It’s the Police Inaction, Stupid

Righties have a congenital inability to get the point. The brain damaged Rich Lowry whines that lots of black people get shot without everyone on the Left making a Big Bleeping Deal about it. For example:

Last year, Charinez Jefferson, 17, was shot and killed on a Chicago street. “She begged the shooter not to shoot her because she was pregnant,” a pastor explained. The alleged assailant, Timothy Jones, 18, shot her in the head, chest and back after seeing her walking with a rival gang member. New York Times columnist Charles Blow did not write a column about Jefferson’s killing as a symbol of the perils of being a young black woman in America.

That was a terrible thing, yes. But you know what happened after that, Rich? The police went looking for her alleged killer. The following week, they found him and arrested him. He was charged with the murder and held without bond.

That’s why Charles Blow didn’t have to write a column about it, you bleeping idiot.

Compare/contrast to the murder of Trayvon Martin. A quickie timeline —

February 26 — Trayvon Martin is shot. His killer is questioned and released.

[cricket chirps]

March 13 — ABC News reports “questionable police conduct” regarding the shooting.

March 16 — Charles Blow column published; 911 tapes released.

By all appearances, if national media hadn’t started to get involved, the Sanford police would still have done not a dadblamed thing regarding this case. That’s why people got angry, Rich. You can check out a timeline at ABC News for more.

Lowry provides some more examples, and they are all very tragic, but he says nothing about how the police responded in each case. This detail seems insignificant to Rich. Then he says,

Everything about the Trayvon Martin case is a matter of contention. About this, though, there should be no doubt: If Martin had been shot by a black classmate, if he had been caught in a random crossfire, if he had looked at a gang member the wrong way, his death would have been relegated to the back pages of the local newspaper. Not a cause, not even a curiosity: Just another dead young black man. Nothing to see here. Please, move on.

Then going on about statistics about shootings perpetrated by African Americans, he says,

There is no comparable epidemic of half-Hispanic neighborhood-watch volunteers like George Zimmerman shooting young black men.

Seriously, he said that. He thinks the only reason this case is a big deal is that the shooter was not black.

If Trayvon Martin was killed for walking while black, I’d say Lowry is guilty of writing while stupid. And bigoted. And being a whiny self-absorbed wingnut.

63 thoughts on “It’s the Police Inaction, Stupid

  1. In fairness to Lowery, maybe the blood from “Lil’ Rich” never made it back up to his “Lil’ Brain,” after he got his first hint of ‘Palin Starburst Wood” back in 2008.
    He wrote:
    ‘”Hey, I think she just winked at me.” And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America.’

    If this idjit’s their Editor, do you wonder why the rest of the staff is clown circus?

  2. I don’t think Rich is actually dumb about this. He probably knows that’s what liberals are upset about. This conflict allows conservatives to yet again play their very favorite-est game in the whole wide world: “Stick it to teh librulz”. Hell, half of these guys would put Zimmerman away for life if they were sitting on the bench when he came up for sentencing, but because liberals are for it, conservatives therefore have to oppose it as a matter of principle (if you could apply that word to their line of thought). Plus, it’s an election year, so they’re punching every racial hot button that they can from now to November. They want their knuckledraggers and rubes ready to walk through fire and over broken glass on Election Day. This stuff is manna from heaven for the average Republican operative.

  3. So until we are able to stop all violence against black men, we can’t be upset about a particular one?? And when we come up with ideas about how to end gun violence, like make it harder for individuals to get guns, this guy would completely flip out.

    As per arresting Zimmerman, he does not look very Hispanic to me, and couple that with his last name I’m sure in the Samford cops’ eyes, he was white. Make him a little browner and a name that ends in a Z, and he would have been arrested.

  4. I agree with Maha and Lynne, but I’m copying and pasting something that appears typical about Trayvon’s murder:

    “Excuse me, but [white liberal blogger] won’t be gunned down in the street. [White liberal blogger] didn’t just lose a teenaged boy to a racist vigilante. [White liberal blogger] didn’t see that racist vigilante left at his own license while her son’s body was prepared for burial. [White liberal blogger] isn’t watching now while concerned white citizens everywhere slander her son as a thug and a monster–all but saying that he deserved to be wiped off the face of the earth because he was black. [White liberal blogger]’s suffering isn’t the fucking problem here. Racism, ours in general and yours in particular, is. Because last week it killed a young man, and this week it led you to humiliate his memory. Shame on you. If you honestly can’t see the mechanisms at work here, and cannot set yourself firmly on the side of the oppressed (hint: not white guys who carry guns, or white people facing pressure to not condemn a black child to death), then you shouldn’t call yourself any kind of activist, because you’re a fucking fool. Insight. Yeah, I’ll be over here holding my goddamn breath.”

    It does seem hard to imagine that there are so many people who don’t get this, but for them, Lowrey’s right on the money.

  5. Judging by Zimmerman’s history, he was a nutjob with a gun–never a good combination under any circumstances. And yes, I have no doubt that the fact that Martin was black triggered Zimmerman’s response; racists of all stripes and colors do horrific things to other people for a variety of insane reasons, and so do crazy people.

    But the outrage was not generated by Zimmerman’s actions, but rather by the inaction of the police. If Lowery’s I.Q. is larger than his shoe size, even he ought to be smart enough to figure that out. So why is he throwing out that false equivalency crap?

