Monday, March 19, 2012

His name is Trayvon Martin



This was a kid doing nothing but walking down the street. Well, walking down the street while black.

Some puffed-up, self-important vigilante with a gun thought that he was suspicious and called the police. So far, no problem, not really. You can, and should, call the police when you think you're seeing something suspicious.

But this guy, this George Zimmerman, had a gun. And so he followed Trayvon Martin in his car and ended up shooting him dead. The boy was unarmed.

There was no reason for this, none whatsoever. Did they get into a fight? Maybe, but so what? Martin was unarmed and on foot. Zimmerman was in a car, with a gun. If there was a fight, he had to have instigated it.

But the crazy thing is that he hasn't been arrested for murder. The Florida legislature, like so many Republican legislatures around the country, is making murder legal. Yeah, it's this macho bullshit about "standing your ground." And, of course, everyone needs to be carrying a gun, right?

This is just complete insanity. This is what we've come to - the obsession with guns and gun rights, combined with racism and fear, leading to bloody tragedy yet again. Yes, Zimmerman is at fault here, but so is every Florida legislator who voted for that "stand your ground" law.

There's more at Mother Jones. An excerpt:
Zimmerman told police he'd acted in self-defense. ABC News reports that he had wanted to be a police officer, and Sanford police didn't test him for drugs or alcohol after the shooting (such tests are standard practice in homicide investigations). He was licensed to carry his gun, and police initially told Martin's father that they hadn't pressed charges because Zimmerman was a criminal justice student with a "squeaky clean" record.

That wasn't entirely true, however; in 2005, Zimmerman was arrested for "resisting arrest with violence and battery on a law enforcement officer"; those charges were dropped. Media investigations and Martin family attorneys suggest that Zimmerman was a vigilante with "a false sense of authority" in search of young black men in his neighborhood. Police records show Zimmerman had called 911 a total of 46 times between Jan. 1 and the day he shot Martin. (Florida guidelines for licensed gun owners state: "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman.") ...

Zimmerman may have benefited from some of the broadest firearms and self-defense regulations in the nation. In 1987, then-Gov. Bob Martinez (R) signed Florida's concealed-carry provision into law, which "liberalized the restrictions that previously hindered the citizens of Florida from obtaining concealed weapons permits," according to one legal analyst. This trendsetting "shall-issue" statute triggered a wave of gun-carry laws in other states. (Critics said at the time that Florida would become "Dodge City.") Permit holders are also exempted from the mandatory state waiting period on handgun purchases.

Even though felons and other violent offenders are barred from getting a weapons permit, a 2007 investigation by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel found that licenses had been mistakenly issued to 1,400 felons and hundreds more applicants with warrants, domestic abuse injunctions, or gun violations. (More than 410,000 Floridians have been issued concealed weapons permits.) Since then, Florida also passed a law permitting residents to keep guns in their cars at work, against employers' wishes. The state also nearly allowed guns on college campuses last year, until an influential Republican lawmaker fought the bill after his close friend's daughter was killed by an AK-47 brandished at a Florida State University fraternity party.

Florida also makes it easy to plead self-defense in a killing. Under then-Gov. Jeb Bush, the state in 2005 passed a broad "stand your ground" law, which allows Florida residents to use deadly force against a threat without attempting to back down from the situation. (More stringent self-defense laws state that gun owners have "a duty to retreat" before resorting to killing.) In championing the law, former NRA president and longtime Florida gun lobbyist Marion Hammer said: "Through time, in this country, what I like to call bleeding-heart criminal coddlers want you to give a criminal an even break, so that when you're attacked, you're supposed to turn around and run, rather than standing your ground and protecting yourself and your family and your property."

Again, the Sunshine State was the trendsetter: 17 states have since passed "stand your ground" laws, which critics call a "license to kill" or a "shoot first" law.

35 comments:

Chimeradave said...

I'm so glad that this has hit the media and this guy Zimmerman will most likely get what he deserves. But it does make me wonder in how many other towns does stuff like this get swept under the rug? The scary thing to me is the way the Sanford police rubber stamped the case. I pray that it is not like this in other towns and other precincts, but I fear that being black in a white neighborhood is still a "crime" in some places. We have come so far and yet the scourge of racism is still all too present in some places.

WCG said...

Unfortunately, there were other examples in that Mother Jones article, John. And in general, they did seem to get swept under the rug.

Florida is part of the Deep South. I hope that other parts of the country aren't this bad, but I suspect that many are.

Tango Juliet said...

Sigh.... trial by public opinion once again.

We know "A" and we know "D" but we don't know "B" and "C" yet some have Zimmerman convicted already.

Zimmerman should have never gotten out of his vehicle. He should have stayed put and called it in.

He got out of his vehicle. Beyond that, not much is certain, other than Zimmerman shot Martin.

But go ahead, blame guns. Blame the NRA. Blame racism.

It's the adult, responsible thing to do.

WCG said...

We won't ever know some of it, Tango Juliet, because Trayvon is dead. We'll never hear his side of what happened, only Zimmerman's. So what do we know?

Blame guns? Zimmerman was armed with a handgun. Trayvon was unarmed. Without that gun, the worst that would have happened is a fistfight. Without that gun, both people would be alive right now, and we'd be able to hear both sides of what happened.

Furthermore, that gun probably made Zimmerman brave enough, macho enough, to confront Trayvon (who was, after all, doing nothing wrong). Zimmerman disobeyed the 911 operator. Why? Well, he had a gun.

Blame the NRA? It's been the NRA pushing these idiotic "stand your ground" laws all around the country, and fighting against even common sense gun restrictions, too. Without the NRA, this might still have happened (or maybe not), but Zimmerman would have been arrested immediately (and I wouldn't have needed to blog about it).

Blame racism? Zimmerman used a racial slur in his 911 call. He had a habit of calling in reports about young black men. The town itself had a racist past. The police department, too.

It's pretty obvious, I'd say, that Zimmerman wouldn't have thought that a white kid walking down the sidewalk was "suspicious." And I seriously doubt that the police would have treated him so well if he'd shot an unarmed white kid, either. (Heck, Zimmerman even had a criminal record!)

I don't know if all of that is true, though it sounds very reasonable to me. Doesn't it to you? However, let's get to the main part of this, why "some have Zimmerman convicted already."

That's because he wasn't arrested. He wasn't even disarmed. If Zimmerman had been arrested and charged with murder - or even a lesser crime like involuntary manslaughter - none of this would be news, outside the local community.

The only reason Zimmerman is being "convicted" in blogs like mine is because he's perfectly free to kill again. If he'd been arrested and charged with the death, I would have had nothing to write about.

