Did you watch the trial? I did. I work at home and had the trial going on as I worked. I’m sure I saw at least 3/4 of the trial live and heard playbacks of anything important that I missed. If I had been in the jury, I would have voted to acquit him as well.

Do I think George Zimmerman is a racist? Well, yes and no. He’s not your classic Ku Klux Klanner. The state never turned up any blatantly racial statements he had ever made. He did lament to a police operator once that “The assholes always get away.” Some people are reading those words as implicitly racial, but there is no supporting evidence for that assumption.

He had even volunteered in programs that mainly benefited black youth!

At the same time, I think there is little doubt that he profiled the victim, Trayvon Martin. I’m not sure he profiled him because he was black. I think perhaps he would have profiled any male teen walking along in Zimmerman’s neighborhood who had the hood of his hoodie up.

I think the initial mistake was in charging Zimmerman in the first place. The local police decided there was no case and decided not to prosecute. It was only after a clamor orchestrated by Trayvon’s family attorney that the state Attorney General stepped in and forced a prosecution that Zimmerman was charged.

The problem the prosecution faced was that the only eye-witness to the fight between Martin and Zimmerman supported Zimmerman’s story that Trayvon was on top, pounding Zimmerman’s head on the concrete sidewalk. And Zimmerman did have a broken nose. All Martin had was a bullet through the heart, which is allowed in Florida (and in most states, even ones without specific Stand Your Ground laws) if Zimmerman had reason to feel his life was in danger.

In final summations, where generally it is the prosecution explaining the letter of the law and how to apply it, while the defense often appeals to the jury’s feelings rather than their intellect, it was reversed. It was the defense explaining in detail how to apply the law while it was the prosecutors shouting and foaming at the mouth about the injustice of Trayvon Martin’s death. That alone signaled that the prosecution really didn’t trust their own case.

In retrospect, it appears that the local police were right. And, in fact, during cross examination, the lead local investigator admitted that he personally believed Zimmerman’s story based on the facts he discovered. While the judge ordered the jury not to consider that opinion (because it’s an opinion and not a fact), “You can’t un-ring a bell.”

This case should have all of us thinking about assumptions we make regarding young people and especially young black males. Perhaps Florida will reconsider it’s “Stand Your Ground” law which makes it easier to defend oneself with lethal force based merely on a belief that one is in danger of death or severe bodily harm.

I don’t know what actually happened leading up to the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Only George Zimmerman knows that. Did he profile Trayvon? I think he did. Did he profile him racially? The evidence doesn’t support that. Trayvon was probably profiled more as a young male than as a black male. Under his hoodie, his race may not have been evident.

Profiling may be a bad thing but it isn’t an illegal thing. And Zimmerman wasn’t on trial for profiling, but for murder. The state had to prove that Zimmerman had hate in his heart, and that they didn’t do.

The verdict, as dissatisfying as it may be, was the right one based on the facts.

Tags: George, Martin, Trayvon, Zimmerman, profiling, race

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That's an extremely little bit of logic.  As soon as you consider it in the broader context your first order thinking (guns used in violence, ban guns, violence goes away) is found wanting.

Certainly if it were possible to wave a magic wand and make all guns disappear, fewer people would get shot.  We can even test this:  How many people got shot during the tenth century before any guns existed?

Alas this is an atheist site and most of us at least don't believe in magic.

The real issue is violent crime though, not the tools used to commit it.  I really don't care if I get killed or threatened by a mondo two handed sword out of the Crusades versus getting shot.  And violent crime has been on a broad decline of late--no one with a lick of common sense imagines the tenth century had less crime than this one in spite of the total lack of guns.  Furthermore the gun is an unparalleled equalizer as one can make a petite woman tough prey for a 250 lb thug.  Rapes routinely go down in areas where it is made public that law enforcement is encouraging women to arm themselves and train with the weapon--thugs may be amoral dirtbags but they are also opportunistic in their thinking and they suddenly see fewer opportunities when that happens.  Alas some would rather see women raped and strangled with their own pantyhose than see them armed.

It's also pretty damn obvious (on reflection) that passing laws requiring the destruction of firearms (which would be how you make "fewer guns") would simply result in the law abiding--i.e., those who would use a gun for defense--disproportionately giving up their firearms, leaving those guns that do remain in the hands of people who want to start violence with them.  Note that this is true even if passing such a law would somehow reduce the number of guns in the hands of bad guys by 90 percent--which prediction I would simply find ridiculous unless you are contemplating waiting decades if not centuries for that many illegal guns to simply break--because the number of guns in the hands of the law abiding would by definition drop to zero.  The last thing you should want to do is make sure the best weapons are solely in the hands of the bad guys.

Gun violence goes away, yes. Think of all the violence that happens in this country. the most reported version of it is GUN violence. England has outlawed guns, and as a result, they have something like 20 gun deaths per year? We encourage EVERYONE to have a gun, and we have over 6,000 gun deaths per year. Maybe these statistics aren't related, though they very likely are. Canada has nearly as many guns as we do. They have six. That's 6 gun deaths per year. The difference is that their media isn't focused on how screwed up their country is, but focused on actually fixing it. They hunt the solution, not the scapegoat.

