Coates continues to seem to flip concerning the Zimmerman trial!


A favorite blogger, a struggling progressive culture: Ta-Nehisi Coates is easily one of our favorite bloggers.

Two reasons: He has his own subject matter and he has his own point of view. He doesn’t roll out the twenty familiar topics and say the thirty familiar things, with one or two of the standard points ever so slightly adjusted.

That said, Coates has seemed to be doing something unusual in the past week. Unless we’re reading him incorrectly, he’s been changing his stance on the Zimmerman trial, without explaining why. The process continues today at the end of his most recent post about the killing of Jonathan Ferrell, who was shot and killed by a Charlotte policeman two weeks ago.

We’ll recommend Coates’ two most recent posts, both about the killing of Ferrell. This is the end of today’s post:
COATES (9/24/13): Where science is concealed, magic reigns. And you will be forgiven for believing that the fact of the ghetto, is the fact of my lesser humanity. And with that lessened humanity, with all the requisite stereotypes, comes an entire belief system that tolerates the killing of Trayvon Martin by a man who then tours the factory where the weapon he used to slaughter a child was made.

I can only yell so loud when a jury comes back with a verdict we do not like. I can only yell so loud when the police act on magic. The society believes in magic. The institutions reflect this belief. Whoso tolerates a dual-society, necessarily tolerates the killing of Jonathan Ferrell. I see no evidence that the dual-society, nor its toleration, are in decline. Trayvon Martin will happen again. George Zimmerman will be innocent again. Fools will blame hip-hop again. Racists will discover Chicago again. And we will be back in the streets demanding a change in some law which is but the thin branch of a problem, that extends down into our country's deepest roots.
Personally, we wish a few non-racists would “discover Chicago” (and Baltimore). That said, we take the highlighted passage to be a continuation of Coates’ new stance on the Zimmerman trial, which he first expressed last week.

We refer to this post from September 16. We still don’t understand the headline. But it seems fairly clear, as the post begins, that Coates has changed his view on the trial:
COATES (9/16/13): Trayvon Martin Was a Victim of Black-on-Black Crime

It was nice to be some thousands of miles away when the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial came down. I confess to being about as skeptical of a guilty verdict as I was of the predictions of mass violence in response. But being back and having thought about this a bit, I think something needs to be pointed out. There is this horrible idea out there that we should bracket off murder; that Trayvon Martin was a victim of racism but Derrion Albert and Hadiya Pendleton were not. The thinking holds that black people are concerned about the violence done to them by people who aren't black, and forgiving of violence done to them by people who are.

But Derrion Albert and Hadiya Pendleton are no less victims of racism than Trayvon Martin. The neighborhoods in which these two young people were killed are a model of segregation funded and implemented by private citizens, realtors, business interests, the city of Chicago, the state of Illinois and the federal government. This segregation is not a mistake but the desired outcome of racist social engineering...
We’ll suggest that you read on. But unless we’re misreading Coates, it seems fairly clear that he is calling Trayvon Martin’s death a “murder” in his first paragraph.

In the second paragraph, he plainly says that Martin was a victim of racism. He also seems to suggest that and that he favored a guilty verdict in real time. Later in the post, he makes his view seem a bit stronger:
COATES (9/16/13): Like so many other lost black boys, Trayvon Martin was killed close to home. He was killed by someone whom he lived around. His hoodie marked him, as surely as any gang color ever marked anyone. He was watched by George Zimmerman in the exact same way that I, and all my friends, were watched when we strayed into some other neighborhood.
Ignore the question of whether Martin was “close to home” that night. Coates has even adopted the standard idea that Zimmerman targeted Martin because of his hoodie although, in candor, there is no evidence of that on the record at all.

We were surprised when we read this post because of what Coates wrote in July, in real time. Back then, he offered a pithy seven-point post in which he said, among other things, “I think the jury pretty much got it right.”

At the time, we admired him for going against the flow. These were the first three points in that unusual post:
COATES (7/14/13): I interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to offer some thoughts on the verdict of innocent for George Zimmerman:

1.) Last year—after Zimmerman was arrested—I wrote something hoping that he would be convicted. A commenter wrote in to object, saying that arguing for his arrest was justifiable. Arguing for his conviction was not. I acknowledged the point at the time. The wisdom of it seems even more appropriate today.

2.) I think the jury basically got it right. The only real eyewitness to the death of Trayvon Martin was the man who killed him. At no point did I think that the state proved second degree murder. I also never thought they proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he acted recklessly. They had no ability to counter his basic narrative, because there were no other eye-witnesses.

3.) The idea that Zimmerman got out of the car to check the street signs, was ambushed by a 17-year old kid with no violent history who told him "you're going to die tonight" strikes me as very implausible. It strikes me as much more plausible that Martin was being followed by a strange person, that the following resulted in a confrontation, that Martin was getting the best of Zimmerman in the confrontation, and that Zimmerman then shot him. But I didn't see the confrontation. No one else really saw the confrontation. Except George Zimmerman. I'm not even clear that situation I outlined would result in conviction.
By now, the killing of Martin is a murder. Back then, Coates seemed to say that he didn't quite know.