And his guilt or innocence could have been decided in a courtroom, where it should have been in the first place.

I would, indeed, say that it's the "adult, responsible thing to do" to call attention to something like this, wouldn't you? If Zimmerman had been facing court in the first place, there would have been no need for it. But that wasn't the case.

If you disagree, please explain why.

Tango Juliet said...

Wow! You get a lot of exercise jumping to conclusions, don't you? :)

Um... true enough, the dispatch asked/told him to stay in his truck. What authority does the dispatcher have over private citizens?

Zimmerman should not have left his truck. There was no need for confrontation. He screwed up royally.

However, after that, we don't know who the aggressor was, do we? Any eyewitness reports Martin on top of Zimmerman, punching him. Zimmerman was crying out for help. Was he at that point in time in fear for his life?

Yes, he may have been.

Martin had broken no laws. Zimmerman hadn't broken any either by following Martin. Again, he was stupid for leaving the safety of his vehicle.

Fistfights kill too. Every year, a significant percentage of murders occur in the US by folks using just their hands and feet.

Educate yourself on "disparity of force."

I've listened to the 911 call transcripts. I did not hear any racial slurs used.

And common sense gun laws? Please. Everything offered by anti's is supposed to be accepted as "reasonable" or "common sense." What's "reasonable" or "common sense" about passing laws that only the law-abiding will obey? We don't even enforce gun laws that are already on the books and you want more? How enforcing existing laws?

For example, in 2005, the Burger King in Columbus was held up by a felon, using a gun. The gun charges, which would have meant that the sentences meted out would have to be served consecutively but no, the gun charges were plea bargained away.

What's the point?

I get it that you don't like the NRA. You don't like guns. You don't like armed private citizens. Good for you. That's your decision you get to make for yourself.

However, you don't get to make those decisions for me.

I just don't see how anyone can be so positive about Zimmerman's guilt at this point in time. I'm not certain about his innocence but I do remember that we are all innocent until proven guilty.

Let's let the system do its job rather than possibly engaging in mob mentality and lynching a man who has yet to be proven guilty of a crime in a court of law.

Zimmerman certainly was stupid but it that's a crime, then who among us would still be free to walk the streets?

WCG said...

Um, it's actually Trayvon who's not still free to walk the streets, you know. And I never claimed that Zimmerman broke any laws by leaving his vehicle. It's that slight matter of shooting to death an unarmed kid that kind of bothers me.

Note that you're the one who brought up the NRA. Why? Let's skip all those overly-broad charges about my not "liking" guns and stick with the point here. (I've actually owned guns - hunting weapons - most of my life.)

The point, as I said in my previous reply, is that Zimmerman was not arrested and not charged with anything. The right place to determine guilt or innocence is in a courtroom, but that wasn't going to happen, was it?

That's the whole point of the outrage across this country. Sure, there's the whole problem of how "walking while black" is considered "suspicious." There's the issue of armed vigilantes killing unarmed kids because of racial profiling.

But this tragic incident wouldn't have become such a big deal if Zimmerman had been arrested. After all, we don't know what happened. Trayvon is dead, so we only have Zimmerman's account. Do you believe him? He did shoot an unarmed young person who was minding his own business. You just can't get around that.

The few "eyewitness" accounts are poor and contradictory. Was Zimmerman yelling for help, or was Trayvon? And what led up to that? All we know is that an armed stranger accosted an unarmed kid who was minding his own business. And the kid ended up dead. Any police in the nation would have arrested the shooter, you'd think.

And it's funny that you think Zimmerman is perfectly justified in killing an unarmed black kid, but the kid wasn't justified in hitting an armed stranger who was threatening him. Why not? You see, we really don't know what happened after Zimmerman accosted Trayvon.

The police assumed that Zimmerman was innocent because Trayvon was black. That's the point. You know things would have been different if Trayvon had been white and Zimmerman black. As it is, the police just shrugged it off.

I'd accept a jury's decision, just as you undoubtedly accepted the jury's decision in the O.J. Simpson case, right? But there wasn't going to be a jury decision in this case. That's the point.

Tango Juliet said...

I don't think Zimmerman was perfectly justified unless of course, it was Martin who attacked him and there seems to be some evidence that is what happened, i.e., at some point in time Martin attacked Zimmerman.

Again, it's that "disparity of force" thing at work again, something that every CCW permit holder is made aware of in their training but something that non-permit holders can't quite seem to grasp.

Shooting an unarmed individual when one feels their life or their physical well being is in jeopardy is justifiable use of lethal force. However, they had better be able to articulate that to the proper authorities. "Stand your ground" isn't a license to kill and it's not "shoot first." It simply clarifies the defender's responsibilities in the face of imminent threat to life and limb.

Of course, had Zimmerman used his head and stayed in his vehicle, none of this would have happened. However, the fact that Zimmerman left his vehicle doesn't prove that Zimmerman's intent was to shoot or harm Martin in any way.

Zimmerman was arrested. Pictures of him in handcuffs at the police station abound on the 'net. The police investigated this incident and obviously found his actions within the law. I don't believe for a second that in the tediously PC day and age we live in that a massive coverup by "the good ol' boy network" could actually be successful. The police assumed? Maybe they did. Maybe they didn't but it's readily apparent that you're quite willing to make major assumptions about what actually happened that fateful night. You seem quite willing to assume that Zimmerman is a racist and the shooting was racially motivated.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/24/us-usa-florida-shooting-idUSBRE82N0CU20120324

The police just shrugged it off? I need proof of that.

Put away your lynchin' rope and wait for the investigation to conclude.

And reading various posts here on your blog, it's readily apparent you're no fan of the NRA. I'm actually shocked to learn you own guns, huntin' or otherwise. However, I don't think you fully understand the origin and intent of the 2A, regardless of what you may or may not own.

WCG said...

Tango Juliet, we don't know what happened, and we probably never will, not in detail. After all, Trayvon Martin is dead. All we have is Zimmerman's side of it.

Did Martin feel threatened? Wouldn't you? Should he have been meek and mild, just "yes, sir" and "no, sir" to Zimmerman, despite the older man's complete lack of authority? Yes, as it turned out. But I can understand the anger of being made to feel you're a second-class citizen (at best).

Is that what happened? We don't know. Did Martin attack Zimmerman first? We don't know. Did Martin hit Zimmerman in a desperate attempt to save himself? We don't know. But what do we know?

We know that if Zimmerman hadn't had a gun, they'd both be alive right now. OK, sure, anything could have happened. An asteroid could have come down and killed us all.

