Refusing to do what Obama suggested!


Chris Matthews assembles the facts: Yesterday afternoon, Barack Obama made a decent person’s sane statement concerning the death of Trayvon Martin.

This is what the president said in response to a question:
OBAMA (3/23/12): Well, I'm the head of the executive branch and the attorney general reports to me, so I've got to be careful about my statements to make sure that we're not impairing any investigation that's taking place right now.

But, obviously, this is a tragedy. I can only imagine what these parents are going through. And when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids. And, you know, I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this and that everybody pulls together—federal, state and local—to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.

So I'm glad that not only is the Justice Department looking into it, I understand now that the governor of the state of Florida has formed a task force to investigate what's taking place. I think all of us have to do some soul-searching to figure out how does something like this happen. And that means that we examine the laws and the context for what happened, as well as the specifics of the incident.

But my main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. You know, if I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon. And, you know, I think they are right to expect that all of us, as Americans, are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves and that we're going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.
According to the president, “it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this and that everybody pulls together…to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.” With respect to Trayvon Martin’s parent, the president said this: “I think they are right to expect that all of us, as Americans, are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves and that we're going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.”

Will all of us take these events with the seriousness which they deserve? Will all of us, even our cable pundits, “pull together to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened?”

We thought of the president’s words when we played some Hardball last night. Early in his opening segment, the program’s blustery host authored a typical statement:
MATTHEWS (3/23/12): Well, finding out what happened is probably the first— Maybe I’m different than a lot of other commentators. I want to find out what happened. I mean, you have to find out in court, ultimately, but formally—but what happened in this terrible case?

The guy is armed. He knows he has this "stand in—stand in—stand your ground" law on his side. He’s acting like some kind of pseudo-policeman. He has no authority whatever. And yet he’s on some kind of neighborhood watch thing. It is a toxic mix, and he seems to have a point of view that’s clear that this guy is a criminal.
Classic Matthews! He said he was “different than a lot of other commentators” in that he “wants to find out what happened.” He then quickly made several statements of “facts” which aren’t in evidence.

(To watch this full segment, click here.)

Did Zimmerman “know he has this ‘stand your ground’ law on his side?” More precisely, did such knowledge affect his conduct? It’s certainly possible—but Matthews of course doesn’t know one way or the other. Nor does he seem to know that he doesn’t know.

But then, there’s a history there.

Over the past fifteen years, Matthews has invented facts for a living, in ways which have served his cable channel’s shifting agendas. For years, he invented his facts in service to the right wing. Now, he invents his facts “on our side,” and we cheer him on.

Matthews’ rather dumb declaration was just an opening. A truly wonderful Hardball moment occurred a bit later on, when Matthews tried to establish the fact that Zimmerman muttered a racial slur in the course of this deadly event.

Did Zimmerman utter a racial slur? At this point, we don’t know. But Matthews is working on our side now. In the following Classic Hardball Moment, Matthews plays a tape to establish this claim—then says that his staff has mistakenly cut the tape short.

What follows is the official MSNBC transcript, exactly as published through Nexis. It isn't yet available on-line:
MATTHEWS: Now let’s listen to something that I think is serious business. Here is a tape, which we here have boosted the sound so you can hear something that this guy, Zimmerman, says under his breath.

It sounds to me, on listening to it a couple times, like the "F" word, which we don`t speak on television, and another word which is clearly recognizable to anyone watching right now as a racial slur. Let’s listen to the tape.

911 OPERATOR: OK, which entrance is that that he’s heading towards?
911 OPERATOR: Are you following him?
911 OPERATOR: OK, we don`t need you to do that.

MATTHEWS: Well, we cut it off there. I don’t know why we cut it off there.
Matthews said we would hear a racial slur. When he couldn’t hear the racial slur, he assumed that his staff had cut off the tape before the slur occurred.

In fact, the staff had not cut off the tape. Matthews simply couldn’t hear the alleged racial slur, which MSNBC has transcribed in this manner: (INAUDIBLE).

The full tragicomedy develops as the conversation continues. Michelle Bernard assures us we certainly would have heard the slur if the show had played it:
BERNARD (continuing directly): Yes, I have listened to the enhanced version of the tape. For whatever reason, it was cut off here. But if you—

MATTHEWS: No, it was apparently—

WILLIAMS: It was the initial part where he`s whispering under his breath. Obviously, it sounds like he’s moving—“F-ing”—


BERNARD: I’m going to say it. I don’t think we should hide it. The American public needs to know. If you listen to that tape, he says "F-ing coon" under his breath. That is a racial slur.


