Let me go back to law school for a second, reliving my days at the University of Texas School of Law in Austin. Texas law on a person shooting an intruder USED to be absurd. The law was that you did NOT have to "retreat" from your house, and could shoot a burglar (use "deadly forrce"), without legal consequence, so long as the burglar was INSIDE the house. This led one of my law professors to describe what a rational person (wihout much conern about morality) wouuld do if he seriously wounded an intruder right OUTSIDE the house. Can you guess what he said (the law professor)? To avoid legal consequences, the shooter of the respasser should "obviously" DRAG the wounded burglar inside the house and MAKE SURE HE IS DEAD (so as not to be able to contradict the shooter's story about shooting him in the house).
Forget about details of whehter (overrated) forensics coululd have frustrated a homeowner who took my law professor's "advice". The law was absurd, as was the idea that you were required to "retrreat" from you own property to avoid using deadly force (assuming you were not in reasonable and immediate fear for our own life). The changed Texas law made it clear, essentially, that you could defend the ENTIRE property on which you lived against intruders, including the use of deadly force. You do not have to either "retreat" or wait until an intruder is actually in your house.
Now I am not sure how far Texas has gone with this concept, but Florida seems to have expanded the "no retreat" concept to apply outside of a person's own home or business. The idea seems obviously to get away from the rather ridiculous idea (theoretical more than how the law was generally actually applied) that yu were reqkuired to "retreat" from a BULLY or a THUG confronting you, rahter than use "deadly force", unless you were in IMMEDIATE and reasonable fear of your own life with no reasonable avenue of retreat.
Now the media lynch mob yesterday (it was like howling wolves or great white sharks in a fedding frenzy) was UNINTERESTED in either the FACTS (the usual disinterest here, in favor of a media "storyline"--see, as usual, Michael Crichton's "Airframe"), or the rationale behind Florida's law on justifiable homicide. I even HEARD a CNN "reporter" (no word is more FALSE to apply to any CNN person) say that the JUSTICE DEPARTMENT was "looking at" the FLORIDA LAW. What can you say about a TV network that assumes that the JUSTICE DEPARTMENT has CONTROL of what state laws should be on justifiable homicide. We, as a society, have gone INSANE> This is ONE killing (16,000 murders in this country every year). It is NOT some sort of national pattern, or indication that Florida has an "open season" on black teenagers. This is the EVIL of the way the media is approaching this. The media is telling black people in this country that they are in danger of being KILLED by a "white" peson at any time, and that they an't expect the police to do anythithign about it. I can't tell you how much DAMAGE the media is doing to the BLACK community by this insistence on turning everything (every incident of any kind that can be "spun" to have a racial element, including isolated "isgns" at Tea Party rallies by anonmymous people) into an INDICTMENT of the Untied Sates of America as a still a TOTALLY racist country. This is actually the SAME racist attitude that blames ALL balck teenagers, or balck people, if youy hear about MUGGINGS of "white" people by black thugs (almost certainlyl more prevalent, by the way, than the shooting of black men by a "white" person acting on racial motives).
That said, is this guy Zimmerman really entitled to claim "self-defense". I don't know. And the problem is that I CANNNOT know from listening to CNNN, or reading or listening to any other mainstream media coverage (any more thatn I could know whether the "Duke rape case" students accused of rape were justifiably charged from the initial media coverage based ont the RACIAL insensitivity of the particular students, and the "Duke' culture in general. This blog, of course, condemned BOTH the intital media attempt to "convict" the Duke students based on alleged "racism", and the later "media trial" of the ACCUSER. The media shouuld report FACTS, and not be trying to DETERMINE "guilt" or "innocence" based on the media's own AGENDA (storyline) at any particular time. This blog has long told lyou that the media is the WORST palce to conduct a "crimiminal trial", ant hat media peole are EVIL when they say that they can do antyithing they want becausse they are not putting people in jail. Talk abut BULIES. Nope. Thesae ("journalists') are EviL people out there spreading evil.. They SHOULLD emulate Jack Webb: "Just the facts, ma'am" They do the exact opposite. They are uninterested in the facts.