For the sake of clarity, let us repeat the basic statement: “I think the jury basically got it right.”

Even then, some of that passage seemed a bit overdrawn. At some point on the night in question, Martin was being followed by a strange person. At some point, that did result in a confrontation, in a manner which went unobserved. According to all the evidence, Martin was getting the best of Zimmerman in the confrontation. And it’s true that Zimmerman then shot him.

There’s no need to say that these things strike us as “plausible.” It’s obvious that all these things did happen—although, as Coates noted in July, it isn’t clear how these events occurred.

Did Zimmerman confront Martin in some way, or did Martin confront Zimmerman? You are allowed to get out of your car in the community where you live—and no, despite a solid year of dissembling, the police dispatcher never told Zimmerman not to get out of his car. (Just because every “liberal” says it, that doesn't mean that it's true. Traditionally, aggrieved southern groups always arranged to have their people misstating basic facts.) But you aren’t allowed to confront somebody at gun point on a dark night, and you aren’t allowed to jump somebody who gets out of his car.

Which of those events happened that night? Unlike almost every other American, we still don’t know how the answer to that! We would have thought that Coates was saying he didn’t know in his original post.

In comments to his original post, Coates went into substantial detail about the violent confrontation between Zimmerman and Martin that night. He contradicted commenters who said that Zimmerman wouldn't have thought he was in real danger. Sorry, but Zimmerman really was in danger, Coates rather clearly said.

We thought Coates performed a real service in that post, reminding people that the case might not fit their preferred narratives. To us, it’s hard to see how Coates’ new posts jibe with that presentation.

Last week, we were struck by the apparent change of position—and by something else. Doggone it! For obvious reasons, Coates has a loyal base of regular reader/commenters. But in 209 comments to last week’s post, not one person said a word about the apparent change in Coates’ position about the events of that night. The liberal world had adopted a Standard Group View, and no one seemed to find it strange to see Coates coming home.

Maybe we’re misunderstanding some part of what Coates has written. At one point in last week’s post, Coates seems to suggest that he has rethought his original view. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, but we were surprised by the fact that none of the 209 commenters commented on the apparent change in his position.

The liberal world has adopted a very firm Standard Group View about this case. This is the way the ditto-heads have always worked in the other tribe. We don’t think that approach would be a helpful addition to the emerging culture of our progressive tribe.

In closing, Coates is always worth reading. He has his own subject matter and his own point of view. Very few writers do. We're big fans of Coates, although we think these posts are a bit unclear.


  1. "You are allowed to get out of your car in the community where you live"

    Not quite. Mr. Zimmerman said he was walking behind Martin and going in the same direction. But not following. Oh, no. Not following. Just walking behind and going in the same direction.

    I read Zimmerman was attacked, again. Completely unprovoked, again.

    That's four times Mr. Zimmerman has been the victim of an unprovoked attack in four completely unlike situations by four separate people who share nothing in common. Weird as hell how all these crazy people are always attacking Mr. Zimmerman; in his home, at a bar, when he's walking in the same direction and behind but not following, in a garage...

    I wonder if the three other Zimmerman attackers were ever suspended from high school. That's proof positive of an inherently violent nature, apparently.

    1. Nope not "walking behind," but yes, going in the same direction. Martin had a long running start and had turned the corner between the townhouses before Zimmerman got out of his truck. Zimmerman had a right to try to keep the person he suspected in his field of vision, was even encouraged to do so by the dispatcher's questions.

  2. The liberal world has adopted a very firm Standard Group View about this case.

    Yeah, Bob. For instance, we think if Zimmerman had been killed, Martin wouldn't have been allowed to walk away by the police for 'standing his ground'.

    We think that Zimmerman is exactly the kind of person who shouldn't be allowed to have a gun.

    And we think that the "stand your ground" laws are going to make sure needless shootings keep occurring.

    Have you considered the possibility that you have gotten this tribalism deal all wrong?

    1. Of course, your right to think whatever you like, evidence be damned. Evidence made pretty clear that Martin stalked and attacked Zimmerman. Probably the majority of the jurors did not believe that Martin was just out for some Skittles and Iced Tea and that's their right and even their right to factor that belief into their decision. They probably thought Martin was peeping into windows with ill intent. They probably thought Martin's parents were at fault for not supervising him.

    2. Evidence made it pretty clear OJ did not kill Nicole. Probably the majority of the jury did not believe the Los Angeles Police Department and that's their right
      to factor that belief into their system. They probably thought Mark Furhman would have planted a knife on OJ if he could have. They probably thought Nicole's parents let their gold digger girl marry that black superstar for his money.


    3. I followed the OJ trial. The prosecutors lost the jury's confidence early on. If you were only watching the media reports, you wouldn't get that. The prosecution did not lead with their strongest evidence, the blood trail, which was a huge mistake if they really wanted to win the case. I don't know what those prosecutors wanted, honestly. They opened the case with a parade of well coiffed attractive women like Steve Garvey (baseball player)'s wife who testified that OJ was unpleasant on the day in question.

      Much easier to follow the evidence (when they finally got to it) on TV than as a juror sequestered for 10 months . . . 10 months.

