The fake facts never die in these cases!

MONDAY, JULY 15, 2013

We are all Rush and Fox now: Our major national disputes are almost wholly controlled by fake facts.

Once the fake facts have been established, they simply never die. In part, that’s because newspapers like the New York Times agree to avoid fact-checking any Preferred Standard Narrative.

Once a fake fact has been established, it will live forever. Consider this groaner by Edward Wyckoff Williams in a new post at Salon:
WILLIAMS (7/15/13): It bears reminding that it was Sanford’s police who first allowed Zimmerman to walk away uncharged—his gun in tote. The story of self-defense seemed logical to them given the brown body laying on the ground. It was their decision not to investigate the case as a crime that led to public outcry, rallies and marches. It is only because of their total failure to do their jobs that the world now knows the name and face of Trayvon Martin.
“It bears reminding!” According to Williams, the Sanford police let Zimmerman keep his gun last year!

Unfortunately, that is one of the million fake facts promulgated by MSNBC last spring. The statement is flatly false, as we thought everyone pretty much knew by now.

But Williams still seems to believe the fake fact, and no one else at Salon seems to know.

Or care.

They didn’t take away Zimmerman’s gun! This was repeated again and again as Sharpton, O’Donnell, Schultz and Blow whipped us rubes up last year.

But then, some people are born to mislead us. This is how Williams begins:
WILLIAMS: If there is no justice, there can be no peace. But in the American South it seems white folks suddenly believe that decorum and charm are a proper response to unspeakable acts of violence and unconscionable injustice.

The day before a jury delivered an acquittal in the murder trial of George Zimmerman, Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger and Sanford Police Chief Cecil Smith gave a national press conference to appeal for a peaceful reaction to the verdict—regardless of its outcome.

Eslinger, who is white, said “We will not tolerate anyone who uses this verdict as an excuse to violate the law.”

The veiled threat of an aggressive police response to imaginary civil unrest belies the very logic that led to Trayvon Martin’s death to begin with. For, you see, African-Americans are never protected or served by the law enforcement apparatus—yet they are always subject to its military might.

Sanford police coyly “tolerated” the actual killing of an unarmed black child, but yet refuse to “tolerate” any anger expressed for the acquittal of his murderer.

This is the new Jim Crow realized.
Reread that passage slowly, with care. Then ask yourself this:

From that passage, would a reader have any idea that Sanford’s police chief is black?

We’re told that Eslinger is white. We aren’t told that Cecil Smith is black. Instead, we’re told that “this is the new Jim Crow realized” when Sanford police, led by Chief Smith, “refuse to ‘tolerate’ any anger expressed for the acquittal of his murderer.”

The Sanford police did not let Zimmerman keep his gun last year. That is one of the many fake facts The One True Liberal Channel spent many weeks pimping and promulgating.

One year later, Williams is still saying it! Salon just lets it go.

Rush and Fox created the template for this. If you have cable, you already know our final fact:

We libs have embraced this culture too! We are all Rush and Fox now!


  1. The Very Concerned, Very ConfusedJuly 15, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    Pointing out the continuing bullshit means you're with the white supremacists and the masculinists.

    No, I don't have to explain how that can possibly make any sense.

    1. Someone left the playpen door open again.

    2. No, pointing out bullshit, highly selectively (and therefore misleadingly), on one side of this (multi-sided) debate only: that plays into the hands of white supremacists and masculinists, or (and I believe the following applied to many visitors to this site) fails to enlighten those too naive or self-absorbed to appreciate the seriousness of racial and sexual inequality in this country.

    3. What's the difference between a masculinist and a male chauvinist?

    4. I'm afraid a man was being tried, not a symbol.

    5. Well, for starters, a male chauvinist is a male; masculinists may be of any sex or gender. A chauvinist asserts male superiority. A masculinist isn't necessarily thinking in terms of superior/inferior relationships, at least consciously. Beyond that, it gets complicated. What I had in mind, for instance, was a tone of "I am rational calm" in the face of "you are hysterical emotionalism" that a number of commenters had adopted. A typical masculinist stance (substituting itself for actual argument). I also had in mind the focus (in Bob S's posts and in many comments) on details at the expense of the totality, the inter-relatedness of parts and at the expense of listening sympathetically to those who have suffered. There is a large literature on this subject, if you are really interested.

