Some really dumb arguments about the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case

I was not going to address the George Zimmerman trial on this blog, until I was forwarded this essay from “Mormon Iconoclast.” The post gets almost everything important wrong, but I think it is instructive because it explains a lot about modern culture and why we have so many problems in the world. Bottom line: a lot of smart people, including the author of this post, are simply incapable of logic and critical thinking, and it is truly a sad thing to behold.

Let’s start, however, with a two things that the author, by accident apparently, gets right. He agrees that the verdict was correct, ie that George Zimmerman was not guilty. So, even a post as bad as this one can get that basic point right. And he points out that Zimmerman’s actions, i.e. killing another man, will cause the person doing the killing a lot of grief. Again, this is true and fairly obvious. Zimmerman will be a marked man the rest of his life.

Let’s go through the Mormon Iconoclast post point by point looking at actual facts and evidence, as opposed to the emotional blather we get in the post.

The author starts out with the point that a person getting a concealed carry weapon permit must not act aggressively. The author has already shown his cards in a way that does not reflect the facts of the case. His point is: George Zimmerman acted aggressively when he should not have! Only one problem: there is zero evidence of this. Absolutely none.

It is true that people with a concealed carry permit must be aware of the power of the weapon they have. The evidence indicates that George Zimmerman was extremely aware of this power. In fact, he was so aware of this power that he did not pull out his gun until there was a strong young man on top of him beating his head into the cement and threatening to kill him. Zimmerman testified that Martin reached for the gun and it was then, at that moment, that as a last resort to protect himself from death, that Zimmerman pulled out the gun and shot. It was the prosecution’s witness who testified that Martin was on top of Zimmerman in an MMA position, raining blows on him. So, the evidence is, contrary to the post on Mormon Iconoclast, that Zimmerman showed extreme restraint and *acted exactly as a person should act who has a concealed carry permit.*

We can see from the very beginning of the post that the author’s presumptions — that Zimmerman was somehow the aggressor — are simply factually incorrect.

Let’s take a step back and discuss for a second the whole concept of self-defense when it comes to carrying a weapon. Why would somebody have a concealed carry permit in the first place? Guns are the great equalizer. A smaller, weaker victim can defend himself or herself with a gun against a stronger, larger or more skilled opponent. In addition, a gun can help save your life if somebody attacks you with a knife or with another gun. It is true that in concealed carry classes you are drilled to show extreme restraint, and this is exactly right. You are only to use the gun if you are attacked and your life is in danger. But if that happens, you have the right to pull out the gun and shoot.

The concept of self-defense is central to this case. Either Zimmerman acted in self-defense or he did not. Either he was being beaten and threatened by a more skilled and stronger opponent or he was not. And all of the evidence indicates that he did act in self-defense and that he was being severely beaten by a more skilled and stronger opponent.

Check out this video and report from ABC on Zimmerman’s head injuries:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCJZH4JC7lQ

Zimmerman’s face was also bloody, and Trayvon Martin’s fists were bloody and bruised in ways consistent with beating up somebody else. But this is not all. The jury was not allowed to see the texts in Martin’s phone, but they have been released. In his phone, we see several texts referring to Martin as a great fighter. In fact, Martin’s older half-brother asks the 17-year-old to give him fighting lessons. Meanwhile, Zimmerman’s martial arts instructor said he was soft and a very poor fighter.

So, the evidence clearly indicates that we have an encounter between an aggressive, troubled young man who is a good fighter against a soft man who is a poor fighter. This is exactly the kind of scenario where the soft man would be expected to use a gun if his life is in danger.

We do not know exactly what happened when Martin followed Zimmerman. But, based on the evidence, it is logical to assume 1)Zimmerman did not punch first and 2)Martin did not know Zimmerman had a gun until the end of the battle. Zimmerman testified that Martin attacked first and that he was held on the ground and was being pummeled. He said Martin then saw the gun, which was under Zimmerman’s shirt, and he reached for it. Zimmerman testified that he was choking on the blood from his bleeding nose and that Martin was pounding his head into the sidewalk. It was at this moment, when he feared for his life, that Zimmerman pulled out the gun and shot.

This is as clear-cut a case of self-defense as you can imagine.

Here is what the Mormon Iconoclast says about Zimmerman’s actions:

Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch guy, and he saw Trayvon Martin, a Black teenager, walking down the street. He called 9-1-1, and was told to back down, to not worry about it, to walk away. Instead, he followed Martin in his car. Got out of his car, confronted Martin, which led to an argument,which led to a fight, which led to a gun being fired and Martin’s death.

This paragraph is filled with factual errors.

1)Zimmerman was not “told to back down, to not worry about it, to walk away.” Zimmerman was told: “We don’t need you to do that” by a police dispatcher, ie you do not have to follow Martin. In addition to getting the words wrong, the author completely misses the point of the dispatcher’s advice. Dispatchers are worried about liability. Then can never tell people to act, even in the most extreme circumstances, because if they do the police may be sued. So they are trained to tell people to let the police handle things. But the police took 15 minutes or more to get to the scene. There are literally thousands of recorded cases where people call 911 and are told not to do anything and still act in self-defense and are justified. Police records are filled with women who are told to run away, to hide, not to act, but who use their own initiative to protect themselves and their families and end up shooting home invaders. And the police almost always agree that the people involved know more than the dispatchers and that they can and should act in self-defense if necessary. In addition, when did people become drones who always obey orders from some government overlord over the phone? In a free society, a policeman who is not there cannot and should not be expected to give orders to somebody who is actually there. Situations change and become fluid. A police dispatcher who has limited information is not the ultimate arbiter of your safety and the safety of those around you. You are. So, the claim that Zimmerman should not have acted because the police told him not to is illogical and irrelevant to the final disposition of the case.