    4. The Simpson case was decided at jury selection.

    5. ifthethunderdontgetya:

      "we think if Zimmerman had been killed, Martin wouldn't have been allowed to walk away by the police for 'standing his ground'"

      What does "stand your ground" doctrine have to do with this case (or anything)?

      Are you actually a supporter of "duty to retreat" doctrine?

  3. There is nothing whatsoever inconsistent for Mr. Coates to believe it was a murder that likely would not have happened if Martin had not been black while also believing the case against Zimmerman was not proved beyond a reasonable doubt as that concept allies in a court of law. TDH should know better.

    1. No. It is the definition of inconsistent to say that there is no way to know if it was not justifiable self-defense, and, then months later, without explanation, to presume it was a murder. What changed? It seems like Mr. Coates has just reached out for the best feeling narrative at the expense of the murky facts, and that is red meat for TDH.

    2. To convict on a murder charge, or any charge, a jury must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt. The verdict on such a basis is not truth, it is a legal outcome, crafted to avoid convicting innocent persons. Anyone may still think that Zimmerman almost certainly murdered Martin, but that there was insufficient evidence to convict. This seems to be Coates' position.

    3. In other words, anyone may be irrational.

  4. While Bob obsessed over Z's being out of the vehicle at the time the dispatcher said "We don;t need you to do that", some of us reviewed the facts...Like that Z altered his story in every police interview, outright lied in his written statement, and lied so obviously to Hannity that Hannity gave us a "My Cousin Vinny" moment". The provocation was Z lying to say that TM did not run from him, but then when confronted by SH that Z had so stated on the record, Z then claimed TM did not run but "skipped"...What Z was up to was fabricating the absurd claim that TM could not have possibly been afraid of him. A shocked Hannity mouthed "You could tell that", with no questioning inflexion whatever. What a stunned Hannity was saying was, "You lying scoundrel, you could not possible tell that".

    But that is just one of the dozen or so deceits that prevents any honest reviewer from giving credence to any of Z's story that is not an admission against interest, like Z's admission he provoked the fight by refusing to identify himself or his purpose when asked and then grabbed for the area where he had his gun.

    1. The jury saw those recorded interviews and believed that Zimmerman feared for his life or feared grave bodily harm, the elements of justified self defense. Honestly, someone beating your head on concrete INTENDS to do you grave bodily harm. It was not a hard case to decide.

      Much more important to the jury was the 4 minute interval from Zimmerman's call to the despatcher to the final call Martin had with Rachel Jeantel. Zimmerman says he's lost sight of the suspicious looking person and 4 minutes later Martin is still on the phone with Jeantel. 4 minutes to go a couple hundred yards. The only explanation is Martin doubling back and attacking Zimmerman. Martin stalked Zimmerman, no other way to explain it. (That's why the news media and Obama/Holder never deal with the 4 minutes but it was made very clear to the jury.)

    2. How many of those four minutes would it have taken the armed "watchman" to return to his car after he acknowledged he didn't need to be following Martin?
      How many minutes was he still walking around with his loaded gun "not following" the asshole who always gets away?

      George Zimmerman committed homicide with a gun. A jury could not be convinced it was legally prohibited homicide. Those are two facts that cannot be changed. The teenager who was doing nothing wrong when he passed by the man with the gun on his hip in his car is dead. And the man who took his life will for the rest of his life, be a killer.

    3. The teenager did do something wrong: he attacked Zimmerman. The jury believed it and all of the evidence was consistent with Martin attacking Zimmerman.

      Zimmerman did nothing wrong. If you followed the trial, even the prosecution admitted that Zimmerman had a right to be where he was, i.e., on a sidewalk in his own neighborhood. Nothing illegal happened until Martin attacked Zimmerman.

    4. You can't answer the question I posed to you? Of course not. You were willing above to assert the prosecution erred in the OJ trial. They erred in this trial as well. The defense posed the four minute question. I pose the four minute question to you.
      A kid, doing nothing wrong, is wandering around talking on his phone to a girl in early evening, He thinks a man is following him. A creepy cracker. He thinks he loses him. Unbeknownst to him the man is still looking for him and is armed. He comes up on the boy. The boy calls out "Why are you following me?" From that point until the confrontation has escalated into shouting there is no evidence whatsoever of what happened other than the story of the person who committed homicide with a gun.

      There is no evidence that Zimmerman attacked Martin or that Martin attacked Zimmerman. There is no evidence that Martin stalked Zimmerman. There is evidence that Zimmerman had time to return to his car after the dispatcher told him he did not need to be following the suspicious person. I ask you to account for his whereabouts. You cannot. There is evidence Martin could have gotten back to his father's fiance's house in that same time. I cannot account for why he did not.

      I said Martin was doing nothing wrong when he was singled out by an armed self appointed patrolman.
      The armed man did something wrong when he got out of his car and followed a person whom, for no correct reason, he found suspicious. The armed man did not go straight back to his car after the dispatcher told him they didn't need him to follow the teenager. As a result, he ended up shooting someone. Sorry, there is nothing in the facts of the case that does not place the blame for this incident squarely on the armed hip of George Zimmerman. No reason to go to the grocery store armed, no reason to suspect Martin of any criminal activity and follow him in his car, no reason to get out of his car to follow him further, and no reason to not go straight back to his car when told he did not need to be following Martin. No legal prohibition against doing any of those things. But no need to do any of them either.

