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Martin v. Zimmerman: Where John Carlson went wrong

Carlson made a crucial error in his controversial analysis of the Trayvon Martin case.
George Zimmerman's acquittal sparked rallies like this one in New York City.

George Zimmerman's acquittal sparked rallies like this one in New York City. Credit: Michael Fleshman/Flickr

In the apparently unending dispute that John Carlson has managed to unleash with his commentary on the Florida tragedy [Martin v. Zimmerman], we have him to thank not only for adding to the general confusion, but also for being wrong at least twice in his assessment of it. The span of four months between his initial radiocast and this subsequent reappraisal of the matter is certainly enough time for him to try to get it right.

Carlson would have us believe, in his own words, that his first assessment in March — that Zimmerman was a CrimeWatch volunteer “who apparently did just about everything a CrimeWatch volunteer SHOULDN’T do, such as following the 17 year old teen when a 911 dispatcher advised him not to, confronting him when he had no business doing so, and shooting him” — was “based on what the network news media had been reporting … and it was almost entirely wrong.”

What, we ask, was wrong with this account? Did not Zimmerman get out of his car and follow the teenager? Did not the 911 dispatcher advise him against doing so? Did not Zimmerman shoot the youngster? Nobody, including Zimmerman, has denied this much of the evening’s events.

For Carlson, however, “eyewitness testimony and physical evidence” backs up Zimmerman’s side of the story to the effect that he was confronted by an angry kid who punched him in the nose and proceeded to pound his head on the sidewalk. But that’s Zimmerman’s story!

Unfortunately (in the view of many), it’s the side the jury chose to believe, but that doesn’t transform it into either the “truth” or “the facts” concerning what happened that night.

In the extended discussion of Carlson’s column that has ensued, I started to count the number of times reference was made to “the truth” or “the facts.” I finally gave up. The only truth about the matter is that we’ll never know what actually occurred that night. The facts will forever remain obscure and unknown. And that brings us to Carlson’s second error.

His rant against the news media for having misled the public “about the facts” may or may not have substance. But his apparent assumption that the trial established what the facts are is hopelessly naïve. Criminal trials are no more a reliable device for getting at the truth of what happened in a given incident than are media reports.

Trials are exercises in legal combat between professionals who do their best to make their side of a story convincing. There are continual accounts from across the country of prosecutors who omit evidence or testimony that might exonerate a person accused of a crime. They are matched by the stories of defense attorneys who go to exorbitant lengths to make an accused person appear innocent.

But abuses aside, criminal trials are based on an adversarial process in which one attorney represents the interests of the state in maintaining order and providing for the safety of its citizens while an opposing attorney represents individuals accused of disturbing that order or of harming the safety of others. In the trial itself, it is the job of attorneys to secure a conviction or win an acquittal by whatever legal or ethical means they can employ. Each side will try to present its version of the case at hand in the best possible light for the interests of the people, in the case of the state or for the accused. Each side will seek to discredit the other's evidence and witnesses.

Whether this is the best way to achieve justice has long been debated in legal circles, but no one who comes anywhere near the courts would think the process gets at “the truth.” At best, it can only determine legal culpability responsibility or its lack.

We might all have been better served if Carlson had tried to help us understand the limits of the legal system in trying to mete out justice in such highly controversial instances as the Martin-Zimmerman case, rather than trying to justify its outcome and using it as an occasion to vent his distaste for Al Sharpton and the mainstream media. The bottom line is: a jury has spoken, no matter how much many of us might disagree with what is said. Let’s leave it at that.

Hubert G. Locke is Dean Emeritus of the Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington and former Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. Until recently, he was a regular columnist for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer.


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Comments:

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 8:55 a.m. Inappropriate

What a worthless column. All Locke has to say is that he doesn't believe our legal system arrives at just decisions?

I don't know anyone who disagrees with the jury's decision in the Zimmerman/Martin case. How many people does Locke think disagree with it? It is pretty obvious what happened, and that the jury made the correct decision. It would be helpful if Locke would tell us what he believes happened in the confrontation between Martin and Zimmerman, but Locke does not do that. Apparently Locke would rather believe in Zimmerman's guilt without any explanation of why he believes so.

Lincoln

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 11:23 a.m. Inappropriate

"I don't know anyone who disagrees with the jury's decision in the Zimmerman/Martin case."

Uh, do watch tv, listen to the radio or read news sites online? Becuase there are HUGE numbers of people who disagree with the jury's decision.

Locke probably did not go into details because he wasn't there. Zimmerman is the only person alive who was. As well, Locke wasn't at the trial so unless you were, you didn't hear all the testimony as well.

westello

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 3:37 p.m. Inappropriate

"Uh, do watch tv, listen to the radio or read news sites online? Becuase there are HUGE numbers of people who disagree with the jury's decision. "

Really? How many, exactly?

But, as I wrote, I don't know any of those people who you think disagree with the decision. Everyone I know agrees with the verdict.

Lincoln

Posted Tue, Jul 23, 11:53 a.m. Inappropriate

Let me introduce myself. I am a 62 year old white woman from Lakewood and I vehemently disagree with the jury's verdit. That doesn't mean I don't understand it. I do. I watched most of the trial and I think that George Zimmerman's attorneys presented a powerful and effective defense. I was less impressed by the prosecutors. The jury was presented with contradictory eye witness accounts. They believed the account moset forcefully presented.

None of us see events clearly. Our view is always colored by lenses of lived experience as well as conscious and unconscious bias. When I look a George Zimmerman, I see my neighbor, an under-employed security guard twice rejected by the local police force who is uncomfortable with the growing diversity in our neighborhood. When I look at Travon Martin, I see my nephew, a racially mixed teenager who is one minute a man and the next a child.

I know some would fear my nephew if they saw him after dark. I don't think that fear is reasonable but I know it exists. I believe Zimmerman acted out of fear, not malice, but he deprived another neighbor of his life. To me, that is manslaughter and that is the verdict I would have returned.

quiller

Posted Mon, Jul 29, 11:55 p.m. Inappropriate

Please tell your nephew that if he decides to attack an armed man, he might wind up dead, and that he'll deserve it. Thank you.

NotFan

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 9:22 a.m. Inappropriate

I agree with Professor Locke that the justice system is flawed and not an accurate measure of the truth. Police reports are often wrong and jurors can be misled and manipulated by fear, emotion and very talented attorneys. There is a reason many trial lawyers study acting.

But an informed public should be equally suspect of journalism as a purveyor of truth because irresponsible reporters exist and, in my opinion, are increasing. Facts that reduce the sensational nature of high-profile stories often wind up on the Press' cutting room floor.

I have enjoyed reading the numerous passionate opinions expressed by so many Crosscut readers over this controversial and emotional topic.

gaia

Posted Mon, Jul 22, noon Inappropriate


That's an interesting article, Carol, thanks for the link. It's good to hear people making the distinction between justice under the laws as they exist and justice as an ideal that we would like to see become the fabric of our lives. I agree with the demonstrator interviewed in the article who said that in Trayvon's case, the letter of the law was served but the spirit violated. I think we all ought to agree that what Trayvon suffered was in this larger sense profoundly unjust.

