July 15, 2013

William Saletan speaks sense

William Saletan writes in Slate:
The problem at the core of this case wasn’t race or guns. The problem was assumption, misperception, and overreaction. And that cycle hasn’t ended with the verdict. It has escalated. 
I almost joined the frenzy. Yesterday I was going to write that Zimmerman pursued Martin against police instructions and illustrated the perils of racial profiling. But I hadn’t followed the case in detail. So I sat down and watched the closing arguments: nearly seven hours of video in which the prosecution and defense went point by point through the evidence as it had been hashed out at the trial. Based on what I learned from the videos, I did some further reading. 
It turned out I had been wrong about many things. The initial portrait of Zimmerman as a racist wasn’t just exaggerated. It was completely unsubstantiated. It’s a case study in how the same kind of bias that causes racism can cause unwarranted allegations of racism. Some of the people Zimmerman had reported as suspicious were black men, so he was a racist. Members of his family seemed racist, so he was a racist. Everybody knew he was a racist, so his recorded words were misheard as racial slurs, proving again that he was a racist. 
The 911 dispatcher who spoke to Zimmerman on the fatal night didn’t tell him to stay in his car. Zimmerman said he was following a suspicious person, and the dispatcher told him, "We don't need you do to that." Chief prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda conceded in his closing argument that these words were ambiguous. De la Rionda also acknowledged, based on witness and forensic evidence that both men “were scraping and rolling and fighting out there.” He pointed out that the wounds, blood evidence, and DNA didn’t match Zimmerman’s story of being thoroughly restrained and pummeled throughout the fight. But the evidence didn’t fit the portrait of Martin as a sweet-tempered child, either. And the notion that Zimmerman hunted down Martin to accost him made no sense. Zimmerman knew the police were on the way. They arrived only a minute or so after the gunshot. The fight happened in a public area surrounded by townhouses at close range. It was hardly the place or time to start shooting. 
That doesn’t make Zimmerman a hero. It just makes him a reckless fool instead of a murderer.

70 comments:

Anonymous said...

...And Steve correctly surmised the homophobic angle. From the Jeantel CNN interview:

"Jeantel insisted that Martin was “creeped out” and believed Zimmerman was following him, even worrying that he might be a “rapist.” She asked, “For every boy or every man who’s not that kind of way, seeing a grown man following them, would they be creeped out?”"

Maguro said...

So you're a reckless fool if you get out of your vehicle when a black youth in a hoodie is known to be in the area. OK...

Anonymous said...

Give Saletan his due -- he's 'fessed up.

Anonymous said...

I don't know. Saletan came perilously close to revealing his Thoughtcrime a few years back, and then did ritual penance. Has his reputation healed sufficiently to post this article? He might have to retract, like he did back then.

Phoenician said...

That doesn’t make Zimmerman a hero. It just makes him a reckless fool instead of a murderer.

Yes, he is a reckless fool for not shooting Martin sooner.

Forty seconds of a beat down is just so stupid.

Anonymous said...

.And Steve correctly surmised the homophobic angle. From the Jeantel CNN interview:

"Jeantel insisted that Martin was “creeped out” and believed Zimmerman was following him, even worrying that he might be a “rapist.” She asked, “For every boy or every man who’s not that kind of way, seeing a grown man following them, would they be creeped out?”"


But see the prosecution couldn't directly use that angle "that Trayvon thought this man was gonna rape him or something creepy like that" to go after Zimmerman because in court that would appear to be homophobic, which would make Trayvon less angelic and more of a homophobe. That right there might confuse the narrative and the MSM might have a fit for a week trying to decide how to spin and spoon feed the narrative to the proles out in hinterland.

Irony: That kind of defense (I thought he was gay and was gonna rape me) might have actually worked (but only for blacks) about 20 yrs ago. Now, the prosecution can't even use that argument even when the person's dead.

Of course there's some truth in what Jeantel says, it's just that in 2013 no one's allowed to say that as explicitly anymore and expect any sympathy. Probably no one can say it publicly anymore, regardless of color or ethnicity. Jeantel's saving grace is that no one really noticed what she said about that or she might now be charged with a hate crime or branded as a homophobe for even repeating what Travyon the angelic child may have meant.

A Working Class American said...

funny how there are no formal polls on this issue that has supposedly divided the nation and a story that has riveted the nation. I cannot find one single formal poll on this verdict. Informal web polls on large media outlets show that a substantial majority, 60-70 percent, think the verdict was correct.

And yet no formal polls.

Looks like maybe the media is afraid of making its image even worse than it already is with most white people. The media and the govt and the corps, CorpGovMedia, is spinning like a dervish trying to cast this travesty of a witch hunt in a way that makes corpgovmedia look good. But I think the zimmerman case is going to propel the GOP into power in all three branches because the mediaand Dem activist hypocrisy and bloodthirst for white racism that has been revealed in the last week is radicalizing a lot of whites right now.

And that aint a good thing: as much as I hate the Dems, I hate the GOP even more.

Anonymous said...

"So you're a reckless fool if you get out of your vehicle when a black youth in a hoodie is known to be in the area. OK..."

You're a reckless fool if you do that without understanding that your actions the have potential to escalate the situation into one where someone ends up dead.

Inane Rambler said...

