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Reality By Tom Wolfe

The black man who put a gun to Paula Deen’s head a quarter-century ago in an armed robbery, after which she made herself History’s Greatest Monster by using the N-word to describe him to her husband, has spoken out in her defense [1]:

King was caught and sentenced to 25 years in prison after the Deen robbery and a separate robbery. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, now and when we spoke to him, he actually broke down in tears. He blames himself for Paula Deen’s troubles.

“I really feel for her,” King said. “She’s being persecuted because of that one little mistake in her judgment. She was acting out of anger.”

King had 13 prior convictions for robbery before he pointed a gun at Paula Deen. He says he’s turned his life around.

But the Paula Deen empire is crashing down. More of her business partners are severing ties with her. JCPenney and Sears are the latest to jump ship.

Quips Kathy Shaidle [2]:

Tom Wolfe is out there somewhere enjoying the hell out of all this.

Actually, he’s probably at home watching the George Zimmerman trial, which is descending into farce. From the NYT [3]:

change_me

Prosecutors in the second-degree murder trial of George Zimmerman scrambled Tuesday to undo damage to their case by one of their leading witnesses, a Sanford police officer who interviewed the defendant hours after he fatally shot Trayvon Martin.

The witness, Officer Chris Serino of the Sanford police, had testified under cross-examination [4] on Monday afternoon that Mr. Zimmerman seemed to be telling the truth when he said he had fired his gun in self-defense. The officer’s remarks made for a dramatic moment in the trial — and clearly benefited the defense — but drew no immediate objection from the prosecutors. The court then recessed for the day.

But early on Tuesday, citing case law, the prosecution successfully argued that Officer Serino’s comments about Mr. Zimmerman’s truthfulness should be disregarded by the jury. The judge then instructed the jurors, who are being sequestered during the trial, to ignore the officer’s statement — nearly 17 hours after he made it.

Officer Serino’s testimony, in the second week of the trial in Seminole County Court, was the latest setback for prosecutors, whose witnesses have repeatedly helped bolster the defense’s case.

Steve Sailer quotes [5] an acidly funny section of Wolfe’s Bonfire Of The Vanities that reads like prophecy. Caution — the language is not safe for work.

92 Comments (Open | Close)

92 Comments To "Reality By Tom Wolfe"

#1 Comment By EliteCommInc. On July 4, 2013 @ 2:43 am

“The norm being enforced by the shaming is, in essence, white subservience to blacks. I think that our obsession with rooting out white racism has reached the point where we are trying to crucify anyone who says anything that might offend a black person. The whole goal is for whites to constantly be terrified of giving offense to blacks.”

I am having a good laugh about these comments. I think they warrant a response. but whether I do or not —- You need a good dose of historical reality on these comments and the other about fighting back.

As for rooting out racism — laughing. Given the country’s history — just how hard you really think that is?

But the Martin case cuts deep into a a rather deep groove of issues among police and blacks and it will be years and years and tears — and perhaps never – before blacks can trust the criminal justice sysem in the United States —

that is justified and sad reality.

And importing 11 or 100 million hispanic or europens is not going alleviate that hook in mouth.

#2 Comment By EngineerScotty On July 4, 2013 @ 2:56 am

We think Paula Deen should have her job back. And I would like to cause some boycott pain to the companies that fired her. No one is saying that the government should force them to hire her back, just that we are outraged at the companies firing her and want to let them know. I called my cable company and asked them to drop the Food Network. If I have the money and an opportunity, I might buy a Paula Deen product.

And that is certainly your right, and I will not begrudge you of it. I suspect Deen, like many a “rehabilitated” Dixiecrat congresscritter (there aren’t many of these left though), will eventually be welcomed back into polite company after some period of contrition.

And yes, you are right, this is an example of shaming at work. But you see, we are not objecting to the tactic per se, but to the end to which it is used.

Which was exactly my point. You have your social norms, other people have theres.

The norm being enforced by the shaming is, in essence, white subservience to blacks.

And now I must ask–are you utterly nuts? Have you taken leave of your senses? Nobody is suggesting that Deen ought to be serving drinks at a wedding for Jay-Z or similar. I can think of hardly anybody who advocates replacing centuries of black subservience to whites with its inverse. And as a practical matter, blacks are still less than a quarter of the US population, and control an even smaller proportion of the country’s wealth. The US isn’t South Africa, where the economically and politically dominant ethnic group is a minority.

A free clue: What us liberals want to replace the old status quo with is this: nobody is subservient to anybody, at least not based on something as arbitrary as race. The idea that the left writ large is interested in black dominion of whites is just paranoid nonsense. I’m sure you can find some campus cuckoo who advocates this (you can find a campus cuckoo to support pretty much any position, actually, and campus cuckoos frequently hoot about race like clockwork), but mainstream liberal opinion supports nothing of this sort.

#3 Comment By William Dalton On July 4, 2013 @ 2:58 am

It is clear your readers have imbibed two very different sets of “facts” about the Zimmerman-Martin case, and that explains the sharp difference in their opinions. Well, that is why we try cases in court instead of in the media. Both sides get to present their version of the facts, under rules designed to help the jury sort the wheat from the chaff, and they will reach their verdict. I hope they aren’t overwhelmed by public opinion and what will happen to them as a result. I gave up watching much US network news after the 2008 election when Ron Paul was shunted to the side. I watched the BBC and RT today, listed to NPR, and finished watching Charley Rose, and the news was all about the coup in Egypt, the outrage at the forced landing of Bolivian President Correa’s plane in the Empire’s pursuit of Edward Snowden, and other news of international interest. Not one word about the Zimmerman trial. Ain’t the fact we have choice a wonderful thing?

