The doctor was IN: Horwitz doctors a quote!

MONDAY, MAY 21, 2012

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen this: Last Friday night, the Washington Post’s Sari Horwitz appeared on the PBS NewsHour.

Margaret Warner asked Horwitz to explain the “treasure trove of documents and tapes” which were released last Thursday by prosecutor Angela Corey. Asked to discuss the police reports of eyewitness accounts, Horwitz somewhat oddly said this:
HORWITZ (5/18/12): You know, Margaret, as in many of these criminal cases, eyewitnesses see different things, they hear different things.

So in this case, you have one man that says he saw a black man on top of a white man, beating him up. And he describes the white man, what he’s wearing, a red jacket, which would be George Zimmerman. But then you have a woman who is standing in her house and looks out her window and hears, she says, a boy screaming. So you know, two different accounts.
The eyewitness “looked out her window and heard a boy screaming?” Somewhat comically, that’s what Horwitz said.

Was Martin on top of Zimmerman, beating him up? We can’t exactly tell you. But in this instance, the male eyewitness Horwitz cites seems to have been a true eyewitness; he says he stepped outside and spoke to the combatants as they fought, he had repeatedly said. (The police reports say he would have been thirty feet from the combatants.) Horwitz balanced this person’s account with an “eyewitness” who looked out the window, then explained what she says she heard.

So it has gone when the Washington Post attempts to report the facts of this case. As she continued, Horwitz gave a rather selective account of the newly-released documents:
HORWITZ (continuing directly): One person saw one man chasing another, so different accounts. It was dark, it was raining. The other thing you have is a 911 recording that recorded the screams outside. A woman called during the fight and you get the screams on tape.

Trayvon’s mother says that is definitely Trayvon screaming for his life. George Zimmerman’s parents say, no, that’s absolutely George Zimmerman.

The state prosecutor, special prosecutor Angela Corey, brought in the FBI. They did an analysis which was inconclusive. They said the tape isn’t good enough for them to make a, come to a conclusion. So what this leaves us with, it really sums up the case, is a lot of uncertainty. It shows the difficulty in bringing closure and certainty to this very highly charged case.
Odd! Everyone has known all along that Trayvon’s mother and Zimmerman’s father each say the voice belongs to their own son. That was very old news. But Horwitz skipped something which really was new in those documents—the police report which said that Trayvon Martin’s father initially said it wasn’t the voice of his son.

Martin’s father may have been wrong—but that was new in the “treasure trove.” Why did Horwitz skip it?

We have no idea. But earlier, Horwitz had skipped past another new fact:
HORWITZ: There are a lot of details in the medical reports that show us that this was sort of an intimate hand-to-hand struggle. There was—from DNA, we can see Trayvon’s blood on George Zimmerman’s shirt, George Zimmerman’s blood on Trayvon’s sweatshirt, blood under Trayvon’s fingernails, all kinds of material that shows us that this was a real struggle and a fight.

And there were—there is video and there's photos that show that George Zimmerman was, indeed, injured. There are lacerations to the back of his head. He had a bloody nose. And Trayvon, we know from the autopsy report, has an injury on one of his fingers.
In that treasure trove, there are also several reports which note that Zimmernan’s nose was actually broken. Why did Horwitz settle for a “bloody” nose? We have no idea—but basic information was being withheld from NewsHour viewers.

That morning, Horwitz had reported on the new documents on the front page of the Post. In the Post, she did report what Martin’s father had said—but she stuck with the “bloody” nose construction. Adopting a requisite narrative, she said “the documents include information that points to what some have characterized as a sloppy and incomplete police investigation,” offering rather selective evidence in support of that mandatory claim.

She and her editors also authored a very strange piece of reporting. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a quotation doctored as strangely as this:
HORWITZ (5/18/12, The Washington Post): The documents include new details about what witnesses said they heard and saw that dark, rainy night outside their townhouse windows. One witness told police that he heard someone saying, "I've got a gun. I've got a gun."

