Nose for news: The Times has never been stranger!

THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2012

MSNBC won’t tell you the truth: Our view:

Given the way denial works, it’s hard for people to understand how dumb and fake the New York Times is. That said, we’re not sure we’ve ever seen the Times as dumb or as strange as it is today.

For starters, what’s the featured story at the top of the Sports Thursday section? Manny Pacquiao, a boxer from the Philippines, doesn’t agree with Barack Obama’s new position on same sex marriage! At one point in a multiply-puzzling report, Greg Bishop weirdly writes this:
BISHOP (5/17/12): It was this revived interest in biblical study, [boxing promoter Bob] Arum said, that led Pacquiao to express his views on same-sex marriage, which Arum said he does not share. Arum noted that Pacquiao is Catholic and conservative and from a country where most people hold similar beliefs. Pacquiao is also an elected official [in the Philippines], Arum said, and thus should be allowed to take a stance on social issues, even an unpopular one.
Go ahead—enjoy a good laugh! According to Arum, elected officials are allowed to state a position on social issues! But we really chuckled at the highlighted statement, in which Arum notes that the Philippines is a country “where most people hold similar beliefs.” There is no sign that Bishop knows that the same is true of the U.S. In his newspaper’s brand-new public survey, 42 percent said they favor same-sex marriage, 51 percent said they do not!

Bishop’s report was strange and jumbled throughout. But then, we were struck by the weird reporting all through today’s Times, culminating with this lengthy front-page report about the killing of Trayvon Martin.

Truly, the Times is astounding. In Serge Kovaleski’s report, the paper clings to a favorite script, in which the Sanford police bungled the investigation on the night of the killing.

The headline speaks of “police missteps.” This is Kovaleski’s nugget:
KOVALESKI (5/17/12): An examination of the Sanford Police Department’s handling of the case shows a series of missteps—including sloppy work—and circumstances beyond its control that impeded the investigation and may make it harder to pursue a case that is already difficult enough.
According to Kovaleski, the department engaged in “a series of missteps, including sloppy work.” He ends us listing four examples.

(We're ignoring the third item on his five-item list, in which we’re told that “the police were not able to cover the crime scene to shield evidence from the rain.” As it turns out, there was no dome on that gated community! So some of the blood washed away!)

How absurd are the four remaining alleged missteps? Kovaleski is so desperate for examples that he even writes this:
KOVALESKI: The police did not test Mr. Zimmerman for alcohol or drug use that night, and one witness said the lead investigator quickly jumped to a conclusion that it was Mr. Zimmerman, and not Mr. Martin, who cried for help during the struggle.
One witness said that the lead investigator jumped to a conclusion? Yes, he actually wrote that! For the record, it has repeatedly been said that this same lead investigator wanted Zimmerman arrested that night. Kovaleski doesn’t address this widely-stated point.

Kovaleski struggles mightily to come up with complaints. “On the night of the shooting, door-to-door canvassing was not exhaustive enough,” he says—then notes that this is the opinion of “a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation.” (Note: On its face, that means this is the opinion of only one such official.) And not only that! “The police took only one photo at the scene of any of Mr. Zimmerman’s injuries...before paramedics tended to him.” Much later, Kovaleski notes that many such injury photos were taken when Zimmerman reached the police station.

This is remarkably worthless reporting. (Does the Times do any other kind?) And uh-oh! Very late in his lengthy report, Kovaleski slips a piece of new information past unsuspecting readers:
KOVALESKI: As for the officer at the scene who took the single full-face photo of Mr. Zimmerman—he suffered a nose fracture and other injuries during the struggle—he called an investigator “in a panic” over his failure to download it sooner, according to a person familiar with the case. Other photos of Mr. Zimmerman’s injuries were later shot at police headquarters, although he had been cleaned up by paramedics by then.
Say what? Zimmerman suffered a broken nose? This is a key piece of information; it was revealed just this week. But if you read the New York Times, you'll see it hustled past you in an aside in paragraph 27, as you read ridiculous pap designed to maintain a preferred script.

