I take Sundays Off, Even From Trayvon-Zimmerman UPDATE Zimmerman pulls guy out of truck?

So, the person who left me three screaming emails demanding that I release his comments from a thread and castigating me and calling me names for not releasing them? I take Sunday’s off, which is why your comments languished in moderation. Regular readers pretty much know that. They also know better than to use the c-word — you know which one I mean — which is why once I logged on this morning, your comments were promptly deleted, and you were banned.

I don’t care how much I piss you off, you watch your damn mouth.

The reactions to my Zimmerman post the other day — which was actually about Obama’s cynical timing in making a speech guaranteed to relegate important stories to the memory hole — reminds me of 2006, when I refused to get on board with the “ship all illegals back to Mexico” train and lost something like 2,000 readers. Except now, instead of being a “Bush hag” I’m an “Obama hag” which — if you read my archives — is just too hilarious.

Back in 2006 I predicted that if the right couldn’t get behind some variation of Bushs’ idea of immigration reform, we’d see five years go by with nothing done at all, on the issue. Clearly, I was optimistic. I still maintain, as I did then, that immigration hysteria is a perpetual rabble-rousing issue that gets hauled out for mid-term elections and then gets put away until next time (pay attention to the La Raza marches…they happen during mid-term election years, not off-years) in order to work people into howling frenzies of hate and fear.

I’m still in favor of comprehensive immigration reform; I still think a whole-sale gutting-and-rebuilding of our NIS and its policies, and the creation of an “Ellis Island, West” would be good things. I still think no one in government actually means to resolve the issue, because it is too potently handy as a fund-raiser, a hate-fomenter and a distraction, but I digress.

It’s odd, though, how both the immigration debate and the Zimmerman story involve an idea of gates or fences, and people being where other people don’t want them to be. Just realized that.

Last last night into this morning I did read some emails and release comments, however, and took the advice of many who left long, angry comments about the Zimmerman trial, on Saturday, and the nearly two hundred emails (not all of them screaming but many of them running over 2,000 words, which — I’m sorry, I couldn’t read if I meant to get any work done today) and further “educated myself” on the story. I was going to write about that, this morning, but then I read this piece by Sam Rocha and discovered that he had written a great deal of what I meant to say; I disagree with him, strongly, on one point though, which I’ll go into after the excerpt.

There are two ways to read the Trayvon incident: forwards and/or backwards. The former tends to emphasize the effects, the latter looks at the causes. Depending on how one reads it, there are multiple justifiable conclusions to draw from it and either one of the main characters gets vindicated or indicted. I suggest being Catholic about it: both/and. Here are six conclusions I’ve come to after doing my homework:

1) Trayvon was innocent. He was not doing anything relevantly illegal. Even though there had been robberies that may have justified Zimmerman’s suspicions, these do not, in any way, make Trayvon guilty of them. Those who go even further to bring up his Facebook account and more as ways to adhere culpability to him in advance of the assault are being stupid. Trayvon is innocent in this particular sense.

2) Trayvon was guilty of assault. Zimmerman’s antics notwithstanding, there was no good reason for Trayvon to throw a punch or to proceed to kick the living shit out of Zimmerman. Those who try and argue that Trayvon was defending himself seem to misunderstand what self-defense is about in any serious sense. It is, first and foremost, defense. And no, the Bush Doctrine of preventive defense doesn’t qualify — it didn’t apply then (in Iraq) and it doesn’t apply now, trying to absolve Trayvon from his wrongdoing. (Interesting how the Left is unwittingly trying to use the Bush Doctrine to get Trayvon off the hook.) [Elizabeth here: Rocha is being ironic, of course, but it occurs to me that while "Stand Your Ground" law was not invoked by the defense, it could conceivably be applied (in a very vague way) to Trayvon. Yes, he was pre-emptive, but I could see someone (in another ironic argument) say that Martin was "standing his ground" against someone he perceived to be following him/threatening him. It would be an imperfect argument, of course. I'm just observing that someone could make the argument as a backhanded way to annoy people who bring it up. -- End]

3) Zimmerman was innocent. He was within his rights in following Trayvon. While it is questionable as to whether he should have ignored the dispatcher’s advice to stay in his car, he did nothing overtly aggressive, although the creepiness factor is not wholly irrelevant. And then he got knocked down by a single punch to the face by a 160 lb teenager. This takes his “innocence” to a whole new level: he was also innocent in the sense that he was childishly defenseless and, frankly, weak sauce. All he could do was yell for help and then let his (legally possessed) firearm do the rest. (If Zimmerman is not “innocent” in this sense of being a total wuss, then he is guilty of (to use the basketball expression) “flopping,” and killed Trayvon in something closer to intentional murder).