So was Zimmerman acting in self defense, or was he attacked by Martin? Who knows? I watched CNN, horrified, yestterday. No, I was not horrified at the "injustice" of Zimmerman not being tried for muarder, but at the OBVIUS attempt to CONVICTA Zimmerman of urder in the Kangaroo Court of the media. Look at my article on the ridiclous media 'polkicy" of calling that U. S. Army shoooter in Afghanistan the "alleged" or "suspected" shooter. There was no such hesitancy with poor Zimmeraman. No "alleged" here. There was open "discussion" abut his GUILT, and NO hesitancy about saying he was the shooter (as, indeed, there should not be, which does not stop the media from being SANCTAIMONIOUS HYPOCRIATES by using "alleged" in OTHER circumstances like the Gablbrielle Giffords shoting where there is NO DOUBTA as to the shoooter, no matter waht duobt there may be as to "legal guilt"). You will note that the media yesterday prettty uch ignored the idea that, in America, a man n is supposedly "innocent until proven guilty". Now, should the police decision as to wther there is enough evidence for an arrest be subject to media scrutiny based on the FACTS? Of course, but crimimnal prosecutions sould NOT be based on RACIAL POLITICS. That is the distinct impression I got yesterday: that Zimmerman has become a POLITICAL issue for people (basically inccluding the entire mainstream media) who want to INDICAT AMERICA for racism.
What does it say about America that we have developed an apparent system based on MEN and not LAW? In other words, if the media, an dpeole playing racial politics (or with some other agenda in other cases), want to "get someone, our system is now designed to enable that to happen. "Gay politics"? A suicide of a gay person becomes a "hate crime". You should worry that IF the media, or peole playing politics of one kind or aother,m decide to GET you, you will have little chance. You will not face juust ONE trial, but probably TWO (sate and Federal)--if the desired result is not reached in the first trial. In this kind of atmosphere, the "guilt" or "innocence" of Zierrmerman becomes pretty much irrelevant. Everyone has an agenda, and the facts are TWISED to fit that agenda.
Okay. What abut the FACTS (those things things in which the media are uninterested). Well, the first fact is the obvius one that Zimmerman killed an unarmed man ("boy", but a 17 year old boy can be more than a match, physically, for a 28 year old man). It seems that Zimmerman went somewhat out of his way to put himm mself into the path of Martin. Some might cal lthis "public spirited", as Zimmerman tries to "protet" hsi neighborhood. Others might regard Zimmerman as a little bit of a dangerous fanatic. In either event, "racism" would not seem to be the point here, althguh you can obviusly argue that Zimmerman was "suspicioius" of Martin partially because of his race, and that the police gave Zimmerman too much of a "break" based on the race of the two participants in what obviusly appers to have become a FIGHT (ABC, last night on Yahoo "News" called it a 'scuffle", and called Zimmeran's actions a "slaying", but that is the media PROSECUTORS talking). Thus, most people, objectively, would probably agree that Zimmerman probably went too far in inserting himself into danger. However, it is true that if there wrere more peole like Zimmerman, fewer neighborhoods would be subject to crime and murder from "outside thugs and thieves. Yep. That includes BLACK neighborhoods, which everyone agrees are more subject to BALCK CRIME ("black-on-black") than "white' neighborhoods.
We can agree that Zimmerman's story has to be regarded with some SKEPTICISM. Problem. A crime, in this country, has to be proven BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT. Now "justifiable homicide" is a DEFENSE, and that might have some effect on how the burden of proof works. Stil, it is not enough to have some "skepticism" as to whether Zimmrman was fully "justified" in his acitns. There muct be PROOF, under the legal standards. You cannot convict a person based on SPECULATION. Nor, by the way (see below), can you convict a person based on RACILS SLURES (not to mention POSSIBALE racial slurs).