But most likely, Zimmerman would never have left his vehicle without his steel courage. And if he had, the worst that would have happened was a fistfight. Have you ever been in a fistfight? No one died, did they?

So what's do you think is the lesson here, that both of them should have been armed? And then the first one to feel threatened should have shot first? Of course, if the black kid had killed Zimmerman, rather than the other way around, he wouldn't have been treated so well by the police, would he?

Neighborhood watch is perfectly fine. Zimmerman had a phone, which is all he needed. But no, he had to have a gun, too. And so we have this tragedy.

Armed criminals would frighten me, true. But armed morons, armed cowards who need a gun to feel adequate, scare me a whole lot more. I've never actually met a criminal, but I've known a lot of morons. And it's frightening how many of them are racist gun nuts. Like Zimmerman, by all reports.

"Stand your ground" is a license to kill, when you don't leave your opponent alive to dispute your story. Here's the result of Florida's law. (But no doubt it helps to be white, especially in the South.) Zimmerman killed an unarmed 17-year-old who was minding his own business! And without people objecting to this, he would have gotten away with it (and still might).

I don't know if he's legally at fault - a jury needs to decide that - but this is his fault. It's not illegal to be stupid. But it is illegal - usually - to kill someone because of your stupidity.

And yes, I think the NRA is an extremist organization. In a rational country, they'd have zero political power. That's not America, unfortunately.

I don't usually post about the NRA, because I've got too much to blog about already. And what's the point? That's pretty much a dead issue in America these days. So I'm just waiting for my pocket nuke. (Hey, nuclear weapons don't kill people. People kill people!)

Tango Juliet said...

You need to get out more. Certainly there are "racist gun nuts" but believe it or not, they're outnumbered by decent, clear thinking "gun nuts." (and believe it or not, there are racists on your side of the fence too.) Just how many CCW permit holders do you know and have you ever had conversations with them? Do you have any clue as to what really motivates CCW permit holders? Or does Sarah Brady have it right?

Or are you basing your opinions on "those who need guns to feel adequate" strictly on what the TV tells you to think? Are you sure you're not projecting your shortcomings onto others?

It's certainly fine in America these days to publicly profess negative pre-conceived notions about gun owners (a sad but apparently allowable bigotry) and no one is penalized for likewise lumping all NRA members into the same basket. It's encouraged I believe.

It's the very politically correct thing to do after all. It's cool. It's hip and no one has to think things through.

Naturally I believe all responsible adults should have the choice as to whether they are armed. Free men and women are armed. Slaves are not. The dangers posed by an armed citizenry are greatly exaggerated by the opposition. Nebraska's 5+ years of experience with CCW is testimony to that fact.

Are there morons out there with guns? Certainly. But as I recall, the 2A doesn't hinge on a citizen's IQ. (Just like the other nine in the BOR)

I abhor the mentality that demands we punish or restrict the rights of the many because of the misdeeds of the few. I left that kind of thinking behind in kindergarten where we all had to put our heads on our desks 'cause little Billy acted up. It is simply wrong to base our freedoms on the actions of the lowest common denominator within our society.

Odds are very, very good you've been in close proximity to a CCW permit holder in the last five years, yet here you are, alive and undamaged.

It can be done and millions and millions of responsible US citizens do it everyday and have done so for years without incident. Surely there will be those who screw up but by and large, they're in a distinct minority. And again, those screw ups should not determine everyone else's freedoms.

In fact, CCW permit holders are the most law abiding groups in our midst. Years of Texas Dept of Public Safety stats indicate this to be true:

http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/administration/crime_records/chl/convrates.htm

Zimmerman's a racist? I'm not so sure.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/george-zimmermans-attorney-friend-speak-trayvon-martin-incident/story?id=15999256#.T3oMbY4bcri

Zimmerman's case is being thoroughly investigated. We'll soon know what transpired and hopefully we can all put the hyperbole and conjecture behind us.

WCG said...

Well, Tango Juliet, your last line is one I can agree with, at least. And note that this case is only being "thoroughly investigated" because of concerns like mine. It's only happening because of the outrage about this shooting.

The rest of it, well, is there anything to say about that? Apparently, I struck a nerve. I didn't mean to imply anything about you, personally. After all, I don't know you.

This is Nebraska, so I've known a lot of gun nuts. Some of them have been friends of mine. I still think they're nuts, but we can agree to disagree.

As far as the Second Amendment goes, it's open to interpretation. After all, it's not exactly clear. Too many commas. (Yes, I know. If you take away the commas, then only outlaws will have commas.)

But I'm not against gun ownership. How could I be? But even Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion have limits. Reasonable gun control laws would not be a violation of the Constitution, however you interpret the Second Amendment.

It's not a choice between freedom and slavery. Really, it isn't.

I don't think it does America any good to have hysterics about such things - and yes, the NRA does just that. Reasonable, rational people should be able to come to a compromise - assuming they're not armed, of course. :)

Tango Juliet said...

In the early 1900's, there were no gun control laws. Anybody could buy guns in the US, yet crime rates were low. Those icky semi-auto handguns and rifles were available then, yet crime rates were low.

Are the guns available now somehow more dangerous? Do the ones available now somehow operate independently of human hands?

What has changed, guns or people?

I'll tell ya what. Take any one of your "reasonable" gun control laws and apply them to the sale and possession of alcohol. Show me the law works. If public safety TRULY is your goal, and given the fact that every year there are twice as many alcohol related deaths as there are firearms related deaths, you should have no trouble advocating for "reasonable" alcohol control laws. Provided of course, public safety truly is your concern. Think of it!! None of those pesky Constitutional questions to deal with. No mouth breathing cousin humping NRA membership to overcome. It should be a piece of cake!

Prove to me your "reasonable" laws (whatever they are) work on the scourge of alcohol, then we'll talk.

I'll toss in this link, in case someone should be interested in learning more about the origins, intent and meaning of the 2A.

http://www.guncite.com/index.html

Tango Juliet said...

I finally found what I was looking for. The link had changed.

A historical look at the origins and meaning of the 2A:

http://www.guncite.com/journals/hardhist.html

A long read but well worth one's time, provided one is actually interested in gaining knowledge about this sort of thing.

WCG said...

Tango Juliet, they had gun control laws even in the Wild West, in Dodge City and Tombstone (not very effective ones, I suspect, but maybe better than nothing). You can pick out anecdotes from the past to make whatever point you want, I suspect.

But this isn't the early 1900s. And it's never going to be the early 1900s, ever again. For good and bad (mostly good, but not entirely), the world is different now. It's easy to look back at the past through rose-colored glasses, but what's the point? We live in a completely different time.