    6. Not interested it sounds cuckoo

    7. Very concerned, very confused is being sarcastic, guys.

    8. Actually, what you done is to make it ambly clear that you are more concerned about some racist taking comfort from this verdict than that a real life human has been placed in jeopardy over media malfeasance.

    9. You know, it's comments like this, CeceliaMc, in response to what I have said, that persuade me there's no point to conversation here. I am indeed concerned about some racist taking comfort from this verdict but much more about his or her taking comfort from the kind of comments I see here, most of which indicate no sympathy for Trayvon Martin or his family and no understanding about why this whole situation calls attention to real problems with racism in this country. The coldhearted refusal to acknowledge those problems in the context of this case, even if one believes that the jury verdict was understandable and probably what I would have decided in the context of Florida law and the facts as presented to this jury (as I have amply indicated I believe, in many comments over the last few days) suggests to me that you want this verdict to be a vindication of our whole society and justice system vis-a-vis race. Why do you want that so badly that you can't even listen to what I am actually saying?

      As I said, no point in talking to people who already know everything and have made up their minds about everything. Better to go to an actual liberal site where people air their disagreements with one another with a little wit and with some humility.

    10. The Very Concerned, Very ConfusedJuly 15, 2013 at 10:35 PM

      As predicted, I was unable to make the idea that it's all about masculinists and white supremacists make any sense.

      But I hope you instead enjoyed that I changed gears and now pretend that what it's all REALLY about is your failure to show proper concern for Trayvon Martin's family, which I somehow know you lack because you reject my insipid racial philosophizing.

    11. The media didn't report damaging inaccuracies about some symbol of white privilege in our country. They did it to a man. Not a cartoon saint or villain, but a real guy who could possibly have gone to prison for a very long time over such misinformation in the minds of jurors.

      No one need swear a loyalty oath to the concept of historic racial disparity in order to have the moral standing to bemoan that. No one logically needs to offer up essays on racial tensions to earn the right to point the finger at a media engaged in exacerbating those very tensions. Criticism of that recklessness need not be balanced with assurances of one's dismay over the fate of young Trayvon Martin as though the former belied the latter.

      The idea that anyone must do these things is yet another way for you to control what is said. People can't mention Zimmerman's story without your telling them that they are demanding unquestioning faith in a potential liar. If they respond by mentioning that his self-interested defense was compelling enough to give six people "reasonable doubt" of his guilt, you say that they are smugly throwing this unfortunate development in your face.

      I hope you do find a group where you can comfortably discuss this topic, because as it stands now I think you'd need to write a piece of kabuki theater AND disallow your opponents from defending their POV.

      Oh, you'd give some excuse about their engendering racist or other insensitive comments in the threads, or their minimizing historic wrongs, giving comfort to white supremacists, or not adequately assuring you that they aren't dancing on Martin's grave.

      However, this sort of tripe is very much what you would need in order to feel comfortable, and it's precisely what you've done here, and would do anywhere else.

    12. Cecelia, you don't read with any generosity anything I have written on this subject, do you? (Generosity doesn't seem to be in your nature, if I may say.) Or even with basic reading comprehension, since your characterization of the comments I have written is so wildly off the mark. (I wonder how you'd do on a standardized reading comprehension test.) For instance, I have indicated repeatedly that people who believe that Z should have been acquitted on the basis of Florida law and the evidence adduced in trial are not my "opponents," and that I do not pretend to know what happened in the encounter between Z and M. If I don't tend to trust Z's version, neither do I dismiss it as "beyond reasonable doubt." You (and many commenters here) just love your high dudgeon of moral and intellectual superiority, too much too listen. (And I am sorry if you find my concerns about racial inequality and the feelings of Martin's family, and other black people, ultimately worthy to be reduced to a form of "tripe" -- my, you do like your vitriol. I am surprised you didn't add "sheesh." You might consider that someone confident in her arguments need not embellish in that way.)