4) Zimmerman was guilty of some degree of murder. Even if you dismiss the borderline issue of his paranoid surveillance and ill-advised exit from his vehicle, the fact remains that Zimmerman shot and killed a person who was walking to a friend’s house. Not in cold blood, mind you, but even under the duress of being assaulted, the idea that a full grown man would need to resort to lethal force against a 160 lb teenager is at the very least manslaughter in the most basic sense. Self-defense can only work if it is proportional to the threat imposed. Even if that threat is elevated to personal safety, it is hard to see how this was life threatening.

Here’s where I disagree with Rocha: He writes that Zimmerman is guilty of “some degree of murder.” The jury didn’t think so and I don’t think so, either. Zimmerman may have had the right to carry the gun (and I am a supporter of the Second Amendment) but it’s very arguable that because there had “been burglaries in the area” that he needed to arm himself. He wasn’t driving through Detroit, after all. That said, if someone is pounding my head against cement, and no one is responding to my cries for help, and I have a weapon that could make someone stop pounding me head against cement, I’m going to use that weapon, be it a knife, a gun, brass knuckles, a nearby rock…whatever. I would hope that in such a case, I would use the weapon only to wound, and not to kill, but if my head is being smashed against the pavement, I’m not sure I’d be able to reason fully or aim well. Someone might die, and — depending on variables — it might even be me, if my weapon is turned against me, but I’d be doing what I had to to make the beating stop.

All that said, go read Sam Rocha’s piece. We disagree here and there but I agree with most of it, and frankly think Rocha could have come down more heavily on the press, who clearly wanted to use this case to foment sensationalism and to divide, and who have been reckless with the facts to a frightening degree, considering that they appear to be accountable to no one.

And while I still maintain that some parts of Obama’s speech were good and needed saying, it could have been better, clearer, and more balanced — because I still don’t think this case was ever about race, no matter how badly the press (and apparently the DOJ) have wanted it.

If Trayvon’s friend is to be believed, Martin was worried that he was being followed by a pervert. Zimmerman was worried about a burgler. The case is about the sum of all our fears, and how they color our perspectives and drive our actions.

Be Aware: One of my personal rules of blogging is that I do not blog on “sensational” stories. Take a look. You won’t find any posts on Jodie Arias, or that mother who killed her daughter (whose name I can’t even remember) in my archives. In order to talk about Obama’s speech, I had to break my rule and bring up the Martin/Zimmerman case. This will be the last time I write about it. Not only do I have other interests, but the whole thing leaves me feeling — as these sensational stories always do — that while we’re fixating and fixating and fixating on something chaotic (and in some ways illusory), we’re serving the purposes of entities that would prefer we stay distracted and hysterical.

And by the way, a reminder: Comments automatically close after three days. A few months ago some comments disappeared after the auto shut down, so I’ve had to jimmie the system, so to speak, and your comments may still seem to “go through” even though they don’t. Comments still close after 72 hours. I’m always grateful that people read me and want to comment, but 8 years of blogging has taught me that within 72 hours everyone has said it all; after that, things just devolve into side arguments and so forth, and I just don’t have time to moderate a thing into infinity. Thanks for reading.

You couldn’t write this as a story;
no one would believe it!

George Zimmerman, who has been in hiding since he was acquitted of murder in the death of Trayvon Martin, emerged to help rescue someone who was trapped in an overturned truck, police said today.

Sanford Police Department Capt. Jim McAuliffe told ABC News that Zimmerman “pulled an individual from a truck that had rolled over” at the intersection of a Florida highway last week. Florida Highway Patrol is now handling the case, McAuliffe said.

