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Monday, March 12, 2012

Kansas City Royals All-Star Mike Sweeney Endorses Santorum for President

Forgive me for posting this.

The Rick Santorum for President campaign is proud to announce that it has received the endorsement of All-Star Major Leaguer Mike Sweeney.

Mike Sweeney said: “I take great pride in the success I’ve had on the baseball field, but even greater satisfaction in knowing that I have spent my entire life embracing Godly principles and instilling these values into the everyday lives of my children, family and friends. After personally getting to know Rick Santorum, I am absolutely convinced that he is the only candidate in the 2012 Presidential race that shares these same core values! The moral decline of our great country must stop now and this can only be achieved through real leadership and real solutions. I believe Senator Santorum has the wisdom, passion and vision to bring our country back to global excellence with those core Christian beliefs that our Founding Fathers envisioned, including protecting the rights of the unborn child, in mind.  This election is the most important in my lifetime and as a father, husband, and American I am proud to play on Rick Santorum’s team!”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 12, 2012 at 10:55 AM | 2194 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1001. Ron J Posted: March 23, 2012 at 07:21 PM (#4087902)
Most of the physicists or physical chemists I know can't STAND biology


I've worked with a fair number of physicists and (bear in mind we were working in remote sensing) "geographer" was a term of insult. Meant somebody who used packaged tools without understanding the theory behind those tools.

And further to CB's point, almost anybody can look stupid outside their area of expertise. I don't recall the names Bill James used on this point, but IIRC Einstein was one of the names and so was Freud. Said something close to "Knew nothing about and would not shut up about" (Of course James has been guilty of this kind of thing himself -- we all are)
   1002. Gaelan Posted: March 23, 2012 at 08:56 PM (#4087945)
The problem with grades is comparing them across classes. I recently did a review of the grade distribution of our contract faculty. One faculty member had a class in which almost no one failed or withdrew and 45% of the students received an A- or better. I teach the same course (by number) and 18 out of 60 with drew or failed and 15% received an A- or better. Obviously our standards are not the same. While I am quite confident that my grades are a strong indicator of ability there is no way for someone to know that simply from looking at a transcript especially since both sets of grades have been given by the same institution. Thus while in principle I think grades are a good sign of intelligence, or ability, or whatever you want to call it, in practice it tells you nothing unless you also know the context from which they were derived. However, it is precisely this information that is always lacking.

Similarly, we just hired someone who just graduated from a Big 10 university. They had good teaching experience and is, in my opinion, a good teacher. They also had a very high grade distribution because she didn't realize that in Canada a B+ was considered a good grade. For grades context is everything but in mass society context is always lacking.
   1003. Lassus Posted: March 23, 2012 at 09:11 PM (#4087950)
(Though I don't think there's evidence at this point to call it a "murder.")

Hearing as much as everyone else has, what would you call it so far?
   1004. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 23, 2012 at 09:27 PM (#4087954)
A wardrobe malfunction.
   1005. CrosbyBird Posted: March 23, 2012 at 09:58 PM (#4087962)
As long as the answer isn't: because they're intellectually inferior, sure!

I can't say with certainty, but I can speculate as to a pretty non-offensive reason.

The LSAT tests a particular type of reasoning, that is highly language-dependent, and that language is English. It would not surprise me if there is a strong correlation between the language abilities of parents and students' performance on the LSAT. If your parents don't speak English in the home, you're probably disadvantaged relative to the average student.

The LSAT is also a very serious time crunch, more so than any other standardized exam I've ever seen, making even a minor disadvantage in language pretty significant.

The MCAT - and the test I took, the GRE for Molecular Biology is no different than a vocabulary/definitions test, just with longer words that relate to biology.

I think questions like "which of these goes up as you move to the right on the periodic table?" are not part of a vocabulary or definitions test. Understanding the structure of the atom really does help you answer the question.

I agree that pretty much all of biology feels like rote memorization. It's not hard, just voluminous. I'm trying to pick up the MCAT as a test but I really find the biological sciences to be mind-numbingly boring, and it's very difficult to motivate myself to memorize all that crap. I took Zoology for about three weeks in college before dropping it because I would rather dig ditches than memorize the anatomical structures of flatworms and clams.

I don't think standardized tests are a good measure of intelligence except at the very extremes: it's hard not to be very bright and to get a 175 on the LSAT or a 2300 on the SATs or a 760 on the GMAT, and it's hard (outside of simply being unprepared) to be very bright and score below the 10th percentile on those tests. Even so, I'd take them over GPA a thousand times. At least the standardized tests are standardized.
   1006. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: March 23, 2012 at 11:56 PM (#4088028)
(Though I don't think there's evidence at this point to call it a "murder.")


Hearing as much as everyone else has, what would you call it so far?

Whatever spin he puts on it, I'm sure it'll wind up being Obama's fault.
   1007. Dan Szymborski Posted: March 24, 2012 at 12:20 AM (#4088041)
Then why, if he wasn't incredibly stupid, did he agree to give a high-profile press conference to announce something that he didn't understand at all?

Because politicians do press conference and photo ops involving things that they don't understand anything about nonstop. It's not the least bit out of character or unusual.
   1008. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 24, 2012 at 12:25 AM (#4088046)
Hearing as much as everyone else has, what would you call it so far?

I'm not a lawyer, but at this point, it seems more accurate to call it a homicide.
   1009. tshipman Posted: March 24, 2012 at 01:16 AM (#4088065)
I'm not a lawyer, but at this point, it seems more accurate to call it a homicide.


I agree, for the record. Isn't the crux of the matter the law about how self-defense works in FL? "Stand your ground" or something?

I have to say, it seems very odd to have laws like self-defense vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. I am not a lawyer, but I'd never heard of that kind of reasoning for self-defense. I guess I don't know what I mean by that, though.
   1010. Gonfalon B. Posted: March 24, 2012 at 01:19 AM (#4088067)
I don't even watch lawyer TV shows, but the only point where the arrow's likely to stop at homicide is the point right before somebody hits "play" on the tapes.
   1011. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 24, 2012 at 01:38 AM (#4088075)
I agree, for the record. Isn't the crux of the matter the law about how self-defense works in FL? "Stand your ground" or something?

I've only read a few stories about this, but it seems like the "stand your ground" law and the concept of self-defense are either being conflated or bastardized (or both) in this case.* I don't see any way that "stand your ground" applies to a situation in which Person A actively pursues Person B and a confrontation ensues, but the Sanford police seem to be applying an oddly loose definition of standing one's ground while the media, much of which has always hated this law, seems more intent on demonizing "stand your ground" rather than explaining why it likely didn't even apply in this case.

(* EDIT: To be clear, I didn't mean tshipman was conflating them; I was talking about the news coverage and commentary.)
   1012. tshipman Posted: March 24, 2012 at 02:15 AM (#4088081)
I've only read a few stories about this, but it seems like the "stand your ground" law and the concept of self-defense are either being conflated or bastardized (or both) in this case.* I don't see any way that "stand your ground" applies to a situation in which Person A actively pursues Person B and a confrontation ensues, but the Sanford police seem to be applying an oddly loose definition of standing one's ground while the media, much of which has always hated this law, seems more intent on demonizing "stand your ground" rather than explaining why it likely didn't even apply in this case.


See, your thing about how "stand your ground" shouldn't apply is what I thought, too. Which is why it confuses me so much, I think. As I understand it, the SYG law just means you don't have to retreat before using force. I don't see how that applies to following someone and shooting them. But all the news stories mention it, and the guy still hasn't been arrested (I think?).

The idea that person A could follow person B away from the person A's house, shoot person B and then claim self defense seems like a weird application of the law, but then as Joe points out, it might just be a conflation of separate issues.