I will comment on one strange line apparent here – the idea that George Zimmerman was in any way committing a civil or criminal wrong in following Trayvon Martin, for as long as he did so, or even approaching him with questions. As long as I have lived, Americans have a Constitutional right to follow other people, or go anywhere else they want on the public streets, and not have to have any reason, good or bad. They also have the right to ask them questions, shout at them, jeer or heckle them, if they feel like it. Those who are being followed can choose to shout or heckle back, stop and stare at their pursuer, run away, or ignore it. What neither the pursuer nor the pursuee have the right to do is assault or impede the other’s right to walk freely on that same public right-of-way. I don’t know which broke this rule first, but neither would Martin have wound up lying dead nor Zimmerman have sustained his injuries if both had adhered to it.

#4 Comment By Kathy Shaidle On July 4, 2013 @ 8:39 am

Thanks for the link!

#5 Comment By Glaivester On July 4, 2013 @ 9:21 am

Turmarion and Scotty, how about criticizing Oprah for her black supremacism?

[6]

If you can’t do that, STFU about Paula Deen.

#6 Comment By Art Deco On July 4, 2013 @ 9:22 am

As an Appalachian, I’m irked by people who make hasty or ignorant generalizations–like having an idea that it’s all like the Beverly Hillbillies, for example.

The characters in the Beverly Hillbillies were from the Ozarks; it was never very clear what Jed Clampitt had done for a living back home other than ‘shewtin’ at some food’. He certainly was working in a coal mine.

They both love their people but do not refrain from excoriating them mercilessly and to an extent endorsing criticisms from outsiders. They are both angry and frustrated by their neighbors because they come from there and they see how they shoot themselves in the foot by their cultural norms.

There are Bageant fans in my family. That having been said, if you want to critique the Shenandoah Valley, it would not be for any sort of vernacular culture of bad health habits or clannishness. It would be for descending into Mall-Land like every other place in America. (“Hey, Rocky, haven’t we been through this town before…”). The Mennonites are holding out, but they are a modest feature of the landscape.

#7 Comment By Art Deco On July 4, 2013 @ 9:26 am

Erin, you said “safe to say”. If you think he did the wrong thing in the precise circumstances he was in, what would be the right thing? “Something else” doesn’t cut it. Dodging the question by charging him with felonious truck egress doesn’t cut it either.

#8 Comment By Art Deco On July 4, 2013 @ 9:32 am

EliteComm,

You need to put down the bong and re-learn how to put a coherent paragraph together.

#9 Comment By Art Deco On July 4, 2013 @ 9:47 am

Erin is right that 2nd degree murder is overkill. But if an unknown person is following you, and you think they mean to harm you, turning on them is a normal response. If Zimmerman made himself something of a threat, then like EliteCommInc says, Zimmerman is at fault, something about the level of negligent homicide (names vary by state).

Once more with feeling. A map of the complex is available on the “Wagist” site and many other places. The point in time Trayvon Martin ran out of sight can be identified from the recording of the call to the dispatcher. It was about 85 yards from where he disappeared to the back door of Brandi Green’s townhouse. At an ordinary running pace, he could have been inside in less than 20 seconds. Yet, he turns up several minutes later and begins beating on the neighborhood watch captain, a propos of nothing in particular. There has been next to no evidence presented to date that Zimmerman was doing anything but loitering around waiting for the local police which he had just called less than two minutes earlier.

Listen to the call to the dispatcher. Zimmerman lost sight of him when he ran away and never regained sight of him during his remaining time on the phone. Zimmerman could in the time allotted conceivably have walked about halfway down the block and back, either on the street or in the alley-way, but their is nothing notably provocative about that, unless you want to indict the youngster walking his dog in the area at the same time. If Zimmerman ever got within 60 yards of Martin, it would have to have been because Martin hid at some location near the intersection of the walkways or because Martin at his own discretion turned around and walked back to that intersection. People are so bound and determined to make the approved social scapegoat culpable that they cannot see what the map of the complex tells them quite plainly.

#10 Comment By Turmarion On July 4, 2013 @ 10:28 am

Erin, I agree with you–it’s a miracle, alert the Vatican! ;)–but I’d like to add a nuance. [7] argues, cogently in my view, that the verb traditionally translated “kill” in the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” has, since the last century, tended to be rendered as “murder”, and that this is in service to, or a result of, a political agenda that wants to loosen strictures against taking human life. The idea is that therefore things such as capital punishment become more palatable.

Glaivester: And yes, you are right, this is an example of shaming at work. But you see, we are not objecting to the tactic per se, but to the end to which it is used.

By definition, don’t the ones who are shamed always object to the end to which the shaming is used?

#11 Comment By EliteCommInc On July 4, 2013 @ 11:31 am

I am still responding to several comments here — but in the light of Florida’s record with blacks — an honest assessment —

if in Chicago, Nashville, Los Angeles, Baton Rouge . . . etc., would you give full faith and credit to the police if you were ‘black’?

