Gun Laws

Trayvon: Calling it

Went to dinner last night and I’d managed to winnow the comments down to a dozen or so.  Came back and we were back in the hundreds.  Moreover, I read through all of them and, without exception, they are entirely repetitive of arguments that have already been given a full ride. This is understandable in that many fresh posters are not inclined to review pages and pages of previous commentary, but such brutal repetition nonetheless impairs the commentary as a standing document.  Anyone reading at this point will be distracted to find nearly every aspect argued at multiple points. So as with the previous debate on the NSA that generated so much commentary, there comes a reasonable point at which we have to acknowledge that the back and forth is taking us nowhere new.

I’d like to genuinely thank the great majority of you for your interest, your passion, your honest rhetoric and your willingness to seriously engage with all facets of this case and the large issue of stand-your-ground.  I say so as much for the oppositional voices as for those who offered allied opinions; that’s what makes a debate.  And we are here for a good argument now and then.

For the residual few that continue to mistake this site for say, a Fox News or Huff Post website commentary dump, refusing any level of rhetorical rigor, well, thanks for stopping by. However, while we send no posts to any kill file for being oppositional, we do precisely that with those offerings that lose themselves in simple rage, or that embrace raw and unrestrained ad hominem and/or outright libels. Short of that, posts are published in total.

In several cases here, I actually let a few of the really crazed racist stuff through the gate, simply because it seems relevant to this, a discussion that centers on race and justice. These spasms highlight the simple fact that while this country has made progress at points, there is a reservoir of venality and racial rage that still informs our national dynamic. Normally, such posts would be consigned to the kill file for the obvious reason.  Here, uniquely, they provide some certain evidence of a particular kind. At least, I think so.

Apologies if you offered posts at some point after late this afternoon, but we do close the comments at a given point to preserve the back-and-forth dynamic of the commentary — and to keep that dynamic up front and available to readers of the blog. Rest assured that as many affirming posts were killed as otherwise; slightly more in fact.

The webmistress has posted the usual notice, warning fresh posts away.

Hope to hear from some of you again when it is necessary to once again stir the shit, as serious argument and debate are a core value of any experiment in self-governance.  Either that, or this site is a marvelous opportunity to piss everyone off thoroughly.   Either way, our work here, on this thread, is done.



  • Americans now live in an era where “racism” is the only logical and acceptable answer for whenever a black victim is wronged by a non-black aggressor. David Simon perpetrates this mindset with websites like this. I have no remorse whatsoever for that little thug Trayvon Martin dying, and I would have no more or less remorse for any white kid dying under the same circumstances. Facts revealed the case and determined the verdict. Now the facts aren’t good enough. Now jurors are admitting “they did whatever they could to find him (George Zimmerman) guilty.” Now justice wasn’t served because he was found not guilty. David Simon conveniently ignores all this.

    BLACK OR WHITE, and David ignorantly chooses to befriend it.

    Oh David, we have pity on you. When is your Fruitvale Station post coming??

    • Your callous disregard for the truth and lack of humanity is disgusting.

      Having the unmitigated gall to call the deceased a thug does not bode well for your erroneous argument about race. Especially when you exude the contemporaneous quintessential example of the very mindset that led to the demise of an innocent walking home from a convenient store.

  • I’m coming very late to this commentary. The thought that sticks with me is that George Zimmerman seems childish to me, like a little boy playing cops and robbers. But with a real gun. When the conflict got real, he cried “uncle,” then panicked. And we know how his fantasy ended.

    • If we can’t sensibly discuss this or any issue. Fine. I’ll buy the whole plane; but, only if some of these morons get on it. Yes, I’m a Black Man, college educated and often racially profiled. I can’t say I did not expect that verdict. But I did say to myself that if they found him Not Guilty, for the first time in my 5x years, since being an honorably discharged veteran, that I would buy a Gun. Not because I’m scared–but because if shoot first ask questions later is the way we doing it now, the “New law of the land.” I won’t leave home without it.

      Trayvon was a kid, walking home from the store, in a gated community. Forget Race for a minute; This country used to care about its kids, women and pets. If some kids , women or pets don’t matter. If some people don’t matter… If the least of us don’t matter; none of us matter. Let’s keep it real. Ask any kid of any race. They haven’t yet been taught any difference. And if they call you a creepy anything; its because that’s how they see you.

      1) I guess I don’t get how a kid walking home from the store; being followed by someone who he believes is acting “creepy,” deserves to die. And that unnecessary death to be in vain. Even if he “attacked” the creep who was told not to get out of his car or to follow him. I wrote a letter to my newspaper in which I compared Zimmerman to Jerry Sandusky; a child-predator.
      2) I also do not get how that creep who was armed can then claim to be in fear of his safety against a innocent unarmed kid who had the right to return safely home from the store.
      3) I also wonder if it were your child that was murdered on his way home from the store; would you feel differently about the outcome or the verdict? Would you be proud of your child for getting in a couple blows before being murdered or would you feel sorry for anyone who called your child an “attacker” or a racist or a thug? As an American; not as an African American, Trayvon has the right to have his Civil Rights to Live, Life and pursuit of happiness protected. We have the responsibility to make sure that happens because We are Trayvon. He is our son, our brother and our neighbor.
      4) If Trayvon was your child or he were you. Your family would also deserve Justice. Justice is not revenge and it has no color.
      5) Zimmerman and the people who support him may not be all bad, especially if they mistakenly believe that the “stand your ground law” is good law and that its fate is directly tied to whether or not the misconceptions made by Zimmerman, on that fateful night which led to the death of an innocent teen are at stake?
      6) Finally if you read the second part of my plea for Justice for Trayvon; and why he deserves it. I specifically referenced how any child might call a person a creepy “whatever,” who is creepy to them and it is not a racist comment; but a cry or plea for help. Look forget all this explaining… we, All (Americans), deserve Justice. Our children, our women, all of us!
      7) We do not deserve to take sides over everything; and make everything a Racial issue. When we do we All lose.
      We are better than that. The way we act as adults is childish!! (One day, before the trial, I was sitting at a park bench thinking about Trayvon with that bag of skittles; and a white kid came up to me and asked me if I wanted some of his swedish fish–candy? I did not know that kid, but he must have noticed me sitting there deep in thought and thought I needed a lift). I wish we were all more innocent in our thoughts and actions. America will be a better place and our children will have a better world. That is why Trayvon deserves Justice! We owe each other that; we owe his memory and his family that. Since I am Trayvon…
      Mark Douglas
      Chambersburg, PA

      • 1) No one has ever said that Trayvon deserved to die… UNLESS he jumped Zimmerman and was beating the crap out of him. That is a weak conclusion, though, and you are legitimate to attack such a conclusion. The real point should be that there was reasonable doubt as to whether Zimmerman had just cause to save his own life. Listen to the 911 screams and ask if the person screaming feared serious bodily harm. Until someone lays out an argument against any reasonable possibility that the screamer could have been Zimmerman, I cannot call the jury’s conclusion — that it was Zimmerman on the tape — outrageous.
        2) Trayvon was a LEGAL MINOR. It is misleading to imply that a 5’11” 158lbs person is a harmless kid. He was as capable of hurting Zimmerman as any other 5’11 158lbs male. Age does nothing to indicate capacity for fighting.
        3) Of course people are hypocrites. This is why a mother or father, sister or brother would never be allowed to serve on the jury in question. We do not want our criminal justice system to be emotional.
        5) Zimmerman would have been not guilty of manslaughter in any state, under any law, immaterial of SYG…. UNLESS the inadequate Sanford police missed something BIG. Such is highly speculative, however, and I contend that it is reasonable to assume “net equal” facts even in a district such as Maryland. With the facts of this case, any legitimate jury would say that the 911 screamer was reasonable to fear serious bodily harm and there is sufficient reasonable doubt in regards to the identity of the 911 screamer.
        Liberals and African American people are well enough to harshly criticize the legal system and to call for justice for any innocent death, underage or not. But this is just not the best legal case to use symbolically. The possibility that Trayvon became violent unreasonably and made Zimmerman fear serious bodily harm was strong enough to meet the reasonable doubt standard that favors all defendants.
        It is an unspeakable tragedy Trayvon no longer lives. It would have been a terrible mistake to convict Zimmerman of manslaughter. Both things can be true.

        • Both things could be true, I agree. I believe one of them certainly is.

          We can only be agreeable in our disagreement.

  • I do not see how a country (I guess meaning the inhabitants of a country) could or should be ashamed of anything regarding a trial. If a trial is presented to a jury, and the prosecuting attorney(s) fail to convince them of the guilt of a defendant, trial over when the jury delivers their verdict. Any doubt of guilt has to be put in the “Not Guilty” column of a person accused of a crime. Just because someone finds a non-guilty verdict distasteful and somehow manufactures a race component from whole cloth then the end result should be a country ashamed of itself? Sorry, that is now how the justice system works. Wear your badge of shame personally and with pride, as you broadcast it to others hoping to clense yourself of any past, present, or future guilt.
    – Robert

    • Here are some trials in America that you would then be proud of, apparently:

      1) The Scottsboro boys
      2) The Haymarket defendants
      3) Sacco & Vanzetti
      4) The Scopes trial
      5) The O.J. Simpson verdict
      6) The Stanford White murder case
      7) The acquittals for the murders of civil rights leaders including Medgar Evers and others.
      8) The trials under the Alien & Sedition Acts
      9) The trials and convictions of the alleged Central Park rapists.
      10) And close to home for me, the death penalty conviction of Kirk Bloodsworth in Baltimore County

      Do I need to go on, MR. Linkroum? You have confused advocacy for a free judiciary with a shameless argument against ever expressing shame when justice miscarries because of external fears and corrupt laws and innocent people are published or the guilty go free. We are not speaking about “how the justice system works.” We are speaking about those essential and tragic moments when our justice system doesn’t work.

      And avoid the ad homimem, this is about my guilt, or yours. It’s not about us. It’s about ideas. Stay focused on that.

  • Mr. Simon,
    This does not have to do with the Stand Your Ground law, but with the weapon GZ was permitted to carry with his concealed carry permit (even after having had a previous arrest and also a restraining order from a former girlfriend – go figure.) I didn’t hear much made about the hollow point bullets. It seems to me he was itching to kill. Don’t those bullets break apart upon entering the body and do more damage than other ammo? I was surprised more was not made about this point in the trial; or have we reached the level of callousness in this country that hollow point bullets are just dandy for every day use?