Undoubtedly, someone is going to call this a “set-up” but gosh, good for Zimmerman if he has been through the last year and still cares enough about other people to help out.

The crash occurred at the intersection of I-4 and route 417, police said.

Hmmmm, seems it was a family of four that got rescued.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • SamRocha

    This further evidence that it is possible to read something, think about it, (dis)agree in part but not in toto, and still find that view worthy of respect. THIS is that I was trying to explain to the gentlemen on Facebook. And I think this ritual of dialogue is what our present situation in the US (and elsewhere, too, I imagine) is missing. Thanks for the thoughtful nod.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    Somehow I don’t think Mr. Rocha is aware of all the facts when he comes to his conclusions. First off, Zimmernman didn’t shoot Martin while “walking to a friend’s house.” He shot him while Martin was on top of him pounding on his head, “Mixed Martial Arts” style. However it may have been inprudent to follow Martin after Zimmerman called the police, there is nothing illegal about it. It was Martin who somehow snuck back and suckered punched Zimmerman; it was Martin who got on top of Zimmerman; it was Martin who was pounding on his head mixed martial arts style according to the one eye witness. It was Martin who was the aggressor; it was Martin who threw what appear to be the only punches; it was martin who had drugs in his blood system. George Zimmerman by some miracle was able to save his life by getting that gun out. He did nothing wrong. And if Rocha doesn’t believe a teenager can kill a man, then he has lived in cities very much.

    As to the Stand Your Ground law, not only didn’t it apply here but the statistic I saw over the weekend was that 30% of the claims to Standing One’s Ground in Florida have come from African-Americans, which is over twice the population of African-Americans in Florida. They are using that law as a means of defense in those “wonderfully crime free inner cities” *huge sarcasm* that the race huscksters (and i include our community organizer in chief) are so worried about. Take away Stand Your Ground and you are harming the very people who need it most.

  • vox borealis

    I don’t care how much I piss you off, you watch your damn mouth.

    I just laughed my ass off when I read this. I love it!

  • faithfulmom

    Your article continues the lie about being told to stay in the car with “While it is questionable as to whether he should have ignored the dispatcher’s advice to stay in his car”. The evidence shows that when the dispatcher told him “you don’t need to do that” (which is NOT “stay in the car”) he was already OUT of the car, and replied “OK” and started heading back when he was ambushed by Martin. The Daily Howler, a liberal blog which refreshingly pursues the truth while exposing media lies and myths has made many points about this the past week. This article merely perpetuates it.

  • MeanLizzie

    You’re commenting on Sam Rocha’s excerpt. You’ll have to go over there and complain to him! :-)

  • Robin Johnston

    Thanks for your writings. I always enjoy them, even when I occasionally (very occasionally) may disagree. In this case, on the GZ issue, I am with you all the way: I too would have carried, and used, a gun in that circumstance. And I too think this whole media firestorm is awfully darn convenient, perhaps even designed to make us forget all the other far more important things going on in our world today, that need and deserve attention. Benghazi, the IRS persecutions, Fast and Furious, the NSA reading everyone’s emails……

  • RCC_Soldaten

    Great article Elizabeth…as always.

    God Bless.

  • zai

    He had marijuana in his system, and it is rather unclear as to when he last took it. Also, it would be laughable to say that marijuana causes someone to be overly aggressive. If he was high on marijuana at the time, he likely wouldn’t have sought to attack Zimmerman. Marijuana mellows people out (even if they get a bit paranoid) and increases their appetite. Remember, it isn’t like cocaine, this is used for medicine (though cocaine once was…foolishly). Trayvon did not have “hard” drugs in his system, so I don’t see how they are necessarily relevant.

    Furthermore, he did not have any real injuries to his hands, that accompany an altercation like the one they described. Think about how boxers have to wrap their hands due to the impact that their hands take. Your hands get damaged in a real fight (that is if it is a fistfight). Now, this doesn’t mean that trayvon wasn’t smashing Zimmerman’s head into the grand (though it does behoove me to point out that the fight ended up in the grass, so the concrete peril was shortly lived) but it does seem to indicate that Zimmerman was not in mortal peril.