BERNARD: It is unmistakable. It is undenial—if you listen, undeniable, if you listen to the unenhanced version. That in and of itself makes it a hate crime. That’s why the Justice Department is involved. It’s why the FBI is going to have to investigate this case.
One guest, Joe Williams, seems to know that the tape, as played, did include the alleged slur. But Bernard, who doesn’t understand this, provides a Classic Hardball Moment. Assuming the tape was truncated, she assures us that we would have heard the slur, if we had listened to the enhanced version of the full tape.

In fact, we had just listened to the enhanced version of the tape—and she had failed to hear the alleged slur. About a minute later, Matthews, apparently cued by producers, gives his guests a second chance to clamber on board with the message.

He plays the same piece of tape again. This time, they all hear the slur!
BERNARD: You can hear it very clearly on the tape. The police ask him, Are you following this person? And he says yes. They say, We don’t need you to do this. He keeps doing it. Then you add in what sounds like him saying “F-ing coon."

MATTHEWS: No, I heard it. And it’s not just “sounds like.” Anybody watching this show, if they were sitting in my office a few minutes ago, listening—

BERNARD: Would have heard it.

MATTHEWS: —would have heard it. It’s—

Let’s do it again. It’s the "F-ing" word followed by a word we all recognize, unfortunately, as racially evil, really. Go ahead.

BERNARD: It is evil!

MATTHEWS: Let’s listen. Let's listen.

911 OPERATOR: OK, which entrance is that that he’s heading towards?
ZIMMERMAN: The back entrance. (INAUDIBLE)
911 OPERATOR: Are you following him?
911 OPERATOR: OK, we don’t need you to do that.

BERNARD: You hear it! He says "F-ing coon!" They said, We don’t need you to—we don’t need you to do that. He continues to follow him. And you put all that together along with Trayvon speaking with his girlfriend, and she’s saying, Run from him—


BERNARD: You have motive, and it’s clearly based on racial bias.
Given a second chance with the same tape, Bernard was now able to “hear it.” She said so quite emphatically, with Matthews in agreement.

Did Zimmerman utter a racial slur? For ourselves, we don’t know. But “facts” have always been assembled this way on the disgraceful show, Hardball.

Of course, this is part of a longer tradition in our American history.

Certain types of “neighborhood watch groups” assembled their facts in such ways all through our brutal history. This often ended in the vicious behavior which defines so much of that history.

Matthews pretends to be upset by such past conduct now. This represents his new scripting.

Matthews has always assembled his facts in this manner, of course, no matter which side he was playing on. Here’s our question:

Is Matthews doing what Obama suggested? Is he taking the death of this child “with the seriousness it deserves?” Is he trying to use the tools of his craft to “get to the bottom of exactly what happened?” Is he trying “to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened?”

No, he isn’t doing those things. Such conduct simply isn’t part of his moral/intellectual makeup.

Currently, Matthews plays on our team. But he has never behaved as Obama suggested, and he never will.

The power and the glory: Matthews has a bit of a history here.

In 1999, he invented so many fake facts about a certain journalist that an armed man apeared at his home, apparently planning to kill him.

Luckily, the journalist wasn't home and the armed man was arrested. Did we note that Matthews' facts were false? See THE DAILY HOWLER, 5/20/99.

Anyone else would have been chastened by this near-miss. But a few weeks later, Matthews started assembling fake facts about nuclear physicist Wen Ho Lee. Death threats followed.

In those days, Matthews was assembling "facts" to take Bill Clinton down. He spent two years inventing "facts" to take out Candidate Gore.

Today, the gentleman plays on our team. He assembles his facts for us.


  1. While Matthews makes up phony facts, he seems to be downplaying the actual fact that Zimmerman is Hispanic and some of his relatives are black. Zimmerman's ethnicity doesn't make this any less a tragedy. However, if the media are going to focus on Martin's ethnicity, I think thdy ought to focus on Zimmerman's also.