I like the police, but it’s leap to ask any black person to trust them at face value on the record of merrit. And amazingly many of them do.

#12 Comment By MH – Secular Misanthropist On July 4, 2013 @ 12:27 pm

Glaivester, there are many reasons to dislike Oprah. For example she is incredibly credulous and spreads all manner of misinformation. Here’s a funny quote on the topic

‘Today on the Oprah Winfrey show: balderdash, superstition and a dose of iffy medical advice from some New Age healthcare “gurus” who haven’t been recommended by your doctor.’ – Guy Adams

#13 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 4, 2013 @ 12:36 pm

Americans have a Constitutional right to follow other people, or go anywhere else they want on the public streets, and not have to have any reason, good or bad. They also have the right to ask them questions, shout at them, jeer or heckle them, if they feel like it. Those who are being followed can choose to shout or heckle back, stop and stare at their pursuer, run away, or ignore it.

Not entirely. There is a point at which such behavior becomes criminally actionable. It could be criminal harassment, drunk and disorderly conduct, or even assault, short of battery, or it could be threatened or attempted battery, or intimidation.

There is a point at which, if I follow you down the street shouting at you, calling you names, interfering with your peace and quiet enjoyment (yes, even of the public sidewalk), you can call the cops and have me ordered to cease and desist, or arrested if I refuse to cease and desist.

Nobody has claimed that Zimmerman was shouting at Martin or walking side by side with him — but the broad sweeping claim I’m responding to is not accurate.

I was once walking down the street to my front door, at night, past a ten-story apartment building, when a young man behind me started running rapidly in my direction. I did not say to myself, well, he has a right to go running down the public sidewalk toward me for no apparent reason in the dark of night, I will just keep walking along as if nothing is happening. I turned around and put my arms up across my chest defensively, and he stopped.

This had a happy outcome. He exclaimed “I’m not running after you,” and I think he was telling the truth. It turned out he was anxious to pick up a small package wrapped in paper that had been tossed to him out of a window in the apartment building, which I hadn’t seen, as I was facing the other way. So we parted without further friction. But I was not out of bounds to assume possible danger to myself.

Jeter: Well YOU certainly keep trying again. Every time I shoot down one claim, by describing in detail the photo image YOU linked to as “evidence,” you come back with another story line. OK, it is possible that Trayvon Martin was leaning against one of the apartment buildings, towering over a two or three foot high shrub, and left that position to stride across twenty or thirty feet of open lawn to confront Zimmerman about why Zimmerman was following Martin.

And on that note, I defer to the wise observation above that the verdict will be determined by a jury which is relieved of other duties to give their full attention to hearing ALL of the evidence, within rules and court room decorum which should hopefully allow them to sort out the wheat from the chaff.

#14 Comment By Art Deco On July 4, 2013 @ 12:42 pm

I am unclear how this will play out. Sadly, the issue will be forever clouded by the failure of the police to conduct a thorough initial investigation.

Rubbish. The investigation produced the salient pieces of information you need to assess this situation: the autopsy report, the witness statements, Zimmerman’s medical records, the photographs taken at the scene, the forensic testing, &c. The trouble is, it just does not interest Zimmerman’s detractors. They go on stupid jags with their fanciful assessment of his self-concept, manufacture a crime out of quite unremarkable behavior, traffic in internet memes that were debunked more than a year ago….

#15 Comment By Art Deco On July 4, 2013 @ 12:45 pm

I don’t know which broke this rule first, but neither would Martin have wound up lying dead nor Zimmerman have sustained his injuries if both had adhered to it.

Read the autopsy report. Martin was free of injuries other than a gunshot wound.

the outrage at the forced landing of Bolivian President Correa’s plane in the Empire’s pursuit of Edward Snowden, and other news of international interest. Not one word about the Zimmerman trial. Ain’t the fact we have choice a wonderful thing?

The President of Bolivia is named Evo Morales and the ‘outrage’ in question is that two sovereign countries did not want his plane in their airspace.

There is no ’empire’.

#16 Comment By K. W. Jeter On July 4, 2013 @ 1:35 pm

PerSiarlys Jenkins: Every time I shoot down one claim, by describing in detail the photo image YOU linked to as “evidence,” you come back with another story line. OK, it is possible that Trayvon Martin was leaning against one of the apartment buildings, towering over a two or three foot high shrub, and left that position to stride across twenty or thirty feet of open lawn to confront Zimmerman about why Zimmerman was following Martin.

You haven’t shot down anything, Jenkins. It’s only in your imagination that it’s “twenty or thirty feet of open lawn” that Martin would have had to cross in order to confront Zimmerman. Look at the police reenactment video here:

[8]

from about the 7:00 mark onwards; the area that Zimmerman indicates Martin approached him from, to the left of Zimmerman as he is being videotaped, from the side of the building with the bushes planted near it, is a couple of yards at most. Stephen Hawking could cross that distance in a couple of seconds; Martin would have had no problem in crossing it quickly enough to take Martin by surprise. As Zimmerman indicates on the reenactment video, he had already passed the point without seeing Martin around the corner of the building, which would simply have allowed Martin to approach him from behind. All of this is consistent with Zimmerman’s other descriptions of the incident, such as the initial written statement he gave police that night:

[9]

All of which would be the likely reason that police investigators indicated that they saw no significant inconsistencies in Zimmerman’s statements about the incident. An assessment that the prosecutors in the case appear to agree with, since they’re certainly not hammering on the existence of the bushes, or their distance from the point on the walkway where the struggle between Zimmerman and Martin apparently took place, the way you self-appointed internet detectives are going on about it.