    However, the law states that the person just had to feel like they were in mortal peril to shoot. So, the jury got the right verdict, it is hard to prove that someone did not feel the way they felt, and presumptuous. Lastly, as a young black man, I can honestly say that–had I been in the situation–I would have felt frightened and, if I were a person inclined to fight, I might have done the same thing. As it is, I’m really calm and likely would have just went home, feeling creepy.

    For Black men, there is a taught–and now probably ingrained–suspicion of the police or people who seem to be like police. We do not grow up feeling as though the law is on our side and, considering the prison population, we have good reason for it. Depending on the person’s temperament, you will get different reacts.

    That said, it doesn’t appear as though Trayvon was in a gang, even if he was involved in a gang. He was involved with drugs, which is bad, but the evidence didn’t point to a hardened criminal who intended to kill zimmerman just for following him. Gang members are a different breed entirely and this kid just seemed like one of my more troubled students. Some of them are inclined to face such an incident by going after their perceived threat. There is a difference between someone walking behind you and someone following you. (also, is there any evidence that trayvon was trained in any martial art? Such skills don’t instinctively enter the human person)

    here’s the autopsy.

    That’s the official document.

  • Jane the Actuary

    Here’s what bothers me about many of the comments/letters to the editor/blog posts/activists quoted in the paper/etc.: they don’t directly address the fact that Martin, from all evidence, confronted Zimmerman and assaulted him. Whether they say so in so many words or not, there seems to have been a certain “he (Zimmerman) was asking for it” – since he was “profiling” or “stalking” Martin, he lost the right to self-defense. (Or they’ve certain that Martin surely would have punched Zimmerman a few times and lost interest before causing any real harm, and, in their view, Z. should have know that and just put up with it.) Worst are the articles which seem to treat M. as “innocent” because he couldn’t help assaulting Z. due to the injustice of the supposed stalking.

  • Elisabeth McDonald

    ” good for Zimmerman if he has been through the last year and still cares enough about other people to help out. ”

    As a former ER RN who has practiced under the ‘good samaritan’ clause many times out on roads, I can tell you that many medical professionals drive by, or stand by and watch out of fear of legal recrimination by victims of injuries. We all WANT to help. All of us have been told, if we do choose to help, not to announce our title (RN, MD, paramedic, whatever) because of the legal risk you put yourself under. People are looking for someone to blame or sue if they have any kind of lasting injury or think things could have been done more perfectly. They seek out personal injury lawyers to scrutinize what happens at the scene and try to hold a passing by RN to surgical standards as she drags a person out of a burning, glass shattered car, perhaps causing lacerations while saving the person’s life.

    I didn’t follow the trial and I’m disgusted by the rousing of the masses into hysteria over the usual bylines and slurs of professional race baiters like Al Sharpton who exploit the wounds of some by ignoring the good will of most people. I’m angry with our president for imposing on others his own biases (that all white women fear black men). I don’t know if justice was served in the trial but it’s surely not being served in the wider public. Frankly I’m busy trying to raise decent human beings in my own home so they don’t find themselves in crazy circumstances like these.

    But I can transect one point here: George Zimmerman has a heart of gold, he is truly an unusual human being if he is still willing to stop and help others in need after having been put on trial for his attempt to help stop a crime wave in his neighborhood.

    Or, he has a messiah complex that was energized by the not guilty verdict. I’m going for option A.

  • Wolfwood

    Whenever I see comments about “shooting to wound” or “aiming for the heart is evidence of malice,” I know the writer knows jack-squat about firing a gun or how the body responds to trauma and has probably watched too many action movies.

    The correct way to shoot in self-defense is to “shoot to stop;” you keep shooting until you are no longer in danger of death or serious bodily harm. This is why you see police shootouts where some absurd number of shots are fired: one officer fires all his bullets and the other nearby officers follow suit. It happens in just a few moments. You fire that many bullets because 1) hitting a moving target while under stress is actually pretty hard and 2) even after getting shot several times, people are capable of killing you. In the movies, one bullet usually does the trick. In real life, unless you hit the brain, the person is still going to be able to move for a few seconds (~15, according to testimony in the trial). What shocks me isn’t that Zimmerman fired, but that he didn’t keep firing. All I can think is that he must’ve been so stunned by the ordeal and the very loud blast of a gun going off next to him that he forgot to keep shooting. That he didn’t keep shooting is evidence to me of an absolute lack of malice: if he meant to kill Martin, he would’ve kept firing.

