Sunday, July 14, 2013


7/14/13 a.m.

Inspired by the Zimmerman case I was writing a piece on hope and technology, when, ironically, my computer died in mid-stroke. I write this brief oops post on a borrowed one and will finish my intended piece in days or a week.

My post will not be done before the verdict, as the acquittal has come in yesterday. I am happy, relieved for him, sad that there is talk of a civil rights action and, of course, there will be a civil suit with a lot lower standard of proof for the plaintiffs.

In short, this is my opinion:

There was no evidence of malice or that Zimmerman was looking for a fight at all.  There is no evidence of racism on Zimmerman's part. There was some evidence of racism on Martin's part (though I did not find his friend, who testified to it, the least bit credible and think she might have been trying to help her dead friend/boyfriend and blundered). 

There is evidence that he was a dedicated watch captain and a good neighbor, that he followed the law (his gun was licensed), that the development over which he assisted the neighborhood and police had been subject to much crime, and yes, overwhelmingly or all by young black men.

That the district attorney and police did not see good reason to prosecute, that it he was eventually prosecuted to assuage the accusations of Al Sharpton (and, yes, against him I am biased) and others.

He likely told the truth for the most part. I reserve that he may have exaggerated some of the conversation between the two of them (I have trouble believing Martin said "You are going to die tonight" and am not so sure that Martin went for his gun).

The attorneys behaved with dignity as did the judge, although I think she should have thrown out the murder charge (there was just no evidence supporting malice) and I thought, while doing their job within the bounds we seem okay with (not really me), the prosecution exaggerated a bit and tried to convict him on the flimsiest of facts.

The jury listened and should be proud of their decision.

Some people, whites and blacks, will continue to see this as some sort of white privilege/whitewash. Violence has been minimal, but I think that is because though some believe guilt was proved, it is hard to justify that an acquittal was not called for.

Had my daughter been Martin, I would have expected her to hightail it home even if confronted by Zimmerman as he is accused, or to start screaming, defending herself if physically attacked. If my daughter had been Zimmerman, I would expect her to know better how to defend herself and to carry Mace and a nightstick as well as a gun.

Did Zimmerman have any other options? I don't know for sure. I think though that there was no ground for conviction beyond reasonable doubt.

There is still plenty of racism in this country, but it is a drop compared to what it was a half century ago when I was growing up, and reverse racism against the majority has not only overtaken it, but has the force of law behind it (the rationale being, with some justification, that it was so slanted for so long in the other direction that it needed to be done just to get things to a level playing field); it is time we stop judging by race at all in the law (here I agree with Justice Thomas more than any of the other Supreme Court Justices).
For now, I am going to the beach where even, and I'm happy about this, my cell doesn't work.

7/15/13 p.m.

Returning to this because I have been really bothered by what I am hearing and seeing in public and in private conversations.

I spoke yesterday with a very rational guy I know about ten years. He is fairly moderate on a number of issues but I have always thought left on race - by that I mean he seemed to easily see racism where I saw none. We discussed the Zimmerman case and he was offended by the No Retreat defense (Stand Your Ground) - a defense that was waived at the beginning of the case - because Zimmerman had nowhere to retreat - his back was on the ground - and because it would have clouded other issues. His source of course was the media.

Over and over again on television and the radio I am hearing about No Retreat, illegal gun (it was legal), no justice (what would have been justice? - if Z did not have a gun and was beaten to death?) This morning I heard a Fox host, Eric Bolling (how he managed to morph his career as a commodities trader who had a business show about on CNBC, then Fox, to a political commentator on the Fox show prime time show The Five, is hard to understand). He is hardly a favorite of mine, but his opponent, Eliot Spitzer, I revile as a politician (and not because of his scandal but because he is cutthroat), even if he is trying to be soft-spoken and radiate warmth now, is much less of one. Spitzer took positions that were not only wrong, but dangerous - he stated that even if the legal conclusion was correct - self defense is a valid defense - justice had not been done because a child was killed.