      Though several commenters here have surmised that Mr. S does not read his commenters (and he may not -- he seems more interested in getting noticed by Kevin Drum or Krugman or whomever), I hope he sometimes reads them if only to gauge the actual effect of what he writes on his wider audience. Mr. S might remember Plato in the Protagoras: "These are the souls of young men" that have been entrusted to teachers. And Mr. S is a teacher, whether he likes it or not, and his students are anybody who reads his posts, not just Drum et al. He is responsible for what he says. (And so are we all.)

      I am not interested in finding agreement with what I already believe when I visit comments sections like this. I do enjoy learning from good argument. Not to be found here.

    13. And to Very Concerned, Very Confused, I suppose you at least capture in your handle a "position" I may convey. I am not ashamed if I am very concerned, though I don't think I am Very confused -- only somewhat, which is why I participate in discussion. (I don't participate in order to display my supreme confidence that I have it all figured out.) I am so glad you are not confused, though perhaps you could show a little concern by enlightening the rest of us, since you are so blessed with absence of confusion? (Ah, the clever irony of your handle. The companion of Cecelia's blunt "tripe" and "sheesh" approach.)

      Mr. S, these are your star students! Enjoy the fruits of your teaching!

    14. Ah, here's a great example of reading comprehension and an excellent example of what you do here.

      I didn't call the feelings of the Martin family tripe and I didn't say the same about the feelings of black people.

      What I called tripe is your way of arguing that people are abetting racists, minimizing societal ills, and showing no concern for the wounds of Martin's family simply because they do not view media hype, hooey, and reckless disregard for the truth as being of marginal importance next to some object lesson on endemic racial injustice.

      That tripe isn't an argument. It's a control issue.

    15. Now, mch, you've arbitrarily decided that we aren't "generous" to you!

      What a laugh, after you tell us we are racists and "masculinists," and that take glee in a young man's death.

      You are trying to leverage a death to your own agenda. GROTESQUE.

      You reject rationality, calling it "masculinist" when that suits you, while at the same time spewing such bile as "Z doesn't seem very manly." GROTESQUE.

      You produce slurs on your fellow commenters, implying they are racist and sexist for disagreeing with you, then claim they are ungenerous for calling out your nonsense for the freak show that it is. GROTESQUE.

      You try to make this trial and the discussion of it into "why this whole situation calls attention to real problems with racism" AND IN THE SAME BREATH assault other commenters with the claim that we want the trial to be a "vindication of our whole society and justice system vis-a-vis race." GROTESQUE.

      If you ever had anything of merit to contribute, you've lost it. You've gone quite insane, tilting at windmills in your own mind.

      Let's take some of these things again one by one, because I'm convinced you didn't hear them the first time:

      1) If you reject rationality, just shut up and go away.

      2) You can't try to make the case about race and also condemn others for making it about race, not without looking very, very stupid indeed.

      3) You can't be rude and ungenerous to others and then condemn them for being ungenerous, not without revealing yourself as a hypocrite.

      There is much more to say about your rhetorical tactics, none of it kind, but perhaps you should digest this small dose of reality before we move on.

  2. Mr. Somerby, one can go with the notion that media liberaldom was a veritable Sophist school and Mensa meeting before the advent of Fox and Limbaugh, and still not be saying much about characters who so readily and wholly out-Foxed and Rushed their own bogeymen in the face of a burgeoning alternstive media dissent.

    1. is that supposed to be English?

    2. Supposed to be, yes.

      Whether I succeeded or not is debatable.

    3. not debatable at all, really.

    4. I'll try to do better, Anon.

  3. I think you took that piece out of context, it was clearly meant as a work of comedy.

    Jokes on you (or all of us I am wrong about the Comedy part).

  4. The sheer craziness of a range of supposedly liberal commentary on the jury verdict is really shocking. I was in no way prepared for what has been said and written by willful polemicists about the verdict and trial.

  5. An example of the craziness was from a fairly prominent journalist who slashed at the defense for having "cited slave-owning rapist Thomas Jefferson" during the closing.

    This is sheer craziness, and really scary at that.

    1. Over at the Guardian there's an article titled "Open Season on black boys after a verdict like this". The article was well received by many people.

  6. So they just indicted anyone who differs with them being under the influence of inveterate institutional racism.

    They didn't want a trial. They wanted a conviction.