But that wasn't what the jury was deciding. It had to decide was only whether the state had proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman was guilty of second degree murder or manslaughter. They decided it hadn't. To do that, they didn't need to believe all that Zimmerman said, as Locke implies--all they needed to believe was that a reasonable person, based on the evidence presented, could doubt the story the prosecution told.

Locke's complaint about Carlson's article is really pretty small--he doesn't like it that Carlson is naive about trials finding truth and he wishes Carlson had written about the limitations of the criminal justice system. He says that criminal cases only "determine legal culpability." What he thinks legal culpability is based on if not an effort to get at the facts of the case he ought to say.

I wish Locke, rather than quibbling with Carlson, had turned his attention to the real problem here: the law that allows armed vigilantes to patrol our neighborhoods and then protects them when they fail to follow police instructions, provoke confrontations that let them kill unarmed residents who themselves are doing no more than standing their own unarmed ground against an unidentified pursuer.

cato

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 2:50 p.m. Inappropriate

Just which law allows for armed vigilantes?

So much for being knowledgable.

Djinn

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 10:31 p.m. Inappropriate

You've got the question wrong, knowledgeable Djinn. The law allows what it doesn't forbid. What law forbids armed vigilantes? If there isn't one, then the law allows it.

cato

Posted Tue, Jul 23, 5:18 a.m. Inappropriate

Cato, you be wrong. Better read up on the definition of vigilante because my Oxford's definition doesn't support your position.

Djinn

Posted Sat, Jul 27, 10:47 p.m. Inappropriate

Zimmerman was never a vigilante by the dictionary definition:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vigilante

(And don't cite the O.E.D. -- they're British, and Webster's is American, and this is America. I write without trundling down the hall and consulting the O.E.D. I got many years ago as a sign-up bonus from the now-defunct Book of the Month Club. At the moment, I literally don't care what their definition is, nor am I one of those unfortunate anglophiles who thinks that citing the O.E.D. is a sign of some kind of superiority. I thought I'd let you know all of this to head off the typical sort of nitpicking that's such a hallmark of the "progressives" who inhabit our pretentious burg these days.)

Back to the so-called vigilante. Zimmerman did not set out to punish the young thug, vigilante style. He wound up doing so only after he became the victim of a young thug who attacked him and smashed his head into a concrete sidewalk, placing him in fear of imminent deatb or serious injury.

Zimmerman used deadly force not to summarily punish the young thug Martin, but rather to defend himself against said young thug. He did so in accordance with both Florida law and longstanding common law. He had called the police beforehand, and waited for them afterwards. A "vigilante" would have done neither.

You don't seem to like these realities, perhaps because Martin was black and (in your eyes) should have had special permission to commit criminal assault with impunity. But until the laws are changed to give greater latitude to black people to commit assault, I'm afraid that you'll keep not liking it.

Trayvon Martin got what he deserved.

NotFan

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 9:24 a.m. Inappropriate

"I don't know anyone who disagrees with the jury's decision in the Zimmerman/Martin case."

According to USA Today this morning, there were 100 "Justice for Trayvon" rallies over the weekend.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/07/20/justice-trayvon-martin-vigils-zimmerman/2571025/

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 11:20 a.m. Inappropriate

Unfortunately - this article provides no rebuttal to the facts of the case as presented to the jury. OK - there are rallies against the verdict. What I fail to see from the evidence provided or from this article - is what other conclusion the jury could come to when staying within their lawful duty.

Zimmerman made a bad judgment and is ethically responsible. Trevon was clearly beating the guy and also has some responsibility for the outcome. You're free to have an opinion that the verdict is an outrage, but it was a logical and lawful one.

Treker

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 11:35 a.m. Inappropriate

Are you implying that I personally know any of the few people who attended those rallies? I don't know a single person who attended one of those rallies. I read that only a couple hundred people attended a rally in Seattle. And I don't know any of those few people.

Perhaps you don't know how to read. I did not write "I don't know OF anyone who disagrees..." I wrote "I don't know ANYONE who disagrees..." And that is true: nobody who I know personally disagrees with the jury's verdict.

Would you like me to draw you a picture??

By the way, how many people actually attended those rallies? From the article you linked to:

"In Nashville, a rally-turned-prayer-service drew about 500 people"

"• In Wilmington, Del., about 100 people — almost all of them African-American — gathered "

" In Asheville, N.C., where about 50 people gathered "

These pathetic turnouts suggest to me that the vast majority of U.S. citizens are not particularly upset with the verdict. Are you impressed with the turnouts?

Lincoln

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 11:51 a.m. Inappropriate

C'mon, all of Lincoln's black friend ('S' omitted deliberately) was fine with this verdict, therefore America is A-OK with it!

Evidently, the duty to retreat only applies to black people....

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 3:34 p.m. Inappropriate

C'mon, a few thousand people in the entire country rallied to protest the verdict.

Evidently, this means it is ok for a young black man to assault and batter a Hispanic man.

Hey, bubbleator: what exactly did Zimmerman do to justify Martin punching Zimmerman in the face and slamming Zimmerman's head into the ground?

Lincoln

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 4:27 p.m. Inappropriate

According to Pew Research, 42% disapprove of the verdict, 39% approve, and 19% have no opinion.

http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattlepolitics/2013/07/22/zimmerman-verdict-poll-a-very-divided-amerca/

Old white Republicans overwhelmingly approved of the verdict, which explains why Lincoln doesn't personally know anyone who thinks differently.

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 4:55 p.m. Inappropriate

Hey, bubbleator: what exactly did Zimmerman do to justify Martin punching Zimmerman in the face and slamming Zimmerman's head into the ground?

Lincoln

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 6:50 p.m. Inappropriate

Cato's explanation is as plausible as Zimmerman's - particularly given that the entire encounter was initiated by Zimmerman's insistence on following Martin despite instructions from the 911 operator to the contrary, and that the entire narrative relies on the shooter's own testimony.

Or let's try this scenario on - and I the more I consider it the more it think it's quite plausible, (especially since the screaming that was captured on tape that judge wouldn't admit into evidence sure sounded a lot more like a kid than an older man to me), what if Zimmerman approached Martin with his gun drawn or even visible? Do you think he would have told the cops that? Seems to me that Zimmerman's behavior would be plenty threatening enough to beat him down toot sweet before he could pull the weapon he was not-so-implicitly threatening him with, after all, isn't that the essence of so-called "Stand Your Ground" laws?

Of course, the real issue is that people like Lincoln and Zimmerman (and heck, occasionally me, too) find black people intrinsically threatening, which is the true injustice of this situation that is totally lost on Lincoln.