    Also, as of this morning, two new bits are being reported. Zimmerman's attorney told CBS News that Zimmerman claims he was attacked by Trayvon Martin and he was defending himself. Also being reported is that an unnamed witness told police that Zimmerman was provoked, that Martin was beating him up.


  2. MATTHEWS: No, I heard it. And it’s not just “sounds like.” Anybody watching this show, if they were sitting in my office a few minutes ago, listening—

    In fact, Zimmerman says "fucking PUNKS." If this were suggested to Matthews and viewers instead of "coons," they would then be saying they had no doubt he said "punks."

    Furthermore, Zimmerman is 28 years old. Nobody under Matthews' age uses the term "coons" and if Zimmerman were inclined to use a slur he would have said the N word.

    CNN cleaned up the audio and Jeffrey Toobin insisted he heard "coons" too! But only after it was suggested to him multiple times moments before he heard the audio.

    If you are told nothing other than that you will hear "coons" then that is what you will hear. If you are told nothing but that you hear "punks" that is what you will hear. If you are told nothing, you will probably hear "punks."

    Zimmerman said "fucking punks" but Matthews and CNN are determined to gin up racial divisions and they love playing the part of amateur detective.

  3. Sorry, Anon. I saw the CNN segment where Anderson Cooper went into the technician's office at CNN who handles audio tapes. He cleaned out the background noise and the words used are clearly, not even a close call, "fucking coons." There is a clear distinct difference in sound between "coon" and "punk."

    Matthews may be the show clown that Bob says, certainly Matthews was horrible during the Bush-Gore campaign. However, the CNN segment was very informative and straight up.

    1. Wrong. I saw it too and posted a link to it below. Zimmerman says "punk." And it's not even a close call, either when they play the entire phrase or isolate the word.

      You've been suggested a set of facts and you bought it.

    2. Anon. is a propagandist.

      Here is the link. Listen for yourselves.

      I personally have a problem with hate crime laws because it turns a motive issue into something that is akin to witch trial. I tried to listen to this with the word punk or punks in mind to test Anon.'s theory. Sorry Anon. No dice. The word "coons" is far more clear than anything like "punks."

  4. Listen for yourselves to Zimmerman saying "punks."

    Also note that Anderson Cooper says he is not going to inform the viewer what the alleged slur was because "We're going to let you listen for yourselves with fresh ears and make up your own mind."

    He cuts to Gary Tuchman who is with the audio analyst, and when they say they are about to play the audio "10 times" the voiceover says "What we're listening for is the racial slur COONS."

    After Zimmerman says "fucking punks," Tuchman says "It sounds like the allegation could be accurate."

    They then play the word "punks" repeatedly and Tuchman says "That certainly sounds like the word to me."

    (The word he had been told to think about as he listened to the audio.)

  5. I think the point Somerby is trying to make is that you don't have to invent new "evidence" to make this case any worse than it already is.

    What possible difference does it make what Zimmerman said in that one second? It is his ACTIONS that we should be concerned with.

  6. It makes a difference because if they can prove there were any illegal actions on Zimmerman's part that were racially motivated they can charge him with federal hate crimes.

  7. On top of a homicide? That'll teach him!

    Let's make sure we give him 30 days for trespassing on whoever's lawn he was on, too.

  8. If the witness accounts that say it was Zimmerman crying out for help on the 911 calls, what you have is the same case as an asshole in a bar who confronts another guy he thought was checking out his girlfriend, the other guy starts a fight, and the original asshole shoots in self defense.

    The most serious crime he would be charged with would be something minor like harassment that is the equivalent of charging someone with being an asshole, unless it can be proved he targeted Martin out of racial hate.

  9. Reading these comments I can't help but think America is truly fucked. Fucked by evil organisastions like the NRA, for instance. "Stand your ground" - what bullshit is this?
    This is a country gone insane.

    1. Zimerman's lawyer says the Stand Your Ground law doesn't apply here.

      A lawyer for the man at the center of the Trayvon Martin death investigation said Florida's "stand your ground" law doesn't apply to the shooting that killed the unarmed teen.

      "In my legal opinion, that's not really applicable to this case. The statute on 'stand your ground' is primarily when you're in your house," said Craig Sonner, attorney for George Zimmerman.

      "This is self-defense, and that's been around for forever -- that you have a right to defend yourself. So the next issue (that) is going to come up is, was he justified in using the amount of force he did?"