    I suspect that Republicans see this as a threat to their positions on gun laws, and they’re doing their damnedest to deflect attention away from that totally unnecessary Stand Your Ground law–created, supported and pushed through Fl’s legislature (as well as in other states)–by the NRA and ALEC–a senseless, dangerous law that made it possible for the police to shrug off a murder and simply walk away.

    For my money, it’s a smoke and mirrors attempt to deflect attention away from the real issue of just how bad that “Stand your ground” law actually is.

  6. Pingback: Hack of the Month - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money

  7. Maha, it’s not about the blogger, but about the comment. I copied the comment, because I think that attitude expressed in the comment is what Lowry is talking about. He’s replying to that attitude, not to the facts. I agree with you that he should be talking about the facts, but since that attitude is apparently out there, Lowry’s within his rights to reply to it.

  8. Maybe we liberals should spend less time attacking half-Hispanics and more time attacking lax gun control laws. Oh wait, we already do that. Never mind.

  9. Diana,
    I have an inkling of what’s being talked about, but maybe a link might help. 🙂

  10. You’ve asked me to explain, so I will.

    I don’t think Lowry’s being stupid. I think he’s been deeply dishonest, but clever.

    First, I agree with you and Lynne and, I think, everyone else here that while the murder is horrendous, we’ve got a lot of crazy paranoids here in America and they’re going to want to kill people. (And by all accounts, Zimmerman really is a nutjob in addition to being a racist gunfreak. For instance, he called 911 something like 46 times while he was in that gated community.)

    However, instead of controlling access to guns, we have now got outrageous laws like the “Stand your ground” law. This in my opinion is where the debate ought to be.

    Instead, I see a lot of people arguing (correctly, but incompletely) that the outrage is just the initial crime, and anyone who notices anything else is someone who “just doesn’t see it.”. The commentator who comments I excerpted is one of them. It’s actually a bit subtle to argue that while the original murder is outrageous, we should concern ourselves with the injustice of the law, and not only the injustice of the murder.

    Lowry is enabling those people by taking them up on the argument that we should all shift to talking about “wow, look at how outrageous the murder was.” Lowry’s taking them at their word, to so speak, so that everyone will stop talking about how outrageous the law is and instead talk about how outrageous the murder was. Once that’s done, he’ll start pointing out that in fact we have a lot of tolerance for murder in our culture and murders get committed all the time, what’s new about this one?

    He’s not stupid. He’s hijacking the public debate. We should notice.

    • I don’t think Lowry’s being stupid. I think he’s been deeply dishonest, but clever.

      Well, yes, but to be clever he has to play the public role of an idiot. Of course, with some people a little idiocy goes a long way.

  11. “Seriously, he said that. He thinks the only reason this case is a big deal is that the shooter was not black.”

    So all the people claiming that Zimmerman racially profiled Martin would make the same claim if Zimmerman *were* black? I’m getting whiplash.

    And from the comments (4:40), I liked this:

    As per arresting Zimmerman, he does not look very Hispanic to me…

    I guess the new witness reported by CNN was not widely read. The witness saw little and added little (it was, after all, a dark and stormy night), but did include this:

    “As I said it was dark, but after the shot … one man got up … it was only in a couple seconds or so that he was walking towards where I was watching. And I could see him a little bit clearer, and see that he was a Hispanic man…”

    Well, as noted it was dark.

    • Maguire — the point is that if the Sanford police had even gone through the motions of doings its job, none of us outside of Sanford would ever had heard the names “George Zimmerman” and “Trayvon Martin.” And that would be true no matter what the facts of the case.

      The witness you quote (if you read the whole thing) supports the claim that Zimmerman was not injured. Read:

      A new witness interviewed on CNN cast doubt on Zimmerman’s story, saying that he looked out his window, glimpsed two men scuffling in the dark, heard “an excruciating kind of yell” and saw what he thought was Zimmerman on top of Trayvon.

      “After the larger man got off, then there was a boy, obviously now dead, on the ground, facing down,” the witness told CNN.

      “After the shot, one man got up,” the man said. “He was walking towards where I was watching and I could see him a little bit clearer, and see that he was a Hispanic man and he was, you know, he didn’t appear hurt or anything else, he just seemed very worried.”

      This is from a New York Daily News story titled “George Zimmerman lost job as party security guard for being too aggressive, ex-co-worker says.”

      Lots of people, including you, are trying to twist facts around to “prove” that Zimmerman was either guilty or justified. That’s not my point here. Again, if the Sanford police had done a proper job none of us would even have heard about this case. The case is a big deal because it appears the Sanford police were not taking the shooting death of an African American boy seriously enough to investigate the facts. Why that is true we can only speculate at this point, but it needs to be looked into.

  12. I have seriously reached my limit with people who think they’re being very sage and wise by saying “We should all calm down until the investigation is finished” when the investigation would never have STARTED without people getting upset over this.

  13. The political component is being missed. For a moment, forget Zimmerman and Martin. Two people decided to cut Zimmerman free, despite the reservations of the investigator on the scene who doubted Zimmerman. The State attorney withdrew, citing an unspecified conflict of interest. The other person who cut Zimmerman lose is the Sanford Chief of Police.

    The assumption of racism seems weak. Racial profiling is likeky, but the phrase ‘conflict of interest’ says somebody was doing Zimmerman a favor because Zimmerman (or someone in his family) was connected with the state prosecutor and/or Sanford Chief of Police. I wonder what names would show up on a roster of the local Tea Party group.