    • There are a lot of myths about hollow point bullets. They are designed to expand (not fragment) upon impact so that the energy of the bullet is expended within the target. This is to increase the “stopping power” and to reduce the chance that the bullet will go through the target and threaten bystanders. Police,civilians and hunters commonly use hollow points. There’s nothing unusual about Mr. Zimmerman having them in his gun.

  • Your ashamed of this Country because Zimmerman was found not guilty. The jury can only offer a verdict on the charges presented. Though Zimmerman was clearly negligent, finding him guilty of negligence was not an option based on the charges filed, and later amended during the trail. The prosecutor was the one that decided to charge 2nd degree murder (and later add manslaughter when she realized she had not met the burden in the original charge). A charge that legal experts said was not supported by the evidence of the case. Either at filing
    or after the trial was over, and the prosecution had presented all its evidence,0,1600588.story.
    A prosecutor that has over filed charges in the past,
    has tried to strong arm anyone who questions her, or her motives
    So when Zimmerman was found not guilty, how is it that the case became a symbol of America’s racism, and not about a prosecutor that horribly miscalculated, and thereby failed to win justice for the Martin family? In fact, those for which “the tragedy doesn’t suit [their] preconceived racism” the most seem to be you, NBC, CNN, and several other news type organizations
    (Sana Saeed, a senior editor at Islawmix, a project of Harvard Law’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, tweeted:
    “People were afraid a guilty verdict would have resulted in riots,” wrote Saeed, who is based in Canada. “Thank god #Zimmerman’s verdict only resulted in white pride fireworks.”)
    Because while Zimmerman’s account is most likely not accurate, we know, that the neat little narrative of Zimmerman ‘hunting’ poor Trayvon, the one spun by so many enraged supporters, isn’t correct either.
    Perhaps Eric Zorn said it best:
    “It’s a reminder that there’s a lot we still don’t know about the five minutes between “he’s running” and the horrible sound of gunfire. … It indicates that the victim as well as the accused made some terrible choices that night.
    And it tells us to keep our minds open and our tempers in check, at least until some of those gaps get filled at Zimmerman’s trial.”
    By the way, did we touch on the accusations that the prosecution also withheld information from the defense?
    Oh Mr, Simon,
    [You are] but a walking shadow, a poor player
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
    And then is heard no more. It is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
    Signifying nothing.

    • My but that is an enormous number of cites — of which exactly zero go to the arguments that I’ve undertaken against this systemic failure to prevent, prohibit or punish the senseless death of this young man and other deaths that have and will continue to occur in SYG states. Not one cite actually goes to anything that has been discussed here, or that is germaine to any of that which has been argued in my posts. Not one.

      Which is telling, on its own. Speaking as we are of the sound and the fury and what it signifies.

      • None of my cites has anything to do with SYG. That is correct. Because SYG is an affirmative self defense claim. That is independent of the prosecution’s burden of proof. Which is the reason for my first two citations, the prosecution did not meet its burden. The legal experts in the first two cites point out the numerous holes in the prosecutions case, regardless of SYG.
        Several other citations are to support that this prosecutor has a history of overcharging and other behaviors that show bad judgement (there is also insinuation that her motives were not pure, but I digress).
        In summary, the failure to “punish the senseless death of this young man” falls at the feet of the prosecutor. Her failure to include a lesser charge, Involuntary Manslaughter or Aggravated Assault, was a big factor in preventing the state from punishing ZImmerman for Martin’s senseless death. The Involuntary Manslaughter charge only requires the prosecutor show the defendant acted with culpable negligence. Sentences for such convictions can range from 15 to 30 years, depending on contributing factors. (And because you like them so much, one more citation for you. WARNING – This has nothing to do with SYG either!)

        • Right, Kevin. Don’t go near SYG. Stay on the prosecutor. It’s off-point but an easier target.

          The jury instructions alone in this case, structured as per SYG, transform your self-defense claim into something that any defense attorney could drive a truck through, regardless of the prosecutor. Something systemic has happened. That you are ignoring it with a relentless myopia is certain and telling.

        • Keven, you are incorrect. Involuntary Manslaughter was not an option because we were not dealing with an involuntary act but rather, an intentional one. Zimmerman had already admitted to intentionally shooting Trayvon. Had Zimmerman claimed that the gun went off accidentally, then Involuntary Manslaughter would have been appropriate.

          As for your points about the prosecutor overcharging and only bringing in Manslaughter “later” because she could not prove murder:

          1) What prosecutor doesn’t overcharge? It’s a common tactic to encourage plea deals (which is another debate altogether, but curiously I have not heard the “law and order” crowd complain about the practice until now;

          2) Manslaughter is a lessor included offense to Murder, they go hand in hand. Everyone knew it was an option. In fact, there is plenty of case law that says it must automatically be presented to a jury whenever Murder is charged.

      • Although Kevin may have included a few points that are not relevant to the SYG arguments you have made, of which I completely agree with, he did touch on the racial issues you brought forth in your posts. I totally agree with your initial writings on this case last year. If I can recall, you didn’t even mention which race either person was and I did not pick up on any racial undertones. They were pieces purely about the injustices created by these SYG laws. Why the urge to now play up the race angle? Does that not make you guilty of profiling as well, in that anyone who is at least partially white must automatically be suspicious of black people?
        I grew up in the South, the Deep South, and have witnessed racism first-hand many, many times. I am not foolish enough to think that we have moved on from racism. However, throughout my life the racism I witnessed was from all races. I cannot help but feel that those who used racism as a means to indict Zimmerman, are guilty of racism themselves. I just wish society as a whole would march and protest against SYG and not imagined racism.

        • Why has race suddenly reared its head? Because in the year since the shootings we have learned a lot more about SYG and its effect, not only with white-on-black belligerence, but with its additional cost to African-Americans in terms of legitimizing unnecessary black-and-black violence. The extra bodies we are piling up are mostly black and brown and that is fine with everyone. Guns need to be exalted about all life, but it’s even easier to make that calculation when it is black or brown life that pays the cost. The equation offends me deeply.

          Specially, in this case, we’ve also learned in detail the dynamic that brought Mr. Zimmerman to Mr. Martin and it involves racial profiling. His state of mind is clear when he leaves the house, when he calls the police dispatcher. No, he is not evidenced to be a racist — and you will not find me anywhere here saying so. But using any logic whatsovever, it is clear that Mr. Martin presented no viable probable cause that he was engaged in any criminal activity. Not something as strong and visceral as racism is engaged, but a pathology that is nonetheless racial when you see a seventeen year old walking with Skittles and a cellphone and you conclude that you have the right to know more about his business. Why? Because of a hoodie? Bullshit. Sports apparel does not deny a citizen of my country his civil liberties. Because he was looking at houses? In a residential neighborhood? How many burglars do you know who carry a bag of Skittles on the job?

          The lengths to which some portion America has gone in the wake of this tragedy to convince itself that Mr. Zimmerman was right, that Trayvon Martin was a thug has made clear — in the year since my article — that the underpinnings of SYG and the diminished regard for lives such as Trayvon Martin is race.

          Without race, Mr. Zimmerman does not make this tragedy happen. It is inconceivable as a narrative if Trayvon Martin is white or Mr. Zimmerman is black. And moreover, if the racial roles were reversed, SYG would, I believe, prove less effective as a legal defense for the gunman. It only works — people only believe that an unarmed 17-year-old is lethal to a grown man, disregarding the evidence that the grown man’s injuries were superficial — because the kid is black and that conjures sufficient racial fears on the part of a juror pool.

          That is why I now call it as it is: This can’t happen, this boy can’t die as he did without the American pathology of race.

  • David Simon, you arrogant twit. The whole country is not a clone of Baltimore. You never read the transcipts just NBC sloppy news report. You should be ashamed of being American, because of the Martin/Zimmerman mess. Racial? Well think on this… BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — A pair of teenagers was arrested Friday and accused of fatally shooting a 13-month-old baby in the face and wounding his mother.Brunswick, Georgia (CNN) — Two teen boys in this coastal city were charged with murder Friday, accused in the fatal shooting of a 13-month-old boy who was in a stroller being pushed by his mother.The mother told reporters the shooting occurred when one youth demanded money.Chief Tobe Green identified the older suspect as De’Marquise Elkins, 17, and said he will be treated as an adult in criminal proceedings. The 14-year-old was not identified because of his age. Both have been charged with first-degree murder, police said. The picture in the article of the 17 yr old looks black, the mother and the baby are white. “A boy approached me and told me he wanted my money, and I told him I didn’t have any money. And he said, ‘Give me your money or I’m going to kill you and I’m going to shoot your baby and kill your baby,’ and I said, ‘I don’t have any money,’ and ‘Don’t kill my baby.'” He fire the gun grazing her head and leg. “And then, all of a sudden, he walked over and he shot my baby in the face.” You may leave the country at any time. You makes the black youth violent? They themselves, of course.

    • I am going to establish henceforth a form-letter, block-edit that says the following:

      “Greetings. If you have arrived at this sight lacking the intellectual rigor or the moral core that will allow you to honestly discuss the actual dynamics of the Zimmerman-Martin tragedy, you may, as an act of rhetorical dishonesty try to obscure this fact by rushing to cite any various and random instances in which tragedy befell a white victim or in which a black offender wrought havoc on someone.

      It will seem to you that you have made a meaningful point, in that you think you are saying: See, the black people here are the problem and they should be feared and loathed and addressed as the problem. And the white people are innocent and undeserving of tragedy. And you all are ignoring this.”

      “In fact, in a very transparent way, what you are revealing is that you do not have the courage or the intellect or the honesty to address this tragedy and what happened here. This is because you know in some dark place that you don’t want to go that here, at this moment, the tragedy doesn’t suit your preconceived racism. Here, the dead boy did not have a gun. He was committing no crime. He was black. And the assailant, part-European and part-Latino with a German surname was believed from his earliest moments to be white. And here, with the new advent of SYG standards for self-defense, the game was rigged from the start. And so if we stay here and confront this reality, I will be forced to confront my own biases, fears and assumptions. And this I will not do.