The New York Times buried that key piece of news—but the Times has done better than MSNBC, The One True Liberal Channel. This cable “news” channel worked hard, for weeks, to convince mistreated viewers that Zimmerman couldn’t have suffered a broken nose. For weeks, Lawrence O’Donnell and a quack named Charles Blow engaged in medical malpractice, pretending there was no possible way Zimmerman broke his news. (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/6/12. Other players on this quack-laden channel advanced this same bogus theme.)

They played their liberal viewers for fools, engaging in truly repulsive behavior about a possible murder case. This week, the truth has emerged—and according to Nexis, George Zimmerman's nose hasn’t been mentioned on this horrible channel all week. (Nexis covers MSNBC programs from 5 PM on.)

Zimmerman did get a broken nose. This fact has been widely reported on CNN and Fox; last night, it was even reported on NBC Nightly News. But if you watch MSNBC, you still haven’t heard this fact—after weeks of being told that it couldn’t be true! We liberals finally have a way to enjoy epistemic closure!

Everybody knows about this new information but us!

From its scammy former Rhodes Scholar on down, MSNBC is a rolling disgrace. O’Donnell and Blow are considerably worse. Fox has engaged in such conduct for years. At last, we liberals have a corporate disgrace—one we can call our own!


  1. Para 20:

    "For weeks, Lawrence O’Donnell and a quack named Charles Blow engaged in medical malpractice, pretending there was no possible way Zimmerman broke his news."

    Slip, pun? I think you mean "nose," but this works, too.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Zimmerman's injuries = aggravated battery, a forcible felony. A reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury, death, or of an imminent forcible felony is all that is needed to justify use of deadly force in self-defense.

    1. Right. Zimmerman was the guy with the gun who got out of his truck.

      Martin was the unarmed kid walking back from a convenience store who wound up dead.

      Obviously, Martin is the felon here.

    2. The first crime occurred when Martin physically attacked Zimmerman.

      Getting out of one's truck, following a person on a sidewalk you both have a right to be on, and asking them "what are you doing around here" are all 100% legal.

      If you believe one forfeits his right to self defense as a result of 100% legal behavior, you are in the wrong country and on the wrong planet.

    3. There's no reason to believe that Z ever brandished a gun in this incident before he reached for it to kill Martin.

      And so, if one assumes that

      1. Z at most followed Martin,
      2. Martin struck Z first
      3. Martin continued to pummel Z while pinning him to the ground, injuring him as we now know he did

      then, whether you like it or not, Martin would certainly seem guilty of aggravated battery.

      Or have you so completely lost your senses that you don't realize that the presumption that someone believes you may be a criminal, and is following you, is NOT adequate grounds to justify beating someone as did Martin (under the assumptions)? Is merely "profiling" someone as a possible criminal so heinous an act of crimethink that one is, in today's society, entitled to inflict terrible physical violence on the "perpetrator"? Is that really what we've come to? And this would be an advance of civilization?

    4. See what your blog has become, Bob? And the kind of intellectual giants you now attract.

      Pussy sees a black kid and thinks he's a burglar.

      Pussy gets out of his truck with a gun and shoots the black kid.

      Pussy is right and the black kid is wrong.

      Welcome to Free Republic, v2.0.

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    6. And you're right there with them, pussy. I mean anonymous pussy.

    7. Anonymous at on 5/17/12 @ 2:45P: Under Florida law, Zimmerman's injuries are not evidence of aggravated battery. Aggravated battery requires the use of a weapon or the infliction of grave or permanent harm. At worst, Zimmerman was the victim of battery, a misdemeanor. Since we don't know what happened in the last minutes of Martin's life, we don't even know whether Martin's actions were illegal. If it was Martin who had been threatened, then his response would have been self defense and not a crime at all. If Martin had attacked without reason or provocation, then he would have been guilty of a misdemeanor.

      In the latter case, Zimmerman need only have had a reasonable fear for life or limb to be protected by the SYG law. In fact, Zimmerman could have been entirely mistaken about Martin's intent and still use the law as a shield.