First of all - child? In Florida, it was legal for him to have sex (with someone under 24) since he was 16. At the same time as this phenomena of justice, Kiera Wilmot, age 16, a good kid according to her principal - is BEING TRIED AS AN ADULT BECAUSE HER UNASSIGNED SCIENCE PROJECT BLEW UP! She thought it would make smoke.  I kid you not. Martin was big enough to break Z's nose and pummel him. The evidence of that is fairly overwhelming - other than the embarrassment of the prosecutors and Martin's family claiming that it was he who was crying for help.

People are acting as if Martin was a baby or a little boy, not the kid who was suspended from school, who asked a friend if he had a gun he could get, whose mother through him out of the house  and referred to himself as a gangsta (these are from Martin's own texts [.]). They are acting as if and saying that he was innocent - that is, not committing a crime by attacking Z. Maybe I am repeating myself, but then I say again - even if there were any proof whatsoever that Z was racially profiling, Martin can't attack him.

Does it matter to these people that prosecution witness, the lead detective, stated that he believed Z? Does it matter to them that Florida was not going to prosecute for lack of evidence and was politically forced to get an outside prosecutor solely for the purposes of bringing charges against him? That the federal government actually our spent money sending advisors to the protesters so that Z would be arrested?

I say again, my vast and diverse audience (Don is a Martian) that this is yet one more example of the perils of partisanship, this idiotic, symbiotic, fratricidal, co-dependant psychosis we pretend is just politics. And, just when I thought of all the dumb things that liberals and conservatives believe, that the conservative argument that marriage is the one word in the English language (or any language) that cannot change, was possibly the dumbest argument anyone could come up with, liberals are out in force arguing that Z, who suffered through the worst year of his life and has to live with the fact that if nothing else, had he been able to defend himself, most of this probably would not have happened (other than possibly Martin being arrested for breaking his nose), should be tried on federal civil rights grounds. For what? Are neighborhood watch not allowed to call in the police if the person they are suspicious of is black?  Are they not allowed to answer the question asked by the dispatcher - what color is he? 

I can't think what this is about but people arguing that a supposed white man (though some would say he was not white, or at least bi-racial - I don't know what he considers himself) may not shoot and kill a black man in self defense without justice requiring that the white man at least go to jail. And that's crazy.

And no, I wouldn't care if Z was from Kenya and Martin from Iceland. It would be the same. Color should have nothing to do with this.

Martin's lawyer had it right when he said to the jury - even if you think maybe Z acted in self defense, you must acquit. That's the law, not just in Florida, but everywhere.  I wouldn't argue so vociferously if I had not watched much of the trial and so much commentary, and if the media was bothering to be even remotely fair, in general.



