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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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106 Responses

  1. Angel H.
    Angel H. March 15, 2012 at 2:32 pm |

    In before racefail.

  2. gratuitous_violet
    gratuitous_violet March 15, 2012 at 2:35 pm |

    thank you for covering this. Feministe has been one of my favorite feminist blogs for years now because you’re one of the only places to cover police/state violence. The post about this on Tigerbeatdown was also excellent, and included some links to places where the public can express their dismay, if anybody’s interested.

    Also, here’s hoping we don’t have to have the fight about whether unarmed young people getting shot is a “feminist enough” issue like we did after Sean Bell. Fingers crossed.

  3. Katya
    Katya March 15, 2012 at 2:37 pm |

    This is not a stand-your-ground case, though. Zimmerman actively pursued the kid and almost certainly initiated contact, against the advice of law enforcement, even. How does this even arguably fall under the heading of self defense?

  4. fanshawe
    fanshawe March 15, 2012 at 2:41 pm |

    Even though the duty to retreat isn’t a defense here but a decent prosecutor should be able to use the facts to cast doubt on reasonableness. Even under this goofy subjective reasonableness standard, the fact that Zimmerman actively approached Martin and escalated the situation makes his alleged fear for his own life sound kind of silly. Though I suppose the defense would argue that the belief didn’t attach until the scuffle began or something.

  5. Melody
    Melody March 15, 2012 at 2:41 pm |

    I have been talking about this online with a few friends and I am so glad someone brought more law based information.

    Still, I don’t think its reasonable for this man to kill this kid. What about their interaction made this man think “wow I am in such danger I should bring out my gun and start shooting”?

    The kid had no weapon and was just going home. This guy shot an innocent boy over racial prejudice.

    Anyway, this is horrible and upsetting.

  6. Donna L
    Donna L March 15, 2012 at 3:17 pm |

    And somehow, as another recent thread demonstrated, when it’s a trans woman of color who argues self-defense, she doesn’t get remotely the same benefit of the doubt, and benefit of the prosecutor’s discretion, that Mr. Zimmerman seems to have received.

    (Yes, I understand that the self-defense statutes are different in Florida and Minnesota, but I think my point about the double standard that’s applied is a valid one. I am very specifically not inviting a re-opening of that other thread.)

  7. gratuitous_violet
    gratuitous_violet March 15, 2012 at 3:20 pm |

    but also because certain groups have gotten very good at constructing laws and policies that uphold their interests without ever having to use words like “race.”

    Bingo. The exact same legal ideas that are keeping this worthless shooter out of prison could also be used to keep someone like CeCe McDonald out of prison, but aren’t in her case. Quelle surpriseWe don’t even have to have explicitly different laws for different classes of people anymore, we can just assume society will bring all kinds of baggage into the already loaded-as-hell legal standard of “reasonable.”

  8. gratuitous_violet
    gratuitous_violet March 15, 2012 at 3:28 pm |

    Sorry, I was typing that while others were posting. I also don’t want to contribute to a potential re-hash of that infuriating thread.

  9. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar March 15, 2012 at 3:34 pm |

    Is that asshole out on bail? Be a real shame is someone came to the conclusion that he was a danger.

  10. Angel H.
    Angel H. March 15, 2012 at 3:41 pm |

    @Thomas: He was never arrested for this.

  11. Andie
    Andie March 15, 2012 at 3:44 pm |

    Wow.. That is horrifying.. As if this guy wasn’t arrested on site.

    I don’t understand how the no-duty-to-retreat thing is applicable here if they weren’t in the guy’s home. Gated community or not, they were outside… The guy, if he was indeed feeling his life “threatened” by this kid and his pocketful of candy, should have gotten in his truck and gone the fuck home and locked the door. SMH.

  12. EG
    EG March 15, 2012 at 3:47 pm |

    I think a black person could reasonably believe that deadly force would be necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another black person. I could see three or four black people believing that all at once, actually, and maybe having to follow Zimmerman around to make sure he’s not going to hurt anybody else. And after that, who knows what could happen? They wouldn’t have any duty to retreat, after all, if Zimmerman proved threatening.

    Fucking disgusting. You know if it had gone the other way–if Zimmerman had followed Martin in his SUV, gotten out, picked a fight with him, and Martin had killed him in self-defense, the poor kid would have been sitting cuffed in prison faster than you could say “institutional racism.”

  13. Rob in CT
    Rob in CT March 15, 2012 at 3:48 pm |

    Saw this over at Ta-Nehise Coates’ blog. Sure seems bad on its face. I hadn’t linked this with the CeCe thing, but yeah, there you go.

    And earlier today I was arguing with some guy asserting that Critical Race Theory was “indisputably” radical. I looked it up. Seems like the gist of it is “the law may look neutral, but it’s not really so.” Crazy!

  14. Glass
    Glass March 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm |

    I have no real insider info but I’m nearly 100% certain that Zimmerman will likely be arrested and charged after the grand jury proceedings.

    His self-defense claim basically goes flying right out the window since he initiated the contact and likely the confrontation. Yes the Reasonableness Standard comes into play but if anything it’s going to work against him because his actions were not those of a reasonable person, especially considering he was told to back off.

    Florida’s stand your ground law might help him if he can somehow come up with some bullshit about how this poor kid was a threat of great bodily harm but I sincerely doubt it. He would basically have to articulate that the kid’s actions constituted a real threat of serious harm. For example if he says the kid was some amazing wrestler or fighter AND showing an INTENT to cause great bodily harm by choking him out etc.

    If the poor kid had survived the same law Zimmerman’s going to hang his hat on would have protected him also. He didn’t so now we have douchebag’s word vs. that of a dead kid. A dead kid who was breaking no laws and was confronted by a person who was specifically told by police to back off and has a pattern of this kind of aggressive behavior.

    Now that I’ve said all that I’m hoping/praying that institutional racism doesn’t rear its head and let this POS walk for murder.

  15. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar March 15, 2012 at 4:07 pm |

    So he’s walking around, and his background makes it clear that he’s likely to shoot someone without cause, so if someone shot him, they’d have a good defense?

  16. Anon21
    Anon21 March 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm |

    I’m pretty skeptical of duty-to-retreat laws in general. I think they’re often unrealistic about the speed at which violent confrontations unfold and participants’ ability to rationally assess whether they can retreat with “absolute safety” or however the statutes are generally worded. And they can absolutely be used to pile on the oppression of people of color, gay people, trans people, or others who are at high risk of being violently assaulted and are forced to use deadly force to defend themselves.

    But in this case, I think Katya/3 and others are posing the correct question: why should a self-defense law be blind to who initiated the confrontation? Zimmerman pursued this unarmed kid and ended up shooting him. It shouldn’t be the case that an original aggressor or accoster completely forfeits his right to self-defense, but he should at least have to bring forward clear and convincing evidence that he unambiguously attempted to defuse or end the interaction, and that the person he killed somehow escalated the degree of physical force. When one person is both the initial aggressor and the one who introduces deadly force, that person should be guilty of criminal homicide.

  17. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar March 15, 2012 at 4:11 pm |

    Angel H, I read that, and it’s so mindblowing that it literally didn’t register. How can they possibly not arrest him, when he shot someone in a confrontation that he obviously provoked? And yet they didn’t, because law is not a system of justice, it is a series of procedures through which power is exercised and excused.