  7. Dispiriting but surely so and almost surely preventing our getting at ways in which to make Florida communities among communities in other states more secure and more inviting.

  8. I found this blog on Memorandum today and I am now officially rescinding my previous decision to blow my brains out, aghast at the malicious stupidity of everything else I've seen so far on television and the internet.

    As long as one other sane person exists, I know I'm not going crazy. Please keep writing.

  9. Someone being paid by Salon doesn't know the difference between lay and lie?

  10. The person who wrote that column didn't know the difference between lay and lie...and graduated from YALE???

    I weep for our nation.

  11. Quaker in a BasementJuly 15, 2013 at 11:44 PM

    We libs have embraced this culture too! We are all Rush and Fox now!

    No, we haven't and no, we're not.

  12. The George Zimmerman investigation and trial 2012-2013 is to MSNBC as the rollout and Iraqi invasion 2002-2003 is to neoconservatives.


  13. William's mistake of carrying a false narrative into his recent article is much different from the false facts invented by FOX and people who pretend to be friends.

    Today on Anderson Cooper's 360 one of the six jurors was interviewed. Without questioning the juror's answers he asked follow-up questions and her responses revealed a cultural racism so entwined in her perception she could not see her own sympathy for George Zimmerman and her suspicions about Trayvon Martin.

    The judicial process produced confused jurors who deferred to Zimmerman's account of the circumstances that brought about the murder of Trayvon Martin. If, in fact, Trayvon became aggressive, it was because he was followed at night by a creepy guy who did not have the authority or right to follow him.

    Trayvon responded in a manner that any foolish but brave young man might choose when be followed by a stranger. Zimmerman would not have left his vehicle to follow Trayvon if he was not armed.

    After the interview I was wondered whether or not this juror was at the same trial that I observed. When she answered Anderson's question about the credibility of the nineteen year old girl who spoke with Trayvon on the phone she said that the witness was not credible because he was difficult to understand. She also said that much of what the witness said was not credible because she spoke in that mysterious way that "they" speak to each other.

    The interview revealed that because the jurors could not understand the witnesses words it took away from her credibility. Really? The juror also made it sound as if it was a tremendous burden to expect the jurors to understand the intricacies of the law; therefore, they were left with the default verdict of "not guilty."

    I do not believe that the jurors held malice with their verdict, but the verdict was heavily colored with erroneous perceptions, confusion and assumptions about black teenage males that implied guilt. In this trial the jurors sympathized with the murderer and were suspicious of a black teenage boy's motivations.

    The verdict was a travesty of justice. When the juror was asked if she had sympathy for Trayvon her response was that she felt for both of them, as if she completely forgot that one of them was armed and the other was not. She also assumed that an unarmed black teenage male was as dangerous as an armed Hispanic adult male. While it is true in the abstract, the situation was not a movie nor a story of a stereotypical revelation. The reality was that the defendant was armed and the teenager was not armed.

    The dead victim was guilty of being "black" and the murderer only defended himself from the guilty. It is a shameful result in a legal system in which prosecutors and defense attorneys alike play to win rather than to get to the truth. The less skillful truth tellers lost to the more skillful manipulative deceivers - that is not justice it is an example of institutionalized and cultural racism.

    1. I dunno, guy. If someone seems me on someone's lawn looking at their residence, I don't glare at them, walk towards them and then run away unless I'm on drugs or something. I sort of have the self awareness to realize that what I'm doing is, in fact, suspicious even if I don't know that there's been a rash of burglaries in the neighborhood. If the guy follows me (and it's far from clear that Zimmerman did after told not to) that somehow does not seem to me to justify attacking that person to the point where he has legitimate fear for his life. This applies to whites as well as blacks.

      Trayvon Martin died a violent fuckwit. I say that because that is what the physical evidence overwhelmingly indicates. Zimmerman had grass stains on his back, a lacerated head and a broken nose. Martin's only injuries were the fatal gunshot wound and abrasions on his hands which he apparently got by punching Zimmerman. To all appearances Martin used the sidewalk as a blunt instrument to bash Zimmerman's head. He was the criminal. Not Zimmerman.

      Want to prove me wrong? Then please provide some scenario where Zimmerman is the aggressor THAT FITS THE EVIDENCE.