      Regardless of the lawyer's current position, Zimmerman may have had Stand Your Ground in mind when he shot Martin, for all I know. I wonder if there are facts indicating that Zimmerman was influenced by Stand Your Ground. If not, I wonder how that law became so central to the news reports.

    2. Whether Zimmerman had "stand your ground" in his mind is utterly irrelevant.

      "Stand your ground" only became an issue when the POLICE used it as their excuse for only not arresting the guy on the spot. And they cut him loose based solely on his word that he felt scared. By a 140-pound teenager.

      And that, dear sir, needs investigated every bit as much as the homicide itself. If you indeed have a police department giving a guy a pass under "stand your ground" for shooting a black kid just because he said he was scared, then it's open season on black kids in that town, isn't it?

    3. Thanks for the info, Anonymous. I think it's appalling that the police are giving Zimmerman an out that Zimmerman's own lawyer says doesn't apply. What's wrong with those police?

    4. The police were told Zimmerman wasn't just "scared" but attacked when he returned to his vehicle.

    5. "Were told" by whom? The same voices inside your head telling you all this?

    6. By Zimmerman who was wounded on the back of his head, supporting his claim he was attacked. Keep trying though. There must be racism involved somehow. Theres gotta be.

    7. Oh well then, if Zimmerman himself said so, then it has to be true! What possible reason would he have to lie about it?

      And now a wound on the back of his head? What next? A broken nose and two broken arms? Heck, the man was so messed up by a 140-pound kid that it's just amazing he could pull his gun and shoot!

  10. This is why it should NOT be investigated as a hate crime. It makes it unnecessarily complex and murky. Isn't it bad enough that a self-appointed, non-legal "beat cop" took it upon himself to follow and shoot an unarmed boy, despite authorities telling him not to do so? Yes. That is bad enough. Let's prosecute that, not what we think we heard Zimmerman say or not say.

    1. The problem with that is that without a hate crime Zimmerman, if it is true that he was the one calling for help, will be guilty of nothing more than being a cop wanna be who mildly harassed someone, provoking a violent response that gave him the right to self-defend.

      This simply will not do for the lynch mob.

    2. I know of no evidence, beyond right-wing spin, that Trayvon in any way confronted the guy. But even if he did, what about "stand your ground" for him? He's got a 250-pound guy with a gun stalking himself. He has no right to defend himself? "Stand your ground" applies only to the guy with the gun?

  11. Listening to the CNN playback, it would be hard to say for sure that the word is "coon", but anyone who manages to hear "punk" must have very "conservative" ears, because there is no plosive at the beginning and no fricative at the end. Without either, you can't get to "punk".

    What are the odds we could correctly deduce a vast range of other beliefs and party affiliation for the listener who claims to hear "punk"? That, or phonetics has a liberal bias, the same way climate science does.

    Talk about tribalism.....

    1. The only problem with your comment is that you've been "punked" by Matthews and thus you are wrong about what you insist you don't hear.

      It appears gullibility and suggestibility are particularly correlated with excitable cable news viewers.

    2. Since I don't get cable, and have never seen Chris Matthews on TV, this is unlikely.

      Assuming we're listening to the same segment, I can only conclude that one of us is willfully deaf.

    3. You've been brainwashed. It requires no effort or impairment to identify the words clearly said on the call but it takes willful resistance not to hear them.

    4. Since I have no interest in the outcome, and have little attention to the coverage, I don't know who could have brain-washed me.

      Am I right, however, that your views are closely aligned with Republican orthodoxy on a range of issues -- taxes, war, torture, death penalty, abortion, capital punishment climate science, etc.?

      Of course, you're free to ask me the same thing, so I'll tell you in advance: I am Democrats almost as much as you do.

    5. Sorry! That should read "I HATE Democrats almost as much as you do".

    6. Well, I don't hate anybody, Republican or Democrat.

      There is too much hate floating around already.

    7. You'd be wrong. My views align with Republicans on some issues, primarily taxes. Opposed the Iraq war, oppose torture, support abortion, believe global warming exists. I think most who identify strongly as Democrat or Republican ideology or party are "lacking."

      Five days ago I thought it was likely a racist stalked a black kid and looked for an excuse to shoot him.

