Geraldo Rivera visited Fox & Friends this morning where he once again demonstrated his version of promoting race relations, this time by continuing to blame Trayvon Martin for his own death, saying, "You dress like a thug, people are going to treat you like a thug." Rivera also again suggested that President Obama’s pandering to the black community brought about the wrongful prosecution of George Zimmerman – once again presented as the real victim in this tragedy.
Rivera first dismissed the feelings of those who are horrified that a man who shot and killed an unarmed teenager had just beat the rap: “This case was just one of those things.”
Then Rivera again suggested that the whole tragedy was really Trayvon Martin’s fault – at the same time making racial innuendoes that President Obama was the other culprit.
This was bold-faced race politics. The president gave the signal. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton two men I hold in very high regard. But when they stirred things up, they did it in a way that I think was way over the top. …You dress like a thug, people are going to treat you like a thug. That’s true, I stand by that even in my own family. …That’s the reality. You don’t send your kids into the rainy night and then have them walk in back alleys in troubled neighborhoods and expect that a good result.
Well, Geraldo, you don't go around blaming the dead, unarmed teen shooting victim for his own death and expect a good result, either. That is, unless your idea of a good result are props from the higher ups at Fox News.
Meanwhile, co-host Tucker Carlson used the moment to take some racial swipes at Jackson and Sharpton: "They are hustlers and pimps who make a living off inflaming racial tensions… The only reason they are allowed to do this is because we in the press enable them by calling them civil rights leaders."
Yeah, that’s enhancing race relations just the way Rivera claims to want to promote.
Video below via Media Matters.
As far as Trayvon or Zimmerman’s thoughts or feelings go, we do have some ideas. Zimmerman himself has told us what he was thinking, both from his call to the dispatcher and from his subsequent questioning. Trayvon Martin’s thoughts have been relayed to us via Rachel Jeantel. Both accounts confirm that Trayvon was walking down the sidewalk when he was spotted by Zimmerman, who thought he looked suspicious and called the police. Martin then approached Zimmerman’s vehicle and made eye contact with him. Martin then ran, and Zimmerman jumped out of his car and ran after him, at which time he was told by the dispatcher that this was not needed. Within a few minutes, he’d caught up with Martin again, the confrontation ensued and degenerated into a fistfight, and once it had gotten to a certain point, Zimmerman pulled out his gun and killed Martin. I stand by my statement that Zimmerman’s suspicion was aroused by the sight of a black teenage male in a hoodie who he didn’t recognize walking down the sidewalk in his neighborhood. Had this been a white teenager wearing a U2 t-shirt, I don’t think Zimmerman would have jumped to the same suspicion.
As for Zimmerman’s perception of danger, that’s not an assumption – that’s the case that his defense attorneys were making. They were trying to say that Zimmerman’s shooting of Martin was self-defense because in their opinion, Zimmerman reasonably believed he was in danger of his life.
I don’t know that Zimmerman “simply made up a story”. I think he very likely believes what he said. The problem is that some key facts don’t line up with his account, and he’s never offered an explanation for this – his refusal to testify in court speaks volumes to me about this. But that doesn’t mean he committed premeditated murder or even that had a depraved mindset while following Martin. I think Zimmerman honestly thought he was pursuing a criminal, and he acted on that assumption. The problem is that he was wrong, so his approach was way off. That wouldn’t be a matter of 2nd Degree Murder so much as a case of Manslaughter – and yes, I do believe that Zimmerman was guilty of that.
And to be honest, I believe that both the prosecution and the defense were gambling in this trial. The defense was thinking they could get the whole matter tossed out, or have a jury verdict in 12 minutes, as happened the reverse way with Marissa Alexander. The prosecution, on the other hand, was positive they had Zimmerman on Manslaughter. The typical prosecution approach is to over-charge. They show a defendant that they’re throwing the book at him, and then when it comes to making a plea deal, they knock the whole thing down to a more reasonable size. But in this case, Zimmerman refused to make a plea deal – like Marissa Alexander, he rolled the dice on an all-or-nothing prospect. Since the prosecution had threatened the 2nd Degree Murder charge, they went ahead and pursued it in court, with the understanding that they would include Manslaughter and anything else they could before sending the jury off to decide the verdict. My reaction to the trial is that they did not prove 2nd Degree Murder, but they did prove Manslaughter. The jury was unable to find that, based on the way they interpreted the Manslaughter definition, and based on the influence of key jurors who clearly felt that Zimmerman was innocent. The other jurors capitulated and the result was a Not Guilty verdict in the area of 2nd Degree Murder and of Manslaughter.
This doesn’t totally end the equation, of course. Martin’s family has the right to sue Zimmerman in civil court, just as the Goldmans and Browns sued O.J. in the 90s. And if Zimmerman tries to make a windfall profit off this matter, say by suing Florida or suing NBC, or by writing a book, or selling his story to a movie producer, I have a feeling you’ll see that lawsuit materialize very quickly.
I’m not really sure where you’re going with the idea of the “surreptitious” Northerners or the idea that people don’t talk to each other based on a “PC” notion of conversation. I’ve had plenty of such discussions and we didn’t mince words about what was “PC”. Oprah’s comment about remembering that we’ve come a long way since the lynching of Emmett Till wasn’t about the concept of “PC”. She was talking about the progress of civil rights and equality in this country.
I appreciate your acknowledgment that your attack on Trayvon Martin’s character was a comment you could not make. I agree with you that you could glean a “hint” of someone’s character from looking at a case – but you need to be careful that you’re not just looking at a few details that confirm assumptions you may have.
You’ve jumped to a conclusion that I somehow called George Zimmerman a “low level racist”. I did no such thing. I said that Zimmerman profiled Trayvon Martin as a criminal when he saw him, which was why he called the police. His defense attorneys conceded this when they made a presentation in court about the young black men who have been caught burglarizing houses in that neighborhood. As you stated, if Zimmerman was on the lookout for burglars in his neighborhood, and these were the people he was expecting to find up to no good, a young black male wearing a hoodie would fall directly into his suspect list. That doesn’t make him a “low level racist”. It makes him a guy who’s making the wrong assumptions and then acting on them. And yes, had it been a white teenager walking down the sidewalk in the rain, I don’t know that Zimmerman would have jumped to the conclusion that this was a criminal.
Frankly, I don’t believe that Zimmerman had justification to call the police when he did. He was acting on his own belief that Martin was a burglar. But Martin wasn’t a burglar and he had every right to be walking down that street to go home to watch the rest of the All Star game.
Keep in mind that there was actually an exchange of sorts before Zimmerman even left his vehicle. Martin realized that Zimmerman was staring at him from partway down the block. So Martin walked a little closer and approached the vehicle to get a better look. He and Zimmerman made eye contact. Martin was clearly frightened, as he ran away and tried to get away from Zimmerman. Zimmerman, for his part, never said anything to Martin at this time, like “Hi, how are you, I’m with the neighborhood watch here. Are you visiting someone?” Instead, he just stared Martin down, and when Martin bolted, he assumed that meant Martin was a criminal rather than a creeped-out teenager. And even after Zimmerman was told by the dispatcher not to follow Martin, he continued to do so. This led directly to a verbal confrontation with Martin where Zimmerman again did not identify himself as Neighborhood Watch, opting instead to just angrily demand to know what Martin was doing there.
I wouldn’t say that Zimmerman was lying when he called the dispatcher. I’d say that he made a woefully wrong assumption and then acted on it. As for the truthfulness of Zimmerman’s statements about the confrontation, I’d say that his story is extremely hard to believe. He says that Martin jumped out of bushes that don’t exist. He says that Martin attacked him, when the neighbors heard an argument first. He says that in the fight, Martin was doing things that were physically impossible, such has holding his hand over Zimmerman’s nose and mouth and reaching for Zimmerman’s gun, which Martin couldn’t have seen. Zimmerman says his head was repeatedly being smashed into the sidewalk, when such a predicament would have left him unable to do anything, much less pull a gun from a back holster and shoot someone. Does this all make Zimmerman a liar who deliberately shot a teenager? No, it makes him a guy who provoked an avoidable confrontation and ended it by shooting the other guy. And when confronted with the reality of having done that, he told a story that would justify his actions. I think Zimmerman believes the stories he told – in his mind, he’s justified in pulling that trigger. The problem is that the facts don’t support Zimmerman’s opinion. Even right wing people have acknowledged to me that Zimmerman was not in danger of his life by any means and that he initiated a situation that led directly to him being in the position he was in when he pulled the trigger. Doesn’t mean that Zimmerman didn’t THINK he was in danger, but it does mean that there was no reason for him to be in that situation in the first place. And by the way, that Florida manslaughter definition, discusses the idea that Zimmerman chose to take an action which then resulted in the death of another person. That’s exactly what happened here.
There’s nothing wrong with Zimmerman or anyone else volunteering for Neighborhood Watch, particularly given the burglaries that plagued that neighborhood. The difference comes when the Watch volunteer takes it upon themselves to chase and stalk someone and then initiates a confrontation that goes badly for everyone. There’s a huge difference between sitting in your car keeping an eye on the neighborhood and acting like a uniformed cop chasing down a perp. But I think you know that.