I would rather see people stop being such fucking monsters to people. We are currently doing nothing, absolutely nothing about the attitude in this country. Sure there's the 15 second "stop bullying" "stop domestic violence" commercial on tv, but where is the politician or fucking priest for that matter, standing up and telling people to stop hating and fearing your fellow man, to stop being suspicious and paranoid when the average person you see is just like you? Where's the accountability when "news" organizations have thirty minutes of crime reports and 10-15 seconds of a charity building a public park or some such?

I say they should start a massive propaganda campaign telling people to stop being afraid, and be nice to people. They should also start pressing fines on news organizations that continuously beat something to death, usually a death or a murder. They should be able to mention it a maximum of about three times, and then they have to move on to something else.

I'm tired of seeing fearful people on the streets, of being afraid for myself because I'm different and somebody might shoot me because of it.

And btw, most armed robberies go off without a hitch, with no casualties because of a lack of a gun in the "good guy's" possession. Coherent criminals don't want to risk a death penalty when they can get away with a few years for larceny alone. It's anger, fear, and psychological disorders which cause gun violence.

Why fixate on the tool used for the violence?  Do you imagine the violence will cease if the tool goes away?  Or is the gun itself evil, so non-gun violence is somehow better?

Considering that it's only useful purpose is to kill and injure, then yes, I would consider a gun to be inherently evil. A sword or a knife at least have other uses. They also come with a risk of using them that can cause people to reconsider a peaceful solution. The hole in this argument is that people in general, and especially in an emotional state, are stupid.

I do think, H3, that Zimmerman used poor judgment - a shot to the shoulder or leg would have ended the conflict instantly, while likely not taking a life. But in a situation like that - and I've been in two of them - one never knows what they will do until they do it.

It's like when police are asked "Why did you empty your revolver into the suspect when he attacked you?" People who've never been in a life or death situation have no business questioning how someone responds. If someone is coming at you with a knife or a club and they are just 2 or 3 seconds away from you, it's not like you're going to take a single shot and ask "How did you like that, m*therf*cker?!!"

A lot of police in situations like that don't even know how many shots they took until afterward.

Likewise, Zimmerman may have only had time to get the gun out and use it without thinking "Should I shoot him in the shoulder or just get a shot off as quickly as I can?" (A shot to the leg in that position might [a] have been awkward and [b] equally fatal had it hit the femoral artery. Martin's lower leg would have been out of the question.) Zimmerman didn't even know until the next day that his shot had taken Martin's life.

But only a few inches, a few degrees of angle, lie between the shoulder and the heart, with no loss of time for adjustment and no danger of arterial damage.

If the testimony is accurate, the verbal confrontation had ended, and Zimmerman walked away. Martin, though 17, was adult-sized, and pursued the confrontation further, presumably by an attack from the rear. I don't know if Zimmerman had ever been in the service, but one thing you're taught, is that when someone comes at you from behind, he KNOWS exactly where you are, and you can only roughly assume where he is, and therefore, there IS no time for thought, only for instinctive reaction - your life may  well depend on it.

But once the attack was underway, i.e., Zimmerman was on the ground, presumably on the bottom, he knew exactly where his attacker was and what his intentions were, if not to kill him, then at least to beat him senseless or into submission, at which time, in either case, Zimmerman's weapon would have been available to him, and certainly, Zimmerman couldn't be expected to know the outcome of that scenario.

I'm with you all the way, until you say he couldn't have chosen a less deadly shot. Had he been several feet away, possibly not, but at point blank range, certainly.

But only a few inches, a few degrees of angle, lie between the shoulder and the heart, with no loss of time for adjustment and no danger of arterial damage.

Well, let me ask you this: If the jury had as much time to decide Zimmerman's fate as he had to think about where to point his gun, how much would we trust their verdict? That is what is always wrong, in my view, when we give a jury as long as they want to judge a decision someone had to make in and instant and with their head clouded by fear. 

Ever heard of "The fog of war"?

it's not like you're going to take a single shot and ask "How did you like that, m*therf*cker?!!"

Possible argument for a step back to single shot weapons? what if we were to stop selling "lethal" rounds, and people were threatened with rubber bullets, bean bags, and pepper caps?

I'd still rather carry a large sword.

A single shot may not stop the attacker. You seem to be sure people never miss, always stop the attacker with the first shot. 

And that's nonsense.

A gun's useful purposes should include to protect and defend. This is indeed another use other than just killing and injuring. Sometimes it takes killing or injuring to ensure protection. When used for protection, the people they are used against are often stupider than the person with the gun.

This isn't a rebuttal, just a partial explanation, at least as far as the news stories are concerned - all drama involves conflict - for example, if we hadn't have created Satan, along with god, the Bible would be a real snooze. The same is true with news stories - the news business is highly competitive, which means that to garner the highest ratings, stories have to be more dramatic, more exciting, and rescuing kittens from trees or helping little old ladies across the street won't cut it.

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