And are you really saying that our laws about alcohol and guns should be exactly the same? We regulate automobiles, heroin, and baby food, too. Should those regulations all be identical?

How about nuclear weapons? Well, maybe you do think that nukes shouldn't be regulated. After all, it's freedom vs slavery, right? I'm no slave, so where's my nuke? :)

See, this is the problem I have with the NRA. It's all black and white with them. Even the most basic, most reasonable restrictions - not even "control," really - is freedom vs slavery to them. It's immediately a matter of prying their gun from their cold dead fingers. It's all black and white.

That's my problem with fanatics. In reality, there are multiple shades of gray. Things are seldom, if ever, black and white. Reasonable people could compromise on reasonable gun control laws. But the NRA isn't reasonable.

But honestly, we're getting way off on a tangent here, aren't we? This has little to do with my original post, and I really don't have time for tangents - much as I'm always tempted by them. :)

WCG said...

Thanks for the link, Tango Juliet, but I don't have time for links right now. I don't even have time for these replies, not really. I'm just swamped.

Spring is my busiest time of year. I've had to cut back on blogging, I'm getting further and further behind in emails, and... well, I just can't do everything.

Note that I've read various opinions about the Second Amendment. There are really quite a variety! There's certainly no consensus about it, and I'm not sure how to decide who to believe. But it's been awhile since I read them.

However, you might be interested in this article from the Atlantic about the history of gun control (and the NRA) in this country. It doesn't push one side or another. I just thought it was fascinating, when I read it last fall. (I never blogged about it.)

But if you're not interested, just skip it. Unfortunately, there's never enough time for everything, is there?

Tango Juliet said...

Nope, there's not enough time. This is a very busy time of the year what with the weather and all that comes with it.

Thanks for the link.

Tango Juliet said...

Ah yes, Dodge City. The "Deadline". South of tracks, the "deadline", there were the saloons, the brothels and the gun bans. 15 violent deaths during Dodge City's 15 year heyday as a wild n' wooly "cow town", all of which occurred south of the "deadline." North of the tracks, no gun bans, no violent deaths.

Hmmmm....

I simply ask you to push for "reasonable" alcohol control schemes modeled after your "reasonable" (vaguely defined, but always "reasonable") gun control laws to allow you to demonstrate your sincerity. Frankly I have my doubts. I have a sneaking suspicion this is more about your personal feelings towards the NRA and the "morons" at the range than a desire for enhanced public safety.

Peddle to the people "reasonable" alcohol control. Tell them that, yes even though the overwhelming majority of people do manage to use alcohol responsibly every day of every year, we must enact alcohol control laws because a tiny percentage in our midst abuse alcohol. And maybe, maybe, just maybe, they might do something wrong with alcohol someday.

It's an insult. It's demeaning. And it's EXACTLY the same logic you use to push for your "reasonable" gun laws, whatever they may be.


Show me you're sincere in your beliefs.

What's so magical about gun control laws anyway? You act as if they are actually effective. What makes you think those bent on murder n' mayhem will comply with any gun law?

Prohibition and the "War on Drugs" provide ample evidence that government bans don't prevent motivated people from obtaining the banned item. Restrictions help create vigorous and reinforce black markets; that's all they do.

Supply and demand. If there's a demand, there will always be a supply.

Yeah, I know, you can point to Great Britain which as we all know has strict gun control laws and they have far lower gun related deaths. They also have higher rates of violent crime and "hot" burglaries.

Then, on the other side of the coin, there's Switzerland. All kinds of those nasty, evil, awful looking full auto "assault rifles" in most every household as mandated by the Swiss government as part of their militia. Using the logic of the gun controllers, rivers of blood should be flowing through the streets of every canton, but yet, the Swiss manage to have one of the lowest murder rates in the world, year after year after year.

I refer to the Swiss experience and our own history in the early 20th century as a way to point out that maybe it's not the gun's fault. Maybe it's the person behind the gun. Maybe it's easier to enact laws to regulate inanimate objects and appear to have actually done something.

I want lower crime rates, as I'm sure you do as well. My solution, as I've mentioned earlier, is to actually punish the actual criminals in our midst rather than treat otherwise honest citizens as potential criminals. Read the papers. Note how many times gun charges are plea bargained away here in Nebraska and elsewhere.

If you're not prepared to punish the REAL criminals in our midst, don't come to me telling me that I must allow further restrictions on my fundamental freedoms.

That's not reasonable.

And as far as nukes go, I'd pose much less of a threat to society with ten nukes in my basement than say, Charles Manson would pose armed with a slingshot.

It's a matter of attitude. That can't be regulated or controlled. No matter how noble or sincere the intent, morality cannot be legislated.

Brush this off as "fanaticism" all you like. You know I'm right.

WCG said...

You'd pose no threat with ten nukes in your basement, therefore nukes should be legal and freely available to all? After all, it's just a matter of attitude, right? And that can't be regulated or controlled?

Charles Manson killed people even without nukes, so there's no point in keeping nukes from him? After all, we don't want to "legislate morality," do we? Whether a psychotic murderer has a slingshot, an assault rifle, or a nuclear bomb, it makes no difference, because killers are going to kill anyway?

Personally, I'd fear Charles Manson a lot more if he had nukes, or even a gun, than if he only had a slingshot. OK, maybe he could kill me with a slingshot, but not nearly so easily. And while he was killing me, at least other people could escape.

Yes, yes, I know the slogan: "Guns don't kill people, people kill people." (So why bother giving our soldiers guns? Why waste all that money equipping our military with weapons, when "guns don't kill people"? Clearly, our soldiers would be just as effective bare-handed, then.)

It's not the gun that kills people, right? It's the person pulling the trigger. So let's give that person the most efficient way to kill large numbers of people quickly, shall we? Explain to me why that's not complete insanity.

Reasonable people don't talk in slogans. Reasonable people see problems and work to find solutions. And reasonable people can do this with guns, just as they can with everything else. They won't be perfect solutions, no doubt, but I don't ask for perfection. Reasonable people don't expect perfection, not in the real world.

(Apparently, you don't like plea bargains, huh? But those save us taxpayers money. Without those gun laws to plea bargain away (as you claim), we'd have a harder time getting confessions and we'd have to send all those cases to trial. So it seems like a win/win to me. What don't you like about it?

(But those things are just digressions, anyway. You seem to be throwing out one thing after another in a desperate attempt to change the subject. Why is that? And note that we're not talking about "legislating morality," not in the slightest. That's just a strawman. Or a diversion. I have to wonder why.)