      Anonymous on 5/17/12 @ 6:45P: Your post is an example of the very thing Somerby complains about endlessly -- narrative. Zimmerman may have thought Martin was a burglar, but he just didn't get out of his truck and shoot Martin. And the law allows both parties in this case to have had a reasonable fear of life and limb and to have acted accordingly and legally. In hindsight, only Martin for sure had reason to fear for his life, but the law in this case doesn't operate on hindsight.

    8. Sorbital,

      My understanding of this case is that the SYG law likely has little relevance here.

      If Z was, as was claimed by a witness, and would be quite consistent with the recorded cries of help, pinned on the ground, and unable to retreat from Martin's attack on him, then SYG has no application, because whether or not the SYG law in place, Z would be justified in the use of the gun in self defense. My understanding is that even if indeed Z was the aggressor, he had at most an obligation to retreat, and if he was instead incapable of doing so after being pinned down, he nevertheless could kill Martin in self-defense if he had a reasonable fear of grave bodily harm.

      @anonymous @6:45

      What does it say about your argument that you are reduced to calling Zimmerman a "pussy" in order to somehow make your attack on him seem justified? Look, if you have any respect for the law, one is NOT allowed to beat the hell out of somebody just because you don't like the way they look at you, or the way they may follow you. Maybe that is a law for "pussies" in your book, but in civilized society we know and respect the difference between words and looks and physical violence.

    9. When all you care about is the angels/demons narrative, and you have no regard for facts, you end up like our poor friend anonymous@6:45, with nothing but (remarkably retrograde) bile.

    10. Agreeing w/Sorbital in general and possibly in some particulars, there is at this point virtually no evidence that points to the narrative that Zimmerman shot Martin after stalking him out of racist hatred. Virtually every bit of "evidence" used to "prove" that Zimmerman was lying and that the police just let him go for being white has turned out to be bogus, made-up bull crap: He was not taken in for questioning, there were no injuries, the police let him keep his gun, etc.

      Most outrageously, the police dispatch call never came close to showing what Zimmerman haters insisted it did: That Zimmerman, when told not to trail Martin ignored instructions to stalk and kill him. Instead Zimmerman, who had been making some noise that prompted dispatch to ask him if he was following Martin after being told not to do that made the same noise for approximately the same amount of time before then stopping to continue talking to police dispatch for the rest of the call (1 minute and 20 seconds), EXACTLY what one would expect if he followed instructions and walked back to his car.

      I have made myself extremely unpopular among my fellow liberals (some of whom have absurdly insisted that I'm lying about that claim and am really some sort of Republican fifth columnist) by pointing out that our side is full of bigoted male-appendage heads too. Among far too many of our ilk it is perfectly OK to be a racist as long as the race you hate and mock is white and sexist as long as the sex you hate and mock is male. On the other hand it is considered the height of inappropriate behavior to mention stuff like that fact that black people are five-and-a-half times more likely to be murdered than whites and that it's blacks who are doing the vast majority of the killing because that's hate speech. That's how we wind up making fools of ourselves with stuff like Duke lacrosse and why white straight males are really not all that crazy for thinking that we're they're enemies.

      Republicans, considering the overwhelming failure of their policies, should be so easy to beat in elections and probably would be if so our rank and file didn't work so hard helping them out.

    11. highly_adequate: Of course the SYG law is relevant. If Zimmerman was being attacked and he claimed a reasonable fear of his life or limb, then SYG allows him to use deadly force. SYG does two things: it removes the duty to retreat in specified situations outside the home and it removes the requirement for measured response in those situations.

      If, on the other hand, if Zimmerman was the original aggressor, then he must either retreat or unambiguously and in good faith surrender. If his retreat was blocked and his surrender refused, then upon continued attack, Zimmerman could defend himself and SYG would permit him to use deadly force if he reasonably felt threatened enough.

