Thursday, July 18, 2013

Unless you don't agree with the verdict

Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery.
Malcolm X 

I don't even call it violence when it's in self defense; I call it intelligence.
Malcolm X 


  1. I know very little about Malcolm X.
    Black Panthers, 1970s?

    I'm assuming you refer to the finding by a court that George Zimmerman was not guilty of the murder of Trayvon Martin, in respect of the evidence presented in court by the prosecution, and in regard to the laws pertaining in the place and time of Martin's death.

    A vociferous outcry followed the verdict, from people who assumed that this was a case of a white man being permitted to murder a black teenager.
    Such experts in jurisprudence as Beyonce have criticised the verdict, by holding a minute's silence during her show. (Beyonce+Silence='much better', to me.)

    Our legal systems, in Britain and the U.S., are similar, in that we don't permit the mob to dictate verdicts, instead, we have a prosecution and a defence, consisting of teams of legally trained people, who set out their cases, why one side believes a guilty verdict should be given, and why the other believes that the prosecution is wrong. A judge presides, like an umpire, he oversees the process, in which evidence is presented, and challenged, witnesses are examined, and cross-examined, and eventually, it's time to decide whether the prosecution has proved its case.
    This decision, though, is not made by the prosecutor, the defender, the possibly wronged party, the defendant, the judge, the lady sleeping in the public gallery, nor is it made by the Barista in the coffee-emporium across the road. No, it's made by the Jury. A group of people supposedly chosen at random, a group of ordinary folk, not lawyers, not policemen, but everyday people, who have sat through the entire trial, hearing every word of evidence, watching witnesses and defendant, and oming to a decision, based ONLY on what they heard in court, not on hearsay, not on t-shirt slogans, nor on journalist's columns. Only the evidence. And they are guided by the judge in the wording of the law. But until they come to the Judge with a verdict, the Judge is allowed no say as to whether the defendant is innocent or guilty as charged.

    We, the people, are descended from those who created this system, which sought to free us from the tyranny of both kings, and the mob.
    If we are to seek to pass alternative sentence, those of us who did not sit through every word of testimony, then we set aside all our laws, all our attempts to create a fair and just world.

    The verdict stands, whether we like it or not. The characters of the killed and the killer are irrelevant, as is the history of racial conflict. The prosecution failed to prove 'beyond reasonable doubt' that George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin otherwise than for a reason permitted by the laws of Florida.
    In another state, he might have been guilty of murder. In Florida, he was not.
    Now people are calling for him to be murdered, and this incitement, surely, is illegal in most states of the U.S, if not all. And it would appear that much of the obloquy is of a racist nature, also illegal.
    Most of us do not know what happened on that night, nobody other than, perhaps, Zimmerman, knows for sure.
    He is not innocent of killing Trayvon Martin, but he is NOT guilty of breaking the law in doing so. Anybody unhappy with the verdict, should be seeking a change to the law, not advocating murder.

  2. That said, there was no reason this young man died other than an avoidable confrontation with an overzealous, self-appointed vigilante. From the court reports, it seems that Zimmerman simply assumed that a young black person had no valid reason to be walking through his gated community, where, in fact, 20% of the residents are black, and by no means all known to Zimmerman. In fact, Martin was walking to the house where he was staying, his father's fiancee's house. The confrontation was caused by Zimmerman following, and according to one witness, scaring him, he said on the phone, that he was being followed by a man who he had previously described as a 'crazy, creepy guy, watching him from a car while speaking on his phone'. His friend advised him to run away, get to a safe place. Zimmerman construed the running as evidence of criminal behaviour.

    Martin turned and confronted Zimmerman, they fought. Zimmerman was on the losing end of the encounter, Martin, apparently bashing his head on the ground. At which point, Zimmerman. "in fear for his life" drew his legally held gun, and shot Martin dead.

    Zimmerman would have had no need to fear for his life, had he not chosen to pursue a young man who had a valid reason to be where he was. He said the boy was 'looking into windows'. Well hey, shoot me. I do too, I walk down the street, I'm interested in who lives there. I'll look at your decor, that doesn't mean I'm planning burglary.
    Trayvon was walking closer to houses than Zimmerman thought acceptable. Zimmerman described Martin's confronting him as aggressive, and his language as very confrontational.
    But Zimmerman had already called the police, there was no need whatsoever for him to pursue, he'd been told police would attend.

    So why was he concerned about Martin? Well as a Neighbourhood Watch member, he was aware of several recent robberies in the community, committed by young black men.
    When we hear the outcry against Zimmerman, where, I wonder, is the outcry against the young black criminals whose actions led to Trayvon Martin's death?