      So let’s go instead to this case in New York/Georgia/Texas/Wherever that I would more prefer to discuss, taking everyone’s eyes off the matter at hand. Because the matter at hand is the senseless death of a black teenager for whom I not only can muster little empathy, but who in my heart I fear and loathe and regard as less than my own humanity. So, quick, find me another tragedy, one in which the black man can be the villain to my great and self-affirming delight.

      We understand your deepest desire. But we aren’t biting. You are full of shit. And the problem is inside of you. And judging from your passion and your resistance to dealing with it, you will be in flight from the darkest part of yourself for the rest of your life. This is not a secret that you hide from the world. It becomes transparent in the twists and tangles of your rhetoric, and in your unwillingness to abandon the logical fallacies that keep you from truthful debate. We see you. We really do.


      David Simon”

  • Does the death of Marley Lion make you ashamed to be an American? ” One man accosted another and when it became a fist fight, one man — and one man only — had a firearm.” Only one man had a gun and Marley didn’t get a chance to fight.

  • Does it not at all bother you Mr. Simon that George Zimmerman’s attorney’s DID NOT use Florida’s “Stand Your Ground Law” but rather a typical self defense strategy in obtaining a not guilty verdict. I myself hate that a young man lost his life that night but that same young man, Trayvon Martin could have utilized his phone to dial 911 if he felt intimidated or threatened by the “Creepy Ass Cracker” (his words) that was attempting to question him as to why he was there and what he was doing as is done all over this country by security personnel every single day. Mr. Martin could have called 911 and went home in the four minutes that GZ lost site of him and awaited for the authorities to arrive rather than hiding in the bushes, confronting and then assaulting Mr. Zimmerman. Does it bother you Mr. Simon that George Zimmerman is not a white man but rather a Hispanic American just as Mr. Martin was an African American??? I would respectfully appreciate your thoughts about these questions in light of the fact that your words Mr. Simon have done nothing more than to spread erroneous information about the case and encouraged an even greater racial divide. Thank You, Mark D. Hughes

    • Go to the “Trayvon” comments rather than asking for a recap of the arguments over the substance of the confrontation.

      But dor the hundredth time, read the judge’s instructions to the jury and then recalibrate your remarks. If that alone doesn’t end this, consider what SYG did to making the Sanford investigators inert in the critical investigative window after the shooting, because they assumed they could have no case under SYG. No, it gives me no pause whatsoever that the defense team calculated that six lay people were preferable to trial by judge as SYG would require, especially since they’d gleaned the advantages of SYG in every other aspect of the case and from the transformation of the legal culture and sensibilities of the juror pool overall.

      Saying SYG didn’t stomp on this case in myriad ways is inaccurate.

      • Mr. Simon, after thoughtfully considering your response I agree with you’re rational to Mr. Zimmerman having gleaned the advantages of Florida’s SYG law however this being so does not warrant Mr. Martin confronting and then assaulting Mr. Zimmerman. The death of Mr. Martin should have never occurred. Life is precious and Trayvon Martin’s life was not any less valuable and promising than anyone else’s however I do believe his reaction towards Mr. Zimmerman’s “watching” him and the way he chose to respond contributed to his unfortunate death. As I said before Mr. Martin had the right to call 911 and the time necessary to get away from Mr. Zimmerman. Mr. Zimmerman did what a neighborhood watchman is supposed to do and it is not a crime to watch or follow someone. Furthermore Mr. Martin in my opinion was not breaking any laws that night either, that is until he assaulted Mr. Zimmerman as the evidence has clearly proven. Thank You, Mark D. Hughes

        • So you feel that it is incumbent on the innocent victim to flee the scene, to not stand his ground as it were. While Mr. Zimmerman, who would ultimately take that victim’s life, should be spared any societal sanction because he stood his ground when the confrontation occurred. Seems like rank hypocrisy to me.

          Especially when we add in the fact that the asssault — if, as you claim without corroboration, Mr. Martin laid hands on Mr. Zimmerman first, and not the other way around — was a misdemeanor not a felony. It was not life-threatening according to the physical evidence. The injuries to Mr. Zimmerman were such that they were indicative of a common assault; he refused treatment originally and was later treated and released with abrasions.

          So you are now saying, one man had a right to stand his ground, one did not. And oh yeah, even though the gunman wasn’t confronted with a life-threatening or aggravated assault, his fear was such that it was okay for him to unilaterally produce a lethal weapon and take a human life.

          If that’s your new standard for when people can be killed, there are going to be slain Americans in every bar, back yard or parking garage. You just made an ordinary fist fight, a shove, a kick in the ass into grounds for killing.

          • Mr. Simon, I believe that both Mr. Martin and Mr. Zimmerman had an equal right to be there. If the evidence supported that Mr. Zimmerman was the one to lay hands on Mr.Martin first then I would support the decision Of Mr. Martin to use whatever force he felt necessary to protect himself from great bodily harm or potential death. You are right Sir in you’re assertion that Mr. Zimmerman’s injuries were not life threatening but how was he supposed to know as he was being beaten and his head was being repeatedly rammed into the sidewalk what the outcome for him would be if the assault continued? In no way am I saying that it was incumbent for Mr. Martin to run away. Mr. Martin had several options. He could have told Mr. Zimmerman to screw off and continued on his way. He could have confronted Mr. Zimmerman, contacted 911 and waited there for the police to arrive or he could have done as I would have done and told Mr. Zimmerman that it was as far as I was concerned none of his business but that I was going to my father’s house in the complex. If the evidence supported that Mr. Zimmerman attacked Mr. Martin and that Mr. Martin in fear for his life had beaten Mr. Zimmerman to death, I would fully support the actions of Trayvon Martin. This was not a hate crime nor racially motivated. Sanctions are not appropriate for Mr. Zimmerman given the body of evidence in this case.

            • The account of Mr. Zimmerman’s head being rammed into the sidewalk is your premise. It is uncorroborated by anything other than Mr. Zimmerman’s statement to police, which I will remind you he did not offer on the stand in his defense where it would be subject to a cross-examination. His physical injuries are inconsistent with such a dramatic and brutal tale. You choose to believe it. I understand it. It appeals to you, despite the absence of corroboration.

              If we follow your logic, Mr. Hughes, the streets and bars and backyards of America are going to be littered with the dead bodies of people who are legally shot to death for the crime of common assault, or worse for making even the most idle threats of a punch in the nose. You’ve just legalized bringing a gun to any possible fistfight and then later telling a jury that you “used whatever force was necessary to protect myself from great bodily harm or potential death.”

              But the guy you killed was not armed?

              He could have killed me with his hands.

              But your injuries are minor?

              Did I have to wait for them to be major?

              Well yes, if there was no indication that your life was in real jeopardy.

              Oh, did I mention he was slamming my head into something. That I thought I was going to die?

              But your injuries…

              Did I mention that the victim was black? And that he was scary? As black people are? Hey, can I get all women on my jury. White women, maybe a Latina or two. No black women. In fact, no black people at all. And can I have the jury instructed with SYG language so that it it’s not even a requirement that I actually felt a certain threat to my life, that I could defend my real estate and my person alone, without proving a lethal threat?

              Congratulations, Mr. Hughes, you — like the state of Florida and 22 others — have legalized manslaughter, if not murder.

              • Mr. Simon, Why are you so stuck on the fact that Mr. Martin was black? What does that have to do with anything? Mr. Simon I work with a not for profit organization in Atlanta that feeds, clothes and ministers to the needs of the homeless, poor, drug addicted, sex trafficked females and those with mental illness. The majority of the people I work with are black, most of my peers are black and my fiancée is black and I find none of them scary because they aren’t! My father was one of the most hateful racist I’ve ever known and for that reason I cut him out of my life until right before he died when he committed to me not to talk about people of color. In the Trayvon Martin case, I agree that there should have been people of color on the jury. I also believe that there should have been a twelve person diverse jury instead of six. In my opinion a lot of things went wrong that night and perhaps there are many things wrong with Florida and other states laws. This is something that we as a nation need to address but I do not think that people of color picking up bricks and heading to the court house is the way to promote change. Speaking divisive hatred filled words of anger does nothing more than making matters worse. George Zimmerman was found innocent of any crime in a court of law according to the laws of the state of Florida whether we like it or not. I have valued and appreciated your responses and we must agree to disagree on several points like your assertion that all of us who are white believe that black people are scary. Respectfully,
                Mark D. Hughes

                • Gonna call it, Mr. Hughes. I’ve explained it fully.

                  If you won’t accept the fundamental racial dynamic that creates this encounter then you won’t accept it. I do.

                  But if you want to plead innocence to the notion that walking while black or driving while black in America is different from walking while white or driving while white in America, do so without doing a couple things first.

                  1) Do not talk to African-Americans about their day-to-day and the day-to-day of their children. Do not do this. Because it will ruin your preconceived ideas about how American democracy does or does not work with regard to racial equality. Or, more simply:
                  2) Do not read in detail the posts on this very website with an open mind. Because beyond your own efforts, you will be treated to the full gamut of rationalization for why young black males should be regarded differently by Mr. Zimmerman and others in that situation. How is it that you can still be here claiming that no one accosted or confronted Mr. Martin because he happened to black, yet all of these other posters are writing in and asserting that so what, of course he was suspected because he was a young black male thug wearing a hoodie. The content of this blog is prima facie, Mr. Hughes.

                  Let’s agree to disagree. I find nothing in your commentary beyond rote rationalization. Moreover, your continued ignorance as to my actual rhetoric about the brick — as a means of highlighting the African-American committment to peaceful redress even despite this latest betrayal — convinces me that you either don’t have the capacity to process a complex rhetorical argument, or you are intellectually dishonest in the presentation of my opposing ideas. Those were not hatred-filled words of anger. They were words of an altogether purpose. If they went over your head on a first reading, then upon additional commentary here, they should be evident to you now. That they are not — and that you continue to dive into the same rabbit hole — convinces me that we must leave this to no conclusive purpose. My time, and I am sure yours, valuable enough not to waste any more of it on this nonsense.