  14. “Lots of people, including you, are trying to twist facts around to “prove” that Zimmerman was either guilty or justified. That’s not my point here. Again, if the Sanford police had done a proper job none of us would even have heard about this case.”

    I’m actually more interested in figuring out whether there is probable cause for an arrest and a path to a conviction; parts of Zimmerman’s story are squirelly, but as I grasp the law, they have roughly zero in terms of a case they might bring to trial, but whatev…

    I am familiar with the talking point that the investigation was botched, but if you could refer to a story or post noting the key omissions of the Sanford PD I would love to see it.

    As a starter, how the Sanford PD missed the girl on the cell phone remains a mystery. Taking sixteen hours to ID the body seems long (some reports say the PD recovered the cell phone, although everyone also insists all he had was Skittles and ice tea), although what evidence they might have missed because of it eludes me.

    As to whether they did a tox screen on Zimmerman, all I have seen is speculation that they have not, but if someone has something definitive that would be helpful. And a number of witnesses have told the media they were re-interviewed over the week or so after the killing. As to forensics, is there any reason to doubt normal CSI stuff was done? I know from the news footage they put up crime scene tape and looked at something.

    But since your primary interest is the botched investigation, I’m sure you can help me learn how it was botched.

    And I apologize in advance, but this (from Doug Hughes, 8:07 PM) makes me smile every time I see it:

    “The State attorney withdrew, citing an unspecified conflict of interest. “

    Judd Legum of Think Progress cited that a few days back as his number one question about the investigation.

    And it’s Suspicious! Of course, protestors had been screaming for days that the prosecutor had to withdraw because he was covering for the Sanford PD [one link]. Then, after he withdraws to avoid even the appearance of a conflict, protestors begin whispering that he withdrew because of some mysterious, unknown conflict.

    One wonders whether the left hand knows what the far left hand is doing.

    [BTW, I am loving this auto-preview function. Sooo beats my chipping on to slate tablets…]

    • Tom — start with “Five Key Unanswered Questions.” That’s not all of the unanswered questions, but those are the biggies, I think. And the thing with the prosecutor is that there is testimony he was suppressing the investigation. Maybe he wasn’t, but even now there have been no explanations as to why the investigator who initially wanted to pursue manslaughter charges was not doing so, at least until the public started making noise about it. At some point the prosecutor’s role in this needs to be looked into.

      And maybe all the news stories about the Sanford police are wrong, but the Sanford police could have issued statements explaining their reasons for doing or not doing whatever. But they don’t explain themselves. So people fill in the blanks and assume racism, and maybe it’s just incompetence. But racism is not an unreasonable assumption.

      And the other big issue is the “stand your ground” law and if it is really as stupid as it seems to be. If chasing down an unarmed teenager and shooting him to death is “self-defense” in Florida, remind me to stay out of Florida. I don’t run that fast any more. Of course, I’m not a black teenager, but someone with bad eyesight might mistake me for a space alien or a killer robot or something.

  15. So it follows, based on this logic, that if Zimmerman had been arrested immediately, there would have been no outrage.


    • Potfry — in a sane world, any time a person doing nothing but walking from a 7-11 carrying nothing but a bag of candy and a soft drink is shot and killed, most people think this is very screwy and something must be amiss somehow. This is true regardless of the race, age or gender of either the deceased or the shooter. And while the shooter deserves the presumption of innocence, in a sane world so does the victim. And a dead body is to be taken very seriously.

      And it appears the Sanford police were doing nothing to find out what happened. The police weren’t responding to the parents or anyone else until national media got involved, THREE WEEKS later. And even now, they have yet to issue a statement to explain the lack of movement on the case. Maybe they really were doing something, but if that’s the case, they’ve had plenty of time to say so.

      The question is, why? It certainly looks as if the Sanford police weren’t taking the shooting of a black teenager seriously, but maybe they were just incompetent. And maybe the police really were hamstrung by the stupid “stand your ground” law. But the more details come out, the more it appears Zimmerman chased Martin on foot before he shot him, which doesn’t sound like “stand your ground” to me.

      Now, maybe that’s not what happened, but it sure as heck is something that ought to be thoroughly investigated and tried in a court of law. But until people started yelling and marching, it sure as heck looked as if the Sanford police weren’t doing a dadblamed thing. And they’ve offered no explanation to argue otherwise.

      It may be that the sight of a lot of really angry black people shouting about justice has you rattled so you can’t think straight. But the primary issue at this point isn’t what Zimmerman did or what Martin did, but what the police did. Or didn’t. Do you understand that?

  16. And was the guy who shot the pregnant woman a security guard who claimed self-defense?

    • And was the guy who shot the pregnant woman a security guard who claimed self-defense?

      Do make sense, please. I’m picky about who I allow to comment here.

  17. I’m actually more interested in figuring out whether there is probable cause for an arrest and a path to a conviction; parts of Zimmerman’s story are squirelly, but as I grasp the law, they have roughly zero in terms of a case they might bring to trial,

    Tom.. you’re right about that. If the new prosecutor feels confident that she can secure a conviction based on Zimmerman’s decision to pursue Trayvon from the point of the dispatcher telling Zimmerman not to pursue..then Zimmerman might be charged, but if it is dependent on anything beyond that point..Then Zimmerman gets away with murder. That’s the Law.