So the whole thing is weird and confusing, imo. The police talk about SYG as a reason why they didn't arrest the guy, don't they?
   1013. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 24, 2012 at 02:51 AM (#4088091)
and the guy still hasn't been arrested (I think?).

Right. Apparently, he hasn't even been questioned.

The idea that person A could follow person B away from the person A's house, shoot person B and then claim self defense seems like a weird application of the law, but then as Joe points out, it might just be a conflation of separate issues.

As Jeb Bush, who signed "Stand Your Ground" into law in 2005, said in Dallas yesterday, "'Stand your ground' means 'stand your ground' means 'stand your ground.'" I've seen no explanation for how "stand your ground" could be read as a license to pursue someone with "Castle Doctrine"-type protections.

That said, the simple act of Person A following Person B likely doesn't preempt Person A from invoking a self-defense claim in the event of a confrontation, but it seems like the standard or burden would be higher. Hopefully a lawyer will roll through here and set us straight.
   1014. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 24, 2012 at 06:18 AM (#4088109)
It also seems that, in order for "stand your ground" to apply, Person B needs to be a threat to Person A. Does the law really grant everyone a wide berth to imagine that they are being threatened, and to take violent action even if there's no real threat?

On the merits of the law, which again seem only tangential to the Martin case, the most striking report I saw is that homicides classified as "justifiable" in Florida jumped from 45 in 2005 to 105 in 2009. That sounds, on first analysis, more like a case of murders being re-classified as justified rather than a massive increase in truly justified killings.

(One way of connecting the Martin case to the law would be to say that if the Martin case is even slightly representative of how the law has been applied, that would explain how "justifiable" homicides have more than doubled in Florida.)
   1015. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 24, 2012 at 06:52 AM (#4088110)
It also seems that, in order for "stand your ground" to apply, Person B needs to be a threat to Person A. Does the law really grant everyone a wide berth to imagine that they are being threatened, and to take violent action even if there's no real threat?
No. In order for any claim of self-defense to apply, in any context, B needs to be a threat to A. Stand Your Ground doesn't change that. Under both the old standard and the new, "imagining" one is threatened is insufficient; the belief that one is threatened must be that of a reasonable person. It's an objective question, not a subjective one. Moreover, under both the old standard and the new, the threat must be proportionate to the force used; you can use force to defend yourself, but you can only use deadly force to defend yourself against a lethal threat.

What Stand Your Ground changes is the old "Duty to Retreat" rule, which basically said that if you're outside your home and are in a self-defense situation, you have to run away if you can do so safely. You never had to retreat inside your home; if an intruder comes into your house, you're not required to sneak out the back door or lock yourself in your bathroom to avoid a confrontation. But if you were walking down the street and there was a threat approaching, and (let's say) you could safely get into your car and drive away to avoid it, you were required to do so. Under SYG, you're not required to do so.
   1016. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: March 24, 2012 at 07:44 AM (#4088113)
In order for any claim of self-defense to apply, in any context, B needs to be a threat to A. Stand Your Ground doesn't change that. Under both the old standard and the new, "imagining" one is threatened is insufficient; the belief that one is threatened must be that of a reasonable person. It's an objective question, not a subjective one. Moreover, under both the old standard and the new, the threat must be proportionate to the force used; you can use force to defend yourself, but you can only use deadly force to defend yourself against a lethal threat.

What Stand Your Ground changes is the old "Duty to Retreat" rule, which basically said that if you're outside your home and are in a self-defense situation, you have to run away if you can do so safely. You never had to retreat inside your home; if an intruder comes into your house, you're not required to sneak out the back door or lock yourself in your bathroom to avoid a confrontation. But if you were walking down the street and there was a threat approaching, and (let's say) you could safely get into your car and drive away to avoid it, you were required to do so. Under SYG, you're not required to do so.


That was the understanding I had of the law after watching a four way discussion of it on The News Hour the other night, a discussion that included the Florida legislator who was the law's principal sponsor.

The problem I see with the "Stand Your Ground" law isn't the concept behind it in an ideal world with rational and fairminded jurors, and with eyewitnesses or video cameras there to record any incident. It's that it gives cowboys like Zimmerman a sense of implicit authorization that it's okay to use a gun in almost any situation where he can imagine that he was being "threatened", and unless there's absolute proof that he wasn't acting in self-defense, it gives local juries one more rationalization for acquittal. I'm sure you can always find jurors in many jurisdictions who won't have any trouble buying into the whole philosophy of "If a strange black person is walking around a white neighborhood, it's reasonable to assume that he must be up to no good, or at least that it's justified to stop and question him even if there's no objective ground to suspect him other than the racial breakdown of crime statistics." Of course the "Stand Your Ground" law doesn't actually justify any such thing to a rational person, but people like Zimmerman aren't always rational (neither are jurors), and if the law gives them a feeling of justification for reckless proactivity, it's certainly something worth thinking about.

Incidents like this can happen even without "Stand Your Ground" laws, but the law helps to create an atmosphere where they can go unpunished. It seems likely in this case that Zimmerman won't be able to use the law to escape punishment, but what if Trayvon Martin's girlfriend hadn't been talking to him just when it happened? What if nobody could give firsthand testimony to counter Zimmerman's side of the story? In # 1014 above, Matt's figures on "justifiable homicide" rulings in Florida since 2005 certainly don't ease one's fears.
   1017. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 24, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4088320)
It seems likely in this case that Zimmerman won't be able to use the law to escape punishment,

Per an Orlando TV station, Zimmerman might have a self-defense claim, if not a "stand your ground" defense. The story claims an eye witness saw Martin on top of Zimmerman, and the police report says Zimmerman's face and head were bloody and his clothes were wet and grass-stained. (Of course, this same set of facts could probably explain that Martin acted in self-defense/stood his ground after feeling threatened by the pursuing Zimmerman, so the bloody face and grass-stained clothes might not tell the whole story.)

In # 1014 above, Matt's figures on "justifiable homicide" rulings in Florida since 2005 certainly don't ease one's fears.

As I said above, I'm not a lawyer, but these numbers might not mean what they appear to mean. Prosecutors have to make judgment calls all the time. It's possible that "stand your ground" simply helped avoid a lot of trials for homicides that would have yielded self-defense acquittals but perhaps previously had to be charged because of the lack of an explicit "stand your ground" statute. I'm not sure anyone should infer that several hundred murderers are walking free because of "stand your ground."

I was living in Miami in 2005 when "stand your ground" was signed into law, and much of the media has always hated it. Given the media frenzy caused by the Martin/Zimmerman case, I highly doubt that hundreds of dubious "stand your ground" defenses have escaped media attention.
   1018. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: March 24, 2012 at 05:50 PM (#4088434)
As I said above, I'm not a lawyer, but these numbers might not mean what they appear to mean. Prosecutors have to make judgment calls all the time. It's possible that "stand your ground" simply helped avoid a lot of trials for homicides that would have yielded self-defense acquittals but perhaps previously had to be charged because of the lack of an explicit "stand your ground" statute. I'm not sure anyone should infer that several hundred murderers are walking free because of "stand your ground."

I'm not saying they are, but I do think it's entirely possible that more than a few "justifiable homicide" verdicts have been aided by the law's ambiguity---not ambiguity in the eyes of lawyers or the Florida legislature, but ambiguity in the eyes of jurors, especially jurors who may share certain prejudices about "hoodies". The law can serve its purpose well when it's used for the purpose for which it was intended, yet at the same time be a dangerous weapon when it's being interpreted by a trigger happy cowboy and jurors with unadmitted biases.

