that out she mumbled and changed the subject. Naturally, he didn't press the issue. You can hear the whole thing here:

http://www.npr.org/2012/01/16/145175694/…
Posted by Ken Mehlman on March 22, 2012 at 11:28 AM · Report this
40
@28 Speculating on what is what is not normal behavior at all is not useful. After all criminals out to do harm are often "fearful", too. The adrenal response feed both flight AND fight.

Facts and evidence are all that matter.

So all we have are some not so great conflicting witness accounts, a 911 tape, some fucking shitty and questionable police work, the character histories of both parties (George Zimmerman was the ONLY one with a violent criminal history), absurd racist Florida laws, a 200lb grown-man shooter and a dead UNARMED 17 year old kid.

So. There are your facts so far. And they point to injustice and murder as far as I'm concerned.

Jesus. Even if Martin 'attacked' Zimmerman. A fit young 200lb grown man that can't handle a scrawny 17 year old kid without putting a bullet in him? Give me a break.
Posted by tkc on March 22, 2012 at 11:27 AM · Report this
Posted by Matt from Denver on March 22, 2012 at 11:17 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 38
@ 35, the ones you're disregarding.
Posted by Matt from Denver on March 22, 2012 at 11:16 AM · Report this
thatsnotright 37
@13 I'd say that pulling up his hoodie is immaterial. We have rights about how we wear our clothes as well. Adjusting your clothing while walking away is not an act of aggression, stalking someone is.
Posted by thatsnotright on March 22, 2012 at 11:13 AM · Report this
seatackled 36
@31

It seems pretty clear that Zimmerman was intent on some sort of confrontation--he sounded pretty angry about the whole thing on the call. But #28 seemed to be looking at it from Trayvon Martin's perspective--"[if] someone starts stalking you." This particular comment didn't strike me as being about Zimmerman's intent, but rather what effect Zimmerman's actions created, which is part of the premise #13 started with.
Posted by seatackled on March 22, 2012 at 11:09 AM · Report this
35
@33 Which facts?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on March 22, 2012 at 11:08 AM · Report this
Jeffrey in Chicago 34
@15: I'd suggest you check out The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. An excellent, educational read.

http://www.indiebound.org/book/978159558…
Posted by Jeffrey in Chicago http://www.somethingawful.com/flash/shmorky/babby.swf on March 22, 2012 at 11:08 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 33
@ 31, from the facts, Jack. From the facts.
Posted by Matt from Denver on March 22, 2012 at 11:06 AM · Report this
seatackled 32
@26

Donna Britt is an author--I wonder if she's written anything about this topic. If not, I wouldn't be surprised to see something soon.
Posted by seatackled on March 22, 2012 at 11:03 AM · Report this
31
@28 You say Zimmerman was "stalking [Martin] with the likely intent to kill [him]?" And you know this how, kemosabe?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on March 22, 2012 at 11:02 AM · Report this
seatackled 30
@27

No, the point he's raising is, "This was fucked up, but why was the guy dressed like that in the first place?"

(I remember back when the Williams sister's sister was murdered around 2002 in Compton, the first thing some people I knew asked was what was she doing there in the first place. Just a stupid question.)
Posted by seatackled on March 22, 2012 at 10:59 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 29
@ 27, we can say more than that. We ARE saying more than that, and we're doing so with facts backing us up.
Posted by Matt from Denver on March 22, 2012 at 10:53 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 28
@ 13, unless someone starts stalking you with the likely intent to kill, I wouldn't speculate what constitutes "normal" behavior because that's about as abnormal of a situation as there is.

Personally, I can see that as a fearful response - hiding. No, it's not logical since he was out on the street and not running away, but fear doesn't generally help you think clearly.
Posted by Matt from Denver on March 22, 2012 at 10:52 AM · Report this
27
@22 The point he's making is that there is a lot we don't know and we shouldn't brand Zimmerman a murderer before we have all the facts. About all we can say at this point is that the local cops didn't properly investigate the shooting.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on March 22, 2012 at 10:51 AM · Report this
Allyn 26
@20 wow.
That was a good listen.
Thanks for the link.
Posted by Allyn on March 22, 2012 at 10:47 AM · Report this
25
Goldy - while we are railing on Florida, the current law in WA (since 1975) is very similar to the FL statute.