"Reasonable" gun control laws can be debated by reasonable people. Reasonable people won't all agree, not on everything, but why would that prevent us from accomplishing some things? But the NRA isn't reasonable. The NRA just opposes everything.

And, as I say, it's not all black and white. It's not that simplistic "freedom vs slavery." It's not a matter of prying your gun from your cold, dead hand. That's how fanatics talk, not reasonable people.

For example, we can register guns. We can use ammo identification - if not now, then eventually (it might not be ready for prime-time yet, I don't know). These are ways to catch the criminals who use guns, and they don't take away your Precious.

(Note that, at the Republican National Convention in Florida this year, protestors can't bring water pistols or pea shooters, but thanks to state law, they can bring guns. How stupid is that? They can't bring anything which could possibly be used as a weapon,... but they can bring all the guns they want!)

At any rate, as I said before, this is way off on a tangent. What does this have to do with my original post?

Yes, I'm a sucker for tangents. I keep following these digressions, even when I'm this desperately short of time. But I'd really prefer to keep this on-topic, because I just don't have the time right now for a wide-ranging debate on gun control in general.

If you're not a fanatic, I'm sure you'll understand that.

Tango Juliet said...

Plea bargains save us money? Hmmm... 80% of the murders committed in this country are committed by those with criminal records. 50% of murder victims have criminal records. Seems to me like we're dealing with the same people, over and over and over again. Why let them off the hook with light sentences when we've got them in them in our crosshairs? I believe it's more expensive in the long run to mete out a slap on the wrist sentence rather than get the thugs off the streets with harsh penalties.

Why invent more laws if we're not going to enforce our present ones? Again, I do not consider this approach as "reasonable."

You seem determined to punish and regulate every member of our society for the misdeeds of the few. Those are most likely commit murder n' mayhem are the least likely among us to heed any gun control laws, no matter how noble in intent.

I don't consider that a reasonable approach in any way, shape or form.

You're looking through the wrong end of the tunnel.

As I've tried to point out all along, the TRUE weapon lies between one's ears, not in one's hands. We cannot legislate morality (as if material items determine a person's moral values to begin with.)

“Weapons compound man’s power to achieve; they amplify the capabilities of both the good man and the bad, and to exactly the same degree, having no will of their own. Thus we must regard them as servants, not masters—and good servants to good men. Without them, man is diminished, and his opportunities to fulfill his destiny are lessened. An unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it.”

~Col. Jeff Cooper

WCG said...

Light sentences? Slap on the wrist? You're kidding, right? We've got far and away the highest incarceration rate in the world. No other country is even close. (Second place is that bastion of liberalism, Rwanda.)

But OK, so you can't legislate morality. I always liked Martin Luther King's comment about that: "It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important."

But, apparently, you do think that nuclear weapons should be legal then, available to everyone? After all, the TRUE weapons lies between one's ears, right?

So tell me straight out: do you support restrictions on nuclear weapons, or should they be widely available to everyone? If you support restrictions, then what does this do to your argument?

And if you don't, you might as well stop commenting.

Tango Juliet said...

We've got many, many folk in jail related to the waste of time known as "The War on Drugs." A high incarceration rate doesn't necessarily mean we're tough on murders, rapists and other violent offenders.

I do support restrictions on nukes simply because their maintenance requires a great deal of technical expertise, far beyond most folk. More to the point however, nukes have no practical application for the ordinary citizen, such as individual self-defense, which is acknowledged by the 2A. Same goes for artillery, tanks and B-52's.

And if someone is bent on murder, I don't believe gun control laws are of any real consequence. With or without guns, human beings have been killing each other for centuries.

Buying and possessing a firearm in and of itself is a harmless act. It is only when someone decides to misuse a firearm do we have a problem. There are already plenty of laws in place that deal with the misuse of guns.

http://www.seattlepi.com/national/article/Few-gun-laws-enforced-1114708.php

WCG said...

So you support restrictions on nukes because you hate to see them poorly maintained? Heh, heh. Well, that's a new one, I must admit!

I'm glad you added the rest of that, although what has "no practical application for the ordinary citizen" rather depends on your point of view. No doubt you include bazookas, assault rifles, and machine guns in that? The NRA would disagree.

Again, this is the difference between reasonable people and fanatics. I'm afraid the NRA is full of fanatics.

And note that you entirely miss the point about gun laws - first that, sure, you can kill a human being with a rock. It's just a lot easier and faster to kill large numbers of people quickly with a gun, and especially with an assault rifle or other modern weapon. That's why they're used in warfare, after all.

And since people usually prefer not to be murdered, anything which slows down the process, or requires getting up close and personal to do the deed, seems like a pretty good thing to me. Maybe an intended victim can escape, or at least others can escape, while your murderer is laboring away at killing his first victim.

And murder is not always intended. Where there's a gun handy, angry people will tend to reach for it. Disputes that might otherwise just mean a bloody nose, end up with murder. We just saw that in this case. Guns might not make disputes more likely (although Zimmerman's gun almost certainly did here), they just make them deadlier.

And, second, you miss the point that gun laws are not always prohibitions on owning weapons, but can be regulations on registering and tracking them - or the ammunition used. Again, that might not prevent the first murder, but helps limit the number of subsequent victims.

At the very least, especially in those cases where murder was not intended, or at least not premeditated, such regulations can help in arresting and convicting the right person.

Finally, sure, I'd like to see better enforcement of gun laws. Of course, that takes tax money, which is also furiously resisted by the right-wing. And in itself, it says nothing about which laws we should have, which would work best, and which we could do without. It's kind of a red herring in that way.

Anonymous said...

From what I've read about the Martin/Zimmerman case is that Zimmerman became suspicious of Martin because of what he was doing. Which was lurking around in the dark while it was raining. Good enough reason to get some attention.

I do not believe Zimmerman is racist or was looking for a conflict for a couple reasons. Firstly, if Zimmerman was a "gun nut", he would've pulled his gun out right away. If Zimmerman was a cold blooded killer, he would not have let Martin get close enough to attack him.

While Zimmerman was not in the right for leaving his vehicle, I am certain that if Martin had responded the exact same way to an official officer of the law, Martin (or anyone) would end up dead. Police are more trained for these situations and take more precautions against suspects.

When you got a guy on top of you throwing strikes that you cant defend against and telling you that you are going to die, I can understand using the gun.

From a psychological standpoint, why was Trayvon so angry about being approached? Because he was obviously up to no good while scoping the area taking his time in the pouring rain.

WCG said...

From what I've heard, Martin walked down to a convenience store for a snack. He was walking back, talking to his girlfriend on a cell phone. What part of that seems suspicious to you? The part where he's black?

