Additional reading assignment!


We don’t know if it’s true: Did George Zimmerman tell Sanford police the truth about the events of February 26?

We have no way of knowing. But in this morning’s edition, the Orlando Sentinel reports what Zimmerman has told the police. This is the news report which had O’Donnell aping O’Reilly on last evening’s Last Word. (Early last evening, the report was posted on-line.)

Has Zimmerman been truthful? We don’t know. According to the Sentinel, this is what he has said.


  1. Did a teacher tell the truth when she said police change her testimony? The teacher/witness claims she told a cop she saw a teen crying for help in a struggle with a man; and the cop responded by correcting her--saying that it was Zimmerman who cried for help.

    Are police taking Zimmerman's side on this? Why was Martin's suspension from school based on marihuana possession leaked? Who leaked it?

    1. Those are the $64,000 Questions, to use a cliche.

      But forget all that. Bob Somerby has caught the media redhanded lying about the number of times Zimmerman had called 911.

    2. I think Somerby makes good points; but we should try to dig for good points on both sides. I have no idea whether Trayvon attacked Zimmerman or viceversa, but Police making stuff up is a very troubling scenario. A lot of questions need to be answered.

    3. To me, it makes no difference who threw the first punch in a fistfight, and even that is taking Zimmerman's word that there was a fight.

      The facts not in dispute state that Trayvon was walking back from a convenience store to the home where he was staying, Zimmerman saw him, thought he was suspicious and called 911, Zimmerman got out of his truck (with a loaded gun) against the advice of the cops, and the kid wound up dead.

      I do not find the fact that Trayvon Martin may have been fighting for his life with the only weapons at his disposal -- his fists -- if indeed that did occur, to be in any way exculpatory of Zimmerman.

      And if it is under Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law that would seem to favor the live instigator over the dead victim, then we need to discuss that.

    4. That article says the police corrected her when she said it was a teen. They had other witnesses saying it was not Trayvon Martin crying for help. We don't know if the police asked if she was sure it was Trayvon Martin and she thought this was a "correction." How would she know which man it was? Zimmerman has a high pitched voice, or did on that 911 call. We don't know what Trayvon sounds like but no doubt we'll find out. No doubt his voice had changed by 17.

    5. "But forget all that. Bob Somerby has caught the media redhanded lying about the number of times Zimmerman had called 911."

      Yes, some of them even stretched out the period of his calls to 8 and 11 years despite police sources saying it was a 14 months.

      According to the Orlando Sentinal police stenographer the police reports don't address the question where the 9mm Glock was during the period Martin miraculously appeared, confronted Zimmerman and was shot.

      Some reports have it in a holster in the waistband of his pants. He was wearing a shirt, no jacket. Does anyone believe a gun that size in a holster stuck into your waistband goes unnoticed?

      Zimmerman says he was punched in the nose when reaching for his phone.

      If Martin wanted to attack Zimmerman the time to do it was when his back was turned, as Zimmerman says it was, not after they had a brief conversation.

      Apparently the Sanford police believe Zimmerman was reaching for his phone not his Glock and the Glock was invisible to Martin. Of course Martin can't tell us what he thought Zimmerman was reaching for since he's dead.

    6. Ther Real AnonymousMarch 27, 2012 at 12:55 PM

      "That article says the police corrected her when she said it was a teen."

      The job of the police is to take the statement, not tell her what other people said.

      The police acted improperly.

    7. The Real AnonymousMarch 27, 2012 at 1:20 PM

      You'd have to be Harry Houdini to be able to pull a Glock out of the waistband of the back of your pants if you're on your back with someone on top of you banging your head on the ground.

      Some might even say it'd be damn near impossible to reach the front waistband of your pants in the same situation.

      What caused Martin, a person with absolutely no history of violence, to react the way he did?

      Apparently the Sanford police haven't thought to ask.

    8. How do you know he has no history of violence?

    9. Should be interesting to find out how the witness came to believe it was Trayvon Martin screaming and not Zimmerman, especially since she probably never heard either one of their voices before.

    10. The Real AnonymousMarch 27, 2012 at 6:19 PM

      "How do you know he has no history of violence?"

      No one has produced one, that's how.

    11. great powers of reason you got there

    12. Ummm, not no great powers of reason required. You got every attempt to dig up anything they can about the kid's past, and no mention of a violent history? Not even a suspension from school for fighting?

      That would have been the FIRST thing that would have come out in the campaign to portray Trayvon Martin, aka Joe Frazier Jr., as a kid who could kick a 250-pound man's ass. If, of course, that is the present weight claimed for Zimmerman. That seems to change daily, too.

  2. No, Bob. This is what the Sentinal says that the Sanford police said that Zimmerman said.

    Now why would either of them have reason to tell anything but the Gospel truth?