    It will be Zimmerman’s word against nobody’s…and the police can’t disprove Zimmerman’s account.. that’s the beauty of stand your ground. When one kills just make sure there are no witnesses, and one’s victim doesn’t survive..Use a 9 MM automatic.

  18. Swami – Stand your ground lets you get away with murder in your house. It lets you meet force with forcr in public. But all the evidence suggests Z-man was the aggressor. Being the only survivor does not preclude being charged when the evidence contradicts your story.

  19. but someone with bad eyesight might mistake me for a space alien or a killer robot or something.

    Or a British tourist?

    • British tourist?

      Could be. I’m trying to think of things that are pale pinkish and frightening. Giant stinging land jellyfish?

  20. gulag …I think Lowery was being facetious in his description of Palin..She does have a hot body that could make a young boy go gaga and get goofy,but to write something that lame it’s gotta be a snark.

  21. The NRA and ALEC are drooling and licking their chops over this. This is the law they wrote put to the test(yep thats all it means to them).

    This brings up the states rights issue again. Let me ask you this: The federal government is picking on pot despensories in California and other states that have legalized them. The promise of even tougher federal crack downs on these legal operations has all but been set in stone if the GOP were to take the white house. And these places are not killing anyone, but the federal government wont touch states that create these insane laws that end up costing CHILDREN(what about the children??) their lives? Selective states rights!How is that workin for ya?

    Remind you to stay out of Fla? Honey make a list of states with the same wild west gun show shoot em up at 10 paces law you will want to avoid and pretty soon your gonna need a specialized travel guide of the few places left you can go..and after that maybe the gun states will decide to invade their gun free neighbors( why limit yourself to JUST shooting the locals?) so even a trip to a sane state may become a crap shoot. The entire “cross country road trip” has gone from a really cool thing to do to a frightening idea. Imagine being a un- suspecting tourist in one of these states only to learn cletus is bored and may fancy killin you and the law is on his side.”they was northern libruls and they a’scared me!”

    In the small picture, Does this create enough outrage among Fla residents to end this law and does it create enough out rage to change/stop it in your own state? The not so amazing mr z seems to be the poster child for why it is bad. Trevon is forever gone from earth but what can his loss change? I think in the end that matters. What happened is done and there needs to be justice to be sure but now what? Things have to change, from their small community to the larger community that is all of us. From the way neighborhood watch groups operate and interact with the youth to the way states are writing the law that get kids killed to the way police departments conduct (or fail to) their jobs.

    I wonder, in states where this law is in affect why does any police department ever need funds again to investigate homicide? It seems to be all legal now and I think when people from other states find out they can take someone they dont like to fla and “get rid of them” legally it will become a tourist destination for a whole other reason, so they may need to re- direct the resources to the increased morgue traffic. Seems like a human hunting ground to me. So what of the poor people caught in the cross fire with out the means to get out?

  22. Swami,
    I don’t think Lowery is capable of snark.
    Good “snark” requires some irony. And, as we all know – Conservatives have a well-known irony deficiency.
    Whenever I see him on TV, the words “smarmy prep-boy” come immediately to mind.
    I will say this for him – compared to MotherTucker Carlson, he’s a towering intellect. But, then, so is a slug.

  23. Thanks, a bit – I worked through Judd Legum’s five questions at my blog (I won’t threaten anyone with eyeburn by providing a link). Very briefly:

    1. What was the purported “conflict” that required the initial prosecutor to step down?

    Protestors insisted he was covering for the Sanford PD.

    2. Why did the prosecutor ignore the recommendations of the lead homicide investigator?

    I ask myself that very question at the forty minute mark of every Law and Order episode. This investigator needs to leak triable evidence, not feelings.

    3. Why did then-Police Chief Bill Lee make public statements directly contradicting the official recommendations of the police department?

    Here is ex-Chief Lee in the NY Times, Mar 16:

    “The evidence doesn’t establish so far that Mr. Zimmerman did not act in self-defense,” Chief Bill Lee of the Sanford police said this week, responding to why Mr. Zimmerman had not been arrested. He said he would welcome a federal investigation. “We don’t have anything to dispute his claim of self-defense at this point.”

    “Can’t dispute” is different from “We believe”.

    4. Who leaked Trayvon Martin’s school records?

    The Miami PD leaked some, presumably the Sanford side leaked the rest. Maybe they thought it would calm outrage of a public pleading for info, or save their jobs. Would an answer to this help at trial? I suppose maybe, if the strategy is to try the Sanford PD.

    5. Why was Trayvon Martin’s body tagged as a John Doe?

    I’ll give him that – the timing of the ID and the likely supplementation of the initial police report is interesting. I have no idea what standard practice is, or ought to be, or whether other police reporting would clarify that, so it doesn’t convince me that we need to indict the whole PD.

    My big question is kind of petite – where was Zimmerman’s SUV parked? From the map, his 911 cal and the leaked versions of his story we can guess what he claimed his path to have been; *IF* he can’t be shaken on that, then Martin had several easy routes home after they broke contact the first time and there was no reason for them to meet again unless Martin doubled back.

    If ‘his version’ (as leaked) is not accurate, he might have parked further down in the complex, entered the commons area at a different place, and caught Martin on his way home. No doubling back by Martin, less credibility for Zimmerman. Knowing the car’s location would prove nothing but at least be somewhat suggestive.

    • Tom — the questions —

      1. We don’t know what the alleged conflict was, or even if there was one and they’re just using “conflict of interest” to cover up some other reason why the prosecutor apparently shut down the investigation. That’s why it remains an open question.