In other words, try again.

#17 Comment By William Dalton On July 4, 2013 @ 1:51 pm

Siarlys, you are right that at some point shouting and heckling may become criminally actionable. That is why I said it must stop short of assault. Assault does not require direct physical contact, which is battery. As defined in Wikipedia, “An assault is carried out by a threat of bodily harm coupled with an apparent, present ability to cause the harm. ” So the person being harassed may call the police and complain that they are being threatened, but the police may not intervene unless they judge, objectively, by a reasonable person standard, that the shouting and heckling meets that definition of assault. Obviously, shouting and heckling politicians are long valued expressions of American liberty and should remain so. If legal shouting and heckling, or even just following, becomes continuous and repetitive, it may more likely be viewed as threatening, or at least restrictive of one’s liberty, and one may apply to a court for a cease and desist order, as in the case of stalking. But I don’t believe the police can enforce a cease and desist order until a court issues one.

Art, you caught me on confusing my Bolivian and Ecuadorean presidents (they’ve both figured in Snowden reporting in recent days). But I know no one who would buy the argument that the fact “two sovereign countries” (actually three) both denied the Bolivian President access to their airspace was a coincidence. I see the less than invisible hand of the “Empire” to which those countries are subject behind those actions.

#18 Comment By Sands On July 4, 2013 @ 1:59 pm

“I am unclear how this will play out. Sadly, the issue will be forever clouded by the failure of the police to conduct a thorough initial investigation. ”

And why do you say that? Is it because its what you’ve been told? Or have you come to that conclusion after looking into things?

You’re a staunch opponent of SSM, correct? And haven’t you posted on this very blog about media bias on the issue? So why, when it comes to George Zimmerman and the Sanford Police Department, are you so trusting of the media?

#19 Comment By Erin Manning On July 4, 2013 @ 4:59 pm

Art Deco, I’m thinking that under most circumstances it’s not necessary for an armed person to shoot fatally an unarmed person to get the unarmed person to back off; I’m also, again, going by what Zimmerman himself has reportedly said after the fact. Now if Martin had, indeed, seen the holstered gun and was grabbing at it (which is unclear and can’t be proved given the absence of Martin’s prints on the gun) then my “excessive force” objection is set aside; it is not excessive force to use your gun when someone else is trying to use it on you.

I also think (and I believe the Church says so, too) that using excessive force when under duress and in a state of panic may not always be a grave sin, given the mitigating factors of fear, adrenaline, and the like. But as interesting as the leisurely theological considerations after the fact might be, the important question is whether by *legal* standards Zimmerman is guilty, not only of excessive force, but of second degree murder. I don’t think that has been or even can be established beyond reasonable doubt.

#20 Comment By EngineerScotty On July 4, 2013 @ 5:46 pm

Oprah is a racist and a black supremacist

I clicked on your link, Glaviester, and I didn’t find any evidence for the above claim, other than a few unsubstantiated allegations on an obvious white-supremacist website. I did note, in the comments, a [10] in which you go and channel your own inner Quentin Tarantino (and a few of your commentators, exhibiting even less restraint than you, have a few rather truly vile things to say). I should note that I had to encode the URL with bit.ly as the plaintext link includes the N-word in in and was thusly rejected by the moderation filters at TAC.

To which I say, in the most ironic Southern sense possible, “bless your heart”.

Stay classy.

#21 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 4, 2013 @ 5:53 pm

Very briefly Jeter, because your petty outbursts are not worth much time, I didn’t imagine anything, I looked at the photographic image you linked to. And I’ve been watching this video of Zimmerman driving around with the nice police officer, but it doesn’t clarify anything you’ve been talking about. Let’s see what the jury says, since you and I aren’t going to have the slightest influence on the verdict.

Friend Dalton, we’ve both highlighted the distinction between assault and battery, but there is a level of harassment short of assault that the police could act on, even if its no more than, “As of now, you walk away and leave this person alone.” Say, if I was walking along, shouting in your ear, not threatening to punch you, just calling you names and occasionally pointing you out to passersby and repeating those names, etc…. after a bit, that could be actionable. In fact, I remember calling 911 over such an incident, I think the other person was literally either psychotic or drugged,and the police who showed up were familiar with the person, and it ended with me going one way and that person going another.

One sense I did get from watching the Zimmerman & cop video… if I were in Martin’s position, and someone like Zimmerman were stopping their car to watch me, then driving ahead, then waiting for me to walk past, then following me around the corner and past me, then got out of their car in my vicinity… I’d be quite wary of what this unidentified nonuniformed creep was up to.

#22 Comment By EliteCommInc. On July 4, 2013 @ 6:39 pm

“You need to put down the bong and re-learn how to put a coherent paragraph together.”

I need to improve my writing and proof reading. I agree. Now about this bong suggestion, highly inappropriate and nonresponsive.