Another said she heard "arguing" coming from the walkway behind her residence.
Wow! From the quoted statement as Horwitz reports it, a reader might get the impression that someone threatened someone with a gun that night! Since Zimmerman had the only gun, it’s clear who that would have been!

But Horwitz gave a remarkably misleading account of the full quotation. Here’s the fuller text of the police report from which she took that partial “quotation.” In the report, Officer Chris Serino is reporting what one ear-witness said:
SERINO (3/13/12): [The witness] articulated the sounds he heard as “ah, ah, ah,” and then he heard the same voice yelling, “help! help!” approximately twenty (20) times. He then heard a “pop,” ran upstairs, and then heard someone saying “I’ve got a gun, I’ve got a gun,” “take my gun from me.”
“I’ve got a gun, I’ve got a gun,” “take my gun from me.” Within the full context of these reports, it’s clear that this ear-witness was describing statements by Zimmerman after the “pop” of the shooting, as he informed the police that he had a gun. (Adding to the tragedy of these events, police arrived on the scene almost instantly. Zimmerman surrendered his gun.)

For unknown reasons, Horwitz reported the part of the quotation where Zimmerman said, “I’ve got a gun, I’ve got a gun.” But she omitted the part which came next, where he said, “Take my gun from me.” In the process, she made no attempt to explain the obvious context of the quoted statement—and she may have lodged a highly bogus impression in many readers’ minds.

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a major “journalist” truncate a quote so strangely. But then, it’s important to understand how badly our journalists often function, especially when they’re reporting a story which comes with some Clear Preferred Narratives.

Did Zimmerman commit a crime that night? We have no idea, in large part because the facts of this case are emerging very slowly, often in the face of disinformation campaigns. And uh-oh! As the facts of this case become available, the journalists of the Washington press corps will often obscure them—sometimes through mere incompetence, sometimes through devotion to script.

Why would a journalist truncate that quote? We don’t have the slightest idea. But whatever may emerge about Zimmerman’s conduct, the journalistic treatment of this case has already been an astonishing scandal.

The rest of “the press” will ignore that, of course. We will offer several more posts on this topic this week.

53 comments:

  1. Still to come, in this comments thread: Zimmerman's a pussy.

    Also, so what if the coverage is bad/biased? Free thinkers can sort it out!

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    1. Don't bother to read the rest -- this prediction was uncannily accurate.

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  2. The level of stupidity is astounding. The race hustling morons have not sorted this out and recognized what Alan Dershowitz and everyone else not invested in stoking racial conflict realized. That the only crime committed aside from Martin attacking Zimmerman was Angela Corey charging Zimmerman.

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    1. Sane people don't think that charging Zimmerman was itself a crime.

      Sane people can't be absolutely certain Zimmerman committed no crime at all.

      Sane people admit they don't know Martin "attacked" Zimmerman.

      Sane people have doubts about the facts in this case -- unlike *both* the "race-hustlers" and the Zimmerman apologists.

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    2. Is it possible that Zimmerman approached Martin in a way that Martin thought was threatening and responded by "standing his ground"?
      If so this kind of gives the edge to the guy with the gun whether he is the "good" guy or the "bad" guy

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    3. What? A kid walking back from a convenience store, telling his girlfriend over the phone that some white guy in a truck is following him, him trying to get away, and the white guy with a gun chasing him down the street?

      How on earth could the kid possibly have felt threatened by any of that?

      It's obvious that the only criminal here is the dead kid.

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  3. "Martin attacking Zimmerman."

    Astounding. Welcome to the new Daily Howler, the new spot for white girly-men to come to find today's newest excuse for a white girly-man shooting an unarmed black kid to death because the girly-man got his gun, then got his ass kicked.

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    1. Welcome to the new Daily Howler indeed! Home to the most shameless trolls on the web.

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    2. Hey, I'm sure Bob would welcome anybody reading his blog these days.

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    3. So let's see.

      Now we've gone from the problem being that Zimmerman murdered Martin in cold blood, to the problem being that Zimmerman was a "girly-man" who wouldn't take a brutal punishment properly?