  3. No, Malcolm was killed in 1965, a year before the (real) Black Panther Party was formed. He was into the Black Muslim movement (Nation of Islam) like Muhammad Ali. Later he formed his own party/religion and then he was killed. He is a very important person in activist Black history. People still make a lot of money off his name. I was just reading some of his famous statements. The two published above seemed oddly incongruous to what folks who think the verdict was unfair seem to be saying. Perhaps Malcolm only meant not to let yourself be manhandled if you were black and not half Hispanic. Selective memories. Double standard and all that. I love how you analyze so exactly and cut to the essence of the truth.

    As I understand it, there are marches and protests today because the verdict was unfair for Trayvon. The signs say "justice for Trayvon" so I assume. Anyway, Mr. Martin wasn't on trial, so is wasn't possible to give him a fair trial, I don't think. Only the person on trial can get a fair trial, and it appears that he did.

    Had Zimmerman just taken his rightful whuppin like a man (and had not died) then Mr. Martin would presumably be tried for assault. Would have been found guilty, perhaps. Unfair as well. So either way Mr. Martin doesn't get the kind of justice his followers and rev al want. All I know is it is sad.

  4. As for your second comment, you seem to be a bit factually challenged, as are most of the black lynch mob spokesmen. That's just my opinion, based on the actual evidence presented at Zimmerman's trial (which was televised from start to finish so those who wanted to hear the truth of what went on at the trial could hear and mull for themselves.) Perhaps you didn't watch the same trial on tv as I did, and instead just watched the news recaps and accompanying spins. Perhaps Huffington Post blog comments was your prime source.

    "Self-appointed vigilante?" What part of the actual testimony gave you that "fact"? You are sounding more like the head of the NAACP giving interviews to the faithful, who didn't bother to watch the trial either.

    To me, a vigilante is someone who takes the law into his own hands and hunts someone down and administers "justice" on the spot. Isn't that what your dictionary says? Like those assholes who used to lynch black men in the south? Do you really think Zimmerman stalked (hunted like prey) the young man and then shot him in cold blood and then made up the rest of the story about a fight? Do you? Lots of black leaders have been saying that. Why in the world wasn't proof of that presented to the jury? Maybe because there were no such "facts" to present? You really don't think a crime-plagued community (or a non-crime-plagued community, for that matter) can't walk around their neighborhood at night and call the police if they see something suspicious? Really? Because that was what Zimmerman did that was so heinous.

    Zimmerman didn't confront Mr. Martin. Why do you and others think that is true? Why are black leaders saying that is true?

    There is only one person who truly knows what happened, and unless someone can prove him wrong by another secret witness or by some sort of actual evidence, then the jury has to consider the single true eye-witnesses account (Zimmerman's statement to the police). Which was:

    The 911 operator told me they didn't need me to follow him. So I stopped following him and began walking to my vehicle. As I walked, I tried to keep the person in view, but I lost him. Suddenly, out of the darkness, there he was, off to my side. Swearing at me. Asking me if I had a problem. I told him I didn't have a problem and he then immediately sucker-punched me. Stunned, I fell backwards to the ground and he jumped on my chest and began beating me with his fists...

    Well, if true, that's when the actual offense occurred. The law doesn't allow you to lay your hands on someone who hasn't been breaking the law. It simply does NOT allow you to punch someone in response to following you (in public), watching you (in public) or, I suppose, even calling you "nigger" standing 20 feet away from you. (Which didn't happen.) I suppose you can talk to them, but you can't walk up and punch them. If they come up to you and hit you, then you can fight back (defend yourself.) If you feel you are in grave danger, you can even defend yourself with deadly force. Common law in all states allows you to defend yourself. None require you to take a beating. The so-called "stand your ground" laws that 39 states have, including Florida, never came into play in this case. Only self defense came into play.

    [Sorry, but this is as long as blogger will let my comment be. I will break it here at this point and finish the rest in another comment below.]

  5. [Above comment continued}

    Vigilantes don't call the police as Zimmerman did (or as Trayvon Martin should have if he felt threatened.) Vigilantes come in gangs and beat people up and shoot them and lynch them.

    You, like so many others who haven't sifted through the actual real evidence, believe that Zimmerman was a racist, you believe that race was a factor: if Trayvon was white, he would be alive today. You, perhaps, believe he was killed because he was black, right? No, he died because he beat the shit out of a man who hadn't laid a finger on him and, oops, that man had a gun.