  12. There is DEFINITELY a plosive, and there is no "oo" sound in the word. It doesn't take conservative ears to hear what Zimmerman said which is a word commonly used by young males for other young males (punk). It takes preconditioned and extremely overzealous ears to hear "coons."

    1. I don't care what he said and believe it or not, have no interest in either outcome -- there have got to be far more relevant facts, like what actually happened and who did what -- but if we're listening to the same segment there's no other conclusion available to me than you're hallucinating.

  13. In the kind which the NRA writes the law.
    Here's one for the NRA: why isn't the NRA pounding on the fact that if Martin was packing, he would have been able to protect himself?

    I kid, the obvious reason is the NRA would lose all their power if they suggested minorities should be armed.

    But keep thinking race has nothing to do with this if you'd like.


  14. Note the other source of outrage for "conservatives -- the fact that the actual photo of the victim is lighter and less "mug-shot" than the rather crude, low resolution poster-type photo previously circulated. The victim apparently doesn't look thuggish enough in an actual photo, to suit some people. Another liberal photoshop conspiracy.

    Mindless and pointless as much of the coverage is, this sort of thing really does bring a certain type out of the woodwork. But don't you know, there's no racism in America!

  15. Or mall cop followed his suspect, suspect confronted him and a fight ensued, mall cop cried for help, mall cop shot the person he feared might kill him. A tragic but ordinary set of circumstances.

  16. The worst set of facts that could possibly emerge for one tribe would be that a slightly paranoid tattle tail frustrated by crime in his neighborhood, thought he might have a chance to become a hero, got jumped by a kid he pissed off, yelled for help, feared he was being killed, and shot the kid. All with no racial prejudice.

    Nothing would disappoint and upset one tribe more than these racially-neutral facts, except if it could also be determined that Zimmerman would not have suspected Martin if Martin were wearing a white shirt and tie instead of a hoodie.

    1. What really concerns me is that there are some people, far too many, who think like you do, and if indeed the scenario you invented in your head was the truth, then Zimmerman did absolutely nothing wrong.

    2. "Invited into your head?"

      There are absolutely no facts in evidence that even slightly indicate anything else. But if you disagree, what are these facts?

      It's possible that Zimmerman did nothing wrong aside from initially following a person he suspected and provoking a reaction by that act alone.

      If Martin then jumped Zimmerman and Zimmerman reasonably feared for his life, Zimmerman was within his rights to shoot.

      It doesn't matter if the physical confrontation would not have happened but for Zimmerman following Martin.

      It might also be true that, depending on factors such as how close Zimmerman got and size disparity, Martin would have been within his rights under "stand your ground" to shoot Zimmerman.

      It is possible the police acted appropriately, and if the eyewitness account saying it was Zimmerman's voice yelling for help is accurate, likely.

    3. That's about the most absurd justification I've ever heard. How could the police have acted "appropriately" if they didn't gather evidence, seek out witnesses, drug-test Zimmerman . . . Jesus, are you serious?

    4. A report was filed and they had no cause to arrest Zimmerman based on those interviewed at the time.

    5. actually, it does:

      "It doesn't matter if the physical confrontation would not have happened but for Zimmerman following Martin."

      even under fl's "Stand Your Ground" law, you're required to actually have ground to stand on. by being the initial aggressor, per the law, mr. zimmerman's actions abrogated any protection the law might have provided, as mr. martin was the one being attacked. mr. zimmerman had no legal authority to stop mr. martin on a public street, and confront him. by doing so, he was the attacker, not mr. martin.

      apparently, neither the responding officers, nor the entire sanford police dept., have ever actually read the law they are asserting prevented them from arresting mr. zimmerman on the spot.

    6. Actually Zimmerman had every legal right to ask Martin a question on a public street. This is by no stretch of law or imagination an "attack." If Zimmerman is then physically attacked by Martin and reasonably fears for his life, he is legally permitted to use his gun in self-defense and Zimmerman's question does not matter.

      Stand your ground allows lethal force if one is attacked and does not require retreat first. The police reported the person they believe was "attacked" was Zimmerman.

      If the facts are as the police believed them to be that night and the witness they interviewed who said Zimmerman was pinned down unable to retreat and crying for help, Zimmerman acted in self-defense and the particulars of stand your ground would be irrelevant.