    2. ^That sums it up nicely

    3. H. Braintree,

      TDH would say you've a glorious future in broadcast journalism. You've got a narrative, and by God, you're sticking to it. The physical evidence says that Z and M got into a confrontation that turned into a fight, that M was likely getting the better of Z, and in the struggle, Z shot M.

      You're big on scenarios. Here's one. Zimmerman and Martin confront each other face to face, and Zimmerman says, "I've got a gun, and I'll shoot you in a New York minute if you don't spread eagle yourself on the ground." Z then reaches for his cell phone.

      Want another? Z and M bump into each other in the dark. M says, "What's your problem?" Z says, "No problem. Just chill, you." M hears "No problem just to kill you."

      Do I claim these stories represent what happened? Of course not. They're just narrative I've written to fill in the blanks in the story we're sure of. In your story, Martin is a violent fuckwit. In my first story, Zimmerman is; in my second, neither are or both are depending on your tastes.

      The difference between us is that I realize that I'm just telling stories.

    4. deadrat, Occam's Razor is not on your side.

    5. deadrat is quite right.

      We don't know.

      Which is what makes the verdict correct.

      And also exactly what makes trying to make the case about racism in America so very very wrong and dangerous.

    6. I'm with myiq2xu. The only fitting response to that earnest but foolish jeremiad is LOL.

    7. Dear DeadRat,

      Please show me how your scenarios fit the known evidence, please. If Zimmerman and Martin were fighting together please explain how there were no abrasions or such on Zimmerman's hands? Why are the only wound on Martin the gunshot and his hand abrasions? If Zimmerman pulls out his gun first, why in the world would Martin attack him instead of putting up his hands unless he was drugged or crazy? Your explanations really don't seem to make any sense.

      TDH concerns itself with narratives THAT ARE AT VARIANCE WITH THE FACTS. Narratives are not bad if the conform to that which is factual, relevant and doesn't exclude information would be expected to change the narrative were it fairly acknowledged. And people who put across narratives are doing nothing wrong if they are willing to change their narratives if the relevant facts change as they sometimes do. What Bob is complaining about are people who use fake facts and who keep plugging the same narratives regardless of what was already factually known or any new information that comes in.

      Now that that's settled, why don't you do us all a favor by taking Occam's razor and slashing your wrists with it?

    8. H. Braintree,

      My scenarios fit all the known evidence. If Z threatened M, even if M felt reasonably but mistakenly threatened by Z, then M had the legal right to defend himself without waiting or warning or a duty to retreat. In neither of my scenarios, does Z pull out his gun. You don't have to draw a gun to threaten someone with it

      You say my explanations don't make sense, but that statement only makes sense if you believe that people always do sensible things. When it's dark, and they're scared or angry or surprised, they often don't. When they're seventeen, sometimes they don't, period.

      Your impassioned and capitalized defense of narrative doesn't make your story factual. You've got a narrative that seems to end with Martin being a violent fuckwit, but really that's where your narrative starts, and you've fit the known facts to it. Which doesn't make you wrong, but the law requires more.

      You say "to all appearances" M bashed Z's head on the sidewalk and conclude that was a criminal act. What you should say is that it appears to you that M committed a criminal act. Except for blaming the other party, this differs in no way from people who say that Z was armed and alive, and M wasn't and is dead, so Z murdered M.

      I'm not saying that your narratives are bad or that my narratives are good. Your narrative may even be the more likely. But the law doesn't permit criminal convictions on narratives that are anything less than excellent, so good in fact, that they tell us a story believable beyond a reasonable doubt.

      As to your last sentence, I don't know what I find more disturbing -- that you think defending fiction somehow settles factual matters or that you contemplate my bloody albeit metaphorical death for opposing that point of view.

    9. deadrat,

      You say, "My scenarios fit all the known evidence." Then procede with a long post that doesn't mention any evidence at all.

      There is a difference between a story that uses actual evidence, and a story that cannot be disproved by any evidence.

      Was a UFO involved? No known evidence rules that possibility out.