We know that Zimmerman wa not out to commit what he regarded as a criminal act. Why not? It is ZIMMERMAN who was talking to 911. Now that is being attemptted to be used against him, when it si proably the primary thing in his FAVOR (espeecially against any calim--which I regard as ridicuous--that this is a "hate crime", which is the ONLY basis of a Federal investigation). Look at what is happening here. The media is PICIING at the 91 cals of Zimmerman, while totally accepting the ASSERTOINS (not trnscripts) of what Martn was suppposedly saying to a 16 year old girl (on a cel phone) as this incident was occurring). Did the 16 year ol dgirl submit to a PLICE interview AT THE TIME (that is, did she come forward to be interviewed by the police as a WITNESS?). Evidently not, altjhough the media seems uninterested in the facts here. The FACT is that what the 16 year old girl says HAS to be viewed with MORE skepticism than what Zimmerman said on the 911 call. We have a TRANSCRIPT/record of the 911 call (where Zimmerman had no chance to develop a story). We have NO record, AT THE TIME, of what Martin was saying (or what the 17 year old girl was saing). The 911 call is obviously BETTER "evidence" of what actually happened, than ASSERTINS of what the 16 eyr old girl heard (as an "ear witness'). That means that the FIRST focus of any FACTUAL analysis of what happened HAS to be the 911 calls of Zimmerman. Tht means the TOTALITY o f those calls, and not jsut PICING at possible "discrepancies" between the calls and self-defense. That wwas exaclty what I did NOT hear yesterday. Maybe the 911 calls were played, n their entirety, at some pont on some network. But the AnALYSIS was based ENTIRELY on LOOKING for some way to USE isolated portions of the 911 calls against Zimmerman. All I can say about that "analysis" was that it was not very convincing in terms of showing that Zimerman was "at fault" in this confrontation. In other words, the attempts to discredtit Zimmerman based ont eh 911 calls weere WEAK, and th emain media emphasis yesterday was on the "new" information as to the phone call with the 16 year old girl (which, as stated, has to be viewed with MORE SKEPTAICISM than the RECORFDED 911 calls). No, it does NOT add "credibility" to the 16 year old girl that "phone records' show she was supposedly "on the phone" with Martin at the time. Nowadays, teenageers are ALWAYS on a cell hone, or texting (NO "texts" having been produced). Think of FLASH MOBS here. There is really NOTAHING inconsistent with Martin's cell phone being "open" and what Zimmerman evidently says happened. Note that, as far as I can tell, the 16 year old girl was NOT being "questioned" yesterday. Rather, her supposed "testimony" was PREPARED in a form that could never be used as evidence in court. Agian, this is very differenct from the RECORD we have on wht was happening with Zimmerman through the 911 calls.
That brings us to the disgreaceful people at ABC and Yahoo "News' (some of the worst people who hae ever lived). This wsa the featured HEADLINE all night from ABC, on Yaho: "911 Tape Reveals Possible Racial Slur". Say what? POSSIBLE "racial slur". What the Hell does that mean? Does that mean that Ziimmerman said something that MIGHT be a racial slur, but that some people might not consider it such? Or does it mean that the tape is not clear? Well, despite my eyesight, I labored through the article. The latter is the case. ABC, in fact, made a point out of saying (more than once) that the local poclise "admitted" that they "missed" this POSSIBLEW (lol) "racil slur"--calling this "one of many missteps" by the local plice. Do you have any doubt as to the AGENDA of ABC and Yahoo? I don't. Oh, the "racil slur". Well, it turns out that, as Zimmerman was in the excitement of the events recorded ont he 911 call (ABC calling it a matter of secodns before the "scuffle" resulting in the shot), Zimmerman said SOMEHTHING "under his breath". ABC said that it SOUNDED LIKE "f---ing coons."
Let us look at this from a SKEPTICAL pont of view. First, why is a POSSIBLE "racial slur" a HEADLINE. If you are going to ACCUSE someone of a crime, as ABC is obviously attempting to do A(along with the entire mainstream media), should you not be able to do better than POSSIBLE? After all, it is POSSIBLE that Zimerman was THINKING all kinds of "racils slurs". So what? Is this EVIDENCE of a crime? We are 30 days after the fact, and ABC is talking abut "possible" racial slurs "under the breath". Not much. Harldly antything.
Fr example, is it LIKELY that Zimmerman used the term "coons"? Now maybe the word is more ijn use in this area of Florida. I don't know. But my offhand reacitn is that this is an UNLIKELY word for Zimmerman to have used in the heat of what he obviosly regarded as a dangerous situation.--at the very least a tense and exciting (to the nerves) situatino. Nope. The word is just NO TLIKELY. "Possible"? Sure. But not likely, unless the tape can be OBJECTIVELY made clear as to the exact word used. What does htis mean? Well, it means that the media is tring to LYNCH Zimmerman. But I thik this particular asserin was meant to try to USE the word "f---ing" as mcuh, or more, as to bootstrap in the "racil slur". I am not kidding. My DAUGHTERS use f----ing"--one of them regulalrly. My female freind, Sylvia, usies f---ing OFTEN. EVERY TEENAGER in America (okay, a SLIGH exaggeration) uses "f----ing". I am probably one of the few people in America who does NOT use 'f---ing" on a regular basis. I regard it as the refuge of a small mind. But even I, with my knowledge of modern society, do NOT regard that Zimmerman's use of "f--ing" means ANYTHIGN. If ABC thinks it does, then the people of ABC are evem more stupid than I know them to be.