I’m not sure where all this labeling about “liberals” and “character” is coming from. Having listened to many hours of both right wing and left wing radio, I can honestly say that no one political faction has any monopoly on discussions of “character” and “consequence”. Just listen to Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now” on any weekday, and you’ll get a strong dose of her beliefs about the lack of character being evidenced by many politicians and personalities. (And I note that she’s just as tough on Democrats as she is on GOP politicians – her 30 minute attack interview with Bill Clinton on Election Day 2000 is a classic for Clinton-haters on both sides of the aisle.)
Your jaywalker analogy assumes once again that Trayvon Martin was somehow breaking the law, or doing something dangerous that had consequences. As far as I know, walking down the sidewalk is NOT a crime, and it should have NO consequences at all.
You’ve also convoluted the details about Trayvon Martin’s suspensions. Let’s be very clear about them: He was first suspended for “tardiness and truancy” – basically for cutting class. He was next suspended for graffiti. When he was being searched for the graffiti marker, the school police officer found he had a bag containing some jewelry items and a screwdriver. But here’s the catch – nobody has ever reported that jewelry stolen and nobody has claimed it. To this date, I don’t know if anyone knows whose jewelry it was or where it came from. Martin said he was holding it for someone else, and based on the rest of his history, I’m inclined to believe that. Doesn’t make Martin an “angel” – it means he was frankly dumb enough to hold something he shouldn’t have. Martin’s final suspension was for having a marijuana pipe and a baggie that had some pot residue in it. What do we get from all this? That Martin was not a model student and he was clearly having some trouble. Based on the few texts and tweets we have of his, we know that his mother had sent him to live with his father, which is why he was in Zimmerman’s community in the first place. Now, you assume from all this that Zimmerman automatically had bad character, had never worked hard and wasn’t humble. To which I would answer that I have known several people who weren’t model students in school at one time or another. In some cases, I know people who were literally thrown out of one high school and forced to finish at a different school. That doesn’t mean they didn’t have any character or that they never worked hard. It means that they made some stupid mistakes at one point and then had to make up for them. In a couple of those cases, those people turned out to be of very good character, as their subsequent history as husbands and fathers has shown me. Not everyone who gets suspended from school is automatically a “thug”.
You say that you don’t think that Trayvon Martin deserved what happened to him, but in the next breath you say “if a person is doing bad things on regular basis it would not be surprising to see bad things happen to them.” Meaning that you believe Trayvon Martin’s “bad behavior” thus resulted in Zimmerman stalking and killing him. Or more simply, he got what was coming to him. Just as you noted with your jaywalker analogy – if you jaywalk and get run over, then you brought that on yourself. Except that the assumption underlying your statements is that you believe Martin to have been of bad character, and you believe he was doing “bad things”. The facts don’t show that. The facts show that Trayvon Martin was a student who’d gotten himself in enough trouble as it was, but who was simply walking home from the store and committing no crime at the time he was profiled, followed, confronted and killed. Had Trayvon Martin been breaking into people’s cars as we saw with Christopher Cervini, or shooting at a family member as we saw with Marissa Alexander, then your argument might have held water. But he was doing none of those things. He was walking down the sidewalk, coming home from the store. What was coming to him wasn’t a confrontation and a shooting, but instead the second half of the All Star Game and then hopefully for him a better effort at school.
You’ve taken my statement about the Emmett Till lynching and used it to attack both Oprah Winfrey and Trayvon Martin. That’s a huge step away from what I was saying, and some of your statements simply consist of your assumptions about Trayvon Martin’s character.
Frankly, I’m not sure what Oprah Winfrey was specifically referring to when she said “same thing” about both cases. She may well have been referring to the fact that neither Trayvon Martin nor Emmett Till was doing anything wrong when they were profiled. In both cases, another person assumed they were up to no good and acted on that assumption. In the case of Emmett Till, this led to a brutal lynching. In the case of Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman’s actions led directly to an avoidable confrontation that resulted in Zimmerman killing Martin. In both cases, there was a resulting outrage from the society at large, and a wider dialogue about the situation. As I said, the facts of the two cases are very different. If Oprah was saying that the facts were the same, I wouldn’t agree with her. But we should also remember that Oprah immediately followed that statement with a reminder that we’ve come a long way from the days of the lynching of Emmett Till – and that’s an important note you left out of your account. I’m a bit puzzled why you turned to Oprah Winfrey for her opinion on this matter. Was it important to you?
Sadly, your next statements were clearly intended to smear and attack Trayvon Martin. You accuse Martin of not being humble, of not working hard, and of always being in trouble. As I noted earlier, Trayvon Martin wasn’t a model student by any means. But I don’t know that this means he never worked hard or that he wasn’t humble. And you don’t know that either. You say “Emmett would not have done what Trayvon did”, which implies that you think that Trayvon Martin did something to deserve or provoke his fate. How do you know this? Because Zimmerman says that Martin did? You’re simply assuming this to be the case.
I do agree with you that Zimmerman’s actions led to this confrontation, which in turn resulted in Zimmerman killing Martin. You’re absolutely right that Zimmerman had no reason to shoot Trayvon. Which is exactly the problem here, and I’m glad you’re acknowledging it. I also agree that George Zimmerman wasn’t stalking Trayvon with the intent to kill him – he was stalking him under the assumption that Trayvon was a criminal in his neighborhood. And he assumed this because he had profiled Martin from the moment he saw him. And we know that because he said as much over the phone to the police dispatcher.
You jump to an assumption about Trayvon Martin’s character. You don’t mention anything about George Zimmerman’s character while you are making this attack, but beyond that it’s quite presumptuous for you to be passing judgment on Martin when you don’t know all the facts. People who actually know and knew the two guys in this confrontation would find such a judgment from an observer to be quite offensive.
You then very badly misrepresented the careful statements I made to you about why this matter is newsworthy. This is strange, because in an earlier post you objected to my categorizing such misrepresentations as being a hysterical overreaction. Now you go back to that statement and completely get the matter boggled. I didn’t say “if it were any other races involved this would not have hit the national news.” I said that if Trayvon Martin had been a white teenager, Zimmerman would not have automatically profiled him as a criminal and thus the confrontation would never have occurred. By the same example, had it been Roderick Scott volunteering for Neighborhood Watch, I strongly doubt he would have profiled Trayvon Martin for the act of walking down the street. So again, no confrontation. You’re confusing my explanation that race contributed to Zimmerman’s decisions and actions with your assumption that the case shouldn’t have become national news. That’s comparing apples and oranges, and as a 33 year teaching veteran, I would think you would not make that kind of correlation.
You try to defend the Sanford Police Dept, but you ignore that it was the Sanford citizens who prompted a No Confidence vote in the Police Chief, who then stepped down. You forget that a Republican Governor ordered a proper investigation be done and that an experienced prosecutor found plenty of cause to bring charges. Waving around your opinion of the testimony of one investigator does not undo the other facts, as much as it may comfort Zimmerman’s supporters.
Your attempt to explain away Zimmerman’s profiling of Trayvon Martin is truly odd. Zimmerman noted a young black male in a hoodie walking down the sidewalk in his neighborhood in the early evening. He jumped to an assumption that he was looking at a burglar and that he thought Martin was “on drugs”. Neither of those assumptions were correct. How is it that a young black male wearing a hoodie automatically appears to be a burglar? Of course, even Zimmerman’s defense attorney admitted this when they raised the black male burglars who had been caught in the community. I’m not sure why you’re trying to deny a point that was already accepted by Zimmerman and his attorneys in court.
Finally, while your advice to Oprah Winfrey is probably well-intentioned, I do wish that you would realize that when you take only part of a statement and assume that’s the entirety, you actually lose key pieces of its meaning.
DN, the case of Emmett Till is quite different from that of Trayvon Martin. I don’t believe that George Zimmerman got out of his truck with the express intent of mutilating and killing Trayvon Martin, and I’m not sure where you would get that idea. The one thing that both Martin and Till have in common is that they were profiled for doing nothing that was either wrong or against the law. Past that, the two cases have very little in common. I suppose you could get into the way the charging and the trial worked out, but in the Till case you had a very specifically rigged scenario.
I appreciate that you’re acknowledging that the death of Christopher Cervini was indeed a crime blotter story – a teenager caught in the act of burglary, shown to be high on multiple intoxicants/stimulants, who charged at a man with a gun who had warned him the police had been called.
BTW while we’re here, I should mention that an even nastier smear on Trayvon Martin has emerged. In discussing this case with a friend last week, I was told to look up what Trayvon’s snacks could be used for in terms of some kind of drug called “lean”. As soon as I looked it up, I saw a pile of smears that would have people believe that Martin was some kind of do-it-yourself drug user. Most of those smears have tried to portray Martin’s autopsy report on his liver as proving their opinion. Except that the autopsy report doesn’t indicate any liver damage – beyond congestion caused by his heart stopping when Zimmerman shot him. I bring this up only to show how truly wacky some of these “Trayvon-as-thug” scenarios have been getting.