      2. At this point there is a massive amount of circumstantial evidence that says Zimmerman had been following Martin on foot for some distance and shot him for no apparent reason. So to continue to say that the prosecutor’s judgment must have been correct and the investigator’s must have been wrong is beyond irrational. There was plenty about that case that was questionable from the beginning, and investigation should have continued.

      Now, if you want to argue that it was correct under Florida law to not arrest and charge Zimmerman on the spot, OK. From what I can tell that is possibly so. But to simply take Zimmerman’s word about what happened and not even investigate further is beyond incompetence.

      3. The plain fact is that there WAS evidence all along that called Zimmerman’s account of things into question, and for the prosecutor to say he couldn’t dispute Zimmerman’s testimony is outrageous on its face.

      4. The leaking of the school records makes the police look even worse. Instead of issuing statements explaining their actions and decisions, they begin a smear campaign of Trayvon Martin. It looks as if they knew they screwed up and were just covering their butts; that’s why people are angry about the leak. I can’t imagine why the school records would come up in the trial, however. I think most judges would say they aren’t relevant to the case.

      5. It might be there was some reason Martin’s body was tagged John Doe, but again, the significance of this is that it LOOKS as if the Sanford police simply weren’t taking the death seriously. Again, there may be a perfectly good reason for the delay, but a competent police department would have explained that reason instead of leaking the victim’s school records.

      As far as the location car is concerned, I give you credit for trying to understand this.

      I’m sorry I can’t find it now, but last week one of the cable shows had a segment in which a woman walked the route of the pursuit and shooting. The place where Martin was killed was straight down a sidewalk from his dad’s girlfriend’s house, and at least a few yards from the road or anywhere a car might have been. From this, it would appear that Martin was walking straight back to the house and Zimmerman was following him on foot. Maybe this is wrong, but it’s certainly plausible. It’s the sort of thing that needs to be considered by a jury.

      Which bring us back to the real issue, which is that the only reason this case is a big bleeping deal to most of us on the Left is the police inaction. Maybe the reason for this inaction is something other than racism on the part of the police. And yeah, Al Sharpton is grandstanding overmuch.

      But given the long sad history of racial injustice on the part of the criminal justice system in this country, it’s not irrational to think that racism is the most likely reason the police were not taking the death of a black teenager seriously. And if the reason is something other than racism, at this point the nation needs to know that.

  24. If ABC is now ‘running point for “the Left,’ what is that odious blond neanderthal relic, Ann Coulter, doing on my TV with George Stephahoweryouspellhisnameous?

    She’s SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO yesterday’s news!

    F. Scott Fitzgerald was wrong – there are 2nd act in America. Especially if you’re a perpetually angry Reich-winger, in a constant state of hissy-fit delirium!

    Poor Ol’ Ann – I guess her fans at ABC are giving her some pity face-time.

    They’d better get a wide-angle lens for her – that adam’s apple’s the size of a Chevy Volt.

    ABC – Ann Coulter?

    I mean, really, ABC – Ann Coulter?

    ABC – are you now expanding your Wingnut Welfare beyond George Will and your usual band of Reich-wing ‘lesser renown’s?’

    Ann Coulter?
    And on Palm Sunday?

  25. 1. What was the purported “conflict” that required the initial prosecutor to step down?

    “Protestors insisted he was covering for the Sanford PD.”

    They also questioned if there were political ties between the prosecutor, and Zimmerman’s father, which could jeopardize the case, if revealed. That was my first question after learning of the prosecutor’s decision to step down.

  26. On NBC’s MTP today:
    Joe Scarborough moderates with Tom Friedman, David Brooks, Jon Meacham, Fmr. Rep. Harold Ford (D-TN) and Mika Brzezinski.

    If you’re uncertain of what day it is, when you turn-on the television and the “Liberal” voices on a news show are Harold “WTF!” Ford, “The Great Mustache of Moronousity,” and famed Stockholm Syndrome TV wife, Mika, you can be sure its a Sunday. The “center” is represented by Bobo. And for Catholic somnambulists, they have Jon “Zzzzzzzz” Meacham.

    If it’s Sunday – it’s always Meet the Conservatives – where even the “Liberals” are Conservative.

    At least ABC had Van Jone on with “Angry” Ann Coulter. Ok, they didn’t let him talk much – but at least the man was on!

  27. The 911 operator didn’t tell Zimmerman not to follow Trayvon Martin. What he said was “You don’t have to do that.” From the tone of his voice, I gleaned that the dispatcher didn’t want Zimmerman to follow Martin but I am not surprised that Zimmerman didn’t take it as an order. In fact, later in the same call the operator tries to get Zimmerman to wait for the police to meet up with him but when Zimmerman insists instead that the police call him when they arrive the scene, the operator apparently gives this plan the okay. Despite this a strange meme at odds with reality has cropped up wherein Zimmerman acted against the direct orders of the police. Similarly the charge of racial profiling on Zimmerman’s part doesn’t hold much water. It was the operator who asked whether the suspicious character was white, hispanic, or black and Zimmerman didn’t answer that question till Trayvon Martin came toward his truck.

    • Despite this a strange meme at odds with reality has cropped up wherein Zimmerman acted against the direct orders of the police.

      I think it’s mostly irrelevant whether he had a direct order to not follow or not. The fact is that he was following Martin, which makes him the aggressor.