    12. Sorbital,

      Again, my understanding is that SYG is irrelevant if, in fact, Zimmerman had no ability to retreat -- which would certainly seem a fair characterization of his situation if he was pinned down by Martin, and was crying for help. In such a case, SYG or not, Zimmerman could respond by killing Martin in self defense if he reasonably feared grave bodily harm (which I should think, given his injuries, would be easy enough to establish to a jury).

      SYG might be relevant in other scenarios, but not in this one, which seems by far the most likely one.

    13. highly_adequate: Again, your understanding is wrong. You seem to believe that SYG is mooted if retreat is not an option. But SYG is about legalizing the use of deadly force. It incidentally removes the duty to retreat, but it also authorizes deadly force in response to reasonable fear. In states without SYG, self-defense is still recognized if you can't retreat, but the force used must be commensurate with the threat, and if you use deadly force, you must be prepared to show that the threat matched your response. Which, of course, you will have to do after the fact. Cuts and bruises from a fistfight with an unarmed man who weighs 20 pounds less than you, broken nose or no, probably won't do the trick. But reasonable fear is all that's required for SYG, even if you're mistaken.

    14. Sorbital,

      I don't know from where you're getting your understanding of the relevant law.

      My point is simple: even if the SYG law in Florida were removed from the books, Zimmerman would still have a legitimate case of self defense, in the most plausible scenario of what took place.

      All that Zimmerman requires to establish self-defense is

      1. Zimmerman had no opportunity to retreat. If indeed he was the one who was pinned underneath Martin and was crying for help, I don't see how one argues he had an opportunity to retreat.

      2. Zimmerman reasonably feared great bodily harm. Assuming, again, that he was the one crying desperately for help, I don't see how one could argue that he wasn't in fear of great bodily harm. And given that he suffered injuries to his head, I don't see how one could argue to a jury that his fear of great bodily harm wasn't reasonable. For consider: he knew nothing about Martin except that Martin (presumably) hit him without physical provocation and refused to cease hitting him after he was already subdued, and was smashing his head into the sidewalk with sufficient force to cause his injuries. Why would Zimmerman conclude that, almost certainly, the beating would stop short of grave injury to his brain?

      I don't see how SYG figures into any of this. So I don't know what you're really arguing here.

    15. highly_adequate: I get my understanding by reading the law, understanding Florida procedures under that law, and by comparing Florida law with states that don't have SYG. Where do you get yours? I'm evidently not being clear enough, but I'm not sure where I've failed in my explanation.

      You have confused SYG with self-defense. They are not the same. SYG applies to those who use deadly force and claim self defense. SYG does two things: 1) it removes the duty to retreat outside the home when certain conditions obtain, and 2) it sets the terms of the legal justification.

      We don't know whether Zimmerman had an opportunity to retreat, but lets suppose for the sake of argument that he didn't. We don't know whether Zimmerman reasonably feared GBH, but the reason that his claim will probably prevail has little to do with his crying desperately for help, even assuming he was doing the crying. The reason is twofold: One, SYG sets the standard for his claim at preponderance of the evidence on the very low bar of reasonable fear; and two, he killed the only rebuttal witness.

      SYG is an adjunct to self-defense. It helps the killer by making an affirmative defense (i.e., justification) easy. Absent SYG, the burden falls on the killer to show that his actions were commensurate. (And that he couldn't retreat, which we're assuming for sake of argument.) SYG makes it unnecessary for a defendant to explain why he shot an unarmed man whom he outweighed by 20 lbs. SYG relieves the killer of the inconvenience of having a jury balance a corpse against a broken nose.

      All that matters is the claim of reasonable fear, which is a claim that can be made even if the claimant is mistaken about the circumstances. In Florida, when a killer invokes SYG, he gets a preliminary hearing before a judge, who will determine whether the case even goes before a jury. If the judge buys the SYG claim, it's over.
      If he doesn't, the defendant still get to try to convince the jury.

      That's what SYG buys, and that's why Zimmerman will claim it.

    16. Sorbital,

      Thanks for the more detailed explanation. I think, though, that at least in part we may be talking at cross purposes. My fundamental question was not, might SYG be invoked in the legal defense of Zimmerman? It was rather: would the outcome in this case be different if SYG were removed from the books? And my answer is no: under the most likely scenario, the outcome would almost certainly be the same, because the claim of self defense as interpreted in the absence of SYG would suffice for Zimmerman's acquittal.