Your argument about “all networks” doesn’t work when we actually look at what was broadcast in the spring of 2012. The networks all said that George Zimmerman was a Neighborhood Watch volunteer and noted that he made a 911 call to a police dispatcher in that capacity. The networks all noted the obvious from the dispatcher’s recording – that Zimmerman had left his vehicle to pursue Trayvon Martin even after being told not to do that. The networks noted that Trayvon Martin was unarmed and ZImmerman had a gun. The networks noted that Martin was committing no crime when he was profiled by Zimmerman, and they noted inconsistencies in the only account they had of the situation – Zimmerman’s. And yes, NBC edited the recording of Zimmerman’s remarks on the dispatcher call in its coverage.
You seem to be making a big deal about which photos the network used in their early coverage of the story. It seems pretty clear that they had no photos of Trayvon Martin so they used whatever they could get. You seem to be upset that they didn’t look for the most menacing photos they could find – like the ones that Fox News inflicted whenever they could this year. The photos of George Zimmerman were his arrest photos, which were the ones that were readily available to the networks. You seem to be reading into the choice of photos to tell a narrative that wasn’t intended.
I agree with you that it looks like some people jumped to conclusions as to exactly what word Zimmerman said when he was running after Martin. We know that the first word was "f$%#ing". The second word was disputed. Some people thought they heard a racial epithet. Other people thought they heard “punks”. The real key is the second statement, where he says “These a##%[email protected]$es, they always get away!” That establishes beyond any doubt that Zimmerman thought he was pursuing a criminal, something he made clear throughout the call.
The evidence doesn’t exactly show that George Zimmerman was “racist is hell and murdered Trayvon just for being Black and in his neighborhood”. The evidence shows that Zimmerman absolutely profiled Martin for being Black and in his neighborhood, assuming that Martin must be a criminal on drugs, and Zimmerman acted on his assumptions to the detriment of himself and Martin. It’s not a matter of saying that Zimmerman was “a racist thug with a gun up to no good”. It’s a matter of noting that Zimmerman assumed Martin was up to no good and confronted him while armed with a gun. The situation degenerated into a fistfight, which ended with Zimmerman pulling out a gun and killing Martin.
All the way through our discussions here, you’ve refused to acknowledge why such an event could be considered newsworthy, and all the way through you’ve needed to ignore the fact that Trayvon Martin was committing no crime and was unarmed at the time he was profiled and confronted by George Zimmerman.
You state a series of your opinions about the media coverage and then say “this is what people remember and still believe.” I don’t know who still believes your scenario of the media portrait, if anyone ever did. You’ve created a straw man argument and then blown it down without checking to see if the straws or the man resemble the actual facts of this case.
People believe justice wasn’t done by this jury because they are painfully aware that a 17 year old black teenager was profiled while committing no crime and the situation directly resulted in the 17 year-old’s death. And the limitations of the jury instructions, along with what appears to be clear bias by the most influential member of the jury, resulted in a verdict that simply couldn’t find Zimmerman guilty of the specific charges presented against him. Multiple jurors have expressed that these limitations barred them from being able to render the verdict they believed was appropriate – that of manslaughter. So yes, there are many people around this country of all ethnicities who were and are unhappy with a result that allows Zimmerman to escape any criminal penalties. (We should keep in mind that Zimmerman may well face civil charges and penalties that would eliminate any benefits he may try to gain for himself by writing a book or selling his story to a movie producer, but that’s another story.)
The issue we’ve been examining here throughout has been the attempt by the right wing media to portray Trayvon Martin as a vicious thug who deserved to be shot to death by George Zimmerman. And the attempt by right wing media to stir up fears of widespread rioting in the wake of the criminal verdict, including some horrifying statements by Rush Limbaugh and some general nastiness by Fox News and AM radio hosts. The right wing does not get to just walk away from those statements and pretend they didn’t make them. Part of the whole point of this website is that the remarks have been preserved for posterity. So Geraldo Rivera can pretend he didn’t say this stuff in a couple of years, but anyone who can run a websearch and press “Enter” will be able to bring up Rivera’s remarks and challenge him on that. (This is similar to the way that Dick Morris and Scott Rasmussen will be challenged during the next election after their terrible and inaccurate performance in 2012.)
Regarding your teaching experience, I never said that you had “such lack of intelligence reason or logic”. I said that I was surprised that a teacher of your level of experience would simply assume that right wing talking points regarding the Zimmerman and Scott cases were correct without taking time to investigate them. As I said in my earlier post to you, “I would think any teacher would have a lot of questions to ask before going along with any pundit’s assumptions.” I stand by that statement – it’s not a personality jab at all. I’m asking you to think carefully about the assumptions you are making – in the same way you would tell one of your students if you found them acting in a similar fashion.
Your personal history is interesting, but does not change the basic fact that we’ve been discussing that the talking points you’ve been raising are coming almost verbatim from right wing pundits. You can assert that you’ve generated them yourself and that you don’t pay attention to those pundits, but that doesn’t change that you’re reciting them and are unable to logically defend them.
I applaud your refusal to accept any government assistance and your wish not to accept anything like Unemployment Insurance, Social Security or Medicare. That is your right and nobody should tell you to take any other course. But I don’t think that it diminishes anyone or “shames” anyone to accept assistance, particularly when they’ve been paying into the system all their working lives.
I hear you that you’re saying that you follow more than just right wing media sources. But the points you’re discussing here didn’t come from PBS or from CNN. You’re raising exactly the arguments we hear from right wing blogs and AM radio, and yes, Fox News. I’m not sure why you’re trying to walk that back. If you’re going to cite these guys, be proud about it.
Finally, News Hounds isn’t exactly an “Attack Vehicle” against Fox News. It’s a monitoring service and a corrective, just as the movie “Outfoxed” was. I believe its primary purpose is to document the many ways in which the news is misrepresented or slanted by Fox News, as well as to note the times when Fox occasionally gets something right. And by the way, that does happen – Ellen has noted laudable behavior by several Fox pundits and anchors at different times. But the greatest value here is in keeping the record straight – something that many Fox News viewers have been shown in polls to be unable to do after watching the programs on that channel.
I don’t recall anyone saying that the jurors (not jurists, which would refer to judges or legal professionals), were “all racists” or that “the entire judicial system of Florida is.” You seem to be saying that, but I see no backing for it. What has been said is that George Zimmerman was treated lightly for over a month after he killed Trayvon Martin, until the public outrage over the situation prompted the state of Florida to step in. The state did so because it became clear that the local authorities in Sanford were either unable or unwilling to do so. That doesn’t make them racist, but it does mean that they were unable to deal with the situation.
Your immediate jump to the death penalty and a wish for a more horrifying fate for inmates in our various local, state and federal prison systems is frankly disturbing. You say that you’ve visited criminals but you still refer to the places as “luxury hotels”. I understand if you feel angry at criminals and their behavior, but I simply cannot countenance the notion of someone wishing violence or death on another. Progressives and people on the left in this country have never wished for such a thing. It’s odd to me that right wing people don’t seem to have a problem doing so, and it’s even odder that you take this position while acknowledging its complete contradiction with the religious beliefs you say you hold. Keep in mind that I’m not saying you don’t have every right to believe what you wish to believe, and I’m not telling you how to observe any religion you like. All I’m saying is that it’s a huge contradiction for you to hold yourself as a moral and spiritual person while wishing suffering and death upon others. You’re not alone in your sentiments – we certainly hear plenty of them from AM radio hosts – but I can’t agree with them. The violence and the contradiction in values are things that the left would never encourage.
I appreciate your admission that you’ve never attended a sermon of Jesse Jackson. Which means that you have no idea how many times he’s talked about crime in the cities, about “babies having babies” or any of a hundred further issues. But you had no problem accusing him of not having done so before I challenged you on it. You then continue to accuse him of doing nothing, which is a contradiction again, since you’ve admitted you don’t know what he’s said. You seem to assume that because we continue to have crime and other problems that, therefore this must mean that Jackson hasn’t inspired anyone. How in the world do you know that, and who are you to make such a judgment? Do you have any idea what the real numbers are? Or are you simply relying on talking points like O’Reilly’s without checking them?
You say you’re not a shill for the conservative media, and yet you continue to repeat their lines about ABC and CBS without any proof. You cite an interview with Jay Carney where you disagree with whether Carney was properly being “confronted”. How in the world does this show systemic bias across the media? Where are you getting this from?
You make a very strange comment about George W. Bush being “a progressive” and you repeat the right wing talking point that somehow Bush was always under attack. First of all, Bush was an unabashed conservative, surrounded by an EXTREMELY conservative group of people. If you’re actually going to try to tell anyone here about how Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Karl Rove were secretly progressives, you may have to pause for the several minutes of nonstop laughter you’ll motivate. As for the supposed constant attacks, you must be referring to the regular support Bush was given during the aftermath of 9/11 and the buildup to the invasion of Iraq. Or maybe you’re referring to the coverage of Bush’s reelection, where his challenger was regularly being smeared in the media. Or perhaps you’re referring to when the media didn’t ask Bush or Cheney questions about their questionable associations with people like Ken Lay or the business dealings of Cheney with Haliburton. On the other hand, I do remember Bush being taken to task from the right when he tried to appoint Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, and when he didn’t pardon Ramos & Compean for their actions. And I do remember all media criticizing the Bush Administration for the various shenanigans that went on, including Alberto Gonzalez’ outrageous misconduct and the outing of Valerie Plame. I realize you’re saying that you didn’t vote for him, but when you try to play cards like these, one has to wonder who would have qualified for your vote – Ron Paul?