WA: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?…

FL: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/inde…

There is no duty to retreat in WA, you can use deadly force outside the home, and you need to have reasonable suspicion outside the home that you are in danger of being seriously injured.

The WA law does not specifically state 'stand your ground' or 'force with force' - but that's about it.
Posted by Action Slacks on March 22, 2012 at 10:37 AM · Report this
onion 24
I wonder about this assumption that the law is what CAUSED zimmerman to shoot. what was really going on in his head? was he thinking, as he pulled the trigger "this is self defense, this legal so i am justified in shooting?" or did he just pull the trigger because he is a gun-happy asshole, and then came up with the self-defense shit later?
i guess i'm asking - could martin have died anyway, even without the stupid stand your ground law? we kinda won't ever really know.
Posted by onion on March 22, 2012 at 10:36 AM · Report this
Looking For a Better Read 23
Sadly, I don't think the folks at ALEC are gnashing their teeth or questioning themselves now over the death of a young black man.
Posted by Looking For a Better Read on March 22, 2012 at 10:34 AM · Report this
seatackled 22
@13

You're going into "he asking for it" territory.
Posted by seatackled on March 22, 2012 at 10:31 AM · Report this
21
BTW - I like how Goldy once again coyly plays both sides of the argument, chastising "gun rights" people for saying "people kill people" and then going on to support his premise by admitting that "people (people ARE politics) kill people."
Posted by tkc on March 22, 2012 at 10:30 AM · Report this
seatackled 20
@15
Also: black boys in particular grow up being "suspects" at all times, no matter where they are and what they are doing. Try to imagine that burden for just a second.

A Mom's Advice To Her Young, Black Sons

http://www.npr.org/2012/03/22/149126015/…
Posted by seatackled on March 22, 2012 at 10:29 AM · Report this
seatackled 19
Logically, under the law, anyone could pursue Zimmerman, known to have a gun permit, known to carry, and known to have killed at least one person, and if Zimmerman seems threatening in any way, shoot and kill Zimmerman.
Posted by seatackled on March 22, 2012 at 10:27 AM · Report this
18
@15 Have you spent any time in Florida?

Look I have a brother and a brother-in-law who both work in law enforcement in Florida and even they would tell you Fnarf is completely right.
Posted by tkc on March 22, 2012 at 10:25 AM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 17
Like I've said before; Guns don't kill people. Guns make it easy for people to kill people.

And laws can make it possible for people to kill people without consequence.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on March 22, 2012 at 10:22 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 16
@ 15, right - like this is the first time something like this has EVER happened in Florida, or anywhere in the US, really.

@ 14 is precisely right.
Posted by Matt from Denver on March 22, 2012 at 10:19 AM · Report this
15
@14 Obviously, the Sanford Police didn't handle the investigation properly. They let Zimmerman keep the gun, for God sake! However, I think it is a bit of a stretch to indict every law enforcement agency in the state of Florida based on the fucked up actions of of one small town police department.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on March 22, 2012 at 10:07 AM · Report this
Fnarf 14
@11, yeah, those pesky street signs are designed to be unable to read from inside the car, huh?

There's also the matter of him saying "fucking coons" on the 911 tape.

But the real point of the story isn't the trigger-happy serial-911-botherer wannabe cop who did the killing. It's this:

Florida authorities, from the small town cops up to the state level, do not give a damn about black people and their rights, and will always take the side of someone who kills them without even thinking about it.

Also: black boys in particular grow up being "suspects" at all times, no matter where they are and what they are doing. Try to imagine that burden for just a second.

This is not primarily a story about individual racism. It's a story about institutional racism. They even passed a law to make situations like this more common and more easily defensible.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on March 22, 2012 at 9:56 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 13
the thing that confuses me in the sequence of events is why Martin put on the hood of his sweatshirt when he realized Zimmerman was following him. is this a normal way to use a hoodie, to restrict your peripheral vision when being stalked?

i am NOT saying Martin did anything wrong, and i think Zimmerman is guilty of manslaughter at a minimum, a hate-crime murder at worst. i'm just trying to understand the logic of doing that.
Posted by Max Solomon on March 22, 2012 at 9:56 AM · Report this
11
@5
@7
Zimmerman's story is that he stopped following Martin when the cops told him to stop.
Then he got out of his vehicle to check the street sign to verify his location.
Which was when Martin attacked him from behind.
So it was "self defense" at that point in time because Zimmerman had already stopped following Martin.