      Defenders of Zimmerman have only the hope to cling to that Martin attacked Zimmerman thus making the homicide legally justified. I'm sorry, but just because Trayvon Martin could land a punch and Zimmerman could not doesn't tell you who threw the first blow.

      Its funny. Somerby says he doesn't understand the headline on Coates's blog and doesn't understand why Coates seems to have changed his mind and say
      Trayvon was murdered and the target of racism. All he has to do is read the comments he has attracted from the Zimmerman defense fans. And all he had to do was both read and understand the last sentences he left out of a paragraph he partially copied and pasted here:

      "And finally Martin was killed in a way that is very familiar to a lot of us: a sucker goes looking for trouble, finds it, and shoots his way out of an ass-kicking." Ta-Nehisi Coates

    5. "The provocation was Z lying to say that TM did not run from him, but then when confronted by SH that Z had so stated on the record, Z then claimed TM did not run but "skipped".

      Agreed. That was the best in a long series of improbable and ridiculous Zimmerman statements.

      It'll happen again. Hell, it's already happened. He claimed his father in law attacked him, again "unprovoked"

      That's four. Girlfriend, law enforcement in bar, Martin, father in law. Three unprovoked attacks in wildly divergent scenarios is hard to believe. Four is a fantasy.

    6. Anonymous 2:17
      I know you won't pay attention to anything I write as you are set in your beliefs (and that's your right, of course).

      The jury believed Zimmerman. His story was internally consistent. The prosecution told the jury that Zimmerman had a right to be where he was, on the sidewalk in his own neighborhood. They claimed Martin had a right to be where HE was but the jury believed Zimmerman that Martin was going onto people's private property and peeking into windows. If you followed the trial, you know that there were literally hundreds of 911/police dispatch calls in that complex in the preceding year. There was a terrifying home invasion where a mother took her tiny baby and locked herself in the bathroom.

      I assure you no one on that jury thought this was a neighborhood where a stranger wandering aimlessly peering into windows was fine and dandy.

      The jury believed that Zimmerman was the one screaming for his life and if you followed the actual trial, the prosecution admitted that Zimmerman was the one on the bottom getting blows rained down on him. Towards the end, the prosecution brought out a dummy and demonstrated Zimmerman being on the bottom - as their own witness, prosecution witness, stated - and Martin being the one on top. In other words, the jury believed that Martin's mother, father and brother were at best incorrect testifying that it was Martin screaming for his life for 45 seconds.

      But that's not going to change your mind or the mind of any of the black people I kept seeing on TV, elite black people whose noses were out of joint from some minuscule slight when they were teenagers or because somebody didn't immediately get on a ladder to get down a $40,000 handbag to show her (Oprah). No, they think Zimmerman was "white enough" (even though photos of his grandfather look blacker than Holder or Obama) and thus obligated to let Martin kill him or turn him into a vegetable.

    7. "followed a person whom, for no correct reason, he found suspicious"

      And you know there was "no correct reason" for anyone to find Martin's behavior suspicious, exactly how?

      You don't. You're full of shit.

    8. Regarding these 4 attacks on Zimmerman, just for the record: (1) the girlfriend - they had restraining orders out on each other; (2) the policeman - everything was dropped, wasn't it? (3) Martin - that was for real and the jury, the trier of fact in our system, believed Zimmerman; (4) his estranged wife's father - dropped again, right?

      We know plenty about Martin, too. He had marijuana in his system, was a known Purple Drank concocter (Skittles and Watermelon tea), was involved in fighting, was suspended from school several times (a 10 day suspension is a long suspension), posted on-line about looking for a gun, mother wanted him out of the house because she couldn't deal with him, father didn't report him missing until the next day and then called some juvenile detention office. Probably more but that's quite a bit.

    9. Lionel, with all due respect I do understand the jury's verdict. I understand all but one of the white jurors believed Zimmerman's tale about the black teen's attack and his fears. I understand your willing to believe the worst about Martin. I undestand Somerby's constant harping on misuse of racism.
      I also, like the Suprme Court Justice once said about pornography, know racism when I see it.

      Anon @ 10:27

      Martin was described thusly by Zimmerman when he called police:

      GZ: There's a real suspicious guy....This guy looks like he's up to no good or he's on drugs or something.
      It's raining and he's just walking aorund, looking about.....He's was just staring...

      Dispatcher: OK, he's just walking around the area...

      GZ: Looking at all the houses.

      That is the sole description of what prompted Zimmerman to divert the armed and loaded Zimmerman from his Sunday night grocery shopping excursion, put him on the task of following a teen in his car, and call the police.

      I'm full of shit? Turns out the would be burglar and home invader was just a kid walking back slowly to where he was staying.

      I know many advance this into Trayvon Martin the trespassing peeper. But other than what Zimmerman says on his own, and his answer that the kid in question looked black and was wearing a hoodie, what is a good reason to suspect Martin of anything?
      What Zimmerman adds to his story after he killed the boy?