  • Much of the commentary on Mr. Simon’s post and things like Twitter show that America has devolved into a nation that cannot engage complexity (which is, ironically, why The Wire never won any of the awards it should have won for being the best television show ever made). America wants simplicity and the people who are defending Mr. Zimmerman and not engaging Mr. Simon in a rational way, are the ones who want that simplicity. Complexity and the ability to recognize and engage complexity is what makes us human.

    To that end, I have seen little about the socio-economic aspects of this case. While race is obviously a dominant theme in this case, one of the reasons Mr. Zimmerman was acquitted was his ability to mount a defense. He had the money to do so. Had the black woman who got 20 years for firing the gun had more money to mount a defense, she would not have received that sentence because she would have had better lawyers. I’m being a bit reductive in this analysis, but race and socio-economics are intertwined and it’s virtually impossible to separate them.

  • You’re right. It is repetitive. It always is. Nothing ever changes but the names.

    The USA is in a very sad state of affairs. Has been for some time. Too much waving the flag and cheering U S A when you should be doing something about the war zone that is today’s American city.

    Stop taking this shit people. Organize on a neighbourhood level and take back your country, one neighbourhood at a time.

  • More’s the pity that any believe there is ever going to be ‘justice’ among men, we are not capable of this in our current state of self-interest….what’s mine is mine, i want yours too, me-me-me…..

    • Have you read some of deaths that are now permissible — black and white — because of SYG. Are you suggesting that because SYG has resulted in more black-on-black crime that is now legally justifiable under diminished self-defense standards that this is a victory for black folk, or the state of Florida or civilized society? Really?

      • Mr. Simon,

        Being able to defend oneself from violent crime and violent criminals is always a victory for a civilized society. The alternative forces people to live in fear of what may happen to them should they ever be accosted by an armed criminal. Why should anyone have to live with that? Why should anyone ever be forced to NOT defend themselves? There are far too many victims in this great country of ours and when we do nothing to change that we are simply giving permission to thugs to continue to steal from us, to continue to murder us and to continue to rape us.

        • And yet somehow civilization has been retained and crime rates were the lowest in generations with a standard for self-defense that didn’t include being allowed to gun down unarmed suspects for common assault, property crimes, trespass, etc.

          Congrats on solving a problem that wasn’t and creating a barbaric new problem that is.

          • I guess that depends upon what your acceptable level of victimization is.

            Are you willing to accept that a certain number of people will always fall victims to predatory criminals within our society? I, for one, do not accept that.

            I believe that we can and should strive for more. Our streets should be safe to walk without fear of being mugged for the last $5 to your name and safe from the sexual predators who take their victims with force. We should not tolerate one more day where an innocent person becomes the victim of violent crime.

            You seem to be content with sentencing an entire block of people to a life of fear and victimization simply because of the fact that you don’t like guns.

            I’m not a big fan of guns either but I am an even lesser fan of criminals.

              • Mr. Simon,

                Are we done with our conversation? Since you aren’t posting my last reply, I assume we are. Its a pity. I do believe we were just getting to the heart of our differences.

                Its essentially a difference in opinion on how to better America and ensure that tragedies such as the recent one in Florida don’t happen again.

                You favor removing a victims ability to defend themselves thereby encouraging violent criminals to continue the cycle of violence whereas I support better educating and raising our young people so that they can better respect themselves and their fellow humans and not feel the need to be violent in the first place.

                If we are, in fact, done thanks for taking the time to at least listen to an alternative point of view. I sincerely hope that you consider it deeply.

                • Joe, happy to accept your different philosophy in this post. Unwilling to repeat in detail the back-and-forth on self-defense statutes and the evidentiary facts of the case — all of that is already on the site.

  • while I have no direct comments about the specifics of the case itself or the absurdities of Florida law or the cultural foundations of armed vigilantism…

    I have been asking myself one measured question since the verdict was handed down – does racial equality in the justice system mean a world where George Zimmerman goes to prison or a world where if he were black and Trayvon were white, he would have been acquitted just the same?

  • As one who came from the desegregation era – and was the only Caucasian male in an all African American/Latino school in New York City; – I’ve never seen 1/1000th of the racial discrimination against me (the minority at the time) – that still prevails today by white’r society against non whites.

    It is absolutely absurd – that the prosecution blew this case;
    and the good order of society is now placed in greater peril.

  • I understand your passion, but not your criticism of what happened in the court. “Stand your ground” was not argued to the jury.. The jury could only have given a verdict on manslaughter or murder, which they did. They may or may not have thought that Zimmerman was a racist or a stalker – but even racists and stalkers can invoke a self-defense argument. You could retry Zimmerman on the murder/manslaughter charges, but the verdict would probably be the same even with a different jury. I don’t know why the prosecution did not go after Zimmerman on other lesser charges based on his intimidation of Trayvon Martin prior to the fisticuffs (and Trayvon certainly had a right to confront Zimmerman – especially in Florida with its “stand your ground” law). Perhaps your lust for vengeance would not have been satisfied by anything less than the futile pursuit of the murder charge. By the way, who or what specifically are you ashamed of? The prosecution? The judge? The jury? The defense? The rights of due process for a defendant who is the object of a criminal prosecution?

  • “…., there is a reservoir of venality and racial rage that still informs our national dynamic”

    The size of the reservoir, and the impression I get that it is constantly being refilled, dismay me tremendously.

    Do you have any ideasfor the rest of u on the way forward? My only thought is the unrealistic goal of 100% voter registration and 100% voter turn-out.

  • Kudos Kudos Kudos to you for seeing what others have failed to see in this case.And the fact that many are calling Trayvon a thug who deserved what he got is an outrage especially since none of us were there. Kudos again to your sir

  • I am a 60 year-old retired surgeon, American of Mexican descent( how our mother wanted us to describe ourselves). Worked hard, accomplished a lot, live pretty well in an all white community. Unfortunately, I still have a big chip on my shoulder by all the overt and covert discrimination I encountered as a kid, working my way through Pharmacy and Medical School and through the years of building and maintaining a practice in the business of medicine. The entire Trayvon Martin saga , from the moment he was pursued, accosted and murdered; through the “Verdict” and now listening to the juror’s disjointed account of her perception of the evidence and her embracing of “George” as a victim and a hero; has left me with an anger, frustration and disbelief that is beyond comprehension. But, I am starting to conclude that there is a segment of America( not just White), who will never be capable of understanding or empathizing with the difficulties and obstacles of being a “Black or Brown” minority in this country. If you add poverty and lack of or under-educated to the equation, the difficulties and separation from mainstream America are magnified! Our Great country is at a very difficult and never before experienced crossroads. I am fearful that if leaders on both sides of the divide, do not lead with clarity and compassion- we are headed for a fearful awakening that could lead to dire consequences!

    • Thank you for such a thoughtful post. Given some of the extremity in the mailbag today, this was reaffirming, not merely of my own arguments, but of the tone that we strive for here.

  • My husband and I are both criminal defense lawyers, but used to work on the prosecution side. We see the devastation that the “war on drugs” has created in our practice, ie the profiling, and mass incarceration of young black males, best described in the New York Times bestseller “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander. I have read and watched all your work for years. You are a great journalist. Your works bear witness to the truth. I believe they will survive as historical works that uniquely describe this period in American history. I believe we will look back in shame some day at what we did to two to three generations of human beings, our fellow Americans, Glad I found your blog. Reading your books, and watching the Wire, and the Corner kept my sanity after many days in court. Thank You.

  • Hey now that I have your attention.. Are you a Fan of Russ Myers work ? If so could you help Haji? She does need work . She lives in Malibu and thinks nothing like me ..

      • This is not a comment.. I am talking to you… I work with Haji she is a great person and needs work. She is the sweetest person you will ever meet..

          • One thing the Internet has given us is the ability to witness on a frequent basis the odd phenomenon of people demanding to be heard but then once they are acknowledged they spin off into a bizarre tangent.

            Is he trolling? Does he have a larger emotional issue? He worked so hard for this moment and now seems at a loss in knowing what to do with it.

  • I have an idea, just sit around and make these inflammatory comments to your Holly Wood pals that live in fantasy land . You have no idea what it is like to live the life Travon Martin lived . Those that do see you siding with the negative attitude that has caused all this hatred. and death. I welcome you to come to New Town at this hour and preach your garbage to these teenagers that have no direction other than hate. You would not last 10 minutes

    • I don’t live in Hollywood. I scarcely visit Los Angeles, if I can avoid it. My closest friends are in the city of Baltimore, where I have lived all of my adult life. I don’t think you actually know very much about me, my background, my work or my associations. The stereotype you have conjured seems to make you quite happy, though. So perhaps it’s for the best if you leave your every presumption unexamined.

    • John Stacks – the intelligence in our youth’s are far greater than you give them credit for. They are hunters for direction, guidance and experience wisdom. It is not the teens whom I (or probably Mr. Simon would fear in coming to New Town) – it would be the foreboding, obfuscating mindsets such as yours; which are apropos to this entire saga.

  • 17 July 2013
    Two items but both involving that phrase, “ashamed to be an American.”
    I’ve used it in the past and will probably do so in the future but these days try not to for one simple reason – I am who I am, I am what I am, because of where I was born and the country I grew up in – the United States of America.
    I have also been a registered Republican for 50 years now, and while also very ashamed of many in my party including leadership who have squandered our nation’s resources and caused the world so much grief, I still am not ashamed to call myself a Republican. In the same way, I am not ashamed to call myself an American.
    My personal esteem and affiliations do not have to do so much with being a member or part of but rather above that to include who and what I am, what I have become, my ideals and my behavior, including sometimes positive effects I have had on my fellow man albeit insignificant compared to so many others.
    Yes, I am often ashamed at my country’s policies and practices, its convoluted law-making process that creates legal vested interests for congressmen but makes them illegal for the general public, that allows men and women in the House and Senate to go to war against a sovereign state or to rob the national coffer blinds to pay for budget shortfalls. Those things are shameful. I am ashamed of them and so much more. But I am also proud and while saddened by irrational and unfair diatribes and criticism, to have the ingrained senses of morality and ethics, or religious principles and personal contentment that come with having lived a life that was hopefully on the positive side of conduct and achievement.
    Being an American can never make me ashamed to be one. I am ashamed, as already said, to be affiliated with the America that is too often represented by global strife and unfair Middle East policies, an America that caters to Israel’s every whim and is even now squirming under Israeli pressure to attack a country we have already interfered with in the past – Iran.
    Iran does not pose an imminent threat to Israel any more than Israel poses imminent threats to a multiplicity of Arab nations. Oh, it does? then you see my point.
    No. As an individual, as an American, as a person born in a different generation who laments the overall lack of decency and common sense in today’s generations, I am not ashamed. But I am worried. Deeply worried.