But what about "coon"? Well, agin, I would NOT jump to any concusion that word was actually used. It seems inherently unlikely. But assume it was (a matter o FACTUAL sound analysis, and NOT a matter of "sounds like, because you are LOOKNG for soemting to accuse Zimmerman of "racial hatred"). Is that EVIDENCE to "refute" self-defense? Not reallyl. Agai, you have the entrie 911 tape. Say that Zimmerman is willing to use a racial slur in the heat of a "confgrontation" with a balck teenager. Taht would surely be ADMISSIBLE evidence that Zimmerman went beyond what the law allows to be the "aggressor" in this congfrontation. However, there is a huge danger that you can use a WORD to "convict" Ziemmerman of murder, when all you have realy done is "convict" him of racial bigotry. Can a person who has a dim veiew of black teenagers act in self defense? Sure they can. Can a Los Angeles policeman use the "N" word, and still not "frame' O. J. Simpson for murder? Of course he can, and DID. It is NOT (despite CNN and the media) a CRIME in this country to use a "racial slur' under your breath. In the end, it has LITTLE to do with whether Zimmrman was legally "justified" in killning Martin. What acan you now expect Right. Did Zimmerman EVER use the "N" word, like in high shcool? You are likely to have people comign out of the wood wrok to say how Zimmerman didn't like balkc people, and talkinged badly about them. You may even have people come forward ad say they heard Zimmerman say "coo" (lol) before. All of this has to be viewed with EXTRTEME SKEPTICISM. It is all part of standard racial politics. And it is too bad. This is realy just astraight case of potential nomicide, and NOT a matter of whether American society ois "racist". In other words, it is a mater of FACTS, and not agenda. Sure, there is a POLICY issue of "no retreat" laws, but it is abusrd ot regard that as an issue of RACE. That is really a pretty complex issue, as I hafveve tried os show you at the beginning of this article. And no, I do NOT bhink it makes any sense to call this a "hate crime", or "volation of civil rights". It is WrONG to try to turn every killing of a balck peroson (or gay person, or whatever) into a FEDERAL CXASE--depedning on whether you can get UPBLICITY or not. If Zimmerman were tring to intiidate civil rights activists, or prevent people from voihting, fine. But to turn every murder of a black person by a white person in this country into a potentil Federal crime is ridiculous.
Bottom line. I would not have acted as Zimmerrman did, and I don't think I apporve 9always realizing that more people like immerman wouuld surely mean less crime in both black and white neighborhoods). But I have no idea whether Zimmerman committed a homicide under Florida law, although I am convinced Zimmerman did not violate FEDERAL law (or, at least, what Federal law should be, which is NOT that every murder case can be a Federal case depending on the POLITICS of it). What is wrst is that I KNOW that the media will NOT help me actually obtain the FACTS about this matter. In other words, I don't hink I have ANY way of evaluating whether the local Florida police and prosecutors should actually CHARGE Zimmerman with murder. I do know that they shuld NOT "charge " Zimmerman based on PRESSURE or racial politics, unless an ojective, SKEPTICAL (as to both sides) review of the FACTS justifiies such a charge.
P.S. No proofreading or spell checking (bad eyesight). And no, I wil NOT be intimidated out of using the word "lynching" to accurately describe what the media is trying to do to Zimmerman 9whether he deserves it or not, as to which I have no real opinon because of not being able to get reliable facts from the media and being unwilling to spend that much time on my own "investigation of this ONE killing). I was similarly willing, and sitll am willing, to say that the media (figurativelyl) LYNCHED Herman Cain (a black man, if you did not notice). The "criticism" here is that the wrod "lynch" is exlucsively the property of balck activists because balkc peole used ot be literaly lynched by white peole. I REJECT that kind of sophistry and intimidation. The word is the BEST descriptoni of waht the media is doing to Zimmererman, and did to Cain. I will not "refrain" from using it because of racial politics. It was not only balck people who were lynched. It was, as you know, a rather regular form of Justice" in the Southwast, in the days of the Old West. SOME of the people lynched were actually GUILTY. Maybe Zimerman is actualy guilty The problem with Old West style lynching (a somewhat different prolem than most racial lynchings) was the PROCESS--not necessraily the rsult. You just can't operate a rational system of LAW with lyching. I am afraid that, in a figurative sense, that is exactly the problem with what the media (and the racial politicians) are donig to Zimmerman. PREJUDGING based on agenda and emotion is NOT the way our LAW is supposed to work, but i is obviusly the way our MEDIA works. Too bad for all of us (balck, white, red, yellow, or mixed).