    10. Lionel I just can't keep up with you.

      He was a known Purple Drank concocter? Known to whom, racists who defend his killer?

    11. The teenager who was doing nothing wrong when he passed by the man with the gun on his hip in his car is dead

      That's because the "teenager" decided to attack a cracker to teach him a lesson. At that point the teenager was doing something wrong, namely brutally beating someone which is illegal. At that point, the teenager was causing his own death. It's irrelevant what the teenager was doing before that, including the 40 minutes unaccounted for between leaving the store and arriving at the subdivision. We do know what he didn't do in the 4 minutes after the big bad gun toting creepy ass cracker lost sight of him.

    12. He was a known Purple Drank concocter? Known to whom, racists who defend his killer?

      That's right. He was an honor student on track to become a pilot. Every teen gets kicked out of his house, gets suspended from school three times in a year, and buys guns!

    13. Yes, too bad Trayvon didn't have that gun he bought with him. Then he could have been just like the guy in the car who was followed by the gun toter into the car wash in Michigan. Both could be dead and we would have been spared this debate.

      What did those two decided to do? When did one decide to pull his gun and what did the other decide.

      We do know that during the famous four minutes the creepy ass cracker was still creeeping around with his gun in the dark with a broken flashlight desperately trying to find his was 100 yards back to his truck. Or was he still looking for the address on the name of a street in his subdivision he patrolled regularly that he somehow couldn't remember when he needed an excuse for why he didn't find his way back.

      Yep, in those forty minutes this kid was casing out joints for a robbery. We know he was only casing them because all he had at the time of his death were the two non active ingredients for a drink which isn't made using those two ingredients.

    14. What did those two decided to do? When did one decide to pull his gun and what did the other decide.

      Probably decided that he made a mistake not using his four minutes to do something other than attack someone who offended him.


  5. OMB

    To paraphrase the Sheriff in Blazing Saddles,

    "Hey. Where the gun nuts at?"

    To quote BOB,

    "The liberal world has adopted a very firm Standard Group View about this case. This is the way the ditto-heads have always worked in the other tribe."

    No, BOB, the other Tribe gets their instructions from FOX and Rush.
    The Liberal World meets in general assemblies guided by facilitators
    in common campgrounds in #Occupy campgrounds and reaches consensus. Its culture only emerges from the tents forscheduled drum circles.


  6. "But in 209 comments to last week’s post, not one person said a word about the apparent change in Coates’ position about the events of that night."

    It is interesting that Mr. Somerby reads and counts all the comments to posts of others, but seems to ignore those made on his own.

    1. Maybe he reads his comments but doesn't reply? Or replies anonymously?

    2. Well, As Mr. Somerby knows, since he read all the comments, Mr. Coates replies to comments made on his blog. If Mr. Somerby really wanted ask questions about Mr. Coates apparent change of mind he could have posed them directly to Mr. Coates there on his blog and gotten an answer straight from the horse's mouth so to speak.

    3. Actually, David in California is really Bob, or one of his analysts.

  7. I'll go to my grave never seeing a single black person asked why Zimmerman was obligated to let Martin kill him or turn him into a vegetable. (Obama? Holder? - No, they can't be asked about that because their feeling are still so hurt from something trivial that happened when they were teenagers and all the reporters are still so sympathetic to the teenage Holder/Obama.)

    No, it is not racism that causes these murders in black areas of Chicago and Baltimore. No, white people have no obligation to live in those areas and fear crime and violence every second of every day. Coates is crazy.

    Black people flee those places if they can and that's their right in a free country, too.

    Coming up with unrealistic, hairbrained, never-going-to-happen ideas for desegregating these horrible areas is not a solution. Would be nice to hear someone like Coates (i.e. some "progressive") come up with a solution that would make sense. That won't happen.

    1. You'll go to your grave never seeing a black person asked that perhaps because you have repeatedly said you fear being around them.

      Nobody has ever suggested, to my knowledge, that Zimmerman was obligated to let Martin kill him or turn him into a vegetable. And there has been no credible evidence despite rantings by racists on blogs that Zimmerman, who was able to pop to his feet after rolling Martin over and spreading out his arms within seconds of firing the fatal blow, was anywhere close to death or
      even seriously hurt.


    2. Was he supposed to wait until he was close to death? Thats not the law. The law is that you "fear" death or grave injury. And thats logical. You can't know when you're going to become unable to do anything to defend yourself. Zimmerman had no way of knowing Martin would ever stop pounding him until he was dead.

      Zimmerman had every reason to believe he was facing death or grave bodily harm.

      What do you think Zimmerman was supposed to do, let Martin beat him and hope that Martin would stop before killing him or turning him into a vegetable?

    3. There is no evidence Martin was pounding Zimmerman. If Martin caused all the injuries Zimmerman suffered that night, and there is no evidence that he did, that would still not justify a homicidal reaction. The law is not that you fear death or great bodily harm, the law requires you to reasonably fear those things. No way you get reasonable fear from the minor injuries Zimmerman suffered.