"But I think the zimmerman case is going to propel the GOP into power in all three branches because the mediaand Dem activist hypocrisy and bloodthirst for white racism that has been revealed in the last week is radicalizing a lot of whites right now."

I think most of what you say is ridiculous, but maybe you're on to something here. OTOH, I do not think the GOP is going to come out of this doing vastly better than it already is.

Absolom Humblebug said...

I gotta say, I was really surprised the defense didn't follow up on the obvious homoerotic insinuation in the "creepy ass cracker" comment. I'm a defense lawyer in a southern state, and I deal with black jailbirds and jail lingo on a daily basis. That phrase reeked of homophobic contempt to my ears. With some strategic questioning, West could have easily gotten Jeantel to concede that that was what she received from Martin, that he thought Zimmerman was a queer on the cruise for some black trade. If they could've painted Trayvon as a fairly typical homophobic young black man, defense could've put prosecution on the ropes early in the trial.

Anonymous said...

"William Saletan speaks sense" - that's grading on a curve. By Slate standards it's not awful.

"That doesn’t make Zimmerman a hero. It just makes him a reckless fool instead of a murderer."

George Zimmerman volunteered to protect his neighborhood. He spent time and risked his life for others. The fact that Trayvon jumped on him, presumably in response to an inquiry about what he was doing there, proves that he, Trayvon, was the kind of person that that neighborhood, and every neighborhood, had to be protected from.

During my last year of high school and first year of college I had a summer job putting flyers on cars' windshields. I remember being asked to leave unfamiliar neighborhoods several times. It never occurred to me to attack a person who approached me with such a request. It's such an absurd thought. Who does that? Besides little Trayvons, I mean?

The defense's version of events makes emotional sense: hypersensitivity to a perceived "dis", low future time orientation, low self-control. None of us were there, but it's all easy to picture.

Portlander said...

"That doesn’t make Zimmerman a hero. It just makes him a reckless fool instead of a murderer."

Reckless fool. Which brings up the 911 dispatcher don't say we don't need you to follow him to keep thugs safe from Neighborhood Watchmen. They say it to keep Neigborhood Watchmen safe from thugs.

Others elsewhere have rightly described it as the Safari defense. When on Safari you're supposed to stay in your car. If you get out of your car and antagonize the animals, well, whatever happens is your own fault. Fighting back with a gun is unfair to the animals that are just following their own laws of the savannah.

Anonymous said...

He doesn't mention the media's culpability especially using the picture of trayvon as a child rather than a hulking teenager which completely undermined the plausibility of Zimmerman's claim of self-defense and helped set the pack aflame.

Anonymous said...


I think most of what you say is ridiculous, but maybe you're on to something here. OTOH, I do not think the GOP is going to come out of this doing vastly better than it already is.


What? GOP'S doing pretty good on this issue. They're staying out of it and letting the Dem's hang themselves by their own hoodie. (That crazy fringe minority group is your constituency, not ours)

This should help 'em in 14 midterms, specially in the border states "Remember Zimmerman! Innocent but persecuted" Dog whistle enough, couple it with a law and order campaign = good for about 25-30 seats in House. Obamacare = another 65 seats as well.

David said...

>You're a reckless fool if you do that without understanding that your actions the have potential to escalate the situation into one where someone ends up dead.<

Translated into practical terms, this means: cower in your house when you see a black.

Thug blacks should be the ones in fear, not good people. Your principle isn't prudent in the long run. It's how neighborhood after neighborhood has been lost.

Anonymous said...

Only "reckless fools" go around after dark when they know a black guy is about. Got it. Is this really what liberalism has sunk to?

Anonymous said...

"You're a reckless fool if you do that without understanding that your actions the have potential to escalate the situation into one where someone ends up dead."

Why?

Because a young black man is likely to attack you and therefore you need to stay away from them?

Or because a young black man ought to be allowed to attack you in that circumstance because it's a justified provocation?

Are the NYPD fools too or is profiling okay in New York?

David said...

>When on Safari you're supposed to stay in your car.<

"On Safari" and "in your neighborhood" are traditionally understood as antonyms.

Anonymous said...

@Ichabod
"Others elsewhere have rightly described it as the Safari defense. When on Safari you're supposed to stay in your car. If you get out of your car and antagonize the animals, well, whatever happens is your own fault."

So Zimmerman is guilty because black people are animals?

Anti-white liberals tie themselves in knots on this case because the facts of the case are so far way from what they need them to be.

Anonymous said...

"The Safari defense" - I like that.

Anonymous said...

With all this big-todo about some court case, you'br got to wonder if there isn't somebody passing big laws somewhere on the sly or otherwise up to no good...

So much to despise! So little time!

Anonymous said...

So Trayvon was just an innocent Skittles eating child - and also, only a reckless fool would leave the safety of his car knowing this harmless "youth" was in the vicinity.

Anonymous said...

Steve -- did you notice how Saletan states "I almost joined the frenzy." What a load of hogwash, but pretty brilliant strategy. He writes that he "learned" by watching video etc. only recently. Every single reader of iSteve made the right conclusions and had all the data within 1 week of the case. I assume Saletan, a Dartmouth grad, did the same, and was well versed in the nuances of the case more than a year ago. Again, like his previous Thoughtcrime, he had to play dumb to get away with educating his liberal readers. Probably his liberal co-workers at Slate too, who are copies of Yglesias.