    But forget all that. Let's get back to the stuff you call important --- the troubling number of times Zimmerman may have called 911, and whether or not his gun was taken away that night!

  3. Let me add that I'm 6 foot, 143 lbs, and i look skinny as hell. This kid was 6'3 and 140 lbs, I believe, which makes him even more scrawny than I am; yet we are told that he jumped on top of this brawlic man who has been charged with resisting arrest in the past, and punched Zimmerman in the nose. I find that hard to believe. I myself try not to mess with guys 20 pounds or more heavier than me. Zimmerman was 100 lbs heavier than Trayvon.

    1. How do you know he was 140 lbs? He was probably weighed soon after he died, so we'll find out.

    2. Correction. He is 160 lbs according to the Chicago Tribune: Thanks. Reports in other outlets were wrong about 140:

    3. Ah. So Zimmerman only outweighed him by 90 pounds instead of 110. Boy, that makes a difference and sure puts this story in a different light.

    4. Zimmerman's friend Joe Oliver said Zimmerman had lost weight and was not the fatty you saw in the media. In other words you know nothing about the relative size of these two men. We do know Trayvon Martin was much taller.

    5. Well, if Joe Oliver said so, then it must be true!

      By the time the right wing is done spinning this, Zimmerman will be a 98-pound weakling and Trayvon will be Muhammad Ali in his prime!

    6. Prob not but they will be different heights and weights than you thought a week ago.

    7. Oh, I have no doubt that if the suddenly well-greased Zimmerman camp gets their way, Trayvon Martin will turn into Shaquille O'Neal.

  4. There are too many questions to properly reconstruct the chain of events from the evidence at hand.

    What is needed is to make the arresting charge of Negligent Homicide-Manslaughter-Unnecessary Killing to Prevent Unlawful Act a formal charge.

    Then a trial by jury, with adversarial attorneys questioning all the witnesses, police, city officials and citizens, under oath, about what they saw and heard.

    The jury will than decide who is telling the truth and who isn't.

    This method isn't perfect, and may not arrive at the whole truth, but it's the best we have.

    The ultimate question is, does Trayvon Martin matter?

    1. The Real AnonymousMarch 27, 2012 at 1:38 PM

      This is the same police department whose chief was replaced just 10 months ago after a homeless man was attacked by a police lieutenant's son and wasn't arrested.

      He turned himself in when a video of the beating hit youtube.

      Some reports say the police gave him a ride home from the scene the night of the beating.

      This department can't be trusted to do anything until they're forced to.

    2. "The ultimate question is, does Trayvon Martin matter?"

      Very well said.

  5. It seems that we are so ruled by emotion that we cannot accept that we don't know and will very probably never know what happened in this specific instance.

    Should whether Zimmerman is lying or telling the truth change our views on what the laws should be (there are some interesting questions regarding the subtleties of self-defense laws)? Why does it matter so much to people not involved that something happened the way they guess it must have?

    I'll tell you why. This is blood lust, plain and simple. The smell is in the air, and people want to do bad things. The only way to feel good about it is to convince yourself that you are doing these bad things to a very bad person.

    And these days the news media reflects our baser sides.

    1. It must be troubling to everyone here that certain prominent people on all sides of this seem hellbent on using our lack of knowledge as a way to push their agendas.

      To me, the leaking of the marihuana story was a device to create doubt . . . the kid uses drugs, Zimmerman suspected that, maybe Zimmerman was right all along . . .

      Does anyone yet know how far Martin's body was from Zimmerman's vehicle? Did the police take Zimmerman's clothing for examination? Did they extensively photograph the site?

    2. I once attended a panel discussion many moons ago about the Rodney King beating. The "conservative" (and I hate to call him that), condemned the "media" for only playing that portion of the video tape that showed the circle of cops surrounding King and kicking him and beating him with clubs.

      He actually said that the media deliberately conspired to keep the public from seeing what went on BEFORE the beating, specifically, how hard King had fought against a whole gaggle of cops, leaving the cops no choice but to beat the holy hell out of him once they had him helpless on the ground. After all, he might have gotten up and fought some more, requiring the cops to shoot him. So King really got off easy.

      There were hoots from the audience, but the best remark came from a 16-year-old girl, whom I will try to quote as accurately as I remember: "I don't need to see anything else. What I saw was bad enough."

      The pushback about Trayvon's alleged pot use, or his school suspensions is exactly the same tactic -- divert your brain from what you actually DO know about this case by concentrating only on what you don't know, and really, don't need to.

    3. "Should whether Zimmerman is lying or telling the truth change our views on what the laws should be (there are some interesting questions regarding the subtleties of self-defense laws)?"

      Absolutely. Only the Ten Commandments were chiseled in stone.

      The issue of what should be done when there are no eyewitnesses to the actual shooting was argued exhaustively in legislatures.
      Just this situation had been predicted, and legislators and governors decided it was not that important.