To go back to Knute's original piece - as a longtime longhair I really relate to his discussion of how this kind of profiling used to happen to hippies all the time, albeit with much less grave consequences (Easy Rider ending notwithstanding). The last time I remember getting really nasty looks for having long hair was at the Atlanta airport in 1999 when I was waiting for a connecting flight to New York, but by and large so many rednecks have long hair now that I don't get a second look in any of the rural places I pass through anymore.

But as Knute pointed out, all I had to do back then to keep from getting jacked up by the cops for no reason was to just cut my hair. In case folks haven't noticed, it's not quite that easy for black people - who still get jacked up by the cops for no reason all of the time (as plenty of studies show), or get into a fracas with some self-appointed vigilante who is following them for no good reason.

That's structural/institutional/whatever you want to name it racism folks. Deal with it.

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 7:01 p.m. Inappropriate

All of that said, at this point I'd settle for a civil trial that holds Mr. Zimmerman financially accountable for the situation he created.

That work for you, Lincoln?

Posted Thu, Jul 25, 9:35 a.m. Inappropriate

If Trayvon Martin's family sues Zimmerman, I hope Zimmerman answers with a countersuit, and winds up with what little those people own.

NotFan

Posted Thu, Jul 25, 4:54 p.m. Inappropriate

OK troll, I'll bite.

On what grounds? Are you and Ted Nugent planning to offer Zimmerman legal advice?

Dick.

Posted Thu, Jul 25, 5:13 p.m. Inappropriate

...and lest we forget, OJ walked on the criminal trial, and is still paying after the civil one (granted - not as much now that he's only making money stamping license plates).

Posted Sat, Jul 27, 11:01 p.m. Inappropriate

@bubbleator, Zimmerman doesn't need my legal advice. A jury acquitted him, and Martin is dead. The case is as closed as cases get. God help Obama and Eric Holder if they try to organize some kind of a federal show trial. I'm much further from being a right wingnut than you might guess, but I might even support impeachment if they ever tried to pull such a stunt.

As for a civil case, Florida law specifically bars the dead thug's family from filing one. But I do hope Zimmerman's attorneys will extract their pound of flesh from NBC for doctoring the 911 tape, and from anyone else who defamed him.

And we haven't even discussed the book revenues. Methinks ol' Zimm will have a comfortable life. Trayvon? He's still dead, last time I looked.

NotFan

Posted Sun, Jul 28, 9:31 a.m. Inappropriate

Lincoln -

There was no evidence that Martin slammed Zimmerman's head on the sidewalk. And if you look at the crime scene photos, Martin is about 12 feet away from any sidewalk. And there was no blood or any other evidence on the sidewalk. So that's probably just another lie from George Zimmerman.

Posted Sun, Jul 28, 12:38 p.m. Inappropriate

The photos of Zimmerman's head are consistent with it. There wasn't any blood on the sidewalk because it was raining that night, and it washed away. As for the position of the thug's body, he probably staggered backwards after Zimmerman gave him what he deserved.

NotFan

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 11:16 a.m. Inappropriate

Hopefully, Zimmerman has legal action against NBC, Nancy Grace, and other media for all the doctored tapes, lies, and racial smears hurled his way. And, prosecutorial misconduct for the over hyped charges and withheld evidence from the defense. Locke and others must be urged to move on.

animalal

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 12:02 p.m. Inappropriate

That's an interesting article, Carol, thanks for the link. It's good to hear people making the distinction between justice under the laws as they exist and justice as an ideal that we would like to see become the fabric of our lives. I agree with the demonstrator interviewed in the article who said that in Trayvon's case, the letter of the law was served but the spirit violated. I think we all ought to agree that what Trayvon suffered was in this larger sense profoundly unjust.

But that wasn't what the jury was deciding. It had to decide was only whether the state had proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman was guilty of second degree murder or manslaughter. They decided it hadn't. To do that, they didn't need to believe all that Zimmerman said, as Locke implies--all they needed to believe was that a reasonable person, based on the evidence presented, could doubt the story the prosecution told.

Locke's complaint about Carlson's article is really pretty small--he doesn't like it that Carlson is naive about trials finding truth and he wishes Carlson had written about the limitations of the criminal justice system. He says that criminal cases only "determine legal culpability." What he thinks legal culpability is based on if not an effort to get at the facts of the case he ought to say.

I wish Locke, rather than quibbling with Carlson, had turned his attention to the real problem here: the law that allows armed vigilantes to patrol our neighborhoods and then protects them when they fail to follow police instructions, provoke confrontations that let them kill unarmed residents who themselves are doing no more than standing their own unarmed ground against an unidentified pursuer.

cato

Posted Sat, Jul 27, 11:08 p.m. Inappropriate

1. Zimmerman wasn't a vigilante.

2. Zimmerman had a valid carry permit.

3. The police never gave Zimmerman any "instructions."

4. The young thug Trayvon Martin had it coming.

NotFan

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 12:35 p.m. Inappropriate

I have great regard for Hubert Locke, have enjoyed his company in several instances over the years, and hope he will appreciate my response to his article.

Hubert begins by stating that my original KOMO commentary about the shooting in March 2012 (16 months before the verdict, not four)where I was critical of George Zimmerman but not Trayvon Martin was really not that far off the mark. But look how he got there. He left off the entire second half of the commentary where I said (based on the prevailing news coverage) that "Mr. Zimmerman was not standing his ground against an aggressor.." We now know that Mr. Zimmerman wasn't standing his ground, he was on the ground. We know this from physical evidence (Mr. Zimmerman's injuries, the wet stains from that rainy night on the back of his jacket and Trayvon's knees, which were planted on the ground as he straddled Mr. Zimmerman, pounding him, and a credible eyewitness who reported seeing someone with a red jacket on the bottom and someone wearing dark clothing on top of him. Zimmerman was wearing a red jacket).

I went on to say - and many people believe this even today - that Zimmerman "was the aggressor". There is zero evidence to back this up, and there is no evidence of a "fight", either. There is plenty of evidence of an assault.

Finally, I said that Trayvon Martin was killed "walking home in the rain, wearing a hooded sweatshirt, and carrying a pack of candy." The evidence suggests that he was punching or pounding George Zimmerman's head against the concrete, not "walking home".

Hubert exclaims that this version of events is "Zimmerman's story". Yes, and it was persuasively backed up at trial with the afore-mentioned physical evidence, expert testimony, eyewitness testimony, medical evidence, and of course, Zimmerman's reaction when told by police that the entire incident was caught on surveillance video: "Thank God".

So the facts of this case are neither as "obscure" nor as "unknown" as Hubert suggests. They were certainly better known by the jury after hearing both sides than the public received during a year and a half's worth of distorted, race-driven news coverage.

Hubert suggests I made a second error when I assumed that the trial was more reliable for getting at the truth than media reports. But while there's been heavy criticism of Angela Corey for overcharging, I've heard very little criticism about the quality or competence of the prosecutors in court. No criticism from the President, none from the Justice Department or the Martin family. The prosecution simply had a weak case. Why would I criticize "the limits of the legal system in trying to mete out justice", when in this case a legal trial helped set a distorted record straight. That is why I predict you will not see the federal government charge George Zimmerman with a federal civil rights crime. The FBI interviewed nearly three dozen neighbors, co-workers, associates and police officers about Zimmerman's views on race. They came up with no evidence of racism. Indeed, he mentored two African American children whose father was serving a life term in prison.