Anonymous said...

Saletan's article is a step above typical liberal screeds on this case, but it's still pretty lame. He says Zimmerman had no reason to assume Trayvon was suspicious and to PROFILE him. He also calls Trayvon an innocent young man at the end.

Whitehall said...

You're a reckless fool if you join the military to protect your country too.

Or else you're a low IQ minority duped into it by a recruiter who promises big things like three hots and a cot followed by a college education.

Liberals! Can't they get their story straight?

Ichabod Crane said...

"He also calls Trayvon an innocent young man." Because of what "reasonable doubt" means, this business was decided correctly by the jury. GZ shouldn't have been found guilty. But I say Trayvon may have been innocent, even if he ambushed his stalker.

Cail Corishev said...

That's a pretty big admission by Saletan at the beginning of the article. So how many articles has he gone ahead with on topics he was clueless about without deciding to do several hours of last-minute research? How often does he just go ahead and parrot the media's party line? What made this one special?

Inane Rambler said...

"(That crazy fringe minority group is your constituency, not ours)"

Um, where did I say I was a Democrat. Maybe I should have thrown in my Twitter URL, you'll see that's far from being the case.

I mean I'm assuming you mean blacks.

Anonymous said...

Saletan also tip-toes around the homophobia angle:

"You’re a black kid walking home from a convenience store with Skittles and a fruit drink. Some dude in a car is watching and trailing you. God knows what he wants. "

He plants the seed that Martin feared a homosexual attack, but dare not mention the name with the oh-so-coy "God only knows." Saletan knows, but dares not speak it.

It's interesting that Martin's profiling of Zimmerman as a homosexual predator is considered reasonable and defensible, while Zimmerman's profiling of Martin is considered appalling. Statistically, which is more likely? I don't think I've ever feared a violent homosexual attack. On the other hand, Zimmerman seems to have been pretty much spot-on about Martin.

Superman said...

Mistake No. 1 was inferring that Martin was a burglar. In his 911 call, Zimmerman cited Martin’s behavior. “It’s raining, and he’s just walking around” looking at houses, Zimmerman said. He warned the dispatcher, “He’s got his hand in his waistband.” He described Martin’s race and clothing only after the dispatcher asked about them. Whatever its basis, the inference was false.

There is no evidence whatsoever that Trayvon was behaving innocently. He took 35-40 minutes to do a 10 minute walk. He had a history of robbery. When Zimmerman saw him looking at houses, he might very well have been looking for something to steal.

Anonymous said...

"Or because a young black man ought to be allowed to attack you in that circumstance because it's a justified provocation?"

It shouldn't be allowed but it should be understood. You should put yourself in the other person's shoes. There are plenty of basically good people, especially young men from cultures that emphasize honor such as the black inner city or rural south, who will become angry and react the way Martin did. If you can't act in a street smart way that puts the other person at ease, such as rolling down your window and talking to the person when he notices you following him your car and stares at you only feet away from your car window, than you have no business following someone.

Anonymous said...

"Thug blacks should be the ones in fear, not good people. Your principle isn't prudent in the long run. It's how neighborhood after neighborhood has been lost."

I don't think the people in Zimmerman's community feel any safer and Trayvon Martin, for all his online adolescent posturing that people on the right wing like to glob onto, was no thug.

And as I said I'm not opposed to profiling and following someone but it has to be done intelligently with an understanding that all profiling can do is tell you that there is a significant probability that someone is a criminal not a certainty and that, to an innocent person, being pursued is an offensive and provocative act.

Zimmerman, in his own accounts, clammed up and panicked and clammed up whenever Martin got within ten feet of him. Someone like that has no business doing what he did.

Anonymous said...

"Others elsewhere have rightly described it as the Safari defense. When on Safari you're supposed to stay in your car. If you get out of your car and antagonize the animals, well, whatever happens is your own fault. Fighting back with a gun is unfair to the animals that are just following their own laws of the savannah."

That is imbecilic and insane. A man has a right to life over and above the animals, because when a man dies, he knows he will never wake up again.

Something that is violent, ignorant, and attacks without warning has no broader sense of its surroundings,its place in the universe, or what it means to die. Killing such a creature means nothing. Instead,killing something that knows this will be the end of its existence forever is the crime.

You cannot lose what you never had in the first place, death robs an animal of nothing, but robs a man of everything.

Your understanding of morality is blunted to the point of concavity.

"But I say Trayvon may have been innocent, even if he ambushed his stalker."

Are you kidding me? Trayvon has never been tried, will never be tried, and would never have been tried.Just like when his burglary was kept out of official hands, Trayvon's "innocence" was a foregone conclusion.

He doesn't need you to paradoxically plead his innocence,factual guilt be damned...he has the entire Justice Department at his disposal to do this, as you will soon see for yourself.

David said...

>to an innocent person, being pursued is an offensive and provocative act<

Yeah, it's such a diss when the Neighborhood Watch Captain keeps on eye on you. Deserving of a beat-down. We must understand this point of view and adjust to it, and bow and scrape to an "honor culture" (like Islam).