I do not drink.
I have never been drunk or close to it.
I have never used illegal drugs — though I hammered on no doze when I was in school.
I am celibate and no regrets.
I can engage in rather colorful language —
I am a bitter bitter guy —
I generally don’t call names or assume that the people I am communicating with are on drugs.

But if the best you can do is make suggestions about my character — of which you know nothing. I can only say despite my limitted social skills — you have some rhetorical skills of your own to address.

You may be frustrated because I have view of the historical character and environment of this issue — but my poor writing skills, my sober disposition will not change that.

I cannot untangle the contradictions in Mr. Zimmereman’s story. I cannot unravel the issues in dispute. I cannot unravel the level of justified suspicion that blacks have of the police. I cannot unravel that an armed man supposedly trained in self defense was unable to fend off by warning or self defense an unarmed man. I have no issues that Mr. Zimmerman in his rounds. I have no issues that he was armed. But I do have issues with this tale. And I think as I do with the police — in this instance the trouble begins and starts with Mr. Zimmerman and is convoluted by the actions of the police.

I am not inclined to limit my view to mr. Zimmerman being beaten up if that is the case. As for bruising — blacks do bruise, but it is certainly not immediately evident. I have broken up enough issues to know that. At any rate, I am dubious as to the events. A kid looking to avoid Mr. Zimmerman is not likely to turn around and pick a fight — but Mr. Martin is not here — we don’t have his story. We only have the words of altogether interested parties.

I am more troubled by Mr. Martins absence than Mr. Zimmerman’s bruises.
_____________________________________

As for trials in courts. I can only say, black people are all too aware of how the criminal justice has operated, with good reason, from arrest to trial they are keenly aware. Which is why my my black students to a one can provide me in consistent detail their training when confronted by the police.

When an officer says the person they hve had to use force to subdue is in control so they had to continue to use force. Here’s what I have learned — a person moving is probably responding to pain the pain being exerted — sometimes deliberately to make the case of resisting arrest. A choke hold even that new under the arm technique — a loss of air is a frightening event and anyone so experienceing it is going to fight for air — it’s an instictive response —

But ultimately the parents of Mr. martin will have deal with what occurs in the clourtroom. And there are no choke holds or handcuffs, or contentions about resisting and arrest. Just two men at night — meeting in what is a tragedy. But the responsibility always lies heaviest with those acting in authrity — and in my mind. Based just on the scenario, not merely the physical confrontation —

I would be surprised if Mr. Zimmerman walks away clean and free. I understand that many this is about color and I think it is clear that color was at play — but more importantly, unless you are engaged in an offense — you are entitled to walk on the sidewalk home without fear of interference.

Aside from the spelling or grammar — I would nbot back away from any earlier comment — attacks about my charcter aside.

#23 Comment By Art Deco On July 4, 2013 @ 7:04 pm

Erin, you evaded the question. He had no avenue of retreat nor very much freedom of movement.

What were his actual alternatives? The situation is dynamic and the blows to the head could readily cause concussion and loss of consciousness.

#24 Comment By Turmarion On July 4, 2013 @ 8:43 pm

Glaivester, I can honestly say that I haven’t watched, listened to, or kept up with anything Oprah Winfrey has said or done in probably twenty years, at least. To the extent that she does racist things, sure, I’ll condemn that. Racism, tribalism, or supremacism of any type is odious. I would say that I’m not sure how donating to a black people’s museum is “black supremacism”–that sounds like the complaints of rednecks when I was in college along the lines of “They built a black student center–why don’t they build a white student center?”. As if all student centers for most of our history weren’t de facto white student centers. As if the emphasis on most museums hasn’t been on dead white males. Also, you’ll note that even Rod agreed that he could see where Wright was coming from, after calming down and putting himself in his shoes.

However, once more, to the extent that I give a damn about Oprah–or Paula, or most media people, for that matter–any type of differential hiring, mistreatment, etc., is bad coming from anybody of any race.

#25 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 4, 2013 @ 10:19 pm

Art Deco, it seems plausible that rendering Zimmerman senseless was precisely what Martin wanted to do. Then he could proceed home in peace without being molested further by this creepy guy following him around.

#26 Comment By Erin Manning On July 5, 2013 @ 1:04 am

Well, Art, he had enough freedom of movement to draw his gun, raise it into firing position, and shoot. Whether that was enough freedom of movement for him to take other actions or not is something I can’t say, never having experienced this sort of attack. The point, again, is that Zimmerman in his statements before the trial seemed to think that it was at least possible that he might have had other options. Granted, that’s calm, rational analysis after the fact and when he has killed someone (after which most decent people will be remorseful even if the action was completely justified and there were no alternatives). But still, I think the word of the man who was actually in the situation counts for more than combox analysis, in the end.

#27 Comment By Art Deco On July 5, 2013 @ 8:40 am

Yet another evasion, Erin. Thanks for turning moral discourse into humbug.

Art Deco, it seems plausible that rendering Zimmerman senseless was precisely what Martin wanted to do. Then he could proceed home in peace without being molested further by this creepy guy following him around.

Actually, what he did was

1. Call the non-emergency line according to protocol concerning a youth standing on someone else’s lawn in a neighborhood that had had trouble with burglaries.

2. Get out of his vehicle and look around his own neighborhood. There has been no evidence to date offered that he did anything but loiter about on a walkway connecting two roads. Trayvon Martin was not visible and had every opportunity to return home had that been his object. Depending on the lighting, George Zimmerman might have caught a five second glimpse of him entering Brandi Green’s house.