Furthermore, Zimmerman wasn't the police, he wasn't in uniform, and Martin had reason to be worried about a strange man following him (obviously, since that man killed him). So what does responding to an "official officer of the law" have to do with any of this? Clearly, nothing.

Finally, how racist is it to assume that Trayvon Martin was "obviously up to no good"? Anonymous, you need to take a good, hard look at your attitudes and assumptions. They're not fit for civilized society in the 21st Century.

And forget the straw man arguments. I don't know of anyone claiming that Zimmerman was a "cold-blooded killer." Instead, he seemed like a man with racist attitudes - like you, apparently - with a gun that made him feel macho.

And he killed an unarmed kid who had been minding his own business, doing nothing wrong. If you don't see what's wrong with that, there's no hope for you.

Whether Zimmerman is legally guilty or not is up to the courts to decide, now that the authorities have finally decided that killing an unarmed black kid might be a crime. Of course, given Florida's loony gun laws, it's hard to tell how that will turn out. But a courtroom is still where this should be decided, not in a blog.

And that was the whole point from the very beginning.

Ben said...

I wasn't expecting such hostility in your response. You seemed so level headed in your debate with Tango Juliet. I clearly struck a nerve with you.

I stumbled upon this website learning about Warren vs D.C. 1981 and this was near the top of google. I was impressed with your intelligent and educated views on gun control. Then you brought up biased one sided view of the Martin/Zimmerman case and I shook my head with disbelief.

Let me make my perspective regarding this case perfectly clear to you since I was kind of in a hurry with my last post. My logical stand point has nothing to do with race at all in my perceptions of either Zimmerman or Martin.

Martin was acting suspicious. Black or white, short or tall, fat or skinny doesnt matter to me because I would be suspicious of anyone doing what Martin was doing while eating Skittles and drinking tea.

The point I was trying to make regarding Zimmerman's approach vs a real police officer's is that a cop would have taken more precautions and not allowed him/herself to be placed in the position Zimmerman was in. Most cops work in pairs anyway.

You can try to make the argument that Zimmerman felt "macho" in approaching Martin. But its just as easy to assume that Martin felt even more "macho" considering he attacked Zimmerman not knowing he had a gun? Maybe he did know. Either way, foolish and criminal.

The fact that Zimmerman could have pulled his gun at anytime before he was attacked by Martin is paramount in the whole debate here and elsewhere. It contradicts your entire argument that Zimmerman was racist and looking to kill unless absolutely necessary. Im merely looking at the facts here.

Lets look at another popular headline that happened in Florida recently. The "Miami Zombie" case. If my mind was poisoned by paranoia and racism like yours is, it would be easy for me to point a finger at Rudy Eugene as being racially fueled in his attack on the homeless white man. Why couldnt Eugene find a black man's face to chew on?

But Blacks wont seem to let racism go. Every problem they have has got to be because they are black. Forget that they have equal rights and are not slaves. Forget the fact that the one n word that they were referred to as and hate so much is the same word that they call each other all the time! Answer that one and lets find out how much hope there is for you Frankenstein.

I could care less about the outcome of the Zimmerman trial. Even though Zimmerman is not the kind of guy I would consider friend, I cannot with all the evidence, consider him guilty of anything except defending himself.

WCG said...

Hostility? Yes, racism does strike a nerve with me, I suppose - as it should with all Americans.

You think it's over, Ben? I don't know where you live, but it's not over here in Nebraska. And in the Deep South? Republicans took the South from the Democrats, after Lyndon Johnson pushed through the 1964 Civil Rights Act, by deliberately appealing to white racists with their notorious 'Southern strategy.'

Do you think those racists just magically disappeared? The South today is as solidly Republican as it was solidly Democratic when segregation was legal. (And do you really think the Florida police would have shrugged off a black man shooting and killing an unarmed white kid?)

Was Martin "acting suspicious" (for walking while black, I assume)? How do you know that? Did he attack Zimmerman for no reason? How do you know that? When did Zimmerman draw his gun? You don't know that. Trayvon Martin is DEAD. He can't give his side of the story.

I think it likely that Zimmerman would never have gotten out of his car without that gun. I suspect that his Precious made him feel tough. Without it, I think he would have obeyed the police and simply reported what he saw. And no one would be dead right now. But I can't know any of that for sure.

Here's what I do know: an unarmed seventeen-year-old kid who'd walked to a nearby convenience store and was walking back, talking to his girlfriend on his cellphone, was shot dead, and the police didn't even bother to check the shooter for drugs or apparently think it was worth bothering with in any way.

"But Blacks wont seem to let racism go. Every problem they have has got to be because they are black." Do you know how racist that is? You don't, do you? It's hard to imagine, but I honestly think you can't see it.

I think there's a combination of things that led to this tragedy. But as I said, all I wanted was a trial. I don't expect much, since Martin is dead and unable to give his side of what happened (and given Florida's loony gun laws, too). But trials are where we decide guilt. That's all I've wanted from the start.

Anonymous said...

Your hostility towards me was premature. You branded me as a racist right from the start just for stating Trayvon looked suspicious.

Racism will never be over completely, obviously. In the minds of the few it exists as a substantial threat. But then there are those more civilized like Martin Luther King Jr. who believe that his dream has ultimately been accomplished.

Martin was acting suspicious. Zimmerman noticed this and reported it. This was before Zimmerman found out that Trayvon had recently been suspended from school for carrying a back pack filled with 12 stolen pieces of jewelry and burglary equipment.

Even if Trayvon had survived the shot, his side of the story would mean little. All he would have to do is lie. I look at the evidence and I've already proven that Zimmerman is innocent based off facts.

Of course I never believed that all blacks blame their problems on racism. I have black and hispanic friends. How is this possible for a mostly white looking guy to achieve? Because I don't look at them as inferior.

And I never obsess over negativity either. We are responsible for our own selves and actions. I choose to forgive myself and others and move forward.

WCG said...

And all Zimmerman has to do is lie, too. But you assume that Martin would lie, while Zimmerman would naturally tell the truth. Why?

There are very few facts here at all, especially from a distance. So why assume that Martin got what he deserved? Why assume that Martin was "acting suspicious"? Your assumptions seem racist, yes. And some of your comments really did, though you seem to be unaware of that.

But the facts are these: an unarmed black kid in the Deep South was shot dead, and the police seemed to shrug it off. That's why this got so much attention, not that "blacks won't seem to let racism go." A 17-year-old kid is DEAD. That's reason to be a bit concerned, I'd think.

We may never find out what happened, not for sure, because Zimmerman is the only one left alive to testify. (That's one of the reasons those 'stand your ground' gun laws are so idiotic.) But at least there will be a trial. At least his guilt will be established - or not - in a courtroom. That's all I've wanted from the start.