Black culture says if you're a jewelery-stealing thief, looking as if you're casing houses in a young-black-male-criminal-beleaguered neighborhood, The Man ain't got no right to diss you.

This is what you suggest should be the element that's deferred to?

How about looking at it this way: if you're Martin, you should be thinking: this guy might have a gun. Martin had no business jumping Zimmerman as he did.

David said...

>So Trayvon was just an innocent Skittles eating child - and also, only a reckless fool would leave the safety of his car knowing this harmless "youth" was in the vicinity.<

Yes, they want it both ways.

He's harmless - but keep your door locked and don't confront him. Dissing him will end yo creepy-ass cracka life!

Anonymous said...


Inane, dude. Come on. Chill.

"Um, where did I say I was a Democrat. Maybe I should have thrown in my Twitter URL, you'll see that's far from being the case."

I was not specifically talking about you in particular, duh.

I was referring to how the GOP can play it when campaigning vs Dems.
"That fringe group belongs to you (the dems) that's your group that's stirred up all this unruly post-trial riots etc. WE are the law and order group etc etc and we'll bring back order to DC when we're elected (talking about next yr in midterms)

Think Nixon in 68 and the Southern Strategy. Ohhh don't think for one moment that this won't be used in some way by the smart ones. Specially in southern and border states. "that fringe group, you know the one that was rioting, burning down, stealing stuff, etc. that's yooourrrr group (the dems, the fringe group, the ones that are rioting,) belongs to you. We are good law and order abiding types. We'll fix it.

The Tea Party ought to use this and play it up big for all it's worth. Can you imagine if they offer bodyguard services for Zimmerman? Man, that's worth nearly 20 house seats next year!

Anonymous said...

You should put yourself in the other person's shoes. There are plenty of basically good people, especially young men from cultures that emphasize honor such as the black inner city or rural south, who will become angry and react the way Martin did. If you can't act in a street smart way that puts the other person at ease, such as rolling down your window and talking to the person when he notices you following him your car and stares at you only feet away from your car window, than you have no business following someone.

Sorry, I stopped reading your sermon after the words honor and culture appeared in the same sentence with black inner city. This is the same honor culture that murders its own by the 1,000s per yr. And we don't hear all about those murders ,do we?

How about putting himself in Zimmerman's shoes? How about if the "youth" not be out so late at a place he doesnt live and just go home? He can get the candy skittles in the morning since he's been suspended from school for tardiness.
Its all academic anyway, isn't it? Let's respect the culture that realizes its messed up in its priorities and wants to consciously try to improve their lot in society by oh....staying out of jail, staying in school, at least going thru the motions of trying to get better grades, inflated as they often are due to affirmative action but at least staying in the classroom's better than staying outside casing places to rob and folks to murder. Then and only then does this "culture" deserve respect.
Funny how other minorities generally dont have a problem staying out of jail and attempting an education, wonder why that is? Wonder why other ethnics have generally managed to do fairly well at improving their lot in life and place in society.
Put yourself in their shoes, why don't you?

Piper said...

So Saletan agrees with John Derbyshire and the late Larry Auster about "the rules" for white people! Rule #271: never exit your car in the presence of a young black male. Rule #272: never ask a black stranger his business in your neighborhood. As Saletan explains, only a "reckless fool" would do either!

(Auster's commenter Paul K. supplied another rule Zimmerman would have done better to heed: "10(f) Be aware that in a confrontation with a black in public, you are on your own. You cannot count on the support of your fellow whites. Some will automatically take sides against you to demonstrate their anti-racism.")

Hail said...

Working Class American wrote:
"I cannot find one single formal poll on this verdict"

See here for polls on the Zimmerman/Martin issue, most recent from CNN in June 2013 but is so weirdly-worded as to be worthless. The others are from 2012.

Gallup Poll from early April 2012

Whites:
--10% said Zimm is "definitely guilty"
--20% said Zimm is "probably guilty"
--8% said Zimm is "not guilty"
--58% said it is unclear

Blacks:
--51% said Zimm is "definitely guilty"
--21% said Zimm is "probably guilty"
--1% said Zimm was "not guilty"
--26% sais it is unclear

http://www.pollingreport.com/crime.htm

Anonymous said...

"Yeah, it's such a diss when the Neighborhood Watch Captain keeps on eye on you. Deserving of a beat-down. We must understand this point of view and adjust to it, and bow and scrape to an "honor culture" (like Islam).

Black culture says if you're a jewelery-stealing thief, looking as if you're casing houses in a young-black-male-criminal-beleaguered neighborhood, The Man ain't got no right to diss you.

This is what you suggest should be the element that's deferred to?

How about looking at it this way: if you're Martin, you should be thinking: this guy might have a gun. Martin had no business jumping Zimmerman as he did."

A preoccupation with honor is not just a black thing or a muslim thing but something that exists throughout american culture and was especially prominent historically during eras that conservatives often profess to admire and claim had superior values to the our own. Read Pat Buchanan's recent biography about the things he did as a teenage boy and the fights he go into and started or watch a western for that matter.