      A similar case occurred in Arizona.
      In 2004 a hiker shot another hiker dead because he thought the man’s dogs, and then the man, were going to attack him.
      The shooter claimed he knew that by the look in the man’s eyes that he was going to kill him.
      The investigating officers thought that was enough justification. A jury didn't.

      At that time it was the shooter that had to prove justification.
      The shooter was convicted in 2006 to 10 years for second-degree murder.
      The shooter became a poster boy for the National Rifle Association.

      In 2009 the conviction was reversed on appeal.
      In 2011 the prosecution decided not to retry. The shooter was released.
      The law had been changed so that prosecutors have to prove that deadly force was NOT justified. It is now a Stand Your Ground law. It now allows testimony of past violent behavior to be admitted into evidence to a jury, which is normally not allowed unless both sides agree to it. State v. Fish

      The original law was rewritten because it was flawed.

      If the Florida law is flawed, it should be fixed after review.

      Just because someone wants to speak for the dead doesn't mean they are after blood.
      Laws are not written solely to discourage crime. There is an element of punishment and retribution as well.

      And of course the media are after blood. Not because reporters and editors hate George Zimmerman, but because this case creates bylines and boosts circulation.
      It's nothing personal, just business

    4. gravy,

      Great post. But I do worry that an individual case like this can sway us toward guilty until proven innocent legal philosophy. I still believe in Blackstone's formulation (better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer), even though there are always ten victims screaming for justice.

  6. "And these days the news media reflects our baser sides."

    Just just these days. Also, the new media proactively appeals to our baser sides and not just reflects them.

    1. Should be Not just these days.

  7. "And these days the news media reflects our baser sides."

    All culture does this.

  8. Bob,
    Just a reminder: Trayvon Martin is still dead.
    You can critique the ineptitude of the media till kingdom comes. But Trayvon Martin is still dead.
    We will hear from Zimmerman; we will hear from the local police. They will lie their asses off to declaim any responsibility.
    But Trayvon Martin is still dead.

    1. This is about the use that certain members of the media is making of Martin's death, a use that divides people into tribes by warping facts to fit preconceived ideas that make one tribe feel superior to the other tribe. This blog is always about rube-running, not the ineptitude of the media or anyone's death.

      The focus on misuse of facts (or absence of facts to support a claim) is to illustrate HOW rube running is accomplish and to make it clear that we are being played.

    2. Speak for yourself. I'm not being "played" by anyone. In fact, I would argue that those who think that the important things to consider in the Trayvon Martin case are how many times Zimmerman called 911, and whether police actually took his gun away before they cut him loose are the ones being played.

      By Somerby. So how does it feel to be one of his "rubes"?

    3. And king quaker, exactly.

      Maybe Somerby might pause in his obsessive quest to single-handedly bring down MSNBC to consider the case he is using to gain his ends.

    4. The one fact of which we are certain: Trayvon Martin is D-E-A-D. He cannot give his version of what happened.
      Running rubes?
      He is dead.

    5. "I'm not being played."

      We all are. The more you realize what people can get you to believe (and so easily), the closer you are to self-doubt. And, that, my friend, is where the real truth lies.

      This blog does a great service.

  9. From the Orlando Sentinel comments:

    kinghusseinodumbo at 2:03 PM March 27, 2012
    Oh, okay. So the innocent pics there with him as an angel were put there as a fake? The only thing fake is posting pictures from when he was little, instead of the 6"3" brute that he was when he attacked zimmy


  10. Ironically, Lawrence O'Donnell's takedown of the Orlando Sentinel reporter last night was exactly the kind of thing Somerby has been calling "liberal" pundits to do for years, and in fact has been howling about how silent they have been in the face of poorly sourced, poorly investigate bull roar straight from the word processors of the RNC to the front pages of your newspapers.

    So does Somerby congratulate O'Donnell for calling that reporter out on a poorly sourced, poorly investigated piece of bullroad that came straight from the files of the Sanford PD to the front page of the Orlando Sentinel and your newspaper?

    Dear children! No! That kind of conduct simply isn't permitted. It was "O'Donnell aping O'Reilly".

    So does

  11. Incidentally, Joe Oliver just got exposed on O'Donnell's show. The guy even wound up objecting to the term "close friend" saying its something he never said. Turns out, the guy barely knows Zimmerman and Oliver's only conversation with him about the Martin death was last Saturday, when the Zimmerman defense/PR team was being quickly assembled and Oliver got his orders.

    Can't wait to read Somerby's blog about this in the morning. Going to guess it's another case of O'Donnell "aping" O'Reilly.

    1. And Bob didn't disappoint.

      Somerby, hate to tell you this but your blog is becoming entirely predictable.

  12. CNN reported tonight Zimmerman is 5'8 and weighs only 170.

  13. O'Donnell looked like a crazed lunatic