Thursday, March 29, 2012

A sad and shabby time

Pithy commentary on the lynch mob mentality about the Trayvon Martin killing:





The conduct of race hucksters like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and the hysterical rush to judgement by the media and many people across the country and the media is execrable.



Trayvon Martin's killing is a tragedy, regardless of what Martin was doing or not doing as he walked down the street. The evidence so far suggests that he was doing no wrong. George Zimmerman was wrong to grab his gun, hop in his car, and confront Martin. The "stand your ground" law in Florida may have made this tragedy more likely, and seems to me to be an ill-conceived law that should be repealed. Each of us has a moral and legal obligation to avoid violence, even if we believe we are 'in the right'. The duty to flee, rather than the right to stand your ground, seems to me to be the wisest basis for law in a peace-loving society.

Although Zimmerman's armed pursuit of Martin is, in my view, inexcusable, it is not clear that this is a racial crime, or even a crime at all, rather than a horrendous cascade of violence brought about by one man's reckless zealotry. Zimmerman may well have been within his rights (but not his right mind) to pursue and confront Martin. If he and Martin struggled, as it seems, the presence of a gun in the mix turned a confrontation caused by Zimmerman's recklessness into Martin's tragic death.

The facts are just beginning to be gathered.

Yet the race mongers are busy, threatening Zimmerman's life, circulating wanted posters, spreading the incendiary claim that this is a racial crime, and generally fanning hate. Note the absolute silence of this same crowd when young black men die daily in heartbreaking numbers on the streets of Chicago and New Orleans and Washington D.C.. They don't bat an eye at black men killing black men in war-zone numbers. There's no race-mongering to be conjured from our inner city abattoirs. Nothing for the professional haters to profit from.

All parties in this sad mess-- politicians and the media especially-- have a responsibility to call for peace and prudence and to insist that the facts precede judgement. We should be calming racial acrimony, not kindling it.

Regardless of the venality and the lynch mob mentality, Trayvon's death is a horrendous tragedy, and we should pray for Trayvon and for his family. I do note, sadly, that Trayvon's mother has found the strength amidst her mourning to apply for a trademark on her son's name.

A sad and shabby time.  

26 comments:

  1. “The facts are just beginning to be gathered.”

    That’s a big part of the problem. Zimmerman chased down and killed a young unarmed black man then walked away with his gun because the police where all to willing to take him at his word. The police even stated that Zimmerman was defending himself under the stand your ground law even when they new they had instructed Zimmerman not to pursue Trayvon. When one witness reported hearing Trayvon yelling for help, the officer taking the statement “corrected” it so that it was Zimmerman yelling for help. The police didn’t even bother trying to figure out who Trayvon was; they just listed him as a John Doe.

    If it weren’t for the multiple investigations triggered by the public outcry there’s a good chance that the police would have simply brushed this under a rug. I wonder how different things would have been if a young black man stood his ground and shoot a neighborhood watchman who was threatening him. I bet they wouldn’t have let him go home.

    -KW

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    1. Is this applied darwinism a.k.a let the survivor survive?

      What Hath Darwin Wrought?

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  2. "When one witness reported hearing Trayvon yelling for help, the officer taking the statement “corrected” it so that it was Zimmerman yelling for help."

    Trayvon's own father heard the "help" on a 911 tape and said originally that it was not his son's voice. He later "corrected" his statement as well. His father wants to make sure that Trayvon is considered the victim here, with no shades of gray.

    A witness saw Trayvon on top of Zimmerman. In such a situation, do you think it was Zimmerman or Treyvon who was yelling for help?

    "Zimmerman chased down and killed a young unarmed black man then walked away with his gun because the police where all to willing to take him at his word."

    How do you mean, 'walked away with his gun?' He was brought to the station in handcuffs. I doubt he had his gun on him. The lead investigator wanted to file manslaughter charges because he didn't believe Zimmerman's side of the tale. He was overruled by a state attorney.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6-_Qn9ZEj9Q

    "I wonder how different things would have been if a young black man stood his ground and shoot a neighborhood watchman who was threatening him. I bet they wouldn’t have let him go home."

    They didn't let Zimmerman go home either, so I don't understand your point. But the young black man would have been the victim then too. That's how these situations work. The black person is always the victim. That's it, end of story. All you need to know about the incident is what color skin each person has, and then you know who's the bad guy and the good guy.

    There are a lot of facts in dispute here. Likely, it was a confrontation that led to a fight, that led to Zimmerman drawing his gun and shooting. Which is awful and may be illegal, although I'm not really familiar with this stand your ground law. In any case, it's not "white man shoots nice black kid for no other reason than because he was black, then cops let him go."