But you're right, Martin, like Zimmerman, acted stupidly, but just like Martin should have thought the thoughts you wrote Zimmerman should have thought: that guy maybe innocent and me following him is going to piss him off, and if he gets angry at me I'm too much of a pussy to talk to the guy and politely explain whats going, and I'm a weakling so if we get into a fight I'm going to lose, and if I'm losing a fight I may have to shoot the guy in fear for my life". And that's a relatively benign interpretation, there's good reason to think that Zimmerman was hoping for a confrontation to prove himself. Martin and Zimmerman have both paid in different ways for their stupidity.

I'm not advocating for deference but understanding, both your own weaknesses and limitations and how you will appear to others. Being neighborhood watch captain is not about pursuing people and being one doesn't mean someone has the faculties to do it in a non reckless manner. Zimmerman proved that.

Also the exact way the confrontation began is not clear and Zimmerman's account has significant issues such as Martin's body being found ~20 feet from where Zimmerman says he was attacked. It's not at all clear that Zimmerman didn't attack Trayvon.

Anonymous said...

"Sorry, I stopped reading your sermon after the words honor and culture appeared in the same sentence with black inner city. This is the same honor culture that murders its own by the 1,000s per yr. And we don't hear all about those murders ,do we?

How about putting himself in Zimmerman's shoes? How about if the "youth" not be out so late at a place he doesnt live and just go home? He can get the candy skittles in the morning since he's been suspended from school for tardiness.
Its all academic anyway, isn't it? Let's respect the culture that realizes its messed up in its priorities and wants to consciously try to improve their lot in society by oh....staying out of jail, staying in school, at least going thru the motions of trying to get better grades, inflated as they often are due to affirmative action but at least staying in the classroom's better than staying outside casing places to rob and folks to murder. Then and only then does this "culture" deserve respect.
Funny how other minorities generally dont have a problem staying out of jail and attempting an education, wonder why that is? Wonder why other ethnics have generally managed to do fairly well at improving their lot in life and place in society.
Put yourself in their shoes, why don't you?
"

I'm no admirer of inner city black culture nor am I am I an admirer of Zimmerman's afro-peruvian-american culture. They both behaved stupidly and recklessly. The fact that Martin comes from a dysfunctional group doesn't justify his death any more than Zimmerman coming from a similarly dysfunctional group would justify his conviction. All my comments are about defending Saletan's statement that Zimmerman acted like a reckless fool.

Anonymous said...


I'm no admirer of inner city black culture nor am I am I an admirer of Zimmerman's afro-peruvian-american culture. They both behaved stupidly and recklessly. The fact that Martin comes from a dysfunctional group doesn't justify his death any more than Zimmerman coming from a similarly dysfunctional group would justify his conviction. All my comments are about defending Saletan's statement that Zimmerman acted like a reckless fool.


Also German too. Zimmerman, German surname (duh)
One certainly behaved stupidly and recklessly. The other was found in court of law to be innocent of charges.

Zimmerman made his decision in real time. Didnt have time to second guess monday morning QBing like you, Saletan and others are doing now. That's life. You sometimes only have so much time to decide and then act on the decision.
Also, and the jurors are in agreement, Zimmerman acted in self-defense. There wasnt any question about that. Not sure what Saletan, you or others have a problem with.
Actually for the most part as neighborhood watchman, Zimmerman didnt do much in way of stupidity. It's his neighborhood, not Trayvons. He has more of a right to observe what is going on around him at that particular moment which helped play a part in calling 911 etc.
It is easy to say stay in the car after the fact. That is monday morning second guessing. That's fine for talk shows. Life is not always so easy. Decisions are made in real time. That's life.
And its really academic and moot at this point.
What is relevant is that Saletan agrees that Zimmerman is not a racist. This will be important if the government decides to try him for hate crimes and civl rights (largely based on racial grievances) violations. Especially in light that the FBI found no evidence that Zimmerman was in fact a racist.

Anonymous said...

Zimmerman should have thought: that guy maybe innocent and me following him is going to piss him off, and if he gets angry at me I'm too much of a pussy to talk to the guy and politely explain whats going, and I'm a weakling so if we get into a fight I'm going to lose, and if I'm losing a fight I may have to shoot the guy in fear for my life". And that's a relatively benign interpretation, there's good reason to think that Zimmerman was hoping for a confrontation to prove himself. Martin and Zimmerman have both paid in different ways for their stupidity.

Whoa whoa whoa hold it. Zimmerman was not in his car out on a drive listening to the radio. He was the neighborhood crime prevention watchman. He had a duty to be on the lookout for suspicious persons. Again, why was martin in the neighborhood not his own, late at night?

Also the jurors are in agreement that "Martin threw the first punch"
So much for understanding and "all you need is love. Love is all you need."
Zimmerman is not a social worker he was a watchman and was entrusted to help aide the neighborhood from any potential crimes along the lines it had had for several months.
Easy to second guess monday morning qb the real time decisions.
Again, never see this kind of reasoning after all the minority on minority crimes committed every single month and year.

Self Defense. Neither you nor Saletan directly deals with this issue, which by the way the jurors are in accord "He had a right to defend himself." All agreed to that part. Wonder why?

Anonymous said...

And show or demonstrate beyond reasonable conjecture that Zimmerman wanted a confrontation so he could shoot Trayvon. Again, you have no evidence. In court of law, evidence is required.

Also, nice of you to avoid the FACT that an EYEWITNESS saw a majority of the fight and stated that Trayvon was the aggressor. Eyewitnesses kind of don't help Martin's case as far as the fight.