George Zimmerman may well have made mistakes in judgment that night, but the weight of the evidence and a unanimous jury indicate he committed no crime. Trayvon Martin also made mistakes that night, that clearly crossed the line into criminal conduct. Hopefully all of us can agree on this: What happened in Sanford that night was tragic, awful, and avoidable in more ways than one.

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 4:20 p.m. Inappropriate

Really? We know that Trayvon Martin "clearly crossed the line into criminal conduct"? We know that he assaulted Zimmerman? By what evidence?

We do know that Zimmerman was following Martin and Martin knew it. We know that Zimmerman confronted Martin but never said who he was or why he'd been following Martin, only asked Martin what he was doing around there. We know Martin was scared, and with good reason.

I'd like to know how John Carlson knows who made the first physical contact. Did Zimmerman shove Martin as he asked that question? Did he raise a hand as if to hit him? Can Carlson say with certainty he didn't?

All we do know was that Zimmerman went after Martin and got in his face without ever saying what he was up to. In that sense, he clearly was the aggressor. We don't have any evidence to say who made the first physical contact. All we know is that Zimmerman got his ass handed to him in short order. An assault? Maybe Zimmerman just picked the wrong fight and got what he had coming to him.

cato

Posted Thu, Jul 25, 12:22 a.m. Inappropriate

All of this was presented to the jury, and the jury concluded that Martin was the aggressor, and that Zimmerman's actions were justified. Let the word go out to young thugs of all races: Beat up the wrong man, and you could die.

All the rest is so much blah-blah-blah. Martin's still dead, and Zimmerman's still acquitted, and justice is still served.

NotFan

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 1:44 p.m. Inappropriate

Dean Emeritus Locke offers a cogent, intelligent, and thoughtful analysis. It’s a nice, if overdue, attempt at balance.

Except for that last sentence: ‘The jury spoke. Let’s leave it at that,’ which indicates a remarkable submission to power. Our laws and the system that enforces them have often been wrong. There was a time when women could not vote. Before the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, legal segregation stood as the rule of law in this country.

Sometimes it is just to protest an unjust law, to rage against an unjust war, or to revolt over an unjust jury verdict. The Rodney King verdict riots meet this test.

Sometimes, it’s morally bankrupt to just ‘leave it at that.’

I would alter Locke’s last sentence thusly: ‘The jury spoke. Let’s learn from their mistakes and try and make things better for the next generation.’

AHoffman

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 3:26 p.m. Inappropriate

The jury did not make any mistakes.

Lincoln

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 5:01 p.m. Inappropriate

"Trayvon's knees, which were planted on the ground as he straddled Mr. Zimmerman..."

Interesting, Mr. Carlson, because there is, sadly, a photo of Trayvon, dead on the ground. (It is a terrible photo to see but it does show quite a lot.)

If there was that much blood (as Zimmerman had a bloody nose and you say Trayvon was punching him), why is there none visible on his jacket or pants? And the coroner says there was no blood on Trayvon's hands.

As well, there are no grass stains on Trayvon's khaki pants. So if Trayvon was straddling him on the grass in the rain, where are the stains? Not visible.

Odd.

westello

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 5:30 p.m. Inappropriate

Hubert has a point about some unsatisfactory aspects of jury trials, but the bottom line rejoinder must be: "And your alternative is what, Hubert?" Certainly just deciding that sympathy for the deceased or a playing of the race card is all that a verdict should be based on is pure B/S.

Sure, I recently spent 5 weeks on a jury, feeling that all I was doing was refereeing a dog-and-pony show between professional liars, or at least "disingenuators". We are not allowed to hear the interminable arguments about what evidence is admissible, which I learned in an unpleasant legal experience of my own, is where cases are won and lost. Being instructed not to do any research on the web, as if our judgment is being relied on in the courtroom but can't be relied on outside of it.

Here is what I wrote to the Times, but apparently didn't coincide with their own preconceived notions:

A couple of months ago, I served on a jury for a civil case heard in King County Superior Court in which neglect of a very elderly patient in a nursing home was alleged. I was surprised on following the Martin-Zimmerman trial how so similar the dilemma we faced in reaching a verdict was to the one faced by its jury.

The informal consensus of our group was that the nursing home was not anywhere any of us would want ourselves or our families to reside. Nevertheless, we found inadequate grounds to support the allegations of culpable neglect by the nursing staff. We did not award the poor, terribly suffering woman a dime, and we felt very sad about it, but we had no qualms about any lack of adherence to the Judge’s instructions in our evaluation.

This difference between our personal feelings, taking into account everything that we had learned about the nursing home and its staff versus precise application of the law seems to be exactly the same type of dilemma as was faced by the Martin-Zimmerman jury.

The plaintiff’s attorneys in our case wanted us to find fault based on abstract studies of nursing home understaffing and bad-mouthing by ex-staff just as the prosecutors here wanted a finding based on the assumption of racial profiling and animus.

The verdict of this jury was a proper one. A conviction based on hypotheses about the hypothetical scenario for the entire encounter and the sanctimonious idea that “someone must pay” regardless of the specific application of the law is simply inconsistent with the 27 pages of instructions issued by the judge.

The women of this jury did not fold under presumptuously moralistic, blatantly racially based pressures, and I for one salute them. No one who has not served as they have has a right to be critical.

kmeyer

Posted Mon, Jul 22, 9:28 p.m. Inappropriate

My guess is Trayvon Martin confronted George Zimmerman and he panicked and drew his gun. Trayvon knocked George to the ground to defend himself from a man with a gun. George screamed for help as Trayvon fought him and George shot when no one came to his aid. That would be manslaughter, but no one saw what actually happened.

George Zimmerman had to prove he was justified when he took a man's life and the jury could not find enough evidence to reach manslaughter not to mention second degree.

I hope this stops gun wielding nuts from drawing a gun and "standing their ground" to prove their masculinity.

2cents

Posted Tue, Jul 23, 11:18 a.m. Inappropriate

If I were freaking out about someone drawing a gun on me, I would be trying to pry it from his hand, not banging his head on the ground while he had room to maneuver his gun. If the shot had been fired right after the initial encounter, then no one would have seen the wrestling around on the ground.

kmeyer

Posted Tue, Jul 23, 8:44 a.m. Inappropriate

"The verdict of this jury was a proper one. A conviction based on hypotheses about the hypothetical scenario for the entire encounter and the sanctimonious idea that “someone must pay” regardless of the specific application of the law is simply inconsistent with the 27 pages of instructions issued by the judge."

Interesting that you say "someone must pay" because Zimmerman seemed to be somewhat obsessed with this idea. He twice told law enforcement "they always get away." And, one juror told Anderson Cooper that she thought George felt "someone should be caught" because of all the crime in his neighborhood.