      Similarly the charge of racial profiling on Zimmerman’s part doesn’t hold much water.

      Whether Zimmerman was suspicious of Martin because of his race is something the lawyers can argue about in court.

      For a minute, forget about race. Assume both Zimmerman and Martin are plaid. Zimmerman sees Martin walking. Zimmerman thinks Martin is suspicious. Zimmerman follows Martin. At this point, given where the shooting took place, it is obvious that for at least the last few minutes of this scenario Zimmerman had left his truck and was following Martin on foot. His story about getting out of the truck just to check the address is absurd, given that the shooting essentially took place in what most of us would call a back yard, some distance from the road. We also know that Martin was talking on his cell phone to his girlfriend most of this time; there are phone records. If the timeline we’re being presented with is accurate, he must have been on the phone until second before he was shot.

      Given the circumstantial evidence, Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense is absurd on its face. I believe that’s true even under the “stand your ground” law. Zimmerman wasn’t standing his ground; he was pursuing Martin. Martin was not preparing to assault Zimmerman; he was talking on his cell phone. The self-defense claim is absurd regardless of the race of either Martin or Zimmerman.

  28. Ian,
    I really, really really, doubt, hoodie, or no hoodie, if Zimmerman would have called 911, and got in his car, to chase after a WHITE kid, in a predominantly WHITE gated community. If he was suspicious of every white teenager who walked around his neighborhood, he’d have called 911 thousands of times a year.

    The “gates” in gated communities aren’t there to keep white teenagers in, or to prevent their white friends from coming over – they’re to keep out those nefarious evil-doing “others.”

    I might be wrong, but…

  29. Some things that really have me puzzled… the absence of blood on Zimmerman’s clothes despite Zimmerman’s claim that Trayvon Martin was on top of him bashing his head against the pavement, and for that matter, how this pavement bashing occurred when the struggle was on somebody’s lawn. Also Martin’s phone call to his girlfriend. Zimmerman denies there was a phone call but phone records indicate there was so I think it is understandable that I give greater credence to the girlfriend’s statement which sounds unembellished than to Zimmerman’s which sounds grossly distorted and self serving. That phone call, according to the girlfriend, was cut short a few sentences into the verbal confrontation between Martin and Zimmerman. My immediate suspicion is that Zimmerman struck first, knocking the phone out of Martin’s hand which, if in any way provable, would certainly put the lie to Zimmerman’s claim of self defense which is flimsy to begin with since his pursuit of Martin was already an act of aggression which should obviate the “stand your ground” claim. And finally, what happened to Zimmerman’s second 911 call, you know the one to report a shooting? He didn’t make one. This goof would call in any activity which he deemed suspicious but he didn’t call in an actual shooting. Maybe he was just too busy getting his story straight…

  30. 2. At this point there is a massive amount of circumstantial evidence that says Zimmerman had been following Martin on foot for some distance and shot him for no apparent reason.

    “Some distance”? Per the maps and based on the 911 call and police report, the shooting occurred about 30 yards from where Zimmerman ought to have parked his truck. That is roughly a twenty second walk.

    “No apparent reason”? An eyewitness, ‘John’, says he say Martin on top beating Zimmerman,who was calling for help. At Adam Wainwright’s summary at Mother Jones he appears as the “”Holy Shit, the guy’s dead out here… Oh, my God” 911 call.

    The fact is that he was following Martin, which makes him the aggressor.

    I need a lot more clarification on that rule because I often walk in my neighborhood and end up behind someone else. Is it OK for them to mace me, since I am the aggressor following them?

    Not to be tedious, but based on the maps (GoogleMaps plus the police reports shed a lot of light on this) Martin had several clear, unimpeded paths home. Why didn’t he make it? Zimmerman’s story is that Martin doubled back.

    I’m sorry I can’t find it now, but last week one of the cable shows had a segment in which a woman walked the route of the pursuit and shooting. The place where Martin was killed was straight down a sidewalk from his dad’s girlfriend’s house, and at least a few yards from the road or anywhere a car might have been. From this, it would appear that Martin was walking straight back to the house and Zimmerman was following him on foot.

    Zimmerman was parked (ostensibly) on Twin Trees Lane, at the back of a row of townhouses, so no house numbers were visible (he implies, and that is easily checked.)

    Per his father, he took the cut through behind those townhouses all the way to Retreat View Circle, where he would get both a street sign and house numbers, being at the front of these townhouses. The cut through might be 50/60 yards.

    He then headed back to his car, as per instructions. About halfway back, he encountered Martin scuffled, and shot.

    That might be all BS, and some of it is kind of pat – as a concealed carry guy he should have studied the law, so he ought to know what self-defense points to make to the police; his dad is similarly equipped.

    Still, while he was walking left to right and then left again on the map, Martin should have been headed down towards his house. So how did they meet ?

    Saying “the police should investigate” doesn’t mean much – they have interviewed and re-interviewed witnesses, for example. Is there some reason to think that there are plenty of other people who have not come forward? They addressed the community at a neighborhood meeting – where are the witnesses with the key story that have yet to come forward?

    I have the impression that people are using the failure to find helpful witnesses as proof of a poor investigation. Maybe those witnesses just don’t exist.

    FWIW: GoogleMaps buffs will get very close to the fatal spot if they find 1231 Twin Trees Lane and 2821 Retreat View Circle, Sanford, FL; the killing took place in the commons area between those two townhouses (but really, more like directly behind 1231 Twin Trees Lane).