  18. Glass
    Glass March 15, 2012 at 4:12 pm |

    One more thing. I was initially very upset this guy wasn’t behind bars yet but I took a deep breath and realized it’s a smart play. Once the arrest is made the clock starts ticking. However, if you bide your time and go talk to the guy like your his buddy he’s going to say something dumb and you’ll get a sense of what his defense strategy will be so you can undermine it from the get-go. You build a rock solid case and take it to grand jury and they indict.

    Again, that’s what I hope they’re doing.

  19. Jadey
    Jadey March 15, 2012 at 4:32 pm |

    @ Glass

    One more thing. I was initially very upset this guy wasn’t behind bars yet but I took a deep breath and realized it’s a smart play. Once the arrest is made the clock starts ticking. However, if you bide your time and go talk to the guy like your his buddy he’s going to say something dumb and you’ll get a sense of what his defense strategy will be so you can undermine it from the get-go. You build a rock solid case and take it to grand jury and they indict.

    Again, that’s what I hope they’re doing.

    It would be nice, but unlikely given that the Sanford Chief of Police has already gone on record to defend the guy.

  20. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar March 15, 2012 at 4:43 pm |

    Glass, I read the police comments as very sympathetic to Zimmerman. Having seen what they said about him, the prosecutor won’t have the wholehearted cooperation of the police on this and would have to push the case basically over their objection, which they really don’t like to do. I think they’re going to let him walk and this case will go down the memory hole until Zimmerman kills someone else. And he will kill someone else, mark my words.

  21. Reflections On The Murder of Trayvon Martin: Racist Stereotypes, Hypervigilance, And State-Sanctioned Racism « eGrollman

    […] laws.  However, many are calling for Zimmerman’s arrest for the murder, pointing to the role of racist stereotypes that can play out under these expansive self-defense […]

  22. Anjasa
    Anjasa March 15, 2012 at 4:59 pm |

    I have no idea how he could possibly not be charged with first or, at least, second degree murder. That disgusts me.

  23. Glass
    Glass March 15, 2012 at 5:02 pm |

    @ Jadey and TMM

    Yeah, I read that and was pretty upset. However, one of the military forums I frequent had a thread going about this and some cops who work in the area where this went down chimed in. They would/could not give any details but they said this case is far from wrapped up and said the chief is one sharp and thorough person. I took that to mean he is intentionally downplaying it (which is what I would do) so Zimmerman cooperates with investigators he mistakenly believes are on his side.

    Cops are trained to downplay the seriousness of a crime and even demonize the victim when interviewing the suspect because it gets them to say stupid shit. People want to tell their side of the story and feel understood. Cops play on that.

  24. Tim
    Tim March 15, 2012 at 5:12 pm |

    The Iowa Legislature currently has one of these Stand-Your-Ground bills in the pipeline. As near as I can tell from that bill status page in the link, it hasn’t gotten too far yet and I hope it dies in committee. So-called Good Samaritans are already empowered to act to help someone in a situation, and many do. And one irony is that in a truly dangerous situation, the would-be GS concealed-weapon carrier would have much greater odds of being killed than actually saving anybody or stopping anything.

    And speaking of irony — I totally agree that the Zimmerman thing sounds racist and that most of the time it is people of color that will be the victims — but this is kind of interesting (and ironic). And this guy actually testified in favor of the bill. I still don’t think it’s a good idea. And I think that a problem like his could be solved with some less dangerous legal reforms. Like how about job and eviction protection for someone who has trouble making bail? Oh wait, that would interfere with the rights of employers and landlords. Can’t have that. Maybe bail reform?

  25. debbie
    debbie March 15, 2012 at 5:17 pm |

    Yeah, I read that and was pretty upset. However, one of the military forums I frequent had a thread going about this and some cops who work in the area where this went down chimed in. They would/could not give any details but they said this case is far from wrapped up and said the chief is one sharp and thorough person. I took that to mean he is intentionally downplaying it (which is what I would do) so Zimmerman cooperates with investigators he mistakenly believes are on his side.

    Cops are trained to downplay the seriousness of a crime and even demonize the victim when interviewing the suspect because it gets them to say stupid shit. People want to tell their side of the story and feel understood. Cops play on that.

    As an institution, police forces are also very racist. I’m not inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt.

  26. Chataya
    Chataya March 15, 2012 at 5:24 pm |

    Wait, so he trailed this young man after being told explicitly not to pursue, after watching the kid long enough to determine that he was “a threat” (I doubt that this took him very long), in his car, confronted him while carrying a weapon, and apparently started an altercation that ended in the kid’s death, and Zimmerman is the one claiming self-defense?

    The mind boggles.

    That just doesn’t seem like self-defense to me. Martin punching him in the face is self-defense against a racist creeper, but Zimmerman’s behavior is more in line with actively seeking confrontation than self-defense. Can you claim self-defense in a fight that you started and provoked?

  27. law talking girl
    law talking girl March 15, 2012 at 5:35 pm |

    Very, very much hope that Glass is correct and that the police are thoroughly investigating the case in order to present all the evidence to a grand jury. Won’t be surprised if Glass is wrong. :-(

    My state already has one of these dumb stand-your-ground laws on the books. It was inspired in part by a case where a church pastor in a small town shot and killed two men he caught burglarizing the church. The pastor surprised the burglars, they began to run away from the church, and the pastor shot them both in the back, firing more than one shot at each. They had been stealing food. The pastor was charged with murder but a jury declined to convict. There was widespread public outrage over the fact that the pastor was charged at all.

    http://tinyurl.com/7gxp2am

  28. Advocate of Evil
    Advocate of Evil March 15, 2012 at 6:29 pm |

    So… I really trying not to poke a hornest nest here but I submit this just for the sake of perhaps invoking a new way to talk about the intersectionality between racial profiling and the Schrodinger’s rapist idea. One of the methods many feminist groups promote for combating date rape is “keeping an eye” on “shady” situations, or take back the night vigils who sugest “observing” suspicious characters around the area in a way that lets potential predators know they are being watched. While obviously simply deciding to take out a piece and shoot somebody for walking around is pretty high on the “extreem / not ok” side, I could realistically see a feminist argument for “following him” if he was seen by people with loved ones in the area and honestly felt fear. After all the feminist idea put forth on what constitutes harassment generally consists of language that says something like “it is not ok for somebody else to impose their idea on what a person should or should not fear, and a fearful person has the right to defend themselves against what they perceive as a threat”

  29. Robin
    Robin March 15, 2012 at 7:06 pm |

    Like everyone here, I’m completely aghast and I’m hoping that the police department’s “delay” in arresting Zimmerman is because they’re building a good, solid case against him.

    And it’s pretty likely that Zimmerman is now walking around with a target on his back. Per news reports, neighbors have complained about him being too aggressive. The Florida statute as written (no “reasonable person” clause, no duty to retreat) is now basically a license for someone to shoot Zimmerman on sight. Anybody who follows the news can now presume him to be carrying a weapon, they know he has an arrest record for assault on a police officer, and they know he shot an unarmed teenager dead . I’ll bet there’s at least one Florida resident with a carry permit who is already convinced that Zimmerman presents a grave threat to him and is similarly determined to stand his ground.

