My only comment on Trayvon Martin

You know, I had started this whole long thing earlier today about the shooting to death of Trayvon Martin. I had all these reasons and lists and… you know what, fuck it. I am disgusted. By the lies, by the evasions, by the whining about “what about meeeee???” from certain quarters. I’m sick of it. The making fun of his name, the mocking of his parents, the frantic searching for anything to make it look like the kid deserved to be shot (OMG! He might have attacked George Zimmerman first! With, um, his fists. That totally lets Zimmerman off the hook for being the one with the gun, right?), the weak attempt to disown Zimmerman because his mother was from Peru as a get whitey out of racism accusations card, the bizarre deflections onto “all those other black kids killed by other black kids” as if that had fuckall to do with what happened to Trayvon Martin — all of it.

I’m also sick of the complete ignorance about the state of Florida where I was born and raised and basically lived for nearly fifty fucking years, most of them in Miami, and the last ten in the Central Florida area until I moved to Virginia in 2009. In short, no, asshole, Sanford is not a “seedy little gator hunting town.” It’s part of the Greater Orlando area and also the administrative center of Seminole County. I got my associates degree at Seminole Community College (now Seminole State College). I had friends who lived there. I lived there for a while. It’s mostly very bland and suburban. It’s not perfect, but it’s not a cute stereotype of wacky Florida either.

But enough of Reality 101. Thanks to the incompetence of the Sanford police department, we’ll probably never get the truth now. I still can’t believe they just let Zimmerman go. Sorry, even if it was an accident — like the gun just went off by itself because evil elves or I don’t know, there was still a dead body on the ground and you don’t just send the gun owner home, you take him into custody. I don’t even know if racism had anything to do with it — this looked more like sheer stupidity. They even had the 911 call where the dispatcher told him not to get out of the car. (Or rather, said “we don’t need you to do that.” Which puzzles me. What, is this Japan all of a sudden? English is a declarative language and our culture allows us to state things bluntly. When your volunteer cop who already had a reputation for being, say, a little over-alert, asks if he should leave his car and physically confront an unknown “suspicious” male you don’t kinda sorta say he can maybe not do that, you say “NO. STAY IN THE CAR.”)

But it all comes down to in any other circumstance with a dead kid on the ground who had no gun, and a man standing over him with the death weapon in his hand, the man would be in the back of the squad car with cuffs on. George Zimmerman had the gun, Trayvon Martin ended up dead of being shot by it, and Zimmerman was just told to go home because the cops were “satisfied” with his story. What the hell is that. That’s wrong is what that is. I don’t care who punched who. I don’t care about that stupid law (a law that apparently allows someone to shoot an unarmed person is a stupid law). I don’t care what ethnic groups were involved. I don’t care what your politics are. I don’t care about white people status games using dead ethnics as pawns. I don’t care about your need to deflect your racism and/or fears of being called a racist onto someone else. I don’t care.

Update: okay, from the conservative side, here is the most level-headed analysis of the case I’ve come across so far. I really haven’t come across anything useful from liberal blogs, though right now I’m tending to side with them when it comes to condemning the disgusting racist things many conservative bloggers are saying. Basically, just because the kid may have smoked pot and talked smack among his friends doesn’t mean he deserved to die. Attack a guy who has a gun? Your life is in your hands. But that still doesn’t get the guy with the gun off — it’s not like Zimmerman had to be there in the first place. He should have stayed in the car and waited for the cops.

But. Liberal bloggers really aren’t helping either. As Steve points out, liberal restrictions on gun laws and their tendency to want to coddle criminals just ends up hurting the people they claim to want to help most. Conservatives may be jerks, but liberals are useless.

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10 thoughts on “My only comment on Trayvon Martin

  1. That totally lets Zimmerman off the hook for being the one with the gun, right?

    Under Florida law, yes it does. As it would in Texas.

    • Well I think that’s wrong. You don’t shoot people who are unarmed. Given that, I can see how certain circumstances might permit this,* but– we don’t know the circumstances around this incident, because no arrest was made. As far as I can tell, procedure wasn’t followed properly. This wasn’t just a simple fight, this resulted in a death. You don’t just tell the live participant to go on home.

