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.