3. And you knew that. Martin’s options have been reviewed and reviewed again in this discussion. You really should ask yourself why you find the need to offer expressions of contempt for ordinary people caught in unusual situations. Attempting to contrive some sort of principled point about it is asinine when it’s just self-aggrandizing crap.

#28 Comment By Glaivester On July 5, 2013 @ 9:09 am

I would say that I’m not sure how donating to a black people’s museum is “black supremacism”–that sounds like the complaints of rednecks when I was in college along the lines of “They built a black student center–why don’t they build a white student center?”. As if all student centers for most of our history weren’t de facto white student centers. As if the emphasis on most museums hasn’t been on dead white males.

Except that we are rapidly approaching the point where whites will be a minority, and there is no evidence that whites will allowed to celebrate their culture at that point, either. All whites are to be eternally regarded as the evil privileged overclass, even after we have been totally displaced. This has a lot of precedents, and it is a recipe for persecution.

#29 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 5, 2013 @ 9:45 am

Erin, you’re really trying to be fair and balanced, but when we have been deprived of the word of the other man who was actually in the situation, I am dubious of how much the word of the man who fired the gun counts. The combox analysis doesn’t mean much in the end, but if I were on the jury, I would take the explanation of the man who pulled the trigger with a large grain of salt.

#30 Comment By EliteCommInc. On July 5, 2013 @ 11:37 am

“Get out of his vehicle and look around his own neighborhood. There has been no evidence to date offered that he did anything but loiter about on a walkway connecting two roads. Trayvon Martin was not visible and had every opportunity to return home had that been his object. Depending on the lighting, George Zimmerman might have caught a five second glimpse of him entering Brandi Green’s house.”

Without hearing Mr. Martin, that statement despite all of the video reenactments — is the story, of the accused, the police 9seeking to avoid a laws suit — even the charge is evidence of that) and the people who live in the complex, no vested interests there.

If Mr. Martin was not visible, you have no idea what he was capable or incapable of doing. I am not sure why someone on a food run would be loitering — these descriptions get further and fuerther from believe ability the more they are profferred.

Mr. Martin, knows little about self defense despite his course work – vastly different than the real world. When he saw Mr. Martin, hood and all, I have no doubt he was keyed. I have no doubt he actually stalked someone walking through the neigbhborhood on the sidewalk. It’s clear, that Mr. Martin was scared (creepy . . .) and unarmed. In my mind, the accused initiated a confrontation (not wanting another kid to get away with it). Got more than he bargained for. And in a panic, shot Mr. Martin needlessly. If he dances away — some manner of injustice will have occurred.

I understand the vehemence of gun supporters, whites, the police in defending the matter to include case structure and prosecution. I have no doubt that Miss Coulter and many others will be dancing in the streets, if the accused escapes. I seriously doubt that there will be mayhem in the streets. I don’t think the police will be so careless in such cases again.

#31 Comment By Turmarion On July 5, 2013 @ 11:38 am

Glia ester, explain exactly how it will not be possible that “whites will allowed to celebrate their culture”. Will the Fourth of July or Labor Day or baseball be banned? But aren’t these general American things?

Or maybe you’re suggesting that St. Patrick’s Day parades or Oktoberfests as in Cincinnati will be banned? Do you really believe that?

Give me a specific example of what you mean, and just how it will no longer be possible for it to be celebrated. If you can’t give something beyond ominous but tantalizingly vague predictions, I call b.s.

#32 Comment By Erin Manning On July 5, 2013 @ 5:26 pm

Art Deco, one more time: it’s not evasion. In general, speaking objectively, it is going to be at least possible that excessive force was used when a person who is armed kills a person who was not armed. In this specific situation we can combox-analyze all we want, but the truth is that right now a jury of 12 is being asked to consider all of the evidence and is not being given the privilege of assuming that everything Zimmerman has said is truthful while everything the prosecution witnesses has said is not. You want me to say, “Oh, excuse me, I was wrong: it’s not even remotely possible that Zimmerman used excessive force (in the moral, not the legal, sense) even though an unarmed man ended up dead in a fight which left Zimmerman with a broken nose and abrasions.” I can’t say that. If I were on the jury it would be my duty to decide whether I could say that or not, but as you are not the judge and I am not on the jury you do not have the right to compel me to subscribe to your interpretation of the as-yet incomplete information (since the defense has not yet presented its case).

Siarlys, as you can see, I agree with you, which is why so much of the other evidence (where Zimmerman actually went and where he was when Martin attacked, what the eyewitnesses saw and heard, the toxicology information on Martin, etc.) is so important. Based on that evidence alone (not on any of Zimmerman’s words) I don’t see how the prosecution has even come close to proving second-degree murder beyond reasonable doubt.

#33 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 5, 2013 @ 6:13 pm

I don’t see second degree murder either. That requires malice, although not premeditation, in most states. I see a good possibility of voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, or negligent homicide, which I believe the jury will have the option to consider. If the evidence shows Zimmerman was following Martin, not merely hanging out waiting for the police to show up, and Martin reacted to Zimmerman following him, then Zimmerman initiated a confrontation that resulted in death, which would not have happened if Zimmerman had stayed in his vehicle.