Again, reason to question what was he doing that late at night in a neighborhood not his own. Why wasn't he at home?

But, if you have some evidence, then by all means present it at the civil trials I'm sure the government would love to hear it.

David said...

>It's not at all clear that Zimmerman didn't attack Trayvon[...] Zimmerman's account has significant issues such as Martin's body being found ~20 feet from where Zimmerman says he was attacked.<

Tired refuted nonsense. In addition, a defendant's responsibility isn't to present a story which the prosecution cannot poke holes in; it's the prosecution's responsibility to present a story which the defense cannot poke holes in. You did know who was on trial, right?

But as someone already said, if you have proof Zimmerman physically attacked Martin first, then get in line to testify at the possible forthcoming civil trial. Perhaps you should also be calling Mr. Holder, if you haven't already done so. I hear he's considering reopening the federal investigation, so he ought to be glad to hear from you.

Anonymous said...

Saletan is clearly trying to maintain drum up Zimmerman's guilt more than it's worth and balance it out with Trayvon's supposed innocence as well. Saletan is a step above most liberal commentators in these regards, but a lifetime of liberal brainwashing can make even this a challenge.

Personally though, I think Saletan's just kind of a wimp. He's long had a reserved, effeminate style to this writing.

Anonymous said...

You're a reckless fool if you do that without understanding that your actions the have potential to escalate the situation into one where someone ends up dead.

By definition, patrolling the neighborhood to watch for criminals committing crimes has that potential. Some criminals take offense at being observed and take steps to discourage witnesses from getting in their way. Ultimately, this comment is so dumb, you really ought to delete it.

Anonymous said...

That doesn’t make Zimmerman a hero. It just makes him a reckless fool instead of a murderer.

Zimmerman called the police to report a suspicious person and was to report the suspicious person's current location when the police arrived. He would have been a reckless to have done that without attempting to maintain an up-to-date location for the suspicious person.

Hypothetical: Trayvon Martin was a hypoglycemic diabetic. Zimmerman reports him to the police as a suspicious person. The police arrive and Zimmerman does not have a current location for Trayvon. The police are unable to location Trayvon and Trayvon subsequently dies due to hypoglycemia. If only Zimmerman had maintained a current location for Trayvon, Trayvon would have been able to get life-saving medical care.

Anonymous said...

"But see the prosecution couldn't directly use that angle "that Trayvon thought this man was gonna rape him or something creepy like that" to go after Zimmerman because in court that would appear to be homophobic, which would make Trayvon less angelic and more of a homophobe. That right there might confuse the narrative and the MSM might have a fit for a week trying to decide how to spin and spoon feed the narrative to the proles out in hinterland."

Since Trayvon was 17, they would have simply replaced all references to homosexuality with pedophilia. Because, as liberals are fond of telling us, pedophiles aren't gay. Pay no mind to the fact that he was 17. After all, how many of those molested alter boys were 17?

Silver said...

"And that's a relatively benign interpretation, there's good reason to think that Zimmerman was hoping for a confrontation to prove himself."

I was sympathetic to your view up to this point. You just plucked this from thin air. I don't know how you square that with Zimmerman being a weakling who knew he couldn't win a fight. Weaklings who know they can't win fights don't go looking to provoke deadly confrontations.

"I'm not advocating for deference but understanding,"

That's all well and good, but I've heard it put that to understand everything is to forgive everything. That is, developing such exquisitely nuanced understanding of the factors that lead to criminal("istic") behaviors is to inadvertently develop a concomitant tendency towards forgiving them. The last fifty years demonstrates quite clearly, I think, that this sort of understanding is incapable of producing the sorts of behavioral changes the understanders themselves would so dearly love to see. This kind of 'understanding,' I'm afraid, really is virtually synonymous with 'deference.'

ben tillman said...

Your understanding of morality is blunted to the point of concavity.

That wasn't his understanding. He was speaking in someone else's voice, giving voice to the inferred thought process of others.

Phoenician said...

Also the exact way the confrontation began is not clear and Zimmerman's account has significant issues such as Martin's body being found ~20 feet from where Zimmerman says he was attacked. It's not at all clear that Zimmerman didn't attack Trayvon.

So, let me understand your meaning.

Since Martin was so big and athletic if he jumped Zimmerman where Zimmerman claimed Zimmerman would have been on the ground right there and stunned?

Zimmerman had no opportunity to back up to try to get away from the blows?

I think your prejudice is showing.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

It shouldn't be allowed but it should be understood. You should put yourself in the other person's shoes. There are plenty of basically good people, especially young men from cultures that emphasize honor such as the black inner city or rural south,..."

I don't think that Trayvon Martin was a "basically good" person. I think he was a thug on the prowl. As to your statement about "young men from cultures that emphasize honor such as the black inner city or rural south": I know plenty of white southerners, and none of them would question the right of a person to ask them what they were doing in a neighborhood not their own, if they looked suspicious.

Dave Pinsen said...

Saletan gets a brushback from someone named Tom Scocca on Twitter.

a very knowing American said...