    10. Anonymous on 7/16/13 @ 11:57A,

      I'm sorry, but I didn't think it necessary to reiterate the "known evidence." The fact that there was a confrontation, that it got physical, that there was a struggle possibly over a gun, that Zimmerman had injuries to his face and the back of his head, that Martin had abrasions on his knuckles -- all of these fit with a narrative that says that Martin was reasonably fearful for his life, either because he was threatened or because he was mistakenly but reasonably felt threatened.

      You seem to think that your story "uses" actual evidence and is therefore a narrative of what happened and that my story doesn't use actual evidence and is faulty because it cannot be disproved. But both stories are consistent with the evidence, and neither can be disproved by the evidence available. The law depends on knowing the crucial fact of who, if anyone, provoked whom. And for that we have no independent, trustworthy evidence that could have chosen between our narratives. It's a tragic irony that the reason is that Z killed M, although had that not been the case, we might have ended up with conflicting stories of interested parties in an assault case.

      Was a UFO involved? No. The law does not contemplate an acquittal based on certainty without doubt. Nor does it demand a conviction based on any narrative that fits the known evidence

  14. ...and the Supreme Court had the gall to claim that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act was no longer necessary.

  15. Thanks, gcwall. Thoughtful comment that restores some of my hope.

  16. Your argument that this juror's answers reveal cultural racism makes some sense, but there are some bizarre claims in your comment. Do you really think it's OK to beat the snot out of someone who happens to have followed you for a few minutes? Have you behaved this way? Have others behaved this way toward you?

    And, do think a person has no right to follow someone else unless he has special authority? The public streets are free. Zimmerman and Martin both had a right to walk wherever they wanted on the public streets.

    And, do you not have sympathy for both young men and their families? Of course Martin suffered the ultimate punishment, but his death doesn't mean that Zimmerman and his family haven't also suffered.

    1. If I may answer David in Cal (you actually seem sane to me after so many comments here lately!), not for gcwall but as someone in sympathy with him:

      "Do you really think it's OK to beat the snot out of someone who happens to have followed you for a few minutes?"

      Of course not ( if that is what happened, btw, to Z -- none of us knows; Z's injuries don't seem to me to come close to the "beat the snot out" level, though perhaps Z thought that level was being approached -- Z doesn't seem a very brave or "manly man," if I may say -- don't know how the legal "reasonable" might play in here). But if I am a black young man going about my innocent business (assume that total innocence, for the moment, hard as that may be for you, just as I have been generous in my assumptions about Z), and I am being followed by someone (maybe because I am female, I realize how quickly a person with lesser protections in our society feels threatened by that "being followed" scenario): how am I to respond to this being followed?

      So, let's take Z's story at some sort of face value. I (M) decide, in my stupid, male teenage way (as a mother of what were once teenagers, though they be white, I totally get this): I am going to face up to this asshole following me as I walk home with my Skittles (for M's frame of mind, the Skittles are not a sideshow! When will more people get this?).

      I suppose Z has a legal right to "follow" M. That is, Z has a legal right to walk down the paths that M has (just as its legal for some man to follow down the same paths I take as I walk home -- gee, so innocent. Not!). Though it's hardly prudent for the high-minded Z not to follow the police dispatcher's advice NOT to follow. (At whatever point in this scenario that advice was delivered: in car, out of car, while Z was walking back to the car: who the hell cares? Shouldn't a community-watch trained person know not to have followed at any point after spotting and phone call, but to have awaited professionals? The notion that Z might have been a cop wannabe isn't zany or liberal prejudice.) Okay, give Z room for using bad judgment (though he's older than M -- I really do expect more of a married man in his twenties than of a callow teenager, whatever their colors or ethnicities, but gee, that's me, a mere mom, aged 62).

      And of course anyone would have sympathy for both families. Who of us knows what goes on in each family, really? Does anyone in either family need be perfect to deserve our sympathy? You know, even if Z were a raving racist stalker (which I do not for a moment suggest), I can imagine summoning up sympathy for him. So? Sympathy is one thing. Accountability is another.

      George Zimmerman, it seems to me, clearly used bad judgment. As a result, he ended up killing a young man, whether that young man jumped him or not. I am not concerned at the moment with legal culpability but moral. Not just Z's personal culpability, but our society's. How did our society put these flawed and (let us assume) decent people into this situation?