2)There is zero evidence — none, zilch, nada — that Zimmerman got out of his car and confronted Martin. The Mormon Iconoclast simply made this up. It is factually untrue, and he should correct this forthwith. Even the prosecution never claimed this. Zimmerman said he was looking for an address and he was attacked by Martin who was hiding in the bushes. There is no other evidence to contradict this claim. (It is of course possible that things went down differently than Zimmerman claims, but the point is there is simply no evidence that Zimmerman confronted Martin.)

3)There are no laws against following other people. Sorry, there are not. You can follow somebody else on public property, which is what Zimmerman did. You have freedom of movement. You cannot follow somebody onto private property, but Zimmerman did not do this. Following somebody is not necessarily aggressive. Private detectives are hired all the time to follow other people around. You may not like being followed, but the solution is not to go and attack the guy who is following you. It is to go to private property (like the house where Martin was staying) and if the person following you continues to follow you, you should call the police. Martin did not do this. All of the evidence indicates (based on the jury verdict and the comments by one juror so far) that Martin confronted Zimmerman and was the aggressor in the fight. So, there is a person who is culpable in this case, and it is not Zimmerman.

We constantly hear that Zimmerman was stupid for following Martin. No, he acted as a neighborhood watch person should act. He called 911 and followed a person whom he found suspicious. I find his actions eminently reasonable. We never hear how stupid Martin was. Why didn’t he calmly talk to Zimmerman and tell him, “look, my friend, I am staying right over there.” If he had done this, there never would have been a confrontation of any kind. I am continually surprised that nobody seems to consider that attacking somebody who is following you is not the best way to avoid confrontation.

The rest of Mormon Iconoclast’s post is based on the faulty logic and factual inaccuracies presented in 1-3 above. If we change the assumptions based on the actual evidence, the rest of his post falls to pieces.
His claims that Zimmerman was wrong in steps A through D are nonsensical and counterfactual.

Mormon Iconoclast also makes what I will call a “typical liberal” logical fallacy when he brings race into the picture. He claims that Zimmerman profiled Martin because he was “The Other,” i.e. Black. In fact, what Zimmerman saw was a person whom he didn’t know walking around the neighborhood acting strangely. Martin was high at the time. We don’t know exactly how he was acting, but Zimmerman said several times in the 911 call that he was acting strangely. Excuse me, Mormon Iconoclast, but do you not know that people who are high on drugs often commit crimes so they can get more drugs?

But the Mormon Iconoclast becomes even more irrational when just a few sentences later he backtracks and says well perhaps it was not because he was Black. Perhaps Zimmerman would have acted just as badly if he had seen a white guy with tattoos walking around. The point being that Mormon Iconoclast is saying, with typical liberal illogic, that Zimmerman is just not “tolerant.” He doesn’t like people who look different. Excuse me, Mormon Iconoclast, but do you not know that Zimmerman came from a mixed-race family, lived in a fairly integrated neighborhood (20 percent black) and showed no evidence of racism? Sorry, this case does not fit your typical liberal biases.

In summary, this post by Mormon Iconoclast is one of the most illogical, factually inaccurate and frankly repugnant pieces of writing I have read in a long, long time. The fact that it was written by a fairly smart person is alarming to me. And the fact that some people whom I respect found it worth posting on Facebook is frankly appalling. But it does explain a lot about the general state of society around us and why we have the government we currently have. So there is that.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B has had three main careers. Some of them have overlapped. After attending Stanford University (class of 1985), he worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. In 1995, he took up his favorite and third career as father. Soon thereafter, Heavenly Father hit him over the head with a two-by-four (wielded by the Holy Ghost) and he woke up from a long sleep. Since then, he's been learning a lot about the Gospel. He still has a lot to learn. Geoff's held several Church callings: young men's president, high priest group leader, member of the bishopric, stake director of public affairs, media specialist for church public affairs, high councilman. He tries his best in his callings but usually falls short. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

42 thoughts on “Some really dumb arguments about the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case

  1. You state: “This is as clear-cut a case of self-defense as you can imagine.”

    It is only so if you believe Zimmerman’s (self reported/self interested) version of the event. Given that he is a biased, self interested witness who refused to testify and submit himself to cross examination the credence I’m willing to give his version of the events is very limited.

    The only real facts we know in an absolute sense about the events that night are:
    1. Zimmerman got out of his truck when he did not need to (I agree he had a legal right to dos o – but by definition this escalated the situation).
    2. Zimmerman’s wounds were consistent with losing a fight.
    3. Martin’s wounds were consistent with 1) winning a fight until 2) he was shot at point blank range, with the gun touching him, from someone underneath him.
    4. Zimmerman was the person who shot Martin.