    Joey

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  3. Where do you get your information from, KW? I'd just like to know. Is this stuff you've learned on Democratic Underground or Firedog Lake or the Daily Kos, or what?

    JQ

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  4. "I wonder how different things would have been if a young black man stood his ground and shoot a neighborhood watchman who was threatening him. I bet they wouldn’t have let him go home."

    Okay, KW. Even though that's NOT what happened, I'll take your hypothetical. What if a young black man "stood his ground" against a neighborhood watchman...and then the KKK put out a bounty on his head? Cause that's what happened in this situation. And a well known racist film director tweeted Zimmerman's supposed address, which actually proved to be erroneous. It was the home of an elderly couple.

    If the situation had been reversed, you'd still be taking Treyvon Martin's side. He's the victim. He did nothing wrong. That's the only way it can be.

    The Torch

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  5. Meanwhile in Sarasota, Florida....
    The trial of a certain young man named Shawn Tyson.
    He is also 17 years old and has a similar/skin tone pigment to Mr Obama (not his mother, however). That is to say, if Mr Obama had a son, he could have looked something like Shawn Tyson, too - as Mr Obama noted about Mr Martin in his speech on the killing of Trayvon.
    Tyson is facing life in prison for the cold blooded murder of two British tourists James Kouzaris, and James Cooper.
    Apparently these two best friends - while on holidays - committed the capital offence of walking into a 'black neighbourhood' at 3am while being under the influence of alcohol and lost after a night out in the down town area.
    After identifying to witnesses at his trial that there was
    'crackers' (a racial slur directed at white people) in the area, Mr Tyson took a handgun and attempted to rob them, apparently with the intent to murder them.
    He discovered there was no money to be had, so he had them pull down their pants, mocked them for short while, and told them that since they had no money he 'had something for their asses'.
    He shot them dead as the pleaded for their lives.
    Now Mr Tyson was arrested, and does face prison time for this shooting. So, I am not suggesting that he has gotten away with murder.
    Tyson has not gotten away with murder, he was even tried as an adult despite being 17 at the time of the killings.
    What I am wondering about though, is why 'hate' was not part of the prosecution when it is being touted as the motive for Mr Zimmerman's shooting. Why is Me Zimmerman capable of racial hate, and not Mr Tyson? Does Mr Zimmerman have some additional capacity or deficiency of intellect due to his 'race'? Is he somehow less or more human?
    Why is this controversial law not applied in such an obviously clear cut case of racial hatred?
    Is 'hate' only applicable to middle class college kids, security guards in 'white neighbourhoods' etc?
    Further why do we not see 'white power' groups threatening to 'fix' the situation in Sarasota on the evening news? Is it because they are not empowered by the media? Or is it because 'white power' groups are seen as racist while 'black power' groups are portrayed as 'activists'?
    There is a very sticky double standard, when it comes to 'hate' as a motivation for violence and race when it is motive for activism and politics; perhaps even race in general. How can real equality ever come about under such circumstances? How can resentment do anything but INCREASE in such a climate?

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    1. CNTD


      Also let us, for a moment, imagine for a moment that a President Kerry or Clinton had made it into office, and that a white person had been shot by a black person in cold blood (as above) simply for venturing into the wrong part of town and into a 'black neighbourhood'.
      Imagine then that President has suggested that if they had adult children they could have looked like the victims (skin colour). What type of reaction would that remark garner?
      I suspect the people in the press and media would RIGHTLY say that our fictional president was injecting race into an already inflamed situation.
      Some may suggest that killing ANYONE of ANY skin colour is wrong - even if they do not share the racial ancestry of one of your parents and that the comments made by that president belied a racial sentiment unbecoming of the office.
      I would also like to know where all the OUTRAGE is for the victims of Mr Tyson who were obviously victims of this young man's contempt and hatred for white skinned foreigners.

      Let's not forget, tourism is a very big part of the local economy in the region.
      Florida is sold as a safe, fun, family destination. For the most part, it is.
      Sarasota is one of the nicest beach destinations in that State and not far from Tampa and Orlando (and Lakeland). I have stayed in Sarasota myself, and we have visited my inlaws who in Lakeland when they used to rent a winter property there in the 90's.
      How can this kind of race hate be simmering in the neighbourhoods surrounding a blue flag beach area? Why is their no attention paid to the racial tensions in these black neighbourhoods?
      If indeed hate laws are employed in the Zimmerman situation, there will be a real imbalance of that law on display within a just a few miles.
      It seems to be me that these laws must be applied evenly to perpetrators no matter their ethnicity, or they must be abandoned entirely. Either charge ALL people who commit racially motivated acts of violence with hatred (especially when so obvious as the Tyson case) or leave it out and charge them with the crime they actually committed. In the Tyson case it was premeditated and cold blooded murder.