So if George Zimmerman hadn't been the suspect, he might have supported the general thought of "someone should pay."

westello

Posted Tue, Jul 23, 11:04 a.m. Inappropriate

The national media seized upon this particular case to drive media advertising dollars. What better way to do that than to turn it into a case involving both race and guns and "lax" gun laws?

The fact that it was a classic self defense case that did not involve the concept of SYG was irrelevant. Although neither the police, the defense, or the local or federal police authorities felt that this was race driven, that became the second locus of the case outside of the court room.

Racial disparities and prejudices have not disappeared, but the kind of blanket exploitation of the issue being done in this case is not productive.

Posted Tue, Jul 23, 11:16 a.m. Inappropriate

Horsefeathers - if Trayvon Martin had been a white kid named Trevor Martin none of this would have happened. Race was THE issue in this case.

Posted Wed, Jul 24, 9:51 a.m. Inappropriate

Right. If Trevor Martin is killed, the news media and the political class wouldn't take an interest.

BlueLight

Posted Tue, Jul 23, 12:29 p.m. Inappropriate

Maybe, maybe not. Pure speculation. Martin doesn't react with his fists - he's alive; Zimmerman stays in his car - Martin is alive. Both made tragic mistakes. I think it says less about race than two macho guys. Seems unlikely this would happen between two women.

Treker

Posted Tue, Jul 23, 3:03 p.m. Inappropriate

Trayvon might have been a young man who was posturing but Zimmerman "macho?"

If you listened to court testimony - from his trainer, his martial arts teacher, etc. - he was anything but fit (despite his efforts). Couldn't get into the policy academy.

Zimmerman is not macho - he's a wannabe and all the firepower in the world won't change that.

westello

Posted Wed, Jul 24, 11:50 p.m. Inappropriate

"Trayvon?" What, you were on a first-name basis with the young criminal, then?

NotFan

Posted Sun, Aug 4, 11:51 p.m. Inappropriate

And you knew him well enough to call him a thug? Your comments are disgusting.

sarah90

Posted Tue, Jul 23, 4:12 p.m. Inappropriate

My reference was to state of mind, not physical attributes. Zimmerman stays in the car - no tragedy. But he had to root out the issue himself. With a gun.

Treker

Posted Wed, Jul 24, 11:53 p.m. Inappropriate

Martin doesn't attack an armed man - no tragedy. "Trayvon" got what was coming to anyone unlucky enough to smash an armed man's head into a concrete sidewalk. If I were in Zimmerman's place, I'd have done exactly what Zimmerman did.

What I would NOT have done is go public afterwards. I'd have shut up and let the lawyers handle it from the get-go. Now that the trial is over with, I do hope Zimmerman will pursue NBC for their outrageous defamation in the way they edited the tape of the 911 call.

NotFan

Posted Wed, Jul 24, 11:49 p.m. Inappropriate

I think Trayvon Martin pretty much got what was coming to him. He tackled a man and beat him, pounding his head into concrete. The tragedy is that Martin picked the wrong victim. Zimmerman was armed, and reacted appropriately to a thug's actions. I am entirely on Zimmerman's side.

NotFan

Posted Thu, Jul 25, 1:34 p.m. Inappropriate

Hubert is being clever by a half. First of all, in his abbreviated sequence of events he cleverly leaves out the part about Martin beating Zimmerman.

Secondly, he later refers to the beating as "Zimmerman's story", implying there was no evidence, just the defendants word against a dead man. What about the testimony of those who treated Zimmerman? What about the eye witness who saw him being pummeled? And what about the forensics expert who concluded that Martin was positioned on top of Zimmerman when he was shot?

But these facts are not consistent with Hubert's racist narrative.

Raphael

Posted Thu, Jul 25, 1:50 p.m. Inappropriate

The really disgusting thing about this article's attempt to deceive is that our tax dollars go toward paying Hubert Locke to be an educator.

A child could see through his silly, selective use of the facts to push his leftist narrative.

Raphael

Posted Thu, Jul 25, 2:02 p.m. Inappropriate

I believe the jury was correct in their determination. But wanna-be g-man George made a deficient moral and ethical decision.

Treker

Posted Thu, Jul 25, 2:05 p.m. Inappropriate

.....as did Martin.

Treker

Posted Fri, Jul 26, 1:41 a.m. Inappropriate

In urban planning, a high percentage of people who move to HOA's (home owners associations) are conservative and certainly some are racist, and afraid of what's going on "outside" their guarded HOA. There is no question that Zimmerman was racist. He should be jailed for life! I don't know why there isn't more outrage for this case! Yes, the social conservatives do control radio and TV, especially talk radio, and most are very racist (Bill O'Reilly probably the worst).

Also, Carlson, as a local host, should not be discussing national issues during what should be an upbeat, morning drive time show. That is not proper protocol in local talk radio. Lars Larson, on his Portland show, makes the same mistake. Carlson's PD, Paul Duckworth, knows this, but Duckworth has a history of not providing enough feedback to his hosts. If Duckworth wants Carlson to discuss national issues, then they should syndicate him.

Or, if Duckworth really wants Carslson wants to discuss national issues, it should be in reference to a local example. For example, Ray Appleton down here in California on KMJ discusses Obamacare, but only in the context of local guests.

Carlson is too dense and does not belong on morning drive time. He should do afternoons or be syndicated. Then, these issues wouldn't come up, since obviously, Carlson has controversial and offensive views.

TomLane

Posted Sat, Jul 27, 10:39 p.m. Inappropriate

So, Tom, what's your show, and how do we tune in? Something tells me it's not exactly a sunny morning barrel of chuckles, but maybe I'm wrong.

NotFan

Posted Fri, Jul 26, 1:45 a.m. Inappropriate

Bellevue has 101 HOA's, by the way - very conservative, protectionist, people, the same sort of thing could happen in Bellevue !

Syndicate Carlson and GET A NEW MORNING HOST !

TomLane

Posted Sat, Jul 27, 1:03 a.m. Inappropriate

Also, something that NOBODY has brought up, anywhere in the media. I study planning and architecture, and I've NEVER heard of "neighborhood watch" or "crime stoppers" personnel having permission to carry guns and shoot people in their neighborhoods. Normally, an HOA, or other neighborhood who participates in such programs, places signs at the entrance, with the telephone number to either crime stoppers or the local police. For example, neighborhoods in Thousand Oaks, CA, a city similar to Bellevue with HOA's, collaborates with the Ventura County Sheriff, City of Thousand Oaks Police Dept., and their own "Crime Stoppers" service. The have signs all over town with the "Crime Stoppers" telephone number. If neighborhood watch personnel in Thousand Oaks detect a suspicious person, they dial either 911, the Ventura County Sheriff, Thousand Oaks Police, or, the Crime Stoppers Number. Zimmerman should have dialed the appropriate number in his home owners association, and not taken matters into his own hands !!!!!!!