    We also know from the public record that Zimmerman took a training course which covered stand-your-ground and self-defense laws (and a lot of other things). including the exact requirements which needed to be present to justify using deadly force. We also know he lied to the police investigators regarding his knowledge of those laws saying he was unfamiliar with them.

    The prosecutors in this case messed up big time. Rather than asking what law best fits Zimmerman’s action (they judged 2nd degree murder to fit best), they *should have asked* what law can we obtain a conviction for (likely either man-slaughter or negligent homicide would have been likely or a slam dunk respectively). Now that Zimmerman has already been tried for the event he can not be tried on the more fitting charges. From a criminal perspective he gets the pass.

    Likely Martin’s parents will file (and probably win) a wrongful death suit (just like in the OJ murder case). And I suspect there is a good chance that Zimmerman (just like OJ) will “snap” sometime down the road as the collection efforts pick up and he will do something very stupid and likely end up in jail just like OJ has. Obviously all of this last paragraph is pure conjecture on my part.

    I find your willingness to believe every word Zimmerman offers to be both very troubling and very revealing.

  2. I’m just going to say a great big THANK YOU! Good grief the people screaming and ranting and renting their clothing and, literally, it seems that NONE had as much as a brief encounter with the facts.

  3. John S. Harvey, you are conveniently ignoring the significant evidence that would help us decide who attacked who and is not just based on Zimmerman’s word. As I mention in the post, Martin was a troubled, strong youth with a history of fighting. Zimmerman was a weak, “soft” person. Given the evidence that even you admit to (i.e., the injuries are consistent with Zimmerman’s account) and the evidence that indicates that Martin started the fight, it is indeed eminently reasonable to think that Zimmerman was acting in self-defense. And this is what the jury saw as well. I find your willingness to ignore the decision of six unbiased people who heard every word of the trial both very troubling and very revealing.

  4. Good post, though I feel like you are making Zimmerman into the innocent victim here. The jury made the right call, but Zimmerman was at best acting like an idiot, and certainly morally culpable at least in part. Not for acting in self-defense, that is, but in following a series of bad choices that put him in that position.

    I found this article pretty helpful:
    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/frame_game/2013/07/trayvon_martin_verdict_racism_hate_crimes_prosecution_and_other_overreactions.html

    “Mistake No. 3 was Zimmerman’s utter failure to imagine how his behavior looked to Martin. You’re a black kid walking home from a convenience store with Skittles and a fruit drink. Some dude in a car is watching and trailing you. God knows what he wants. You run away. He gets out of the car and follows you. What are you supposed to do? In Zimmerman’s initial interrogation, the police expressed surprise that he hadn’t identified himself to Martin as a neighborhood watch volunteer. They suggested that Martin might have been alarmed when Zimmerman reached for an object that Zimmerman, but not Martin, knew was a phone. Zimmerman seemed baffled. He was so convinced of Martin’s criminal intent that he hadn’t considered how Martin, if he were innocent, would perceive his stalker.”

  5. David F, I would encourage you to take three minutes and listen to Zimmerman’s 911 call.

    http://www.wftv.com/videos/news/raw-911-call-zimmerman-made-to-sanford-police/vGZq9/

    In it, you will perceive pretty quickly Zimmerman’s state of mind and why he got involved in the first place. He said several times that Martin was acting strangely. People acting strangely who are on drugs very often rob homes to get money for more drugs. In addition, you will note the very non-aggressive nature of Zimmerman’s call. He thought Martin also had something (perhaps a gun) in his hoodie. It is clear to me (and should be obvious to anybody who listens to that call) that the whole situation would have been resolved quite peaceably if Martin had simply walked up to Zimmerman and said, “hey, friend, I am staying right over there. There are no problems here.” Obviously this did not happen. So, you might want to consider how Zimmerman saw Martin.

  6. No one denies that this is a tragedy and *possibly* an avoidable one. But it is a lot easier to call Zimmerman a fool if your home and neighborhood has never been under attack by thieves, i.e. you are a privileged white isolated from high crime communities. But even IF Zimmerman was a fool this incident isn’t evidence of racism.

    Geoff was very kind to MomomonIconoclast.. He says northing about his wrap up statement ” I think it’s time for people who call themselves Christian to re-examine their souls, and their attitudes towards their brothers and sisters.”.

    Except for the fact that we need to do this everyday, the Trayvon Martin/George Ziommerman case offers no special reasons for this examination of conscience. The utter smugness of this statement says more about MormonIconoclast than the rest of the post.

  7. “But it is a lot easier to call Zimmerman a fool if your home and neighborhood has never been under attack by thieves, i.e. you are a privileged white isolated from high crime communities.”

    I recently spent a few years near a high crime area, and went to school in the heart of it. A good friend had his locked bike stolen in broad daylight while we were in class together. It was the kind of high-crime area where smart people didn’t walk alone outside at night (or even in small groups). Most of the crime involved a black kid or group of black kids coming up to white college students (often drunk college students) with a knife or gun and demanding money. This happened several times a week within a block or two of the building where I had most my classes. Quite different from the neighborhood Zimmerman was “patrolling.”