I'll let the courts decide whether or not he's legally guilty. Unlike you, I'm not going to assume what this trial is designed to discover. Our legal system is far from perfect, but it's the best method we've got - and far, far better than just making assumptions from claims you read in the press.

After all, there are always competing claims in the press, and we have no idea which are true. We have no mechanism for discovering that (a trial is the mechanism our society uses), and without that, you end up believing whatever fits your existing biases.

You've already "proven" that Zimmerman is innocent, that Martin got what was coming to him because he was "acting suspicious"? Well, good for you! But I'm going to let the courts decide that.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Zimmerman has been completely truthful. But there is plenty of evidence to prove he acted in self defense against a known thief.

You have this image in your head that Trayvon was a kid in all this. He was 17 and a young adult. A kid would not have put up a fight. A kid wouldn't be out in the middle of the night snooping around in the rain.

You are so concerned about a teenage punk turning up dead? How about the truly innocent (and really young) children who are homeless and hungry just in the United States?

Funny how Trayvon's parents did not report him missing until several days after his death. Yet spoke up with the most racially charged gobbledygook after he was discovered killed.

I'm glad you have faith in the judicial system, Bill. This trial could be more interesting than O.J. Simpson's '94 case!

WCG said...

Ben, even the police can't kill "known thieves" who are just walking down the sidewalk, minding their own business. But you want to let self-appointed vigilantes do it? Of course, Zimmerman identified this "suspicious" person by the color of his skin.

And yes, a 17-year-old is just a kid. What, are you 12 yourself? Maybe that seems all grown up to you, but trust me, it's not.

Now, maybe, as a 17-year-old, you'd just kiss the butt of any strange man who accosted you on the street. "Yes, sir! No, sir! Right away, sir!" When I was 17, I had a bit more self-respect than that. Or maybe I was just more foolish.

But, you know, I did walk in the rain sometimes. And oddly enough, I saw other people walking in the rain, too. How odd that we weren't all shot for such "suspicious" behavior, huh?

I'd walk down to a convenience store, occasionally. One time, my buddies and I walked clear across town to an 24-hour donut shop in the middle of the night. I must assume that you haven't made it to 17 yourself, yet. Just wait.

But yeah, this was just a black teenager. Who cares, right? Why would anyone be concerned about killing some black teenager? There are plenty more where he came from, huh? Even his parents didn't really care that their child was killed. The only reason they've made a fuss is because black people "won't let racism go," I suppose?

You know, you sound more racist in every comment you make. It's really quite astonishing. And yet, you think that Martin Luther King's dream has "ultimately been accomplished." Don't tell me you're one of those loons who think that white people face more racism than blacks these days! (Believe it or not, polls apparently show that white Americans, on average, actually think that. Crazy, isn't it? But that's a post for another day.)

Finally, "faith in the judicial system"? Ha! Not even close. But if you've got a better method of determining guilt, let's hear it. This is the method we've got, because it's the best method we've found. That doesn't mean it's actually good. It's kind of like democracy, the worst form of government except for all of the others we've tried.

But I have zero interest in this trial, just like I had zero interest in the O.J. Simpson trial. Why would I? And should I second-guess the jury through what I read second-hand in the press? How would that differ from just believing what I wanted to believe?

No, a trial is what I wanted, because, for better or worse, a trial is where we decide these things, not in the court of public opinion. A trial will decide if Zimmerman is legally guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, just like it decided that with O.J. Simpson. It won't determine if he's innocent. It won't even determine if he was at fault. Just legally guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Or not. (And given Florida's loony 'stand your ground' law, even a cold-blooded killer would have a great chance of acquittal, I suspect.)

It's not perfect. It's just the best we've got. And some of us think that even black kids, even "teenage punks," should be able to walk down the sidewalk, if they want. Just as if they were real Americans!

Anonymous said...

Police can kill a thief when he reacts the way Trayvon did when approached. I can kill a burglar like Trayvon for breaking into my house to steal (or worse) and not be charged with murder. So why cant George defend himself after being assaulted?

Because Trayvon was "unarmed?" Limbs can be considered deadly weapons. Witnesses say that Zimmerman was being attacked "mma style" with ground and pound technique on top of Zimmerman. Martin had some martial arts training? With no rules and nobody to stop the fight in time, Martin easily couldve killed Zimmerman with strikes.

A 17 year old is a young adult. A 12 year old is a kid. You think I'm a child? I honestly think you're delusional. As a 17 year old there were some distinct differences between myself and Trayvon. The two most important being that I was not stupid or criminal.

I would place Trayvon in the statistic category. You seem to place him in the category of martyr...because he was black, right? If both Zimmerman and Trayvon were both the same color, I would still draw the exact same conclusion as to defending Zimmerman over punk Trayvon because of the evidence.

When I said blacks wont let racism go, I perceive that as a stereotype with a twist of taboo. We've got black celebrities making themselves famous stating the same things.

You really sound more delusional all the time. I've made so many great points that you either ignore or twist my words with. I dont need a poll to see how well all the different races co-exist in the heavily diverse area I live in. I love the culture and there is no racial tension at all. Perhaps its because its more upscale than other areas. Everything is new. When something is broken, it gets fixed right away. I rarely see police cars. Its certainly not paradise but not even close to a slum!

My better method for determining guilt is using my brain and collecting all known data resources (including the opinions of others, including yourself) to determine who is guilty or not. I agree that the judicial system is not perfect. Neither is our government. But neither is the human race!

And yes, civilized people believe that everyone, not just black kids should be able to walk down the sidewalk if they want. If anything is to be learned from the Zimmerman/Martin story, is for people to figuratively keep their noses clean.

WCG said...

Ben, the police didn't approach Trayvon Martin. It was a self-appointed vigilante with a gun, acting against police instructions. And Martin didn't break into Zimmerman's house, nor approach Zimmerman at all. All of that is just in your own imagination.

What really happened is up to the court to decide. It won't be easy. With Martin dead, Zimmerman can say whatever he wants. We'll never hear Martin's side of it. (But, of course, Martin would just lie anyway, right?) We know that Zimmerman was in a car, while Martin was on foot. We know that Zimmerman deliberately drove up to confront Martin, despite police instructions, and that he took his gun with him when he got out of the car.

But in your mind, Martin assaulted him. The 17-year-old pedestrian, Skittles and all, ran down the car and forced the gun-wielding man to defend himself? Well, no, of course not. But still, in your own mind, you know that Martin assaulted Zimmerman for no reason, because that's what Zimmerman says (being the only one left alive to say anything at all). Funny, huh?