The young lady that Martin was talking to on the phone has a different account of events as Martin narrated them. To me, her account sounds a LOT more plausible.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on March 22, 2012 at 9:42 AM · Report this
10
@5 beat me to it: If you're going out of your way to follow someone, you're not exactly standing your ground.

Quoting ABC:
"These a**holes always get away," Zimmerman says in a call to a non-emergency number.
Dispatcher: "Are you following him?"
Zimmerman: "Yeah."
Posted by PEM on March 22, 2012 at 9:31 AM · Report this
9
Another (particularly) senseless gun death: cue the gun nuts!
Posted by judybrowni on March 22, 2012 at 9:30 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 8
If it had been a black guy who chased down, shot, and killed a white guy - or even if it was a black guy who killed another black guy - and then claimed it was self-defense, the black guy would already be in jail awaiting trial for murder.

"Stand your ground" is a way for white people to get away with killing blacks.

I rarely invoke race in arguments, but this one seems pretty clear to me.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on March 22, 2012 at 9:28 AM · Report this
Fnarf 7
Even conservative commentators in Florida are aghast at this horrible law and its repercussions. It essentially gives carte blanche to shoot first no matter what, as long as there are no witnesses. "My life was in danger" is sufficient excuse no matter how ridiculous that claim appears in the circumstances. Trayvon Martin was not the first and will not be the last to die at the hands of a trigger-happy goon, whether he's actually gone huntin' for coons like George Zimmerman or not.

A note about the weapon: there are national standards for this type of Neighborhood Watch, and carrying a firearm is strictly prohibited by them. Zimmerman should have been carrying nothing more lethal than a phone. He also should have paid attention when 911 told him not to pursue the "suspect". I hope he gets thirty years.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on March 22, 2012 at 9:26 AM · Report this
6
@1 Just because they don't support Zimmerman's actions doesn't mean that they didn't contribute to Trayvon Martin's death. Passing a law that expands the circumstances under which it is legal to shoot someone may sends the wrong message to would-be Charles Bronsons. I think the way the Sanford PD does business probably had more to do with it, but still.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on March 22, 2012 at 9:25 AM · Report this
5

How do you "pursue" someone and then call it self-defense, or "standing your ground"???!!!!

I mean, if I get in a plane, and go to another city, because I see a suspicious guy on TV and assault him, am I defending myself because he might take the same plane back and harm me?

This is insane.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on March 22, 2012 at 9:21 AM · Report this
Allyn 4
Slate did an article on “Stand Your Ground”. I did not know this, but apparently the law had always been (originating in England) that you must first retreat as far as reasonable and then you are allowed to fight back, unless it was in your home. Then you were allowed to defend your castle at all costs. “Stand Your Ground” allows a person to fight back immediately. It encourages belligerence and hot-headedness over passivity and thoughtfulness. (It’s no wonder Floridians love this law.)

Gun-lovers who have self-aggrandizing fantasies of being the first defense of society, the ones who’ll protect us all, the saviors of The American Way Of Life, the cowboys – these are the very people who should not own guns, these are the people who should be arrested, these are the people who must not be encouraged by “Stand Your Ground”.

“Back Away” should still be the law, should be encouraged. If you have a weapon on you, your first thought should be how to avoid using it.
Posted by Allyn on March 22, 2012 at 9:17 AM · Report this
Goldy 3
@1: Since you claim that "research" shows I am "incorrect," please point out my factual errors.
Posted by Goldy on March 22, 2012 at 9:15 AM · Report this
2
"And while I'm sure the backers' goal was mostly to allow gun toting citizens to kill actual bad guys, collateral damage like Martin's death was inevitable."

I disagree. The law was written so that the guys with the macho fantasies would have a legal excuse to act them out.

From my understanding, it was already legal to shoot an attacker in self defense. Once you had exhausted the possibilities of escape.

That didn't sit well with the macho fantasy. The hero doesn't run from the bad guys. The hero stands his ground. The hero defeats the bad guys.
Posted by fairly.unbalanced on March 22, 2012 at 9:14 AM · Report this
1
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/fl-stand-you…

A minimum of research would have shown that you're incorrect, and the law's advocates condemn this.
Posted by B^2 on March 22, 2012 at 9:11 AM · Report this

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