    Zimmerman was a fool. Anyone who’s familiar with high-crime areas knows that you don’t go looking for trouble. It’s a good thing for Zimmerman that he wasn’t actually in a high-crime neighborhood. Martin wasn’t armed. A black kid in a high-crime area out at night would most likely at least have a knife on him, and quite possibly a gun.

  8. My last comment here: (I hope). MormonIconoclast ought to be ashamed of himself for posting that untruthful and smug piece. He needs to examine his conscience and ask himself why he rushed so far out ahead of the facts to condemn George Zimmerman.

    There is something rotten at the core of his attitude.

  9. “No one denies that this is a tragedy and *possibly* an avoidable one. But it is a lot easier to call Zimmerman a fool if your home and neighborhood has never been under attack by thieves, i.e. you are a privileged white isolated from high crime communities.”

    I live in Washington, DC (the city itself, not the ‘burbs) in a “transitional” neighborhood. I have been a victim of crime. Race and class issues are a huge deal in DC. When I see a white person walking down the street, I don’t care. When I see a black person walking down the street, I am more alert. When I see several black teenagers walking down the street, I try to find another direction to go. I kind of hate myself for it, but the neighborhood crime reports indicate they are not unreasonable actions. And I fully believe Zimmerman was a fool. Guilty of a legal crime? Probably not. But his willful actions ultimately led to what happened. He was a fool.

  10. Tanya, do you think that Martin, who was on drugs and attacked another man and tried to kill him in a neighborhood he did not know, was foolish also?

    There are lots of fools in the world and people often do things they regret. In retrospect, I am sure Zimmerman wishes he had stayed in his truck. If I were in his shoes, I probably would feel the same way, i.e., in a perfect world he would make the call and then simply wait in his truck. But claims that he is a fool ignore a lot of realities and evidence. First, what would have happened if Zimmerman had stayed in his car and Martin had then proceeded to rob/rape somebody a block away? My point is that from Zimmerman’s perspective there was no reason to think that Martin was not about to commit some crime because he was acting very strangely and Martin thought he had something in his pocket. The second point is that if you actually listen to the 911 call (link above), it is very obvious that Zimmerman left the truck because he didn’t know exactly where he was and he wanted to give exact directions to the police dispatcher. When he was told “we don’t need you to do that” he was heading back to his truck. He was then attacked *when he was doing what the dispatcher asked him to do*. Again, in a perfect world Zimmerman would not have gotten out of his truck, but when you look at the actual evidence there is a reasonable explanation for why he did so.

    It is not against the law to be foolish (if only it were…), but Tanya and other commenters have already agreed that he didn’t break any laws. So, if the worst we can say is that Zimmerman was foolish, we should at least try for a moment to put ourselves in the guy’s shoes and consider why he did what he did. And we should admit that the most foolish thing of all is to attack a man because he is following you. That can definitely get you hurt.

  11. It’s worth noting that Martin had only minimal amounts of THC in his blood, so little in fact that the prosecution made an effort to make the “he was high” position, that the defense wanted, inadmissible evidence. So saying he was on drugs probably isn’t a smart ally to go down for your case. And I really think you should read the article I linked to. You’d see that Zimmerman’s attorneys dropped the “he was going to check out a street sign” defense because further arguments made it clear that Zimmerman was looking for a way to get out of the car without clearly violating the rather stern “we don’t need you to do that” that the dispatcher gave him. There’s much more to it than the dispatcher call, especially when you try to imagine a little of what was going on from Martin’s perspective (Martin thought he was being followed by a pervert).

    None of this exonerates Martin, but when you look at both sides, I think it’s pretty clear that both parties made bad decisions, both parties are victims, and framing this in a good-guy bad-guy dichotomy based on the limited evidence you’ve considered severely oversimplifies the whole drama.

  12. David F, no, Martin had a significant amount of THC in his blood and it was relevant. I have to say that it is hilarious to see liberals say that MJ makes you mellow so he had a significant amount and then at the same time say it was not enough to affect how Martin was acting. The truth is that he most likely had just smoked pot and he also had evidence that he had been smoking a lot recently. One side effect of MJ is that it makes you paranoid, so it is not insignificant that he was a regular user.

    http://macsmind.com/wordpress/2012/05/autopsy-trayvon-martin-was-hopped-up-on-thc-toxicology-showed-martin-was-a-frequent-user/

    I did read the article you linked, and I agree with you that it is better than many of them out there. So, thanks for linking. (I already dropped the whole issue on stalking, so no need to beat a dead horse on that issue). I do not think the author is correct in claiming that we definitely don’t know that Zimmerman was looking for street signs. Again, listen to the call. It is obvious to me that Zimmerman did not know where he was. Here is a map. Zimmerman’s account seems reasonable to me (and it also seemed reasonable to the jury, by the way).

    http://www.hlntv.com/interactive/2013/06/17/zimmerman-trayvon-map-interactive

    Finally, I will agree that both parties made bad decisions. However, the issue is: which party instigated the fight, which one struck first, and which one pursued deadly force and did Zimmerman act in self-defense? I believe the answer to those questions are pretty obvious and show Zimmerman in a more positive light. Again, the jury agreed with my position.