    Which is sad, really. This could be the beginning of something truly awful.

  30. Marissa
    Marissa March 15, 2012 at 7:14 pm |

    is dissatisfied by their lack of response (apparently “there’s a black kid walking down the street” doesn’t always get a squad car immediately dispatched to your neighborhood)

    I’ve been listening to “Blacking It Up,” which has been covering this story all week, and by all their reports, it seems that the police responded almost instantly, so this doesn’t even hold water. Zimmerman called 911 and the police were there within minutes, but Trayvon had been shot and killed just one minute earlier.

    I had envisioned, perhaps like some other people, that Zimmerman had trailed Martin for something like an hour and was getting fed up waiting (not that that’s an excuse). But this all went down very, very quickly. And the 911 dispatcher told Zimmerman not to engage.

  31. Verity Khat
    Verity Khat March 15, 2012 at 8:14 pm |

    Incoherent with rage right now. There is a vast difference between regularly carrying a gun in case you need it, and packing one as you hop into your vehicle to chase someone down, particularly if that someone is innocently walking down the street (rather than, say, shooting out windows at random). I’m no legal professional, but I’d say that smacks of intent rather than reasonable fear and self defense.

    I sincerely hope that karma punches George Zimmerman, racist fuckwad, in the nuts sometime very soon. Preferably by way of the law enforcement professionals that he was just too damn impatient to wait for/didn’t trust to murder Trayvon to view Trayvon with proper suspicion. I’m not holding my breath, as history ain’t on our side, but there would be a delightful whiff of poetic justice if the cops did this bit right.

    And if they don’t, Thomas is right. Zimmerman will kill again.

  32. Bitter Scribe
    Bitter Scribe March 15, 2012 at 8:59 pm |

    Yay for concealed-carry laws! Every paranoid racist asshole in this country should be allowed to carry deadly weapons around with him. What could possibly go wrong?

  33. William
    William March 15, 2012 at 9:06 pm |

    First and foremost, I don’t think this case ought to stand up as a stand-your-ground case because Zimmerman pursued and initiated contact. Once the “dangerous” party retreats I don’t think someone can really make a solid argument for feeling they were in danger. Thats revenge, not self defense. Second, I doubt the police are going to work to put Zimmerman in jail. I’d love to eat my hat on this, but I don’t trust cops, full stop. Third, this isn’t a problem with liberalized self-defense laws. A law like this would have given CeCe McDonald substantial legal protection. People shouldn’t be expected to turn their backs on an attacker and flee, or to try to do the math about whether they’ll be arrested for protecting themselves or not.

    This is about racism, not standing your ground. Conflating the two is likely to make people less safe while simultaneously allowing the voices in the debate who would like to avoid race to have sufficient cover to avoid the subject entirely.

  34. LN
    LN March 15, 2012 at 9:08 pm |

    In the UK, there was a similar problem with the ‘reasonableness’ test in sexual offence law, when determining whether there was reasonable belief that there was consent, but that’s been gone for over 8 years.

    Obviously there are situations where when determining the mindset of the accused requires looking at specific characteristics – a child, for example. However, what this law basically seems to be saying is that being a racist is as natural and acceptable as being a child.

  35. William
    William March 15, 2012 at 9:22 pm |

    Bitter Scribe: In the last 30 years? Not a whole lot. This case isn’t anywhere near a norm. Its terrible, the racism underlying it needs to be addressed, we need to ask questions about how Zimmerman got a carry license with his record, but the fact of the matter is that 49 out of 50 states have carry laws. Three of those states are Constitutional carry states (meaning they follow the plain language of the Second Amendment and carry is unrestricted), 38 are shall issue (meaning that unless someone has a disqualifying conviction or a restraining order the state cannot refuse to issue a carry license), eight are may issue (meaning that locals get to decide who carries, which boils down to friends of pols and white folk), and only Illinois completely bans carry. Virtually every piece of data available has shown that carry holders commit crimes at the same or a lower rate than the general public. No credible study has argued that concealed carry increases any kind of crime (unless you count Lott’s theory that property crime increases because crimes with victim contact go down, but theres a whole lot of trouble with his research in general). SCOTUS is likely moving towards a right to carry. This genie isn’t going back in the bottle.

  36. preying mantis
    preying mantis March 15, 2012 at 10:12 pm |

    Yay for concealed-carry laws! Every paranoid racist asshole in this country should be allowed to carry deadly weapons around with him. What could possibly go wrong?

    This isn’t a concealed-carry issue. This is an issue with a deeply flawed law. (Florida resident here.) People have been arguing that the real-world consequences of the removal of any duty to retreat and the drastic lowering of the “reasonable standards” bar would be precisely these sorts of unprosecutable murders since the bill was proposed. They (so far) have only been incorrect about the number of instances.

  37. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable March 15, 2012 at 10:29 pm |

    Just take a shot in the dark.

    Hmm… poor phrasing, awkward laugh?

    Thanks for this post. It offers a lot to think about.

  38. Clytemnestra's Sister
    Clytemnestra's Sister March 15, 2012 at 11:05 pm |

    Over at TNC’s blog there is a post in which actual legal-type folks explain in more detail some of the nuances of the Florida self-defence law.

    Short version is that there is verbiage that explicitly deals with self-defence if you are the instigator. Worth a read.

  39. pkle
    pkle March 15, 2012 at 11:32 pm |

    A few have pointed out that, were Martin the one tracking, confronting, and eventually shooting&killing Zimmer, he’d much less likely be able to use this defense.

    I’d take that one step further: I think that, were this unarmed boy, tracked and shot by a paranoid neighbor just as he really was, instead somehow able to survive the first shot and kill his attacker, he’d probably be in jail right now. He *might* be able to successfully use a self-defense argument in his legal battle… but I really think he’d be locked up ’til then, even though Zimmer instigated the confrontation, even though 911 suggested Martin be left alone.

  40. DonnaL
    DonnaL March 16, 2012 at 12:24 am |

    I’d take that one step further: I think that, were this unarmed boy, tracked and shot by a paranoid neighbor just as he really was, instead somehow able to survive the first shot and kill his attacker, he’d probably be in jail right now

    And probably would be awaiting trial for murder. Just ask CeCe McDonald.

  41. tg
    tg March 16, 2012 at 1:26 am |

    Premature to assume Zimmerman is white. He is hispanic at the very least

    http://www.singleblackmale.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/George-Zimmerman.jpg

  42. Joe from an alternate universe
    Joe from an alternate universe March 16, 2012 at 1:40 am |

    The usual caveats: I am not a criminal lawyer, this is not legal advice, and I know almost nothing about the details of the case, other than what’s been reported in the media. From what I can tell — and for the record, I think this analysis is wrong, but it seems to be the analysis that’s winning out — once the altercation happened, Zimmerman reasonably believed his life to be at risk, and he did not at that point have a duty to retreat because of the stand-your-ground laws. So Zimmerman was allegedly punched in the face, which made him believe his life was threatened, which allowed him to kill Martin and claim self-defense, since he had no duty to attempt to leave the situation.

    True, but that law is not absolute. It’s up to a judge and jury to decide if he could have avoided the situation, and who was the arggressor. That law is not absolute. Stand your ground applies to people who are confronted, not the people doing so. It’s up to a judge and jury to decide if he could have avoided the situation. Stand your ground only applies to situations that the person felt they had no other choice. I’m hoping this goes to trial, and this guy goes to jail.