That said, why does KVI not have morning news? Move Carlson to later in the day. Carlson would be a slow and monotonous drive time show for any station in Seattle, especially if it is all conservative. Why not have Carlson and Schramm host a morning DEBATE program along with news guy Ric Van Cise? That would get triple the ratings. Why do you PD's up there keep firing and demoting all the moderates and liberals up there, like Schramm, Hart, Styble, Ryder, Pete, Webb, Rhodes, Malloy, Miller, Hartmann, Collins, Schultz, and Brinker?

TomLane

Posted Sat, Jul 27, 10:41 p.m. Inappropriate

Zimmerman's carry permit was issued by the state, not a neighborhood watch group or a HOA. But you'd know that if you'd bothered to pay any attention to the basic facts of the case.

NotFan

Posted Sat, Jul 27, 12:49 p.m. Inappropriate

Actually, TomLane, KVI's morning ratings are at a four-year high. But I appreciate your concerns.

Posted Mon, Jul 29, 4:08 a.m. Inappropriate

John - I am sorry. I just re-read my comments and you could have taken them as an insult ! I stated that your style is dense and monotonous. That wasn't nice. By this, I meant that you are very analytical and detail oriented. I meant that this style doesn't always work out during the fast-paced morning drive hours. Hosts with these skills, such as Dave Ross, gets the best ratings middays 9A-Noon, or sometimes overnight (i.e. John Grayson and Gary McNamara). I do not understand why your PD doesn't have morning news 6A-9A and then your snow 9A-Noon to compete with KIRO.

My sincere apologies. You are highly detail oriented and as a listener I greatly appreciate this. On KOMO, I hear you on the skywave and really enjoyed your show overnight.

Congratulations on your ratings increase. I hope that you can compete against the other morning shows. But if it doesn't work out 6A-9A, I hope that they don't cancel your show again - and instead - that they will move you to middays.

I don't agree on all of your political viewpoints. However, I should not have confused the issue of the topic of this thread w/ Fisher broadcasting's talk radio programming.

Sincerely yours, Tom Lane

TomLane

Posted Sun, Jul 28, 9:38 a.m. Inappropriate

Mr. Locke gets it exactly right with his assessment of John Carlson, who should certainly be more educated about the legal system than he appears to be:

"But his apparent assumption that the trial established what the facts are is hopelessly naïve."

The question to Mr. Carlson is in what criminal trial do lawyers from either side give a damn about 'the truth'?

Posted Tue, Jul 30, 9:37 a.m. Inappropriate

So, when was it, again, that semi-progressive, semi-intelligent Crosscut became conservative TALK RADIO WITH KEYBOARDS?

Why is it again that nearly all-white staff and board of directors at CROSScut is surfacing and celebrating the views of right-wing, neo-Christian agitators from talk radio?

Maybe it should be rebranded CROSSBURN: news of the great white north.

Deep-seated, longstanding, institutional racism -- intentional, merely ethnocentric or myopic -- is right here, right now, people. It's right behind the screen in front of you, just as it was fully present in that courtroom in Florida.

AHoffman

Posted Wed, Jul 31, 10:24 a.m. Inappropriate

It really burns a "progressive" to have to face disagreement, doesn't it?

NotFan

Posted Tue, Jul 30, 10:33 a.m. Inappropriate

Wow. For the most part I enjoy the give and take in the CrossCut articles and the comments as well. In a couple cases I had to take stock because information presented by commentors was put forth so well and with and obvious knowledge base that brought a new perspective, at least for me, to the discussion.

This one, however, is devolving into a lot of bomb-throwing with not much substance. While I'm on the other end of the political spectrum from Mr. Carlson, he has presented his opinion clearly and based on a logical progession of what was presented as the known facts of the case.

I'll leave it with my perspective: Zimmerman was a wanna-be cop and pegged Martin as a troublemaker unfairly. Race may have been a factor in his profiling. He should have stayed in the car.

Martin was innocent of any wrong-doing until he punched Zimmerman in the face and got on top of him and started beating him.

At that point Zimmerman acted in self defense. Given the parameters of the law I don't see any other outcome. Martin wasn't killed "in cold blood" -- he was killed while he pounding the pudding out of Zimmerman.

Both are responsible and either could have defused the situation.

Treker

Posted Tue, Jul 30, 2:30 p.m. Inappropriate


In the original post that started this threat, John Carlson (a white conservative) demeaned Al Sharpton (a black community activist) for supposedly fueling racial tension in the Martin-Zimmerman case. I pointed out, then as now, that it was not surprising that a publication with an all-white staff could see fit to publish and promote these views from this local conservative talk radio host. It is no surprise that it promotes the views it does. Like the nearly all-white jury, the editors here and the professional on-air debater cannot help themselves. They simply do not know what it is like to be profiled, racially or otherwise.

How can anyone, who is not a bigot, blame the teenager for resisting the dangerous and armed vigilante?

AHoffman

Posted Tue, Jul 30, 4:27 p.m. Inappropriate

This is why comments like this gain no traction. While critising Carlson for slandering Sharpton you try poisioning-the-well logic and call everyone who agrees that the jury came up with the right verdict a bigot. All while slandering the integrity of CrossCut because they allowed an opinion piece that doesn't fit in your mold of diversity. Charming approach.

Treker

Posted Tue, Jul 30, 4:48 p.m. Inappropriate

Yes that's exactly right. But your point is I shouldn't criticize Carlson or Crosscut? Sheeesh. You are taking 'Seattle Nice' to extremes, which I guess that fits your mold of limp moderation.

AHoffman

Posted Wed, Jul 31, 10:28 a.m. Inappropriate

AHoffman, thanks for showing us what Stalinists the "progressives" of Seattle really are. The minute anyone disagrees with them, out come the knives. Kumbaya, baby!

NotFan

Posted Wed, Jul 31, 10:26 a.m. Inappropriate

Trayvon Martin had it coming. He beat up someone, and that someone turned out to be legally armed. Too bad, Trayvon. You're dead, and he's acquitted, which is how it should be.

To all other wannabe thugs: Attack and armed man, and you might die.

NotFan

Posted Thu, Aug 1, 7:53 p.m. Inappropriate

Treker -

The reason there are so many comments about Carlson's story is that it presents the opinions of people as 'fact'. Zimmerman's words are not 'facts'. They're his opinions, obviously highly suspect due to the fact that he was accused of murder. Yet Carlson presents Zimmerman's words as though they're indisputable. Please.

George Zimmerman's head wounds look nothing like a man who had his head bashed 25 times against concrete. A medical examiner testified that the wounds were 'very minor' and certainly not life threatening.

What's more read the autopsy report, where it says

'This wound is consistent with a wound of entrance of intermediate range'.

http://i1282.photobucket.com/albums/a521/NYBiker25/TrayvonPartialAutopsy_zps14ceb7ce.jpg

Plus, the shot was directly through Martin's center of his chest, front to back. This would have been impossible had Martin been on top of Zimmerman. Plus, if Martin was beating up Zimmerman, as NotFan states, then how (and why) would he be screaming in fear? Because how can anyone possibly believe a 30 year old man can shriek like that?