    • For me, speaking of those thing that are so deeply contrary to our ideals that I feel shame does not say more or less than I mean it to. I am indeed ashamed of the senseless death of Trayvon Martin and our systemic failure to address the underlying causes or provide a meaningful legal sanction to such. I say so. There are other moments of great pride in my citizenship and in my country. Some of these are indeed embedded in narratives that I’ve written and filmed.

      Neither extreme is sufficient to make me anything more or less than a citizen, one who like everyone else is vested in my country’s future. And my definition of citizenship includes the right and responsibility to speak directly and argue the right and wrong of a given issue or outcome. All that said, thank you for your thoughts and I share with you some of the same worries.

  • How cool! The creator of the greatest series ever filmed (I also adore Treme and enjoyed Generation Kill) has a blog where he interacts with people. That’s amazing!

    I found this site through the Yahoo story talking about your blog on Trayvon. I won’t rehash any comments on the case, as I think both sides have been stated and broken down into a million pieces. I just want to say something about race in general, particularly as it exists in the United States.

    I come from a very nice area of Silicon Valley. Incredible public education, very safe, smart open-minded people around at nearly all times, very diverse culturally– being mostly East Asians, Pakistanis, Indians, Europeans, and white Americans.

    In my school I think there were maybe 5-7 black families. The parents were doctors, lawyers, successful professionals. One of the kids was a very close friend of mine. I’d ask him if he felt racism in our community, and he said it didn’t really occur to him so often, except through small comments and looks from people from time to time.

    His family had me over for Cajun cooking from time to time and I loved hanging out over there, asking them about Louisiana and their experiences growing up in the 60’s onward.
    I obviously never felt any racism towards them, nor towards any other person or group in my diverse international community. These were all good people, basically, who focused on bettering themselves and enjoying their lives. It was quite a special place of cultural harmony.

    I moved to San Francisco my junior year of high school to live with my mom, and she didn’t want to pay for a private school, so I attended the local public high school. I think I was one of about maybe 50 white kids out of the 2000 students there, comprised of mainly Asians (many 1st generation Chinese, Filipinos, Cambodians), Latinos, and blacks.

    I enjoyed being around most of the students there, meeting a lot of people with incredible backgrounds as refugees from countries I’d never heard of before, all trying to make it in America. It was quite inspiring. Then there were the black students. From poor communities and living in community housing, bused in from places like Hunter’s Point, Fillmore the Western Addition, even East Oakland in a few cases.

    With these students I was harassed, threatened, called “white boy” constantly, mugged a couple of times, and managed to escape worse only because I played basketball and my teammates stood up for me several times when some of the bad guys would start something with me.

    In my year there I saw outbursts of violence, threatening of teachers, sexual harassment (one could call it assault), and plenty of overt racism from black students towards the Asian and white students.

    Now, I am a nice guy from a nice diverse place, and I was taught not to judge a book by its cover. But when one sees over and over and over this negative behavior by one group of people united by their race, but more so an extension of their cultural identity and social mores– it leaves a pretty distinct impression.

    I know that you, Mr. Simon, have seen these problems because you depicted them so well in The Wire. So I just wonder what you expect the rest of America to think about this one group that is a complete outlier in American society and why we should be more sympathetic while overlooking our own experiences? And at what point would we even be allowed to be judgmental?

    Anyway, sorry for the long winded post. The Trayvon thing just shook up some feelings in me. Thank you for taking the time to read it (presumptively speaking). Keep up the good work, please!

    • There are two Americas, and they are scarcely sharing a future anymore. That there is bitterness and alienation in the America we’ve left behind goes without saying. Clearly, you experienced this when high school brought you to one of those places where the American experiment has fractured. That said, I know a lot of poor and working-class black folk who want the same things for themselves, for their families, for their children as anyone else. The inner city has it’s pathologies, to be sure. But you can scarcely generalize to the point where you are writing off an entire racial or socioeconomic cohort. At least I can’t.

      • Hello David,

        Thank you for your eloquent response. I am quite honored to have even a moment to converse with someone who’s creative work I respect so much.

        Just to continue on with my point in light of your response, I think we can agree, based on our own personal experience and through statistics, that young black men at a low-economic level are more likely to commit crimes. Not that it should be assumed immediately that every young black man is a criminal, of course, but for people that have experienced young black men being criminal, it might well rest on one’s mind while in vulnerable situations.

        Now, with this in mind, why should the benefit of the doubt be given to Trayvon Martin? He is a young man that had issues with the law — caught with women’s jewelry by the police , suspended from school three times, representing a bit of a thug persona as seen in his twitter account and in the videos from his cell phone camera — and he was walking through a gated community that was prone to crimes being committed (400+ 911 calls in the previous 13 months, I believe I’d read).

        So considering that young black males are more prone to committing crimes, Trayvon Martin was a young black male that had a record of committing crimes, and Trayvon Martin was walking through an area at night where crimes (break-ins in particular) were being committed…why would he not be considered a suspicious person (even if by a dopey wannabe security guard)?

        Zimmerman seems like that delusional authority figure that nobody likes, which makes him a polarizing character in this case. But when you take out that element mixed with the false image that the media portrayed of Martin initially as that innocent child just wanting to buy skittles before being gunned down for no reason, then what you have is a case of a suspicious 17 year old with a record walking through a community plagued by crime.

        If Trayvon had acted like the innocent child he was framed as, he could’ve walked away from Zimmerman’s snooping and simply gone home. Instead, he engaged in a fight, beat the hell out of Zimmerman for a long while, and is now dead because Zimmerman acted in self defense (extreme reaction by Zimmerman, perhaps, but people do get beaten to death/or with grievous harm, and they do get their guns taken from them and shot, so that’s a tough part to judge unless there was an account of a witness telling us what happened).

        Either way, this all leads into my point in my last post, which is to ask: why are we not allowed to judge based on our past experiences and our logic? It seems counter-intuitive to not use our experience as a guide towards avoiding danger, just as it would be to not use our experience to find success.

        It is sad that people who see a young black man in a certain scenario would be suspicious of him, but the responsibility of this prejudice falls with the parents of young black men to erase that stigma by making it so young black men aren’t the most criminal and threatening within our society. It’s not up to the rest of society to turn a blind eye and put up with crimes being committed against them.

        More responsibility needs to be placed on these parents and the black community to keep their young men acting in accordance with the law, as this and not the enabling nature of “white guilt” (even if there are things to feel guilty about), will improve the situation for young black men.

        I hope that my comments aren’t seen as disrespectful nor ignorant, as I don’t consider myself to be either in my life. I embrace people and have friends of every color, shade, nationality, religion, and I stand up for injustice when I see it (I’m a social liberal). I’ve lived in seven countries and am a student of history and culture.

        But I also have to stand up for logic and justice and being as truthful as possible, even when it’s not the popular thing to say or do. So that’s why I’m sharing my opinion with you. I hope it is welcome.

        Thank you once again for your time, Mr. Simon.

        • Congratulations, you have just affirmed for racial profiling of black men. What other portions of our Constitution do you no longer have use for, other than the Fourth Amendment?

          • A bit too simple of an answer to a complex topic, I’m afraid.

            David, do you not profile every single person you see? Lets examine what goes into profiling. I believe its a quick association of what we see based on past experiences, knowledge, figuring in the surroundings, and many factors that comes out to a not so simple equation that gives a relatively open-ended, but necessary judgment on the spot which turns into a seemingly simple emotion of fear, safety, interest, etcetera.

            To deny that profiling goes on is to deny that human beings, or even any animals, use critical reasoning.

            Why I believe you are offended by profiling is because you want to deny the logic and knowledge that the collective society has accumulated in creating a negative profile associated with most lower class, young, black men.

            I believe that offends you because you reject any sort of prejudicial behavior, perhaps because you’ve had to deal with unfair, negative reactions based on your (religion? looks? intelligence? economic background??) and therefore you project your pain/suffering that came from this prejudice onto anyone who might profile/have a negative opinion about a group in general.

            But Mr. Simon…did your stereotype commit a shocking amount of crime? Did your stereotype have a reputation for menace? Did your stereotype have a culture that turned off nearly EVERY segment of society due to its seemingly complete lack of contribution of anything positive to the group?

            I think you need to look at this as an objective observer and ask why anyone should ignore their personal experiences and logic to cast aside their fear and desire for safety “just because.”

            I think you need to trust that most people know how to judge a person– as we all do– based on our complex set of critical reasoning, which factors in countless bits of knowledge. Simply brushing it all aside to try to suit a person such as yourself– who has his own set of reasoning– is counter-intuitive, and frankly makes you seem a bit self important to think we should ascribe to your way of thinking based on YOUR personal experiences and set of knowledge.

            • We observe everything. The profiling comes in the discriminating manner in which we then address and affront other citizens. That’s where the Fourth Amendment hits the road.

              If Mr. Zimmerman thinks he has a skill set to determine who is a criminal and who is merely a black teenager eating candy and talking on cell phone, he is wrong. And someone is now dead for his presumption. He is neither skilled nor trained to make that essential determination, which is delicate enough for trained police officers. And yet he armed himself and undertook the challenge.

              All of your words amount to an effort to enshrine a systemic prejudice in how we deal fellow citizens on the street on the basis of the fact that we are all vulnerable to fears, prejudices and generalizations. And none of it justifies such a corruption of the civil liberties of any citizen or group of citizens.

              A good cop can see the street. He knows the greater racial likelihoods and certainly that enters into the initial computations and assessments, but if he knows his business and he knows the law, he looks deeper than that and reads the street properly. The Skittles are a clue. The cell phone. The fact that there isn’t any overt probable cause to suspect any specific criminal activity. He observes everything, admires nothing and moves on, until the details actually add up to something that constitutes P.C.