I was living in Miami in 2005 when "stand your ground" was signed into law, and much of the media has always hated it. Given the media frenzy caused by the Martin/Zimmerman case, I highly doubt that hundreds of dubious "stand your ground" defenses have escaped media attention.

Probably not hundreds, and maybe not that many at all, but without either earwitnesses or eyewitnesses, how could we possibly know what sort of a number to put on it?
   1019. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 24, 2012 at 06:54 PM (#4088486)
Probably not hundreds, and maybe not that many at all, but without either earwitnesses or eyewitnesses, how could we possibly know what sort of a number to put on it?

Right, that's my point. You implied in #1016 that "stand your ground" has resulted in a large number of unprosecuted murders — "Matt's figures on 'justifiable homicide' rulings in Florida since 2005 certainly don't ease one's fears" — and my point is that Matt's numbers might very well be deceiving. Even discounting the added media attention brought on by the racial angle, the media frenzy surrounding the Martin/Zimmerman case suggests these types of homicides don't lack for media attention in the Sunshine State.
   1020. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 24, 2012 at 07:07 PM (#4088492)
Right, that's my point. You implied in #1016 that "stand your ground" has resulted in a large number of unprosecuted murders — "Matt's figures on 'justifiable homicide' rulings in Florida since 2005 certainly don't ease one's fears" — and my point is that Matt's numbers might very well be deceiving. Even discounting the added media attention brought on by the racial angle, the media frenzy surrounding the Martin/Zimmerman case suggests these types of homicides don't lack for media attention in the Sunshine State.


Agreed. Seems to me that the most sensible number to look at would simply the number of homicide convictions.
   1021. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 24, 2012 at 07:14 PM (#4088496)
Quick correction: Up in #1013, I mentioned that Zimmerman apparently hadn't even been questioned about the Martin shooting, which was something I had read elsewhere. But according to Zimmerman's attorney, this is false. Per CNN, "Zimmerman has talked with authorities — unaccompanied by counsel — whenever they have asked him to do so."

Zimmerman's attorney is also saying this is a simple self-defense case, and that "stand your ground" doesn't apply. ("In my legal opinion, that's not really applicable to this case.")

source: Zimmerman's lawyer: 'Stand your ground' doesn't apply in Trayvon Martin case
   1022. tshipman Posted: March 24, 2012 at 07:26 PM (#4088501)
Zimmerman's attorney is also saying this is a simple self-defense case, and that "stand your ground" doesn't apply.


I don't get this. I mean, he can argue this if he likes, but it seems like it will be difficult for him to win--given the multitude of evidence suggesting he was in no threat.

The high publicity will also make this case more difficult for prosecutors to cut a plea deal. The guy seems toast, but oddly, he still remains un-arrested. /shrug. Guess it's this year's designated high publicity trial. At least it's something other than "White Chick Missing."
   1023. DA Baracus Posted: March 24, 2012 at 07:52 PM (#4088516)
I mentioned that Zimmerman apparently hadn't even been questioned about the Martin shooting, which was something I had read elsewhere. But according to Zimmerman's attorney, this is false. Per CNN, "Zimmerman has talked with authorities — unaccompanied by counsel — whenever they have asked him to do so."


I think what you are thinking of is that he wasn't questioned at the scene. (At least, that is what I've read.) Certainly by now with all the media attention he has been questioned, and his lawyer has cleverly worded his statement to make it sound like more than it is to those who don't know that Zimmerman wasn't questioned at the scene. (Not saying you are one of those people.)
   1024. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 24, 2012 at 08:02 PM (#4088521)
I don't get this. I mean, he can argue this if he likes, but it seems like it will be difficult for him to win--given the multitude of evidence suggesting he was in no threat.

Zimmerman clearly wasn't being threatened when he began pursuing Martin, but it's not at all clear that Zimmerman forfeited a subsequent self-defense claim by initiating the pursuit.

It's unclear to me how Martin apparently started pummeling Zimmerman if only Zimmerman was armed, but if Martin was punching Zimmerman and Zimmerman had a credible fear that he was about to be disarmed (and possibly shot with his own gun), there's at least a plausible self-defense claim. (The story linked above says Zimmerman had a broken nose, a deep gash in his head, and was wearing clothes that were wet and grass-stained on the back. That, to me, doesn’t sound like he was in an offensive position, but it's unclear where the two men were when Martin was shot — i.e., was Martin eight feet away, or was he on top of Zimmerman?)
   1025. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 24, 2012 at 08:13 PM (#4088526)
The story linked above says Zimmerman had a broken nose, a deep gash in his head, and was wearing clothes that were wet and grass-stained on the back. That, to me, doesn’t sound like he was in an offensive position, but it's unclear where the two men were when Martin was shot — i.e., was Martin eight feet away, or was he on top of Zimmerman?

If he was on top pf Zimmerman, his clothes would not have been described as 'grass-stained'.
   1026. tshipman Posted: March 24, 2012 at 08:17 PM (#4088528)
It's not at all clear that Zimmerman forfeited a subsequent self-defense claim by initiating the pursuit.


I suppose this must be where the media confusion over SYG came in. I guess I agree, but I am kinda unclear on the concept of this.

It's unclear to me how Martin apparently started pummeling Zimmerman if only Zimmerman was armed, but if Martin was punching Zimmerman and Zimmerman had a credible fear that he was about to be disarmed (and possibly shot with his own gun), there's at least a plausible self-defense claim. (The story linked above says Zimmerman had a broken nose, a deep gash in his head, and was wearing clothes that were wet and grass-stained on the back. That, to me, doesn’t sound like he was in an offensive position, but it's unclear where the two men were when Martin was shot — i.e., was Martin eight feet away, or was he on top of Zimmerman?)


It's unclear to me at all that the broken nose/lacerations were inflicted on Zimmerman by Martin. The cellphone recordings, the 911 call, none of that stuff indicated that Martin attacked Zimmerman. The whole story is weird and doesn't make a ton of sense. Why would Martin punch Zimmerman?

Even still, is it typical for a punch from a 14-year-old boy to constitute a credible threat for self-defense?
   1027. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 24, 2012 at 08:21 PM (#4088530)
If he was on top pf Zimmerman, his clothes would not have been described as 'grass-stained'.

Zimmerman's clothes were described as being wet with grass stains on the back, not Martin's.
   1028. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 24, 2012 at 08:48 PM (#4088540)
I suppose this must be where the media confusion over SYG came in. I guess I agree, but I am kinda unclear on the concept of this.

Recycling a comment from elsewhere, I see it like this: If Zimmerman was getting into his car on a dark street and Martin came running up in a threatening manner with his hand in his waistband or his pocket, and Zimmerman made a snap decision to defend himself, “stand your ground” might be a valid defense. But once Zimmerman made the conscious decision to pursue Martin — a pursuit he could have abandoned at any time — a self-defense claim involving lethal force should still be available but should require more than “he reached into his pocket” or “he took a swing at me.”

In other words, people follow people all the time, but the person being followed (Martin) doesn't have a blanket right to pummel or even kill the follower (Zimmerman). Even though Zimmerman was foolish to pursue Martin, I don't believe he completely forfeited a self-defense claim by doing so. If Martin somehow overpowered Zimmerman and got on top of him, as at least one witness apparently told the police, it's at least plausible that Zimmerman feared for his life.

It's unclear to me at all that the broken nose/lacerations were inflicted on Zimmerman by Martin. The cellphone recordings, the 911 call, none of that stuff indicated that Martin attacked Zimmerman. The whole story is weird and doesn't make a ton of sense. Why would Martin punch Zimmerman?

I don't understand this, either, although it might further establish that Zimmerman was way out of his depth. If Zimmerman was armed, and especially if he was the only one armed, how did Martin get on top of him, assuming the witness report(s) and Zimmerman's injuries are true?