    Martin was headed to a townhouse on Retreat View Circle that backed onto that commons area. He was in the townhouse at the bottom of the commons area (which is roughly 100 yards long); the killing took place near the top.

    He could have taken the cut through all the way to Retreat View Circle and headed for home, taken the cut through half way and gone down the commons area (my choice if the other guy has a car) or mixed it up by cutting between the townhouses (looks passable, not confirmed). Talk is cheap, but there is no way that 17 year old me is overtaken by George Zimmerman if I am running with fear and commitment. Or even walking and planning to keep my distance if I see him.

    Yet he ran away and never got anywhere. My guess is the police or the prosecutor is having trouble with that.

    • Tom — I know you are determined to find that Zimmerman is innocent. Your continued insistence that the one eyewitness must be right and all other testimony and evidence wrong tells me you are not being honest.

      Zimmerman’s father’s testimony is worthless. I assume he would lie for his son. I haven’t really put a lot of faith into the testimony of Martin’s girlfriend, either, although I don’t know if she’s lying or not about what she heard on the phone. I assume people lie or are confused. Eyewitness testimony is often wildly unreliable, and Zimmerman’s father wasn’t even there. And if Martin’s father made any claims, I wouldn’t believe them either.

      Forget all testimony, in fact. Just go by the facts we know that don’t depend on testimony. In that case,the evidence all works against Zimmerman. If we disregard what Martin’s girlfriend said, we still have phone records that confirm they were talking on the phone to each other while Zimmerman was following Martin, possibly up until seconds before he was killed. That tells me he wasn’t seriously preparing to assault Zimmerman.

      I will try to say this as plainly as I can — whatever happened, Zimmerman caused it. No reasonable person could think otherwise. It was Zimmerman who set the circumstances of events into motion. It was Zimmerman who instigated the altercation, whatever it was, between himself and Martin. As far as I’m concerned, even if Martin had knocked down Zimmerman and was punching his head on the pavement that looks suspiciously like grass in the photos, that would have been self-defense on Martin’s part. To any rational and objective person Zimmerman was the aggressor and should not be able to claim self-defense for killing Martin. If Florida law says otherwise, then I pity Florida. Life must be cheap there.

      Now, go away and bother somebody else. I don’t like talking to people who are not willing to be honest.

      PS — Booman is mostly right, although I don’t think you are stupid as much as you lack the moral courage to acknowledge facts that don’t fit your worldview. .

  31. Here is what I think is a plausible scenario. Trayvon Martin sees this creepy stranger in a truck eying him, so he ducks between two buildings to get to the common area where he pauses to catch his breath and perhaps conceal himself because he could hear the truck door slam. He’s really spooked. I would be. So would anyone. He calls his girlfriend. Tells her what’s happening. Perhaps the reason he didn’t make a break for home was because he would have been too exposed in the common area and, who knows… maybe his pursuer has a gun.

    • Ian, hmm, well the area where the shooting took place was way out in the open and on the way to his father’s girlfriend’s house. From what I can tell, for the last few minutes before the shooting Martin was out in the open and on a walkway that led directly to the girlfriend’s house. There was a segment on this on one of the cable shows that I wish I could find and embed here, but it really does look as if Martin was just trying to get back to the house with his Skittles.

  32. I keep hearing Zimmerman being part of the neighborhood watch but I’m guessing he didn’t actually live in this particular neighborhood, the block of houses that share this common area. In fact, he was almost certainly trespassing. Which would toss out “stand your ground” as a defense since the statute reads:
    A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground…
    Trespassing strikes me as an unlawful activity.

  33. I would spell epistemic closure if I thought I could get it right. As to whose worldview is more flexible, one of us is able to chit-chat with those with whom we disagree; another seems to prefer a solidarity of views and considers those who disagree to be cowardly liars. Whatev.

    Just to start tomorrow’s brawl today, this is buried in the NY Times:

    However it started, witnesses described to the 911 dispatcher what resulted: the neighborhood watch coordinator, 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds, and the visitor, 6-foot-1 and 150, wrestling on the ground.

    Many of the implications are obvious.

  34. Tom…You’re right again, many of the implications are obvious… but only once you get past the however it started.

    May I take the liberty of expounding on my sage advice?.. Ye shall know them by their blog rolls.

  35. Ye shall know them by their blog rolls.

    Evaluated by mean, or variance?

    A small sample of the implications from Charles Blow of the Times,writing on March 25:

    To believe Zimmerman’s [self-defense] scenario, you have to believe that Trayvon, an unarmed boy, a boy so thin that people called him Slimm, a boy whose mother said that he had not had a fight since he was a preschooler, chose that night and that man to attack. You have to believe that Trayvon chose to attack a man who outweighed him by 100 pounds and who, according to the Sanford police, was wearing his gun in a holster. You have to believe that Trayvon chose to attack even though he was less than a hundred yards from the safety of the home where he was staying.

    This is possible, but hardly sounds plausible.

    Where to start? Why would Martin be scared and fleeing from the right-sized Zimmerman? Why would it be absurd to think he would pick a fight with him? Why is it hard to believe he was winning, or that Zimmerman was fearful for his life?

    • Why would Martin be scared and fleeing from the right-sized Zimmerman? Why would it be absurd to think he would pick a fight with him? Why is it hard to believe he was winning, or that Zimmerman was fearful for his life?