      Funny how much the argument changes while the conclusion -- that Zimmerman was an evil, disgusting person -- remains the same.

      It's almost as if no amount of fact will change your mind.

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    4. Brutal punishment now. A kid kicks the crap out of a skinhead who is stalking him, and we go all boo-hoo over the horrible beating the wussboy took.

      And sorry, you take a gun to a fistfight, you're a wuss.

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    5. Oh, and by the way, I'm not saying Zimmerman is an evil, disgusting person.

      I'm saying he's a wuss who, like a lot of wusses, needs a gun to make up for, shall we say, shortcomings in the masculinity department.

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    6. It's legal to be a wuss and it's criminal to physically attack a wuss.

      A wuss who is physically attacked has an absolute legal right to shoot his attacker if he fears serious injury, imminent forcible felony, or death.

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    7. Let me explain my basic point again, since there appear to be some cognitive issues at play.

      Once upon a time, the claim on one side of this ideological "debate" was that it was Zimmerman who was on top of Martin, and Martin crying for help. Zimmerman was then considered a cold-blooded murderer who refused to listen to Martin's pleas and continued to beat him up savagely, topping it off with a fatal shot through the chest.

      Then, of course, the tide of fact changed, and it became obvious that it was instead Zimmerman who was the one undergoing the savage beating. Suddenly, the problem changed. Now it was that Zimmerman was a "girly-man" who couldn't take his brutal punishment for having insulted the dignity of Martin, and reached for his gun and killed Martin to make it stop.

      So we go from Zimmerman as vicious savage to Zimmerman as girly-man. What remains the same? Zimmerman as evil and disgusting -- just as ideology demands.

      Oh, and BTW, it's funny how a commenter on the one hand dismisses the description of what Zimmerman endured as "brutal punishment", and then in the next sentence describes with approval and relish how Martin "kicks the crap out of him" because he presumed to follow Martin. I'm sure the commenter must be able to make out the distinction between the two in his own head, though no doubt it requires the heavy addition of ideology to make it work.

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    8. Well done, highly-adequate. You are most definitely hip to the jive.

      Although, I think you're being unfair to your critics. How can you fight prejudice if you're willing to acknowledge that the facts are against your preferred conclusion?

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    9. Anonymous on 5/21/12 @ 5:47P

      A wuss who is physically attacked does not have an absolute legal right to shoot his attacker if he fears serious injury, imminent forcible felony, or death. The wuss must not be committing a crime, and he must have a legal right to be in the place he occupies. If the wuss has provoked the fight, he must first make every reasonable attempt to retreat or make a good-faith offer of surrender. Should his retreat be blocked or his surrender be rejected, *then* he may defend himself, including the use of deadly force, once he's put in that reasonable fear.

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    10. That same tough guy nonsense being mouthed here didn't serve Martin well at all. Don't teach your kids to be quick to physical confrontation, as in this case it often comes with a lot of grief. Reject the "Thug Life".

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    11. Anonymous on 5/22/12 @ 12:03A,

      Thug Life? It's hard to give up on the narrative, isn't it? Martin was a kid, not even 18, and if hewasn't scared when he confronted Martin, he should have been. Kids make dumb choices, and they're especially known for rejecting parental advice. Scared people also make dumb choices. So here we're likely talking about a scared kid. No need to read the mind of the dead kid, is there?

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    12. Braintree here from a public computer:

      Have any of you guys calling Zimmerman a "wuss" actually listened to the police recarding of Zimmerman's call? He's on the phone with them for just over four minutes telling them how to meet him. Not only that, Zimmerman towards the end says that he's lost Martin.

      Zimmerman claims that Martin attacked him when he was on the way back to his car. There is nothing in his call to contradict that claim.

      If Zimmerman is telling the truth--and, as of now, there's little reason to think he isn't--then he had every right to shoot and kill Martin because he had reasonable cause to think his life was in danger. And, as a neighborhood watch patrolman it wasn't unreasonable to wonder why a strange kid was looking into other people's property, especially in the wake of a rash of burglaries.