    7. Oh, I see. An armed man has every right to initiate a confrontation, and if the kid fights back, well he deserved to die.

      No "stand your ground" defense for the kid is there? Nope. Fighting back (and that is assuming your fairy tale is correct for the sake of argument) is a capital offense for him.

    8. If Zimmerman attacked Martin, Martin could respond with lethal force if he reasonably believed death or great injury were imminent. According to the reports, Zimmerman was not believed to have initiated the physical conflict. Asking a question is not an attack.

    9. Asking a question while holding a gun is not an attack?

      My GAWD, man, you're worse than Chris Matthews inventing entire scenarios instead of a word because that's what you want to believe.

    10. What makes you think Zimmerman was holding his gun while asking a question? The report says the gun was in a holster in his waistband when police took it from him. There is no evidence Martin knew he had a gun or that it was not in the same place before Zimmerman decided to use it.

    11. Fella, you have invented this huge fight between a 250-pound 28-year-old who was already told by police NOT to confront the 140-pound kid, and the 250-pound man was getting his ass kicked so badly he feared for his life and just had to use his gun to save his own life.

      Thank God your not Zimmerman's attorney.

    12. We can't conclude anything about who is outmatched between a 28 year old 250 pound 5'9 out of shape out of breath from walking non athlete vs 6'3 17 year old football player

  17. ABC News just reported a black friend of Zimmerman has identified the "howling" on the 911 tape as Zimmerman's voice.

    The black friend also said Zimmerman is not a racist.

    One tribe is not going to like this new revelation.

    The man, a black friend of the family who spoke to Zimmerman tonight, told ABC News that Zimmerman was weeping for days after the shooting, which sparked protests across the country, and he insisted that Zimmerman, who is Hispanic, is not a racist.

    1. This is going to come as a surprise to you, but to me it makes no difference if Martin were Hispanic and Zimmerman black, or if one or both were white, black, Hispanic or Tahitian.

      A 250-pound armed adult male confronts a 140-pound unarmed teenager, the teenager winds up dead, and the cops don't even bother to arrest the male and hold him for investigation. They complete their investigation in a matter of minutes at the scene and cut the 250-pound, armed adult male loose.

      You don't see a problem there, fine. But as for me, I want to see more than a few more facts before I'm satisfied the cops didn't try to sweep this one under a big, gigantic rug.

      And I thank GOD we're having a national discussion.

    2. Police report has Zimmerman at 5'9 and Martin at 6' and 160. Wikipedia has Martin at 6'3 and 140 and says he was visiting his father while on a 10 day suspension his father said was for being in an unauthorized area of school property.

  18. well geez, that settles it then, no need for all that investigative nonsense, case closed:

    "The black friend also said Zimmerman is not a racist."

    i'd be kind of curious to know how he managed to identify a "howl", as opposed to a speaking voice. no doubt that will all be explained in the investigation.

    does mr. zimmerman's family also have a gay friend, to assure us he's not homophobic either? nothing to do with the present case, but you can never be too prepared.

    1. The better evidence of who was howling would be an eyewitness, one of whom was reportedly interviewed by police that night and identified Zimmerman as the person howling.

  19. Exactly. It is best we assume he is racist until proven otherwise.

  20. So under certain circumstances it's okay to harass and then shoot an unarmed man who was going about his business and talking to his girlfriend on the phone.

    That kind of attitude certainly explains some of the shit that happens in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Zimmerman's crying because he's a pathetic excuse for a man, a pretend cop who hides behind a gun.

  21. Ordinary? I'm glad I don't live on the planet you do.

  22. I just want to address the question, "Where's the racism?"
    It is certainly on the part of the NRA and the 2nd Amendment fetishists, who aren't going on and on about how Martin should have been packing heat to protect himself from Zimmerman. If Martin was white, they'd certainly be saying it.


  23. "the obvious reason is the NRA would lose all their power if they suggested minorities should be armed."