  • Adam Frey

    Agreed! In my pre-deployment military training, we simulated shooting an attacker who’s running at you. I got to play the part of the crazed attacker with a knife and had to run at a poor girl with a paintball gun (which hurts). It was interesting that I was able to run a 50-foot distance and “get” her even though she shot me a few times. We were taught pretty much what you described: adrenaline keeps an attacker going, and police pretty much have to unleash an absurd number of bullets to get one to stop, particularly if they’re on drugs.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    Excellent perspective. I had not thought of that.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    “they don’t directly address the fact that Martin, from all evidence, confronted Zimmerman and assaulted him. ”
    Absolutely. I’ve been trying to formulate that point myself. The media has been so dishonest it’s disgusting. They are just feeding into the dysfunctionalities of the inner city community. There are some serious problems with inner city (mostly black) communities and everyone keeps sidestepping the issues. We are doing the future african-americans a disservice by evading and postponing the inner city problems.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    I have no idea. But I can tell you that things happen every day that go beyond the imagination. Reality is quite different from what we are capable of envisioning. But I can tell you this. The medical examiner testified that the gun shot wound was in corraboration with Zimmerman’s telling of the events.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    Fair enough on the marijuana. Whether it made him aggressive I’m not sure. People react differently to drugs and if he were in involved in a culture of drugs then fighting is not extraneous. We do know that Trayvon was infatuated wth martial arts, and the dove tailing with drugs could put him in an lets say a non-angelic company. I don’t know if he was trained but there is screen shots of his posts where he talks about it. We do know he was the agressor. That is lock solid factual.
    You did say something disturbing. You said you might act in a similar way to Trayvon given the circumstances? You mean you would hide if being followed and as the person following you came up you would sucker punch him down? I hope you don’t really mean that. I don’t think you do. You seem to believe the sequence of events was that Zimmerman followed and confronted Trayvon. That’s not what happened.

  • Joseph

    Angela Corey could not have known this, of course, but if Zimmerman had been convicted even of manslaughter, the fate of the four occupants of the overturned truck might have been different. We will never know.

  • Ron Van Wegen

    “we’re serving the purposes of entities that would prefer we stay distracted and hysterical.” Exactly!

  • Kris, in New England

    a full grown man would need to resort to lethal force against a 160 lb teenager

    This part bothers me. I am largely in agreement with the first 3 points but this one – not so much.
    Trayvon Martin was 4 inches taller than George Zimmerman and likely in better physical shape. One witness said the larger person was on top and assumed it was Zimmerman; it wasn’t – it was Martin. So while Zimmerman is indeed a “full grown man” Martin was hardly a pipsqueak. As well – being sucker-punched and having your head knocked onto concrete doesn’t really allow you to retain any physical strength…it leaves you with very few options.

  • Mike

    Excerpt from Zimmerman’s written statement
    to the police. “As the dispatcher was asking me for an exact location, the
    suspect emerged from the darkness & circled my vehicle. I could not hear, if
    he said anything. The suspect once again disappeared between the back of some
    houses. The dispatcher once again asked me for my exact location. I could not
    remember the name of the street, so I got out of my car to look for a street
    sign. The dispatcher asked me for a description and the direction the suspect
    went. I told the dispatcher, I did not know, but I was out of my vehicle
    looking for a street sign and the direction the suspect went. The dispatcher
    told me not to follow the suspect and that an officer was in route. As I headed
    back to my vehicle, the suspect emerged from the darkness and said, “you
    got a problem.” I said “No.” The suspect said “you do
    now.” As I was looking and tried to find my phone to dial 911, the suspect
    struck me in the face.”

    I do not know why Zimmerman did not feel any danger about
    getting out of the car. Only Zimmerman can answer that.

    I think that Martin walked around the car and saw that Zimmerman
    was not a big guy and no danger to him. After sizing things up and thinking
    about it, Martin waited and watched. After seeing Zimmerman get out of the
    vehicle, Martin moved in on him and attacked him.