#34 Comment By MH – Secular Misanthropist On July 5, 2013 @ 8:38 pm

Turmarion, Cinco de Mayo celebrations will be mandatory, Corona* will replace Bud, and all TV stations will be owned by Telemundo. Consider yourself warned.

* I would prefer Negra Modelo, but our new overlords didn’t ask me.

#35 Comment By EliteCommInc. On July 6, 2013 @ 11:23 am

premeditation: The accused’s comments prior to the incident are all that is available to his state of mind with one addition: the presence of a weapon.

He fully intended to confront someone and he found his opportunity. He created an environementan incident of fear on others for the purposed of using deadly force. he wanted to make sure that they didn’t get away with it —

So that on a wet cool evening — a frightened young pursued by an unkown person was needlessly shot to death.

Was his action premeditaed — absolutely.

#36 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 6, 2013 @ 9:24 pm

Art Deco, you are too admiring the sound of your own voice to pay attention to what anyone else is saying. Now I’m going to have to repeat something I already said, and expand on it. It started with one of the videos Jeter referred us all to, which, he believes, prove Zimmerman’s innocence and good intentions. Here’s what I found in it:

One sense I did get from watching the Zimmerman & cop video… if I were in Martin’s position, and someone like Zimmerman were stopping their car to watch me, then driving ahead, then waiting for me to walk past, then following me around the corner and past me, then got out of their car in my vicinity… I’d be quite wary of what this unidentified nonuniformed creep was up to.

I certainly believe that Zimmerman believed he was an upstanding citizen doing the right thing. I can credit that after the killing, he had some moral doubts, as anyone with an ounce of moral sense would, even over a fully justifiable homicide. But he did far more than “loiter about on a walkway connecting two roads.”

Based on what he was showing the police officer, as captured on video, he parked his car, watched a young man walking down the street, drove past him, parked, watched the young man walk by his vehicle, pulled out again, drove past him around one corner and another curve, got out of his vehicle… IF I did that to you, or you did that to me, either of us would become very suspicious of the motives and intentions of the “creepy” guy following us.

Now you or I might hurry away, or dial 911, or politely ask from a safe distance “Can I help you sir? Are you lost?” But I don’t think there is any question that Zimmerman started the ball rolling, and the net result is that someone is dead.

If I were to shoot you, in the honest but unreasonable belief that you posed a threat to my safety, I would be convicted of a felony, a relatively small felony as homicides go, but your death wouldn’t be “OK” because I honestly BELIEVED you were a threat to me, if you were in fact just minding your own business.

#37 Comment By Sands On July 7, 2013 @ 1:04 am

Siarlys,

You’re using pure emotion to justify the overzealous and political prosecution of George Zimmerman.

Maybe you think there should be laws prohibiting a civilian from racial profiling or following someone in their neighborhood that they believe are acting in a suspicious manner. But Florida has no such laws and certainly didn’t at the time of this incident. Nothing Zimmerman did was illegal or so threatening or so reckless that it justified Martin’s violent response. And if he did, where is the evidence? Where is the evidence that Zimmerman walked right up to Martin and confronted him? If Martin was just scared of the “creepy guy”, why didn’t he just beat him up a little and just walk away?

You keep bringing up negligent homicide, but where is the evidence that Zimmerman’s actions were so reckless that they caused the death of another person. If he were so reckless, why didn’t he just jump out of his truck, gun drawn, and attempt to detain Martin the moment he saw him instead of pulling over and calling police? A reckless person doesn’t usually pull over and call police. Why wait for Martin to run off into the darkness before confronting him? If Zimmerman was so relentless and reckless in his pursuit, why did the altercation occur closer to Zimmerman’s truck than Martin’s condo? If Zimmerman was so creepy and scary, why didn’t Martin go home, or at least make it farther than he did? You see, these things just don’t add up. And the prosecution has never had way to explain them.

The original prosecutor declined to prosecute Zimmerman for lack of evidence and, when the case became political with all the protest, the governor decided to get involved. He appointed a special prosecutor who decided to charge Zimmerman. And the special prosecutor, knowing that she lacked solid evidence, skipped the grand jury.

When it became apparent that the case hinged on who confronted who in the darkness of that complex, and knowing that that there wasn’t a single person who witnessed the initial confrontation, the prosecution began focusing on the cries for help heard on the 911 calls. When an expert from the FBI, using scientifically approved methods, found that it could not be determined who was screaming for help on those calls, the prosecution wanted to use (this is where it gets really disgusting) two “experts” using junk science. They said, “let’s just let the jury figure it out for themselves.” That is really what they said — just let the jury figure it out. Science be damned. (And haven’t you said something similar about letting the jury just figure it out, no matter how weak the evidence?)

In 1987 a man by the name of Michael Morton was on trial in Texas for murdering his wife. A doctor, using shady science, was allowed to testify that Morton’s wife was still alive when Michael left for work that morning. And the jury — you guessed it –was left to just figure it out. Well, they got it wrong. Twenty five years later DNA evidence cleared Mr. Morton. And during the twenty five years Mr. Morton wasted away in prison, his son grew up, and the man who killed his wife killed another woman. Turns out he really was at work when his wife was killed that morning. But, you see, that’s what happens when you bring a case to trial with weak evidence and junk science and leave it to a jury to just figure it out.