Your final sentence misunderstands the entire situation of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. Even after being proven incorrect on these assumptions, you continue to repeat the notion that this story was only news because of media bias and race. That’s demonstrably untrue, as we have established. This story was news because it wasn’t just the story of a black teenager being killed. It was the story of a black teenager who was committing no crime but was treated as if he was a criminal. He was profiled by Zimmerman, whether you wish to accept that truth or not. He was stalked by Zimmerman in the dark, whether that is a convenient truth to admit or not. He was confronted by Zimmerman, who never identified himself as a Neighborhood Watch captain, and he wound up being killed by Zimmerman, all in a situation that was completely avoidable. And this was a situation where if Martin had been a young white teenager, there’s very little chance that George Zimmerman would have jumped to the conclusion that the person he was seeing must have been a criminal. So you could argue that if the racial makeup of the participants was different, there would have been no news story – which would be right, since there would have been no confrontation either. But hysterically overreacting to the points I have been making in response to your assertions will not suddenly give your argument urgency or weight.
Regarding your opinion of the media, you’ve ignored the discussion to go off on a tangent about imbalance. And I’m not certain what your tangent means – you’re citing major network news and msnbc and fox news in the same breath. Do you mean that msnbc and fox news are biased in the same direction? You must mean something different but I can’t tell what it is.
I agree with you that most news headlines are fairly trite. Most major stories are the “bright shiny object” of the day – usually about something a celebrity or a politician did, and usually without much content. But it’s been that way since people began publishing newspapers. More discerning people have always needed to take the time to read between the lines, as it were.
You say that “the media decides that they need to sway the public in a particular direction” and you mention “their so-called agenda”. You’ve just described the documented behavior of Fox News. I don’t know that the same behavior has been documented at ABC and CBS. I know that the right wing believes NBC to be biased, and given the liberal tilt of MSNBC, I think there’s some room to discuss that. But the notion that there’s some kind of all-controlling media cabal dictating what policies they want to push or what politician they want to elect is something out of a Glenn Beck conspiracy theory. Or out of an Alex Jones rant. It’s one thing to document Fox News slanting its coverage. Outfoxed did this in a devastating manner in 2004 and Ellen has continued that work with this website. There are literally hundreds of examples of Fox News mis-covering major events and trying to spin their reporting to favor a right wing opinion. In recent years, this has been disastrous for them – particularly when they misled their viewers into believing that Mitt Romney was about to win a landslide victory last year. The black eye Fox News appropriately received for that (along with Scott Rasmussen, Dick Morris, etc) is something that will forever stay with them. But I don’t remember ABC, CBS and CNN trying to spin their coverage to favor one side or the other – I do remember them covering both sides fairly equally.
The comparison to Pravda is quite apt for Fox News, but it doesn’t really work when you look at the other networks, except to a much lesser extent perhaps MSNBC. MSNBC clearly tries to be an “anti-Fox News”. I don’t know that they really succeed in this, and I don’t agree with the tactic. But Fox News has perfected the Pravda game of trying to distract viewers with an irrelevant headline, of drumbeating whatever divisive notion they can, and of generally ignoring facts in favor of their own opinion. It’s interesting that you think that this is commonplace among all news outlets. It isn’t – which is why Fox News’ conduct is necessary to confront and correct.
The “media” didn’t choose “to drown us in this story” because of race in the manner you’re alleging. I’ve already pointed out to you what made this story newsworthy, and why the other stories you’re trying to push were not. This wasn’t just a crime blotter story. Do you understand that the key here was that an unarmed teenager committing no crime and simply walking home from the store was then profiled, stalked, confronted and killed? Do you understand that the entire situation could have been avoided had George Zimmerman left Trayvon Martin alone? Do you understand that Zimmerman assumed Martin was up to no good with no proof and no basis to think anything? The other stories you’re mentioning are horrible examples of various crimes in some cases and typical examples of criminal violence in other cases. But every single one of those cases that’s been cited has led to quick arrests or quick investigations and a sense of the justice system working as it should. This case got attention partly because Zimmerman was let off the hook for over a month before public outrage pushed the state of Florida to deal with the matter. It’s not a small thing that the Chief of Police of Sanford was compelled to step down. And yes, that is news, whether you want it to be or not.
You then overreact to Zimmerman’s conduct on the evening when he killed Trayvon Martin to urge for the death penalty for Zimmerman. I never said that, nor would I do so. I said that what happened to Trayvon Martin was an outrage, and an avoidable one. It’s something that would not have happened had Martin been a white teenager in a gym suit, or someone of another ethnicity. But Zimmerman saw a black teenage boy in a hoodie slowly walking down the street in the rain, and assumed he was looking at a criminal. I’m not sure why you’re urging a violent reaction here – that’s exactly the opposite of what President Obama, Trayvon Martin’s parents and even people like Jesse Jackson have been asking the public to do. Trayvon Martin’s parents didn’t call for violence and death, and it’s frankly offensive that anyone would interpret this situation as a reason to call for the actions you’ve encouraged. Violence only begets violence. Jesse Jackson has spent decades campaigning against violence and for tolerance.
You say that you once were a supporter of Jesse Jackson during his 1988 presidential run. That’s commendable, but I’m not sure how it is relevant here. Because you then say that you don’t know when Jackson has given sermons on Christianity, on Christ or on the principles you say you’re espousing. (Of course, those principles are in direct contravention of your urging for death and violence in the prior paragraph.) You say you’ve heard hours of Jackson’s speeches. Have you attended his sermons at any church? Have you actually taken the time to spend any time in church with Jackson, or has your only experience of him been on the political stump? I don’t argue with you about Al Sharpton – I frankly don’t pay him much attention. I don’t think Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly have any moral standing to attack him, but that doesn’t mean I’m a fan of his by any means. Jesse Jackson has had a long career and not everything he has done has been constructive over time. But I’m not going to deny his faith or the fact that he’s given hope and encouragement to people across this country for decades. That’s a notable achievement by Jackson, and it cheapens his attackers to try to simply ignore it.
As far as “the media” being “in bed with them”, I really don’t know what you’re talking about. ABC, CBS, CNN have all run reports criticizing both Jackson and Al Sharpton at appropriate times. They have also run reports criticizing both Democrat and GOP politicians. It’s outlets like Fox News and AM radio where we’ve seen a very clear bias toward the right and a strong sense of a channel being “in bed with” the people they’re supposed to be covering. The fact that Fox News was blatantly trying to give advice to GOP candidates last year, the fact that Fox News was caught trying to enlist David Petraeus to run for the GOP ticket, the fact that Fox News has regularly given a soapbox to the most extreme elements of the GOP, all these things point to not only bias by Fox News but the very edge of collusion as well. As we’ve noted here, the Zimmerman defense team was an expensive proposition, and only a couple of months before trial, Fox News sounded the alarm that Zimmerman was out of money to pay for it. Now, you could argue that Fox News had already gone too far in trying to get its viewers to contribute to Zimmerman’s legal fund. But the real question is how much did Fox News itself put into that fund – how much did Roger Ailes contribute? (And that includes through shell corporations and through third parties donating for him) That number would be an extremely interesting one. Among other things, it shows how important this case was to the right wing. They didn’t give Roderick Scott a dime – he had to pay for his own defense without any support from Fox News or anyone else. And Scott won in court without any fanfare. I wonder if the same would have been said had Zimmerman not been provided with a high profile, very expensive legal team.
As for the Scott/Cervini confrontation, there were stories about it in March 2012, actually. But those stories acknowledged that the situations were different. The issue was dropped until recently, when right wing pundits decided they wanted to find any stories they could of black on white or black on black crime to present as outrages that the “lamestream media” hadn’t covered. Except that in all of these other cases, the situations have been shown to be quite different, and nothing along the lines of what happened here. Most were standard crime blotter stories that don’t tend to get attention. And the whole idea of desperately trying to wave them around has been debunked as a tactic of the right wing to draw false equivalences and attempt to distract people from questions they either cannot or do not wish to answer.
Now, you ask why the Roderick Scott story didn’t get much attention other than local press. I believe this would fall under the category of “asked and answered”. But if you insist, I’ll repeat myself. The Roderick Scott story is a standard crime scene – Scott sees three teenagers burglarizing cars, goes outside to try to stop them, tells them he has a gun and that they should stop where they are, and one of them tries to run at him and gets shot. Not much unusual there, unless you’re just trying to play up the race of the participants. The key is that Scott caught them in the act of committing a crime, identified himself and wound up on trial, for which he was acquitted. The right wing didn’t think this was a cause at the time, and apparently didn’t think anything of the matter until they needed to find a crime blotter story to raise as an alternative to Zimmerman’s killing of Trayvon Martin.