    I'm sure you are aware that Zimmerman tutored black youth, right? I'm sure you know that Zimmerman testified for a wrongly accused black man once, right? I'm sure you know Zimmerman's date for his high school prom was a black girl right? Yeah, Zimmerman was a racist. Just ask Eric Holder. Eric Holder is the vigilante. Al Sharpton is the vigilante. The black mobs setting fires and breaking windows are the vigilantes.

    Thank you for giving me a chance to vent about the true injustice and falsehoods that are happening right now.

    I'm not angry with you. I know you aren't personally involved in the least. But if someone as intelligent as you can believe what you apparently believe, then we are in deep trouble. I am so sorry and frustrated that this young man was killed. Such a waste. Yet, in all things, even painful things, we must search for truth.

  6. "I love how you analyze so exactly and cut to the essence of the truth."

    I want you to know I meant those words sincerely and wasn't being sarcastic. I meant I really like your comments.

  7. How long are out for this time? They did actually let you out--right?

    By the way, I have no doubt that Zimmerman would have been identified as a Hispanic if pushing the black/white racial divide was not a whole lot sexier to the news outlets. For that is what he clearly appears to be. Alas, if there ever was a case where they could not be any winners--regardless of the verdict, it was this one.

    1. Indeed, Jerry. Civil Rights has become an industry.

  8. Replies
    1. Too much deep thinking will give you a headache, my friend. :)

  9. Let's assume there's a pitbull on the street. I call the police and say "There's a pitbull on the street, I think it might be up to no good" The police say "Okay, we'll send a car"
    I decide to go round it up. It turns and bites me. So I shoot it. I've got bitten, there's a dead pitbull.

    How might that have gone differently, for all concerned. Whose actions lead to my being in danger?

    You disappoint me, Max, because you're implying things I did not say. I'll agree with you, I did not watch all or any of the trial. But nor did I glean information from any single source, and certainly not those you describe.
    Zimmerman, well, my use of the word vigilante?
    OED definition: "A vigilante is an individual or group who undertakes law enforcement without legal authority or illegal authority"
    Now you may feel that his membership of the legally sanctioned Neighbourhood Watch empowers him, I'd argue that after reporting to the police dispatcher from his car, his job was done, no need to get out of the car to follow.
    By doing so, he is taking to himself the role of law enforcement, he's following a suspect, which, I would argue, precisely puts him in the definition of vigilante. Your definition seems to be one of lynch-mobs and posses, but in his case, it was that of lone detective, watcher, sentry.
    Reading his history of calls to the police, it seems Zimmerman believed that he needed to call them regularly about people he did not recognize, potholes in the road, trash in roadway, pitbull in his garage, white couple arguing, hispanic males loitering, oh no, he's an equal-opportunity complainer. I'd suggest that Zimmerman feels at least a little threatened by just about everything, and I'd say the police probably felt he was crying wolf most of the time. Maybe he just liked seeing police cruisers?

    1. -This from the police report which led to Zimmerman being charged.
      “The encounter between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin was ultimately avoidable by Zimmerman, if Zimmerman had remained in his vehicle and awaited the arrival of law enforcement or conversely if he had identified himself to Martin as a concerned citizen and initiated dialogue to dispel each party’s concern,” the report said. “There is no indication that Trayvon Martin was involved in any criminal activity at the time of the encounter.”

      My contention is simple. Zimmerman reported the presence and apparent wrongdoing of an unknown youth, (race does not feature in his report until the dispatcher asks for a description, and specifically asks about colour), and at that point he should have left it to police.
      He chose not to, and exited his vehicle to see where his suspect had gone. That action led to the confrontation, and subsequent fight.

      "You really don't think a crime-plagued community (or a non-crime-plagued community, for that matter) can't walk around their neighborhood at night and call the police if they see something suspicious? Really? Because that was what Zimmerman did that was so heinous."
      You say this, but now turn it around, and ask yourself, why couldn't Martin walk around the neighbourhood, at night?
      If you were walking around your neighbourhood at night, and a mysterious person appeared to be stalking you, how would you feel?

      As for your statements on my beliefs regarding race, well, no, I did not say or suggest that Zimmerman was a racist, but I did point out that recent robberies in the area were carried out by young black males, and this led to Zimmerman being especially suspicious of young black males in the weeks prior to the event.
      I make no suggestion at all that Martin was innocent, indeed, he could have ended up killing Zimmerman, he might indeed have been looking for a house to burgle, or a car to steal, and he might have been an angry young man ready to fight a random stranger.
      But no evidence shows that.

      I'll sum up.
      Zimmerman saw a person he though suspicious. He reported that person to police, saw that person start to run, lost sight, got out of his car to find out where his suspect had gone, his suspect reappears, and attacks him, he is beneath the suspect, has his head bashed on the pavement, draws his gun and shoots, killing his opponent.