Even still, is it typical for a punch from a 14-year-old boy to constitute a credible threat for self-defense?

Martin was 17. Apparently, Martin was taller and more athletic than Zimmerman, while Zimmerman weighed more.
   1029. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 24, 2012 at 09:02 PM (#4088548)
Zimmerman's clothes were described as being wet with grass stains on the back, not Martin's.

Uhm yes. And the point is, had Martin been on top of him, and he had shot from that position, he would have been covered in blood. The fact that his clothing was merely described as grass-stained strongly suggests that this was not the case.
   1030. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 24, 2012 at 09:12 PM (#4088554)
Not sure why you didn't just say that in #1025, but it's a valid point. It still doesn't explain how or why Zimmerman was on his back at some point, or explain the injuries to his face and head.
   1031. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 24, 2012 at 09:20 PM (#4088558)
If Zimmerman was armed, and especially if he was the only one armed, how did Martin get on top of him,


Poor groundfighting skills. Let this be lesson to all, learn jiu-jitsu my fren.
   1032. tshipman Posted: March 24, 2012 at 09:26 PM (#4088561)
Martin was 17. Apparently, Martin was taller and more athletic than Zimmerman, while Zimmerman weighed more.


My bad there. I've read a few articles on the case, and I thought he was 14 for some reason. Edit: maybe he just looks young?


Recycling a comment from elsewhere, I see it like this: If Zimmerman was getting into his car on a dark street and Martin came running up in a threatening manner with his hand in his waistband or his pocket, and Zimmerman made a snap decision to defend himself, “stand your ground” might be a valid defense. But once Zimmerman made the conscious decision to pursue Martin — a pursuit he could have abandoned at any time — a self-defense claim involving lethal force should still be available but should require more than “he reached into his pocket” or “he took a swing at me.”


I agree with this.


I don't understand this, either, although it might further establish that Zimmerman was way out of his depth. If Zimmerman was armed, and especially if he was the only one armed, how did Martin get on top of him, assuming the witness report(s) and Zimmerman's injuries are true?


Yeah, I don't know. I'd really hate to be on that jury, because there would be the possibility that I might vote to acquit. Hello, national pariah!

At least now there most likely will be a trial, as opposed to him just going free. The whole thing is a ####show.
   1033. Morty Causa Posted: March 24, 2012 at 09:26 PM (#4088562)
There's apparently more to this story than those who respond in a knee-jerk fashion would have you think. It does suggest that things are more complicated than many would have us believe, and should militate against any rush to judgment, one way or the other.

There are a lot of 17-year-olds who can beat the #### out of men older than them. Trayvon was no longer that little boy in the popular picture of him at about 12 being circulated all over the internet and printed in other media organs. Even an actual current picture, albeit disseminated much less widely, has apparently been altered to make him look more youthful.

There also seems to have been a witness who corroborates that at some point Zimmerman was being pummeled by Martin.

Glad to see this discussion is restrained and thoughtful.
   1034. Kurt Posted: March 24, 2012 at 10:18 PM (#4088586)
My bad there. I've read a few articles on the case, and I thought he was 14 for some reason. Edit: maybe he just looks young?

I think (not certain) the picture of Martin being commonly used in the media is not a very recent one.

Edit: Whoops, coke to Morty.
   1035. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 24, 2012 at 10:45 PM (#4088596)
On the merits of the law, which again seem only tangential to the Martin case, the most striking report I saw is that homicides classified as "justifiable" in Florida jumped from 45 in 2005 to 105 in 2009. That sounds, on first analysis, more like a case of murders being re-classified as justified rather than a massive increase in truly justified killings.
There are a lot of problems with this:

1) A comparison with one pair of data points is meaningless; which is unusual, 2005 or 2009?
2) Classified by whom? Juries? Police?
3) How does it sound like "murders being re-classified as justified"? What "analysis" of those two data points tells you that it's not an increase in truly justified killings?
4) Assuming that "murders" are being re-classified as justified, is that a problem? You are implying that they're all like the Martin-Zimmerman case, but that doesn't follow. Maybe they should have been deemed justified under any reasonable approach.
   1036. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 24, 2012 at 11:49 PM (#4088620)
From looking at the facts we have in the Martin case, it seems that:

1. Zimmerman pursued him because he "looked suspicious" to Zimmerman.
2. Zimmerman called 911 to inform them and was told not to pursue him (Zimmerman seems to have uttered a racial slur).
3. Zimmerman pursued him anyway.
4. Martin was on the phone with his girlfriend and told her he was being followed.
5. Martin's girlfriend heard Martin say "Why are you following me?" before the phone went dead.
6. There was some sort of a confrontation and Martin ended up shot and killed.

The real problem here seems to be that Zimmerman, acting as self-appointed armed neighborhood watchman, caused an unnecessary confrontation, resulting in the shooting death of Martin.

The first issue to me is whether A forfeits his right to claim self defense when he provokes an unnecessary confontation with B, causing B, in reasonable fear for B's life, to defend himself by harming or threatening harm to A, after which A uses lethal force, causing B's death.

Whether Zimmerman could have safely retreated after the confrontation began (as he would have been required to do had that been the law instead of SYG) is not clear from the facts I'm aware of. It could be that Martin, in self defense, began beating up Zimmerman, after which there was no chance for Zimmerman to retreat, so he shot Martin. But I don't see how SYG comes into play until the actual confrontation happens.

The unnecessary confrontation was perhaps driven by racial bias (although Zimmerman is part hispanic). But even if so, and even given the reaction from the authorities, it would seem to be better if we just dealt with these particular circumstances, instead of pretending that this is Selma Alabama 1965.
   1037. tshipman Posted: March 25, 2012 at 12:04 AM (#4088628)
The unnecessary confrontation was perhaps driven by racial bias (although Zimmerman is part hispanic). But even if so, and even given the reaction from the authorities, it would seem to be better if we just dealt with these particular circumstances, instead of pretending that this is Selma Alabama 1965.


Yes, I agree. I think that, for the most part, this has been done. I think the various protests where people are all wearing hoodies, and Obama's comments that if he had a son, he probably would look like Trayvon Martin, make good points, though. Young people wear sweatshirts. They don't do so maliciously. I think that is a reasonable point to make. It is entirely possible that because I mostly ignore the news media, that this is not the case and in fact, people have been acting like lunatics. If so, please feel free to ignore the above.

The first issue to me is whether A forfeits his right to claim self defense when he provokes an unnecessary confontation with B, causing B, in reasonable fear for B's life, to defend himself by harming or threatening harm to A, after which A uses lethal force, causing B's death.


I think it depends on how you define confrontation. Using the A and B formulation, since this is all purely hypothetical. This is also just my opinion, so I may very well be wrong legally.

Scenario 1:
B asks A, "Why are you following me?" A pulls out his gun and tells B that he's keeping an eye on B. B panics and attempts to grab the gun, in fear for his life. A shoots B.
This is not self defense, imo.

Scenario 2:
B asks A, "Why are you following me?" A claims he is not following B at all. B calls A a liar and attacks him. A gets hit, gives B a verbal warning. B makes some kind of threat: "I busted your nose, and now I'm going to pull out my gun and shoot you for following me." B makes a threatening gesture. A shoots B.
This is self-defense, imo (also, he's still an idiot for following the guy).