Virtually nothing that Zimmerman said adds up. The guy was a cop wanna be and he was just plain stupid. If he had merely identified himself as someone protecting the neighborhood, he could have prevented this whole thing. He was the adult. Martin was the teenager. He didn't deserve to be shot just because he was black with a hoodie.

Posted Thu, Aug 1, 11:53 p.m. Inappropriate

Richard--
thank you for being one of the few voices of reason I consistently read in the comment section.

Your thoughts are insightful and appreciated.

jeffro

Posted Fri, Aug 2, 1:32 p.m. Inappropriate

Thanks Jeffro. I'm constantly amazed how many people posting think that EVERYTHING George Zimmerman said was the truth. Or that everything presented in the trial was 'the truth'. Are people really that clueless? That's why Mr. Locke wrote this article. Because John Carlson kept referring to 'the truth'. There are only opinions and evidence.

The very last thing criminal trials are about is 'the truth'. They are about winning by creating 'reasonable doubt'. That's all.

Posted Fri, Aug 2, 12:24 p.m. Inappropriate

Martin wasn't shot for being black with a hoodie. He was shot for beating someone badly enough to put his victim in fear for his life. I realize you love thugs, at least if the thugs are black and their victims are white, but the law doesn't love thugs and neither do juries.

Trayvon Martin had it coming.

NotFan

Posted Thu, Aug 1, 10:27 p.m. Inappropriate

Well, it sure added up to a jury.

Treker

Posted Fri, Aug 2, 9:25 a.m. Inappropriate

Richard. You are being disingenuous at best. You manage to leave out the expert testimony from a balistics specialist at the trial who confirmed that the shot was consitent with a close range firing.

You manage to ignore the photo of Zimmerman at the site with a bashed head and face - Ignore that a doctor cofirmed a broken nose the next day, and ignore the eye witness account that puts Martin on top of Zimmerman pounding the pudding out of him.

Who do you think would be crying for help - the guy on top or the one on the bottom? The police took Zimmerman's statement that said Martin was on top hitting him, he feard for his life, he got hold of the gun. All pieces that match the witness depiction, physical evidence, and expert witness testimony.

It was clear from the second day of the trial that the only reason this guy was hung out to dry was because of political reasons.

I'll bow out of this circular discussion with what I said before:

Zimmerman made a mistake - he should have stayed in the car and left things for professionals. He does this - Martin is alive.

Martin made the mistake of punching and getting very agressive with someone he thought was an easy mark - but fatally picked a fight with an armed person. Martin doesn't pick a fight - he's alive.

The jury made the right decisions and within the parameters of the legal system. Exactly what was their responsibility. Everything else is pure speculation and mob mentality just because "it doesn't feel right". Maybe so - but that is why we have a legal system.

Treker

Posted Fri, Aug 2, 10:17 a.m. Inappropriate

Oh, and do you homework:

The Volusia County medical examiner found that Martin was killed by an injury resulting from a single gunshot to the chest, fired at "intermediate range", between 1 and 18 inches according to a forensic expert. An FDLE analysis of Martin's body and clothes described the distance as "a contact shot

----from the county medical and forensic report offered into evidence

And..

The only eyewitness to the end of the confrontation stated that Martin was on top of Zimmerman and punching him, while Zimmerman was yelling for help. This witness, who identified himself as "John", stated that "the guy on the bottom, who had a red sweater on, was yelling to me, 'Help! Help!' and I told him to stop, and I was calling 911". He went on to say that when he got upstairs and looked down, "the guy who was on the top beating up the other guy, was the one laying in the grass, and I believe he was dead at that point

---from the police notes

Treker

Posted Fri, Aug 2, 1:36 p.m. Inappropriate

Treker. I don't care what any 'expert' says, 1" is point blank range. It's not intermediate.

And how exactly does one yell for help when you're being relentlessly punched? How does that work?

And how does someone bash your head against the sidewalk 25 times and punch you at the same time? And how does one maintain consciousness after having one's head bashed into the sidewalk 25 times?

Posted Fri, Aug 2, 2:04 p.m. Inappropriate

Well, I'm glad you admit that you don't care what the expert says or what the evidence shows - but what you "believe" to be true.

I hope you are never on a jury.

Treker

Posted Sat, Aug 3, 7:37 a.m. Inappropriate

Treker -

'Experts' are a dime a dozen in the legal system. You could probably hire a legal expert to testify that the sun sets in the East. Once again, I'm puzzled how people like you can be so unquestioning of what people say in a criminal trial. It's interesting.

If I were on a jury, part of what I would be evaluating is the credibility of the experts who testified. I guess that's not important to you. Only their stated word seems to matter to you and you take that as fact. If the 'expert' were paid $10,000 to testify, I would want to know that, wouldn't you?

In the Zimmerman trial, there were experts who testified in both ways. One expert said it was a severe head wound. Another person said it was a very minor wound. It certainly wasn't severe enough to require medical attention that night. If I had gotten my head smashed on the sidewalk 25 times, I would go to the hospital to get it treated and stiched up.

Posted Sat, Aug 3, 8:56 a.m. Inappropriate

And a witness that verified that Martain was beating Zimmerman, and that matches the statement taken, and that only one party had signs of a beating - all which matches ALL experts that testified on the shooting distance.

The jury got to see photos of Zimmerman's face and head injuries and the medical report of his broken nose.

Now maybe you are some ballistics expert or medical expert that has access to new information (LOL!). But in this country our law deals with reasonable doubt. The evidence, Zimmerman's statement, and the only eye witness to the struggle all matched. The jury was correct in their decision.

But by all means continue the arm waving, speculation, and plain imagining. It is quite entertaining.

Treker

Posted Sun, Aug 4, 10:22 p.m. Inappropriate

Treker. I've said this a hundred times. What the jury determines and what is presented in a court case is not 'the truth'. They are stories based on available evidence. That's it.

Take the Casey Anthony case in Florida. Even though the jury let her off, no one in the country believes she didn't kill her kid. But there wasn't enough evidence to convict her. There was enough reasonable doubt in the jury's mind where they set her free. So the court case didn't determine 'the truth'. It only determined she should be found not guilty, 2 entirely different things.

As far as Zimmerman, his case should never have gone to trial at all because in the Florida they have legalized murder laws (stand your ground) where once someone touches you, you can kill them, claim you were afraid, and walk away free.

Posted Mon, Aug 5, 8:52 a.m. Inappropriate

Wrong again. Zimmerman did not use the Stand Your Ground law in his defense. It was a simple self defense case.

And that was exactly my point. The evidence lined up pretty well in the Zimmerman case that the jury had no evidence pointing to a murder or manslaughter conviction. The police had determined it was a clear self-defense action after review (NOT in line with a stand-your-ground determination, which requires a judge to hear) but then then, after the news slanted the story, doctored the 911 tapes, there was "outrage" from some quarters. So Zimmerman becomes a political pawn and goes to trial.

