Gun Laws Policy & Law

Comments on Martin-Zimmerman. To reiterate:

If you go to the original post on the verdict itself, entitled “Trayvon,” you will find more than five hundred posts in which all of the issues regarding the case were debated to the point of repetition over more than 48 hours, after which, as every new comment in the last several hundred had already been addressed, we closed the comments to preserve the give-and-take of the debate — debate becing one of the fundamental goals of the website.

The dynamic is explained in greater detail in the subsequent and concluding post, “Trayvon: Calling It.”  Commentary on that post is naturally being limited to a discussion about the debate dynamic here.  A third post stands only as a corrective to the false claim that I was exhorting anyone to riot, and that the reductive medium of Twitter was being so utilized.  Commentary there is being limited largely to a discussion of the claim and the uses or misuses of Twitter.

If you have a point to argue about the issue itself — be it the false claim that SYG was not fundamental to the prosecution of this case, that black-and-black violence can be cited so that we should all turn our attention away from the slaying of Trayvon Martin because sentient humans can only be concerned about one tragedy at a time, or just feel the general need to tell me to leave the country because I feel ashamed of this verdict and what it says about our nation — rest assured that you will likely find the appropriate back-and-forth already enshrined in the comments.  Oppositional comments were not winnowed, save for those that veered into outright racism, psychosis, hyperbolic ad hominem insult and libel.  Other than that, it all got a ride.

If you’re arriving late to the party, rest assured that it’s already in the comments, ready for your perusal.  As life is short, I can’t oblige by undertaking to answer the same arguments in sidebar posts that have already been answered in detail and with diligence on the main post in the days prior.




  • I’ll admit I haven’t read every comment in all the threads on this topic yet, but having read a preponderance of them and not yet seeing it mentioned, I want to make sure to point out that Zimmerman’s father was a magistrate for the Virginia Supreme Court. Alex Pareene at Salon referred to his trial as a “cop special” – “the strongest possible presumption of innocence, the strictest interpretation of ‘reasonable doubt’ and, obviously, great lawyers.”

    Zimmerman was arrested for “resisting officer with violence” and “battery of law enforcement officer” in 2005 after allegedly shoving a cop, while drunk – both felonies. it was quickly reduced to “resisting an officer without violence” and the battery charge was dropped, and then, the whole thing was dropped when he agreed to go to rehab. not exactly common treatment for your average Hispanic, as far as I know…

    let me make it clear, there is no doubt in my mind about the racial element – it’s plain as day for anyone willing to look. but we ought not overlook the other privileges that helped Zimmerman skate past a murder charge.

  • Mr Simon,
    While i have not been able to read through the tidal wave of comments in their entirety…i apologize if this has been discussed.
    As a Floridian…who actually notices laws being introduces by their house or senate bill numbers…i read the SYG submission and was dumbfounded.
    i asked a few lawyer friends (who doesnt have more than they want), one being a federal prosecutor about it…of course none have heard of it at the time. None saw a serious issue with it. lack of imagination. the prosecutor/friend simply stated at the end of a debate that it limits the ability to demand proof of a reasonable retreat before “self defense”….this struck me. outside my own private property…i am not REQUIRED to retreat. Now we discussed that as maybe an overzealous prosecutor not satisfied with your proof of retreat, still “nails you to the wall”. reasonable, but after years of SYG and so many states with similar bills…how many overzealous prosecutors and law enforcement have we “fixed” with SYG? Does it make up for the number of under-investigated deaths since then?

    when i read some of your comments regarding SYG, you make an excellent point. i am trying to weigh its benefit for its obvious cost…intangible benefit that can never be measured…at a cost i dont see how as a society, we can accept.

    Anyway i wont use pejoratives to describe SYG, but if anything can be learned from this publicized case, is how we move forward with our laws, and how we administer order. i dont believe SYG can exist in its form today, i am open to other possibilities, but the traditional self defense laws have worked.

    as someone who has a cwp, and does not hate guns. if you decide to carry one, you are far more responsible to avoid conflict, and deflate tensions then someone who does not. you are more responsible because you decide to carry something that can change the world for someone and their loved ones.

  • Mr. Simon,
    I read this and the previously entry and I must say you have said everything I couldn’t with one exception I must address. I live in Philadelphia and I am a 20 year old female. I do not got outside after dark alone, I avoid all strangers on the street, give myself enough distance to avoid anything. Luckily I’ve never been attacked in any way but I always feel guilty about thinking other could do that. For judging a stranger based on their looks while I still realizing its not irrational of me to take precaution. In my living conditions this case and the verdict have been a big topic of debate and I’ve stayed silent and impartial while my roommates glare at each other for their opposing positions. I am not going out an being an activist for my opinion on the matter. This isn’t out of tolerance by any means. This case and the crime it was over makes me ashamed to be an American, to be of light skin, to even life on the east coast. A man brought a gun to a fist fight he started and the whole thing makes me sick. I don’t talk about or debate it with my friends or family because its not worth it, in my opinion. A boy is dead, his family will never be the same, their son’s killer is free and none of us have a say in that. Zimmerman will get his. He will forever be judged by the public and I like to believe god, karma, the universe or what have you has a way about these things. Nothing will ever restore what was lost; be it a boys life or the illusion seemingly most people where under that there wasn’t such a divide and ignorance, in terms of race, in this day and age. Its about as right for African American parents to have to warn their sons about wearing hoodies as it is parents warning their girls to not get raped but it happens and only time will change it. It’s not patience or patriotism that keeps me from rallying and protesting, its the thought that it won’t do any good. It’s a feeling of helplessness, not hopelessness. All we can do is teach our children better. Not to teach to avoid looking threatening or shady but to teach our kids against stereotypes that would provoke a racial bias while at the same time getting people off the street who are or could perpetuate the stereotype. This would me having to fix the revolving door which is the prison system although it seems people are far more focused on the legal system. I’m glad to see another sane person out here in the madness but I felt this had to be said.

    • “I don’t think Mr. Zimmerman is by any necessity a racist. But his calculations and his behaviors were racially motivated.” No sir they were not. Mr Zimmerman was paroling an area where several break ins occurred. The reports indicated that “young black males” were suspected of the break ins. So would you be looking for Chinese, or Italian or American Indians? No you would be looking for “young black males”. How about Trayvon calling Mr Zimmerman a “cracker” would you consider him racist. I think what happened is you had a young cocky person who thought he could kick this “Crackers Ass” and he found out way to late he misjudged the situation. He could have very easily run away from George Zimmerman. But for some reason he chose to confront him. Again bad judgement on his part. I think it would not have mattered what race creed or color the person attacking Zimmerman was the outcome would be the same. One other question: would we be having this discussion if George Zimmerman was Africa American????

      • We must disagree. The young victim was profiled and he offered no probable cause to be stopped, questioned or approached or detained. It is true that Mr. Zimmerman could ignore the lack of probable cause and attempt to speak to the young man, but if he attempted to exert any authority over him, detain or compel him, then he violated Mr. Martin’s Fourth Amendment rights, which include being able to complain to a friend in whatever racial shorthand he desires.

        I’m white and from Baltimore. Cracka is hardly a pejorative that contains any malice whatsoever. It may be crushing to your sensitive ears, but among African-Americans and even many whites it is rather weightless to pretend it contains any real racial rage. It does not. And if you wanted seventeen year old boys who are being followed and profiled by grown men to text or talk to their friends about the white gentlemen they have encountered, you really aren’t at all attentive to the bifurcated America that you have been living within.

        The lengths that the apologists for this tragic death will go to excuse the unnecessary manslaughter are just astonishing.

        • I find it more than a little telling that so many have jumped on the utterance of the word “cracker” without bothering to examine the “creepy” clause, even a bit. disheartening that so many people can’t understand how a young black male in the American south (or, honestly, ANYWHERE in the US) might feel about a lighter skinned stranger following him through the dark and rain while talking on a phone, even when it is spelled out explicitly.

          • I am an African-American woman who lives in the south and I have a 17 year old son. Any grown man following a teenager at night would be considered “creepy.” It is amazing to me that people do not understand that the SYG law needs to be changed. When someone like George Zimmerman, an adult male can get away with using a gun in a fist fight that he started with a teenage boy, kill him, and turn around and call it self-defense. There is something fundamentally wrong with that. Furthermore, why were there no men on the jury? Is it because a man would have looked at Zimmerman’s superficial wounds and said “give me a break.” I have been an ER nurse for 10 years, and believe me those wounds, including the bloody nose was very minor and not life-threatening at all. He even wanted to go to work the next day after killing someone. Unbelievable!

            • Christine – I’m no medical expert, but I have more than a passing familiarity with unarmed combat, and how the aftermath tends to look. it’s not just the superficial injuries on Zimmerman that are suspicious, it’s the LACK of injuries on Martin, after what was described to the police as a no holds barred bare knuckle beatdown. there’s a reason professional fighters wrap their hands and wrists and put gloves over the wraps before they get in the ring after all. if they could get away with slugging someone in the face 25 or 30 times in rapid succession without split knuckles, broken fingers and sprained wrists, they might not sacrifice the flexibility.

              • The pathologists and other medical experts — save for those paid by the defense — called it in unison:

                Common assault or mutual combat. Not aggravated assault.

  • The Martin case fits a media narrative that the media wants to cover that’s all. On the fourth of July weekend twelve people were shot and killed in our presidents home town of Chicago. Further 60 people were wounded. There were no protests, no back to back media coverage, no marches, no speeches and blogs on intra-race relations. Life went on as if this is normal. And for the media used to black on black crime, it is. A normal holiday weekend with just a little blurb on how many killings occurred as they were reciting the baseball scores. If George Zimmerman had not had his white heritage emphasized as if that make him more culpable and had the 911 call not been edited by NBC to make Zimmerman look more racist, we wouldn’t be here today and Mr. Simon would be writing on some other subject like how great it is we live in a country where the media can promote as much violence as the kids toting guns can watch.

    • For the last time — because after this seventh or eighth effort, I’m killing every repetition of this appalling logical fallacy — bringing up black-on-black crime, or any other tragic dynamic in American life, in order that we may be distracted from looking at this case and assessing what it means is…

      1) Intellectually dishonest.
      2) Irrelevant
      3) Indicative of a pathological desire to avoid the actualities of this case and its meaning.

      Americans are capable of being concerned and focused on a multitude of social problems and tragic circumstances and to imply otherwise is to insult our intelligence, as you are doing now, Robert. Moreover, for you to bring black-and-black violence to me personally and suggest that I have not given due attention to that tragedy should be particularly embarrassing for you. My body of work — including two carefully researched books of narrative non-fiction — addresses the violence and poverty of the American city in great detail, as does much of my television work. In your hunger to change the subject, you’ve actually put yourself in a position of lecturing someone in the media who has spoken in detail to that which you claim has been ignored — and needs to be attended to right now, given that what we are addressing makes you uncomfortable and unhappy.

      Take a moment and reflect on where this journey has led you.

  • Mr. Simon – if Zimmerman was black, would you and the rest of the media even be bothering with this case specifically??? Somehow I doubt it.

    • If he were black, this would not have happened in the manner it did. And certainly, if it did happen, and he shot an unarmed seventeen year old, the case would have been adjudicated differently, from the initial stages of the investigation to the jury deliberations in the state of Florida. There is no doubt in my mind.

      Bringing up that hypothetical as if it would in any way help your logic seems to me disastrous for your argument.

      He is not black. But the seventeen year old boy who could not walk unarmed to the storm and return without being profiled, suspected and accosted — yes, he was black.

      I swear, the twists and turns that you undertake to avoid what did happen are indicative of just how far this country will go to avoid a single, hard moment of racial self-reflection. It is pathology, pure and simple.

  • Seldom have I seen someone quite as full of shear anger and rage as Mr. Simon. A trial occured, in which several EXTREMELY veteran attorneys were on both sides, in which laws passed by officials legally and properly elected by the public and was decided by a group of people (jury) that was individually agreed upon by the two opposing sides to be the arbiter, reached a verdict in keeping with the laws and statues of the state in which the incident occured. Gee, seems like a pretty damn good thing. You didn’t like the verdict–that’s your right. What’s the alternative? Riot everytime a trial verdict occurs that isn’t popular? Have the federal government overturn every state verdict they don’t agree with? Or perhaps we’ll just go with religious courts as in the Middle Ages. Maybe we’ll just put every defendant on trial on TV and have the public vote on it.

    • You’re applauding the professionalism in as rigged game. SYG is a revolution, legally. The civilized standard for self-defense is no longer being considered and this verdict and man, many others will reflect. You can pretend I am arguing otherwise and attempt to buttress the rigged game by praising the attorneys, the jury, the courthouse and every other part of the legal infrastructure. But if the change in the law has opened the courtroom to a barbaric standard, then all of that doesn’t matter.

      Focus on the actual critique here rather than propping up that which is irrelevant to the critique.

  • Treme kicks. The Brassy Knoll’s cover of ‘Lil Liza Jane” was the musical highlight of season 2. You, Charles P. Pierce, and Ta-Neshi Coates have done the best writing on this case by far. And you are the only one with the balls to wade into the comments and take on all comers.

    Good on you sir.

    • I admire Mr. Coates for his column on this issue, and for other things as well. He is a very careful but assertive voice.

      • Pierce called you a bedwetter after Thomas Friedman mis-appropriated your original NSA piece, but aside from that, he’s ok.
        All hope is not lost. In Texas! a jury recently rejected a stand your ground defense in a case where a guy offended at loud music emanating from a party down the block, took his piece, and his video camera, and tried to settle the score.
        In Texas at least, SYG does not apply when you go looking for trouble.

        Thanks for stirring the pot.

      • So, per the statue, the “not guilty” verdict was correct. Therefore the statue is the problem that needs to be addressed. I think people need to have rights when it comes to defending themselves; but defining what those rights are and then applying that definition will always have cases where the circumstances test the validity of any definition. Which is what we have here.