Some words of wisdom that might have saved a lot of grief in the Zimmerman-Martin confrontation, from Richard Pryor, Live in Concert

"No, but you got to stay in shape and shit, cause you never can tell when in real life you will have to... run! That's right, run. Goddamnit, run. Why get killed when you can... run! That's right, a lot of people get a ass whipping, and you could run. You'll be in the hospital, your ego will heal a lot faster than a broken jaw. Cause you'll still be in the hospital talking about, shit, I should have run. Run! That's right, if somebody pull a knife on you, and you can't pull out nothing but a hand with some skin on it, your intelligence ought to tell you to... run! But people be watching Kojak and shit too much. They think they have to be [singing] macho man. [Singing] I'll take that knife and shove it up your ass. [Singing] I'm macho man. You go from macho man to [singing] dead person."

Also, Michael Jackson may not be the first person to turn to for child-rearing advice, but still:

"They told him don't you ever come around here
Don't want to see your face, you better disappear
The fire's in their eyes and their words are really clear
So beat it, just beat it

You better run, you better do what you can
Don't want to see no blood, don't be a macho man
You want to be tough, better do what you can
So beat it, but you want to be bad

Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it
No one wants to be defeated
Showin' how funky and strong is your fight
It doesn't matter who's wrong or right
Just beat it, beat it
Just beat it, beat it
Just beat it, beat it
Just beat it, beat it

They're out to get you, better leave while you can
Don't want to be a boy, you want to be a man
You want to stay alive, better do what you can
So beat it, just beat it

You have to show them that you're really not scared
You're playin' with your life, this ain't no truth or dare
They'll kick you, then they beat you,
Then they'll tell you it's fair
So beat it, but you want to be bad

Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it
No one wants to be defeated
Showin' how funky and strong is your fight
It doesn't matter who's wrong or right

Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it
No one wants to be defeated
Showin' how funky and strong is your fight
It doesn't matter who's wrong or right

Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it
No one wants to be defeated
Showin' how funky and strong is your fight
It doesn't matter who's wrong or right
Just beat it, beat it
Beat it, beat it, beat it

No one wants to be defeated
Showin' how funky and strong is your fight
It doesn't matter who's wrong or who's right

Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it
No one wants to be defeated
Showin' how funky and strong is your fight
It doesn't matter who's wrong or right

Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it
No one wants to be defeated
Showin' how funky and strong is your fight
It doesn't matter who's wrong or right
Just beat it, beat it
Beat it, beat it, beat it"

Ichabod Crane said...

The violent riots have begun. Al Sharpton promised a dialogue in which thousands of protestors would explain what's wrong with our justice system. But I'm so confused! Is vigilante justice good, or isn't it?

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-zimmerman-protests-arrests-20130716,0,412940.story

Svigor said...

All this talk about Zim's "foolishness" and "stupidity" seems like cover to me; cover for the real value Zim had that libs and the media-gov't object to: balls.

You're a reckless fool if you do that without understanding that your actions the have potential to escalate the situation into one where someone ends up dead.

Not sure I understand the point of that statement. It's true of policemen, soldiers, security guards, neighborhood watch volunteers, CCW permit holders, people who have made up their minds to defend themselves and their loved ones from harm, and hell, even politicians, pundits, urinalists, writers, etc.

If they could've painted Trayvon as a fairly typical homophobic young black man, defense could've put prosecution on the ropes early in the trial.

I didn't see anything from Zimmerman's defense team that indicated much in the way of intestinal fortitude.

Anthony said...

So basically Saletan is saying that Zimmerman is a fool for not profiling Martin harshly enough. Zimmerman thought Martin was, at worst, some druggie looking to break into a house for easy drug money, when he should have thought that Martin might try to beat the crap out of him.

JSM said...

"So you're a reckless fool if you get out of your vehicle when a black youth in a hoodie is known to be in the area. OK..."

You're a reckless fool if you do that without understanding that your actions the have potential to escalate the situation into one where someone ends up dead.'

Yeah, but poor Z was a not-racist (as shown by him defending that black man who the cops beat). And as Steve has taught us, PC makes you stupid.

Anonymous said...

Zimmerman's account has significant issues such as Martin's body being found ~20 feet from where Zimmerman says he was attacked


Wow, twenty whole feet!

If this discussion were restricted to those people who have ever been involved in an actual fight, it would be both shorter and a lot more informed.

Anonymous said...

You should put yourself in the other person's shoes.


I notice that the "you" in your injunction implicitly excludes all inner city black men. They don't have to put themselves in anyone elses shoes - doing that is the white mans burden and his alone.

In spite of your shameless and blatant double standards, I'm sure you think of yourself as an exceptionally good and decent person. In reality your own remarks display a far more ingrained racism than do those expecting Martin to behave in a semi-civilized fashion.

Anonymous said...

Zimmerman should have thought: that guy maybe innocent and me following him is going to piss him off, and if he gets angry at me I'm too much of a pussy to talk to the guy and politely explain whats going



You seem to be in possession of evidence which not even the prosecution had. You need to contact Angela Corey ASAP and tell her exactly what it was Zimmerman said to Martin, and his tone of voice when he said it.



there's good reason to think that Zimmerman was hoping for a confrontation to prove himself.



Your having strange fantasies does not in fact constitute "good reason" to believe anything. The trouble with your fetish for putting yourself in other peoples shoes is that you you do not and cannot do it - all you end up doing is projecting your own preconceptions and misconceptions into other peoples minds.