      But let's call Zimmerman a wuss and blame him for the whole thing because, you know, we're fighting racism.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zj7qEcD8R-8

      BTW: If it's me being followed, I turn around and ask him if there's a problem, tell him what I'm doing in the neighborhood, do whatever I can to show I'm not a threat, decide he's a possibly overzealous jerk or maybe someone who has legitimate reason to worry and be on my way. I don't beat the crap out of him because that's stupid and dangerous.

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    13. For the guy who keeps calling Zimmerman a "wuss".

      You might think about what appears at this point to be a very likely scenario, given current evidence, one conforming to Zimmerman's account of how the incident started.

      Namely, Martin simply sucker punched Zimmerman. Among he-men, and even others who are simply civilized, a sucker punch is regarded as among the most cowardly ways to attack a person. If you really need to call someone a "wuss", maybe it might apply to Martin as well, don't you think?

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    14. Witness 6

      This witness lived a few feet from where Trayvon and Zimmerman had their fight. On the night of the shooting, he told Serino he saw a black man on top of a lighter-skinned man "just throwing down blows on the guy, MMA-style," a reference to mixed martial arts.

      He also said the one calling for help was "the one being beat up," a reference to Zimmerman.

      But three weeks later, when he was interviewed by an FDLE agent, the man said he was no longer sure which one called for help.

      "I truly can't tell who, after thinking about it, was yelling for help just because it was so dark out on that sidewalk," he said.

      He also said he was no longer sure Trayvon was throwing punches. The teenager may have simply been keeping Zimmerman pinned to the ground, he said.

      He did not equivocate, though, about who was on top.

      "The black guy was on top," he said.

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    15. Witness 6

      This witness lived a few feet from where Trayvon and Zimmerman had their fight. On the night of the shooting, he told Serino he saw a black man on top of a lighter-skinned man "just throwing down blows on the guy, MMA-style," a reference to mixed martial arts.

      He also said the one calling for help was "the one being beat up," a reference to Zimmerman.

      But three weeks later, when he was interviewed by an FDLE agent, the man said he was no longer sure which one called for help.

      "I truly can't tell who, after thinking about it, was yelling for help just because it was so dark out on that sidewalk," he said.

      He also said he was no longer sure Trayvon was throwing punches. The teenager may have simply been keeping Zimmerman pinned to the ground, he said.

      He did not equivocate, though, about who was on top.

      "The black guy was on top," he said.

      Delete
  4. For unknown reasons, huh? Perhaps without someone else's work in front of her she forgot to mention a few key details.

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  5. Shameless trolls, yes, but tough-talking he-man shameless trolls!

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  6. The Daily Howler's obsession with this case has become,,,unbecoming. He's probably correct about the details and the general left prejudice at least some of the media is displaying. Yawn.

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    1. Right, because there are surely no consequences to the media ramping up racial animosity with misinformation, since our country's racial history is so harmonious and benign.

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    2. Yeah, let's not rile up the darkies! Shouldn't they expect to get shot now and then when they are walking down the street? Who do they think they are?

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    3. Greg, if you notice, the Trayvon Martin posts are about the only think poor Bob has left that attract comments.

      You can imagine the slow burn he does every time Gail Collins gets 500 comments.

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    4. It is seriously doubtful that 500 rubes leaving comments for Collins surprises Somerby in the least.

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    5. I don't know what "misinformation" means, but I LOVE using naughty words like "darky" to call people racists. You might say it's my "thing."

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    6. Greg's obsession with telling Bob what Bob's supposed to be writing or not writing about has also become,,,unbecoming. Yawn.