I think that, on the character testimony from his friends and such, that reality is closer to Scenario 1 than 2, but I could be wrong. Again, I would hate to be on this jury, because it's possible I might have to vote to acquit and would be a national pariah.
   1038. Dan The Mediocre Posted: March 25, 2012 at 12:35 AM (#4088640)
People were talking about the lack of blood on Zimmerman, and I'd like to add that police found Martin on his face with his arms under him. I haven't yet seen anything from the autopsy as to where the bullets entered. And I've been thinking of situations that could end with Zimmerman having no blood and Martin being found the way he was and wondering what situations Zimmerman might feel reasonably threatened and have it end up that way.

Haven't yet come up with many that are plausible.
   1039. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 25, 2012 at 12:42 AM (#4088643)
Again, I would hate to be on this jury, because it's possible I might have to vote to acquit and would be a national pariah.

Well, better to be a pariah for doing the right thing than a hero for doing the wrong thing.*

Anyway, other than pure haplessness, I still can't figure out how Zimmerman was armed but somehow managed to end up with Martin on top of him, as one or more witnesses apparently told the police in the immediate aftermath.

(* If, of course, an acquittal was the right thing, which remains a matter for debate.)
   1040. tshipman Posted: March 25, 2012 at 12:47 AM (#4088645)
Well, better to be a pariah for doing the right thing than a hero for doing the wrong thing.


Neither are high on my list. I lived in LA when the OJ trial went down, and some of the jurors were named and received death threats.

Anyway, other than pure haplessness, I still can't figure out how Zimmerman was armed but somehow managed to end up with Martin on top of him, as one or more witnesses apparently told the police in the immediate aftermath.

People were talking about the lack of blood on Zimmerman, and I'd like to add that police found Martin on his face with his arms under him. I haven't yet seen anything from the autopsy as to where the bullets entered. And I've been thinking of situations that could end with Zimmerman having no blood and Martin being found the way he was and wondering what situations Zimmerman might feel reasonably threatened and have it end up that way.


I am struggling with both of these as well. The only thing that seems to make sense to me is weird psych effects of witnesses seeing something that didn't happen, but maybe there's a simple explanation that isn't obvious.
   1041. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 25, 2012 at 12:51 AM (#4088648)
And I've been thinking of situations that could end with Zimmerman having no blood and Martin being found the way he was and wondering what situations Zimmerman might feel reasonably threatened and have it end up that way.


Scenario: They start fighting and Zimmerman is losing. Zimmerman manages to shove Martin away but Martin gets back up and starts rushing Zimmerman. Zimmerman shoots him.

---

Regardless, this case is horrible. Zimmerman appears to have provoked an unnecessary confrontation and then (drawing the facts most favorable to Zimmerman) after being in the midst of losing the fight, shoots Martin.

The over-arching issue to me has to do with the wisdom (or lack thereof) of neighborhood watchmen. I realize police can act illegally, but, still, they would seem to be in the best position to handle this. If the issue is manpower, I'm not sure a layman neighborhood watchman is the answer.
   1042. Dan The Mediocre Posted: March 25, 2012 at 01:01 AM (#4088653)
Scenario: They start fighting and Zimmerman is losing. Zimmerman manages to shove Martin away but Martin gets back up and starts rushing Zimmerman. Zimmerman shoots him.


That'd be a long push to get him far enough away to not get blood on him. Still not sure how his hands end up underneath him.
   1043. tshipman Posted: March 25, 2012 at 01:23 AM (#4088661)
The over-arching issue to me has to do with the wisdom (or lack thereof) of neighborhood watchmen. I realize police can act illegally, but, still, they would seem to be in the best position to handle this. If the issue is manpower, I'm not sure a layman neighborhood watchman is the answer.


Well, certainly not if they're going to run around shooting people. I didn't think that was the idea behind neighborhood watch stuff in the first place. They're the neighborhood WATCH, not the neighborhood shooters. If you see something, you call the cops (which Zimmerman did), and then you back off.

Note: this is not a point about gun control, second amendment, any of that, just the relative wisdom of someone untrained patrolling the area armed.
   1044. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 25, 2012 at 01:41 AM (#4088673)
That'd be a long push to get him far enough away to not get blood on him. Still not sure how his hands end up underneath him.

My knowledge of this type of thing is limited to having seen a thousand cop shows, but why would it be so hard to imagine Martin's arms ending up under him? A gunshot to the chest very often isn't immediately debilitating; couldn't Martin have gone down face-first, put his arms under himself to try to get up, and then collapsed?

Well, certainly not if they're going to run around shooting people. I didn't think that was the idea behind neighborhood watch stuff in the first place. They're the neighborhood WATCH, not the neighborhood shooters. If you see something, you call the cops (which Zimmerman did), and then you back off.

Agreed. My gut reaction to the first two or three stories I read was that the racism angle was probably nonsense, and that this was more likely a case of a somewhat hapless law-enforcement wannabe who knew just enough to be dangerous. My opinion is subject to change, but none of the bluster of the past few days has moved me off this opinion.
   1045. Gotham Dave Posted: March 25, 2012 at 02:12 AM (#4088678)
The unnecessary confrontation was perhaps driven by racial bias (although Zimmerman is part hispanic).
Your parenthetical doesn't really have anything to do with the rest of your sentence.
   1046. tshipman Posted: March 25, 2012 at 02:50 AM (#4088681)
Agreed. My gut reaction to the first two or three stories I read was that the racism angle was probably nonsense, and that this was more likely a case of a somewhat hapless law-enforcement wannabe who knew just enough to be dangerous. My opinion is subject to change, but none of the bluster of the past few days has moved me off this opinion.


He seems more mall-coppish than anything. The racism angle, while almost certainly overblown, seems to be real. He called Martin c**n, after all. The whole assuming a black kid in a hoodie (why aren't they sweatshirts, btw) is Up to No Good is sort of low grade racist.

I don't think that it's specifically anti-African American sentiment that motivated Zimmerman, but rather just sort of generalized low-grade paranoia and a desire to be a hero.
   1047. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 25, 2012 at 03:13 AM (#4088684)
He called Martin c**n, after all.

He did? I've probably read at least 10 articles on this by now, and not one has mentioned this. The transcript I read had him saying, "These a**holes always get away," but I didn't see any slurs.

The whole assuming a black kid in a hoodie (why aren't they sweatshirts, btw) is Up to No Good is sort of low grade racist.

The slur mentioned above was news to me. But to this point, I had given him a pass on the above simply because the stories I've read all described him as a gung-ho neighborhood watch guy who was "very strict" about hassling people he didn't know whom he saw walking around his gated community. (And from my time in both Florida and Latin America, I've learned people who live in gated communities tend to be fanatics about the "gated" part.)
   1048. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 25, 2012 at 03:32 AM (#4088685)
He seems more mall-coppish than anything. The racism angle, while almost certainly overblown, seems to be real.


Overblown perhaps when interpreting Zimmerman's motives, but a good deal more damning when considering the response by the police. A black man gunning down an unarmed white teenager would most assuredly be handled differently.
   1049. Greg K Posted: March 25, 2012 at 04:04 AM (#4088686)
hoodie (why aren't they sweatshirts, btw)

In the Canadian prairies they are called "bunnyhugs". Which I'm taking as an interesting cultural attempt to render them inert.
   1050. Ron J Posted: March 25, 2012 at 05:03 AM (#4088691)
#1040 Eyewitness testimony is generally useless. Frequently worse than that.
   1051. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: March 25, 2012 at 05:40 AM (#4088695)
#1040 Eyewitness testimony is generally useless. Frequently worse than that.


Add the word most and you are probably right. There is a such thing as good eyewitness testimony, even if uncommon.
   1052. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 25, 2012 at 08:04 AM (#4088711)
Add the word most and you are probably right.

That's already covered by the 'generally' in the sentence.
   1053. Dan The Mediocre Posted: March 25, 2012 at 08:42 AM (#4088715)
He called Martin c**n, after all.