      You aren’t paying attention. First, if there was a fight, Zimmerman picked it. And that would have been true even if Martin threw the first punch. It was Zimmerman’s actions that caused the confrontation to happen. At the time of the shooting, I’ve figured out, Zimmerman had been out of his truck for about 12 minutes and had spent part of that time chasing Martin on foot. In a sane world, by all rational standards, Zimmerman was the aggressor. If Florida law says otherwise, Florida law is an abomination.

      The two men shouted at each other, there may or may not have been a physical struggle, and Martin was shot. We don’t have a coroner’s report, but the undertaker who prepared Martin for burial said there were no signs he had been in a fight; no bruised knuckles, for example. We know from the police surveillance that Zimmerman’s original claim of a broken nose and serious head injuries were bogus. He had no more than a nosebleed and a scalp abrasion, if that. I think Booman’s theory that the police filed a false report about his injuries is plausible. Martin was shot and killed on grass, so we know the claim that Zimmerman was getting his head pounded into pavement likely is a lie. Eyewitness testimony about who was on top is conflicting, but we know the police asked them leading questions to solicit the testimony that Martin was assaulting Zimmerman. Even then, some witnesses continue to say that they believe it was Zimmerman assaulting Martin.

      And now that we know it was most likely Martin shouting for help — your arguments to the contrary are absurd, for reasons Booman already explained — it all adds up to it being highly unlikely that Zimmerman had any reason to be in fear of his life. It’s far more likely he just lost control of his temper. He had a prior history of “snapping.”

      Now, I will also say that I don’t know with absolute certainty that’s what happened, but everything we know about the case says that’s what happened, and you have to cherry pick the hell out of the evidence to say otherwise. In any event, the whole mess needs to be heard by a jury, which apparently will never happen unless people keep pressure up to force it to happen.

      However, once again, even if Martin somehow had been able to overpower Zimmerman and was getting the better of him in a fight — highly dubious, but let’s pretend — even then, Zimmerman was the aggressor because he was the one who set up the confrontation. Martin was not stalking Zimmerman; Zimmerman was stalking Martin. So even if he did fear for his life at the moment he pulled the trigger, Zimmerman is still responsible for the death of Martin by any rational standard.

      Now, I’m terribly busy and I have no interest in arguing with you further on this matter. The discussion is over.

  36. Evaluated by mean, or variance?

    Well, in most cases by entirety.

    One of the most puzzling questions that I have regarding the shooting of Trayvon Martin is the initial call to 911..Zimmerman didn’t have sufficeint visibility to ascertain the race of Trayvon but yet he had enough visibility to determine or suspect that he was on drugs or something.. What drug would be able to betray it’s usage under the conditions Zimmerman made his assessment..Alchohol might if Trayvon was stumbling drunk and Marijuana might if Zimmerman was close enough to see Trayvons eyes, but other than that there’s no way Zimmerman could make that call without having a predisposed purpose to target Trayvon.

    Not to go off on my scriptural tangents…but the bible does say…From an abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. And it does make me wonder if Zimmerman was setting the stage to exercise his stand your ground right.

    • One of the most puzzling questions that I have regarding the shooting of Trayvon Martin is the initial call to 911..Zimmerman didn’t have sufficeint visibility to ascertain the race of Trayvon but yet he had enough visibility to determine or suspect that he was on drugs or something..

      Martin was wearing one of those cell phone headsets so he could talk to his girlfriend without holding a phone to his face. I can imagine the young man having an animated conversation, complete with the body language that goes with it. But if it hadn’t occurred to Zimmerman that Martin was talking on the phone, I could see how he might have assume Martin was high on something (other than young love). It breaks my heart to picture Trayvon acting like a normal teenager and getting shot for it.

  37. maha…That’s what I’m trying to say…To assume he was on drugs shows an intent to portray him as a criminal beforehand or perceive him as a criminal before any information to the contrary could be gathered. it’s a biased assumption that should have been kept to himself rather than relay it to the dispatcher. I see it as a betrayal of Zimmerman’s motive. It wasn’t necessary information to convey and it tells me something wasn’t right in Zimmerman’s 911 call.

    Why didn’t Zimmerman say ..The guy is displaying erratic behavior, or seems to be mentally unstable , or just needs to be checked out. Why drugs if not for a prejudice?

  38. I stand in awe at the blinding righteousness each of you commenters show re: this case. The key, of course, being the blinding part. Without sight, you see what you want to see, not what’s actually there. Was this manslaughter? Maybe. Was this self-defense? Maybe. Was this murder? Highly unlikely. None of you holy liberals know more than the police officers on the scene who tended to Zimmerman’s wounds, interrogated him (did you see him in handcuffs?), interviewed witnesses, and determined they didn’t have probable cause. But don’t let facts or lack thereof stand in the way of you making a political stand or righting the wrongs of a prior generation(s). Zimmerman? Simply collateral damage in your righteous war of tolerance and diversity (diversity of thought, though, is not to be tolerated by you!)

    • Mark — Thank you for visiting The Mahablog. Since I assume you got to this post via a link from another site, you may not be aware that this is only one of thirteen (so far) posts I have written on the Zimmerman-Martin case. If you read the posts and comments you’ll see we have covered the facts pretty thoroughly. I dare say we discuss a lot of facts being ignored on right-wing sites. So here are the Trayvon Martin archives:

      And don’t let the door hit your butt on the way out.

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