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    7. Wouldn't dream of telling Bob what to write or how to write it. I would challenge his judgement if he views this case, and even it's abuse by the left media, as being more important and relevant than say, the issues described in Rachel Maddow's "Drift." Maddow is open season at her frequent worst, and I for one will never forgive fully forgive her behavior on campaign 2000 ( Hillary Clinton was trying to get Obama Assassinated, etc.), except perhaps in the remotely possible situation that She apologize. AND, it is the oft stated view of The Daily Howler (or at least once was) that part of our "dumb" problem is an inability to identify what's important and what is trivial.
      Somerby has decided this story is important, though if he views it as important beyond something more than an illustration of the liberal presses' foolishness and corruptibility, he hasn't much made this clear. Zimmerman's arrest is the result of Martin's family raising hell with a public relation's campaign which now appears to be something less than fully honest. Sometimes liberals react with much more heart than head when racial bigotry or cruelty seems to be the issue. I find this less surprisingly and bothersome than does "The Daily Howler." It would seem to be an issue where honorable people might disagree, indeed, George Will will tell you to this day that The Civil War was the fault of abolitionists, and there is at least a fringe of historians than support him.
      So at some point the issue it's fair to ask who's doing the "ramping up." I would add, regarding the emphasis on this story, which will all play out in the courts anyway, as opposed to say the Maddow book, that my own "tribe" is generally good with the stick, with the carrot not so much. This too has contributed to our many losses, even when the other side offers the likes of Mitt Romney.

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    8. Regarding the sub-discussion here of racial nomenclature, as Lenny Bruce used to say, "You can't play 'The Star Spangled Banner' on the piano w/o the white keys and the dark keys."

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    9. Greg,

      I can't even begin to understand your objection to Somerby's writing extensively about the Martin case.

      It has been splashed over the news in recent weeks like no other. And it exhibits some of the most perversely distorted reporting of which the media appears to be capable. It does so because it is serving a partisan/ideological agenda.

      It is, in short, exactly the sort of case that might best display the "howlers" to which Somerby has devoted his blog.

      So what would be the problem?

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  7. MSNBC fans have a big problem with the practice of political false equivalency, but no problem at all with the ludicrous false equivalency with which CNN, MSNBC, the NYT and others are treating the no-brainer Zimmerman self-defense incident.

    To be fair, it's possible they don't apprehend that "he was armed only with a pack of skittles and an iced tea and ended up dead" has zero legal relevance and does not justify a criminal charge against someone attacked by that same individual.

    If that confuses a large number of people who vote, we're in worse shape than we thought.

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    1. And you know Martin did the attacking because...? You were there? You're psychic? George Zimmerman is just such a trustworthy fellow we should be happy to take him at his word? Do tell us how you know it was Martin who was the attacker. You'd save the court system of Florida a lot of time and money.

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    2. Eyewitnesses, injuries, police reports, 911 calls including Zimmerman's, totality of evidence, logic.

      Overwhelming in Zimmerman's favor well beyond reasonable doubt or preponderance of evidence.

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    3. Witness 6

      This witness lived a few feet from where Trayvon and Zimmerman had their fight. On the night of the shooting, he told Serino he saw a black man on top of a lighter-skinned man "just throwing down blows on the guy, MMA-style," a reference to mixed martial arts.

      He also said the one calling for help was "the one being beat up," a reference to Zimmerman.

      But three weeks later, when he was interviewed by an FDLE agent, the man said he was no longer sure which one called for help.

      "I truly can't tell who, after thinking about it, was yelling for help just because it was so dark out on that sidewalk," he said.

      He also said he was no longer sure Trayvon was throwing punches. The teenager may have simply been keeping Zimmerman pinned to the ground, he said.

      He did not equivocate, though, about who was on top.

      "The black guy was on top," he said.

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  8. Nothing says "I'm a highly-masculine, well-endowed he-man" like anonymous internet comments.

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  9. Assuming the girlfriend's reported account is accurate, fear on Martin's part is the only factor that transforms the incident from a case of a criminal attacker "getting what he deserved" to a criminal attacker picking a fight with the wrong person leading to an outcome that can be called "tragic" for both men.

    That fear, if it existed at the moment an offended Martin attacked Zimmerman in response to Zimmerman's question, did not justify the attack, and did not cause Zimmerman to forfeit his right of self-defense.

    If it existed, it means those events represent unintended consequences of liberalized gun laws. If it didn't exist at that moment, it means the events that followed represent liberalized gun laws working exactly as crime-weary voters intended.

    In either case, Zimmerman's self-defense was completely justified.