  43. andy a.
    andy a. March 16, 2012 at 2:20 am |

    m o re of the same. the ongoing saga of being black in america. the facts and names are interchangeable. in other words, same shit, different day.

  44. Natalia
    Natalia March 16, 2012 at 4:04 am |

    I guess it’s good to be reminded that our criminal justice system is pretty fucked up too – while living in Russia and all.

    No, wait, scratch that. It’s fucking horrible to be reminded of this. My heart breaks for that poor kid.

  45. EG
    EG March 16, 2012 at 4:06 am |

    Any evidence of that besides a photograph of a dude with black hair and a vaguely olive skin tone? That’s hardly conclusive of being “hispanic at the very least.”

  46. Crys T
    Crys T March 16, 2012 at 4:41 am |

    And can we (once again) remind everyone that “Hispanic” does not automatically equal “not-white” any more than “USian” does?

  47. Crys T
    Crys T March 16, 2012 at 4:42 am |

    Damn, that came out wrong. But you know what I mean, don’t you?

  48. ASH
    ASH March 16, 2012 at 7:46 am |

    “Premature to assume Zimmerman is white. He is hispanic at the very least.”

    There are white people who look like this guy or people who are classify and identify as “white” in America who looks like this guy.

    There are a lot of Cuban men lighter than this guy and some of them sound just as racist as your average white racist. Either way, his looks or heritage doesn’t make him immune for the American cultural phenomenon of inhertently distrusting AA men.

  49. Jen in Ohio
    Jen in Ohio March 16, 2012 at 10:22 am |

    I’m hoping that the police department’s “delay” in arresting Zimmerman is because they’re building a good, solid case against him.

    I hope so too, but based on my personal experience, I fear it’s not very likely. The feds might need to get involved.

    I grew up in Miami in the 70s and 80s. White flight was MAJOR during that time due to two primary factors: it began toward the end of segregation, and it escalated during the influx of a lot of Cubans, Central Americans, South Americans, and Haitians. There was a very popular bumper sticker back then: “Will the last American to leave Miami please bring the flag/turn off the lights”.

    The white flight angle — as it has been explained to me by the white racists I knew who flew — was that there were too many Black people in north Florida and throughout the South, and these racists were people who did not really want to leave the South. At the time, Orlando consisted pretty much entirely of the DisneyWorld campuses, hotels and restaurants to service the Disney visitors, convenience stores, and orange groves. So that’s where a lot of them went, the Orlando area. It is now a hotbed of fucked up racist shit, and I personally know extremely racist white police officers (dads of people I knew from school) who retired there specifically because they are under the impression that local law enforcement agrees with their racist views.

    The Orlando area also has a large “evangelical movement” (as Kristen J. recently described it in her series here) presence, which I only mention because I believe it is related to the influx of racists into the area.

    And since it’s come up in the thread, I will point out that in Florida, there is a very large and diverse Hispanic population in which Hispanic people frequently identify as both Hispanic and black, or Hispanic and white, or Hispanic and biracial/multiracial. It’s not a place where “Hispanic” is understood to mean “not-white” in a categorical fashion.

    Thomas is right. Zimmerman will kill again.

    I fear he’s right too. I also fear Zimmerman is one of many.

    All the racism, homophobia and corruption in both law enforcement as well as State government is the primary reason why I left my home state in the 90s and ain’t been back since.

  50. Chataya
    Chataya March 16, 2012 at 10:25 am |

    Premature to assume Zimmerman is white. He is hispanic at the very least

    As a dark-haired, dark-eyed, olive-skinned white person, I have to disagree. Olive skin =/= non-white.

    According to his father, Zimmerman is Hispanic, but that doesn’t mean he is non-white or that his crime is any less racist.

  51. Angie unduplicated
    Angie unduplicated March 16, 2012 at 10:29 am |

    Proves, once again, that the laws are only as good as their enforcement and witnesses. Want censorship? We’ve had it for years: mainstream media does it to the Left. Concealed carry laws are not the problem, racism and unchecked police bullying are, and racist culture will protect their own, consciously or through the lenses of their upbringing, where black youth erroneously equals gangster.
    Thomas MacAulay Miller is correct, the man will kill again. Case in point: law enforcement in TN when five white cops killed an unarmed African-American outside Chattanooga. Coroner ruled it was not homicide, but one cop’s daddy was a mortician at a funeral home less than a mile from the incident, and evidence probably was fudged or testimony influenced. Fewer than five years later, sonny, now on the Chattanooga force, shot and killed another black man.

  52. Mike Crichton
    Mike Crichton March 16, 2012 at 10:58 am |

    Chataya: Can you claim self-defense in a fight that you started and provoked?

    Depending on the state, you can, but only if the other person has escalated the fight beyond what a reasonable person would consider ‘self defense’ on their part, i.e., responding to a punch by pulling a gun. You would still be legally liable for your initial assault, though.

    Why yes, this does mean that under this logic, if Trayvon had managed to get the gun away from Zimmerman and kill him, he would have been even more justified to claim self defense than Zimmerman, even assuming Zimmerman is actually telling the truth. Any law where both parties are legally justified in using deadly force is a badly written one.

    Verity Khat: Thomas is right. Zimmerman will kill again.

    I’m not so sure about that. Now that he’s lived out his fantasy, he has probably found that it wasn’t what he expected, and he might even be feeling remorse. Which is utterly irrelevant, bastard should still be in jail.

  53. breathless
    breathless March 16, 2012 at 11:04 am |

    the media has been breathless about racist cops in florida.

    they conveniently ignore the fact that the shooter is not white.

    the “kid” who was shot beat the living daylights out of the fat volunteer cop. that raises a prima facie self-defense claim. the kid was about 100 lbs lighter than the guy he attacked, which gave him a huge advantage over the out-of-shape victim. he was lean and a good fighter obviously.

    just because the attacker felt troubled by the victim’s questioning did not give him the right to beat down the victim.

    i’m sure like many latinos in florida zimmerman was sick of being victimized because he is brown. not saying what he did was okay, but he himself had been victimized because of his minority status in the past. it’s part of a larger problem.

    1. law talking girl
      law talking girl March 16, 2012 at 12:03 pm |

      they conveniently ignore the fact that the shooter is not white

      As others have pointed out, Hispanic and not-white are not coterminous.

      the “kid”

      Trayvon Martin was 17 years old, a high-school junior, and a minor for almost all legal purposes. That qualifies him as a “kid” to me.

      beat the living daylights out of the fat volunteer cop

      Says who? Reports say George Zimmerman had a bloody nose and a cut/scrape on the back of his head. Doesn’t sound like he had the crap beat out of him.

      the kid was about 100 lbs lighter than the guy he attacked, which gave him a huge advantage over the out-of-shape victim. he was lean and a good fighter obviously

      Trayvon was reportedly 6’3″ and 140 pounds. That is a very very very slender frame. It is highly, highly unlikely that such a skinny KID could be stronger than a 28-year-old adult man, even if such adult man was overweight. Teen boys are still growing and putting on muscle mass.

      beat down the victim

      And who exactly was the victim here? The guy with the gun who lived or the kid with candy who didn’t???

      not saying what he did was okay, but he himself had been victimized because of his minority status in the past. it’s part of a larger problem

      Actually, you seem to be defending George Zimmerman quite vehemently.