      Let me be clear here:
      I am not suggesting Trayvon deserved to be shot.
      I just don't see how that could be justified by simple assault, if that did occur. If Mr Martin had attempted to take Mr Zimmerman's fire-arm or had been armed himself - okay... I guess. I still don't see the need for a fatal barrage. A shot in the leg or backside could have disabled him long enough for arrest.
      But to be perused and shot LETHALLY several times from behind does not seem rational to me, nor does the 'stand your ground' law used to defend such actions - that law seems to be a gross perversion of the 'castle' rule in common law. But it is law. How did it get to be so? Why is there a mirror attitude of this 'no go' rule based on race?
      That is to ask why is it potentially FATAL for a black man to be out in a 'white neighbourhood' at night, or a white man to be out in a 'black neighbourhood' at night?

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    2. Both Federal and Florida hate crime laws allow for more severe sentencing in the case of hate crimes, but in Shawn Tyson’s case he was already facing a mandatory life sentence. Invoking hate crime laws would have not changed his sentencing at all.

      Federal hate crime legislation allows for federal investigation and prosecution of hate crimes when the local authorities demonstrate themselves to be biased, indifferent or ill-equipped to deal with the case. This was not the case with Shawn Tyson; Tyson was vigorously prosecuted and sentenced in less than a year.

      Zimmerman, unlike Tyson, was allowed to walk away with his gun by a police force and prosecutor’s office that appear to have lied and coached witnesses to bolster the case that Zimmerman was defending himself. This is exactly the kind bias and indifference that hate crime statutes are meant to address.

      -KW

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    3. [Zimmerman, unlike Tyson, was allowed to walk away with his gun by a police force and prosecutor’s office that appear to have lied and coached witnesses to bolster the case that Zimmerman was defending himself. This is exactly the kind bias and indifference that hate crime statutes are meant to address.]

      Zimmerman was brought in for questioning in handcuffs and questioned extensively. His gun obviously was taken away (police don't handcuff suspects but allow them to keep their guns). After investigation and extensive questioning, the police and prosecutors concluded that they did not have evidence to charge or hold Zimmerman (for now), so they released him, and the law requires.

      Your allegations about 'lying' and 'coaching witnesses' are awfully fact-free.

      Let's see your evidence.

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    4. Didn't you see the video of Zimmerman being taken into the police station? That video shows a man who definitely did not have a broken nose or have his head smashed against the ground. How about the witness who saw Zimmerman on top of Martin when Zimmerman pulled the trigger, or the witness who told the police that Martin was yelling for help only to have the interviewing officer “correct” her that it was Zimmerman crying for help. Or the fact that the police let him go with his gun (yes, after a brief visit to the station), claiming that the “stand your ground” law protected Zimmerman after they told Zimmerman to stay in his car.

      All you have is the word of a man who by the preponderance of the evidence appears to be lying. The fact that you deny the evidence shows your sympathy to this murdering racist vigilante and exposes your racism.

      The conservative media's bias in this case lays bare conservative racism. The racism is multidimensional, we've even learned that if you're Hispanic, according to conservative Americans, that there is no way you can be white. Apparently being white means a whole lot more than skin color to conservatives.

      -KW

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    5. KW,

      There's a lot that can be said to refute your points. You seem to have a problem with linear thinking.

      But I don't have time to do all of that right now. I will say this: I think that you're assuming that Dr. Egnor and others are defending Zimmerman and saying that he did nothing wrong. That's not what he is saying, and not what I am saying.

      But we are trying to make a good faith effort to determine the facts. Are you? I don't think so.

      TRISH

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    6. Hey KW: They took his gun and took him to the police station for questioning. He was handcuffed. The tape did not "clearly" show that he had no head wounds. The original tape obtained by ABC News is very fuzzy. The hi-def version shows something that appears to be a wound of some kind. The investigator wanted to arrest him, but his boss overruled him. Perhaps his boss made the wrong call. But, because he was not arrested and not being charged, he retained his second amendment right to have a gun. The police do sometimes confiscate guns, but not from people who aren't being charged with the crime.

      Joey

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    7. Hi-Def video: http://weaselzippers.us/2012/03/31/new-higher-definition-video-appears-to-show-wound-to-back-of-zimmermans-head/

      Even when I saw the first video, I wasn't sure how I was supposed to conclude, from such a fuzzy picture, if there was anything on the back of his head.