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    1. Anonymous on 5/21/12 @ 5:12P,

      You're wrong about the law. If Martin attacked Zimmerman at the moment he had a reasonable fear of death or GBH, then not only does the law permit Martin's attack, it would allow him to use deadly force. By the same token, if Martin's fear been reasonable but mistaken, and his subsequent (legal) attack had put the same reasonable fear into Zimmerman, then Zimmerman would have legally been able to defend himself with deadly force.

      If Martin had been merely offended or had Zimmerman done nothing more threatening than ask a question, then Martin's reasonableness could be called into question. That is, if he weren't dead. Is Zimmerman's "self-defense" "completely justified"? We can't know that until we know what happened in the last minutes of Martin's life. We have Zimmerman's story and some reports of eyewitnesses, but we'll have to wait for actual testimony, and even then it might not be clear. What is clear how easy it will be for Zimmerman's version to prevail, but that's gonna happen when the only rebuttal witness is dead. Which means that the only person we're sure had a reason to fear for his life was Martin.

      These events, however "tragic," are not an unintended consequence of the SYG law, and that law was not the result of a groundswell of "crime-weary" voters. The outcome is the intent of the law, and its passage is the unwholesome combination of ALEC, the NRA, and chucklehead state legislators.

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    2. Oh, I'll agree with you on SYG. It's truly a knuckleheaded ALEC/NRA concoction that could certainly lead to open season on black kids walking down the street if Zimmerman walked away without even being charged.

      But even under SYG, you can't instigate a confrontation, shoot an unarmed person, then claim self defense. At least, that's the state's position in this case.

      To me, a very key piece of evidence will be Zimmerman's statement to police that night. That's the story he's stuck with, regardless of how much better it got with each new relative telling it later.

      The Zimmerman apologists want so badly to believe that the confrontation started when Martin began kicking his butt (assuming, for the sake of argument, that's what happened and we don't even know that).

      Nope. The confrontation started the second that Zimmerman grabbed his gun and got out of his truck.

      Now if Zimmerman told the cops that he chased the kid because he was running away, then that's not going to be so easy to explain.

      Then again, he might get a jury with enough knuckleheads on it who think it's perfectly OK to chase down and shoot an unarmed kid.

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    3. "In either case, Zimmerman's self-defense was completely justified."

      Sorry, counselor, but you flunk first year law. "Self-defense" doesn't cover both parties in a confrontation, even under SYG, and the author of Florida's SYG, the first in the nation, has even admitted that.

      It's sort of like killing both your parents then begging the court for mercy because you're an orphan.

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    4. Anonymous on 5/22/12 @ 5:21A,

      You're right that the text of SYG does not allow the aggressor to kill his opponent. In practice, that's exactly what happens. The bar for reasonable fear is low, and if the aggressor kills the only rebuttal witness, it's very difficult for the state to convict.

      I wouldn't say that the law will lead to open season on on black kids walking. After all, the law has been on the books since 2004 and we haven't seen that yet. According to the FL Coalition Against Handgun Violence, what we have seen is a ten-fold jump in cases of private citizens using firearms and claiming self-defense (from four in 2004 to forty in 2010). In about half of those, SYG protected the shooter.

      Let's be exact. We have no evidence that Zimmerman "grabbed" his gun. He says he was carrying it, holstered. This is legal. We have no evidence that he chased Martin. He followed him in a public place. This too is legal. Neither of those action constitute an illegal confrontation under the law.

      Anonymous on 6/22/12 @ 5:31A,

      Don't be so quick to flunk people out of imaginary law school. SYG requires only that you not be committing a crime, that you be allowed to occupy the place in which you stand, and that you be in reasonable fear for your life or grave injury or the life or grave injury of another. Even if you're mistaken about the situation. Nothing in the law precludes both parties from claiming SYG's shield. It's not the authors of the law who agree with you. The authors were ALEC and the NRA. The two chuckleheads who introduced the law agree with you, but they're just running for cover. And they're not the sharpest legal knives in the drawer.