      Most of what you are arguing seems to establish only that, in certain elements, appeals to SYG would make the process of justifying Martin's killing easier for Zimmerman's lawyer. I don't see anything you state that might affect the outcome.

      The only thing you mention that might, in principle, affect the outcome, is your claim that under SYG, Zimmerman would be relieved of the burden of showing that Z's response was "measured". I guess I just don't see how that issue can be made to apply in this circumstance. In a case in which a defendant could avail himself of a response that would make the beating stop, but which response was well less than killing the beater, I can see the application. But what other response did Zimmerman have available to him short of pulling out his gun and killing Martin that would stop Martin from beating him? There was no more "measured" response in the circumstance adequate to the task. Had Zimmerman chosen, say, to shoot Martin in the leg or arm (even if he had had the presence of mind to do so), why, in those close quarters, would it not be reasonable for Zimmerman to believe that Martin would continue to come at him, wresting the gun from him, and killing him?

      So while, again, I can see SYG might actually be invoked because it rendered certain arguments easier, I just don't see how it might possibly affect the outcome. This matters of course because it affects in turn the question as to whether SYG should be "blamed" for the outcome -- or, for that matter, how much blame Zimmerman should incur for his act, under the assumption that, absent SYG, he would have been found guilty.

    17. highly_adequate: You say that "in certain elements, appeals to SYG would make the process of justifying Martin's killing easier for Zimmerman's lawyer. I don't see anything you state that might affect the outcome." This baffles me. You're saying that decreasing the difficulty of establishing justification couldn't affect the outcome?

      But this is precisely why the law was passed -- to keep the legally armed shooter from conviction on a homicide charge when the killing was overkill. You ask what other response Zimmerman could have made in response to being punched in the nose. Well, he could have punched back. But that's a question that SYG stops a jury from asking. Instead the question becomes one of reasonable fear.

      The "outcome" will not simply be a judgment on whether Zimmerman was legally allowed to defend himself. The decision will be whether the circumstances legally allow his self-defense to have turned lethal. On that question, SYG makes it much easier to decide in the affirmative. By design.

      Two caveats here. First of all, it may well be that Zimmerman not only felt that he had to shoot, but that he really did have no other choice to avoid GBH. I'm agnostic about this matter. But I would not expect a jury to believe that the armed combatant was the one at a disadvantage.

      Secondly, a jury can decide that SYG doesn't apply because they refuse to believe that Zimmerman was reasonable in his fear. I have no crystal ball in this matter, but remember that the only rebuttal witness is dead.

      I don't believe that SYG is responsible for Martin's death. That would require a measure of premeditation for which I've heard absolutely no evidence and which circumstances seem to preclude. That said, I've read that in 2004 (before the passage of SYG), Florida had 4 cases of private citizens killing in self-defense. In 2010, there were 40. In about half of which SYG was successfully invoked.

      If "absent SYG," Zimmerman would have been found guilty, it would seem a slam dunk that he also would have been found responsible in civil court for wrongful death. If "present SYG," Zimmerman is acquitted, Zimmerman will receive civil immunity as well.

  3. Ryan in Las VegasMay 17, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    Even if we assume that the police made errors, why is the Times assuming that these errors are hurting the prosecution? The types of investigation allegedly not done (not speaking to enough witnesses, not documenting Zimmerman's injuries) might have produced evidence that would have helped Zimmerman. Sloppy police investigations are the cause of many wrongful convictions. Unless one assumes that Zimmerman is guilty, there is no reason to assume that a bad investigation would harm his prosecution.

  4. Bob,

    Just yesterday I pointed out that your commentary on the Romney "gay-bashing" case is just like your commentary on the Martin case:

    You're letting mere facts get in the way of good stories we all "know" are true.

    You would have us think Romey didn't obviously hate gays & that Zimmerman did get injured?