    4. Anonymous 2:40
      The prosecution's witness, John Good, testified that Martin (identified by his clothing) was on top and appearing to be delivering blows to the person on the bottom (identified by his clothing as Zimmerman). That's evidence!

      You live in a strange world where a stranger assaulting you and holding you down beating your head on concrete wouldn't cause you to have "reasonable" fear that he might kill you.

    5. Good did not describe Martin banging Zimmerman's head on concrete. He did not describe him delivering blows. He in fact did not have enough time to see much in the few seconds he looked outside and ignored what he believes to be the guy on the bottom's cry for help, instead opting to call police.
      Another neighbor testified, in Spanish, she saw the
      guy in red, which would be Zimmerman, on top when she saw a few seconds of the fight.

      Now, based on that description, what do we know.
      We know the man in red was on the bottom and the guy on top is using his arms to flail in motions which, in the dark, appear to be blows at one point in the fight. We know that the man in red was on top at one point in the fight.

      Now, based on the injuries to Zimmerman, what do we know. He suffered one blow to the face sufficient to break his nose. He suffered some minor injuries to his head. Those are consistent with his testimony that one blow knocked him to the ground. They are not consistent with the serious damage that would have resulted in his being on the ground with a guy on top repeatedly bashing his head on the concrete and raining MMA style blows on him. They are consistent with guys tussling and wrestling on the ground.

    6. who was able to pop to his feet after rolling Martin over and spreading out his arms within seconds of firing the fatal blow, was anywhere close to death or
      even seriously hurt

      That's because he used his gun to stop Martin from bringing him closer to death or seriously injuring him. You might think his skin color obligated him to permit that to happen but you'd be wrong.

    7. I don't think his skin color obligated Zimmerman to do anything. I think his lack of intelligence led him to make several mistakes which led him to commit homicide on a teenager he tailed for no good reason with a gun.

    8. He tailed the teenager for a good reason. Black teenagers were invading homes in his neighborhood, he observed this black teenager behaving suspiciously, and he wanted to inform police of where the black teenager was going so they could check him out. You can pretend measures like suspecting and calling police on black teenagers loitering in the rain and walking up to your car are unnecessary. You and your family can end up victimized. Some of us feel no obligation to do the same, however. Deal with it.

    9. Glad you have taken the first step in our 12 step program.

      He tailed the black teenager for a good reason, Black
      teenagers had done bad things in the past. Therefore all black teenagers need to have the police called by an armed self appointed patrolman if they do anything but walk purposefully to and fro in acceptable weather conditions in apporpriate attire.

    10. Black teenagers who are loitering in the rain in neighborhoods with recent history of home invasions by black teenagers and 400 calls to police within the last year need to have the police called on them. If they walk up to your car and glare at you, they need you to try to determine where they went in order to inform police so that they can be checked out. They need to be taught by their parents not to do either of the above, or to jump neighborhood watchmen or they might end up met with lethal resistance, unless of course their victim is a white progressive and believes he has no right to police his neighborhood or defend himself if the suspected loiterers and attackers are black.

    11. Exactly. That's why we don't allow whites to handle money after their fraud crashed the world's economy in 2008.

    12. Anonymous 2:31 PM
      Good points especially about Martin's parents. There was a true teachable moment in this case if Obama, Holder and the rest of the black elite (plus the white media elite) gave a damn about black kids: Tell the parents to supervise them. Tell the parents that if you care about your kid not ending up dead - either because he gets himself in trouble or because he's a bystander - they should supervise him. Tracy Martin should not have left his 17 year old juvenile delinquent son alone with a 12 year old for the entire day. That was irresonsible; this was a kid who was very likely to get into trouble and either hurt someone else or get hurt . . . get killed.

    13. Not keeping a gun in the same household as a child would help too.

  8. Quaker in a BasementSeptember 24, 2013 at 11:55 PM

    Well there's what you can prove and then there's what you believe. They're not always the same thing. Juries are obliged to consider only the former. The rest of us are at liberty to include the latter.

    1. Quaker, I agree with your observation, but consider it unfortunate. We are indeed at liberty to believe things for which there's no evidence. We're at liberty to believe that Mr. Obama was born in Kenya, that he's a Muslim, and that he's a Communist. We're at liberty to believe that blacks and Jews are evil. In short, a lot of evil believes persist only because the believers continue to ignore the evidence.

    2. Everyone believes something for which there is no evidence, don't you think?

  9. Mr. Somerby, have you no shame?

    We would all like our journalism to be better.

    Not least "flagships" like the NYT (though why you obsess about that paper I have no idea, except that in the stupid popular imagination -- read Ceclia and many of your ditto-heads -- its considered notably liberal? it's "from the north"? what about, say, WaPo or WSJ? Why are you silent on them, despite their influence probably much greater than the NYT?).

    Not least on subjects like education. I do learn from you and am grateful.

    (Though when, god help us, was U.S. journalism ever very good? You are not only smart but Harvard-educated: use that education to do a little research on the history of journalism, and let up every now and then on the faux-outrage -- it must be faux, unless you are less intelligent and capable-of-becoming-informed than I would have expected -- or is your whole blog a comedy show?)