    On the contrary, according to many, gun control laws have racist roots. E.g.,

    Detroit resident General Laney, founder of the National Black Sportsman's Association, says, "Gun control is really race control. People who embrace gun control are really racists in nature. All gun laws have been enacted to control certain classes of people, mainly black people.
    Investigative reporter Robert Sherrill, himself no lover of guns, concluded in his book "The Saturday Night Special" that the object of the Gun Control Act of 1968 was black control rather than gun control. According to Sherrill, Congress was so panicked by the ghetto riots of 1967 and 1968 that it passed the act to "shut off weapons access to blacks, and since they (Congress) probably associated cheap guns with ghetto blacks and thought cheapness was peculiarly the characteristic of imported military surplus and the mail-order traffic, they decided to cut off these sources while leaving over-the-counter purchases open to the affluent."
    San Francisco civil-liberties attorney Don B. Kates, Jr describes early gun control efforts in his book "Restricting Handguns: The Liberal Skeptic Speak Out". As Kates documents, prohibitions against the sale of cheap handguns originated in the post-Civil War South. Small pistols selling for as little as 50 or 60 cents became available in the 1870s and '80s, and since they could be afforded by recently emancipated blacks and poor whites (whom agrarian agitators of the time were encouraging to ally for economic and political purposes), these guns constituted a significant threat to a southern establishment interested in maintaining the traditional structure.

    Consequently, Kates notes, in 1870 Tennessee banned "selling all but 'the Army and Navy model' handgun, i.e., the most expensive one, which was beyond the means of most blacks and laboring people."

  24. All true David in CA.
    Except for the "on the contrary" remark.
    The NRA would lose all political power if they pushed for minority gun ownership. I know it. They know it. That's why they are silent in this case. Feel free to disagree, but show me how the NRA has been pushing for arming minorities if you do so. (Because I'll go on every cable news network in the next month with your proof, and by May 1st, the NRA will be as politically powerful as the "Caspar the Friendly Ghost Fan Club for Pre-teens").

    That doesn't mean gun control laws don't have racist roots.
    They aren't mutually exclusive.

  25. The best outcome would be that the matter is investigated and Zimmerman's account is found to be truthful. That this was like any bar fight gone wrong where a loud mouth finds himself having to use lethal force to defend himself.

    If Zimmerman's account is true, it would be tragic if Trayvon Martin lost his life AND someone else whose crime was being an overzealous neighborhood watchman ended up losing his freedom because of race baiting politics.

    1. Except that a bar room loud mouth who initiates a confrontation and winds up killing the other guy pretty much always faces some serious and very heavy charges.

  26. "The best outcome would be that the matter is investigated"
    You could have stopped right there.

    1. No, he couldn't have. He's already determined the outcome he wants. And of course, only that outcome would be the "best" outcome.

    2. Which is exactly what he accuses others of doing. Oh, the irony.

  27. Oh, doesn't he ever! Blame the hoodie? How dumb can you get.

    The photo of the police sketch of the Unabomber in a hoodie is already making the rounds with the caption, "Did anyone tell white people to stop wearing hoddies?"

  28. Gotta ask, why would it be tragic if Zimmerman lost his freedom? It's an almost antiquated expression, but he "took the law into his own hands" and must be held resposible for what he did. And the world would definitely be a safer place without him wandering the streets with his gun.

  29. It is looking more likely that "what he did" was ask someone in the neighborhood for which he was watch volunteer what he was doing, got the crap beaten out of him, and shot his assailant in self defense. If true, it is regrettable lethal force was required and would also be regrettable if Zimmerman lost his freedom in addition to Martin losing his life.

    1. And a big part of the healthy national discussion we are having over this tragedy is about the "Stand your ground" laws in effect in 23 states.

      If indeed "Stand Your Ground" provides an absolute defense to a shooter who kills another guy in a fistfight that the shooter initiated because he was losing the fight.

      And that is presuming that whatever physical confontation that occurred between the two escalated to the point that the shooter feared for his life.

  30. I feel sorry for the suffering George Zimmerman endured at Trayvon's hands, but I'm grateful to him for taking out this ghetto thug before Trayvon did something even worse to someone else

  31. In broader perspective here, what is hilarious is that Somerby nowhere mentions Newt Gingrich's remarks on Obama's remarks. Instead, he directs his attention, as always, to nitpicking the largely irrelevant MSNBC types--seriously, how many viewers do they have?--as if, if only O'Donnell or Matthews got it right for once, the right's complaint about media bias would go away forever. And besides, for Pete's sake, what evidence is there of this claim: "Now, he invents his facts “on our side,” and we cheer him on"? Isn't this precisely the same kind of lame motive-attribution Somerby complains of?