    One last point that has not yet been mentioned: Trayvon’s girlfriend told him to run. If he had run to the house where he was staying he would still be alive today. If some pervert is following you and you are a 17-year-old football player, you are pretty likely to outrun him.

  13. Most people will read the evidence in partial ways that support their views on racism and gun control.

    I support gun control and I’m a typical “white-guilt” liberal. But I think Geoff’s assessment is probably closer to the factual realities of the case.

    But what is much more interesting is what this says culturally about our values. It’s a no-brainer that blacks will use the case to vent frustration about their position within American culture. But the real heroes in this story are the white, bleeding heart liberals like Mormon Iconoclast, who use stories like these to go out of their way to make reparations of conscience towards African Americans, on whose backs our democracy was built, and who have yet to come into their own economically within the broader culture.

    People like Geoff will be frustrated at the bias and unfairness, which is of the same flavor as affirmative action. Geoff’s outrage is of course, justified by the realities this particular situation, but I think he undervalues the positive force that political correctness serves in making our Nation a peaceful place of sensitivity, coexistance, and helping hands.

    I’m especially conscious of this as I spent the day in the West Bank, listening to and observing the inhumane horrors of the Israeli occupation. While Americans can’t really blame the Israelis, as we’ve done the same to blacks and native Americans in our history, our current overkill of political correctness makes me want to weep for joy at the goodness of the American spirit, and long for a day when the hearts of Israelis might also be turned towards the people they have oppressed.

  14. “Geoff’s outrage is of course, justified by the realities this particular situation, but I think he undervalues the positive force that political correctness serves in making our Nation a peaceful place of sensitivity, coexistance, and helping hands.”

    Political correctness does NOTHING to make our country a ‘peaceful place’.

  15. Nate, nice to hear from you. You and I probably agree on the Israeli, situation by the way.

    My position is actually much simpler than that: I want people to judge each other based on the content of their character, not on the color of their skin. I happen to have mixed-race children and I want them to grow up in a world where they succeed or fail based on their own efforts. I see no evidence that Zimmerman unreasonably went after Trayvon because of his race (although there is some evidence that Martin went after Zimmerman because he thought he was a “cracker”.) If he had been a white skinhead Zimmerman probably would have acted exactly the same way. I abhor a culture where people try to take advantage of this unfortunate event for their own political or financial purposes. And, finally, I want justice to be done. It is clear to me that a long list of pressure groups is using this case to lynch Zimmerman who is not a perfect man but nevertheless is worthy of due process.

    Most importantly, I think we need to maintain the right of self defense. I am against the death penalty and am anti-war. I believe the Book of Mormon is a warning against aggressive war. But I do think people and countries and communities have the right to defend themselves against attackers. This is, in my opinion, what Zimmerman did.

  16. Years ago, I was involved in a local Crime Watch for the apt complex where I lived. Indiana is also a state that issues permits for the carrying of a handgun.

    A couple of “Crime Watch” points that I haven’t read or heard anywhere;

    1. If you’re out on a specific ‘Crime Watch’ or “citizens’ patrol”, and especially if that is what you’re billing yourself as during that activity, you need to do it in groups of at least 2, preferrably 3. This is not just for safety, but also for witnesses. Granted, there are no laws that say specifically what a Crime Watch is or isn’t. They are just programs set up by local police departments. But anyone with a lick of sense, who is going to do Crime Watch or citizens’ patrol, would seek expert advice. And the experts would say: Don’t go out alone. Because if you think there might be some danger or crime out there, (which is the reason you’re doing Crime Watch or CP in the first place) you need to be prepared to handle it.

    2. You NEVER go armed on a Crime Watch, or citizen’s patrol! There is a HUGE difference between arming yourself as a private citizen who is just going about his normal course of business, going to/from work, home, etc. and someone going armed to “look for crime.”

    Even the Guardian Angels, the group Curtis Sliwa founded, which is kind of like Crime Watch on steroids, forbids its members from carrying guns or any deadly weapon.

    3. And if you are a private citizen who is exercising his/her right to carry a firearm, you are supposed to intentionally AVOID any appearance of “looking for trouble”. Of course you can come and go as you normally do, but there’s the key “as you normally do.” Crime Watch or CP falls outside of your normal comings and goings.

  17. Zimmerman probably has a civil wrongful death lawsuit coming his way.

    I read that the Home Owners Association (more likely their insurance company) already paid out $1,000,000 to the Martin family in a settlement.

    None of the news reports that I’ve read mentioned the manner or degree in which Zimmerman’s activities were sanctioned by the HOA. Was he totally self-appointed? Was he elected or otherwise appointed by the HOA? What entity (police or other) gave their Crime Watch volunteers their training?

    Apparently Zimmerman had some kind of self-defense or firearms training, but that would be totally apart from the Crime Watch training.

    This case is going to have a big impact on Home Owners Associations, apartment complexes, and similar entities as far as Crime Watch and Citizens patrol go.

  18. Glad to hear we’re on the same page Geoff. Of course it’s wrong for Zimmermann to become the sacrificial lamb offered up by white guilt, and I agree that Political Correctness is limited in it’s effectiveness, as Michael Towns says. In fact, I might even say that from a practical standpoint it does almost nothing positive. However, Political Correctness is the fruit of something beautiful in the American Spirit: sensitivity, progress, empathy, liberalism. Empathy in particular, is one of the hallmark’s of our time and place, unique in it’s breadth and scope to the last century, and it has ushered in unparalleled peace and prosperity in the developed world.