              Mr. Zimmerman’s performance is, in comparison, a disastrous butchery of such a skill set, and ultimately, it became the butchery of an unarmed teenager. It doesn’t make him a racist, but it makes racial profiling complicit in what happened to Trayvon Martin.


              • And was there testimony that Mr. Martin was carrying the skittles and cellphone in full view when Mr. Zimmerman first saw him? Was the lighting sufficient to identify what Mr. Martin was carrying? Have highly trained police not made tragic mistakes in wrongly identifying what someone was carrying. Yet you seem to be saying that Mr. Zimmerman was both poorly trained and he still should have identified the skittles and cell phone.

                • Ms. Sheain, how many mistakes did this seventeen year old kid make that you wish to blame him for? Here he is walking the streets, talking to a girl on the phone and eating candy and he never manages to display these facts in such a way that a man with a gun wouldn’t accost and kill him? If only America’s black teenagers would stay indoors at night, or wear orange hunter vests with block lettering: “I Am Not A Thug.” Or walk around with sufficient lighting so that you can see they aren’t up to all kinds of mayhem.

                  The more I man this blog, the more I realize that to be black in America is always to be at fault for whatever befalls you, and to be white is to never quite be responsible for any of it. And if by any chance, the evidence is so beyond any doubt — if there is videotape, or if there are too many witnesses — then the next step is for white folk to bring up every other instance in which a white victim suffered or a black assailant was not punished to everyone’s satisfaction. We killed your kid? Shut up, because in upstate New York some black guy only got two years for manslaughter. Your child was profiled and shot by an untrained neighborhood watch volunteer? Shut up, O.J. Simpson got off for a murder back in the 1990s. We shot your unarmed child, well quit crying, because with all the black-on-black crime out there he was gonna get shot anyway. Christ.

                  Is there any combination of realities in your mind by which a grown man can be wrong and responsible for shooting an unarmed teenager? Just curious.

                  • Mr. Simon,

                    The first point to address is regarding profiling. You seem to admit that police profile, partially because they absolutely HAVE TO do it to be effective at their job.

                    I highly doubt that they would be suspicious of an older black man or a black woman with her children, but they would be suspicious of a young black male walking around by himself in the rain at night in an area know to have break-ins. Can we agree on this?

                    So if the police can be suspicious of this, why can’t George Zimmerman?

                    And on top of this, Trayvon had been caught with women’s jewelry on him at school (after being apprehended for tagging).
                    So perhaps you aren’t giving Zimmerman enough credit for being suspicious of this young man who had a history of thievery and who was — as a cop would likely agree- a suspicious character.

                    If you want to argue that it’s unfair that young black men are considered suspicious in such circumstances then you should tell that to your police officer friends (white or black) and see what they say. I think we both know how’d they respond.

                    Next, to your point about Zimmerman being the one who is responsible for Martin’s death. He is responsible in that he pulled the trigger, but do you assign any responsibility to Martin for attacking Zimmerman? Do you not think that Martin should have not lost his temper and beat the heck out of Zimmerman?

                    I personally hate people who jump to being violent immediately. I hate inept, power hungry cops/authority figures as well, but I just ignore them. I don’t smash them in the face and bash their head into the ground until they wail repeatedly for help.

                    • You’re lost in semantics. Police observe and they do within the inevitable and valuable context of their experience. We all do.

                      What police also do, or are supposed to do, is they nonetheless comport their behavior regarding citizens to the U.S. Constitution. Meaning, their first impression is usually entirely insufficient to produce an encounter of the kind that Mr. Martin endured. For that, they need probable cause. Mr. Zimmerman had none. Because there was none. But he had a gun, and some self-vesting authority. And now an unarmed teenager is dead.

                      Your desire to tar the victim with non-existent probable cause — he was suspicious — is horseshit. Your bringing up your version of facts that Mr. Zimmerman could never know when he violated the Fourth Amendment rights of this minor is dishonorable. And your uncorroborated, imagined version of the Zimmerman-Martin encounter is as dishonest, intellectual cheating. Other than that, you are debating the actual issue here with zeal, logic and integrity.

                      Let’s end this. My regard for what you are trying to accomplish here is diminishing by the post.

                  • You seem a bit confused. I was not blaming the 17 year old kid for anything. I was saying you were making judgements without evidence.

                    • No, actually, I am about the only one here who isn’t hewing to an uncorroborated narrative. I don’t know what happened when a grown man with a gun approached a minor who was unarmed and killed him. Neither do you. Neither does that jury. But incredibly, in the absence of certitude, all doubt rests epon the unarmed kid. It used to be otherwise before SYG; Mr. Zimmerman would have higher standards to meet. Not any more. Guns over lives. Gun rights over human rights. And hundreds of years of civilized law in the area of self-defense out the window. The evidence is in on SYG, the bodies are piling up in Florida. Shot while unarmed. Shot while unarmed in the back of the head. Shot while unarmed and prone. All acquitted. The new legal standard is untenable.

                      Read the casework before you suggest that the evidence isn’t in. It is. This law kills people who don’t need to die.

                      Tampa Bay Times. Stand Your Ground. Google those phrases and read for yourself.

                    • I only recently found your blog so bear with me. This is about two things the SYG law and the Trayvon Martin killing correct? Because SYG was the basis of the jurors finding Mr.Z not guilty. Not because of uncorroborated narrative. Most one on one shooting are uncorroborated narrative if one of the persons is dead and there are no known witnesses. And there are both convictions and not guilty decisions. Apparently physical evidence didn’t disprove the narrative. I was not on the jury but based on what I have heard I would have voted for manslaughter.
                      It seems that the case where the person was shoot in the back of the head would be the more logical choice to be the poster case for repealing SYG.

                    • There can only be one case that argues for repealing SYG?

                      Ms. Sheain, let’s take Zimmerman-Martin off the table for a moment. And let’s agree that we may have many more cases in a dark alley in which one person shoots and kills another and there are no witnesses. Anyone can always claim self-defense and attempt such a strategy with a jury trial. But before SYG, they were up against a jury instruction that in most states and circumstances said, in effect: You can consider a claim of self-defense if you believe that it was reasonable for the defendant to conclude that he or others were being threated with a lethal or potentially lethal attack. That effectively means that it is incumbent upon the defendant and his lawyers to prove not merely that there was mutual combat, or a common or misdemeanor assault which by definition is not a lethal assault.

                      This standard meant, in effect, that all across America for the last couple centuries, people who produced knives and guns to end bar fights and domestic arguments and street confrontations were obliged to provide corroboration — evidence — that they needed to take life in order to protect life. Not to win the fight. Not to end the fight. Not to avoid fleeing from the fight or ceding real estate.

                      SYG takes all of that off the table. Now, the ARMED ASSAILANT — the only who who has invoked a lethal weapon — is only required to prove that he thought harm might come to him if he did not kill his opponent. That’s it: Harm. He doesn’t have to prove that he could have avoided the fight, or that he was vulnerable to a lethal or potential lethal or seriously maiming attack, only that he used a gun or knife to kill his opponent because he feared harm. This could of course mean that if the opponent so much as reaches into his pocket, it can be argued that harm might have ensued. Or if the opponent raises a hand, or slaps the defendant, or shoves him, or yes, punches him in the nose. All of these things were once classified as provocations that could not justify the response of being shot to death. But no more, because the NRA has written away all of the jurisprudence on self-defense law going back to our English legal origins. It is a revolution.

                      Now, you wish to separate the Zimmerman verdict from this issue. That will be hard to do. Because SYG language was what the jury was offered, right down to simple “harm.” And even more corrupted, when prosecutors asked if the dead kid could have the same protection of SYG in a sense, meaning that the jury could be instructed that if they believed that Mr. Martin did not initiate the confrontation and was instead standing his ground, then they could consider that in light of the later fistfight/common assault, they were denied. So the game was rigged.

                      Do you now see, perhaps, why your beliefs as to why this verdict ought to accepted as a moral and worthy outcome are falling on deaf ears with those who regard the legal arena as not a legitimate arbiter of whether someone needs to be punished for taking a life needlessly — the crime of manslaughter, if not murder — but one that now allows for barbarism of a kind that SYG allows?

                      Once in America we valued civil liberties before gun rights. No more.

  • Grow up David Simon and LEAVE this country if your EMBARASSED!! What have you given this country to deserve the liberties provided to you by living here!!!???!!!

    • Would those liberties include, I dunno, freedom of speech and the resulting right to dissent? Or does it vex you when a civil liberty is actually utilized?

      • How can you speak of exercising civil liberties and still be ashamed of the very reason you have those civil liberties?

        • You’re in semantic circle, chasing your tail.

          I have civil liberties not merely because I was born an American, but because the citizenry of this country has been consistent in its defense of those civil liberties. There is a dead seventeen year old in Florida who walked the streets unarmed and was killed by another man who armed himself and held his victim’s civil liberties in low regard. And now, our society has sanctioned this barbaric outcome. So I am ashamed. We have failed the very fundamental liberties for which we stand.

          Chris, do you think you can run around a circle so big that you won’t eventually come back to the same place?

  • I am a fellow Baltimorean. With so many of the rough, run-down, and poor areas of the city being entirely black, I find it a challenge every time I drive past North Ave to not let myself be overcome with contempt. I consider myself a very open-minded and fair person. I realize the shit cycle these people are born into, and how privileged I had things in comparison. But it appears this particular section of black culture, one that idolizes terrible role models (gangster rap, for example), doesn’t want to make any effort to assimilate into mainstream American society. They have kid after kid and just create a domino effect. As I have heard you speak about, it really is the tale of two Americas. So, how do we help those who don’t want to be helped? Is everyone just a victim of their circumstances? Who is to blame?

    I know kind of OT but your recent posting and responses the regarding the Zimmerman trial refreshed these issues in my mind.

    And thanks for The Wire and the 60+ hours of content it provided, I really enjoyed every minute.


  • These spasms…. provide some certain evidence of a particular kind. At least, I think so. It’s that evidence that keeps some of us plugging away on behalf of those who don’t enjoy our many privileges.

    • You are a total Jack Ass I sent a comment you would not post it . Then I sent that KIss Ass post from Haji and you posted it. Goes to show what fake piece Shit you are and I intend to make it known…

      • You are very angry. But you are also not focusing on the actual dynamic here.