  54. Martin
    Martin March 16, 2012 at 11:25 am |

    Try living in Arizona where the person who claims to have acted in self defense doesn’t even have to prove that he was threatened, the state has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he wasn’t threatened. Ever try to prove that something didn’t happen? Ever try to prove that something didn’t happen when there are only two witnesses and one of them is dead?

  55. Sharon Cullars
    Sharon Cullars March 16, 2012 at 11:46 am |

    I read an article at another site (believe it was Huffington Post) where other info was presented that included witness tampering by authorities and initial questioning by a narcotics detective as opposed to a homicide detective. One witness stated that she heard the teen crying for help but the witness said the officer insisted to the witness that it was Zimmerman she heard crying for help. One commenter given the above thought that given the obvious police empathy for Zimmerman that maybe Zimmerman is some kind of drug informant, which would make since of the questioning by the narcotics officer and Zimmerman’s confidence in no ramnification to his disobeying orders to stand down.

    Even if this is not the case, there is definitely something fishy about the level of protection this person is receiving, especially given his priors of assault against an officer and complaints by other neighbors of his aggressive unilateral community watch tactics.

    Travon Martin’s mother has created a petition at Change.org asking for the prosecution of her son’s murderer…and that’s exactly what Zimmerman is, a murderer no matter what the defense argues and what laws are on Florida’s books.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/prosecute-the-killer-of-17-year-old-trayvon-martin

  56. Angel H.
    Angel H. March 16, 2012 at 11:48 am |

    the “kid” who was shot beat the living daylights out of the fat volunteer cop. that raises a prima facie self-defense claim. the kid was about 100 lbs lighter than the guy he attacked, which gave him a huge advantage over the out-of-shape victim. he was lean and a good fighter obviously.

    just because the attacker felt troubled by the victim’s questioning did not give him the right to beat down the victim.

    Bull. Fucking. Shit.

    Zimmerman continued to follow Trayvon after he was instructed by the police to leave the boy alone. Instead, he got into his SUV with his concealed weapon and confronted him. He had no badge, no uniform, no authority. And don’t give me that “fat = poor out-of-shape slob” nonsense. Zimmerman started something that he couldn’t finish, so he used the coward’s way out and shot an unarmed boy who was delivering candy to his brother.

  57. Sharon Cullars
    Sharon Cullars March 16, 2012 at 11:51 am |

    correction to my previous rambling:

    I read an article at another site (believe it was Huffington Post) where other info was presented that included witness tampering by authorities and initial questioning by a narcotics detective as opposed to a homicide detective. One witness stated that she heard the teen crying for help but an officer “insisted” that the witness actually heard Zimmerman crying for help, not the teen. One commenter, analyzing the above info, thought that the obvious police empathy for Zimmerman might indicate that Zimmerman is some kind of drug informant. This supposition which would make sense of the questioning by the narcotics officer as well as Zimmerman’s seeming confidence that he would suffer no criminal ramnification by disobeying the dispatcher’s orders to stand down.

    Even if this is not the case, there is definitely something fishy about the level of protection this person is receiving, especially given his priors of assault against an officer and complaints by other neighbors of his aggressive unilateral community watch tactics.

    Travon Martin’s mother has created a petition at Change.org asking for the prosecution of her son’s murderer…and that’s exactly what Zimmerman is, a murderer no matter what the defense argues and what laws are on Florida’s books.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/prosecute-the-killer-of-17-year-old-trayvon-martin

  58. Marksman2010
    Marksman2010 March 16, 2012 at 1:41 pm |

    A “reasonable person” would not think that a young black man walking down the street was a threat to his life. But an individual with a particular set of experiences and views might be able to convince a jury that he reasonably believed that

    I agree with the posters who maintain that this was in no way a self-defense situation. I don’t care what type of neighborhood you live in, I don’t care about the recent rash of burglaries, and I don’t care about your concealed carry permit. If you pick up a gun, leave your house, accost a law-abiding pedestrian, and end up killing him/her, that’s manslaughter.

    Thus, I expect Mr. Mall Ninja to be charged.

  59. Marksman2010
    Marksman2010 March 16, 2012 at 1:57 pm |

    Zimmerman trailed the kid and started the confrontation. No one but ZImmerman knows exactly what happened because Martin is now dead, but Zimmerman was in his home, and then chose to get in his SUV and follow the kid, and clearly at some point exited the SUV in order to engage in a confrontation with the kid. It’s not like Martin pulled Zimmerman out of his home and attacked him.

    Jill’s nailed it right here. There is absolutely no way this can be held up as self-defense. Although I’m not an attorney, I believe I’m well-versed in the particulars involving the use of deadly force and self-defense. If someone jumps you on a street corner, pulls a knife, and demands money (or else), then you’re cleared to use deadly force. But you can’t roam the streets with your firearm, find someone you think looks suspicious, force a confrontation, and then kill them.

    I’ve been over this so many times with so many LEOs and attorneys, there’s no doubt in my mind that Zimmerman was the aggressor. If he would have stayed put–which is what the dispatcher told him to do–nothing would have transpired–besides the victim’s little brother would have gotten his candy. And that makes me as sad as it does angry.

  60. anonymous
    anonymous March 16, 2012 at 7:13 pm |

    Perhaps someone needs to dig a little deeper into George’s past.
    He was arrested for battery on a law enforcement officer and those charges were dropped…..how often would a LEO drop the charges if not by a forced hand. So now he gets in trouble again and no arrest is made? Hmmmmm, maybe because his father is a retired Judge and could be pulling strings for him? Makes perfect sense.

    1. Martin
      Martin March 16, 2012 at 7:45 pm |

      You would be surprised. A lot of prosecutors think a little violence is part of the job for cops. His pappy being a judge may have played a role. But it’s far from necessary.

  61. tony
    tony March 16, 2012 at 10:33 pm |

    As a black man I would feel threatened if I saw Zimmerman. Would the law protect me if I acted out on my perceived or real fear for my life. I think these types of laws are backwards and allows cops and others to kill innocent young black kids. Another republican idea for America. We must fight these racist at all costs…Karma is a b..ch..Zimmerman will reap what he has sowed..as the bibile says..

  62. Mike Crichton
    Mike Crichton March 17, 2012 at 12:05 am |

    breathless : The 911 tapes have been released. I’m SURE you’ll be able to explain how this:

    “Shit, he’s running,” Zimmerman says.

    “Are you following him?” the dispatchers asked.

    “Yes,” Zimmerman responds.

    “We don’t need you to do that,” the dispatcher says.

    and

    On the recordings, one shot, an apparent warning or miss, is heard, followed by a voice begging or pleading, and a cry. A second shot is then heard, and the pleading stops.

    Fit into your narrative of Zimmerman as victim. I guess I’m just too dumb to see it.

  63. Gideon Hunt
    Gideon Hunt March 17, 2012 at 12:35 am |

    I am joining this group I support the Families of Trevon Martin that this man be arrested & charged with Murder…. that was not self-defense !!!!