#38 Comment By Sands On July 7, 2013 @ 1:09 am

*Should have been “…was allowed to testify that Morton’s wife was dead when Michael left for work that morning.”

#39 Comment By Turmarion On July 7, 2013 @ 11:08 pm

MH: Oh, the humanity! Actually, I prefer Negra Modelo, too.

#40 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 8, 2013 @ 12:08 am

Whatever I’m doing Sands, you have offered no evidence that it is “pure emotion.” In fact, when you have to quibble over the application of legal terminology I referenced, apparently there is something more than emotion involved. Methinks you doth protest too much.

You don’t have to be doing something ILLEGAL for your actions to be RECKLESS, and if there is one thing that is factually established, it is that something Zimmerman did led to the death of another person.

Giving full credit for good intentions to both of Zimmerman and Martin, we have a tragic situation where Zimmerman was honestly concerned about a guy hanging out in the neighborhood who might be up to no good, and bore watching, while Martin was honestly afraid that some creepy dude in an SUV was following him for some nefarious purpose. Each acting on these misapprehensions, they had a fatal confrontation.

Its not at all clear where the case of Michael Morton gets you… a doctor testified to the truth, the jury didn’t believe him, but then you yourself describe his testimony as “junk science,” and it turns out he was innocent. Who is the “junk science” expert witness for Zimmerman? Your analogy is muddled.

Bottom line, as I see it, Martin set out to do something that had nothing to do with Zimmerman… walk to the store, buy some snacks, walk home. Zimmerman set out to do something that had a great deal to do with Martin… follow him, keep him under conspicuous surveillance… In Zimmerman’s mind, he was doing something justified, but when you put yourself out getting into other people’s business, in the honest belief you are doing the right thing, and it has a tragic consequence, you may well be legally liable for causing a death.

Like I said, its at least partly analogous to if I honestly believe you are lurking with intent to rob me, pull out a gun (let’s assume I’m legally licensed to carry it), and shoot you, but it turns out you were merely examining a clogged drain outside your own property… I sincerely believed I was defending myself, but you’re dead for no good reason, and I would do time for that.

Again, giving full faith and credit to both Martin and Zimmerman, Martin believed he was ridding himself of an imminent threat (as you might do to a would-be mugger if you had the chance), Zimmerman believed he was defending himself from a thug… it was all a mistake, but Zimmerman started the tragic chain of events, and he’s not the one who died. He committed some degree of negligent homicide.

It is in fact up to the jury to decide who to believe. Considering the quality of SOME “expert testimony” I believe that is a good thing. Juries should question expert testimony MORE than they do. Attorneys earning their pay should find something better than “junk science” to establish facts that are truthful.

#41 Comment By Sands On July 8, 2013 @ 2:01 am

The emotion is right there in all your little personal stories and scenarios. And if your arguments are based on anything but emotions, please explain your ludicrous claim that the bushes were located “twenty or thirty feet” away? No way you can claim that that argument is evidence based. It’s almost like you WANT to see something that isn’t there. That’s emotional.

And you, of all people, probably shouldn’t accuse others of protesting too much or admiring the sound of their own voice. Well, I don’t know if you talk out loud when you type, so I guess I can’t really accuse you of admiring the sound of your own voice. But you surely like — and this is evidence based — the sound of your own fingers hitting the keyboard.

You keep going on and on about Zimmerman’s culpable negligence. Your evidence of this negligence is that Zimmerman followed Martin — and the distance Zimmerman kept between himself and Martin seems to not matter to you — thus putting himself in a position to be assaulted. And because Zimmerman put himself in a position to be assaulted, Martin’s actions were justified and Zimmerman had no right to use deadly force to defend himself. Is that about right? You will not accept the possibility, despite all the evidence, that Zimmerman, at some point, stopped being the pursuer and became the pursued. Your emotions simply will not let you consider that Martin may have caused his own death.

I corrected myself on the Morton case. And the doctor did indeed use ‘junk science.’ I don’t need to explain what that is. The State in the Zimmerman case wanted to use the testimony of two people (one with a History BA) who developed their own software that has not been accepted by experts in the field. In the words of an audio expert with FBI, ‘their methods are troubling.’ That’s who they wanted the jury to hear. It says a lot about your character (and theirs) if you think that it’s OK for the State to present junk science to a jury.

You posting the same scenario twice doesn’t make it anymore relevant. Martin responded with a vicious attack on Zimmerman. And there’s evidence that that attack occurred AFTER Zimmerman stopped following him.

And we get to your ol’ fallback — let the jury figure out. I mean, why not, huh? Juries never convict innocent people prosecuted with weak evidence and junk science — except when they do.

#42 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 8, 2013 @ 12:31 pm

There is a proverb about arguing with a fool, so I’ll keep this brief.

The emotion is right there in all your little personal stories and scenarios. And if your arguments are based on anything but emotions, please explain your ludicrous claim that the bushes were located “twenty or thirty feet” away?

What personal stories? I’ve never been in Florida in my life. I have no personal stories to offer. I gave an empirical description of what appeared in a photograph that someone arguing more or less the way you are arguing referred us to. I described what appeared in the photograph. Where’s the emotion? Well, YOU sound awfully passionate about this. Thank God the verdict is up to a jury.