        • Yup. SYG has upended hundreds of years of American jurisprudence and English common law when it killing someone and offering a self-defense claim. So all of the folks declaring “the jury hath spoken” here have rolled past the turnoff.

          • Why do you insist on railing against “stand your ground” in the context of the Zimmermanwhen trial it was never once invoked in said trial?

            • Please read the judge’s instructions to the jury, going slowly, enunciating every word. Then recalibrate your post to account for fundamental reality.

  • Mr Simon,
    I ask you a question. Have you ever been mugged by young, black guys when you are trying to do your job?

  • So Trayvon’s death is an outrage while the NSA spying on every internet user worldwide (yes there is a world outside the US) is ok?
    Hmm and I always thought both things were an outrage.

    • Congratulations, you win the surprise for Non Sequitur of the Year. What else can you throw in there, global warming? Vaginal mutilation? NAFTA? Abortion issues?


      • David
        Thank you for all the insight in your blog regarding the terror that we should all feel when
        a human has died at the hands of another, and the System finds it
        “okay, not a problem”.
        For me this is the end of some real deep belief I have that a simple crime can be committed, a murder, and the criminal will serve a sentence for the crime.. This does indeed set a precidence (sp),as you said. That is the way things work in society.
        Our young people are going have to be so loving and so tough to deal with all this systemic rubbish. Thank you for speaking your mind.
        It is frightening that people miss the heart of the case, and say the” system worked” in this case. If it is condoning violence, its not “working” not one damn bit. and I hear that biting sarcasm in you , how the heck else can we civilly deal with all of our rage re: this?

      • The point was sarcasm and for that the use of the non sequitur was quite suitable. Sorry for offending your sensibilities.

        As for the SYG law: I’ve been trying to look for statistics that illustrate how SYG kills more people or turned more manslaughter/murder cases into ones of self defense aka how it perverted the justice system.
        I read quite a few comments but I have yet to find the evidence of the US sliding into barbarism because of SYG which has been around many state legislations for years.

        From what I have heard and read crime and homicide is in slow but steady decline. I am talking about long term trends.

        • Tampa Bay Times. Their project on the appalling cases that are invoking SYG. Look it up.

          See, Mr. Marter. That is a direct response. On point, too.

          Not off-the-path-and-into-the-woods bullshit and distraction.

  • Welcome to the nature of open discussion on the Internet! While I admire your efforts, you should be aware of the many that have come before you, and the lessons learned so far:

    1. Open discussions do not scale. The quality of discussion goes down as the number of participants go up. The ability for you and the web mistress to moderate the comments doesn’t scale so well either.

    2. The anonymity of the Internet somehow enables people to spew venomous language they would never ever say to your face in real life. Haters hate. Thanks for filtering out the more extreme comments.

    3. Experts and opinions. We discuss sensitive topics here. But the nature of these topics is such that no one is an expert, but everyone has an opinion. Not just an opinion, mind you — it’s a conviction that is core to their identity. Combine this with the anonymity, and you can see the challenge before us here.

    4. The most successful venues for discussion so far have employed come form of community moderation. Think Reddit (shudder), with its up vote, down vote, and flag system. Even then, the relative success of these forums is open to debate.

    If your goal is to have civil debate here, then the challenge is greater than taking on “the system”. You may very well be trying to change human nature.

    I can sense your frustration in this endeavor. Don’t take it personal. The audacity of despair, after all. Just know that there are many of us that admire you, and even though we may not always agree with you, we truly enjoy every word you write on this site.

  • I can only imagine that people are feeling the same way I felt when OJ got off from murdering two innocent people 18 years ago.

  • David, Instead of being ashamed to be an American because of this ruling I am relieved. I believe it is a certainty that each side will never see eye to eye in thier belief of guilt or innocence in this case. Certainly there is disagreement concerning the outcome of the trial and subsequent ruling. However, I would contend that all of America should find relief in the fact that the system worked despite outside pressure and influence.

    In this case the lead investigator, prosecutor, and chief of police were all relieved of duty because they “stood their ground” on the law and refused to arrest or prosecute George Zimmerman after conducting a thorough investigation. They all experienced a great deal of pressure to do so despite finding that Zimmerman’s claim of self defense was supported. I for one take solace in knowing there are men of principle in key positions. I also take solace in knowing that despite their firings, the outside influence and the societal pressures that a jury objectively weighed the evidence and reached an impartial verdict.

    You may not like the verdict but you should be relieved that we are still a country of laws that is not subject to the emotional, societal, or racial storms that clouded this case.

    • We are, in this instance, a country of vile and barbaric laws. The barbarity of which was offered to the jury verbatim in its instructions. The system worked. The system has been corrupted and is now, if you are a young black male, wholly malevolent.

      • Mr. David, on behalf of people with Understanding, I thank you so much for taking the time to post. So many of us live in our little bubbles unable to understand or to empathize with the experiences of others. One of the most egregious examples of indifference is that of our European-American siblings in racist America. Granted, unless you are African-American, homosexual, alcoholic, abused, or dying of cancer (or deeply immersed into the experiences of someone who is) it’s very difficult to understand that person’s plight. Unfortunately most people must go through the experience themselves before they can understand. To my European-American siblings, I understand your ignorance and lack of empathy is not per-se your fault; people are most comfortable thinking, knowing, and being as they always have; and the launch into Consciousness with all of its Truths can be very difficult and very painful to bear. Mr. David, I thank you for standing as a voice for those unable to or not knowing how to be a voice for themselves. I’ve parented 2 dynamically impressive African-American males so far (one into adulthood and the other going to college next month)’ and when each turned 11 I was afraid everyday for their safety. Thank you for fighting to bring Consciousness. Hope to one day connect with your Spirit in person.

      • Although I disagree to your assessment of this situation, I don’t disagree that problems need to be addressed. So this is your “the system is corrupted” moment. Not the fact that a political party has been keeping the blacks in line and voting in a certain bloc for many years with promises that aren’t fulfilled and by buying votes with meaningless checks. If we want a real answer to these problems they need to be addressed in a way that promotes blacks being on equal footing and wanting to improve their position rather than preserve a small check that ties them into poverty and despair. The number of blacks incarcerated as a percentage is too big. Why is this? The party of hope and change is neither of these (more a party of keep down and squash individual success) and the party of conservatives dare not involve itself in trying to provide solutions as the people aren’t part of their constituency and as such have no value. Anyone in this country can become financially independent if they choose. The problem is these options aren’t presented and the children are raised to believe it is the governments job to take care of them. After 50 years of allowing this lie to be perpetuated you would think leaders in the black community would put a stop to it. But they are just like their white counterparts in that the only interest they have is personal power. Metro areas that have had decades of Democrat rules but are completely broke with no hope of helping people grasp the idea of individual freedoms and opportunities that can be available with just an adjustment of focus. Detroit and its slow death is a perfect example of this.

        • Can you stay on point without gravitating to some sort of racial-political unified field theory?

      • DS/All,

        Read the Comments/Replies, None of you were there, some of you watched the trial in full some of you didn’t. You speak of outrage, etc. with a verdict from one side or the other. the two sides shall never agree. The RACE issue will always be there, in every generation. The pics of the young TM, much younger than 17, the suppressing of evidence to the defense (so called provided) with a gun jewelry, pot. The outrage while noted from both sides, should be looked at deeper than this case. Stop looking at who is keeping who down etc. “Thug Life” and movies of Black Gangstas and the violent RAP/Hip Hop/Drugs doesn’t help any side. DS I respect your responses and position, I certainly don’t agree with them. He was 17 years old, “Crazy A$$ cracker”, my point, racism will always be there, and the movie industry will be rewarded from it financially, and people can wear hoodies all they want, to wear wherever they want but you know it and I know it, wearing that stuff and having “CREAM” tattooed on your neck or whatever WILL NOT get you in a better respected lifestyle, 95% of the time. If TM showed up to your office for a interview for an open position you might have, would you consider him having the THUG look? so why promote it, and why do the parents allow it? Yes, you have every right, but “Do You”… perception? perception is what caught the eye of GZ, right or wrong, and I’m SURE it would have still caught his eye if the boy had been white or asian or hispanic if he was wearing a hoodie. People and you will not agree with me, but why promote “Thug” life, 9 times out of 10, will you be taken seriously for a better position in life. It starts at home, NOT the court and justice systems, and you can only lead your children to the fork in the road, and you hope they take the path you showed them growing up and teaching them. I don’t know the parents etc. not passing judgment, I’m sorry for their loss. Lots of what-ifs. My own opinion the black community is used and abused until blacks stop with being victims of excuses and dependencies nothing will change. THIS is the problem, not the justice system, if they are not in front of a judge to begin with what would the EXCUSE be? Again, TM did nothing wrong with walking with a hoodie, but perception is what got him noticed, and from that point none of us know 100%. if TM was wearing a hoodie outside your home DS, doesn’t look like he belongs there drinking a coke, and having skittles while your kids were out in the yard and you looked outside the window. What would be your perception? To go outside and stand by your children and property? I would, even if he was BLACK, WHITE, RED, YELLOW, GREEN. Good chat, your part of the other % I don’t agree with, and I’m probably the other % you don’t agree with.

        I certainly don’t agree with the REVs, they get PAID for this STUFF…and FEED off it to “Make Money”

        The justice system worked, and I’m sure the other side would have been happy if TM was found innocent of all charges had he gone up to a hispanic and the hispanic would have been shot and killed. Sadly, there probably wouldn’t even be a trial with that one. It was sad all around, but don’t LOOK for something else. That is the problem with RACE in America, it must be a race issue.

    • Unfortunately, I believe in the truth and honesty of Mr. Simon’s words. The fact is, there WAS a grave injustice done here, to the point that a friend of mine that I stay with in Tennessee sometimes (where I have to go to court from Chicago, but that’s another story) who is white, a gun owner, openly anti-Obama, a “rabid” conservative, who’s used the word “nigger” actually came home from work after the verdict, and was honestly ANGRY about the verdict. He, as all the above-stated went on about how Treyvon was just minding his own business and Zimmerman had “no right all all” to do what he did and shoot that kid–“just because he was losing a fistfight to someone he started something with in the first place”.

      Frankly, I was floored that my friend (even though we’re pretty near opposites on many things) thought this way. Yet even with his background and political affiliation and color, he could see the injustice done here.

      For MY part, at the core, this case is just another example of the bottomline, which is POWER–who has it, how it’s used or misused by those who have it, and how it’s used against those that don’t have it. THAT’S the root of Inequality here. I am Asian, out of work and poor, dealing with going to court against a white guy down South (who happens to come from a wealthy background with millionaire parents) and have experienced BLATANT bias, prejudice, and yes, even racism and misogyny down there. I’ve had due process and constitutional rights ignored or violated. My life has been almost ruined, I’ve lost jobs, and look to soon lose my home because a WHITE MALE takes it into his head to do so. With a lying detective and DA’s office who’s more concerned with witch-hunts and winning at any costs rather than the truth and Justice.

      And THAT’S the root of it all: THOSE WITH POWER, ABUSE IT AND MISUSE IT AGAINST THOSE WHO DON’T–whether it’s with guns, money, political–it’s like a disease that most people don’t have the strength of character to resist. Big or small, when someone can’t get Justice done and fair treatment because the ones running the system (who mostly happen to be white) deem it so, WHAT CAN WE DO BUT SPEAK OUT AGAINST IT, OR WE ARE JUST AS CULPABLE IN COLLUSION–AND CONDONING IT.

      No matter what you THINK it may cost you, SPEAK OUT, because I guarantee it will cost you and future others (maybe your children) so MUCH MORE if you don’t.

  • This Trayvon Martin murder reminds me of an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street where David Morse kills an exchange student in self defense. I keep remembering what the cop said at the end:

    “I don’t think it was premeditated. I think it was inherent. Jim’s racism is so much a part of him, that he didn’t have a chance to think about what he was doing. Jim is worse than a Klansman. ‘Cause at least in their white sheets, they are recognizable. But your cousin’s brand of bigotry is more frightening because, like still water, it runs deep. He doesn’t even see it himself.

    Those two cases are similar because the only witness to refute is dead and the other-a lawyer knows exactly what to say to make himself look good. Just like George Zimmerman.

    Well said Mr. Simon, well said!

  • David,

    I will agree that most repetitive arguments are from those who fail to read every comment. But you must understand that you, sir, are no different. At every media outlet, whether that be television, radio, the internet or the newspaper, the public is bombarded with people of “celebrity” status with the same opinions as you. Your arguments are not original, were not first, and will not be the last. Until you and all others with the same opinions come together for 1 argument, repetition of opposing views will continue.

    • Goodness, I’m not trying to reduce commentary that is repetitive in the general media culture. I’m just trying to keep this blog from going around in circles. And if you think you’ve heard everything I have to say elsewhere, then why are you here? There’s no need. If there’s nothing here for you that you didn’t know already, then there’s no reason to endure, I suppose.