      That's what we should be talking about.

    2. "Z doesn't seem a very brave or "manly man," if I may say" you may, you may, you masculinist!

      Also, I note you are able to get into the head of both Z who "clearly used bad judgement," and M who had Skittles "for frame of mind."

      You are worse than useless; your continued ruminations here are grotesque.

    3. Well, first of all mch, what you wave away with a "who the hell cares" is an issue that mattered very much in the trial of George Zimmerman.

      Yes, ole George had the temerity to be self-interested enough not to want to be convicted for second degree murder, and a widely reported foregone conclusion that he had continued to follow Martin might have gotten him convicted.

      Now that might be a small matter to you, but some people don't wish a man to go to prison over media recklessness.

      In fact they feel so strongly about this they hold all questions of the "morality" of good judgment and racial stereotypes to be secondary to a less abstract sort of justice that was to be delivered in a court of law.

      If you find such a concern as being trivial next to the immorality of historic racism, you might ask yourself how Zimmerman's family would consider such a stance. Perhaps then you could work yourself into the place of considering that your unconcerned waving away of something so integral to Zimmerman's fate is a type of racial injustice too.

  17. Guns, guns, guns, everyone needs a gun these days. Whatever happened to good old fashioned fist fights? Are we to take the law to be that if we get into a fist fight we automatically have the right to kill someone who is kicking our ass? At what point am I only losing a fist fight before it becomes, "he's trying to kill me"? Does anyone who believes that he is losing a fight have the right to kill his opponent?

    It was the middle of the night as I headed toward the neighborhood bar where teenagers came to play pool, meet friends and have a couple of drinks. The old man who owned the bar and waited on customers was almost blind. His wife was nearly deaf. The little bar kept them alive.

    I saw two cops enter the bar through the back door as they noticed that the bar was filled with teenagers. One cop called the old man over to where he and his partner leaned on the end of the bar. I couldn't hear the conversation, but the old bartender went to the cash register, pulled out a twenty and handed it to the cop he spoke with. With a nod and a wave the cops left the bar. The transaction did not feel corrupt to me. Instead, I felt that the cops did not want to harm the senior couple, but also knew that it was a risk to allow them to continue to sell liquor, mostly beer, to minors.

    The bar was a hangout that kept us off the streets. We were less trouble for the neighborhood when we were in the bar than if we were bored wandering through the neighborhood looking for something exciting to get into. The neighborhood bar and the small bribe was a lesson in "live and let live."

    All the teenagers left the bar before midnight; the witching hour set by most of the parents. We'd split off in different directions toward each of our homes. Some of us walked a girlfriend home. If it was winter we wore high collars, scarfs, gloves and ear muffs. We looked suspicious, as if we were in disguise.

    After saying goodnight to each other we would be alone for the final blocks to our homes. We were intoxicated, it was late and we behaved suspiciously as we cut across yards, slipped through alleys and went behind houses.

    We were lucky not to come across some wannabe yahoo who thought it would make him a man to take one of us "suspects" down. I reserve the right to confront anyone who follows me. Suspicion of a person who is following me, is not permission for him to kill me, or so I once believed.

    1. "some wannabe yahoo who thought it would make him a man to take one of us "suspects" down."

      Thanks for the bullshit story telling gcwall.

      What does it have to do with anything? Zip.

    2. How many of you spent your free time talking about fighting, had pictures of guns in your wallet, were previously involved with burglary, smoked pot in addition to drinking, had been suspended from school twice in 6 months? How many of you used your walk home to go up to random adults and ask them if they had a problem with you? How many of you had abrasions on your hands from beating up any adult who didn't give the right answer to your questions?

    3. Jesus Christ, are we now making believe smoking pot and drinking beers makes one a delinquent?
      I just changed my mind, thanks to this rant. I smoked pot and drank beers many times, and not once did I smash the head of a stranger off the sidewalk (unprovoked, of course).
      I'm convinced. Zimmerman must have said or done something to provoke Martin.

      Reefer Madness lives!