You ask why the killing of Trayvon Martin was so much more important. I thought I was clear before. It was important because Trayvon Martin was not committing any crime when George Zimmerman profiled him, stalked him, confronted him and then killed him. To people around the country, this was an outrageous and avoidable situation. Most people, even on the right, have agreed that George Zimmerman should have stayed at his car and waited for the police, and not tried to take matters into his own hands – something the police clearly asked him not to do. The black community in particular had an issue with this case because of the profiling and because, again, Trayvon Martin was doing nothing illegal when Zimmerman profiled him. The issue for the black community has been the troubling scenario of Zimmerman assuming that Trayvon Martin must have been a criminal or on drugs without any proof of such a thing. Their issue has been that Zimmerman saw a young black man in a hoodie and assumed he was a criminal. To put it simply, Trayvon Martin was profiled for the offense of “walking home while black in a hoodie”. If you’re not able to understand why this would be a major news story, then I’m not sure how clearer I can make it. This is something that upset a lot of people in this country and became national news. The President commented on it because of that, and it was appropriate that he did so.
It’s interesting and a bit sad that the right wing suddenly wants to raise every criminal act they can of black on black violence or black on white violence or what have you. This isn’t anything that the right wing was concerned about before. Where was their concern in Chicago about these killings over the past decade when community activists were doing everything they could to deal with it at the local level. Where was the right wing when people like Jesse Jackson have made speeches to communities about the problems of violence in urban neighborhoods? The answer is that they simply didn’t care about the story. They only raise it now as a false equivalence to the killing of one young black teenager, so that they won’t have to address the more troubling issues his case raises. I also note that it’s beyond offensive to try using the race card of “blacks killing and raping whites and illegal immigrants doing likewise”. If this was the epidemic that you’re presenting it to be, it would be a national story. Trying to fan the flames of racial divisiveness is a really nasty way to score cheap political points.
Now, if you can find a story about a black man who shot a white teenager in his neighborhood who was just walking home from the store and was committing no crime at the time, I think that really would be news. But none of the various ideas you’ve cited fits that description. You’ve cited common crime blotter stories and right wing pundits’ opinions about them.
You ask about why the Trayvon Martin case “deserves” coverage and your crime blotter stories don’t. The answer is that it isn’t about “deserves”. The Trayvon Martin case got national attention because of the obvious problem of an unarmed black teenager walking home from the store and committing no crime, and yet he’s profiled, stalked, confronted and killed. If you believe that’s an ordinary and commonplace event we shouldn’t notice, then this country has much deeper problems than we have realized.
I also appreciate your candor in acknowledging that the Roderick Scott matter only came to people’s attention due to right wing pundits trying to suddenly bring up the case as a response to the Zimmerman trial.
Let’s be clear about Trayvon Martin. He wasn’t an angel. He was, to me, a teenager going through some difficult times. He was clearly a pot user, but then I knew many of them when I was in school. He clearly got into trouble at school, or he wouldn’t have been suspended. His parents were clearly trying to deal with his issues – to the point that the mother sent him to stay with his father and presumably straighten up the problem that got him suspended the last time. And frankly, his issues seem to me to be really typical teenager behavior – he’s showing up late for class, he gets caught writing graffiti, he gets caught with pot materials, etc. The bit about the jewelry is a strange one – in that if this was a robbery, why didn’t anyone ever claim the property? And since it doesn’t fit in with the rest of his behavior, I’m inclined to believe it’s more likely that he was frankly dumb enough to hold onto a bag for someone else and then get caught with it.
But I don’t know that Trayvon Martin was a “bad teenager”. I do know that he wasn’t breaking the law or doing anything wrong when George Zimmerman profiled him, followed him, stalked him in defiance of police instructions and initiated a confrontation that turned into a fight and ended with Martin’s death. For anything else Trayvon Martin did in his school career, he did nothing to merit being profiled and confronted. And that of course is why this story has had such traction.
The notion that Martin viciously attacked George Zimmerman is only present in Zimmerman’s personal account. And Zimmerman’s account is full of inconsistencies. The earwitness accounts of hearing arguing outside are totally inconsistent with Zimmerman’s version of the story, but do line up with Rachel Jeantel’s recounting of what she heard over the phone. She heard Martin ask Zimmerman why he was following him. She heard Zimmerman angrily demand “What are you doing here?”. She didn’t hear Zimmerman say “I’m Neighborhood Watch, we’ve had break-ins. Who are you and who are you visiting?” There’s a big difference between those two ideas. And there’s also a big difference between an argument degenerating into a fistfight and Zimmerman’s account of Trayvon Martin jumping out of some nonexistent bushes and sucker punching him. So I don’t know that we can say that Martin’s choices led to his death. We do know that Zimmerman’s choices led to Martin’s death – had Zimmerman stayed at his truck and allowed the police to do their job, Martin would be alive today.
Regarding the Roderick Scott case, I read the Snopes.com account of the matter, and then I read further articles at YNN, as well as a biased account of the trial from a website called “the martialist”. The article you’ve referenced from YNN discusses the verdict but didn’t go into enough detail about what happened. Snopes was probably the biggest help.
The only other witness I’m seeing directly to the confrontation between Roderick Scott and Christopher Cervini is Cervini’s cousin James, who was with Cervini for the robberies and for this confrontation. From what I can tell, James Cervini committed perjury in court trying to make it look like Scott gunned down his cousin in a manner that would make absolutely no sense, given the evidence that was presented.
Again, let’s look at the differences between these cases. In the case of George Zimmerman, he profiled Trayvon Martin, who wasn’t committing any crime and was trying to walk home by himself. Martin was, according to Rachel Jeantel, scared of Zimmerman and was trying to get away from him. Zimmerman left his vehicle, disobeyed police instructions to follow and stalk Martin until he could confront him. When he did confront him, Zimmerman treated Martin as a criminal and never identified himself or gave any reason for his own behavior. Roderick Scott, on the other hand, witnessed Cervini, his cousin and Brian Hopkins breaking into cars on his block and stealing things from the interiors of the cars. Scott stepped outside, saw Hopkins running away and then heard the two Cervinis still rummaging through the interior of a car and emerging from it. He announced that the police had been called, that he had a gun and that they should not move. Instead, Christopher Cervini charged him. Scott fired twice, Cervini passed him and collapsed on the ground. Cervini’s cousin’s account that Cervini was standing still with his hands raised doesn’t make any sense given that Cervini died past where Scott was standing.
And again, the differences are glaring. Christopher Cervini was caught stealing. Trayvon was walking home. Cervini was with accomplices. Trayvon was alone. Cervini’s accomplices had criminal records including assault and robbery. Scott had no record. Martin had no criminal record, although he did have the suspensions from school. Zimmerman also had a criminal record for assault, domestic violence, etc, and he had a reputation for being an aggressive Neighborhood Watch guy to the point that people complained about him. Zimmerman followed Martin and then confronted him, against police instructions. Scott caught Cervini and his cousin in the act of burglarizing a car, without following anyone anywhere. Zimmerman did not identify himself or give Martin any reason why he was entitled to follow him and confront him. Meaning that for all Martin new, Zimmerman was about to attack him – which wound up being fatally true for Martin. Scott identified himself and made certain that the Cervinis knew he had a gun. Martin’s toxicology shows he had used pot at some point before the confrontation, but the THC level was so low that pharmacologists have stated that he couldn’t have been high and in fact the level represented a residual amount from having used pot within the last four weeks. Christopher Cervini’s toxicology report showed he was drunk and on amphetamines, as well as having a THC level. On nearly every level, the details of the two cases tell very different stories.
Another note about Roderick Scott. The right wing wants to say that the media ignored his case because it was a black man killing a white teenager. They ignore that Roderick Scott had no deep pockets bankrolling his attorney. He had to get whatever attorney he could afford and pay his own way. George Zimmerman on the other hand was clearly benefitting from the support of AM radio and Fox News – he was able to get the best legal defense money could buy. (And I really do hope that the truth about who funded the actual month at trial comes out at some point.)
But your first postings here were to echo right wing talking points heard on Fox News and on right wing blogs. You’re the one who raised the issue of Roderick Scott, something being discussed by right wing pundits who want to create a false argument about whether the “lamestream media” are covering the right stories. It’s a false argument because these guys are trying to argue a negative rather than prove a positive. I note that you’re the one stating that you believe that ABC, CBS and NBC are refusing to cover stories that don’t fit their agenda. This is a right wing meme, and it’s very strange that you’re stating it in one post but then trying to walk it back in the next.
I don’t know that I would term this debate a “pissing match”. But for whatever reason, you chose to jump into a thread from two weeks ago and state an opinion in complete contravention to the facts at hand.
I respect any schoolteacher with 33 years of history. I actually agree with you that there is plenty of bad behavior in this country, and plenty of people refusing to take responsibility for their actions. I just don’t think that this is as new of a concept as you may think. I agree that there seems to be more encouragement for people to not “play well with others”. We can see this most clearly with the awful spectacle of today’s Congress, where we once again have people threatening to shut down the government because they aren’t getting everything they want. And these guys somehow think they can set that kind of example and not see any consequences. If anything, teenagers today look at the fact that adults refuse to get along, and they pattern themselves after that. But teenagers have always been rebellious in one way or another.