  19. So let me get this straight: Nate agrees that Geoff’s account is more accurate, and Iconoclast’s account is less accurate. But Iconoclast is the real hero here?

    In other words, the real heroes are those who make false statements and draw false conclusions without having all the evidence or information, because his narrative is more “sensitive” to the injured feelings of an outraged population?

    I find that statement downright outrageous.

  20. I sincerely hope that when Nate is being scapegoated by an entire society (for actions that he was justified in taking), we’ll come to his defense, even if it hurts the sensitivities of an injured population and isn’t “politically correct.”

    Nate’s comment is actually a perfect example of what I’ve heard many people say about liberals, but never believed until now: they elevate emotionalism over truth, even at the expense of individuals who are innocent. If George Zimmerman is innocent of criminal/racist conduct, why should he face the wrath of society, merely to appease the sensibilities of an injured population?

    Nate supports throwing an innocent person under the bus — a person he acknowledges to be innocent — for the purpose of keeping feelings from being hurt (feelings that — given the facts of the situation — shouldn’t actually be hurt by it).

    Barf.

  21. ” In fact, I might even say that from a practical standpoint it does almost nothing positive. However, Political Correctness is the fruit of something beautiful in the American Spirit: sensitivity, progress, empathy, liberalism.”

    I understand what you’re getting at, but I believe that Political Correctness is actually a mental disease, not a pretty fruit.

  22. I find political correctness to be an evil thing because it promotes the soft bigotry of low expectations and encourages the kind of outrage society that we currently suffer through in the United States.

    Having said that, empathy is an important and Christ-like emotion. Empathy cannot be thrown aside. Unfortunately, in a politically correct society empathy becomes one-sided. Trayvon was black. Blacks have suffered in American society. Therefore (by liberal logic) we must have empathy for Trayvon and only Trayvon. Never mind that Zimmerman had black ancestors and that his mother is Hispanic and that Zimmerman was active in helping black members of the community.

    I find this kind of thinking extremely dangerous because we get into a game of “who is the most disadvantaged.” And that is really irrelevant to this case. There may come a time when one of the white liberal commenters on this site has to defend himself or be killed, and I hope that justice will be served regardless of the race of the attacker.

  23. LDSP, I did state that I didn’t think Zimmermann should become a scapegoat. I agree with you. My comment was philosophical in nature, not pragmatic.

    I think that political correctness, as you all say, is often a shallow and inneffective response to empathy and desire to help the disenfranchised. But “the people” are shallow. And political correctness is good and appropriate response for the shallow masses, much better than the other mob alternatives: racism, hatred, tribalism, fear, and war.

    Enlightened libertarians, who have everything figured out intellectually, can afford to sneer at the shallow masses and their inneffective emotional responses to complicated situations. But what is the alternative for the masses? The alternative is where we came from: outright racism. Mobs cannot comprehend libertarianism. Individuals can be nuanced, mobs cannot. The fact that the mob practices political correctness is a wonderful sign of our progress as a species.

  24. What does common decency have to do with political correctness? PC is the social control formulations of a progressive elite that rips at cherished family and cultural values.

  25. I agree with ldsphilosopher. Extolling MormonIconoclast for his false sensitive narrative is outrageous.

    I find it repugnant.

  26. All sorts of progressive fantasy myth-making going on:

    http://ideas.time.com/2013/07/17/trayvon-martin-and-making-whiteness-visible/

    It’s full of asinine statements, but here’s an egregious sample:

    “If there is one hopeful note amidst all the anguish and recrimination from the acquittal of George Zimmerman, it’s that growing numbers of white people have come to appreciate whiteness for what it is: an unearned set of privileges. And as a result of that dawning awareness, it’s become possible to imagine a day when that structure of privilege is dismantled – by white people.

    Recall that immediately after the killing of Trayvon Martin, people of every race took to the Internet to declare “I Am Trayvon Martin.” They wore hoodies. They proclaimed solidarity. That was a well-meaning and earnest attempt to express empathy, but it also obscured the core issue, which is that Martin died not because he was wearing a hoodie but because he was wearing a hoodie while black. Blackness was the fatal variable.”

    There is *so much* I find wrong and stupid in those two paragraphs…and yet, this is what a huge number of our fellow citizens really believe. What staggers me is the fact that Trayvon’s “blackness” had literally *nothing* to do with the incident, yet these people have crafted an entire mythology over it.

  27. “LDSP, I did state that I didn’t think Zimmermann should become a scapegoat. I agree with you.”

    And yet, you find Iconoclast’s treatment of Zimmerman heroic for doing just that.

  28. Geoff (in response to my post) wrote – referring to me: “I find your willingness to ignore the decision of six unbiased people who heard every word of the trial both very troubling and very revealing.”