  • Mr. Simon,

    I am an African American father who is apparently late to the circus that has encircled you for the past half week, but I would like to take this time to applaud you for your accurate and enlightening post on the feelings that should come from any parent across this great nation, in the face of a verdict such as the one read on this past Saturday. As big of a deal as race is being made of this case, it should not be the forefront of discussion on this day. Do I feel that race had a big part to play in this whole thing, I most definitely do! What I think is the bigger issue that people should be thinking about is… Above all else now, based on these SYG laws, you can watch your teenage child leave the house to run a harmless errand, and they can end up dead from someone pursuing them NOT them pursuing anyone else or doing anything wrong, just because they may “look suspicious”. And this person may pursue a confrontation even when they were told NOT to do so by the authorities, yet brandish a firearm and take a young life of a boy who felt threatened by someone following them. This man who stood 5’8″ and weighed 200lbs in an altercation with a boy who stood 5’11” and 158lbs? Although I am not a citizen of the sovereign state of Florida, my mother, father, brother, and masses of extended family live there, and I now fear for them. I am heartbroken that a mother and a father have buried a child that did no wrong, and his only crime was being in this “self-appointed” neighborhood watch commander’s sights on the wrong night and suffered the cost for it. My only comfort in this time is to hold on to what civility is left in the world and thank you for your eloquence. Tonight we should all hold our children a little closer and hope that there are no other George Zimmerman’s out there looking for “suspicious individuals” because of their race, or what type of clothing they choose to wear, or what the neighborhood makeup is, or any other form of discrimination. Cherish those moments dearly as I do with my son. In some ways this nation has come so far from its past, but in the end, it is fear and the foolish that will set us back ages. Thanks again Mr. Simon

    A Concerned Father

  • Hi Mr. Simon,

    I think my comment fell through the cracks when I originally posted it, so I wanted to try again:

    Thank you for taking the time to read this. I would have tweeted, but you may not be the biggest fan of that!

    Like every Black person that I know, I – as a Black woman – was feeling utter rage at the verdict, and also utterly powerless. Other than screaming and breaking out into violence, I am one of those people you wrote about that chose to remain calm. I had to look for some constructive way to release, so I made a White House petition to draw attention to the very law that allowed Zimmerman to commit this crime and become a cult hero – the Stand Your Ground law.

    This petition is titled “Investigate Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, And The Discrepancies And Case Outcomes When It Is Applied”, and it highlights 2 articles from the Tampa Bay Times that details 200 cases and the disparity in those who have successfully used the law and those who haven’t, and whom their victims were. It is clear there is a problem along racial lines that is perpetuated by this law. It must be changed. In its current form, it lends itself too easily to the possibility of civil rights violations.

    The petition needs 100,000 signatures to demand a response from the government. I obviously don’t know that many people, and I’m finding that, if I don’t have a powerful organization behind me like the NAACP, there’s very little progress or chance for success. Everyone seems more wrapped up in going after one man, although that man is a powerful and dangerous symbol for bigots, than going after the law that created his nerve to do this terrible action. Would you please consider signing this, and throwing your support behind it, and possibly sharing this petition?

    The website is:

    Thank you, again, for your time. Sorry to hijack your comment section. I’m just looking for any way to get the word out, and DO something meaningful here.

  • The difference between Trayvon Martin and Emmett Till—bag of skittles and whistling at a white woman… I set my clock back 100 years this weekend

  • I just want to say that your venting – it helped me. I was torn in my feelings. I’ve read and re-read so many accounts of that night and of the case that I wasn’t sure what to think. But what you said about a fist fight turning into a gun battle with only one person having a gun– it moved me. It opened my eyes. Are there no limits to a self-defense defense?

    • Was it about the details of the case? Or general?

      This thread we are trying not to be redundant with the 599 posts on the “Trayvon” thread. Read the post you commented on. If we have killed a post in error, reply and we will seek it out.

  • There was plenty of “but-for” causation to be contemplated in this case. What Zimmerman did from the beginning was despicable. He should not have had a gun at all. Failing that, he should not have suspected Trayvon Martin was up to no good because he was black and wearing a hoodie and in that neighborhood. Failing that, he should have stayed in his car. Failing that, he should have been non-confrontational and not behaved like a self-appointed cop. On and on. People who do wrongheaded and even despicable things, however, are entitled to the same constitutional protections as people who do only laudable things. In that Florida courtroom advocates for both sides gave it their best shot. All we can and must read into the verdict is this: That the state did not satisfy the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman, at the instant of his firing the gun, did not fear death or great bodily harm. You can argue that minorities are abused by the system; you’re right. You can argue that SYG emboldens idiots with firearms; it most certainly does. You can argue that community watch volunteers shouldn’t be allowed to carry guns at all; you’re right about that too. But we on this end of the political spectrum ordinarily SUPPORT the beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard of proof, and we should recognize that in order to get past deferring to the jury’s determination that the state did not fulfill the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, we have to contribute something to the narrative ourselves. If it’s hard to think Zimmerman was defending himself or thought he was, isn’t it also hard to think of him as having sought out an opportunity to kill another human being on account of his race? Was the jury’s job really so easy? Until I can point to something in the evidence that required the jury to conclude Zimmerman did not subjectively fear for his life at the instant when he pulled the trigger, I think I’m going to direct my complaining at the antecedents that allowed this outrageous and unnecessary killing to happen at all (particularly including the need for legal reform and the state of economic disparity in this country) and hope that Trayvon’s family sues civilly and gets a judgment that’s big enough to absorb any money Zimmerman might make off his book deal, etc.

  • There is a great divide in this country. I don’t believe that it is race, I believe that it is political. There is no middle ground anymore. There is the far left, and the far right, with no intelligent compromise. Each side lumping you into either category. Are you a racist gun loving right wing nut job, or a far left pinko communist looking for a hand out?

    With these far extremes, each side tries to capitalize on any current event to point out the flaws of the other side. It seems to be a constant argument that at this rate will never end. Each side feeling superiorly correct in its intellect, and beliefs, grasping at its distortions of the truth to “prove”that the other side is wrong. What side do you support? What channel do you get your “facts” from, Fox news or CNN?

    I cringe when I hear someone blame my country for its problems. Shame on you for being “Ashamed to call yourself an American”. This country affords all of its citizens a life better than most even realize, and many take for granted. I have traveled, and lived, around the world. Every country has its good and its bad, including the united States of America. Many people have served, and are serving to make this a better country. Military, police, fire fighters, volunteers, teachers, and community activists to name a few. Rather than picking up a brick and walking down to your courthouse, get involved in your community. Volunteer with children, schools, shelters, police, firefighters, or any other group that you think could be a worthy cause. Get involved with people, so you can see through the BS of either sides “facts”. I am tired of being told who I am, by people that won’t roll up their sleeves and work to make this country a better place!

  • Mr. Simon, you restore my faith in humanity a little. Thanks so much for your blog. I am glad someone was brave enough, and intelligent enough, to write such a beautiful and truthful piece. I just discovered it this morning. I am not surprised by many of the responses, although it deeply saddens me. I too am ashamed to be an American, and ashamed to be white. Thanks to all the morons out there who create these situations. Many of them deny any accusations of racism or prejudice, but it is in their very denials that it seeps through in its vilest forms. One thing that gives me a bit of hope is this:

    Hopefully, through evolution or extinction, the situation will eventually resolve itself.
    Mr Simon, when I report for work today among the youth of a devastated inner city, I will show them your blog. I will remind them again that there are good ones out there who understand and are trying to fight for what’s right.

  • It actually makes me feel sad and very disrespected to have not had my comment posted. I spent some time composing it and felt I had made good points, that you hadn’t considered or knew of ( and I hadn’t seen the same points made in the comments before). I think it’s unfair of you post an inflammatory document trying to incite violence (which is what you did, whether you went to or not) and then not let everyone say their piece! People who read your post deserved to be able to read comments that might shed more light on the reality of the evidence. I can’t see how anyone who knows the REAL evidence would have written what you did.

    • We mean no disrespect, Ms. Amy Jane.

      Was your original comment a return to a detailed discussion of the case? Because as the body of this sidebar-post indicates, we have closed comments on that after the initial 599 comments in the “Trayvon” thread. Why? Because there were actually no fresh issues that were coming forward after two days of argument and debate about the evidence, and all of those issues had been addressed from all sides, and here, we want to preserve the back-and-forth of the debate rather than pile unattended commentary atop what is essential a bit of a living document of the discussion.

      That said, we are allowing generalized commentary here, but we’re resisting a return to a redundant argument of the case itself. My guess is that if your comment ventured into the evidentiary aspects of the prosecution, it was killed for that reason only. If you think otherwise, I can have the webmistress go back and recover it.

      I do know that a more generalized comment by you was posted.

      We are not killing anything because it is oppositional. We are simply trying to tend the garden and maintain a dialectic that is, we hope, more rigorous and superior to what you find on the bottom of any Huff Post or Fox or Yahoo page. Best, DS

      • Nah, it was pretty much a list of evidence (that I hadn’t seen in previous comments) from the case that had surprised me and that had changed my mind and convinced me that it was indeed a case of self-defense rather than murder or manslaughter. I really wanted to believe that it was an injustice, but after spending hours upon hours reading the evidence and trying to sift out facts from opinions it strikes me more as a shakesperean tragedy where two men made bad decisions in a perfect storm that tragically led to one man’s death and the ruination of another’s life (and their families lives) and now a nation that is in a lot of pain over it…mostly because of the spreading of misinformation by the media.

  • If you are ashamed of this country, or not proud to be an American you clearly have the means to leave. However, it’s important to discuss the hypocrisy of your outrage, which predated the verdict. You failed to express outrage when a white couple was viciously gang raped (both), and murdered by a group of African Americans (Channon Christian, 21, and Christopher Newsom, Jr., 23). You expressed no anger, no outrage at that crime, which was both premeditated and motivated by race. Yet, with the Zimmerman case your white guilt kicked in, and you ignored the fact that Zimmerman is not white, ignored the Justice Departments finding that race WAS NOT a factor. These facts don’t jive with your logic, with your broken narrative. People in the media, and folks like you are fanning the flames, causing both Hispanic and white men to be attacked “for Travon”, and their beatings and any potential bloodshed is on your hands. That being said, I’m sure you know nothing about these crimes since the perpetrators weren’t white (or Hispanic like Zimmerman) and the victims weren’t African American. Your deranged liberal mindset makes it clear how you landed a job writing TV shows, you can’t handle reality, so you make up your own.

    • Your every point is answered elsewhere in these comments, especially your desire to turn the discussion as rapidly as you can to alternate tragedies so as to avoid any attention to this one. That fallacy of logic is a particularly dishonest one.

      If you actually desire a response to the issue of Mr. Zimmerman’s race, to your ridiculous claim that any of my words make any argument for violence, such is readily accessible on the site. You are incorrect about the U.S. Justice Department. The civil rights investigation was suspended, but not resolved, when the state case went forward. That review is now proceeding, though in truth, I do not think that there will be sufficient overt evidence of a hate crime for a federal prosecution to be undertaken. That is distinctly different, of course, from saying that race did not play a role in this senseless slaying.

  • Hi Mr. Simon,

    Thank you for taking the time to read this. I would have tweeted, but you may not be the biggest fan of that!

    Like every Black person that I know, I – as a Black woman – was feeling utter rage at the verdict, and also utterly powerless. Other than screaming and breaking out into violence, I am one of those people you wrote about that chose to remain calm. I had to look for some constructive way to release, so I made a White House petition to draw attention to the very law that allowed Zimmerman to commit this crime and become a cult hero – the Stand Your Ground law.

    This petition is titled “Investigate Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, And The Discrepancies And Case Outcomes When It Is Applied”, and it highlights 2 articles from the Tampa Bay Times that details 200 cases and the disparity in those who have successfully used the law and those who haven’t, and whom their victims were. It is clear there is a problem along racial lines that is perpetuated by this law. It must be changed.

    The petition needs 100,000 signatures to demand a response from the government. I obviously don’t know that many people, and I’m finding that, if I don’t have a powerful organization behind me like the NAACP, there’s very little progress or chance for success. Everyone seems more wrapped up in going after one man, although that man is a powerful and dangerous symbol for bigots, than going after the law that created his nerve to do this terrible action. Would you please consider signing this, and throwing your support behind it, and possibly sharing this petition?

    The website is:

    Thank you, again, for your time. Sorry to hijack your comment section. I’m just looking for any way to get the word out, and DO something meaningful here.


  • What this case demonstrates is that the law heavily incentives gun ownership. Let’s forget about race just for a minute and go through the actions committed in the case: an adult neighborhood watchman armed with a gun follows a ‘suspcious’ minor and some sort of confrontation ensues, the unarmed minor, who was followed by an adult with a gun, gets killed by him. The adult with a gun gets off free in court and receives his gun back while the unarmed minor is dead. What does this verdict say about incentives?

    Without bringing race into the picture, gun ownership clearly is more of a favorable position to be in. Even if we add the racial issue back into the equation, gun ownership has far more utility because you decrease the chances of being dead! As a racial minority, you might be sentenced more harshly for shooting someone but by carrying a gun, you decrease the chances of the worst possible outcome. You may be sentenced to lethal injection in 3 years or life in prison as a black man prejudiced by society, but that’s still 3 more possible years of life or beyond as opposed to dying on the spot. In the best case scenario, you walk away free and alive like Zimmerman did.

    The policy implications then are clear: not many of us have trust in politicians, so ugly politics of gun ownership aside, the implication is that everyone, especially minors in this case, should be able to bear arms. Juror B37 said she didn’t think race was an issue in this case. Fine, so permit gun ownership of all colors and age. This way, at least children don’t have to live in fear of an adult with a gun chasing after them and can decrease the probability of getting killed in the process.

    NRA, can you help? Please use your political clout to protect minors from adults with guns. You claim that the ‘only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,’ so help minors protect themselves from actions of bad adults. Push for an abolition of all age requirements in federal and state gun laws.

  • There is nothing wrong with SYG. Just because a person is being attacked does not mean they should be forced to retreat first. This whole Zimmerman situation was never a race issue. To say you are not proud of being an American seems over the top, but it’s your choice I suppose. The U.S offers a lot a great opportunities to people and after serving 4 years with the United States Air Force I can say that I personally am proud to be an American. The shooting death of Mr. Martin is sad but these kind of things happen in all countries. Anyway I have to get to work but I hope everyone has a good day today.