He did? I've probably read at least 10 articles on this by now, and not one has mentioned this. The transcript I read had him saying, "These a**holes always get away," but I didn't see any slurs.


It takes a lot of audio enhancement to sort of hear it. Given how much our brain fills in the gaps of what we see/hear and that it does it such that it often ends up being what we expect, I'm not sure I'd call it 100% certain even though it seemed pretty clear to me.

Link.
   1054. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 25, 2012 at 10:10 AM (#4088729)
Well, certainly not if they're going to run around shooting people. I didn't think that was the idea behind neighborhood watch stuff in the first place. They're the neighborhood WATCH, not the neighborhood shooters. If you see something, you call the cops (which Zimmerman did), and then you back off.


Right. On the other hand, I read a story some months ago about a neighborhood watch man who DID identify a real threat... and then lost his life because he didn't have a weapon to defend himself.

I haven't looked into it enough, but my surface impression is that the neighborhood watch idea is a bad one.
   1055. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 25, 2012 at 10:14 AM (#4088730)
The unnecessary confrontation was perhaps driven by racial bias (although Zimmerman is part hispanic).

Your parenthetical doesn't really have anything to do with the rest of your sentence.


I think it does. First, Zimmerman is being described by some in the media as "white." That's not entirely accurate. Second, whenever we hear cries of racism having been the motivation behind a crime, it's generally a white perpetrator and a black victim. And then certain people immediately jump to the conclusion that racism was the motivator.
   1056. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 25, 2012 at 10:18 AM (#4088731)
Overblown perhaps when interpreting Zimmerman's motives, but a good deal more damning when considering the response by the police. A black man gunning down an unarmed white teenager would most assuredly be handled differently.


50 years ago, yes. Now? Not so much.

Race relations really have improved markedly in this country over the past several decades. It's long past the point where people should have noticed.

The police seem to have dropped the ball in investigating this. But the claim that it was handled this way because of the races of the two persons (and again, Zimmerman is not "white") is purely a figment of peoples' imaginations. I've seen no evidence to support that.
   1057. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: March 25, 2012 at 10:26 AM (#4088734)
The unnecessary confrontation was perhaps driven by racial bias (although Zimmerman is part hispanic).

Your parenthetical doesn't really have anything to do with the rest of your sentence.


I think it does. First, Zimmerman is being described by some in the media as "white." That's not entirely accurate. Second, whenever we hear cries of racism having been the motivation behind a crime, it's generally a white perpetrator and a black victim. And then certain people immediately jump to the conclusion that racism was the motivator.

Racism can often exist between Hispanics and blacks, blacks and Hispanics, or even blacks and blacks and Hispanics and Hispanics. It's certainly not limited to non-Hispanic whites and blacks, even though that's been the most dominant manifestation of it in the history of the United States. Whether you want to call Zimmerman's reaction to Martin "racism", "prejudice", "unwarranted suspicion", or "warranted suspicion" is another question, but there seems little doubt that his actions stemmed from his stereotyped impressions of Martin's race. Zimmerman's own racial or ethnic makeup has little to do with this far more crucial fact.
   1058. Lassus Posted: March 25, 2012 at 11:44 AM (#4088770)
But the claim that it was handled this way because of the races of the two persons (and again, Zimmerman is not "white") is purely a figment of peoples' imaginations.

And the claim that we live in a world where we are "long past" the point where race doesn't strongly inform the activities of the majorities and minorities in question is a figment of your imagination.

   1059. tshipman Posted: March 25, 2012 at 01:05 PM (#4088801)
He did? I've probably read at least 10 articles on this by now, and not one has mentioned this. The transcript I read had him saying, "These a**holes always get away," but I didn't see any slurs.


So apparently this is actually very mildly controversial. CNN cleaned up the audio because I guess it was hard to hear on the original 911 call (I didn't listen to it).

I again don't think the crime was racially motivated except in the sort of way that Zimmerman feels that saying things like "f***ing c**ns" and "those ######## always get away" is the sort of thing that real cops say.


Overblown perhaps when interpreting Zimmerman's motives, but a good deal more damning when considering the response by the police. A black man gunning down an unarmed white teenager would most assuredly be handled differently.


I have no real idea if this is the case. I think the big difference maker here is jurisdiction. I have to think that in most large cities, someone more competent is heading this up.

But the claim that it was handled this way because of the races of the two persons (and again, Zimmerman is not "white") is purely a figment of peoples' imaginations. I've seen no evidence to support that.


The version I've heard most is that it's not that Zimmermann was Hispanic or white, but that Martin was black. The Martin shooting happens in a continuum of injustice in the African American community, and it gets interpreted in that context. Things like the Oscar Grant shooting and Trayvon Martin's death are interpreted as part of the same long struggle as Emmett Till, despite there being a huge change in society since then.
   1060. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 25, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4088805)
And the claim that we live in a world where we are "long past" the point where race doesn't strongly inform the activities of the majorities and minorities in question is a figment of your imagination.


I've made no such claim.

Individual racism still exists, and it's entirely plausible that Zimmerman was motivated to pursue Martin because racism was driving his view that Martin looked suspicious.

But the idea that the police handled the investigation this way because of racism as a driver (Zimmerman is "white" and Martin was black so we don't care or we'll just let him go) is far fetched.
   1061. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 25, 2012 at 01:16 PM (#4088808)
Invoking Emmett Till and comparing this situation to that is simply misguided.
   1062. Morty Causa Posted: March 25, 2012 at 01:22 PM (#4088812)
We're not "long past" it, true, but we are past a most virulent stage of it. There has been advancement. There are things like this, and there are things like Jena. Much more violent crime is committed, as a matter of percentages, by Blacks against Whites than Whites against Blacks. That in some ways is understandable; that it is understandable doesn't make it justifiable. In fact, this state of affairs attests some to the more balanced empowerment of different peoples.

But, in any case, it should hardly be material as to a criminal case. Whether you are racist or not, the case against you still must be proved to a degree sufficient unto the law. Whether you are the ideal non-racist or not, you don't get to have your word taken as the irrefutable truth. A Black man can have been the victim of racism, big and little, his whole life, and a White woman, say, can have been the most awful racist her whole life. That should little to do with whether he raped her or whether she falsely (or mistakenly) accused him of rape. There's a game set up to be played. Play it according to the rules; if you don't like them, work to change them.

Your philosophy is not the law. In this instance, as to race in general, or as to illegal emigration, economic theories, or health care systems.
   1063. tshipman Posted: March 25, 2012 at 02:23 PM (#4088857)
Invoking Emmett Till and comparing this situation to that is simply misguided.


My apologies if you felt like I did that, as it wasn't my intent to say that the situations are remotely comparable. To Al Sharpton, though, it's part of the same continuum which is what is driving his rhetoric. I realize that for you this is a criticism of Sharpton. To an extent, we are all prisoners of our own experience. What Sharpton experienced in Mississippi and Alabama in 1965 informs his discussion on Trayvon Martin in 2012, for better or for worse.
   1064. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 25, 2012 at 02:25 PM (#4088859)
#1063, No, I didn't think you were doing that; I should have been more clear.

People in the media are doing that, though, and it's misguided. I was just reminded of it by your reference to Till.
   1065. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 25, 2012 at 04:05 PM (#4088937)
Just ran across this on Google News; sort of touches on the "pariah" idea mentioned in #1037:

Black friend defends shooter of Florida teen

At one point Oliver became choked up with emotion talking about his friend but said he was coming forward freely even though it may expose him to reprisals.