    I did no such thing (ignore the jury’s decision – or even say it was wrong). I said the *prosecutors* were wrong to charge Zimmerman with second degree murder. However, that does not mean I think Zimmerman was without criminal fault in the case. It means the charge should have matched the *evidence available*. Regardless of whether or not the prosecutors sincerely believed the second degree murder charge best fit what probably happened, their job is to figure out what case they can build with the *available evidence*. The case they could actually build was some type of man slaughter charge. The jury correctly decided that given the available evidence before them they could not *unanimously* convict on the second degree murder charge (although fully half of them thought they could – as reported by one of the jurors who was in the “not guilty” camp from the start). Had the prosecutors chosen to charge Zimmerman with man slaughter the result may well have been very different. Man slaughter is (generally) consider to be either voluntary or involuntary. In this case the available evidence (regardless of what the prosecutors believed was the real truth, i.e., that Zimmerman did have ill intent) does *not* meet the intent criteria of voluntary manslaughter, but it sure seems spot on for involuntary manslaughter:
    “Involuntary manslaughter
    Involuntary manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought, either express or implied. It is distinguished from voluntary manslaughter by the absence of intention. It is normally divided into two categories; constructive manslaughter and criminally negligent manslaughter, both of which involve criminal liability.” (Wikipedia)

    Charging Zimmerman with negligent manslaughter would have recognized that killing someone because you felt threatened (or you were getting badly beat up) *BECAUSE* you had made incorrect assumptions and acted stupidly is not a good thing to do.

  29. Zimmerman is a hero. His neighborhood was being robbed repeatedly. The police weren’t helping. He took it into his hands to watch over things. Rather than sit around watching TV or whining about the state of the world he did the old fashioned American the and took matters into his own hands.

    Anyone suggesting Zimmerman racially profiled must also accept conjecture that Martins was casing houses to rob. Offensive? Between the two, Martins broke he law (drugs) and likely broke others. Martins is a tragic waste and loss of a life. Zimmerman life is possibly ruined because he had the decency to look after the sheep in his neighborhood and was suckered punched and forced to kill to protect himself.

  30. Some thoughts: 1. Zimmerman made 41 previous calls to police about suspicious persons. All were black. 2. I’ve been on neighborhood watch many times. I had a radio – no gun. 3. Zimmerman stalked Martin. What should Martin’s reaction have been? Run, or stand his ground? 4. Wearing a hoodie made Martin a marked man. The personal trainers at my gym all wear hoodies to work. 5. While I do not believe Zimmerman should have been charged with murder, he was guilty of instigating what happened. It is clear jurors wanted to convict him of something but couldn’t under Florida law. I welcome any further trials which may be more enlightening that this one was.6. I wish my fellow co-religionists were less eager to rush to judgment in this case.

  31. Jan, regarding your number 1: Simply not true. Zimmerman made 46 calls and only a few of them were about black males. Some were about women and some were about whites or Hispanic. Wrong. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/03/22/george-zimmerman-s-history-of-911-calls-a-complete-log.html

    2: Zimmerman was not on official duty for neighborhood watch and was driving to the store. He is a concealed carry holder, which is why he is armed. All of his actions were legal. Considering that he was attacked by somebody who tried to kill him, carrying a weapon appears eminently reasonable.

    Regarding your number 3: sorry, you do not know the definition of “stalking.” Please go get a dictionary. Stalking is indeed a serious issue, but it involves repeatedly following somebody around. Zimmerman followed Martin once for a few minutes. This is not stalking.

    Number 4: Martin drew Zimmerman’s attention because he was wandering around the neighborhood and Zimmerman did not know who he was. As I said several times above, Martin could have resolved the issue by simply explaining who he was instead of attacking Zimmerman.

    5: already addressed above.

    6: I will my fellow co-religionists (apparently you) were less eager to rush to judgement in this case when their knowledge of the “facts” are so incredibly wrong.

  32. Novel theories about why this is George Zimmerman’s fault. Some choice he made upstream of the event led to his need to defend himself. The upstream event is therefore criminal. Think about this carefully. This sword can cut two ways.

  33. LDSP, you’re right I shouldn’t have called Iconoclast a hero. I was just being provocative. However misguided he might have been, his intention reflects what I believe is a positive cultural attitude, in spite of it’s limitations.

  34. Wasn’t the jury also told to consider manslaughter? They rejected it.

    If the law says manslaughter is the “unlawful killing of a human being” then what Zimmerman did was lawful. It was self defense. The best unbiased case that can be made against Zimmerman is he startled someone from a distance. And that person turned, approached him (or snuck up on him if you believe Zimmerman) and proceeded to beat the hell out of him, and Zimmerman shot him.

    That’s simply not unlawful. It would have been unlawful if Zimmerman saw a presumed suspicious guy, pulled his gun, said “who goes there” and then Martin turned and said “get away creepy ass cracker” and then Zimmerman shot him. That’s unlawful.

    But the only injury to Martin before the bulletshot was inflicted by Martin himself, by beating Zimmermans face in with his fists. That’s telling. That’s a clear indication of self defense.

    The fact that 50% of the jurors thought he was not guilty at first and then reconsidered after all the evidence was in shows that the natural bias is about a 50/50 split. Some of us (you), are still giving into that natural bias.

    I agree with the premise of this article. What is far worrying to me is not the facts of this case and the jury decision, which never should have been made anyway. What is worrying to me is how badly the public just can’t get a straightforward issue right because the two pet ideologies of liberals – opposition to guns and racism everywhere are involved.