        I posted and answered all oppositional and affirming comments for 48 hours running and I diligently dealt with every single one that fostered debate and argument. Then, when all of what was coming over the transom was repetitive to that content, we closed comments. We did the same thing on the NSA posts and debate a month or so ago. You are actually posting not on the thread about Trayvon Martin, but only on a sidebar that explains this. The comments here are generally limited to discussions about the debate itself, how we conducted it, criticism of such, but not a repetition of the five-hundred-odd postings on the original case. Yet you attempted to post here raising points on the original case that were all dealt with repeatedly elsewhere. You arguments are indeed redundant to others raised and discussed previously and there is no point or patience for covering the same terrain here.

        Then, frustrated, you say that you posted under the name of Haji Cotton to see if that post would fly here. It did. Why? Because it was affirming? No, there are other generalized posts that are here, on the other sidebar thread and on the introduction’s commentary that were all posted tonight and that are, in fact, not only oppositional but passionately insulting. The simple and telling difference is that while your post attempted to open this sidebar up to a renewed and redundant discussion of the case itself, the mythical Mr. Catton who you created blandly asserted his admiration for the TV work, made a remark about us all learning to get along together, etc. Not much that mattered to me or anyone else, but hey, it seemed a generalized enough comment and not an invitation to a redundant return to arguments that had been fully explored. That is why it was approved, Mr. Stacks. Do you understand? If Mr. Catton had commenced to argue the facts of the case again, even from a point-of-view allied with my own, I would have killed it out because that is what we said we were doing 24 hours ago.

        The remaining commentary here is simply for people discussing the debate and its dynamic as a whole. Or at least we are trying hard to limit it to generalized sentiment. We didn’t post your apple, and so, thinking yourself clever, you wrote an orange. And we were posting oranges. If you’d have written to say that your sense of this website, its dynamic and the arguments as they were conducted is bullshit and all the reasons why, offering a critique of the effort or our process, then you’d’ve made the cut. As you are now, amusingly enough, doing just that, having misapprehending what actually occurred and believing that the integrity of the debate is compromised. You’re wrong, but as you are now actually veering into the purpose and subject matter of this thread, you’ve made the cut. Congrats.

        • Ok let me try again. Your comments on the Zimmerman Trial are unfair and are not needed . I wish people like yourself that have a “following” would be more responsible when making ignorant comments like you have here. You only add flame to this fire. The Jury has spoken , thank someone you were not one. If you truly dislike America please move I know you have plenty of American Cash to do so

          • Thank you for acknowledging that comments on the specifics of the case were closed for over 24 hours and we have been killing redundant argument — both in support of the original post and in opposition to it — since then. As your comments are now general in nature and specific to the overall discussion of the debate that occurred here, they appear.

            In reply, you misquote me. I do not dislike America. On the evening that the jury verdict in the slaying of Travyon Martin was rendered, I wrote that tonight, specific to this un-American outcome, I was ashamed to be an American. I stand by that entirely. There have been moments when I have felt great pride in my country and my citizenship, and others when I believed that the ideals of the American experiment had been compromised. I regard America-love-it or-leave-it sentiments to be totalitarian, juvenile and rooted in a senseless insecurity on the part of some Americans, who seemingly believe that the country will be weakened by dissent. I believe the opposite, hence my desire to engage the argument here, and at those points where I believe that we are failing ourselves and our ideals.

            So I’m sticking.

            If you are interested in seeing the points you raised in your original post addressed, I assure you that the same arguments were brought forward repeatedly by others who are in agreement with you. They can be found in the commentary of the original “Trayvon” thread. Thanks for your forbearance and be assured that if you come forward with critical comments at some earlier point in any ensuing debate, those comments will be honored and addressed.

  • Wow. This is the first time that I have been to this blog, I was lead here by an article on yahoo. I grew up outside of Baltimore, lived there for 11 years, love the wire, and my sister works in downtown Baltimore at some of the inner city high schools.
    I spent some time while I was very young living over seas. I don’t know if that is why, but since I moved to the US when I was 7 years old, I have felt some sort of attraction and sensitivity to racial issues. In 2nd grade, we had to choose our hero, and I picked Martin Luther King Jr every time from that day out. The strangest part of this connection to racism that I feel is that I am a little white girl with blonde hair and blue eyes who grew up in a middle class family. I’m not saying my life was perfect, but I always could sense that because of how I looked and where I came from I was treated differently, and it pissed me off every single time.
    I don’t want to ramble too much, so I will move along..
    As far as this case is concerned, I am ultimately sickened. Had this been a teen whose father was a retired Virginia Supreme Court magistrate (like Zimmermans) and some random black neighborhood watchman, I can guarantee you that the headlines would be saying “Life in Prison for Murderer of Unarmed Teen”. It leaves such a sour taste in my mouth and I just hope that this is the first step in some constructive, practical, and concrete changes to the pitfalls of our laws and the overall attitude of people in America.

    Thanks again for your posts, it is open, forward thinkers like yourself who will help to fuel this movement and make things better rather than making them worse.

  • You are a complete moron. I am sick of it,m sick of people like you who do not understand the basics of our legal system, such as the “presumption of innocence” and “reasonable doubt”. The jury found that the prosecution did not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. You are a fuck-faced fool. Shut the fuck up!

    • Okay. Your insights and careful reasoning have convinced me. Not to mention the ad hominems. I sure don’t want to be a fuck-faced fool. Geez, who would?

      So then, the unarmed teenager needed to die. And stand-your-ground statutes have not heedlessly lowered the bar for the use of lethal force. And race doesn’t matter in America.

      Kidding. Yeah. Sorry.

  • Golly Gee Whiz!
    thomasjasengardner Monday, Jul 15, 2013

    Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.
    Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Golly Gee Whiz! Two women on a reality show lost their real life jobs because of their racist diatribes. One girl’s notorious outbursts of gross statements were so often that the public has dubbed her Klan Barbie. Without apologizing, the station took its marketing cues from racist talk show hosts by encouraging these enormous insults. If it draws an audience, it will draw advertising dollars. If it increases profits, the media will squeeze advertising money from sponsors who condone racist behavior.

    Many people in corporate media live in a private buffered world. What they believe in is established from family, friends, neighbors, and the community they live in. Their group psychology believes the whole world feels as racist as they do. The reason for this is simple. Surveys have shown that four out of six white Americans harbor a racist attitude towards black Americans. Such learned perceptions of symbolic racism in television sitcoms, movies, newspapers and social media encourage racism. This collective behavior impedes the true intention of a personal potential for human goodness and self-dignity.
    Once upon a time, a Mississippi governor used police to keep his white university basketball players segregated from black teams. His old-fashioned racism or Jim Crow, believed in the racial inferiority of blacks.
    Southern broods as well as northern offspring are still persistently weaned on the falsehoods supporting black segregation and discrimination. Today’s redneck politicians and conservative social institutions wield the same public discourse of hatred shared by Strom Thurmond, George Wallace and Bulldog Connors. This new strategic move at states rights to segregate jobs and schools is representative of the old Mississippi’s governors reason for segregation; that a black man will rape a white women and then sit in the white’s only restaurant, after using the whites only bathroom.

    Another presidential candidate’s party published a newsletter that extolled the veracious virtues of whites and the villainous inviriility of blacks. A state employment director says he can’t force businesses to hire blacks, even if equal opportunity laws enforce the hiring of blacks with private and public companies using taxpayer money.

    The power of their personal perception and strategic arguments helps to persuade others to categorize and polarize blacks as worthy of apartheids systematic exclusion. A white child learns by age 5 that the superiority of his skin color is relevant for getting a job and doing well in school. This character trait is embedded by the socially shared opinions and attitudes of a child’s community. A black child learns the inferiority of their skin between the ages of 5-11. This derogatory belief is transformed into their popular culture as a fated fact. This psychopathology method of dehumanizing black culture prolongs an exhaustive grief in the life of any black child.
    It has been determined by researchers that most white children live in an environment that encourages a negative bias against blacks. Despite evidence to the contrary, the new Jim Crow teaches white kids to resent how blacks supposedly lack American puritan values. The enhanced polarization of the new Jim Crow fabricates how blacks lack self-reliance, a work ethic along with a tendency towards, drug use, violence and thievery. These common refrains of suburban myths reflect a national trend of unwarranted black discrimination. By going online, it is easy to observe the public discourse of insidious conversation that influences racial hatred.

    A Republican Senators’ son was caught online hooting racist invectives about the lack of black integrity. Another police department withholds arrest records that show a pattern of racial harassment. Politicians are caught making off the cuff remarks about racist stereotypes. Computer game enthusiasts vent racist rants and raves in their world of avatars. Billionaires quote racist jokes about black apartheid. A white southern rock star and a second-generation bluegrass musician take the president to task because of his race.

    American’s cardinal sin is believing that opulency is colorblind. A 60 percent increase in racist hate groups is related to the election of a black president. Many blacks believe it is not possible for these people to conceive a meaningful life with blacks. These white people who vent bigotry and hatred refuse to share a human understanding of God’s values. For them, racial insensitivity is an American birthright.

    Why else would tens of thousands of American baseball fans fanatically oppose a Hispanic singing the national anthem at a baseball game? Why else would hundreds of thousands protest a Cheerio’s commercial that features a mixed race couple. Why else would a computer company erase the prominent image of a black CEO in a group photo of company executives? When political party convention delegates’ yelled racial profanity, threw objects and spat at a black TV camerawomen for being black, the station replaced the black camerawomen with a white cameraperson. They did not want to offend the conservative white audience. It was easier to offend blacks by complying with racist dogma they were inclined to agree with.

    A negative group perception is reinforced by the powerful beliefs, attitudes, and ideologies of those who influence social functions. The action and interaction of the decision makers helps to stereotype and legitimize discrimination because of their inaction. Apparently, if it becomes socially problematic to hire black people it becomes easier to maintain white employees in these positions instead of standing firmly in support of job equality. The racist rhetoric of politicians, businesses, educators, judges, media anchors, and law enforcers follows a national trend of manipulative racist conversations on Twitter, FaceBook, and social blogs. These subtle and indirect discussions help justify discrimination. White dialog uniformly blames blacks for causing the resentment, intolerance and xenophobia behavior of ordinary white people.
    It is ironic that the people who cause apartheid blame the victim for their white privilege. Deliberate policies that maintain entrenched poverty and non-existent economic opportunities are considered irrelevant to a redneck. The appalling disinterest exhibited by gay groups, women’s collectives, and white liberals is proof that we are alone in this fight against racial oppression.