"I just have to do what's right, not just for my friend but for everyone involved," Oliver said. "His mother in law lost her job for this. He's in hiding. His mother in law can't see her own daughter because she fears for their lives."
   1066. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 25, 2012 at 05:16 PM (#4088974)
My apologies if you felt like I did that, as it wasn't my intent to say that the situations are remotely comparable. To Al Sharpton, though, it's part of the same continuum which is what is driving his rhetoric. I realize that for you this is a criticism of Sharpton. To an extent, we are all prisoners of our own experience. What Sharpton experienced in Mississippi and Alabama in 1965 informs his discussion on Trayvon Martin in 2012, for better or for worse.
What the hell did Al Sharpton experience in Mississippi and Alabama in 1965? In 1965 he was 11 years old, and had lived (and still has) his whole life in New York.

I don't doubt that what you're saying is true for some people, but Sharpton was a poor example. Sharpton is a charlatan. His only interest is in what gets himself attention.
   1067. Danny Posted: March 25, 2012 at 06:07 PM (#4088991)
Black friend defends shooter of Florida teen

That could be an Onion headline.
   1068. tshipman Posted: March 25, 2012 at 06:35 PM (#4089012)
What the hell did Al Sharpton experience in Mississippi and Alabama in 1965? In 1965 he was 11 years old, and had lived (and still has) his whole life in New York.


My mistake there. I thought Sharpton was older than that, and I got lazy with the assumptions. He looks like crap for someone less than 60. Substitute a different civil rights leader who's talked about it on TV.
   1069. Kiko Sakata Posted: March 25, 2012 at 06:50 PM (#4089019)
Substitute a different civil rights leader who's talked about it on TV.


Jesse Jackson would be the polarizing civil rights leader you're looking for here. He was 24 years old in 1965 and was born in South Carolina.
   1070. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 25, 2012 at 06:57 PM (#4089025)
It's unclear to me how Martin apparently started pummeling Zimmerman if only Zimmerman was armed, but if Martin was punching Zimmerman and Zimmerman had a credible fear that he was about to be disarmed (and possibly shot with his own gun), there's at least a plausible self-defense claim.


No there's not.

I suspect the "stand your ground" talking points were brought up by the police to help gloss over their incompetence or negligence or malice in the aftermath of the shooting. There are credible reports that police have directed multiple witnesses to change their testimony to fit their investigational narrative. (Three people say they heard Martin cry out for help, but when giving statements, the police apparently corrected their testimony to inform them that they had actually heard Zimmerman cry out for help.)
   1071. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 25, 2012 at 07:04 PM (#4089031)
Jesse Jackson was a compatriot of MLK, etc. Al Sharpton? Not so much.
   1072. tshipman Posted: March 25, 2012 at 07:09 PM (#4089033)
I realize this is a bit old now, but after re-reading the witness account (related 3rd hand, of course), I think it's most likely that the witness who saw one man in a red sweatshirt on top is most likely just mistaken.

No there's not.


I think this is a mistake. There is the possibility that what we are hearing is just not really what happened. It may be small, but it exists.

Jesse Jackson would be the polarizing civil rights leader you're looking for here. He was 24 years old in 1965 and was born in South Carolina.


Thank you.
   1073. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 25, 2012 at 07:14 PM (#4089035)
I thought Sharpton was older than that, and I got lazy with the assumptions. He looks like crap for someone less than 60.

That's what toiling under a pinko commie dictatorship will get ya.
   1074. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 25, 2012 at 07:37 PM (#4089041)
I still have two major questions re: the Martin/Zimmerman case:

1. How much, if any, of Zimmerman's self-defense claim did Zimmerman surrender if, as generally reported, his pursuit of Martin instigated the ensuing altercation; and

2. Assuming Zimmerman's broken nose, bloody head, and wet, grass-stained clothes aren't a police exaggeration or fabrication, how did the unarmed Martin manage to start pounding on the armed Zimmerman, whether it was a boxing-style fight or, as reported by at least one witness, with Martin physically on top of Zimmerman?

I've probably read 20 articles by now but none have come close to answering either of the above. Has anyone seen any answers?
   1075. tshipman Posted: March 25, 2012 at 08:10 PM (#4089058)
I've probably read 20 articles by now but none have come close to answering either of the above. Has anyone seen any answers?


IANAL so I cannot answer 1. Someone who practices criminal law in the state of FL is your best bet, but I don't think any of the BBTF legal team fits that definition. Most network news agencies are jokes so it's doubtful there will be a good answer there.

For 2, I don't think we'll get an answer until the trial (assuming a trial is a given at this point). I can think of some scenarios where there may have been no physical confrontation and Zimmerman broke his nose from firing the gun in an awkward position, or from tripping and falling with his hands occupied. Martin rushing him doesn't seem to fit with the testimony about him, but if Martin did decide to rush him, I imagine he succeeded because the gun was in a holster.
   1076. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 25, 2012 at 09:28 PM (#4089089)
1. How much, if any, of Zimmerman's self-defense claim did Zimmerman surrender if, as generally reported, his pursuit of Martin instigated the ensuing altercation; and
Depends on the facts. Talking in pure hypotheticals here (I am not claiming that any of this is what happened): If Zimmerman was merely following Martin and took no physical action, and then Martin was the first one to use physical force, then Zimmerman did not surrender any of his self-defense claim. If Zimmerman initiated force without cause, on the other hand, then he may be in trouble. It depends on what the force was, though. If Zimmerman grabs him by the shoulder and says, "Hey, what are you doing here?" and then Martin punches him, Zimmerman is out of luck. But if Martin instead grabs for Zimmerman's gun in its holster, then it's a different story.

The general rule of self-defense is that one can use a reasonable, proportionate amount of force in response to an imminent threat of force. You can't shoot someone who is throwing snowballs at you, or even baseballs. You can shoot someone who is swinging a baseball bat at you. But if you're the one to escalate, you forfeit your self-defense claim.
   1077. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 25, 2012 at 10:20 PM (#4089102)
You can't shoot someone who is throwing snowballs at you

What if they are throwing snowballs while bouncing on a trampoline?
   1078. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: March 25, 2012 at 10:49 PM (#4089111)
That last comment is so horrific I can't believe it didn't get nannied.
   1079. Gaelan Posted: March 25, 2012 at 10:59 PM (#4089112)
Person A is carrying a gun. Person B is not.
Person A initiates conflict with Person B.
????
Person B is dead.

You have to have a hell of an imagination to think that Person A isn't guilty of murder. If Person B was indeed thrashing Person A then that is the definition of self-defense. It is a bitter satire that Person A might get off with the same justification.

The only scenario that is remotely plausible is the one laid out by Nieporent above. But no one believe that this is what happened. No one.



   1080. Morty Causa Posted: March 25, 2012 at 11:01 PM (#4089113)
"That last comment is so horrific I can't believe it didn't get nannied."


I said ha ha.
   1081. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 25, 2012 at 11:16 PM (#4089115)
I will admit - I'm 38 years old - that I had never heard of the racial slur "coon" before this case.

   1082. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 25, 2012 at 11:18 PM (#4089116)
The only scenario that is remotely plausible is the one laid out by Nieporent above. But no one believe that this is what happened. No one.
Not to sound Morty-esqe here, but who gives a crap what random uninformed people believe? If, after weighing the evidence, you don't believe that Zimmerman is innocent, fine, But so far, we've heard fragmentary statements made by people not under oath second- or third-hand through the media. Based on what we do know, is it more plausible that Zimmerman is in the wrong than that he was acting in self-defense? I would say so. But "what we do know" is a very incomplete picture. My understanding is that Zimmerman's story is that Martin initiated the conflict. Zimmerman was following him, lost track of him, and then Martin assaulted him. Is that impossible? No. Is it utterly implausible? No. Even if that's the case, I find the use of a gun by Zimmerman troubling. But if the facts show that it was actually Zimmerman, rather than Martin, calling out for help in the background of the 911 call, then maybe it was justified. I'd like to hear from all the witnesses before assuming that the convenient racial narrative is true. Let's see if Zimmerman's story is consistent with that of the witnesses before we assume he's lying.
   1083. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 25, 2012 at 11:23 PM (#4089118)
I will admit - I'm 38 years old - that I had never heard of the racial slur "coon" before this case.
Seriously? I've never heard anyone actually use it -- I don't hang around Andy's pool hall friends -- but you've never heard of it?