There are zealots, like yourself however, that believe there must be an underlying racial narrative to this and that there must be a murder. With no evidence to support it. It just doesn't make a good uber-liberal story that a too-ambitious block watch guy gets jumped and assulted by a wanna-be gansta and then gets shot because of it.

Treker

Posted Mon, Aug 5, 9:11 a.m. Inappropriate

Given the logic train in this discussion looks like this, I think I move on to more productive items.

http://www.gocomics.com/nonsequitur/2013/08/04

Treker

Posted Mon, Aug 5, 4:10 p.m. Inappropriate

Treker. I love it when people try to shut down conversations by calling people zealots and crazies. Carlson did the same thing with me by calling me a birther, as if that had ANYTHING to do with this case at all.

I'm sorry you and John Carlson are offended by people having opinions that differ from your own. If you want to live in a country where differences aren't allowed, move to China.

Me, I prefer to present my opinion and to listen to the opinions of others, including yourself. That's one thing I love about our country.

Posted Mon, Aug 5, 4:17 p.m. Inappropriate

Treker. Zimmerman has a history of racism. Read this article from the Miami Herald. The reason this case focused on racism is that Zimmerman is racist. His 9/11 call immediately identified Trayvon Martin as a troublemaker, even though he was just walking into the apartment complex. I'd like to think that in America that walking into an apartment complex isn't a crime.

Zimmerman screwed up in about a million different ways. If he had immediately identified himself and asked Martin what he was doing, Martin would probably have said he's visiting his Dad. And that would have been the end of it. Owning a gun requires a higher degree of responsibility. It's not a license to hunt down people who 'look' suspicious.

From the article:
Last month, a Zimmerman Myspace page under the username “datniggytb” was taken down. The Joe G page includes a missive written in street slang.

“I dont miss driving around scared to hit mexicans walkin on the side of the street, soft ass wanna be thugs messin with peoples cars when they aint around (what are you provin, that you can dent a car when no ones watchin) dont make you a man in my book,” the 2005 Myspace page said. “Workin 96 hours to get a decent pay check, gettin knifes pulled on you by every mexican you run into!”

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/05/01/2778234/myspace-page-is-latest-salvo-in.html#storylink=cpy

Posted Sun, Aug 11, 12:30 p.m. Inappropriate

It's clear many commenting have not read previous comments. Heres another stab at providing facts for some one like Borkowski.
Remember the story provided on day one, when the Zimmerman situation first became big national news? A racist white man gunned down an innocent little black boy for no reason, just because he was “Walking While Black” through a swanky, gated condo community. The cracker cops of his small Florida town waved this trigger-happy, paranoid, and self-appointed security guard on his merry way. Many furrowed brows among the media bent over the tape of Zimmerman’s 911 call, seeking to divine racial epithets from his barely-audible muttering. And, voila, NBC News deliberately edited out the 911 dispatcher asking Zimmerman to describe the ethnicity of the person he was observing, in order to make him appear race-obsessed. Later when the media discovered what Zimmerman looks like, his designation was changed, with nearly one hundred percent consistency, to “white Hispanic” by media outlets which had previously employed that designation three or four times in a century, at most.
We saw a thousand reprints of the most infamously disingenuous photographic comparison in recent memory: a shot of 12-year-old Trayvon beaming happily, next to an equally outdated mug shot of a morose George Zimmerman. It took a long time for the media to cough up more recent photos of either one. Much of the following information was readily available to any media organization that cared to request it. At the time of this incident in 2011, Twin Lakes was experiencing a rash of burglaries and break-ins. Previously a family-friendly, first-time homeowner community, it was devastated by the recession that hit the Florida housing market, and transient renters began to occupy some of the 263 town houses in the complex. Vandalism and occasional drug activity were reported, and home values plunged. At least eight burglaries were reported within Twin Lakes in the 14 months prior to the Trayvon Martin shooting, according to the Sanford Police Department. Yet in a series of interviews, Twin Lakes residents said dozens of reports of attempted break-ins and would-be burglars casing homes had created an atmosphere of growing fear in the neighborhood. In several of the incidents, witnesses identified the suspects to police as young black men. Twin Lakes is about 50 percent white, with an African-American and Hispanic population of about 20 percent each, roughly similar to the surrounding city of Sanford, according to U.S.
Census data.
One of the incidents in question involved a black teenager stealing Zimmerman’s bicycle off his front porch. In another, two black men broke into an occupied house, trapping a woman and her infant son upstairs, whispering frantically to 911 dispatchers. Zimmerman contacted her after the incident, put a stronger lock on her sliding glass door, and told her to contact him or his wife, if she ever felt unsafe again.
Are you getting the picture? Do you see just how badly this story has been mis-reported and how that may reflect the formation of faulty belief patterns in society?

Posted Sun, Aug 11, 7:25 p.m. Inappropriate

Unsustain. I'm not arguing that the media hyped this thing in their own direction and used random photos to tell their own story. Fox used their photos and MSNBC used theirs. Big deal. The media is biased. That's hardly breaking news.

I'm also aware that there were some breakins at the housing complex. But you're exactly proving my point that Zimmerman was racist when you say in a few of the incidents, people identified 'young black men'. So no doubt in the other incidents they were 'young nonblack men'. So the burglars were both black and white. Yet, for some reason, Zimmerman found this lone teen black kid suspicious and 'up to no good', yet he was doing nothing other than walking home and staring at Zimmerman. Not a crime and hardly suspicious.

The problem here is Zimmerman's. He was a cop wannabe with no training of any sort. Neighborhood watch people are not supposed to be armed. Zimmerman was. Neighborhood watch people are supposed to identify themselves. Zimmerman didn't. They are not supposed to chase down 'alleged' criminals. Zimmerman did.

All of this shows how difficult a job law enforcement can be. That's why we pay taxes to have people trained and in uniform. To Martin, Zimmerman could have been a thug out to get him too. You're ignoring that angle. That's why Trayvon Martin ran. That's why he called his girlfriend. He was scared.

Posted Sun, Aug 11, 7:32 p.m. Inappropriate

"National Sheriff's Association has no information indicating the community has ever even registered with the program."

http://www.lawofficer.com/article/news/national-sheriff-s-association-0

"The alleged action of a “self-appointed neighborhood watchman” last month in Sanford, FL significantly contradicts the principles of the Neighborhood Watch Program,” stated NSA Executive Director Aaron D. Kennard, Sheriff (ret.). “NSA has no information indicating the community where the incident occurred has ever even registered with the NSA Neighborhood Watch program.”

“The Neighborhood Watch Program fosters collaboration and cooperation with the community and local law enforcement by encouraging citizens to be aware of what is going on in their communities and contact law enforcement if they suspect something – NOT take the law in their own hands,” continued Executive Director Kennard. “The alleged participant ignored everything the Neighborhood Watch Program stands for and it resulted in a young man losing his life. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Trayvon Martin during this terrible time.”

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