    A couple of southern white dudes use a chain to drag a black man behind their truck, leaving his torn body parts up and down the road. The road gravel disfigured his face so much that his mother could not recognize him. Closer to the Midwest, a few white guys leave their suburban homes in search of a black victim in the city. Finding a lone black man leaving work, they beat him unconscious. Still alive, they ran over him with their car to finish the killing they had left the suburbs to perform.

    No matter that that these young men admitted never having met a black or encountered anyone who has actually experienced negative encounters with blacks. It has become the status quo in America to offer overt and blatant derogatory remarks about blacks and physical retaliation against an unfounded threat. These are reliable signals that the underlying prejudices have a clear relationship to employment, housing, and education discrimination. The personal, institutional or organizations mental models of paranoid delusions about race have been manifested over this country’s history. The primary focus of right wing groups on racial languages, customs, norms, and values is to standardize social inferiority and to strengthen the shared racist ideologies of the dominant group.
    Television cop shows, news reports in the press, school playgrounds, textbooks, social media, and the office cooler is where Americans learn to reproduce prejudice and racism. Surveys have shown that when North Americans talk of sharing humanitarian values of tolerance, equality, and hospitality, they consciously deny such empathy to black recipients. There social, cultural and political ideologies of freedom do not extend to black Americans according to the corporate sponsored billboards displayed in black communities.
    Multiple elements contribute to the rising tide of racial discrimination in America. Still, no one in power wants to assume responsibility for the collaboration of government bureaucrats and corporate executives that impede a response to specific polices, practices, behaviors and attitudes that have been observed and documented as institutional racism. No one in power wants to admit that that racial bias inconspicuously endorses newer forms of institutional racism.
    Both individuals and organizations have a sphere of influence that can change these negative attitudes. Television reality shows can be a powerful agent in the fight against discrimination. The limited cognitive resources expressed in media endorse the ignorance of a country’s human resources. They have an opportunity to create positive intergroup environments within diverse groups of people. After 400 years of structured racism, riding the country of bigotry and hatred is easier said then done.

  • Arriana Huffington = citizen journalist

    David Simon = citizen economist, citizen sociologist, citizen criminologist, citizen penologist.

  • dammit…I spent too much time arguing with strangers on Facebook and missed the chance to argue with strangers here. more fool me.

  • I just wanted to leave this quote by the juror that confirmed what you said about how Stand your Ground while not directly invoked had a direct contribution to the decision the jury reached. This is from her interview with Anderson Cooper.

    “Cooper: Because of the two options you had, second degree murder or manslaughter, you felt neither applied?”

    “JUROR: Right. Because of the heat of the moment and the Stand Your Ground. He had a right to defend himself. If he felt threatened that his life was going to be taken away from him or he was going to have bodily harm, he had a right.”

    • The argument that SYG had no play in this outcome is simply a lie. A talking point put forth by apologists.

      SYG was cited in the judge’s instructions to the jury. Directly.

      It is revolutionary, transformational. There will be more slain unnecessarily as a result. Indeed, this is so already in these states. When the gun lobby writes your laws for you, the body count goes higher.

      And yet if you wander the internet today, there are still fools passionately insisting that SYG wasn’t relevant because Mr. Zimmerman opted for a jury trial. It not only informed the jurors directly, it was a primary influence on the decision by Sanford investigators to lay down in the immediate hours after the slaying, wasting the key window of time when evidence and statements can be obtained. It crippled the case from jump.

      • “SYG was cited in the judge’s instructions to the jury. Directly.”

        besides which, Zimmerman’s immediate release and re-arming by the Sanford police department was justified by the SYG law. how differently might the entire situation have unfolded if it hadn’t even been a factor? lest we forget, the lead investigator on the scene recommended, in no uncertain terms, that Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter.

      • I am glad to hear that someone is shining a llight onthe glaring flaws in our justice system while taking a nuanced look at all the social, economic and racial factors represented by the Trayvon Martin case. When I first heard of SYG, and then when it was cited by a juror as a reason for acquitting Zimmerman, I immediately thought of Yoshihiro Hattori. Ever heard of him?

        Another 17-year-old unarmed kid shot dead by another white man (Randy Peairs) in another state (Louisiana) in another time (October 17,1992). The grand jury also acquitted him of all manslaughter charges despite the fact that the kid was was lost and probably didn’t understand much English. As an American living in Japan, I have tried and failed to understand, let alone explain, why our system allows an armed adult to take a child’s life in the name of “self-defense”, especially when it was so clearly unnecessary.

        Thank you for your thought-provoking take on this issue. I agree with you that the system is broken for those who are unlucky enough to have been born poor, non-white, non-English-speaking or all of the above. I will also put “The New Jim Crow” on my summer reading list to better understand the issues surrounding young African Americans in our country. As a white American woman living overseas, I can sympathize with the struggles of all marginalized people, but especially those who are profiled by accident of birth. When will people stop passing judgment on others for what they look like and start trying to understand who they are? Food for thought…

  • Yeah the other post wont let me go back to previous entries over here as well. Using a desktop computer.

  • There was no trouble at the outdoor prayer meeting last night in the Crenshaw area of Los Angeles. The vast majority of people were upset over the few (80-150) THUGS last night and the real physical assaults (victims knocked to the ground) that resulted in injuries, and the damage to merchants who have nothing to do with any court action in Florida. The THUGS were laughing and smiling as they terrorized the neighborhood. I saw it first hand. When the sun rose this morning the people hospitalized were still in the hospital. When the news cameras left the damage to cars, broken glass storefronts and broken glass doors and the missing and damaged merchandise remained. Lives were impacted by the THUGS. David, your words, “I know it’s hard. I know you want to believe the worst about people who are different than you, but see if there is a better angel to your nature somewhere.” David, you do not know me and I “do not want believe the worst about people who are different than me. I am of mixed heritage and the THUGS were all kinds. The disharmonious things hat happened last night in Los Angeles were not a just a “Complex Reality” but a dangerous reality. Don’t listen to the Out-Of-Towners as they spew their threats.

    • And across this country of 300 millions, living in hundreds of metropolitan areas, that is the singular example, and even there the vast majority of those who participated in the prayer protest were said by the LAPD to be orderly and non-violent. A splinter group of younger protestors broke away in Crenshaw and went wrong.

      But you look past the vast majority of peaceful acts of dissent that occurred nationawide in the initial 48 hours and make your assessment based on singular assessment. Okay, gotcha.

  • While there was a peaceful outdoor prayer meeting, I watched the TOLA (Thugs Of Los Angeles) destroy parts of the Crenshaw area of L.A. last night. TOLA is/are the same grouo of E-COLI (Energized-Coalition of Loud Illiterates) that show up to destroy the area around the Staples Center when the Los Angeles Lakers have a notable event. Innocent people were hurt waiting on bus benches. A reporter and cameraman were assaulted and one was hospitalized. Now the National Action Network is (Al Sharpton) calling for more this Saturday. Don’t be fooled by Sharpton veiled threatening mssage He just deals his Race-Cards from the bottom of the deck, he triggers the opportunistic thugs that result in real physical injuries of innocent people. I hope the local merchants are on the rooftops with some PeaceMakers. I used to be brainwashed with White Guilt. Now I can see Oportunistic Thugs are just that, they are not protesting anything, just destroying because they can take advantage of a chaotic situation.

    • The vast, vast majority of demonstrations are peaceful dissent. So keep calm. As so many others are managing to keep calm. I know it’s hard. I know you want to believe the worst about people who are different than you, but see if there is a better angel to your nature somewhere.

  • Thank you for your seemingly endless patience and commitment to civil, thoughtful discourse. Please accept my apologies for my outbursts — I don’t suffer racism well.

    Agree that the comments only become a problem on a mobile device. I don’t know if this is a wordpress site, but on wordpress, you can limit the number of levels of a comment tree in the settings.


  • I read both essays (the linked as well as the new) on Trayvon and all of the comments. It is mystifying that people are defending Zimmerman’s actions.

    Your willingness to engage continues to impress me. I certainly hope you had a nice relaxant of choice after that!

    And, sincerely, thank you for posting the really racist stuff. We need to be reminded of who and what is out there.

    Agree about the comments section that Dan posted, but man, whomever designed the main page is really talented!

      • If you need some help on making the site responsive (the new hip term for making the same code work on different aspect ratios), I can point you to some resources.

        Have Code, Will Travel.

  • Mr. Simon, I thank you for your extraordinary work and thoughtful postings. Having glanced through some of the comments on your previous post, I think it is to your immense endurance and composure that you responded as frequently and cogently as you did in the face of repetition for that length of time.

  • I must commend you Mr. Simon on your stamina and perseverance for responding to so many comments and for so long. I have to admit that I had to turn off the email notifications after awhile because I couldn’t read through the back-and-forth any longer. My patience for people who can’t mount a serious, reasoned argument or display any evidence of rational thought runs on a shorter fuse on most subjects any more since sizable parts of this country seem to have embraced ignorance as a positive attribute. Your attempt for a higher-minder discussion of the issue presents an oasis of sanity on the Web, but inevitably the commenting trolls drag it down. Thanks again, Mr. Simon.

  • One side note: the comments section on this site is abysmal, design/interface-wise. I assume you know that, and I vaguely recall you having mentioned it. But now that you’re getting so many comments here, I hope you can find the time and energy to fix it sometime soon. On phones, the threads can’t be seen at all past a certain point as they are pushed off the screen.

    I love the overall site design, by the way — the black, the carrion fowl, the despair, the audacity. You should keep all that.

    • Thanks for letting us know about the comment threading on phones; I have adjusted the settings and hope that solves the problem. Thanks for the complement on the logo; I rather like it too.

      • Let’s forgo the ignorant rants and banter with the root word solution.

        And switch to the more interesting issue of

        you explaining your moniker/avatar in full detail…..

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