  64. Bunny
    Bunny March 17, 2012 at 7:34 am |

    Hey guys,

    Just FYI there’s been an update. 3-page-long article link follows:

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/16/2697604/trayvon-martins-parents-criss.html

    This is looking like pretty much the straight-up murder of a 17 year old kid, and a sloppy police cover-up.

  65. Jadey
    Jadey March 17, 2012 at 9:38 am |

    You know, I used to live with my mother in a very nice quiet urban neighbourhood. It had a lot of older houses, with not-so-good doors (the can kind you can break into yourself if you lose your keys), and it was the kind of neighbourhood where sometimes people don’t lock or even close their doors, at least when they’re at home. But that also left us vulnerable to break-ins and over the past few years there have been several (my mother’s finally got attempted last year – no success, as she had already taken the time to get new, better doors installed).

    It’s frustrating and a little scary to hear about your neighbours’ homes being burgled and their things taken, especially when it happens while they’re at home (which is rare for a home-entry, which mainly occur during the week day when people are out working and the local traffic is down) and the things have sentimental value on top of financial value. And to know it could happen to your home, as well. My guess is that the culprits are local high school students who don’t look amiss wandering about with loaded backpacks, as they are able to get in and out without being seen.

    But the people who can afford to live in this middle-class neighbourhood are more than able to cope with the loss of a few hundred or even a few thousand in jewellery, cash, and electronics, and to invest in home security measures, as my mother did with her doors, to de-motivate offenders who are generally looking for an easy score. (Note: my mother’s doors weren’t special security doors – they were just regular modern doors than can’t be popped out easily with a crowbar. And actually her front door still hasn’t been replaced – it was just not an appealing entryway to force – the only time they’ve entered from the front was when the door was left literally open to catch a breeze.) And no one has taken to “policing” that neighbourhood with a gun (save the actual police, although they don’t spend too much time there). No one sees the need.

    Home burglaries are frustrating. They can reasonably be scary, especially if they happen while you or your loved ones are in the home (most of the time this isn’t the case). But preventing them with a gun is absurd, especially in a middle-class neighbourhood – that’s what security systems and 911 calls are for. Why the fuck did Zimmerman care so much that he had to hunt down this kid with a gun in his waistband? Why honestly have a gun at all? This I cannot understand.

    (Note: I am not anti-gun in the sense of “guns are awful and must be destroyed!”. Guns are kind of cool – like spiders are kind of cool, even if I never ever want to touch one. But guns are absurd security measures in a large number of scenarios.)

  66. William
    William March 17, 2012 at 10:40 am |

    Home burglaries are frustrating. They can reasonably be scary, especially if they happen while you or your loved ones are in the home (most of the time this isn’t the case). But preventing them with a gun is absurd, especially in a middle-class neighbourhood – that’s what security systems and 911 calls are for. Why the fuck did Zimmerman care so much that he had to hunt down this kid with a gun in his waistband? Why honestly have a gun at all? This I cannot understand.

    I don’t understand Zimmerman hunting someone down with a gun, but I’m not so sure about your assertion that preventing burglary with a gun is absurd. My home is generally never without a loaded weapon because, honestly, I’ve been a victim enough in my life and if someone decides that they’re going to so incredibly violate my personal safety by entering my home uninvited I’m going to give them one clear verbal warning to lay face down and wait for the police. I’m not going to wring my hands over their motives or where they came from or how they got here, I’m not on the clock and since they’re already committing a felony against me they do not deserve an ounce of my empathy. They can wait for the police to come and deal with them or they can soak up a bullet designed to stop someone from being a threat because, frankly, I made a decision when I was having the shit beaten out of me as a child that I wasn’t going to allow people to victimize me if I had the power to prevent it and I’m not going to apologize for trying to make my life safer. Its the same reason I’ll start carrying a gun anywhere its legal once Illinois gets with the rest of the goddamn country.

    What Zimmerman did was murder, it pretty clearly wasn’t self defense. A lot of people rely on guns to help keep them safe and the vast majority don’t ever hurt anyone. Confusing Zimmerman and right-to-carry muddies the water. This was a racist with a gun.

  67. Yonah
    Yonah March 18, 2012 at 12:10 am |

    I recommend listening to these, which should confirm what many people wrote here, that it was in no way a self-defense situation.

  68. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong March 18, 2012 at 3:17 am |

    I don’t want to dive into the issue of whether Hispanic should be considered white or black (I agree with the people who’ve posted above that it’s not a simple issue), but I did just want to mention that the “guess what the races of the people involved were” line bothered me a bit. It strikes me as misleading, because there’s some ambiguity of what the races of the people involved are, and this line seems like a clever way of saying that the shooter was white without saying that the shooter was white.

    I’m not accusing the author of dishonesty, but it does come across as if the line was written in the hopes people would assume the shooter was white and move on, thus bolstering the argument, while also hedging bets in case someone looked further.

  69. Jen in Ohio
    Jen in Ohio March 18, 2012 at 6:00 am |

    I don’t want to dive into the issue of whether Hispanic should be considered white or black (I agree with the people who’ve posted above that it’s not a simple issue)

    It’s really not that complex of an issue. Some people think of “Hispanic” as a racial category, while other people consider it an ethnic category which is used in addition to and separate from a racial category. In this case, though, it does not really matter whether or not Zimmerman identifies ethnically or racially as Hispanic. It matters that he is not-Black, and that his victim was Black.

    Based on the rest of your post, the important point that you seem to be missing is that there is a fuckton of specifically anti-Black institutionalized racism in law enforcement agencies throughout the US. It’s worse in some areas than in others. It’s very bad in this particular area. An excerpt from the Miami Herald article helpfully linked by bunny above:

    U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville…penned a two-page letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking that his department investigate the shooting.

    “Given the history of racial tension in the Sanford community, I believe it would be wise for the Department of Justice to become involved and I request an emergency meeting with you or a senior DOJ official on Tuesday, March 20,” wrote Brown.

    The publicly available facts of this case, as far as I know, are that a not-Black man shot and killed an unarmed Black minor after specifically being told by the cops to back off and not intervene, and so far, despite some witness reports that seem to indicate that this not-Black man was the aggressor in the incident, this not-Black man has neither been arrested nor charged with any crime whatsofuckinever.

    If, however, an armed twentysomething year old Black man had called in to this exact same department to report what he thought was a suspicious character wandering through this exact same gated community, and he was told not to intervene, and then he shot and killed an unarmed not-Black minor while witnesses reported him as the aggressor, he’d have not only been arrested on the spot, he’d have likely received a police beatdown so the cops could add “resisting arrest” to his lengthy list of felony charges.

  70. Azalea
    Azalea March 18, 2012 at 7:05 am |

    The privilege of being black is that nobody gives a shit when you’re dead. Im not going to go into a rant about racism; just know that Im thinking of it. If Trayvon Martin had been white, Zimmerman would be in jail.

  71. Sunday Scan | This Might Be True
    Sunday Scan | This Might Be True March 18, 2012 at 1:06 pm |

    […] Go to Get Skittles for Your Little Brother, End Up Dead. […]

  72. Lawyer_again
    Lawyer_again March 18, 2012 at 2:48 pm |

    The Florida law is truly appalling, insofar as it basically lets people make a self-defense killing with the same basic tactics as are used to “draw a foul” in basketball: Start something (or deliberately place yourself where something will start) and then work the rules to get what you want.