    4. Anonymous July 16, 2013 at 7:33 AM,

      I'm with you. There is absolutely no proof that Zimmerman was one of the hundreds of thousands of gullible Americans who bought the NRA's propaganda that owning a gun turns you from a fearful little scaredy-cat, into a tough-guy American frontiersman.

    5. "fearful little scaredy-cat, into a tough-guy American frontiersman"

      Have to agree with mch that this is the kind of "masculinist" stuff dragging things down!

      What, mch? Oh, it's some OTHER "masculinists" you have a problem with!

      We know.

  18. mch, you think you've been generous in your assumptions about Z, but I don't agree. A generous assumption about Z would be to believe him. His version was that M was reaching for the gun and had told Z that he was going to die. I don't know that this is true, but that's what a generous assumption would be.

    Were Z and M equally decent people? Numerous examples were given where Z went out of his way to help other people regardless of race. Z was the opposite of a racist. He was partly black. He had dated a black woman. He tutored black children as a volunteer. He had black relatives. OTOH Martin glorified violence and guns, based on the material on his phone. He apparently had committed robberies and done drugs. He was suspended from school. And, he apparently made an unprovoked vicious attack on Z, for no legal reason.

    I agree with you that Z used bad judgment. But, M committed aggravated assault. Those two sins aren't legally equal. IMHO they're not morally equal. Do you recall the Central Park jogger case? It was reported that a young woman jogging in Central Park was attacked by a gang of 6 young black men, who confessed to the crime. (Later facts apparently showed that the supposed assailants weren't guilty.) At the time, my friend Betty blamed the jogger, because the jogger had used bad judgment to be alone in that risky area. I think the jogger did use bad judgment, but bad judgment isn't a crime. Assault and battery and rape are crimes. I think Betty ought to have blamed the assailants.

    BTW I don't think the black community is served by minimizing crimes committed by young black men. Don't forget that the majority of black crime is against other blacks. Last year, 400 blacks were murdered in Chicago alone. So far this year, the murder rate is even higher. Presumably most of the murderers were black. I don't think the black community is helped by excusing or ignoring Trayvon Martin's violence. I think the black community is better served by efforts to reduce whatever societal and cultural factors made Trayvon Martin violent. BTW, by volunteering to tutor black children, Zimmerman was making such efforts.

    1. "M committed aggravated assault"

      That's great. The Zimmerman online defense team now actually bring charges and convict. "Aggravated" is a nice touch. Maybe later you can add a weapon specification for the deadly weapon sidewalk. Since the verdict we've added drug sales, gun running and now aggravated assault to the list of charges.

      Martin wasn't convicted of anything. He wasn't on trial. Had he been on trial he would have been represented. Actually, had MARTIN been on trial, you wouldn't have seen the trial, because it would have been held in a juvenile court, probably closed to media.

    2. A person is guilty of aggravated assault if he or she attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another or causes such injury purposely...

      I think that repeatedly banging someone's head on a cement sidewalk fits this definition. YMMV.

    3. DAinCA,

      You think a lot of things that don't turn out to be true. The state of Florida doesn't define crimes with It uses the Florida statutes, which define aggravated assault as assault with a deadly weapon or assault with intent to commit a felony.

    4. Behold the power of narrative, H. Braintree! Read DAinCA @ 7:15A and repent as you weep.

      Martin glorified violence! (He had some pictures in his wallet.) He was "involved" with burglary! (Actually, he was accused of stealing.) He had done drugs! (He smoked pot.) He was suspended from school. (Once for tardiness, that miserable bastard.) How did DAinCA forget the graffiti on the lockers?

      And, of course, he "apparently" made an unprovoked, vicious assault on Zimmerman for no legal reason. So much worse that those unprovoked assaults that people make with legal reasons. But it only takes a paragraph of irrelevant ponderings about the Central Park jogger, before the "apparently" is gone, and DAinCA is lecturing the black community for excusing and ignoring Martin's violence.

    5. "Martin glorified violence!!!"

      Wow, talk about making up narratives...why is everyone forgetting that Zimmerman was arrested for assulting a cop and resisting arrest in 2005. And had a restraining order placed on him by his then fiance?

      On the other hand, prior to the night in question, Martin showed violent behavior when he smoked pot? drew graffiti? cut class? dear god, you people are insane.

      Hank Borelli