      *Like the woman alone at home with her baby who shot an intruder armed with a knife. Technically she had the superior weapon, but that was offset by the fact that she had a baby to protect. There was no such situation in the Zimmerman-Martin case. Zimmerman got out of the car to confront Martin in person, against the police dispatcher’s advice, which really should have been an order, but they probably had no idea Zimmerman would be so stupid as to get out of the car; a case, I think, of how gun ownership makes some people think they are more competent than they are. (I still remember one of my bosses when I lived in Miami, who had a concealed carry permit and owned several guns, telling me that he was always careful to carry his smallest caliber gun with him so he wouldn’t feel too macho and powerful. That’s just a personal anecdote, but it just reminds me that fewer and fewer Americans today seem to want to examine themselves in order to learn their own limits. Instead they’re stuffed full of self-esteem and told they can do anything they want and that if they hesitate or question their own motives they’re wussing out. Considering how unreflective our culture is that is a really dangerous formula for trouble.)

      [Jesus H. Christ I’ve edited this four times for spelling and grammar errors. Either I need another cup of coffee or a brain transplant.]

      • From Steve H:

        1. The police say Zimmerman was found with lacerations on the back of his head, plus a broken nose.
        2. The police say Zimmerman had grass stains on the back of his shirt, and his shirt was wet in back.
        3. Martin’s size has been upped from 140 pounds to 150 pounds and 6’3″, and Zimmerman’s height is said to be 5′ 9″. I’m wondering what Martin’s weight will turn out to be, after the medical examiner reports. The figure of 150 is pretty low for someone that tall, especially a football player.
        4. Martin’s girlfriend’s remarks suggest Martin accosted Zimmerman (Martin spoke first).
        5. Zimmerman claims Martin was trying to grab Zimmerman’s gun.
        6. A witness saw Martin slamming Zimmerman’s head against the sidewalk repeatedly.
        7. A witness named Austin Brown says that in the moments before the shooting, Zimmerman was lying on the ground crying for help.
        8. Zimmerman told police he was on his way back to his vehicle when Martin accosted him.
        9. Zimmerman said Martin initiated physical contact by delivering a sudden punch which broke Zimmerman’s nose.

        I’m not trying to make light of the situation. Martin’s death is not the outcome any of us would want. But, if the above is borne out, Zimmerman did not shoot Martin for little or no reason.

      • Yes I’ve read those reports as well. And I also though that the scenario of the gun going off because Martin foolishly tried to grab it sounded like a good explanation of how the kid ended up shot. It also gets Zimmerman off for deliberate murder. At worst, Zimmerman will get involuntary manslaughter. But I tend to agree with Steve H.: it looks more like self-defense. Or even an accident — the gun could have just gone off.

        Still, this whole thing was started because George Zimmerman refused to stay in the car. He did not use good judgment, and in my mind is not a good candidate for either owning a gun or being part of a play-a-cop setup like a neighborhood watch. Because of his actions a kid is dead. Maybe Martin wasn’t a shining example of probity, but that doesn’t mean he deserved to die. (And marginally it was the dispatcher’s fault too. I don’t know where this fear of speaking clearly comes from, but Americans still tend to interpret vague “you don’t need to” do something statements as basically being given permission to do that thing. We interpret the vagueness as the speaker covering their asses, not as kinder, gentler “no’s.”) And the whole situation was made worse by the caginess and downright incompetence of the Sanford PD. Now when the inevitable happens and Zimmerman gets off on a self-defense plea, there will be riots in Miami. Again. Thanks, white people who are in charge of everything, for fucking up again! I’m so glad I left Florida.

  2. To get off on a not-guilty plea, arguing self defense, requires that Zimmermann gets charged with a crime in the first place. We now have a situation where, if the DA brings charges, when they didn’t think they had enough evidence to arraign him to begin with, it looks as if the State is bending to the passion of the mob. If they don’t, there will be the passion of the mob to deal with. People are muttering about Rodney King. A dead high school age Rodney King. In many more towns than Sanford, Florida. Fun times.

    You might have read Steve H.’s first post on the matter, which had other useful things to think about, particularly in the comments where he puts us a little knowledge:

    Half Cocked

    Steve Sailer pointed out that Trayvon Martin might have figured the 280 pound Hispanic guy following him might have been a drug dealer guarding his turf, or a gay guy out trolling for young meat. Is that plausible for that part of that town? It sort of might partially explain an escalating confrontation, but I am ignorant of what might be possible there.