My point in my responses to you has been that you’ve raised a false comparison between the case of Roderick Scott and the case of George Zimmerman. You’ve made a series of assumptions about both cases that are truly surprising to me if they’re coming from a teacher who’s been in the classroom for 33 years. You’re assuming that the right wing talking points about both cases are correct. And you’re not questioning why right wing blog sites are trying to bring up old cases or other murders. I would think any teacher would have a lot of questions to ask before going along with any pundit’s assumptions. Because usually they only show you a little bit of the story, the part that sounds the most interesting or outrageous. But when you actually look at the story in depth, the pundit’s presentation usually turns out to have major problems. Many right wingers believed (and still believe) that Ramos & Compean were treated unjustly, because they believed what AM radio and Fox News told them about that case. By the same line of thinking, many right wing viewer and listeners assumed that President Obama was bound to lose the 2012 election in a landslide, simply because that’s what they were told by Fox News and AM radio. I was hoping that the reality of the outcome would have taught many of them to not assume anything. But the responses I’ve been seeing here and elsewhere indicate that the lesson hasn’t taken. And that’s truly a shame.
You weren’t talking about “everyone and teenage boys in particular taking responsibility for their actions and talk”. You were referring to Trayvon Martin as a “thug”. Big difference. Unless you believe that all teenagers are “thug teenagers”.
I know that Zimmerman told people he was relieved that the confrontation was on video, but you’re forgetting the details, and they’re important. Zimmerman was told that Trayvon Martin’s phone was recording video of everything – something Zimmerman knew was impossible. Zimmerman knew that the best recording Martin’s phone could have made would have been to get audio of the scuffle. Because Zimmerman never testified anything about Martin holding up his phone to record him. It is more likely that Zimmerman was calling the investigator’s bluff to see what he actually had. It is also likely that Zimmerman immediately convinced himself that he had no choice but to kill Martin, and thus any video in his mind would only support his case. But all of that is irrelevant, since no such video existed.
Roderick Scott was absolutely not “out protecting his neighborhood just like Zimmerman”. Scott was inside his apartment when he heard noises outside. He looked out and saw the thieves at work in cars on his block. He told his girlfriend to call 911 and went outside to tell the thieves to stop. That’s a very different idea from Zimmerman being out looking for possible lawbreakers and then deciding that Trayvon Martin was a criminal. Thieves breaking into people’s cars in predawn hours is a very different situation from Trayvon Martin walking home from the store at 730pm.
You say that Zimmerman did not take aim at Martin and shoot him. Are you aware that Zimmerman in fact did aim at, shoot at and kill Trayvon Martin? How do you think this happened? Did the gun aim itself?
You don’t know how the fight between Zimmerman and Martin developed, so your assertion of how it started relies completely on the testimony of the shooter. According to Rachel Jeantel, the confrontation consisted of Trayvon asking Zimmerman why he was following him, followed by Zimmerman angrily demanding to know what Trayvon was doing in the neighborhood. Contrast that with Roderick Scott, who announced to the thieves that he had a gun, that the police had been called and that they should stop where they were. Those are very different situations.
By the way, we should also keep in mind that Roderick Scott was actually arrested and charged very quickly for what happened. The police acted on the idea that Scott had shot a teenager and dealt with it accordingly. Contrast that with Zimmerman, who essentially got a pass until local outrage got enough people concerned that a proper investigation and prosecution was done.
Your question about how many confrontations with guns between adults and teenagers have happened over the past decade is an interesting one. Now, we’re talking about two totally different matters between the Roderick Scott matter and the situation of Zimmerman killing Trayvon Martin, as I’ve shown you. But if you’re just talking about fights that escalate into shootings because one person has a gun, then you’d be making a very interesting argument. Many people would agree with your point – that we really do need to deal with the problem of gun violence in this country. If that was your point, then you’ve made an admirable one.
Your comment about the arrogance of teenagers in general is a bit disturbing. You seem to be saying that teenagers today don’t respect their elders. Well, adults have been saying that for about as long as there have been adults and teenagers. Look back at the situations in this country over the past century and tell me that this is somehow a new phenomena. But if you’re trying to make a case that teenagers in general are “thug teenagers”, it’s not going to wash. Saying that teenagers should be more respectful is a nice thought, and I’d agree that it would be nice if everyone could respect each other a bit more. But I’d argue that if fewer people were walking around packing handguns, you’d have less of these confrontations turning into homicides. But again, that takes us back to your previous point about reducing gun violence, which I agree with.
Dr. King’s comments continue to be something that we all strive toward. I agree with you that coverage like what we’ve seen on Fox News has harmed the cause of this idea. I agree with you that Fox News indeed “trumps up stories for their own glory and agendas”. This website was actually started as a way of keeping an eye on that behavior and to act as a corrective. Glad that you agree that it’s necessary.
Your last comment about “several stories out their (sic) that ABC, NBC and CBS have chosen to ignore” sounds like a right wing blog talking point. You’re citing right wing voices who want to bring up multiple irrelevant stories when they don’t like one that makes them uncomfortable. As we have repeatedly pointed out here, the Trayvon Martin case was news not just because it was a black teenager being shot to death. That situation unfortunately happens all too often in this country – so often that our newspaper crime blotters are filled with those stories. (And President Obama directly addressed this in his remarks about the situation) What made the Martin killing news was the fact that Martin was profiled as a criminal when all he was doing was walking home from the store. He was assumed to be a criminal for no other reason than that he was a young black male wearing a hoodie walking through George Zimmerman’s neighborhood. Had he been a young white teenager wearing a t-shirt, would George Zimmerman have assumed foul play? The desperate attempts by some right wingers to bring up false comparisons to unrelated cases speaks less to some imagined media slight than it does to the right wing’s inability to talk about the difficult issues that cases like this raise.
You raise a completely unrelated case from 2009 that right wing bloggers are trying to wave around, and you want people to think it somehow justifies Zimmerman killing Trayvon Martin? Have you actually read the details of that case? Let me give you a little more information on it. Roderick Scott wasn’t watching Christopher Cervini and his friends walk home from the store, didn’t profile them, didn’t stalk them and didn’t engage them against police instructions. He saw them breaking into cars and stealing things. That was proven – there was evidence of what they were doing. He walked outside with his gun and clearly presented himself to the thieves. He told them he had a gun, he told them the police had been called and he told them to stop where they were. That’s very different from George Zimmerman refusing to identify himself while stalking and challenging Trayvon Martin. That’s very different from stalking Martin, who wasn’t committing any crime. After Scott clearly identified himself, Cervini apparently tried to run at him to get the gun and Scott fired at him. Once again, this was proven in court based on the evidence (the distance between Scott and Cervini, where Cervini fell, how the bullet hit Cervini, etc). That’s not the same thing as Zimmerman initiating a confrontation with Martin, getting into a fight with him and when he was losing, pulling a gun and shooting Martin to death.
Scott lives in his neighborhood without a problem because everyone knows he had caught the thieves stealing from the neighborhood, and that he wasn’t known as a loose cannon by any means. George Zimmerman, on the other hand, was known by his neighbors to be an overly aggressive guy who people had complained about based on his behavior. Keep in mind that Roderick Scott wasn’t out looking for trouble when his situation happened. George Zimmerman was – and that’s a huge difference.
You compound your mistake with a fairly nasty smear against both Trayvon Martin and his parents. You say that Trayvon showed “arrogance”. How? By walking home with snacks to watch the game? If that’s arrogance, this country must be full of arrogant people. You then say that Trayvon Martin’s parents “raised him to be the way he was”, which you define as a “thug teenager”. How do you know that Martin was a thug? Because of texts and posts that are no more threatening than what you could read on more teenagers’ twitter accounts than you could count? Just because a bunch of middle class teenagers think they’re cool by smoking pot and talking like rock and rap stars on their twitters and texts and blogs doesn’t mean that they’re thugs. It means that they’re teenagers. Kids in the 70s talked like their favorite rock stars and TV stars. And so it was in the 60s, and the 50s and so on. Doesn’t make the kids “thugs”. And who are you to pass judgment on Trayvon Martin in the first place? And who are you to pass judgment on his parents? Have you no shame, sir?
An unarmed teenager got the death penalty for stealing change or cell phones from cars.
You reference the jury’s “Not Guilty” verdict. That’s accurate at a surface level, but you fail to acknowledge that at least two jurors were prepared to rule for Manslaughter and another wanted to rule for 2nd Degree Murder. When the verdict was finally released, jurors mentioned that they felt constrained by their instructions when they were leaning toward Manslaughter. So yes, the issued verdict is “Not Guilty”. But the testimony from the jurors is plenty to show that this wasn’t considered a five minute open-and-shut case.
You reference “people with less information” saying that they think Zimmerman is guilty. You’re not taking a cheap shot at Rush Limbaugh’s favorite new meme – the “low information voter”, are you?
You avoided the issue of the right wing media, including Fox News and AM radio, all cheerleading for George Zimmerman and then celebrating the verdict in this case to dismiss any discussion of right wingers. Frankly, I have spent much of my life in the company of both left-wingers and right-wingers. The right-wingers were the ones who complained the most about the O.J. verdict, the Ramos & Compean verdict, the fate of the Churchill bust and about pretty much whatever pet issue was being inflamed at the moment by Fox News or the local right wing radio station. I’ve brought up the point that right wing media and right wing fans have been having a field day celebrating this verdict and trying to do exactly what you’ve been doing here – gloat and rub someone’s nose in the outcome of the trial. Further, those same people have also been trying to gin up paranoia about potential riots and mayhem, even though they were proven to be demonstrably wrong.