    • I have to agree with Dave. I would even go so far as to say that if a 27 year old black George Zimmerman had shot 17 year old hispanic Trayvon Martinez, everything else in this case being the same, I would still have accepted the juries ruling. 1. The prosecution was horrible and failed to prove that Zimmerman was out for blood that night. 2. Had the prosecution initially asked for manslaughter instead of changing the charge when they saw that they were not proving 2nd degree murder, that might’ve been a little more palatable. Changing the rules mid-stream smacked of railroading. 3. The media’s vested interest in turning this into a race issue from the very start went a long way to creating a public backlash against the Martin family. I truly feel for Trayvon’s parents and pray that I never have to go through what they have gone through. Mr. Simon, I get that you are angry and frustrated over this but saying things akin to being ashamed to be an American does not help the situation. No I don’t feel you should leave the country because of how you feel. That is what makes America what it is, a land where everyone is free to have their own opinions. I just wish that it was a land where people could walk where they choose and not have their motives questioned either because of precedence set by others or the unfounded fears of observers.

      • it’s been such a long time since the actual shooting that many of us seem to have forgotten where the outrage started – with concerned activists, NOT the media. the media dutifully ignored the issue until outrage reached critical mass all by itself. far from the media wishing to turn this into a racial issue to sell papers (or whatever it is they actually sell these days…ad space I suppose), concerned citizens recognized the racial dynamic in the killing and demanded that it not pass without examination.

        furthermore, as detailed in earlier commentary and earlier posts, SYG is about quite a bit more than “you don’t need to run if you’re attacked.” American laws provided for justifiable use of force via self defense laws for centuries before the first SYG law. what SYG authorizes is a very specific kind of applied force (deadly force) in a very broad range of situations (I was seriously so scared your honor).

  • But Mr. Simon, an out of context fragment of a sentence you wrote showed up on my Twitter feed and your previous essays & pages of commentary are too long; didn’t read. I want to tell you what I think now now now & get personal response & attention! What, you don’t want to engage in modern discourse? Fascism, man.

    p.s. Stringer Bell rocks but Omar is the #1 coolest! Also I Twitterized the problems of urban America for you: less dope more hope!

    (KIDDING, kidding. Mostly.)

    • What is your point? That under SYG more people are dead and the killings are legally excused, and that, as might be expected, it is also used as a fuel to the proliferation of black-on-black crime? This is your victory? Really?

  • Early this morning, when there were six comments showing, I posted a comment.

    That comment was polite, relevant, not spam, made no personal attacks, contained no threats, and yet has not been posted. It did contain the text of the 4th, 5th, and 14th Amendments.

    The comment which contained no profanity went into a moderation queue. Apparently it remains there, or has been deleted altogether, I have no idea why.

    • Your post was entirely civil. From the extensive legal cites it was my understanding that you were commenting on the case itself. If you read the body of this post, we have already given full range to debate on the legal case itself and we closed the “Trayvon” thread after more than five hundred entries. We are loathe to reopen that discussion here, on this side-thread, given that we have not been posting continuing discussions of the case specifics — those affirming or opposing — for a couple days now.

      Did I err in thinking that you were returning to a detailed discussion of the legalisms? If so, I will go back and find your post.

      • Hmm, maybe there was someone else’s post in moderation as well…

        I am not a lawyer, I don’t believe I included any legal cites. I did cite the 4th, 5th, and 14th Amendments, as well as a bit of Kirk’s epic speech from Star Trek’s The Omega Glory to ask how you balance your belief that Zimmerman was guilty with the protections of due process, equal protection and reasonable doubt.

        That is to suggest that at times when a case doesn’t go the way you wish due to civil liberties issues arising protecting the defendant, it’s not a time to be ashamed to be an American, it’s a time to consider how lucky we all are to be Americans and have our fundamental civil rights protected by our founders (notably I guess, James Madison.)

        Many civil liberties lawyers, including Professor Jonathan Turley as well as many defense lawyers have said over and over that Angela Corey made profound errors, to the extent she should even be disbarred, or charged. And in addition these experts of law and trial have said the state never came close to proving its case.

        We should all welcome that Zimmerman was protected from this governmental malfeasance. The government that violated Zimmernan’s civil rights in this manner would easily go after low income, minority, powerless populations.

        My question for you, since I didn”t see it in your posts, and I could not access most of the comments, was how you balance that.

        But it is certainly not just you alone. I am left wondering how so many people attribute the verdict to racism and say the verdict represents open season on Black youths, as opposed to seeing the jury’s verdict as an affirmation of the Bill of Rights.

        Anyway, thanks for creating a space to ask this question.

        • I think if you scroll the commentary under the original Trayvon post you’ll find my replies, to be sure. Your post was fine, and it wasn’t omitted from this thread for any other reason than we can’t keep servicing the same questions as they continue to recur.

          But you can begin with the diminished standard for self-defense that results from SYG laws and their use in the Zimmerman-Martin jury instructions as the benchmark for guilt or innocence. By the new statute, this was a legal manslaughter, but a manslaughter nonetheless. My disagreement is less with the jury than with the systemic and structural corruptions that now make it possible to unnecessarily kill.

          • Mr. Simon, I know that you desire direct conversation of the Trayvon/Martin incident in your blog to cease but may at least bend this request a bit and ask would you have preferred Zimmerman had a taser instead of the gun? This is question more apt for your previous blog that centered on the verdict(which is closed). It isn’t appropriate ask this type of question on your blog but I am innately curious about your stance. If you neglect to dignify my question with an answer or even a reply in order to keep to word then I understand.

            • I have issues with tasers independent of this scenario. That said, if any non-lethal force could have saved a life here it would seem a preferred alternative. Answered because some component of what you raised had not been asked prior. But yeah, we gotta go forward here, no?

  • A comment on the comments- what’s truly sad about the the bellicose posturing of the pro-murder Zimmerman supporter crowd is that underneath it you can sense the fear. They are afraid, and most of them can’t admit to themselves what they’re afraid of. They really want to believe this isn’t about race, because if it was that would make them racists. Change is coming, and they can’t stop it no matter how many Trayvon Martins they kill.

    • Amazing, huh? It’s from this reservoir of rage that folks feel the need to stand that ground.

  • Mr. Simon, you’ve made a successful career promoting violence and race hatred about the people of Baltimore, MD. As an American you certainly have the constitutional privilege to write your opinion of the Zimmerman verdict. However, your indictment of guns and the freedom to carry them is also protected by the same constitution that protects your freedom of speech. It is clear from the evidence presented that Mr. Zimmerman was not a racist, and acted in self-defense. The fact that it was lawful for Mr. Zimmerman to have a gun, is unfortunate for Mr. Martin. Mr. Zimmerman was a tutor of Black children; dated a Black girl; and Black children lived in the family home.

    Mr. Simon, I suggest that you focus your obvious writing talents on the cause of the murders occurring weekly in the city of Chicago, rather than on the state of Florida. The Chicago murders, numbering in the thousands yearly, are committed primarily by Blacks on Blacks, mostly youthful, and many, many innocently involved. Look for the real causes of these horrific murders, and it’s not guns, but cultural problems associated with no father figure in the home; the lack of jobs; the failure to take advantage of educational opportunities; and sadly the type of TV formulated by your programs that subliminally promote violence and retribution. Race is not the issue in this country, it is the excuse to keep from solving the problems associated with all the family and economic factors listed above.

    • We do not agree on the content, purpose and message of my work. No matter. But when you suggest that I should write about violence and the culture and the inner city, it affords me the opportunity of alleviating your concerns immediately. As you are, I can see, deeply concerned about the tragedy of black-on-black violence and the brutalizing culture of the other America, I can recommend two works of carefully researched narrative non-fiction.

      “Homicide,” by David Simon, Henry Holt Co.
      “The Corner,” by David Simon & Edward Burns, Broadway Books.

      Thanks for your earnest concern.

      All that said, the rush to interpose unrelated tragedies into arguments and considerations of the extant case is an intellectually dishonest and rather transparent means of avoiding the substance of the original discussion. It may seem like you are broadening the discussion in a meaningful way. Actually, you are avoiding it in attempting such.

      • Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

        Mr. Simon: My only fear in this thread is that you’re going to end up too exhausted to continue your documenting of New Orleans, or the US/Mexico border, or the Baltimore Orioles. Let not those flames extinguish. Crush Davis needs you as much as we all need him.

          • 62, then 71, then 74, then 150, then we find out he’s 90% horse by DNA. Don’t care. A beer on me for every milestone (when next you find yourself in or around Tucson). Just keep those damn Yankees at home in October.

      • I really can’t agree with you about avoiding the issue rather than discussing the immediate problem associated with self defense in Florida. First, I’ve watched your Baltimore based police/community show several times, and I enjoyed the program. Secondly, focusing on the Florida tragedy is avoidance of the major problem affecting a large majority of Blacks in this country: Black on Black crime. Jackson & Sharpton are nothing more than Elmer Gantry wannabes attempting to find ways to bilk the community that supports them. Thousands of dead Blacks in this country related to cultural problems and what is the only solution that Jackson, Sharpton, professional educators, and many in politics advocate, more money. We tear asunder the nuclear family, pay women to have men leaving the family, and provide minimal subsistence to encourage more dependency. Where am I wrong? Why, in this country do we have many more young Blacks and young adult males either unemployed or working in the food service industry who believe that dropping out of high school is an acceptable practice? When you and others simply focus on Black vs White as a cause effect correlation rather than understanding that the present condition is the result of a complete failure of moral direction, little to nothing will be accomplished toward affecting positive change among the Black community.

        • As I answered you elsewhere, Mr. Griffith: You seem to be assuming that what happened to Trayvon Martin is linked inextricably to the state of the black underclass. But it doesn’t seem that Mr. Martin was exactly that cohort. Moreover, I live in a world in which I know as many middle-class black parents as those in the working-class or underclass; and their kids are enduring routine violations of their civil liberties as a matter of course.

          One of my best friends knows when his teenaged sons use the family car that they will invariably end every other Saturday night on a curb somewhere, pulled over for a minor violation, hands behind them, while the registration is checked by cops who can’t believe the car isn’t stolen, and who are calling for the drug dog because they are sure they will find CDS in the vehicle.

          Do you not see a racial assumption of your own in the notion that this issue is linked to the mores of the black underclass when in fact African-Americans of every class are diminished and abused by it?

    • Um…in what world is any of Simon’s work promoting “violence and race hatred” in Baltimore or anywhere else? Have you actually watched any of these shows or read any of these books?

      I’m pretty sure Goya wasn’t trying to promote war when he painted its horrors.

    • Now Mr. Jack, for you to say that Mr. David’s shows promoted violence and race hatred goes to show how fortunately far removed you are from such peoples and their life experiences. As an African-American woman who grew up on the streets of Brooklyn, NY I saw my middle-class neighborhood transition to a drug infested nightmare where I dodged bullets and pedophiles walking home from Catholic school. While I was fortunate to attain a good education and to happen by an opportunity which exposed me to a Wall Street career, I understand the difficulties of those without opportunity to make it out. Also, it was quite liberating to see Mr. David’s programs (albeit years after they stopped airing) which depicted so much truth of the mindsets and struggles of poor people living in drug-infested communities, which again fortunately you could never understand.

      Also, Mr. Jack, Zimmerman dating African-American women or tutoring our kids means nothing of his prejudice, fear or hatred of the people at whole or toward the African-American male. People, and our mindsets, emotions, upbringing, subconscious, need to make a living, etc. are too complexly intertwined for it to be so black and white. And while, yes, there is a enormous amount of black-on-black crime, which is another heartbreaking mental barrier the people are challenged to overcome, that fact shouldn’t restrict Mr. David from expressing his feelings concerns about the incident in Florida. Why are you so mad?

  • Mr. Simon, I look forward to your posts detailing your outrage on the deaths of Pat Mahaney and Antonio West.

    • That’s right!

      Because if for one minute anyone tries to address any single tragedy without addressing all others, we can derail the discussion by demanding he do so. Do you understand the pathetic rhetorical fallacy you are engaging in? And how it reveals you to be intellectually dishonest in a discussion of this tragedy?

      • How am I being intellectually dishonest? I am not discussing this tragedy. In the post I am commenting under, you said, by and large, you are done discussing this one. So let’s get on to others that are just as bad, if not worse, than this one.

          • Mr. Simon,

            I assume you are referring to the post the generated over 500 comments. Of course I am okay with that post. You are allowed to say your piece and comment. This site, is appears to me, was generated for just this purpose (I enjoy coming here). This is YOUR website, YOUR blog and we’ Americans are still free (for a while anyway) to opine. But if you say that, by and large, your are terminating further repititive discourse on a topic, then I would think it’s time to move on. I suggested topics related to this one, to address.

            But again, it’s YOUR site, and if you wish to further discuss this case, have at it. I’ll refrain from commenting on GZ-TM because I don’t know the intricacies well enough to postulate an opinion.

            • I was referring to your comment about fathers and the direct challenge to that woman about her parenting. What were you going for there?

  • I would like to know if the author of this blog would accept the punishment John White, a black man, received for leaving the safety of his home, confronting a seventeen year old white teen and shooting that teen point blank in the face killing him. Doesn’t that sound a little like the Zimmerman case??? John White was convicted of 2nd degree manslaughter and then served 5 months of a 2 to 4 year prison term when he was pardoned by the black NY governor David Paterson. The liberals in that case celebrated Mr. Whites use of his gun. They claimed even though he left the safety of his home, he was defending himself. They celebrated when he was pardoned. Now imagine what this blog and the rest of the media that declared Zimmerman’s guilt on day one and fanned the racial flames would say if Zimmerman received the same and was pardoned by the white, republican governor of Florida. You have a clear example of how a person is treated based on race. This time white.

    • Did I miss something? Was Mr. Zimmerman convicted of second-degree manslaughter? Did he serve a day?