    I still would rather Zimmermann had stayed in his vehicle, but ‘wish in one hand, something else in the other…’ as the saying goes. Whoever said vigilantism is a greater threat to Second Amendment rights than criminal use of firearms got it right.

    Bad trouble, soon come.

    • “Steve Sailer pointed out that Trayvon Martin might have figured the 280 pound Hispanic guy following him might have been a drug dealer guarding his turf, or a gay guy out trolling for young meat. Is that plausible for that part of that town? It sort of might partially explain an escalating confrontation, but I am ignorant of what might be possible there.”

      It’s plausible for Florida. Crime there isn’t contained neatly in the crappy neighborhoods, and I thought too that Martin might have thought Zimmerman was just some perv. I forgot about the drug angle, though not being in his regular territory (his Miami neighborhood) I would think Martin would react by playing it cool if that’s what he thought. So I’m going with the “this guy’s some perv or psycho” angle being the reason he jumped Zimmerman.

      But yeah, they really screwed the pooch with this one. I don’t know that I’d exactly call it “racism” but the police seem to have automatically assumed Martin was just some stranger, not a kid with family in the neighborhood. Why, because all they’d initially heard about him was Zimmerman’s description. I don’t think they deliberately did that, but it turned out to look like blatant “oh it’s just some unknown black male, who cares.”

  3. “…a law that apparently allows someone to shoot an unarmed person is a stupid law”

    If you happen to find yourself accosted by a 140 pound person, who makes you fear for your safety, and you’re armed, you are entitled to defend yourself. That person’s being unarmed doesn’t even enter into it. You’ve got a right to be free of assholes making you fear for your life which predated, and exists, outside of things like the Constitution, Magna Carta, or Hammurabi’s Code.

    People being made to fear for their life by unarmed dicks behaving in extreme fashion happens every day; the above is not a fanciful scenario. So, no, not a stupid law, I respectfully disagree with you. It is one which will see a lot of turmoil and heartbreak if it has to tested, not least on the last man standing.

    Which doesn’t mean that one can’t use a little fine judgement.

    • I don’t know, I was given to understand these laws meant you were allowed to defend yourself in a fight and not be charged with assault and battery for doing so. I thought it was already permissible to shoot someone who, say, invaded your home. But I thought it was still considered homicide if you shot someone who punched you in the face. Obviously there’s a gray area where the person beating you is stronger than you and you think he’s going to kill you. I’m not sure what I think now — I was responding to the idea that “he hit me, I’m gonna shoot him” is perfectly legal. Heat of the moment self-defense isn’t the same thing. But the existence of this law actually means you need to be more careful than usual. Not because you can get arrested, but because death is irreversible, and there will be consequences, even if you are in the right.

      • Not sure, but this trend of thought seems to suggest that it is better, more noble perhaps to accept a good, sound ass-kicking, and perhaps suffer irreperable brain damage from having your head slammed into the sidewalk, than it is to “over-react” and risk killing someone when your own life wasn’t really in danger. Technically. Just a few days in the hospital, a couple dozen stitches, and perhaps lengthy and expensive physical therapy from your TBI. Not worth taking someone’s life.

        I guess some of us aren’t so noble minded. I think Zimmerman is an officious busy-body/dumbass who created a situation where one didn’t have to occur, and ended up getting a beat-down because of it. The question becomes, when does it stop being an ass-kicking, and start being a fight for his life? And how do you tell when you’ve passed that point when your are in the middle of the situation?

        I think if Zimmerman was intent on killing Treyvon, he wouldn’t have called the cops first. I don’t think it was murder, but I think you can make a case for negligent manslaughter. And extreme dumbassery.

      • I didn’t say you should allow someone to beat you.

        I didn’t say George Zimmerman intended to shoot Martin.

        And this thread has gotten off-topic, because the main reason I put up my post was to complain about the ignorance displayed towards my home state of Florida, the racist things other people were saying, and the way they were trying to divert the subject to things that had nothing to do with this incident and were turning it into “what about us poor beleaguered white people?”

        So I’m closing this comment thread.

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