    Look at, say:

    Here is some journalism, which, if you are truly sort of "liberal" as you implicitly profess to be (funny how Cecilia and many of your devotees miss that -- no, not funny: they know how to exploit your confusion), might merit your attention. Hey, these folks are running schools.

    Stop with this "liberals don't care about black kids" self-justificatory bull-s*t. Please use your skills to grow beyond self-justification to something that actually serves others.

    1. You should tone down the arrogance, because Bob and his dittoheads, especially CeciliaMc, are way smarter than you. Your last line is pathetic. Are you the Church Lady from SNL?

    2. I heard this line once, maybe 20 years ago: Liberals want information; conservatives want confirmation. Would that it were so! "Liberal" nowadays just means partisan of the Democratic Party for the most part. Sometimes, "liberal" or "progressive" actually means someone with an animus against ordinary, middle income, law abiding white people. Sorry to say but there is no other explanation. That was made so clear with the Zimmerman case. He was "white enough" so it was a good idea to try and railroad him.

  10. Theres a big judicial point from this trial: whether white defendants should have to accept black jurors.
    What we saw for about a year was black elites on TV, black elite politicians, black celebrities, etc. absolutely unwilling to pay attention to the actual evidence. Very gleeful to try and railroad a white/"white enough" man. And, of course, aided by the mainstream media manipulating recordings and claiming Zimmerman said "coons" and so on. But once it was revealed that the mainstream media was railroading Zimmerman, the black elites still wanted to railroad him. They know damned well that black youths are among the most dangerous people in the country, starting at 12 or13, let alone how dangerous they are by 17 and they knew Martin had a history. Didn't matter; their bile and spite is so venomous they wanted to railroad Zimmerman, how they would have gloried and triumphed in that.

    But its not just the elites. Maybe you could keep elite blacks off a jury somehow. But look at the one black juror, Maddie. She WANTED to find Zimmerman guilty. Her first impulse was to find him guilty of second degree murder. In her interview with Roberts, she admits there was no evidence to convict him of anything but her first vote was to convict him of second degree murder. Because that's what she wanted to do.

    God help a white person getting a fair hearing from a black person. That's the message of the Zimmerman case and perhaps it needs to be incorporated into the judicial system so that black jurors cannot willfully railroad white people.

    1. Yes. Look at the one black juror. Her vote was based on her race. Look at the white jurors. None of their votes were based on race. Including the one who wanted a manslaughter conviction I suppose. She was white but probably from Liberal World instead of a self respecting native Floridian.

      George Zimmerman did not target Trayvon Martin in a act of racism. He targeted Trayvon Martin because he knew "damned well that black youths are among the most dangerous people in the country, starting at 12 or13, let alone how dangerous they are by 17." BOB decries assertions that racism had anything to do with Zimmerman's action because there is no "evidence" of such.

      BOB, I give you Lionel.

      KZ (Wishin he were in the Land O' Cotton not Doom)

    2. I can only guess at the silence of black folks who think Zimmerman was innocent and Martin the aggressor, and there must be some such people. I figure, that when you're part of a minority, it's hard to go against your own group. Part of its basic mistrust of the majority, especially when it has been traditionally dismissive and abusive of your group's rights. Its also the same for groups like cops and prisoners. You don't snitch out your own--its a practical code, sometimes you might be defending a jerk, but you if you are at war with or at least deeply distrust the authority in place or the mob behind it, then it makes sense to keep quiet. I know a lot of smart black folks know that Trayvon Martin was aready in trouble before that day and that his encounter with Zimmerman should and could have been a nonevent. This is not even a close call as a case of self-defense. It just makes sense that the black folks who know that still would not and perhaps should not feel obliged to defend Zimmerman just because the tables have turned. Why should they argue justice for Zimmerman, when it's kind of fun-- I think Schadenfreude is the word--watching Zimmerman, ostensibly a white man, getting screwed over by the white system. But they can know in the end, if he gets off its because he wasn't black and the system kicks in for whitey or really rich guys like OJ
      So why even try for justice. It is cynical but it may be well-earned cynicism considering the black experience in this country.

    3. M Carpenter,
      Well, we can't police black people having those spiteful, malicious feelings towards white people in general but they should not be on juries with the lives of white people in their hands.

    4. Anonymous 1:03
      We don't know anything about the juror or jurors who wanted to convict of manslaughter on their initial vote as they haven't done interviews but we do know that the one black juror WANTED - her own word - to convict Zimmerman of murder despite there being no evidence to do so.

    5. What Lionel writes, racist or not, can be evidence with regard to George Zimmerman's actions only in the fevered mind of our own KZ!

      You can't make him up -- and you can't make him go away.

      But you can point and laugh, if sadly.

    6. "Racist" - everyone sees race. The President of the United States and the Attorney General got their underwear all in a twist for one reason only: "If I had a son he'd look like Trayvon." It was a local shooting incident, something that happens every day. Imagine the layers of filter and advice and whatnot to get to a president or attorney general, plus their OBLIGATION not to try and harm a defendant or potential defendant's right to a fair trial. They could not resist commenting because its about race, in their minds.