      • He was not convicted but did serve over a month in jail. Robert stated that it sounded a little like the Zimmerman case. I will point out that Robert is misguided in saying that this blog claimed Zimmerman guilty and fanned racial flames from day one, as you did not initially. You have only recently used racial injustice in your arguments.
        I also note that you did not choose to acknowledge Robert’s initial question. I realize that you abhor comments trying to relate other cases to your arguments, but by bringing up race, and it being open season on African Americans, you sort of invited people to do so. One case cannot set a precedent for racial injustice, so in effect you are alluding to multiple cases causing African Americans to feel unsafe.

        • Within the context of the new and growing bloodletting of SYG, yes I am discussing other cases. All murders? All cases in which black people did something wrong? All cases in which self-defense was argued, whether justifiably or no? I’m arguing systemically about a freshly torn hole in the moral DNA of our common law that has been with us since we were colonies. You want to argue a case that goes to this systemic issue, fine.

          But I’ve got racist swine rushing to bring up murders of white people in which black defendants were sentenced fully, or the use of self-defense in which black defendant was actually acquitted but didn’t get enough time for the manslaughter to suit the poster. Or crocodile tears for black-and-crime from people who in the next paragraph make some remark displaying their own contempt for black life, even as they’re addressing someone who spend his journalistic career addressing that very dynamic with considered care. It has been a deluge of racist change-the-subject bullshit. I’m fed up, and rightly so.

          Does race not exist in this case if we can cite a three-year-old murder of a white person by an African-American?

          Seriously, that is the argument that has appeared on this blog if not once in the last week, then twenty times. You want to know what other murders I want to discuss? The ones that were either prevented by SYG being on the books, or the ones that were encouraged and then excused by those laws. That is germaine.

          Start with the Tampa Bay Times. Their accounting of the bloodletting in Florida.

          • it’s not just this blog, it’s anywhere on the internet where the case is being discussed. and it’s flat out intellectual dishonesty.

            first of all, John White’s case occurred in New York, a state without a Stand Your Ground law. second, Mr. White was responding to a drunken teenager who was standing in his front yard, threatening to beat up his son and rape his wife. third, his victim was not alone – he had a group of his white friend with him, screaming racial epithets and threats of violence. fourth, witnesses testified that Mr. White’s victim lunged at him just before the gun went off.

            last, of course, Mr. White was immediately arrested, tried, and convicted – only afterwards was his sentence commuted.

            • I know. The conviction itself should be enough to give a sentient being pause. Not a racist, of course, but a sentient being.

          • Sorry to say this, but blaming Whites for all the troubles Blacks have may be reaching its limits in the American psyche! Blacks killing Blacks while committing well over 50% of all crimes in the country could be leading some of us to believe that the primary causative factor for problems in the Black community is idiopathic, not racially motivated. If Mr. Simon spent more time on the root causes of poverty in this country and less time on pushing racial division, then we would all be better satisfied. When Black children are “hustled” through schools without learning at grade level (can’t read, write or do simple math), and drop out of public school entirely at an astonishing rate, then we are in trouble as a society. In 1964 this country, in an admirable attempt to right grievous wrongs, created a culture of dependency from birth to death among an entire class in our society. Unless, and until we correct this cultural behavior we will continue to have an ever growing underclass in America, and will no doubt continue to use race as an excuse for not achieving the American dream.

            Frankly, I believe this country fosters racial exceptionalism throughout the world.

            • Jack Griffin: “If Mr. Simon spent more time on the root causes of poverty in this country…”

              David Simon:

              “The Corner,” Broadway Books, 1997
              “Homicide,” Houghton Mifflin Co., 1991
              “The Corner,” HBO Miniseries, 2000
              “The Wire,” HBO series, 2002-2008
              City desk and projects team, Baltimore Sun, 1983-1995

              Jack Griffin: “…and less time pushing racial division…”

              David Simon:

              A four-paragraph blog item asserting that race played a factor in the death of Trayvon Martin, 2013

              Apparently, two decades of writing on American poverty, crime and the city isn’t sufficient to speak even once about race and racial profiling as a factor in the death of an unarmed seventeen-year-old without eliciting the race-based rage of one Jack Griffith. No, Mr. Griffith your post and the reasons for it are self-evident. The pathology here is your own.

              • It could well be my pathology. Frankly, I said that I watched the Baltimore based TV show and enjoyed your work. But, if you actually believe that I learned about Black behavior from your show, you’re mistaken. I worked with the PHS in LA during the riots in that community and took the first mobile health clinic into the Watts neighborhood; I was in Detroit when that city was on fire; and I’ve worked on Indian reservations where women gave birth in dug out places in the ground, protected only by a Hogan. I brought the first TB clinic into the Yaquii tribe in Arizona. The difference in my work in those communities and your writing about it, is fundamental, I actually worked with the people you’re writing about. Poverty is a disease, just assuredly as cancer is a disease. But no medicine other than education, opportunity, and moral values will cure this problem Inciting racial difference as an excuse for failure only exacerbates an already existing problem.

                • Mr. Griffith, it is a fallacy of logic to declare that efforts to address a given need or right a given wrong are invalidated because other needs are pressing. I agree with you on education, opportunity and a complete reintegration of one America with the other economically are fundamentals. We are entirely in harness together on those priorities.

                  But there are other needs, as well, and they are an imperative to preserve life and interrupt the cycle of violence and incarceration. The drug war needs to end, for example. And prisons need to be state agencies and not for-profit entities. And yes, SYG laws need to be reconsidered so that there aren’t more needless deaths and a continuing and deepening alienation of one America from the other.

                  Holding up your priorities and pretending that they invalidate the need to address other needs or inequities seems to me not only unnecessary, but also a little flippant. For example, never mind the needs of the underclass who you seem to champion. I know many parents of black youth who endure a constant litany of racially profiled stops, detentions and harassments of their kids — to the point where they are living in an America that seems to make no accommodation for the fact that they are living a life that maintains all the values that you so cherish. They have already traveled from the other America to our own, Mr. Griffith, some of them for a couple generations now. And still their kids are on the curb every Saturday night, hands behind them, while officers call in the registration for a car they can’t believe isn’t stolen, and then wait for the drug dog to sniff a vehicle that they can’t believe won’t have drugs in it. And those kids, Mr. Griffith, are going to colleges and working summer jobs and yet they endure a different American standard of liberty.

                  So, really, enough with the simplistic notion that because we suffer from other problems, we can’t address this one directly and honestly.

              • I previously replied to your comments on your experience with this subject matter. What I did not mention is the following: when I was a child, Roy Rogers and Gene Autry were my heroes. Except for Hopalong Cassidy all my heroes wore white hats. Although I enjoyed your Baltimore show I was an adult. I hate to say this because I was raised in the 40’s & 50’s, but John Wayne, Clark Cable, & Gary Cooper were always heroes, if slightly conflicted. Today, it is difficult, I believe for kids to find a hero to model themselves after. Sadly, this goes for sports as well. I do believe that people who are sufficiently talented to reach high positions, either in industry, entertainment, or sports have an obligation to the public to provide examples of high moral authority. Sadly, this is not happening.

                • I reject this role for myself unequivocally, Mr. Griffith. I am no propagandist.

                  I was trained as a journalist and everything I have tried to do in any narrative form has been rooted in the overriding premise that the truth — or as close as we can come to truth — is the singular value of a story. Sometimes, as with my books or journalism or on this small website, I wrote non-fiction. Sometimes, as with the television dramas, I am using fictional narrative to address political or social or economic themes. But always, I am trying to tell the truth.

                  I believe America has enough self-affirming, self-gratifying stories telling us. We are well entertained. I am not interested in being an entertainer, or in judging the success of my narratives on whether people were gratified. I want them to think some, and argue some, and maybe get a little bit concerned about where this country seems to be headed. That’s my reasons for telling stories. They aren’t necessarily the best or only ones, and there is a lot of different narrative in the world, serving a lot of different purposes. But this is mine.

                  • Mr. Simon, I’m not a social scientist, however, I am a scientist. I base my opinion on facts, not suppositions, or wishes. The facts are salient: a great majority of young Black males are drop outs in the public school system; a large majority of young Black males have no job in this society; a large majority of young Black females have babies born out of wedlock. Many, many Black families composed of children of different fathers who take no responsibility for their care or upbringing. Place this mix of social problems in a pot and mix it with drugs, alcohol, and gang development and the receipt is fraught with disaster. When you present a cop as a crooked cop, on the take, and involved with drugs, I don’t believe it too unlikely to posit that an uneducated Black male, likely with a developing hatred for the system believes that what he sees on the screen is fact, not fiction. One aspect of this problem that either of us has not addressed, is the apparent unconcern for human life that many of these gang members show. Somehow, and I don’t pretend to have an answer for this, it appears that many young Black males confuse strength and force with gaining respect. The loss of young lives seems to occur among these young people as an everyday part of life. What I do believe is that White people, by and large have no interest in harming Black people because of skin color in no larger percentage of the population than Black people are interested in harming White people. I believe the following: If hate mongers, such as Jackson/Sharpton continue to profit from creating more and more racial hatred in this country, we will never overcome the perceived racial divide.


                    • Ergo, as you are a scientist you will affirm for me your statistical cite for the following:

                      “A great majority of young black males are drop outs in the public school system.”

                      We will agree that a ‘great majority’ will be say, 60 to 70 percent or so. Certainly more than 60 percent as anything less than 55 percent dropout rate would be an exaggeration to claim a great majority. Also, please provide statistics indicating that ‘a great majority’ of young black males have no jobs. For young, let us go from the age of 18 to 25.

                      Mr. Griffith, I am not arguing that there are not all kinds of social pathologies entwined in the cycle of poverty that afflicts the black underclass, or for that matter, poor whites and Latinos. You really are in a position of lecturing someone who has spent most of his career reporting on such in detail. But I am not given to hyperbolic overstatement, and I am aware, at least, that the underclass does not represent all of the black experience in America. Not by a long shot.

                      I’ll await your statistical defense of your statements.

                      The list of generalizations about young black males that you feel comfortable launching, right down to what you believe they might think when they encounter a depiction of a fictional corrupt police officer on television is as ridiculous as it is grandiose. But that one jumps out at me. I covered the police department of a major American city and its prosecution of the drug war for fifteen years, Mr. Griffith. The notion that a fictional depiction of a corrupt or brutal cop can teach some additional cynicism to the young black males of that city is laughable and naive on your part. Those lessons are learned early in life — from those police who are indeed corrupt and brutal and operating at will on the streets of their neighborhoods. The more you assert, the less credible I find your grand generalizations. You don’t seem to have done any research at all as to who you are debating with, or what first-hand knowledge I might have acquired and reported — not as fictional drama, Mr. Griffith, but as journalism.

                    • Mr. Simon,
                      I apologize since I had no intention of writing a paper for peer review. I thought we were exchanging points of view, based on our individual experiences. However, I will reference the following for your review (it only took a few minutes to find the reference): Public School Graduates and Dropouts from the Common Core of Data: School Year, 2009-10
                      “Completers: Students are considered “completers” if they are either awarded a high school diploma or other alternate credentials such as a certificate of completion or an equivalency credential. Graduates are those students who are reported as diploma recipients. Throughout this reports the terms “graduate” and “diploma recipient” are used interchangeably. Students who receive an alternate credential such as a certificate of attendance or an equivalency credential are considered “other high school completers.” Although the CCD Dropout and Completer Supplemental Data Files include counts of graduates and other high school completers, this report focuses on students who receive a regular high school diploma.”
                      When I generalized to a majority of Black kids who drop out of school, I was not simply referring to the statistics that professional educators use to maintain funding levels in their system. As you will see in the CCD reference the classification for those who are not classified as a drop out, may actually receive a certificate of attendance.
                      “Dropout data. The CCD defines a dropout as a student who was enrolled at any time during the previous school year who is not enrolled at the beginning of the current school year and who has not successfully completed school. Students who have transferred to another school, died, moved to another country, or who are out of school due to illness are not considered dropouts. Appendix A contains a more detailed discussion of the definition of “a dropout.”
                      By the information shown above one can see that it is extremely difficult to rely on statistical data provided by a school system attempting to justify its funding. For example, in the definition above a student will not be considered a drop out if he says he is moving to another school, or fakes an illness. Another, perhaps even more ludicrous definition reportedly says that if a student decides to show up at school any time during the previous school year, and then enrolls for the beginning of the next school year, but quits a few days after enrollment, he is not considered a drop out (a student must be enrolled in classes at the beginning of the year for the system to qualify for payment from the state). Clearly, in the previous discussion I simply relied on qualitative data, never intending the use of statistically generated support. I’ve known many public school teachers, and most tell me the same sad story about the failing education system in this country.
                      Frankly Mr. Simon, you seem to be a bit closed minded about considering any opinion other than your own.
                      I think it would be more appropriate for the President of the United States, and liberals in general to focus on the basic cultural problems in this country, problems that beget more serious problems. No point in repeating those at this time, since I did so in our previous correspondence. But I feel that one example could be enlightening: Chicago. There were 509 deaths reported in Chicago in 2012. In January, 39 (80%) were Black, 2 White, and 8 Hispanic. Of the Blacks, 27 were males with an average age of 27.6 years.
                      The average life expectancy for males in 2012 was 75.81 years. These young men averaged 27.6 years of age. The killings resulted in an average loss of life for each man of 48.2 years. Although the killings were predominately caused by shooting, 15% were the result of stabbings.
                      In Chicago in 2012 there were 509 murders. There can be no doubt that a large majority of these murders are perpetrated by Blacks on Blacks with an egregious loss of life. How is it that Black leaders like Obama, Holder, Jackson and Sharpton are not insisting on getting to the causative factors involved in such a terrible waste of young lives, rather than continuing to focus energies and treasure on creating more racial division in this Country? Frankly, I think the answer is in two parts. First, there would be no money for Jackson and Sharpton if they went into these neighborhoods and actually talked about dysfunctional families, living for generations on public welfare, with horrific drug and alcohol problems, and with a parent or parents (rarely) that are apparently satisfied that their children are not attending school and taking advantage of all the benefits provided by this society. It is simply too easy to blame the devil for all the problems, Whitey. As for Obama and Holder, there is a simple answer: there are votes to be gained in division.