    An Anonymous Idiot

    1. Agree! There are none so blind as those who will not continue to believe Lawrence O'Donnell after his lies are exposed.

      Why should they believe the facts, when the facts are only mentioned for brief moments if at all, and Lawrence O'Donnell spends HOURS offering an alternative reality?

  5. Too bad Olby isn't still at MSDNC. He would have been all over the broken nose thing.

  6. The Times wrote,

    ...the original prosecutor in the case, Norm Wolfinger, whose jurisdiction includes Sanford, filed no charges against him.

    That decision resulted in an increasingly strident public outcry. After Gov. Rick Scott of Florida contacted Mr. Wolfinger and had a conversation with him in late March, the prosecutor recused himself, citing, among other things, an unspecified conflict of interest.

    First of all, it's false that the prosecutor cited "an unspecified conflict of interest." On the contrary, the prosecutor recused himself, under pressure from activists, "to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest." There's a big difference between an actual conflict of interest and "even the appearance" of one.

    Speaking of activists, they don't exist in Timesworld. According to the Times, the decision to file no charges resulted in an increaingly strident public outcry. But, the Times omits the fact that this strident public outcry was something pursued by a certain group of activists and lawyers. These people took specific steps to help create the furur, but the Times will never tell you about their role. In Timesworld, the furor just grew on its own.

  7. Various news sites are reporting that Martin tested positive for drugs (although it's not clear how significant the amount was.) This is big news. It supports Z's claim that M looked like he was on drugs. Also, if Martin was on drugs, that might help account for his alleged unprovoked attack on Z. I think a jury is likely to reason that someone high drugs is more likely to be the aggressor.

    I wonder what kind of coverage the New York Times and MSNBC will give to this blockbuster news.

    1. I'm of an open mind regarding this case, but a small amount of marijuana (THC) in one's system would not sway me to believe that person is more inclined to start a physical confrontation. Come to think of it, I might be more likely to conclude the person in pursuit while carrying a gun is more likely the aggressor.

  8. The Trayvon Martin case collapsed today. "The incident would have been avoided if Zimmerman stayed in his truck" was its pathetic last gasp.

    Zimmerman was legally permitted not to stay in his truck and legally permitted to suspect Martin, to call the police dispatcher, to follow Martin, and to ask Martin what he was doing "around here." He was legally permitted to do all of these things armed, while Martin was unarmed.

    Zimmerman did not forfeit his right to self-defense by leaving his truck. Zimmerman retained the absolute right to shoot someone who broke his nose and was in the process of beating him as he screamed for help. Zimmerman retained the absolute right regardless of any injury at all, provided he reasonably feared serious injury or (another) imminent forcible felony (one or more of which, a broken nose, had already taken place).

    Zimmerman need not prove "life-threatening" injury. He need not prove he was not following Martin. He need not prove he didn't speak to Martin when Martin asked him "Why are you following me?" He need not prove Martin was armed or that he wasn't.

    Zimmerman did nothing criminal that night, and the greatest offense he may have committed was a social faux pas of undue curiosity.

    1. All true, as is the fact that Zimmerman would retain those rights if he declared he viewed Martin with greater suspicion because he was black, showed police a KKK membership card identifying him as the Grand Wizard of Sanford Florida, and saluted Hitler from the witness stand.

      A corrupt prosecutor can invent evidence of a crime and a corrupt jury can recognize the facts as invented yet decide to punish a person for holding racist views.

      "This incident could have been avoided" if Zimmerman had no right to carry a concealed weapon. Self-defense laws that permitted Zimmerman to use the gun are good. Gun laws that permitted Zimmerman to carry the gun probably aren't.

    2. While it is likely that, as you say, Zimmerman did nothing criminal that night, much of what he did does seem rather reckless. Apparently, the police gave presentations to neighborhood watch groups, and in those presentations, participants were advised NOT to pursue suspects themselves. Certainly one reason that advice was offered was that it could lead to ugly and potentially violent confrontations of the exact sort that occurred that night.