My understanding -- I still haven't heard the tape -- is that it's far from clear that he said it, however; it had to be "enhanced" before people could make that claim.
   1084. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 25, 2012 at 11:26 PM (#4089120)
Nope. Never heard of it. Never read it. Never saw it on tv. Never saw it in a movie.

At least, not that I can recall.

In fact, when I first heard of it in this case, I saw it in print as "c--n" and I stared at it and still couldn't fill in the blanks.

Who, outside of Andy's pool hall friends, is using this?
   1085. Dan The Mediocre Posted: March 25, 2012 at 11:31 PM (#4089121)
I will admit - I'm 38 years old - that I had never heard of the racial slur "coon" before this case


You've never seen Forrest Gump?
   1086. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 25, 2012 at 11:32 PM (#4089122)
I will admit - I'm 38 years old - that I had never heard of the racial slur "coon" before this case.

I am 29 and I have, but only from black people joking around.
   1087. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 25, 2012 at 11:33 PM (#4089123)
#1085, I have. Saw it in 1994 when it came out. I guess the reference escaped me.
   1088. Gonfalon B. Posted: March 25, 2012 at 11:50 PM (#4089128)
The term goes way back, to 19th century minstrel music. "Zip Coon" was a stock character-- a black man who dressed and preened in flashy, dandyish, "high society" clothing. The joke was that a black person would dare presume to imitate upper class whites (and that he did so ineptly). The term "Jim Crow" comes from the same period; it was another standard character type who was played as stupid and lazy instead of uppity and delusional.

"Coon music" was a hugely popular genre in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It had the contagious rhythms and harmonies that blacks were bringing into the culture, but used cartoonishly broad dialect for the lyrics, and often revolved around insultingly stereotypical "darkie" behavior (longing for the plantation, getting drunk, having a poor work ethic). A lot of its style eventually evolved into ragtime.
   1089. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: March 25, 2012 at 11:51 PM (#4089129)
I will admit - I'm 38 years old - that I had never heard of the racial slur "coon" before this case.


Seriously? I've never heard anyone actually use it -- I don't hang around Andy's pool hall friends -- but you've never heard of it?

If any of my pool hall friends tried using that word in public, that'd be the last time they ever would be allowed in any pool room I've played in since about 1980. News flash: Pool rooms are integrated, and what few racists are left in them know better than to run their mouths.

In fact I don't think I've heard that word from anyone since about 1980. Other words of that type, sure, but "coon" is definitely of an older vintage.
   1090. tshipman Posted: March 25, 2012 at 11:54 PM (#4089131)
Nope. Never heard of it. Never read it. Never saw it on tv. Never saw it in a movie.

At least, not that I can recall.

In fact, when I first heard of it in this case, I saw it in print as "c--n" and I stared at it and still couldn't fill in the blanks.

Who, outside of Andy's pool hall friends, is using this?


Count me among the people who find this odd. Don't know if you watch South Park, but Cartman's superhero alter ego is "The C**n". Definitely not as common as N*.
   1091. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 26, 2012 at 12:01 AM (#4089132)
Nope. Don't watch South Park.
   1092. Morty Causa Posted: March 26, 2012 at 12:04 AM (#4089133)
I bet these guys use "coon"--as a euphemism

It's hard for me to imagine that some people are unfamiliar with the term. Not if you took literature, history, politics at college, I would think. I think George Wallace used the term publicly, and I'm damn sure Lester Maddox did, as did a host of other Southern politicians and public figures. When Martin Luther King Day was first mooted as a national holiday, I'll always remember some guy on TV who was against it referred to MLK as Martin Lucifer Coon. And how long ago was that? But, of course, I'm from the Deep South (if from a rather atypical area of it), and some of my people still sometimes refer to themselves as "coonasses".

   1093. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 26, 2012 at 12:14 AM (#4089137)
It's hard for me to imagine that some people are unfamiliar with the term. Not if you took literature, history, politics at college, I would think.


And no again. I was busy taking engineering classes so I could have a job when I graduated.
   1094. tshipman Posted: March 26, 2012 at 12:33 AM (#4089140)
I mean, I believe you, it's just weird.
   1095. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 26, 2012 at 12:37 AM (#4089141)
Someone else reading this has not heard of the word either. Probably not two people, but at least one :-) Whether they confess is another story.
   1096. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: March 26, 2012 at 12:43 AM (#4089142)
I mean, I believe you, it's just weird.


They've done a remarkable job, but even the Tyrell Corporation isn't perfect ...
   1097. Greg K Posted: March 26, 2012 at 03:39 AM (#4089164)
Someone else reading this has not heard of the word either. Probably not two people, but at least one :-) Whether they confess is another story.

I will never confess!
Mostly because I'd be lying...but I do have a friend who loves the phrase "I haven't seen X in a coon's age". I believe he's referring to raccoons though (I hope).

I do have a friend who had never heard the word "kike" before. Which I thought was interesting considering his grandfather was in the SS.
   1098. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 26, 2012 at 03:58 AM (#4089165)
If any of my pool hall friends tried using that word in public, that'd be the last time they ever would be allowed in any pool room I've played in since about 1980. News flash: Pool rooms are integrated, and what few racists are left in them know better than to run their mouths.
Andy, you're the one who regaled us in the past with tales of the racists you hung out with in pool halls. I believe that was part of your defense of Obama's close and enduring relationship with Jeremiah Wright: you explained that merely because one associates with bad people doesn't make you one.
   1099. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 26, 2012 at 07:12 AM (#4089178)
They've done a remarkable job, but even the Tyrell Corporation isn't perfect ...


Gold star! Ray has led a cloistered life after his activation.
   1100. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: March 26, 2012 at 07:31 AM (#4089189)
If any of my pool hall friends tried using that word in public, that'd be the last time they ever would be allowed in any pool room I've played in since about 1980. News flash: Pool rooms are integrated, and what few racists are left in them know better than to run their mouths.

Andy, you're the one who regaled us in the past with tales of the racists you hung out with in pool halls. I believe that was part of your defense of Obama's close and enduring relationship with Jeremiah Wright: you explained that merely because one associates with bad people doesn't make you one.


You have the argument right but the dates wrong. The pool rooms I hung out at in North Carolina and Maryland/DC/Virginia back in the 60's and 70's were for the most part either all white or all black, and I'd hear plenty of racial stereotyping and epithets, though even then the n-word was used far more often than "coon". But by the time I started back playing in the mid-90's, those rooms had pretty much disappeared, and the ones around today are far more multi-racial and less likely to harbor vocal bigots. Hell, one of the better players out there now is a millionaire Kuwaiti** who looks like a (very dark skinned) East Asian---how many targets would a bigot need?---and I've never heard a single word directed against him.

Where you might have been understandably confused is that I probably mentioned some people I know outside the pool rooms who occasionally drop the n-word in conversations, even though they've got black friends and I've never see them interact with blacks in any untoward way. I'm still not sure what to make of them, other than to say it reinforces my view that it's often impossible to peg people on the basis of one characteristic.

**who's here while his brother is getting treated at Johns Hopkins
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