                    • There are certainly things you can lecture liberals on.

                      Using racial divisions for votes is an astonishingly oblivious charge, given that the entire conservative strategy in national politics from Nixon’s southern strategy to Lee Atwater’s Willie Horton ads to Karl Rove’s wedge-issue electoral counts is premised on dividing Americans from one another. They did it for fifty fucking years, ever since an American president by the name of Johnson did the right goddman thing and passed a Civil Rights Act despite the political implications for party politics.

                      For you to come here whining about racial division as a means of political advantage, when in fact there is no fucking political advantage whatsoever to this Democratic administration championing a black cause (What? Obama’s going to lasso some higher percentage of the black vote or those allied than he already has? WTF?) is just embarrassing. Given where the battleground states are in this country, saying the right thing about the slaying of seventeen year old black kid has zero political gain, only political cost. But here’s hoping someone says it anyway. Because it’s the right fucking thing.

                      Mr. Griffith, this concludes the most ridiculous, politically ignorant post today. I’m sorry. You write as if the last fifty years of American politics didn’t actually occur.

                      As to the rest of that, congrats you have proven what we agree on — that violence and poverty are in harness with each other. An obvious point, and one that I have chronicled elsewhere with much of my career, but no disagreement as far as it goes. That black-on-black violence has jack shit to do with the death of Trayvon Martin is your problem. Except perhaps that someone became so obsessed with inner-city crime culture that he forgot that he was “policing” a gated, middle-class community and the unarmed kid he encountered WAS IN FACT NOT a gangbanger with a violent history or criminal intent. In which case, what the fuck are you saying? That because there is a problem with violence in the underclass, no black youth anywhere can have a reasonable expectation of safety on a public street.

                      I’m sorry for the profanity here. But this last post indicates to me just how deeply entrenched your biased presuppositions are. We must agree to disagree, because your arguments are becoming, to my mind, untethered.

                    • Mr. Simon, the Great Society did more to destroy the Black family and our moral culture than any other single force in our life times. Frankly, you’re a Liberal and results don’t matter, as long as you can feel good about what you’re doing. One other point: thankfully, I don’t believe we share any opinions, except that you’re an opinionated idiot.

                    • Really, Jack? Any proof for your spoutings at this point? Any perspective at all? Any historical proportion?

                      Because I don’t think there is a social scientist or historian alive who is sentient who would suggest that the domestic, anti-poverty policies of a single U.S. president who served for five years only is somehow a more profound influence on the health of the black family than, say, hundreds of years of forced enslavement, in which members of families could be sold and separated, followed by three to four generations of tenant and share farming in which the survivors of the slave system were exploited, disenfranchised and discouraged from societal advancement, followed by a dislocating exodus to American cities that marks one of the largest migrations in American history and occurring at a time just when American deindustrialization was underway.

                      You can blame 1963-1968 for the state of the black family, Mr. Griffith. I’ll take the African-American experience in America from the late 1600s forward. And if you still want to write sentences like the one you just did, then, well, we have very different standards for who is an opinionated idiot. You ought to be embarrassed by your hyperbole.

                    • Mr. Simon, I guess when the shoe is on the other foot, it hurts. I’ve read some of your posts and you regularly use disparaging language with others attempting to make a point. I suppose one way to get your attention is to use the negative connotation, idiot. I don’t personally enjoy doing so, but some times the pejorative provides the need for expression. Unless you’re older than 77 years I suspect I have more historical perspective than you, and I have the benefit of being born and raised in the south. I know that you don’t need to be reminded of the following:

                      (Mr. Griffith lists nearly 40 historical events, which are herein omitted because for the life of me, I cannot figure out the purpose. he has separated them into Republican administration successes, going back to Lincoln freeing the slaves moving forward to Democratic failures, such as the war in Afghanistan. It is indeed a selective accounting of some historical cites. I omit it because the post ran to prohibitive length, and frankly, it can be stipulated that if someone wants to recount 20 or so odd successes of Republican administrations going back to Lincoln and a corresponding number of Democratic failures, it can be done. So stipulated. Saving the space and the monopolization of this site otherwise.)

                      Mr. Simon, it is entirely possible that I’m historically challenged. But, I happen to believe there have been successes and failures on the part of all presidents. However, I also happen to believe in individual rights, and self-sufficiency. Dependency will only lead to more dependency and ultimately to failure. In my opinion, Black leaders, Black individuals and families should be looking to themselves and their families as an antidote to their economic and cultural problems, and not foment more racial divide in the country. As a sterling example of self-sufficiency, Dr. Ben Hopkins, a Black Chief Pediatric Neurosurgery at The Johns Hopkins University Medical School, whom I intend to support for President in 2016.

                      I suspect this will end our discourse.

                    • It certainly will, Mr. Griffiths. As a complete non sequitur to SYG laws, the death of Trayvon Martin, the culpability of George Zimmerman in that death and an American gun culture that is now in direct conflict with the definition of self-defense that comes to us from hundreds of years of English and American jurisprudence, this does indeed end all discourse. It must, given that I am pole-axed as to where that discourse has taken you. Other rhetorical cul de sacs that would sufficed in ending this discussion include an explanation of the metaphorical references to body humors and viscera in Joyce’s “Ulysses,” how the Philadelphia Phillies blew the ’64 pennant race, a close schematic of Bohr’s reliance on Kierkegaard as an unlikely inspiration for the discovery of quantum physics, or a discussion of why your 77 years on the planet and your Southern origins constitute grounds for being correct on so very much about the world. We must end here, though. You have taken this discussion to wherever it was you wanted to go with it, but alas, the rest of us are due elsewhere.

                      Having been a reporter in Baltimore for a couple decades, I am familiar with Dr. Carson. Excellent surgeon and a fine man in many respects. As a political entity, he is widely perceived with having destroyed his entire potential with his first political utterance, which was a savage and dehumanizing assessment of the movement for gay rights in America. Given the trend of acceptance of gay rights and gay marriage by the mass of Americans, Dr. Carson’s comments were regarded by most political professionals as an immediate ceiling on his national political prospects. And indeed, he withdrew as the commencement speaker from Johns Hopkins because of the widespread condemnation that greeted his remarks — an embarrassing fall for someone who had, until that moment, been one of Hopkins’ shining lights.

                      One might remark on the fact that someone can be quite intelligent in certain frameworks, but an idiot in other respects, if one were — like yourself — given to throwing words like idiot around. Don’t fret the insult too much, Mr. Griffith: You give yourself too much credit if you think name-calling in an online debate causes any actual “hurt,” as you put it. Besides, there are some lesser quadrants of the intellectual universe in which I am still regarded as a bit of a smartass, so even if I’ve disappointed you on this blog, I’ll make do down the road. Actually, thinking on that for a moment, I realize that as you have, to your own good satisfaction, proven me quite the fool, you might want to write the MacArthur Foundation and encourage them to save their money. They’ve scarcely paid half of it, and now that you have made clear that they’ve wasted those resources on he whose sound and fury signifies nothing, I’m sure they might find some better use for the remainder. After all, I only have 52 years and I was raised in a liberal border state. You were born in the true South and you have had 25 more years with which to bear down on the world’s mysteries. My experience in the ways of black folk is so much the lesser of yours and your insights into the African-American character are so deep that it scarcely makes sense that anyone would credit my arguments as much as they have. Thinking on it, with your background and wide experience in these and other matters — an intellectual advantage of the first order, as you point out repeatedly — you might suggest a grant for yourself, to further hone the ideas expressed here. They could certainly do worse, as I’m sure you will agree.


                    • Mr. Simon, you got me. I truly don’t know what you’re talking about. The quote from Shakespeare was cute though, but somewhat misplaced. You have an excellent way with words, but everything finally ends with emotion, not reason. Again, I enjoyed your Baltimore show, and have no doubt that you’ll continue to do well. Good luck.

  • Get out of our county you un-American pos. you have zero intelligence to sort out the case. So before you go ranting about stuff you are too stupid to figure out just mind your own business.

      • Not really. You say you’re ashamed to be an American, well I’d have to agree with you….I’m ashamed you’re American too.

        • That’s very clever. The way you turned a few of my words around and made it so that you are ashamed of me. It’s reversed that way. Very, very clever. You are one to watch out for.

          • What? You think that because you are a writer and in the public eye that somehow that makes you so much more intelligent that you can mock me? Well, I suppose that would be consistent with a myopically narcissistic viewpoint that only someone with your level of removal from societal truth and reality would enjoy. It would not be possible for you to comprehend that someone so ‘Blue Collar’ as I could articulate anything more to the debate than a simple twist in words to let you know that they disapproved of your diatribe of hate and bitterness. Truthfully, the reality is I defended your right to spew such nonsensical verbal diarrhea for over two decades in the Navy, and while I may be ‘Blue Collar’, please don’t confuse your narrow-mindedness with my intellectual ability. Yes I defended YOUR right to say those things, to incite MORE hate, and add even MORE fuel to the already raging inferno, but I also defended MY rights to tell you that I’m ashamed to call you American….oh and that you’re a real prick. Have a nice day!

            • Actually, I am mocked you not because of who you are — I scarcely have a clue — or because of who I am. I am mocked your initial comment here, which was adolescent, insubstantial, unclever and otherwise added exactly nothing to any serious discussion or debate about this tragedy.

              I attacked your ideas — or lack thereof — as you chose to express them. On you, sir, I am free of all opinion.

  • the only racist i see is you mr simon, you are promoting the thug culture with your tv show the wire. Making money of it. Stereo typing blacks. and other minorities. Stop telling what blacks should or if you were one lol. You are not a black so shut up

    • But you are listening closely to what black people have to say about this verdict, and thoughtfully considering their opinions, correct? I would assume so from your earnest comment.

    • Heatwave – If Mr. Simon promotes violence on his program then I am sure he will be the first one to defend it as “artistic” the way Quentin Tarantino does.

    • Heatwave, are you “a black”?

      I’m taking a wild guess not, so do you want to be pot or kettle? Zing.

  • DS,

    America is probably the least racist country in the world, apart maybe from Canada. Your very exclamation about leaving America is a form of nativism in that it reveals a total ignorance of the world.

    Please let us know what country you want to go to where there is less racism, less xenophobia, than the U.S. When you do, I will provide you with dozens of very harsh examples from that country to counter you.

    The U.S. is obsessed with race because it can’t face its own reality. Which is that we are a country in irreversible long-term economic decline. We are a country devoted to trinkets who can no longer afford the trinkets. Race is our sideshow, something thrown to us by our rulers. And we, including you, are ruled.

      • Is this, like, for real?

        Did he actually fix his lips to say that America is the LEAST racist country behind Canada? Which is equally racist but better at hiding it?

        Yeshua be a book by Diop.

        • America is by no means a non-racist utopia, but in comparison to many other countries in the world(that I traveled to by the way) it is no doubt one of the least racist factions in the world. Due we still have a lot to account for in terms of institutional discrimination, profiling, the undeniably racist war on drugs? Is there certain parts of the country(some parts of the south) that are relics of our ugly history? Yeap. But really at this point we’re a lot better then most. I urge to even name a country that is least racial in thinking as much the US or Canada. I would even say for the most part we might even be one of the most tolerant places in world(come on in comparison to many Middle-eastern nations that even legally allow their females to drive, or blatantly executing their gays) this is undeniable.

  • I have been in something of a conundrum after hearing of the verdict in the Zimmerman trial. I teach high school English in Florida in a city that is divided by race. The school that I have been teaching in over the past few years is predominately African-American. Many of the students have to deal with unbearable poverty on a daily basis. I believe in the potential of my students, but it is often difficult to get them to believe that they will be successful in this American society. They are often quite self-aware of the educational inadequacies that they face due to, through no fault of their own, their spending their formative years in poor-performing inner city schools (Rachel Jeantel reminded me of many of my students). I know from personal experience that the education that they receive is much different from the education that my children receive in a predominantly white, higher-income community not more than two counties away. In the school where I have been teaching, only three hundred and twelve out of a senior class of six hundred graduated. Recent performance data has shown that only twelve percent of black males in the school have not received a failing grade in a course.

    I am very worried about the almost insurmountable obstacles that these students have to face. Many of the students that do not graduate will find it extremely hard to make a comfortable life for themselves and their families. It is so extremely discouraging for a young person to know that they will have to work doubly hard just to get to a point where they can survive. I once had a student say that, given the choice between working for minimum wage at Burger King and selling drugs, he would rather sell drugs. Given the choice, who can really blame him?

    The tragedy of the Trayvon Martin case is that he was a young kid who, by all accounts, was a caring person with a deep love for his family. However, the tragedy is deepened when the attention is focused away from the socioeconomic disparities that face African-American youth, especially in the deep south. I hear a lot of the commentary on the Trayvon Martin case being directed at the racial profiling that occurred. However, would it be any less of a tragedy if the person that was shot was a black youth suffering from a quiet desperation who was forced to engage in criminal activities because of a lack of options? Is it any less of a tragedy when a young gang member is shot defending the only kind of family he has ever known? Is it any less of a tragedy when a mother has to ask her senior daughter to become pregnant so that she can go on welfare?

    It is right to decry racial profiling and the fear of black people that is present in our American society. However, racial profiling does not cause a black youth to break into a home because no employer will hire them because of a prison record or lack of education. Racial profiling does not cause a mother to ask her daughter to become pregnant so that the family can keep the lights on. Racial profiling might cause that youth to be sentenced longer than a white man or cause the young girl to be labeled as a “welfare queen,” but the real cause of these problems is the socioeconomic disparity. The racial stereotyping is certainly wrong, but one also has to recognize that these socioeconomic realities exist before there can be any meaningful change in America.