If you were to present some actual evidence, some actual facts and not just your opinion about George Zimmerman’s actions, then we could debate something of substance here. I’d be happy to do so.
But you’ve chosen instead to echo talking points that are heard regularly on right wing AM radio stations and on Fox News. You don’t want to be identified with that crowd, and I understand that. But then I must ask why you’re quoting their talking points on this matter. And if you disagree with the right wing talking points, could you please point out where you do.
I understand that you agree with this jury verdict, as it conforms to the conclusions you’ve previously made about this case. But you continue to hide from the very clear question I asked you. Do you hold the same position on the Ramos & Compean case? Do you think that since that jury spoke too, that Ramos & Compean should have stayed in prison to complete their sentences rather than having those sentences commuted by George W. Bush on his way out of office? Do you believe that every time a jury issues a verdict, that there is no further discussion needed?
I’m not sure how to interpret the tone of your latest post. I don’t know why you believe your own assumptions are “100% baseless”, but that would be something I guess you would need to answer on your own.
As for polygraph tests, I’m sorry if this is disappointing to you, but yes, they’re considered unreliable and therefore inadmissible in United States court. I would say the same thing if Zimmerman passed or failed such a test, since it doesn’t prove anything. Not sure what you mean by “dismissing them”, when they are not considered reliable by the judicial branch or by police.
You seem to be obsessed with whether Trayvon Martin had markings on him. You have missed the point where I said that Zimmerman may not have succeeded in an attempt to block Martin from leaving the area. We don’t know exactly what happened there, other than the fact the situation ended with Zimmerman killing Martin.
You also seem to have an issue with repeatedly shouting and yelling in your statements. Frankly, if you don’t have a logical basis for your argument, raising your voice doesn’t suddenly turn a problematic approach into a solid one. It just means that you’re shouting. You continue to assume without basis that Trayvon Martin viciously attacked George Zimmerman. You don’t acknowledge that the evidence only shows that the two men were involved in a fight and that it ended with Zimmerman killing Martin. You also have ignored from the beginning that the whole situation could have been avoided had Zimmerman done what the dispatcher was telling him to do – leave the situation to the police and return to his truck.
Now, regarding the injuries to George Zimmerman, those were not considered serious by the EMS report or by his own physician, and Zimmerman was not hospitalized or otherwise shown to be in danger of his life. You also seem to have ignored in the middle of your shouting that I addressed the issue of how Zimmerman could have hit his head on the sidewalk. I patiently explained to you that Zimmerman’s story of Martin repeatedly slamming his head into the sidewalk didn’t conform to the other witnesses or to the physical evidence at hand. You cannot ignore the evidence and then claim that it supports your assumptions without basis, even if you resort to shouting. You do need to have a factual support for your argument, whether this is convenient to you or not.
As for the “‘brutal thug’ rhetoric”, I cannot claim to be the person asserting that Trayvon Martin was viciously attacking Zimmerman and trying to kill him. You’re the one taking that position. The evidence doesn’t show that Zimmerman was “attacked”. The evidence shows that Zimmerman was in a fight, and the only testimony we have as to what was happening, other than John Good’s piecemeal account, is that of George Zimmerman, the person responsible for killing the other person in the fight.
Your comments about shot selections and Robocop avoid the thorough answer I thought you had read from my previous response. Please re-read that and let me know if you can find an example of anyone surviving a shot to the chest at 1-18 cm with a 9mm that immediately went through and damaged the right ventricle and the right lung. You were certain that someone could survive such an incident and I’m still waiting to hear your examples of that incredible idea.
Your discussion of the defense presentation of profiling does not answer the issue I raised. You insisted that profiling wasn’t part of this trial. I reminded you that it was, based on the defense trying to justify profiling by giving examples of “young black males” breaking into homes in the community. I must have misread your post. Is your only answer that the defense “did so because in trials, it helps to establish that your client is not a bad person morally”? Is that really your answer? First you say that profiling has no part in this case, and then you backtrack to say it was just a moral defense? Frankly, you have me completely confused. I’m assuming that you’re conceding that Zimmerman profiled Martin with that statement.
Not sure what you’re getting at with the “ALMOST every lawyer” argument about the feasibility of the case. I cannot count the number of legal cases where the prosecution, defense, plaintiff or defendant was told they had no chance at all, but in fact prevailed. Our legal history is replete with such cases. As far as when Zimmerman was charged, you’d really have to discuss that with Florida Governor Rick Scott. He’s the one who appointed the prosecutor and as I recall, he’s a Republican with no love lost for President Obama. There was clearly a concern at the community level that the local police were not handling this case particularly well, and it resulted in a vote of no confidence for the local Chief of Police. You seem to think the case was brought on the basis of emotion. The prosecutor who brought the case, and the attorney who argued it in court would differ with you on that. They believed that the initial review of the case was mishandled, and they felt they corrected that by doing a proper investigation and launching the appropriate prosecution. Prosecutions are extremely expensive matters, and it’s strange that you would accuse the Governor of Florida, who is not known for his profligacy, of wasting money on this prosecution.
You say “polygraph says not guilty”. Decades of jurisprudence tell us the polygraph is not reliable nor admissible.
You say “evidence says not guilty”. But that’s not what the evidence says. The evidence clearly shows Zimmerman profiling Martin, leaving his car to follow and stalk him and then having a confrontation with him in contravention of his instructions from the police. And the evidence shows that Zimmerman shot Martin in the chest at a distance of between 1 and 18 cm.
1. Jackie, you’re assuming a lot of things about the fight between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. We know from the testimony of Rachel Jeantel that Zimmerman didn’t just follow Martin (and disobey a police dispatcher’s admonition). He then walked up to Martin and when asked “Why are you following me?”, failed to answer anything that would have identified himself as Neighborhood Watch or as someone concerned with the safety of the community. Instead, he demanded in what Jeantel described as an angry tone “What are you doing here?” What happened after that, we don’t know for certain. We do know that it wound up in a fight on the ground. For all we know, Zimmerman initiated the contact. He wouldn’t have needed to hit Trayvon to do this. He could simply have tried to stop Trayvon from leaving.
You’re also assuming that Zimmerman was under the threat of great bodily harm. The physical examination of him later did not show this. It showed that he had a bloody nose and two small contusions on the back of his head. His injuries were certainly not consistent with Trayvon Martin trying to slam his head into the ground. The evidence supports only that Zimmerman was hit in the nose and that his head hit the concrete at some point. There is no evidence that Martin was repeatedly hitting him, as Zimmerman attested when he said that Martin landed 25-30 blows to his face. There is no evidence to support Zimmerman’s claim that Martin held his hand over Zimmerman’s nose and mouth. In the first place, there was no blood or any of Zimmerman’s DNA on Martin’s hands, which would have been quite bloody if ZImmerman’s story was accurate. In the second place, if anyone were punched 25-30 times in the face while lying on concrete, that person wouldn’t be conscious, let alone able to pull a handgun out of a holster on one’s back.
Further, you assume that the jury agreed with your opinion about whether Zimmerman faced great bodily harm. That’s not what their verdict said. The verdict only said that there was too much doubt to find him guilty of 2nd Degree Murder or Manslaughter. Jurors expressed concern that the parameters they were given were too narrow to allow the finding of Manslaughter that they had wished to issue. (And one of the jurors apparently found him guilty of 2nd Degree Murder, but was pushed out of that position)
2. I never said that Trayvon Martin was “hit”. I said that Zimmerman could have tried to grab him. That doesn’t mean he succeeded. Zimmerman could also have tried to physically get in Martin’s way to stop him from leaving. You don’t know what happened there, and assuming the truth of Zimmerman’s impossible story of Martin jumping out of imaginary bushes is not a logical response.
You cite polygraph tests as some kind of proof of something. As you yourself just stated, polygraph tests are not considered accurate, and are not admissible in court. It is entirely possible to fool a polygraph test, if you know what you’re doing, and it’s not as hard as you’re trying to make it sound. I’m not sure where you’re getting the “emotional assumptions” meme from, but that has very little to do with the facts of this case or with your citation of a test that you knew couldn’t be used in court for good reason.
3. There you go again, citing polygraph tests. They’re not reliable. But even past that, you assume that Trayvon Martin just suddenly committed aggravated assault on George Zimmerman for no reason. You also are again assuming that Martin was even trying to “BASH HIS HEAD INTO THE GROUND”. (BTW you might want to refrain from shouting – it doesn’t help your position to yell it.) The evidence shows that Zimmerman’s head hit the ground once, maybe twice, which could have happened when he fell down during the fight. As we know from the evidence and testimony, there is nothing to substantiate the idea that Martin was repeatedly slamming Zimmerman’s head into the sidewalk. Even John Good never said he saw anything like that. He said he saw Martin on top of Zimmerman trying to hit him. He didn’t see the blows connect, and he certainly didn’t see Martin grabbing Zimmerman’s head and throwing it down into the sidewalk. Again, no blood or DNA on Martin’s hands and fingers, which means he couldn’t have been repeatedly hitting Zimmerman’s face, and he couldn’t have been slamming his head into the ground.
So your assertion that the incident was based on Martin’s sudden vicious attempt to murder Zimmerman doesn’t hold up. You’d do better to take the course that the two guys were in a fight than to play the story of Martin as brutal thug.