Ben, I'm very glad there's "no racial tension at all" in your upscale, "everything is new" area. Isn't that nice for you. Wow, that must mean that there's no racism anywhere! How dare those black people who "won't let racism go"!

Of course, I'd have to wonder what minorities even in your neighborhood would say. Straight white men tend to have different experiences, and different views of how perfect society is, than women, gays, or racial minorities. But maybe they'd agree with you, I don't know. I still doubt they'd agree with you about how perfect the rest of America is.

But sure, why would we listen to them? Black people "won't let racism go. Every problem they have has got to be because they are black." Obviously, only white people see these things clearly, huh? White people don't see race.

Finally, your "better method for determining guilt" is to read the newspapers and decide what you want to believe? It's sure lucky that you don't have any biases, isn't it? Like believing that black people wrongly blame their problems on racism?

I don't know what happened there, and neither do you, not at the critical point. (I figure I can justly blame Zimmerman prior to that, because he admits his actions. And there's no evidence that Martin was doing anything wrong.) Whether Zimmerman is guilty of a crime under Florida's less-than-ideal laws is up to the court to decide. As it should be.

As I said before, I have no interest in the case from here. What I wanted from the beginning was a trial, because that's how civilized people determine guilt. That's why I wrote this post, because the authorities in Florida (deny it or not, racism is not exactly unknown in the Deep South) seemed to shrug it off.

It took nationwide outrage to get this far. But it is in the legal system now, so I'm done. But not people like you, apparently. I keep getting comments on this old post. You've already made up your minds. You're outraged that Zimmerman should even be inconvenienced with a trial, just for killing an unarmed black kid. What's America coming to, huh?

Anonymous said...

So its plausible that Martin would have been more compliant with actual trained Police officers. He was a troubled youth like so many...who knows what his experiences were growing up? Who knows and its too late to care. Trayvon had choices, and he chose the criminal path.

Here you go twisting words. When you say that its in my imagination that Martin approached Zimmerman or broke into his house. You clearly cant quote me on that unless you can fudge this blog of yours. You need to re-read what I said and take your meds first and foremost. You are seeing delusions of grandeur.

You describe Zimmerman as a vigilante, but what was he seeking vengeance for? His own life? He used his gun as a last resort. You or anyone else cannot deny or prove otherwise.

Why wouldnt Martin assault Zimmerman? How do you explain the injuries that Zimmerman suffered? Did Martin know that Zimmerman was armed? Doesn't matter if he did know. Martin assaulted Zimmerman because Martin was desperate and didnt want to get caught in the act of stealing again. In Martin's mind, he could get away with what he was being accused of if only to simply dispose of the wannabe roadblock named George in his own way.

Dang, he wasn't planning on such a high risk escape beforehand with his extensive experience in burglary. How did Martin know that there would be security patrolling the neighborhood? Poor Trayvon was just a kid after all right? Wait, this Zimmerman adult guy has a gun! How stupid of someone with a gun to approach a shady character in the dark and rain without his gun pointed at me from the start? Im going to kick his ass and try to get this guys gun and try to kill him with it. After all, I got people to rob. Skittles dont pay for themselves you know.

So Bill, just so you know, Trayvon doesnt have this squeaky clean choir boy image that you wish he had. An innocent boy would not have dealt the blows he did to someone 11 years older than him. Look at Zimmerman's criminal history. Squeaky clean in comparison. Zimmerman's gun was legally his.

This case will hopefully be over with soon. I am sick of reading about it or discussing it, myself. Much more important situations to deal with than this isolated incident.

WCG said...

-- "Martin assaulted Zimmerman because Martin was desperate and didnt want to get caught in the act of stealing again."

Ben, note that you have absolutely no reason for thinking that. It's entirely in your imagination.

And "plausible" that Martin would have acted differently with real police officers, rather than just some stranger following and accosting him in the street? Heh, heh. Note that that's all in your own imagination, too, since you don't even know what he did this time!

For some reason (you swear it's not racism, but I have some doubts), you've built up this story in your own mind. Yeah, Martin must have been trying to get Zimmerman's gun so he could murder Zimmerman with it, huh? And then go on to commit crime after crime!

Thank God for 'stand your ground' laws, where good white people can imagine things like that and shoot those potential murderers first! It's preventative justice, right?

But is there a problem that this is entirely imaginary? Is there a problem that you'd be shooting people just for thinking about committing a crime (and only in your mind, since you can't really read theirs)?

Ben, you haven't just decided guilt and innocence without really knowing anything, you've created this elaborate fantasy with it. It's a good guy/bad guy melodrama, and the more you think about it, the more elaborate your story gets.

But it's all just in your own mind. The whole thing is purely imaginary. How close is the connection between your fantasy and reality? Who knows?

You could, if you wanted, create a completely different story, where Martin was desperately trying to fight off the murderer who ultimately killed him. That seems a lot closer to the facts, but it's still just imaginary, since we don't know what happened. Martin is dead, so we'll never get his side of the story, only Zimmerman's.

So why not leave this to our legal system. The courts might not get it right, either. After all, Florida has some loony laws, and, as I noted, Martin is dead, so he can't tell his side of the story.

But at least it's their responsibility. And although it might be a poor mechanism for determining guilt, it's a lot better than just imagining whatever you want. Why, after all, are you so determined to believe your fantasy? Why is this so important to you? Why not just let the legal system work?

You claim that you're not racist, but you've said some pretty racist things in your comments. And if it's not racism, I'm at a loss to understand why you're so determined to imagine all this. I saw this kind of thing during the O.J. Simpson trial, too, and I didn't understand it then, either.

Anonymous said...

Go ahead and believe your stupid bullshit. You are a sick, pathetic and lonely individual. I wont waste any extra time with a crazy, stupid and racist sub human like you. I'm willing to bet you actually live in a prison where you are merely given the privilege to use the internet on their terms. I wont be back to read your reply. Thank God I live nowhere near you or Nebraska.

WCG said...

Too bad. Apparently, you had no answer to that, but you couldn't stand to change your mind, either.

Ben, in your initial post, you wondered about Trayvon Martin "from a psychological standpoint." I suggest you look at your own comments from that angle, especially if this explosion of random personal attacks is atypical for you.

It's not so bad to change your mind, when you realize that you've been wrong. In fact, it's the only rational thing to do. It's not easy, but it's not bad at all. I've done it.

And if you can't go that far, there's always agreeing to disagree. We don't all have to agree on everything. And as our president points out, we can disagree without being disagreeable (not that I always accomplish that, myself!).