  1. Allow me to put in my two cents from Mars. (Although on Mars we don't call them cents we call them Marvins). I agree with your assessment of the case from a legal point of view. This case never should have been brought. The political pressure that swayed the "Special Prsecutor" Corey (who is as dangerous an apparatchik as ever existed in Stalin's day)is, as far as I'm concerned tantamount to misconduct. I am in agreement with Dershowitz who believes that this type of political persecution should cause her to be disbarred. When politicians can whisper in the ear of prosecutors and have major criminal charges brought without basis we are all at risk. I am not much less sanguine about the actual prosecutors who handled the case. I know they probably didn't pick the case but they should have refused to try it. We demand that soldiers refuse to follow illegal orders and I believe that this travesty was not a legitimate legal proceeding and amonted to an illegal proceeding. I actually found John Guy to be more odious than de la Rionda. His constant intoning of Martin as a child was nauseating and hypocritical. I would love to check some of his trial transcripts where he has prosecuted 17 year old (as adults. I'm sure he never referred to them as "children".
    Unfortunately, I have experienced teh same stupidity and willful ignorance from many people who seem to know about this case what they read in NY Times headlines or heard on MSNBC. And if I tried to bring out any of the actual details I was met with either outright disbelief(You are lying)to indifference- well he still didn't need to shoot him. It makes we want to scream.
    I don't know if anyone remenbers the Robert Ayoub shooting at Adelphi back in 79 or 80 (therabouts). You were probably there and remember but for any of your readers a Garden City Police Officer shot and killed an unarmed student -who also happened to be trying to beat the shit out the cop. I met with the same reactions then..."oh the cop should have taken a beating instead of shooting". The concept of self defense is ancient and isn't something that we thought of yesterday...I don't know why it is being treated that way in this acse. And that has nothing to do with "Stand Your Ground" which is a concept and doctrine that I wholly support. And people who think that this has anything to do with the Zimmerman case are really stupid because not only is it inapplicable if one is lying on his back and CANNOT retreat; but it was waived as defense in this case prior to the trial. The bottom line is that sometimes people(especially young people) will be badly hurt or killed because they act their age. It is sad but a fact of life.I look at how I acted when I was 17 (and even a lot older) and I was lucky that something like this didn't happen to me because I know how I was then. If someone like Zimmerman had approached me the least he would have gotten was a response from my middle finger. And mayby I would have ended up dead. But the fact that we now let the state bring charges like here is a much graeter danger. Another fact of life is that not every perceived wrong should be treated as a criminal act. And that's the word from Mars.

  2. I will add only three thoughts. First, I think you just wrote your first blog post, complete with autobiographical reference. Second,the behavior of the media, the violent protestors (most are not, but way too many are) even the cloying celebrities, sets back the cause of true civil rights and inflames racial hatred. Third, President Obama literally opened his mouth at the onset and helped inflame passions. He should open his mouth again. He is running a country with far too much civil unrest. Will people be more satisfied if someone becomes permanently injured or dies? If he wants unrest, then he is even a worse president than I thought. I find it hard to believe. But, if it is not, he had really better start acting more presidential. He can't do that by half measures. He can't say bad decision, but what can you do? He has to at least say that the jury made a reasonable decision and what we need now is to move on.

    Thanks for your comment, Don from Mars.

    1. the ignorance of the media continues to astound. And it is creating an ignorance of the masses (see number of incumbents re-elected in last national election despite supposed huge dissatisfaction with their job performance). What surprises me is how almost everyone is ignoring the fact that this is a black-hispanic situation, not a black - white one. Even that basic fact has been twisted. Zimmerman considers himself of Peruvian descent and marks hispanic on demographic information. If we can't get that straight, why is anything after that credible? And so many of my supposedly rational acquaintances are on facebook posting about how they can't sleep at night because of the verdict. what crap. Were they in the courtroom with the same access to the evidence as the jury? What makes them think they have any right to weigh in on the verdict based solely on what they media has fed them? Feh on them.

  3. Uh oh. When Bear, Don and I are all lined up on the same side of an issue, I'm pretty sure it means that the world is going to end.


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About Me

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I started this blog in September, 2006. Mostly, it is where I can talk about things that interest me, which I otherwise don't get to do all that much, about some remarkable people who should not be forgotten, philosophy and theories (like Don Foster's on who wrote A Visit From St. Nicholas and my own on whether Santa is mostly derived from a Norse god) and analysis of issues that concern me. Often it is about books. I try to quote accurately and to say when I am paraphrasing (more and more). Sometimes I blow the first name of even very famous people, often entertainers. I'm much better at history, but once in a while I see I have written something I later learned was not true. Sometimes I fix them, sometimes not. My worst mistake was writing that Beethoven went blind, when he actually went deaf. Feel free to point out an error. I either leave in the mistake, or, if I clean it up, the comment pointing it out. From time to time I do clean up grammar in old posts as, over time I have become more conventional in my grammar, and I very often write these when I am falling asleep and just make dumb mistakes. It be nice to have an editor, but . . . .