      How can any rational person think that white people shouldn't be aware of the obvious danger of blacks and the mainstream media targeting them for a racist agenda?

    7. For Holder, Obama, Winfrey, Spike Lee and the rest of the black elite commentators who spoke out, and perhaps for all black people, its about race and they are on one side, their "team."

    8. still anonymous after all these yearsSeptember 26, 2013 at 12:50 PM

      Acutally M Carpenter, Sir Charles Barkley was NOT silent. And Coates also seems to be black, and way back when he seemed to agree that it was, or could have been, self defense.

      But otherwise I have been puzzled by the left's non-belief in self defense. They are perhaps just sure that Zimmerman started it, by getting out of bed that morning. After all, if he had just stayed in bed saying "I have a feeling something bad is gonna happen today" then Trayvon would still be alive. Therefore, clearly Zimmerman was at fault by getting out of bed, even after his wife told him "Are you getting up? I don't need you to do that."

      Why was Zimmerman armed?

      Uhm, I don't know because maybe he was trying to catch criminals and sometimes when criminals get caught, they are dangerous.

      Why didn't Zimmerman tell Trayvon what he was doing?

      Uhm, maybe because you don't want to tell a criminal that you suspect they are a criminal because if they really are a criminal they might react badly?

      But with our increasingly tribal media, it quickly became a dualism, where "our tribe" hated Zimmerman and the other tribe thought he was a hero.

      Back in the bad old days, would Walter have reported it that way?

  11. ""Liberal" nowadays just means partisan of the Democratic Party for the most part."

    Awesome quote. Try this one: Liberals are always usually something or other, sometimes.


  12. I had almost forgotten about Mr. Coates. Two main reasons: 1) His name is one I've never bothered to sound out in my head, and therefore he never became household, and 2) I've come to have blah feelings toward "The Atlantic" website and other e-mags, to fall back on a NYT crossword term that may or may not still be in use.

    Along with "Harper's" "TNR," "NYRB," and others, "The Atlantic" was one of the high-brow mags of my salad days. When it was still HQ'd in Boston, I even took a detour from my trip to Harvard to visit its offices. Given the magazine's place in American history, the offices nestled in the Back Bay area of the old city, there was once a magical aura about it. Today that mystique has gone, with much of the content somewhat dumbed down and straining to match the sensibilities of the digital generations. On that rare occasion I visit the site I immediately click the magazine tab, where one can still find superb articles and sharp commentary, as opposed to so many "10 Reasons..." or "No, X is not ..." type of intellectual fast food.

    Oh, I read some blogs. As with rap, I can't condemn the whole genre because there're some good ones out there.

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  14. Those of us who felt Zimmerman, while having a plausible claim of self defense, was none the less a bozo who at least contributed greatly in creating a dangerous situation, have been largely vindicated by subsequent events. Bob who went way over the line trying to turn Zimmerman into a martyr and thus won lots of new readers from the white power gang (hi fellas!) never likes to admit he was that wrong. Hence this so what blog entry.

    1. Greg,
      Do you think people who give blood are "bozos?" Zimmerman is Everyman with a civic conscience. Depressing to see that type characterized as a "bozo." He did nothing wrong and did not know he was in danger from this rather vicious 17 year old. He could have been standing outside his own apartment having a smoke and Trayvon Martin might have attacked him. Thank goodness he had the gun.

    2. Too funny... A domestic dispute between George and his soon-to-be ex-wife vindicates YOU??? Or is it the speeding ticket?

      Then you claim that self defense was plausible.

      Pure comedy gold.

    3. I've actually never gotten a speeding ticket but some of the nicest people I know have gotten speeding tickets. If they didn't have disputes, they wouldn't be getting divorced so I don't know what that proves.

      The incident where he showed with a fire extinguisher to help a family getting out of a burning car is more relevant to the kind of person Zimmerman appears to be.

    4. Lionel, the 11:46 reply was NOT to you.

      But while I have been a Zimmerman defender, as I found some innaccuracies in the Zimmerman attackers, I have never denied that he was a little bit of a bozo.

      People are people, but in the tribal mind, they often seem to become caricatures. Zimmerman thus becomes, in the minds of his detractors, almost pure evil, a murdering racist scumbag.

      Thus, they can be happy, and feel vindicated, when his marriage falls apart and when that, as it quite commonly does, brings out the worst in people. It "proves" they were right all along, and nobody, not even Somerby, wants to be proven wrong.

    5. I don't know about Zimmerman being a "bozo." The area is not a safe area per the number of calls to 911/police. Any burglar is capable of murder to protect himself.

      There are so many incidents of teenagers attacking and beating people. Just the other day a Columbia professor was attacked by a pack of teenage monsters. Then theres the homeless, too. Very dangerous people.

    6. You've been browbeaten into calling Zimmerman a "bozo" with no proof. In fact, all we know about him so far points to a well meaning, responsible citizen who contributed much more than the average person toward helping his community.

    7. Well, if you count committing homicide as "helping
      his community" I guess you are spot on.

  15. "In fact, all we know about him so far..."

    Is his past is littered with violence and self-victimization.