Geoff Matthews said...

Saletan quotes the prosecution as saying Martin and Zimmerman “were scraping and rolling and fighting out there.” What evidence is there that Zimmerman got a punch in on Martin? Or got on top of him? Or anything to support this claim?

Eric said...

... and Trayvon Martin, for all his online adolescent posturing that people on the right wing like to glob onto, was no thug.

A thug is exactly what Martin was - a petty criminal with tendencies toward violence.

Big Bill said...

"You're a reckless fool if you do that without understanding that your actions the have potential to escalate the situation into one where someone ends up dead."

Well, here in the small town Midwest when we see suspicious behavior we get out, follow on foot, and ask the kids who they are and what they are up to. They either run away or get real sheepish and embarrassed. No "recklessness" involved. No danger involved. Our kids don't "escalate" until someone is beat to death or has to shoot in self-defense.

But I can see your point. If we spotted a Trayvon and not some small town white kid we would probably wait for the police due to the added danger and risk.

Given that he was following a black kid in a ghetto town, it was pretty reckless of Zimmerman. Zimmerman's small town Midwestern values almost got him killed.

There are some things that are just stupid and "reckless" to do in a predominately black community, like responding to the door bell after dark by unlocking and opening the door, without first looking through the peephole and asking them what they want and who they are, or (I am sure you will find this extremely reckless!) leaving your front door unlocked when you leave the house.

Big Bill said...

The Feds arent going to bring charges against Zimmerman. The Narrative is breaking down, what with the black homophobia and black youth targeting hispanics in revenge attacks. If they try to whip up much more anti-white, anti-Hispanic frenzy they are going to end up with some serious blood on their hands, particulary if Jeantel keeps giving honest interviews. Given that she is from Haiti, a popular target of homosexual sex tourism, I don't expect she is likely to start filtering her comments for Political Correctness any time soon. The more (paid) interviews she does, the less likely the Feds are to go after Zim.

Silver said...

"Saletan gets a brushback from someone named Tom Scocca on Twitter."

Poor Willie is getting tossed around like a rag doll by that commie. His fault for allowing the commie his premises.

Anonymous said...

Gondo says:

http://bit.ly/1bGeXwS

Maybe he can introduce a bill of attainder--given the slobbering pandering on to the mob, nothing would surprise me at this point.

I posted here, some time well before the verdict, that I thought it could be appropriate for Zimmerman to be tagged with some sort of criminal liability sounding in negligence. Plainly there was never a second degree murder beef here, everybody with the even slightest understanding of the law and provable facts knew this. Manslaughter was more open to debate--and, it seems, two jurors initially leaned that way. But none of this was clear cut. Reasonable minds could disagree. But what has happened is that a perfectly defensible verdict under the law has been reached, and an ignorant mob--goaded on by liberals who should know better, and in fact often do know better, but politics requires otherwise--want to equate this verdict with the refusals to convict the obviously guilty common in early 1960s Alabama and Mississippi. This is disgusting pandering of the worst kind.

The prosecutors here know they did not prove their case which is why, at the very last minute, they tried (unsuccessfully) to have the jury instructed on other charges that were not lesser included offenses of the charged offense of second degree murder (manslaughter is such an lesser included offense--child abuse with a firearm is not). For political reasons they oversold this case from the start, and overcharged Zimmerman accordingly. The media has been worse, and NBC in particular is likely literally going to have to pay as a result. Now the same bullshitters that always pop up, Al "Tawana was Right" Sharpton, and politicians who are either dumb or cynical are happy to oblige them, are hopping on board. And people here on FB who should now better are all to happy to be swept on a wave of emotional satisfaction (it beats thinking, doesn't it?) and float right along.

All of you so self-satisfied in your contempt for the rule of law, be careful what you wish for--someday you might just get it.

Anonymous said...

Hypothetical: Trayvon Martin was a hypoglycemic diabetic. Zimmerman reports him to the police as a suspicious person. The police arrive and Zimmerman does not have a current location for Trayvon. The police are unable to location Trayvon and Trayvon subsequently dies due to hypoglycemia. If only Zimmerman had maintained a current location for Trayvon, Trayvon would have been able to get life-saving medical care.




If that had happened, Al Sharpton and all the race hustlers would STILL have found a way to convince the Martin family to sue the crap out of the state of FLorida, the Sanford police (negligence for getting to the aid of a diabetic child on time) and of course George Zimmerman.
"What kinda cracker would do that? Leave and let a poor sick child whose diabetic and can't get his insulin in time? Why didn't this crime watchman stop playing cowboy and play good samaritan? Help his fellow man? Help the dying child take his medicine? He had a phone, he could've called the paramedics! He let a black helpless diabetic child die and this is all clearly racist on his part! If Travyon was white, he'd still be alive 'cause Zimmerman would've seen to it that the insulin would've gotten to him in time!"

Anyone say amen to that? You KNOW that's what would've happened.

Mr. Anon said...

"a very knowing American said...

Also, Michael Jackson may not be the first person to turn to for child-rearing advice, but still:....."

I have to admit, that is a pretty good pop tune. Jackson was a first-class wierdo, but he had some real talent as a song-writer and performer. Eddie Van Halen performed the guitar solo in that number.