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    5. What is clear how easy it will be for Zimmerman's version to prevail, but that's gonna happen when the only rebuttal witness is dead. Which means that the only person we're sure had a reason to fear for his life was Martin.

      The fact that Martin ended up dead does not create "reasonable fear" that justified a criminal attack in response to a question.

      Zimmerman had less than 2 minutes to formulate his elaborate lies which included himself as the screamer, himself as the one on the ground, with no knowledge of how many witnesses there were to set the cops straight on his "lies." His reasonable fear is established.

      Martin did not experience enough fear not to backtrack and attack Zimmerman once he got a good look at him. If both men ended up paralyzed from the struggle, each would advance a claim of self-defense but only Zimmerman's is adequately supported by the facts.

      Zimmerman's account clears any SYG threshold of proof many times over. It's a travesty he was charged.

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    6. Nope. The confrontation started the second that Zimmerman grabbed his gun and got out of his truck.

      Now if Zimmerman told the cops that he chased the kid because he was running away, then that's not going to be so easy to explain.


      In no state in the union does getting out of one's truck while legally carrying a gun amount to "confrontation."

      It is irrelevant to self-defense unless intent to harm or murder is proved, and no one calls the police while in the process of hunting someone down to murder them. No one whispers to a dispatcher that they do not want a person to hear them cite their address or urgently asks them to hurry up sending a car if they are pursuing that person with an intent to confront him.

      None of the Zimmerman lynch mob arguments make any sense on planet earth much less hold up.

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    7. "Then again, he might get a jury with enough knuckleheads on it who think it's perfectly OK to chase down and shoot an unarmed kid."

      If a jury convicted Zimmerman it would be because they are stupid, racist, or offended by the law and decide to ignore it.

      Any of the above will do for MSNBC and "compassionate liberals."

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  10. New evidence? Unsanctioned boxing is criminal in Florida.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/05/21/1093567/-Is-this-Trayvon-Martin-fighting-

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    1. You mean the video where both kids are wearing boxing gloves and are basically slapping at each other? And both of them are laughing? With a bunch of adults all around them?

      Yep, that proves what a thug Trayvon was.

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    2. It merely proves criminality and an affinity for fighting

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    3. Anonymous on 5/22/12 @ 1:03P

      Criminality? Florida law make it a 2nd degree misdemeanor (its least serious criminal charge) for anyone to knowingly participate in a boxing contest. (Boxing means to use fists; contest means that the participants are trying to win.) Martin was a minor; I doubt he would have been prosecuted. But in this country criminality means conviction.

      And affinity?

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    4. Anonymous on 5/22/12 @ 1:19P,

      You say that "The fact that Martin ended up dead does not create "reasonable fear" that justified a criminal attack in response to a question." Of course not. Under the SYG law, the consequences might be considered by judge or jury, but they don't necessarily determine the outcome. The fact that Martin ended up dead means that Martin is the only one we can be sure should have been in fear for his life. But we don't know that. Perhaps he didn't have time to recognize the danger. And, of course, it's not clear that even had he been afraid, that such fear would have been relevant. If he were the aggressor, his fear wouldn't have mattered under the law.

      Note that in some states -- I believe Ohio is one -- the consequences can matter: minor injuries from fistfights cannot be used to establish reasonable fear of death or grave injury. Not in Florida, which just requires preponderance of the evidence.

      I'll agree to the statement that the *available* facts would seem to support Zimmerman's claims, but that's mainly because he killed the only rebuttal witness.

      I'll also agree that it was a disgrace to charge Zimmerman with murder, which seems unsupportable from what we know. But a "travesty" to charge him at all? Zimmerman shot an unarmed minor whom he outweighed by 20 pounds. The law provides Zimmerman a powerful shield, but it also provides a mechanism for an investigation to determine the facts. That the local prosecutor decided to forgo the trouble is a measure of the effectiveness of Zimmerman's shield, but the decision probably wasn't good public policy.

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  11. Typical Somerby nitpicking! Jeez, Horowitz only truncated a tiny bit of the quote, what's the big deal? [/snark]

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