      Now Martin seems to have acted recklessly himself (and, one gathers, illegally, in being the physical aggressor). But it would be monstrous to suggest he deserved his fate for anything he may have done that night.

      One of the truly disturbing aspects of the way the media has handled this is that serious talk about how such incidents might be avoided in the future has been entirely shunted aside. Do we change the laws? Try to communicate the recklessness of certain kinds of behavior? No one seems to care about these questions, because they are preoccupied with advancing some kind of ideological agenda.

    3. highly_adequate: I'd say that hindsight tells us that Zimmerman's actions were unfortunate, but it's hard to show recklessness from an exercise of legally-authorized actions. Zimmerman was legally allowed to carry a firearm and legally allowed to follow someone in a public place. By the same token, I don't know how Martin can be seen to be reckless. We're not even sure he was the aggressor.

      The outcome we see is precisely what the law was designed by the NRA and ALEC to effect. Notwithstanding the protestations of the useful idiots in the Florida legislature who sponsored and passed the law, SYG is designed to protect armed citizens from their fear of others and to shield them from civil and criminal liability for their actions in abating that fear.

    4. Vilifying Zimmerman misses the point, distracts, and makes it more likely similar incidents will happen. There were two victims that night and the perps were the NRA and politicians of both parties.

    5. Au contraire. I think sending a strong message to self-appointed vigilantes that it would be a good idea to wait for the cops to come might help prevent at least a few similar incidents in the future.

      As far as "two victims," I'd guess that most people wouldn't take much notice of a black kid walking alone on a Sunday evening, let alone call the cops on him, let alone get out of his vehicle with a gun and stalk him.

    6. By "sending a message" you mean ignoring the law and convicting someone to "send a message." Right?

  9. "One of the truly disturbing aspects of the way the media has handled this is that serious talk about how such incidents might be avoided in the future has been entirely shunted aside. Do we change the laws? Try to communicate the recklessness of certain kinds of behavior? No one seems to care about these questions, because they are preoccupied with advancing some kind of ideological agenda."

    highly_adequate: Excellent paragraph, and from your base question a lot of other questions arise. One of them: why are amateurs watching over our streets, taking the place of the police officers who should be there? This incident very likely would not have occurred if instead of Zimmerman a police officer had been patrolling that neighborhood. Isn't it obvious that policing is not a job for amateurs?

  10. Since the right-wingers here invariably take the view that Martin was the criminal and celebrate the "Stand Your Ground" and concealed weapons law (some, even, taking extraordinary delight in any piece of evidence, however slight, which might confirm that view, without asking themselves why this is a good outcome), while the liberals are far more disposed to see Zimmerman as the criminal and to vilify the concealed weapons and "stand your ground" laws, maybe all the simplistic talk about the division of the types, at the brain or biological level, is true.

    Or, at least, it's true enough. One might have predicted, for example, that anyone who divides the world into parasites and producers would also take the side of Zimmerman in this case and the enabling laws, and do everything possible to impugn the reputation of Martin. And that this same person would also view "government entitlements" (the one folks have paid for) with disgust. And on it goes, with dozens of other policy positions.

    Simplistic maybe. But highly predictive. The question being, which side is more of a danger of the republic, and decent values?

    1. The side who says you should go to prison for shooting someone who is in the process of beating the shit out of you is the more dangerous, and deeply stupid.

    2. Some people should go to prison for killing someone with whom they get in a fistfight, and some shouldn't. Some of those people are more dangerous than the people they shoot, and some aren't. That's what we have jury trials for, or at least we should. The law as written always favored Zimmerman with a shield, and the more that comes out, the stronger the shield seems to be. And if it ends up protecting Zimmerman, it will cover his liability, criminal and civil. And his case should be conducted under that law. Which doesn't mean the law isn't dangerous and deeply stupid.

  11. "invariably take the view that Martin was the criminal"

    Sorry about that!

    If I'm going to make stuff up like that, I should at least try to make it seem plausible.

    No one said that -- I know it and so does every one else.

    I really do look like an idiot for saying that. Please ignore me.

    Anonymous Idiot

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