      None of that is in dispute, he's attacked, he shoots in self defence. Assailant dies, justifiable homicide.

      I'm simply saying, the whole thing did not need to happen.
      Neither of them come out cleanly. Martin could simply have run away, as fast as possible, and Zimmerman could have left it to the police, once he'd reported a suspicious individual.
      Both would probably have survived the night uninjured.

      Zimmerman's actions were those of an agent provocateur.

    2. I don’t quite understand your pit bull analogy, but then it is early in the morning here. I guess the parallel is that two undeserving people got bit and two other undeserving people/pit bulls got shot. Anyway, if you want to speculate about what could have been done differently to avoid the confrontation, I’m fine with that. although such speculation has nothing at all to do with the case (which only really began with Martin’s criminal attack on Zimmerman.) Such speculation is interesting and many lies are being told about the peripheral events and marches being marched because of what people have made their minds up to believe, so let’s.

      In the same vein, by the way, I believe WWII could have been avoided. Hindsight is good.

      Let’s see. The tragic incident here could have been avoided if...

      1. Martin had just kept walking until he got home.
      2. Martin had called the police and told them he was being followed by a creepy-ass cracker (the only racial slur in this whole affair came from Mr. Martin, btw.) And then continued on home.
      3. The people who lived in the neighborhood could have decided just to put up with being burglarized.
      4. Zimmerman could have called the police and reported what he felt was a suspicious character in his neighborhood, broke off the following when told he didn’t need to do that, and return to his car. Oh, wait - he DID do that.
      5. Zimmerman could have cut and run over to the 7-11.
      6. Zimmerman could have turned and ran over to Mr. Martin’s father’s girlfriend’s house (since, for sure, Trayvon Martin would not have been anywhere near there.)
      7. Trayvon Martin could have kept himself out of trouble and not been suspended from school so he would have been in Miami instead of having to be sent to live with his Father in Sanford since he had become too much for his mother to handle.
      8. The police could have finished their donuts faster.
      9. God could have intervened by making it rain harder and causing a power outage to make the area pitch black and they both would have simply run into trees. (None of this speculation of possible avoidance tactics means anything in retrospect, so I feel free to think outside the box on this.) Perhaps God would have done that had he not been offended by “Hey motherfucker, you got a problem?” spoken by a teenager who was about to attack a stranger.

      I have three more, but I am pressing blogger’s word limit again. More to follow.

    3. I certainly agree with you that none of this had to happen.

      I personally would have tried to run off to a safe place if someone were following me (since you asked what I would have done but I am not, apparently, of the same habits as Trayvon Martin) because in these troubled times in this country, I always assume the other person has a gun. I also assume that in any traffic rage confrontations too, and get the hell out of there. I legally don't have to do that, but I would. That's how I handle it. I stopped fighting for the "fun" of it back in 6th grade when my classmates started to grow bigger.

      Earlier I intimated that speculating on how something that is in the past is an unproductive exercise. I was wrong. Such speculation is useful if one learns lessons from it about what to do in such incidents in the future.

      I hope I have not offended you. I argue because I like to and bear you no malice.

    4. You're continuing to miss the point. Zimmerman called the police from his car.
      Job done.
      He gets out and follows, and desists only after the police dispatcher tells him to.

      Martin should have been in school in Miami, he's obviously not all sweetness and light. Maybe his daddy should have stayed with his mama too, but, whatever it didn't happen.

      My point remains that, whatever Martin's character, there would have been no attack, had Zimmerman simply informed the police and left it at that.

      Had I been Zimmerman, I hope I'd have had more sense than to leave a place of safety and follow a person I suspect of being a criminal, into the darkness. If I were Martin, I'd hope that on observing a 'creepy-ass cracker' taking an excessive interest in me, I'd get away as far and as fast as I could, to a place of safety.

      Neither followed the course I would have taken.
      My pitbull analogy? Well, pretty simple, I'd have thought.

    5. Oddly, it was a pitbull which cornered Zimmerman's wife in 2009 which moved him to buy a gun and apply for a concealed carry permit. When he called authorities about the pitbull, they suggested he buy a gun. Odd, no?

      I suppose by now you have heard about Zimmerman helping rescue a couple trapped in an overturned vehicle the other day. They were supposed to hold a press conference today to publicly thank Zimmerman and the other rescuer, but backed out for fear of what would happen to them if they publicly said something good about Zimmerman. Cowards.

      Anyway, if you think the non-emergency police dispatcher "ordered" Zimmerman not to follow (he's not allowed to do that) or that this tragic incident had racial undertones, then we are not communicating and I'll not argue or try to change your mind.



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