    There are definitely justifications for the repeal of SYG laws and an end to racial profiling, but people need to realize that these will only be hollow victories if nothing is done to change the socioeconomic structure of America. I hope that people will recognize that, while protesting blatant racial profiling is worthwhile, that there are deeper inherent inequalities at work within American society. There are many that would be happy for the masses to protest SYG laws and racial profiling knowing that such actions, unfortunately, will not significantly change the hard climb that many African-American youth have to face.

  • I certainly do not consider myself a racist. I believe that you take each person individually. There are good people and bad people in every race. I believe that what happened was a tragedy all around. Perhaps it could have been avoided. I did not, however, listen to the whole trial and so do not feel that I have the right to criticize the jurors. One thing I do find quite remarkable however, When OJ Simpson was tried for the murder of Nicole Brown and her friend, the racist card was used there for an acquittal. Did anyone say they were ashamed to be an American then? Were people encouraged to riot and threaten violence? Even though people felt he was guilty and were outraged, it was treated so much differently….enough said!

    One other thing that I find interesting, is that there have been no current pictures of Trayvon Martin shown. Why have we only seen pictures of him as a young man. Is there a reason not to show what he currently looked like? Could it be that he did look like a person that one would automatically be suspicious of?

    Again, I think both families are suffering and no one is a winner here. However, I do not think that all the marches, riots, threats, etc. are helpful for anyone. Actually, I worry about the jurors also. It will get to the point that no one will want to serve on a jury because of the threats on their lives. What will happen to our judicial system then? It might not be perfect, but it is the best we have and quite possibly, the best in the world.

      • Yes, images of the 24-year-old Mr. Martin, or the 35-year-old version, or the 60-year-old grandfather can only be conjured by the imaginings of those who knew him.

    • Also, can we drop the OJ argument? I’m hard-pressed to see how “the racist card” was used to acquit OJ (I don’t recall Johnnie Cochran saying “if his skin is brown, you must let him loose on the town!” — I’m thinking that wouldn’t have been effective). Were he not a *very rich and famous* man, but simply a black man, he would almost certainly have been convicted. The only reason anyone showed any elation at his acquittal was precisely because it was an aberration in our justice system that never happened before and hasn’t been repeated since. When the vast majority of black men (or women) that face the justice system don’t get a fair trial — and were already disproportionately targeted by law enforcement and prosecuted to begin with — it’s not terribly surprising that anyone would be slightly thrilled that justice was mis-served in the opposite direction for once. The response may have been twisted and misguided, but it was a reflection on the injustice of the American system as a whole — something for which we are all responsible.

      Besides which, it was nearly 20 years ago. Trayvon wasn’t even born then. Our culture has changed a lot since then, we are not in that unique context and it really isn’t applicable or comparable.

      I also don’t get your point about “ALL THE RIOTS AND THREATS”. What threats? What juror has reported receiving threats? What “riots”? As far as I can tell, there has been one single incident in which about a dozen people were arrested in L.A. — and I’m still hazy on the specifics of what “violence” they were doing that caused their arrests. I’d like to see some evidence. It’s not like the LAPD has never been known to overreact before.

      Yeah, yeah, I know Zimmerman himself has made a big show of wearing body armor in court and all, but we’re talking about a man that was paranoid enough about a baby-faced 17-year-old (snacking on candy and sweet-talking to his girlfriend, no less) to stalk him down and shoot him for no particular reason, so I’m thinking I’d like to hear corroboration from some unbiased authority that he has in fact received any threats before I believe a word he claims.

      • The O.J. verdict sucked wind, and certainly some race cards were played. And I was disappointed in that verdict, but moreso, in the racial prism through which different Americas saw that outcome. That was sad.

        But as with every other fucking case or act of violence that intellectually dishonest folks rush up to the fore so that we won’t dare think about this one, so that we won’t squarely address the revolution of SYG, so that we won’t acknowledge the current and future costs of going down this bad road, this applies:

        Human beings can be aware and concerned about a multiplicity of things. We need not abandon our attention and concern to a present matter because of other tragedies, nor do other tragedies in any way mitigate against the substance of the one at hand. Unless — and here is the key — unless it is the intention to use other tragedies to divert attention away from the present wrong. Hence the passion with which we are being told about all the other things that are declared to be more deserving our anger, our concern, our disappointment.

        There is a lie at the core of such arguments. And it betrays the insecurity of those who offer them. They do not want to continue to address, in detail, the substance of why an unarmed seventeen year old boy was shot to death, and why the American judicial system is now incapable of any meaningful address.

        • Well, I was pretty young during the OJ trial, but I still believe his wealth was the primary factor there, far more so than his race. That having been said — in re-reading some of the facts now, I had admittedly completely forgotten just how damning Mark Fuhrman’s documented racism was to the prosecution. (Then again — shouldn’t it have been? Although I certainly believe OJ was guilty.)

          But yeah, I find that arguments along the line of “how can you care about this particular injustice when there are (take your pick): children dying in Syria, children hijacked into armies in the Congo, black boys killing each other in West Baltimore daily, etc. etc. etc.” generally come from people who really don’t give a damn about any of it, and are seeking more to shoot down anyone’s passion about anything.

          I would argue just the opposite: how can we care about one injustice if we don’t care about ALL of them? We simply can’t discuss all of them at the exact same time.

          (Side note: I blame this conversation for leading me to Mark Fuhrman’s recent commentary on FoxNews regarding Trayvon. I won’t dignify it by repeating or linking, but good lord, the man is still at it. People can Google it if their cup isn’t overflowing with disgust yet.)

    • “Could it be that he did look like a person that one would automatically be suspicious of? ”

      Could you please describe what this person looks like?

  • SYG makes no sense to me. A good Self defense standard, whatever that might be, seems to be all inclusive.

    If I’m on a jury given the responsibility to define “reasonable” as far as feeling threatened, 99.9% of the time I would find the example “defense” of “a hand in a pocket” unreasonable. In other words, I find that a reasonable person would NOT have felt endangered from someone putting their hands in his or her pocket and thus deadly force in response to that is a criminal act. Written word, including self defense laws, are not cut and dry. I would also like to point out (because of the Michael Dunn defense) that “seeing a gun” just in general is also not grounds for lethal force, even when such in fact is present. A person may feel the need to brandish his weapon but the privilege of concealed carry must come with the burden of common sense, even in the face of snap decisions, and common sense says that if there is time to pull and aim a weapon without the danger escalating above that PERCEPTION which provoked drawing, reexamining of said perceptions is required before firing.

    I always use the “good cop” example. Would a good cop have used the same level of force at the same time this or that guy did? In my opinion, a good cop might draw and point at a simply argumentative “suspect” who put his hands in the pockets of a hoodie, though an excellent cop might merely yell loudly and put his/her hand on their firearm… but shooting MUST BE a separate act.

    Finally, I think it needs to be pointed out that it seems idealistically optimistic that laws as complicated as SYG or self defense have significant bearing on the behavior of JACKASSES. Optimistic, because it implies creating perfect self defense laws, however one might write them, will mean less deaths caused by these jackasses.

    It is solely my opinion from what I believe of the human “soul” (maybe personality?) but I think anyone who follows a person just because he runs… or a guy who shoots up a car because music was too loud would have acted identically regardless of laws. Maybe rewriting laws changes the “tough guy” mentality of “you punch me, I punch you back even if you’re walking away and down the rabbit hole we go” eventually (the logic of such is, however, beyond me) but it seems mostly the anti-SYG arguments are about the justice after tragedies, not prevention. For that, liberals need to get into concealed carry rights and limitations.

  • Don’t be afraid to look us in the eye. I, for one, am not judging “all white people” based on the actions of a few. Your blog was sincere and touched my heart in ways you’ll probably never understand. I thank you for caring. To understand the pain that was felt when America slapped us all in the face would be the equivalent to lighting yourself on fire and putting the fire out then relighting the fire again and repeating the process 100 times. I’ve cried my heart out and felt helpless. I’ve had my pain turn into anger and believe you me, that brick would’ve felt so good in my hand. However, I’m not a violent person. I’m more of a kindler gentler prettier version of Whoopi. LOL … Again, thank you for opening your heart and speaking out on the matter. *sends virtual hug*

    • Look I have heard all the hate on both side of this issue and all that has come of this is hate. Mr. Zimmerman had his day in court that everyone wanted and he was found not guilty of murder on bases of self-defense not stand your ground. Mr. Simon and other black and white hate groups (NAACP for one) keep saying it was about race when the prosecutor and the Martian family even the FBI said that race was not involved at all in this case. Everyone has encored the facts of this case a your man who was bigger and stronger that another man attacked him when his back was turned (all in evidence) was on top of him beating him “MMA” style (see the court transcript) and someone calling for help (why would someone call for help if he was on top of another person and beating them). Most people are acting on emotion not using their heads, it is a tragedy that Mr. Martian is dead, it is a tragedy that Mr. Zimmer felt that his life was in danger and he had to us deadly force to defend himself. Now the biggest tragedy is how the people that are seen as leaders in our communities find need to make this case about something other that what it is a tragedy. Mr. Zimmerman will have to live with the fact that he took someone’s life even if it was in self-defense.

  • Thank you very much for your “Trayvon Blog…” I have 2 boys (14 y/o & 6 y/o) that desperately need people such as yourself to be a voice for them. Thank you for understanding and not turning a deaf ear. May God bless you!

      • Okay, Jason P.

        I killed this post at first. Why? Because it is one of the singular instances of snide cruelty and cynicism that actually startled me. A lot of what arrives here is just garden-variety racism, ranting and white fears transformed into inchoate rage. But this reveals a personal, human-scale inhumanity to the original poster that I find to be borderline sociopathic. I’m posting to give you the opportunity to ask that it be removed on your own account, as a redeeming moment.

        If you can’t understand why, then after a time, I will remove it and have the webmistress flag you for banishment to that digital purgatorio over which she rules. Take a breath, Jason, and think about why we are all here, why this woman posted — even if you don’t agree with her view — and what you really hoped to accomplish by addressing such a remark to her.

        • Mr. Simon, I wrote on your blog with the intentions of thanking you and offering encouragement; the more I read of your knowledge, the more I smile… I refuse to focus on anything otherwise or negative that may take the focus off of how awesome you are… Again, thank you… and May God Bless You! 🙂

        • I’m pretty sure Jason is a tool, but I’ve been thinking about this too. I heard some preacher on the radio saying, ” what do I tell my black son now, when he asks me Dad, am I next?”. What you tell him is No, to not go walking up in people’s yards on their grass, esp in a neighborhood where you don’t live, stay on the sidewalk, trespassing is not OK. If someone is following you call the police (instead of circling their car, whilst staring at them in a threatening manner). Do not for any reason start a fight. Run home, Run home RUN home!!

          • You therefore bequeath a childhood lived in abject and constant fear. Your gift to those Americans who frighten you. That’s sad, Amy Jane. And not at all honorable.

            • Well, if Trayvon had gone home, instead of confronted GZ, he’d be alive. I’m not suggesting a life lived in constant fear as you said, but I do think its honorable to run away from a creepy ass cracker Who is following you. i think going home would’ve been the safest thing for Trayvon to have done. I live in a neighborhood with a strong neighborhood watch and also one where neighborhood kids run in my front yard, but if after dark there was anyone (man, woman, white,black, Hispanic,Asian) lingering in someone’s yard That i didnt recognize I would find that suspicicious. I just really wish you would spend some time reviewing the facts of this case. …now go ahead and twist my words and call me sad and dishonorable, just because I’m actually trying to have an unbiased opinion about this tragedy and review the evidence rather than join the masses who formed their opinion from a headline.

              • I’m sorry if I am being unfairly judgmental. Genuinely. But I do feel that you are too desperate to blame the victim here. And as I said in the first sentence of my original post, if you stand your ground and you are white, and you use a gun to take a human life, no problem. if you stand your ground and are black, armed only with your fists, you die.

                We can’t know what happened when these two men accosted each other. How it came to blows, who laid a hand on who first — we have no witnesses and no corroboration for any account. But the physical evidence suggests only that it was a common assault, meaning a non-life threatening fight, based on the nature of the injuries. That means it was not an aggravated, or life-threatening altercation for Mr. Zimmerman, particularly since we know that Mr. Martin had no weapon to brandish. In an ordinary self-defense logic, this should be a hurdle for Mr. Zimmerman, who brought the only gun to a fistfight.

                In SYG states, no. He isn’t obliged to retreat, and he can use deadly force to defend the real estate, or against property crimes, or assaults or physical confrontations that are not life-threatening. SYG cheapens human life. It destroyed that of Trayvon Martin. Is the standard for being shot to death by a grown man now that a seventeen year old has to be judicious and smartly cautious in his every decision? We all know some seventeen year olds. There are going to be more dead ones in 22 states now that the laws of self-defense have been so transformed.

                Again, I am sorry if I was blunt before. I didn’t mean to be short.

                • I really appreciate you creating this forum and allowing this discussion. You’re right that we have no way to really know who confronted who, just one mans story and evidence that loosely supports it. but i highly doubt GZ would describe his ownlot as “no problem”. His life must be hell now..

          • Why should I raise my young black warriors in the making, who at, 4 and 6 already have such intelligent minds and a keen sense of grace of and dignity, to become emasculate “objects” of fear. My ancestors from those who worked in the fields to those who bore the hose and vicious dog attacks for justice DIED for my right to raise my children to FEAR nothing but God. Why should I raise my sons to be weak and defenseless men who who cower or fun from someone attacking them undeservedly. Their father was murdered on his way home from work, while I was pregnant with our second song. It was a robbery. My husband according to witnesses, did not cower.He refused to given them his wedding ring, wallet, and laptop bag. He put up a good fight they said, but the gun won.

            As a black man, he would NEVER teach his sons to not protect themselves for fear of death. If you are in the right, if you are protecting yourself and others, as tragic as it is, then death is honorable.