    The bizarre thing is that this hasn’t even gone to a grand jury. WTF is the reasoning for THAT omission? Generally speaking when folks get shot and killed on the street we like a jury, not a police officer, to decide what happened.

  73. William
    William March 18, 2012 at 4:00 pm |

    The bizarre thing is that this hasn’t even gone to a grand jury. WTF is the reasoning for THAT omission? Generally speaking when folks get shot and killed on the street we like a jury, not a police officer, to decide what happened.

    Thats not the bizarre thing, thats the core of the story. If this was about a broken self defense law we’d be talking about a grand jury letting Zimmerman walk. We aren’t, though, because this is about institutionalized anti-black racism. Even a less robust self-defense law wouldn’t have changed a thing here because the core of the story is that the police do not care about the death of a black man. The gun panic angle works really well for people wanting to score political points that have nothing to do with racism, but it doesn’t do much to address the underlying reality that the police allowed someone who shot an unarmed black man to walk away and might not be doing their investigative jobs.

  74. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar March 19, 2012 at 1:31 pm |

    Turns out there’s a history with this department. The ex-chief’s kid sucker-punched a black homeless guy and wasn’t charged until later when video surfaced; the responding officer there was the same as the responding officer here.

    One witness is alleging that she said that Martin screamed for help and the officer tried to get her to say that Zimmerman screamed for help instead.

    There was another previous incident where a family member of a Sanford cop shot a black male in the back and killed him and no charges were filed.

    They didn’t do any tox screening on Zimmerman, losing forever the chance to determine if he was drinking or on drugs. This fact is inconsistent with the theory that the department is being very cautious about making a case. This is a department that bends over backwards to excuse beating and shooting black men and boys. They’ve done it before.

    There will be no charges, folks. It’s not immediately apparent that there is a federal angle, either. But the Justice Department should look into taking action against the department, because they clearly believe that the laws are there to protect some kinds of people and not others.

  75. ginmar
    ginmar March 19, 2012 at 2:21 pm |

    How can there not be charges? Zimmerman targeted the kid specifically because he was black; Zimmerman had a history of making similar (false) accusations against black people in genera; Zimmerman went looking for trouble; and as for standing your ground—-how do you stand your ground when it’s not even your ground? He followed the kid around against police orders, and if anybody was threatened here, it was the kid. Zimmerman was not just armed, he was nearly twice Martin’s size. A gun is a formidable weapon whether or not it’s loaded. If Zimmerman is claiming he felt threatened by contact he initiated with a kid who weighs less my niece, that alone is suspicious—and contemptible.

    Where are all the false accusation people, anyway? Zimmerman had a long history of calling in false police reports and wasting police time. This ought to be right up their alley.

  76. Nece
    Nece March 19, 2012 at 6:06 pm |

    I pray that I would never have to go through this with my children. I feel that Zimmerman should have been charged with this child’s murder. I feel race did play a part in what happened. Just because you see a hound black kid walking down the street does not mean that he is up to no good. It is a disgrace to the justice system that they would even suggest self defends. It is cold blooded murder and I hope the parents receive justice for their son. To the the parents don’t give up. My prayers are with you. Seek justice for Tracing that is what matters.

  77. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil March 19, 2012 at 8:19 pm |

    I did just want to mention that the “guess what the races of the people involved were” line bothered me a bit. It strikes me as misleading, because there’s some ambiguity of what the races of the people involved are, and this line seems like a clever way of saying that the shooter was white without saying that the shooter was white.

    I’m not accusing the author of dishonesty, but it does come across as if the line was written in the hopes people would assume the shooter was white and move on, thus bolstering the argument, while also hedging bets in case someone looked further.

    The initial reporting I saw on this story indicated that the victim was black and the attacker was white. Zimmerman’s father subsequently clarified that Zimmerman is Hispanic.

  78. Shay Hill
    Shay Hill March 19, 2012 at 11:05 pm |

    We live in a racist society that is the truth, some people will always see our young black males as negative. I have a 17 yr old son and I never let him walk anywhere because of these situations. I explain to him someone is going to always judge you due to your race and you have to be careful when going places. Until we starting hearing of young white males being shot for walking things will not change until African-American demand they change. We will have to start marching. I hope the young boy family sue Zimmerman for wrongful death.

  79. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong March 20, 2012 at 4:58 am |

    Based on the rest of your post, the important point that you seem to be missing is that there is a fuckton of specifically anti-Black institutionalized racism in law enforcement agencies throughout the US.

    That’s utterly irrelevant to what I wrote, because I was criticizing the ‘guess what the races of the people involved’ part, not the hypothetical ‘guess what the race of the victim was’ part. The post seemed to be like a deliberate attempt to communicate that the shooter was white without saying such outright.

  80. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong March 20, 2012 at 5:05 am |

    It’s really not that complex of an issue. Some people think of “Hispanic” as a racial category, while other people consider it an ethnic category which is used in addition to and separate from a racial category.

    That’s exactly why it is a complex issue.

  81. Epiphany!
    Epiphany! March 20, 2012 at 5:11 am |

    Did anyone listen to the audio of the 911 calls? Totally disturbing.
    Z, I can’t even type the dude’s name here, basically hunted down this child. Watching the street as the neighborhood watch captain and saw the kid walk to the 711 waiting for him to come back. He knew all of the neighbors. He was trained to know what to look for with regard to prowlers and so Z describes the young man to the po-pos as the perfect description of a text book “prowler.” Lies and hunting down a child. There is a special place in hell for this murderer.
    You can clearly hear the child terrified blood-curdling screams for help. Self-defense, my fat ass.
    Sadly, I believe if no one intervenes, the f***er will never be so much as charged. I live in suburbs of St. Louis where all the municipalities have Lions club masonic temple directly next to city hall. It smells fishy like the boys club in this gated community is in cahoots. I wish someone would look into a possible connection between some pd officials and the perpetrator, for realz. Like maybe the captain of the police and this punk all do civil war reenactments together or chat in the same mra/subredditthingy or they frequent the same klan meetings? I know I sound paranoid, but I truly wonder due to the pd’s adamant protection of the killer. It’s so strange.
    What a fu*t up situation.
    *banging head against a wall trying to knock myself out*
    (sorry if any was a repeat–i will go back and read all comments pinkyswear)

  82. Jen in Ohio
    Jen in Ohio March 20, 2012 at 8:38 am |

    Justamblingalong, it seems we have a significantly different understanding of what constitutes complexity. It also seems to me that it’s highly unlikely that we’re going to share any portion of a perspective on any of the matters in this thread, and I’ve no interest in arguing with you about them, so I’ll cease engaging you at this point and leave Jill to answer your critique of her post, if she cares to interact with you.

  83. tmc
    tmc March 20, 2012 at 9:24 am |

    I’ve known a shitload of white Hispanic people. “But he’s Hispanic!” =/ “He’s not white!”

    The post seemed to be like a deliberate attempt to communicate that the shooter was white without saying such outright.

    Um, what’s your point?

  84. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong March 20, 2012 at 10:29 am |

    Justamblingalong, it seems we have a significantly different understanding of what constitutes complexity.

    When many people who identify as Hispanic, as well as academics who study racial/ethnic issues, disagree about is means to be Hispanic, each articulating persuasive and historically supported arguments in support of their views, then I don’t think the question of being Hispanic means is simple and easily resolved. If you do, well, kudos.