4. Now you dismiss the opinion of Mark Furhman. Okay, does that mean, you’ll dismiss his other opinions as well? And while we’re on that subject, if your basis for criticism is that Furhman “wasn’t there”, then do you discount every person who has offered testimony in the matter, since they weren’t there either?
The point Fuhrman was making was that Zimmerman didn’t need to shoot to kill. It’s not a complicated point, and I think you knew that. You’re also continuing to assume that Martin was attempting to either do “great bodily harm” or kill Zimmerman, and that’s not a fact – that’s your assumption. The evidence does not support it. So no, Zimmerman did not have a right to kill Martin. You might want to look into the laws that cover this kind of situation before advising others to do so.
5. We can both play the game of “you weren’t there” and frankly, it’s a tiresome one. Mark Fuhrman is the one who clarified that Zimmerman had other options besides a kill shot. You seem to not understand what happens when someone fires a handgun at close range into another person’s chest. You’re trying to mix discussions of people who have been shot at varying ranges and have been hit in the chest. Yes, at a distance, you can survive such a shot. But the shot that Zimmerman took was at “intermediate range” of between 1 and 18 cms in the center of the chest, with the bullet passing through and damaging the right ventricle of the heart and the right lung. I’d like to see someone who has survived that kind of a shot from a 9mm.
And making an emotional claim about Martin’s fist and Zimmerman’s head once again ignores the fact that no blood or DNA were found on Martin’s hands. If you have evidence of such blood or DNA, this would have been extremely helpful to Zimmerman’s defense team.
6. Your argument about pictures on tee shirts is irrelevant. You’ve missed the point there.
7. Not sure where you’re getting the idea that ZImmerman didn’t profile Martin. He admitted doing so. You can hear it in the phone call to the dispatcher, and it’s not something that’s been in dispute. Further, if profiling wasn’t an issue, why did Zimmerman’s defense team spend part of its time telling the jury that “young black males” had been responsible for break-ins at that community? You can’t have this both ways. Either Zimmerman was profiling for good reason, as the defense alleged, or they shouldn’t have been raising such an idea in the first place. And again, you assume the aggravated assault that you want to believe occurred, as opposed to the fight that we know did happen between the two guys. And while I understand it to be comforting to think that you’ve found a narrative that fits the conclusion you’ve made about this case, the evidence actually doesn’t support it, and neither does the jury’s verdict. Again, you can wave all the polygraph tests you want and it won’t increase their accuracy. And you can wave the jury’s verdict, but it won’t change the fact that they never said anything about whether the shooting was justified. They only said that they had too many doubts as a group to find him guilty of either of the counts they had before them.
It’s interesting that you want to finish off with an insult about people who disagree with this verdict. I actually agree with you that it was offensive to see people celebrating the O.J. verdict. That was flat-out ridiculous. But in trying to pull a “See, how do you like it?” pose, you’re avoiding the real point here.
The O.J., Anthony and Ramos & Compean verdicts are extremely relevant to this case, specifically as relates to right wingers all saying that “the jury has spoken. He’s innocent. Get over it.” But those same right wingers weren’t saying that about the other three cases, and they don’t get to establish a double standard now. The Ramos & Compean matter is of particular relevance because the right wing was up in arms about it for years, and that was after the jury verdict had been decided. Again, you can’t have it both ways.
I personally don’t know anyone saying that a person is entitled to grievously assault anybody for any reason. I also don’t know anyone saying that a person is entitled to kill another person because they’re losing a fight they initiated.
You make some assumptions about Trayvon Martin’s actions that don’t hold up. We know that Trayvon Martin DID try to run away from Zimmerman, but he was unsuccessful as his pursuer caught up to him. As for calling 911 himself, who knows if that ever occurred to Martin. He was on the line with Rachel Jeantel at the time, and he told her he was scared of the creepy guy stalking him.
You assume that Zimmerman never touched Martin. You don’t know that. For all we know, Zimmerman tried to grab Martin and Martin hit him. You assume a sequence of events that essentially posits that Martin deserved to be shot to death. You assume that Martin was not scared and you present him as a vicious thug trying to murder George Zimmerman. I don’t know that the evidence supports even a tiny part of your theory. Even Mark Fuhrman admitted that Zimmerman didn’t necessarily need to kill Martin, even if he thought he was in danger. Not every gunshot is a fatal one, and Zimmerman had options. He chose to shoot Martin point blank in the chest – an automatic kill shot.
You then play the card the right wing has been trying of late – that anyone who disagrees with this verdict must think that Trayvon Martin was just a wholesome little angel of the age of 9. That’s a false dilemma and a ridiculous argument. Trayvon Martin was a 17 year old who was clearly having trouble in school. It’s clear to me that he was regularly smoking pot and that his parents were frustrated with his behavior. But what does that have to do with the facts that led to this confrontation? How does it change the fact that Zimmerman profiled, followed, stalked and confronted him, thus instigating a situation that led directly to Martin’s death?
You seem comfortable pronouncing the verdict as ending the discussion, and you even say “get over it”. I ask you, did you respond the same way to the O.J. verdict? Did you respond the same way to the Casey Anthony verdict? Did you respond the same way to the Ramos & Compean matter where Fox News and AM Radio spent YEARS advocating for pardons? Please be truthful.
“If Treyvon truly felt ‘scared’ he had two options, he could
1) Run away
2) Called police (as we know, Treyvon had a phone on him)"
EXCUSE ME Jackie — here are two EXTREMELY LIKELY outcomes to your two “options”: First, the instant Trayvon started running away, there is ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY NO DOUBT that race-profiling redneck George Zimmerman would have put A BULLET IN MARTIN’S BACK IN LESS THAN FIVE SECONDS! Second, if Trayvon DID call the cops, THERE IS ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY NO POSSIBLE WAY the cops could have arrived in time to save him from being SAVAGELY BEATEN OR KILLED by Zimmerman — and given the recent history of burglaries in the neighborhood, it’s VERY LIKELY the local cops that answered the call for help would have been race-profiling REDNECKS just like Zimmerman. It’s perennial race-profiling REDNECKS like YOU who simply choose to IGNORE this IRREFUTABLE FACT: Zimmerman was told by the dispatcher NOT, I REPEAT, NOT TO PURSUE TRAYVON MARTIN, yet he CHOSE TO DELIBERATELY DISOBEY THIS ORDER due to his NOTORIOUS HISTORY of racial profiling — and the instant he got out of his car and took out his gun and started chasing Martin, HE ALONE STARTED THE WHOLE TRAGIC CHAIN OF EVENTS THAT FOLLOWED! It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that, in the eyes of longtime race-profiling REDNECKS like YOU, black teens (including those that don’t usually wear hoodies) with NO criminal record will ALWAYS, ALWAYS BE GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!
(Edited by moderator to remove personal attacks)
LMAO! Hey Patrick — are you ABSOLUTELY SURE you haven’t been smoking a joint or two lately??
Relax, I was just kidding with you — The ONLY reason I mentioned marijuana is because, believe it or not, “Horrendo Revolver” was the name of the reporter on a 1970s Cheech & Chong comedy track entitled “Wake Up America” (I’m not sure of the title of the album this track is on).
Well, Gerry — if simply wearing a hoodie makes you “a thug”, does this mean I now have permission to treat both Mark Zuckerberg and yourself as thugs?
And to be honest, I don’t trust Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson as being helpful in situations like this. That doesn’t mean that Tucker Carlson can spew hateful rhetoric at them with impunity, but I don’t find either man to be a saint. Both have spent a heck of a lot of time promoting themselves over the past 30 years. But they’re not the focus of this situation, whether they would like it to be that way or not.
We have long had conflicts between multiple ethnic groups, not just in New York but across this country. Inflaming those conflicts is exactly what I’d think we want to avoid here. Yes, there have been tensions between the Black and Jewish communities. There have also been conflicts between the Black and Asian communities. And certainly between the White and Chicano communities. I’d prefer not fan any of that. Everyone here could cite the injustices that one group or another has inflicted or suffered.
The issue at hand, which we cannot forget, is that Fox News is continuing its meme of blaming Trayvon Martin for his own death. That Fox News is continuing what’s been almost scary in its barely contained contempt for both Martin, his family, and for the people who wanted to see justice prevail in this matter.
I personally think that Zimmerman could have been found guilty of manslaughter, given his conduct on the night in question and his choice to stalk and confront Martin even after being told to back off. I don’t think he intended to kill Martin until he found himself in a fight he was losing.
But to hear Fox News play this out, Trayvon Martin was an uppity punk who deserved to be shot to death, and Zimmerman was entirely in the right to kill him. And to add to the nastiness, they go farther to say “And you know those people are going to riot after he gets acquitted!”. It’s all got a bad odor to it, and it’s the sort of thing we shouldn’t forget as time goes on.
And as for your debate “grade,” YOU were the one who brought up something that happened THIRTY F*CKING YEARS AGO as having any relevance to today’s actions.
I’m sure that Carlson and Hannity and Rivera would really appreciate how YOU manage to ignore how people have changed over the past couple of decades and continue to hold their past actions as “relevant” while completely ignoring the horrific and vile actions that OTHERS did in their past.
And I still see nothing about you that suggests you have ever had any “liberal cred.”