            Why don’t we raise our children NOT to believe that a gun will solve every problem. Why don’t we raise our children NOT to be racist and judge people based on their color but instead the content of their character?

            Mr. Simon, I commend your being a white person who has acknowledged his white privilege and inherent racist thinking by virtue of the country we live in, then working every day to COUNTERATTACK these notions.

            It is not enough to say “I’m not racist. I have black friends.” It takes hard work and acknowledgement that your existence has been set upon a gilded standard created solely for the advancement of YOUR people. Most people white people aren’t willing to do that. Which is why they remain racist.

          • I live deep in the heart of midwestern suburbia. Kids walk and ride bikes through my lawn all the time. It might irritate me a bit because I want no harm to come to my innocent hydrangeas, but never once have I been tempted to shoot one of them.

            It makes me unbelievably sad to think that parents of African American boys have to tell their children to play by a completely different set of rules than my white kids have to, instead of allowing them the opportunity to just relax and be kids.

            • What exactly is the standard for what a parent should tell their young child to do if they are being followed?

              Obviously, walking on someone’s open front lawn is perfectly legal, even if the owner of that lawn screams at you to stop, or has a “No Trespassing” sign.

              Likely, Trayvon was not doing anything illegal when Zimmerman first spotted him. Even if he had a joint on him, who cares? Its the 21st century, teens smoke pot… I don’t really count that as illegal anyway.

              But should not we tell our children to only fight to protect and never out of anger or hate? Should we not say if you think you are being stalked, to call 911 or a parent as quickly as you can and to escape whether that means running home or knocking on a strangers door and saying “Hey, I’m 17 and some creepy ass guy is following me in his truck”

              Not because of the color of the skin of the shadow following or the race of our children, but merely because getting angry at unfortunate situations (a 17 year old being followed on the street) and escalating that situation is very dangerous.

              If a black parent has a conversation with their kid about Trayvon, I hope they say that they do not have to fear dark streets anymore than other kids… that Zimmerman was one in a million and the world is full of hope. Anything less is just bizarre parenting.

              • You don’t know how the confrontation happened between Martin and Zimmerman. No one does. Perhaps Martin was acting in self defense. We’ll never know now.

                You’re right that he wasn’t doing anything wrong though.

                And if you read the comments here by other parents of African American kids, they most certainly do teach their kids different lessons than I teach mine.

                Especially now, since the judicial system has said that a black kid who isn’t breaking any laws can be stalked and murdered. Legally.

                Could Martin have made different decisions? I’m sure he could have. He was a teenager, therefore prone to irrational thinking. But I think he had the right to believe he could go to the store and come back home without being followed or killed.

                • …[Especially now, since the judicial system has said that a black kid who isn’t breaking any laws can be stalked and murdered. Legally.]…

                  this is absurd. Tragedies are not dependent on the judicial system. People get acquitted of murder all the time. Tell me how its outrageous that the jury believed Zimmerman was the one screaming for his life. Maybe it was not him, but being wrong is not outright outrageous.

                  My point was not to speak to any details of the last minutes of trayvon’s life, but merely to say that the idea that if parents of African American children are vehemently painting America as a dark and scary place for black people… that the ‘world’ is “white vs black” are not very good at parenting.

                  • Mr. Alaro,

                    It is not outrageous for a jury, or a judge or a detective to err on any given point. For the judicial system as a whole to be unable to address, under the corrupted and clouded values of SYG, the shooting death of a 17-year-old boy on a public street, when there is no physical evidence or witness to corroborate that the gunman was confronted by the threat of serious injury — this is outrageous. It is a new and low standard for American jurisprudence and it comes to us through statutes written by the gun lobby and promulgated by ignorant legislators and state executives.

                    Black parents do not require your judgment as to how to warn their children about the fundamental threat that exists to their civil liberties. They grew up in this country. They’ve seen this dynamic at work before. They have been wrestling with this sadness longer and harder than your meager and condescending attempt here. I will grant them the expertise to know their legal standing and legal vulnerabilities in this society.

                    • I disagree, Mr. Simon.
                      Maybe not my analysis but they are clearly not doing so well wrestling the racial issues in the traditional way. Gangs, homicide numbers in places like Chicago, and poverty are not getting much better. Maybe you want to argue society ought to be doing more but that doesn’t mean parents are incapable of making their children’s lives better than their own.

                    • Mr. Alaro, are you aware that an extraordinarily vibrant black middle class has exploded in the last thirty years and that your characterizations of poor parenting in that cohort are not germaine. Or that what poor parenting is evidenced in the black underclass is also rift in other impoverished communities — poor white, Latino, Native American? That this is not a function of race, but of class and that it exists everywhere that the America has shrugged off the people that our economy no longer needs?

                      And what in fuck does this have to do with a kid walking home from the store with a cell phone and candy? How does that get him killed by a grown fucking man?

                  • I think if controlled for race, then homicide rates of men under 30 and gang membership by race would contradict that poor parenting is universal throughout the lower class.

                    Minorities make up the majority of gang membership and therefore are at a higher likelihood of facing prison, violence, and suffering stagnant class mobility, which for impoverished people is already very high.

                    But more specifically to Trayvon… someone who overtly thinking about being racially profiled is going to be more likely to be hostile toward the stalker.

                    And I was just commenting on above posts that teaching kids to be angry about race discrimination in America is a bad idea. We should be trying to make kids less angry, no matter how much they deserve to be angry.

                    • Angry? I’d pull out the old adage, walk a mile in their shoes.

                      But what I’m getting from reading the comments of parents with African American children — anger is secondary. It’s fear that your son could walk down to the store to get a snack and never come home. He was singled out for being black. Now he’s dead. If I’m a parent of an African American son, that is terrifying.

            • I’m so sorry I made it sound like black children should play by other rules. I see now that looked that way. But I think everyone should do those things (respecting property and not picking fights with creepy people). especially after dark in places where concealed weapons are allowed.

        • Wow, was my post taken out of context in a BIG way.

          In any event, since I am not in any way a sociopath, please remove the comment.

          • I will, if In understand it correctly. What was the context you were trying for? Perhaps it eluded me and I judged that unfairly.

            • The context I was going for is be your OWN voice. And my comment about the kids’ father was about race; she never said what her race is! We can only assume by her post. People need to try to be their own voice, not rely on someone else. That is what I was getting at.

              • I say that too having some experience. An acquaintance is gay, and during the recent DOMA case, talked about how great it was that Hollywood and others are rallying around the LGBT community. I asked if he was joining any protests or groups and he said no, others were doing that and he had other things going on.

                • Okay, so you shit all over your gay friend for no real reason either. I guess you can’t resist personal judgment on anyone, regardless of how empty that judgment is. That wasn’t the weblog writer you went at, and it wasn’t someone who writes and posts with the understanding that he does so with the expectation of fielding a lot of hostile, volatile shit in reply. That was a mother of children who came here and risked a comment about something personal. That the comment was complimentary to me isn’t the point. If she had come here and expressed any viewpoint, even oppositional to me, and cited something as personal as her concerns over her children, I would respond to her with respect for her venture. You did not.

              • Yeah, no.

                That was reductive, and racist. From her point of view — and mine — it is assumed that a parent is de facto a voice for their children. Her comment suggested — correctly — that if only African-Americans are voices for their civil liberties and those of their children, and if the rest of America sits on its ass, then they, as a minority, will be marginalized. So here you come, implying without any right at all, that she is not a voice in the lives of her children.

                As to her race? The implication is obvious. Utterly.

                Your comment about the father adds to your flippant, contempt. You had no call to go ad hominem on her and you did. That was a piece of shit move. If you can’t rescue the logic and empathy to understand that you’ve used my site to attempt to be personally hurtful to someone, and that your comment actually provides no fucking insight whatsoever into a family that you know nothing about and don’t need to know anything about in order to discuss this issue, then I gotta bar you out. Wrong is wrong is fucking wrong, fella.

  • Thank you for your eloquent posts. I tend to avoid comment sections of articles; the vitriol of readers hiding behind fake names or their initials causes me heatburn. But I respect that you address your readers head-on. I do find it interesting that so many people wish to divorce the killing, the verdict, and the ultimate consequences of the SYG law from race, when certainly Martin would have not been followed and killed had he been white. I don’t understand how this is so hard to see? I know that I am only parroting what many (including yourself) have said, but as a clinical social worker employed at an agency that serves communities of color, and I have seen this time and time again. So I also offer my witness.

    Btw, I was unaware that you had a blog, but I am very happy to have come across it as a result of your comments blowing up all over the internet. And unrelated: TREME is awesome; I love the Wire, but TREME really has been an enjoyable journey. I’m looking forward to the last 5 with sadness to see it end.

    • I believe that a white man, in a dark hoodie wandering through people’s yards looking around at their houses would have been deemed suspicious as well. I would’ve called the police no matter what their race. I truly believe this case was not about race.

      • So is it the hoodie-wearing that is at fault here? You seriously would call the police if you see someone unknown to you walking through your neighborhood? Zimmerman’s actions are only comprehensible when looked at through the lens of racism, bigotry and the fear of that which is different than one’s self.

        • Not through my neighborhood, but yes if they were wandering in someone’s yard. That’s what neighborhood watch does. …when I was a kid our condo got burglarized and our neighbor said later, “oh, yeah I saw some guys pacing back and forth in front of your place”. …probably should’ve called the police. We all need to look out for each other.

      • You’d be busy on the phone if you lived in my large, vibrant neighborhood full of kids, most of whom don’t stay on the sidewalks. Just last night, the suspicious little buggers came marching through my front yard at 10 pm. They wanted my son to come play ghost in the graveyard, and I sent my boy out in the night to run through yards and play.

        And despite my disagreement with your paranoia, I’ll point out one difference. You’d call the cops. You didn’t say you’d grab a gun and follow him.

        • Aww, that sounds like fun! No, it just sounds like we live in a different type of neighborhood. Mine is pretty quiet with not much through traffic or walking traffic. The kids playing are ones I know and not much suspiciousness occurs at all. Yours sounds like fun! But if kids were out playing at night I woudn’t find that suspicious either. You know it’s a judgement call… And I agree that GZ’s judgement on that night was not great. …I really hate guns, I never would own one and I live in a concealed-carry state where I think lots of people have guns. That’s one of my main thoughts about this case is that both men made bad judgement calls, but if a gun hadn’t been involved this would’ve been avoided. But GZ went out that night to go to Target ( not on neighborhood watch duty). He was just someone who always carried a gun. Some people who are allowed to carry guns cary them everywhere they go. Something that I think should’nt be allowed.

          • One point on that — only one of these people was a man. Trayvon was a minor. He couldn’t legally enter a contract or join the Army or provide consent or open a checking account or even buy a pack of cigarettes.

            Heck, if he HAD been carrying a gun, that would have been against the law too.

            These laws are in place because we believe children are vulnerable.

      • just as a reminder – the only objectively documented description we have of Mr. Martin’s behavior comes from Mr. Zimmerman’s call to police, in which he did not describe Mr. Martin as “wandering through people’s yards” – he described him as “just walking around, looking about.”

        according to the initial account, Mr. Martin didn’t enter anyone’s yard until he first ran from Zimmerman. the accounts of him wandering around people’s yards didn’t enter the narrative until later.

  • I have read your post with great interest. And I certainly feel the same as you, but indeed lots of comments to be able to read them all. Mostly though, I really admire how you address the commenters and those who disagree strong with you. You never let it slide into name calling(too much!). Keep the discussion alive!

  • You’re my new hero, Mr. Simon. As the white mother of two young black men (yes, it happens), I can attest to the fact that most white people have a deep-seated inability to fathom what it’s like to be non-white. This often isn’t malice or evil, it’s just an utter cluelessness that results in ongoing bias, exclusion, and rationalization for allowing the status quo to go unchallenged. It’s often frightening to be in my position, but I thank God every day for being denied the empty luxury of living an unconscious existence and I’m grateful to have eyes that are fully open. My sons have more integrity, empathy, and strength than anyone I’ve ever known, but because they look a lot like Trayvon Martin, I remain tense whenever they step outside and I expect I always will.

    Thank you.

  • I have never seen “The Wire” so I have no idea what the writer of that article is talking about when they say you are the creator of the No. 1 series of all time by “Entertainment Weekly” so whatever, Maybe I have seen other stuff you have done but I don’t know your name and I watch a fair amount of T.V.
    You did entice violence weather you meant to or not just by this “You can stand your ground if you’re white”
    Do you think everyone reads the whole story or that everyone can even read? People take what they want from this and do what they want with it and you just don’t get it.
    That young guy shouldn’t have been shot & killed but it wasn’t murder according to a jury so who are you to say different in a way that divides us further when that is the last thing we need. If you are “Ashamed to be american” you know you’re free to leave right? I’m Ashamed “YOU” and the rest of the uninformed “celebrities” are American…

    Thanks for nothing

    • David, I give you credit that you chose to publish this comment, but frankly I come here precisely for the intelligent argument and thought-provoking conversation and this is neither. Then again, I didn’t read the whole thing!

      Also, I am concerned that you are spending too much time here and are not attending to your next project, whatever that may be. In short, stop dicking around and get back to work!

      • You didn’t read the whole thing. Typical of most ignorant americans. So you think Mr. Simon is dicking around? Tending to his next project in order to satisfy you is more important than taking some time to address a serious, national issue that affects millions of innocent people. That’s dicking around, huh? I will never cease to be amazed by the stupidity of the average american. Or the entitlement issues that so many white americans have.

        • Wow, Fedup, you’re not really getting the joke here. I said I didn’t read the whole thing in response to JRH’s comment. Get it? And I only think DS is dicking around when dealing with people like JRH.

          I find it interesting that of the two comments, mine and JRH’s, you chose to chide me for my tonge-in-cheek response to a guy who actually thinks these sorts of discussions further divide us. Did you read what JRH wrote?

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