    Nevermind the fact that Zimmerman voted for Obama, tutored black kids, had a black business partner… he had a gun and he looked like a skinhead in the initial reports. It’s got to be about the misuse of firearms and racism.

  35. By the way, anyone who has ever walked home in the dark, has experienced this fear of a stranger at stand off distance. And I presume everyone of us did a similar thing. We kept going home rather than sneak up and beat the hell out of them.

  36. “What is worrying to me is how badly the public just can’t get a straightforward issue right because the two pet ideologies of liberals – opposition to guns and racism everywhere are involved.”

    Bingo.

  37. Mr. Zimmerman mentored black children, took a black girl to his prom, and has had blacks staying in his home. There is not a racist bone in his body.

    On the other hand, Mr. Martin, according to Miss Juantel, his girlfriend, started the fight with Mr. Zimmerman and was “incensed” that Mr. Zimmerman might be a homosexual predator targeting him and his younger brother. He was suspended from school three times for being a bully. So, Mr. Martin is a homophobic bigoted bully. Who displays the greater prejudice?

    Why are Obama and Holder lionizing the homophobic bigot? Perhaps they have an agenda which supersedes their logic.

  38. I feel for both the Martins and the Zimmermans. Neither family will be the same after this. My heart goes out to both of them and we can go round and round all we want about this, but only three beings know what really happened that night: Mr. Zimmerman, Mr. Martin, and God.
    As an African American woman and member of the church, I think that my reaction was different than those around me. I wasn’t angry, though I wanted to be, but, my first thought was: I am so far removed from this case and those people’s lives, that to be angry or judgmental is pointless.
    However, I did watch the trial, and just based off of what I saw and the evidence presented, I think that George Zimmerman bears some responsibility. Any way you slice the situation, in my opinion, I think that Trayvon Martin’s death could have been avoided. It’s real easy to make the other guy look bad when he’s not alive to tell his side of the story.
    To R Biddulph: Just because Mr. Zimmerman tutored black children, and had numerous encounters and interactions with African Americans doesn’t mean that he didn’t harbor any prejudices. That’s like saying “All my best friends are black.” It’s meaningless. It doesn’t meant that that makes you “tolerant,” or “not a racist,” or that you know black culture as well as the blacks that you’re friends with.
    To me, if Zimmerman had that much interaction with African Americans, I would think that he would have dealt with the situation with Mr. Martin differently. If he spent that much time with African American kids, and mentoring them, then he would be much more sensitive to the cultural cues.
    My family and I, and me individually have been profiled before, and I can tell you, it makes you feel like dirt. It makes you feel like you are lower than low, and it HURTS. It’s also very scary. It’s scary (not to mention creepy) to be watched/followed by a complete stranger in a store because they think that you’re a criminal, or that you’re going to commit a crime. It hurts to bear the burden of someone else’s assumptions that because of the color of your skin that your intention for going into a predominately white neighborhood or a high end clothing store is to rob it or cause trouble, or because they assume that you can’t afford it?
    Based on the facts of this case that were presented in court, Mr. Zimmerman escalated the situation by approaching young Mr. Martin when he was clearly told that it wasn’t necessary by the 911 operator.
    Didn’t Trayvon Martin have the right to be afraid too? Like I said before, it’s real easy to make the other guy look bad when he’s not able to share his side of the story. I think that it’s a bit unfair, in light of the evidence and the inconsistencies presented in Mr. Zimmerman’s account of that night, to oversimplify this case by putting Mr. Zimmerman completely in the right and Mr. Martin completely in the wrong. I think that there’s enough evidence presented in this case that allows responsibility to fall on both sides.

  39. Geoff B.:”Martin could have resolved the issue by simply explaining who he was instead of attacking Zimmerman.”
    But the question is, why should he have had to?
    Mr. Zimmerman was just as much a stranger to Mr. Martin as Mr. Martin was a stranger to him. Wouldn’t you feel uncomfortable about a stranger approaching you at night and having to be compelled to give your personal information?
    And, in another post, you referenced Trayvon Martin’s previous behavior and reputation of being a bully. That’s true, but he wasn’t any of those things to Mr. Zimmerman. He had never before victimized Mr. Zimmerman in any way, so I think it’s also unfair to use prior bad acts as an indicator for intention, as if Trayvon Martin’s mind and actions were static. To turn his prior bad acts into a litmus test for his intentions on that night is unfair. Mr. Zimmerman did not know Mr. Martin before, nor did he know what kind of person he was.
    So, the idea that it should have been up to Mr. Martin, who was a 17 year old, defiant kid, to diffuse a situation that he perceived to be threatening is what I think drives the conversation of race. Why would we expect Mr. Martin to explain himself, when Mr. Zimmerman didn’t identify himself as part of the Neighborhood Watch? Like I said, both of these people were strangers to each other.
    That’s why I think that the argument that Mr. Zimmerman’s actions weren’t racially motivated because he worked with African American children and had various other interactions with African Americans is a a little bit of a cop out. That doesn’t mean that he had an intimate understanding of our culture and our boys. If he did, I honestly believe that things could have gone differently.

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