      You're the real racist here KW. Facts don't matter, only skin color does. The black person is automatically right just because he's black.

      Hey, KW: ever hear of a guy named Jason Vassell?

      Joey

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    8. "All you have is the word of a man who by the preponderance of the evidence appears to be lying. The fact that you deny the evidence shows your sympathy to this murdering racist vigilante and exposes your racism."

      KW, did you not see what Egnor wrote?

      "Although Zimmerman's armed pursuit of Martin is, in my view, inexcusable, it is not clear that this is a racial crime, or even a crime at all, rather than a horrendous cascade of violence brought about by one man's reckless zealotry. Zimmerman may well have been within his rights (but not his right mind) to pursue and confront Martin. If he and Martin struggled, as it seems, the presence of a gun in the mix turned a confrontation caused by Zimmerman's recklessness into Martin's tragic death."

      Your problem, KW, is that you're a highly emotional person who isn't capable of a dispassionate assessment of the facts. You bought the media narrative which happens to be falling apart.

      He wasn't charged. He may still be. Perhaps he should be. But the attorney made a different judgement that the investigator.

      The Torch

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  6. KW,
    "This is exactly the kind bias and indifference that hate crime statutes are meant to address."
    I thought it was meant to address crimes motivated by hatred? Clearly Tyson was motivated by hatred, so why was this charge not laid on him? Why is he immune?
    You suggest it would have made no difference in his sentence. That may well be, but should the charges not have been pressed anyway? Also what if the sentencing did not go the way the prosecution wanted? How can the prosecutor be sure what the sentencing will be until it is passed?
    What about the victims people? Are they not entitled to hear the charges of hate inspired violence read out at sentencing?
    I find that approach similar to charging a mass murderer with a single murder because he will serve life of get the death penalty anyway.
    Again, how on earth does the prosecutor know what charges will stick or what aspect will convince a judge or jury of guilt. Is the prosecutor an arbitrator of what charges should be laid or is he compelled to press the charges involved in the crime - federal or state-law?
    Should not ALL the elements of a crime be put before the court?
    If there is hate-crime law and hate crime has been committed, why are the charges NOT laid?
    This whole thing leaves me wondering WHAT the hate crime laws in the USA are for.

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    1. @crus:

      [This whole thing leaves me wondering WHAT the hate crime laws in the USA are for.]

      Good question. The Tyson case obviously raised hate crime issues, and of the most obvious massive hate crime in recent American history-- the 9-11 attacks-- has never been identified as a hate crime nor included in any statistics as a hate crime.

      The real reason for hate crime laws is to keep racial strife stirred up, which is the cash cow for a whole spectrum of ideologues.

      How would Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, and Louis Farrakhan make a living if people of different races got along?

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    2. Mike,

      "Good question. The Tyson case obviously raised hate crime issues, and of the most obvious massive hate crime in recent American history-- the 9-11 attacks-- has never been identified as a hate crime nor included in any statistics as a hate crime."
      Thanks. 9/11 is a huge example, and perhaps I could see justification in that dodge of the application if only to stress it was an act of war in breach of convention (ie a war crime) - but, it definitely was a dodge.
      The point is, I suppose, that is seems to be applied very electively and for political purposes. Your explanation of it being used to generate controversy - essentially to divide and rule - seems just about the best I have heard. At least the most honest and open eyed approach.
      If that is the case, I am forced by reason to wonder what the desired synthesis is. What is the end result of the conflict of races, cultures, and religions that this law (and so many other abused laws) is/are meant to achieve?

      "The real reason for hate crime laws is to keep racial strife stirred up, which is the cash cow for a whole spectrum of ideologues. "
      I am sure that is a motivator for the pawns in the game, perhaps even some of the rooks. But I cannot see it as a desired end game for the folks running the show. The conflict will need to be resolved for them to look like heroes coming to the rescue.
      Perhaps some sort of segregation, separatism, or classism? An actual overt oligarchy? What ever it is I imagine it will be VERY different than current system below the surface.

      "How would Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, and Louis Farrakhan make a living if people of different races got along?"
      I would LOVE to find out. I am not so sure that is in the cards, though. The drive to integrate people seems to have been all but abandoned and replaced with the 'multiculturalism' model; and that indicates the desire to control these separate groups politically. Again, divide and rule.
      Would it be too cliché to say this could be the thin end of the wedge? I'll risk it!