    It also seems to me that it’s highly unlikely that we’re going to share any portion of a perspective on any of the matters in this thread

    …right, because I think one line in the article was a bit misleading, we clearly cannot agree on anything else. I can’t tell if you’re not reading carefully or just don’t want to respond thoughtfully, but seriously? I wrote that I thought the article said something iffy about the attacker’s race, and you responded “but police are racist against blacks, so you’re wrong.” Yeesh.

    “But he’s Hispanic!” =/ “He’s not white!”

    True?

    Um, what’s your point?

    That the issue of whether the attacker was white or not isn’t simple, and so to say “I’ll be you can guess what the race of the attacker was” comes across as an attempt to tell people he is white, but in such a way that the author won’t be challenged if other people do further reading.

  85. OfSpartax3
    OfSpartax3 March 20, 2012 at 10:44 am |

    So hey, here’s my question:

    Why was a man who had arrests for battery and violence even placed as the head of a neighborhood watchgroup?

    How does that even sound? Come on, folks. Common sense is one hell of a prevention method. How lenient can we as a society be? I mean, I am pretty sure I would not give a gun to someone who was known for being hotheaded, let alone give them some position of power which allows him to lurk around, watching others like the creep he is. What the fuck can you even expect? I assure you, this man was nothing more than a trigger-happy redneck. And the law officials are disgusting for letting this slide as ‘self-defense’, especially if they know he completely HUNTED this CHILD down and picked a fight as an excuse to shoot.

  86. OfSpartax3
    OfSpartax3 March 20, 2012 at 10:58 am |

    That the issue of whether the attacker was white or not isn’t simple, and so to say “I’ll be you can guess what the race of the attacker was” comes across as an attempt to tell people he is white, but in such a way that the author won’t be challenged if other people do further reading.

    … let it be said that whether he was white or hispanic, a 17 year old child was targeted for his appearance. I fail to see why his father even mentioned that. I mean, does him being a person of color lightens the blow and makes it okay that he gunned down a kid?

  87. ginmar
    ginmar March 20, 2012 at 11:15 am |

    If the guy gets away with this, what’s he going to do next? And there will be a next.

  88. Jen in Ohio
    Jen in Ohio March 20, 2012 at 12:11 pm |

    Yeah, ginmar, I fear you’re right. Like I said upthread, it’s a hotbed of fucked up racist shit around that area. I hope it turns out that the feds coming in makes it better and not worse, but at best, I’m cautiously optimistic.

    There’s no way I can listen to those 911 calls. I feel so horrible for this child’s family.

  89. Miss S
    Miss S March 20, 2012 at 4:23 pm |

    Honestly, I can’t even find words. I’m so enraged, and yet so not surprised. This is just another reminder to Black people that the color of their skin is a liability. I hate people sometimes, and this is one of those times.

    The story isn’t about the man being Hispanic, it’s about a not black armed man shooting and killing a black child who was guilty of nothing other than being black in public. It’s about the fact that non black people use the words ‘suspicious’ and ‘black’ interchangeably without consequence. It’s about another black family not seeing justice for police brutality and it’s a reminder that black people are always going to be regarded as second class citizens. As Azalea pointed out, being black means no one caring about your death, and honestly? It means a lot of people not giving a fuck about your life either.

    I want a violent retaliation. I want Z to be unarmed and followed by a stranger who felt ‘threatened.’ In fact, I want this to happen to all racist people everywhere because honestly, enough is fucking enough.

  90. Mike Crichton
    Mike Crichton March 20, 2012 at 11:09 pm |

    OfSpartax3

    So hey, here’s my question:

    Why was a man who had arrests for battery and violence even placed as the head of a neighborhood watchgroup?

    1) The arrest was expunged from his record, legally it didn’t happen for most purposes.

    2) He wasn’t actually a member of any organized group, he was the self appointed “Captain” of a unit consisting only of himself.

  91. Azalea
    Azalea March 20, 2012 at 11:58 pm |

    MissS

    Honestly, I can’t even find words. I’m so enraged, and yet so not surprised.

    We are soooooo >here< on that one.

    This is just another reminder to Black people that the color of their skin is a liability.

    With fatal consequences.

    The story isn’t about the man being Hispanic, it’s about a not black armed man shooting and killing a black child who was guilty of nothing other than being black in public. It’s about the fact that non black people use the words ‘suspicious’ and ‘black’ interchangeably without consequence. It’s about another black family not seeing justice for police brutality and it’s a reminder that black people are always going to be regarded as second class citizens.

    Seriously, I would have been upset had he been arrested, arrained then set free. But I could talk about 12 racist/ignorant or combination thereof people who couldn’t see the facts for what they were. But when you have an entire fucking system being “in” on this coverup, cop and prosecutors alike working to keep a murderer on the streets; it takes shit to a whole new level. It feels like I woke up in the 1950s!

  92. ginmar
    ginmar March 21, 2012 at 1:41 am |

    His girlfriend was there, too. I mean, God, imagine you’re that young and you have your first crush…..One thing which hasn’t gotten remarked upon a lot was how he wasn’t identified for twenty four hours. His poor mom!

  93. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong March 21, 2012 at 5:39 pm |

    … let it be said that whether he was white or hispanic, a 17 year old child was targeted for his appearance. I fail to see why his father even mentioned that. I mean, does him being a person of color lightens the blow and makes it okay that he gunned down a kid?

    It’s amazing to me that I wrote “I basically agree with everything in this article, but this one minor part which seems misleading” and some people managed to read “I think it’s totally OK to shoot black kids if you’re Hispanic.”

  94. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong March 21, 2012 at 5:55 pm |

    I’m so sick of the dynamic where

    A) Someone writes an article condemning an example of sexism
    B) Someone else says “Good article, but I think this one small part is wrong/misleading/innaccurate”
    C) Posters respond “Wow, I didn’t realize you loved sexism so much, you sexism-lover

    Seriously, when you do this it’s incredibly apparant that you’re either being an intentionally disingenious asshole or didn’t take the time to read the original post. For example, above: I thought one rhetorical technique used by the author was misleading. Within a few posts of me saying that, Jen in Ohio is telling me I clearly don’t understand that there’s this thing called “Racism against black people” followed by Spartax asking me if I thought it was ok for Hispanics to kill black children. If you disagree with what I wrote, fine, but this type of disingenious fuckery is just disgusting.

    I’ll keep reading, because I love the stuff on here, but I won’t comment again. I’m posting this in the hopes that maybe people will be more careful in the future.

  95. South
    South March 21, 2012 at 8:14 pm |

    @justamblingalong

    That’s a shame, I scan threads for your comments as being most likely to contain something intelligent.

  96. Henry
    Henry March 21, 2012 at 11:42 pm |

    Possibly of interest – apparently some of the “radical right-wingers” over at National Review are in agreement with the fine folks here. Read the comments; a good many of them think Zimmerman should be charged with murder and spend the rest of his life in prison.

  97. Henry
    Henry March 21, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
  98. Rilian
    Rilian March 23, 2012 at 3:48 am |

    Maybe black people would “reasonably” be afraid of white people…. but I doubt they’d get the same consideration from the police if the races were reversed.

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