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    3. crus:

      Why does the left foment racial (and class) war? Great question. Perhaps grist for a post. Briefly, here's my take:

      For the small-fry (Sharpton, Jackson, etc) it's a form of tenure. As long as there's racial hate, they have jobs. They remain the the spotlight, attract donations, pull off shake-downs (Jackson's specialty). Same reason that a drug dealer doesn't want his customers to go to rehab. He wants the business.

      From the larger left-- the ideologues with more insight-- I think there's a deeper dynamic. The left-- and I use that term to describe all statists (communist, radical socialists, fascists)-- never come to power in times of peace and harmony. As the Jacobeans learned in revolutionary France and the Bolsheviks and the Nazis and Mao and Pol Pot etc learned more recently, totalitarians need tumult and conflict in order to come to power.

      Totalitarianism is essentially the manufacture of conflict as a tactic to acquire and retain power. Management of that conflict provides a superficial rationale for totalitarianism. "We have to get the FCC to throw Rush Limbaugh off the air because he's anit-women" or "we have to have speech codes to prevent harm to minorities" or "we have to nationalize this or that industry because a catastrophe is looming".

      The ultimate totalitarian ruse is global warming-- a vanguard of scientists and socialists are going to have to run the world because the air you exhale is causing the apocalypse.

      The totalitarians' worst nightmare is happy families minding their own business, going to church, and living in peace with their neighbors.

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    4. Trying to protect people from crimes motivated by bigotry, and providing resources to investigate and prosecute hate crimes when the local authorities are indifferent or biases is not trying to “foment racial war”.

      Funny, how it is always the conservatives talking about race wars. Again you demonstrate your racist attitude.

      -KW

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    5. [Again you demonstrate your racist attitude.]

      How's that again? What on earth would make you call me a racist? I believe in a color-blind society. You repellant accusation just makes my point-- you try to stir up racial animosity whenever you can.

      While were at it, was 9-11 a hate crime?

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  7. This incident does reveal a lot about racism in America. It's usually directed toward white people.

    Joey

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    1. Racism is very real, and afflicts people of all races. Fear and distrust of "others" is very human, and will never be completely eradicated.

      We need a legal system that is color-blind, and citizens with personal moral values who respect others regardless of race and who wish to live in peace.

      And we need public officials and public figures to work for harmony and peace, not to fan hatred.

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  8. "I wonder how different things would have been if a young black man stood his ground and shoot a neighborhood watchman who was threatening him. I bet they wouldn’t have let him go home."

    They would have if the attorney had believed that he was acting within his rights under Florida's stand your ground law. What evidence do you have that Zimmerman or the police were influenced by race? Any at all?

    The Torch

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  9. KW still hasn't answered my question about where he gets his information. The reason I ask is because he has some curious facts that I have not heard but would like to check out for myself. If he would simply provide a source, I could do that. But he hasn't.

    From what I can see, the racism in this situation is primarily anti-white. As usual.

    Thirty to forty blacks have: "Beat Whitey Night" at Iowa state fair. Media doesn't care.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qeMslmDBxY

    Dozens of black youths attack whites for no other reason than race at the Wisconsin state fair. Media doesn't care.

    http://www.620wtmj.com/news/local/126825018.html

    Kill Haole Day in Hawaii. "Haole" is a racial slur used for white people. Media doesn't care.

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

    New Black Panther Party stand outside polling place in Philadelphia, caught on tape intimidating white voters. "You about to be ruled by the black man, cracker!" Attorney General Holder refuses to press charges. Media doesn't care.

    http://hotair.com/archives/2008/11/04/fox-black-panther-poll-intimidation-in-pennsylvania/

    A "white" man who looks like most Florida Hispanics approaches a black teenager with tatoos and gold teeth. Melee ensues, neighbrohood watchman shoots the kid, and we have a media circus like we've never seen before.

    JQ

    JQ

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    1. JQ:

      Excellent points, all.

      "Hate crimes" legislation is a sham, and is actually intended to advance a racist agenda, by singling out only certain kinds of racially motivated crimes for extra attention and prosecution.

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    2. This case has reached the attention of this week's 'New Statesman', a liberal British news and commentary magazine.

      They're amazed by the case. The fracas and fatal shooting occurs, and then two weeks later, it attracts the attention and interest of the national American media. And then two weeks later, President Obama comments on the case.

      They wonder if the slow progress is due to anti-racism. No one was willing to comment early because they didn't want to mention race, and it was only the glacial pace that caused the attention.

      I don't think that anyone would be surprised if Zimmermann is eventually charged with something, even if it's manslaughter or a lesser charge. It's the very slow progress that's causing the furore.

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