Standing Our Ground For Trayvon Martin

March 23, 2012 10:00 am

by Charlie · 93 comments

Today’s Courier Herald Column:

Some things require short, blunt unqualified statements.

The killing of Trayvon Martin was wrong on every level.  It is inexplicable that George Zimmerman’s self defense claim appears to have been accepted at face value by Sanford Florida police.  The outrage over this case, now of national proportion, is completely justified.  Race, as a factor in both the killing and the aftermath, is something that cannot be ignored.

Trayvon Martin was a 17 year old who was killed by an apparently self-appointed neighborhood watch captain as he walked back to his father’s home.  He was returning from a quick trip to a convenience store where he purchased Skittles candy and a can of iced tea.  He was unarmed, carrying only his snacks and a cell phone.  A high school football player, he was still slight of build, especially compared with Zimmerman.  And, he was black.

George Zimmerman had a history of calling 911 for people he found “suspicious” in his neighborhood.  He did the same the night he shot and killed Trayvon.  Despite the urging of a 911 operator not to, he followed Trayvon down the sidewalk and confronted him over his presence in the neighborhood.  Exactly what happened in those final moments is not completely clear, but the result is very final.  Trayvon Martin is dead and there is no reasonable explanation as to why.

As the story first drew national attention, the narrative was not about Trayvon Martin, but instead about Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law that allows shooting someone in self defense.  Regrettably and predictably, those who support such laws and the second amendment responded by defending Zimmerman as if he qualified under this law. 

Those who support “stand your ground” must understand that with this freedom comes responsibility.  Zimmerman was no longer standing his ground when he advanced upon Martin.  Aggression is not defense.  Guns don’t kill people, people do. 

This case isn’t about gun laws, and it’s not about self defense.  It’s about George Zimmerman being overzealous and perhaps even paranoid in the “protection” of his neighborhood.  It’s about a seventeen year old black youth being presumed guilty until proven innocent.  It’s about Zimmerman taking it upon himself to be judge, jury, and executioner. 

It is now about having a national conversation about ourselves.

The second narrative to come from this case has also been predictable and equally regrettable.  Trayvon’s death is now about not only a black teenager killed without cause, but police who seem too willing to look the other way.  As such, those who are professionally outraged are working overtime on news cameras, denouncing both the killing and the police inaction as acts of racism.  Unfortunately, those suspicious and/or politically opposed to the actions of Al Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons have used their involvement to ignore this tragedy, or dismiss it for less than it is.

Those of us who grew up white and southern during the sixties and seventies have likely heard the phrase “what will they want next?” during struggles for civil rights laws and equality.  It is not too much to want to be able to innocently walk to a store and buy Skittles.  It is not too much to want to not have to justify why you are in your own neighborhood in the process.  It is certainly not too much to expect to not be shot and killed while doing so.  And it is unfathomable to think that police reaction to such a killing would be to deem it “justified” or “self-defense”.

If we as a country, as a people, are to achieve the dream that is America, we should and must learn to deal with such tragedies in a way that transcends the current paradigm of predictable and regrettable.  We cannot have a large segment of the population be willing to ignore a message because Al Sharpton is one of the messengers.  We cannot give justification for people of color to feel there are less than equal in the eyes of justice. 

When we pledge our flag with “one nation, under God”, it includes the requirement “with liberty and justice for all.”  Because of the lack of proper police investigation in the immediate aftermath of Trayvon Martin’s shooting, it is unlikely there will be justice for him or for his family. As such, as a country and as a people, we have failed. 

As a country and as a people, we need to do better.

xdog March 23, 2012 at 10:25 am

“Trayvon Martin is dead and there is no reasonable explanation as to why.”

Oh come on. Martin is dead because Zimmerman fired a pistol and killed him, and Zimmerman fired because Martin was black. That’s your reasonable explanation right there.

“Those of us who grew up white and southern during the sixties and seventies have likely heard the phrase “what will they want next?”

Many of us heard that phrase. But some of us thought blacks’ demands for the same rights we white men and women had made sense legally, politically and morally. And then there was the national GOPer/dixiecrat/knownothing grand convocation that still holds sway over so much of our country.

Good luck with that mix. Keep trying to eke out national electoral wins on that basis.

TolleyJenkins March 23, 2012 at 10:40 am

“Oh come on. Martin is dead because Zimmerman fired a pistol and killed him, and Zimmerman fired because Martin was black. That’s your reasonable explanation right there.”

Oh come on yourself. He clearly meant that there was no reasonable reason for Martin’s death, and not that the basic cause of death (i.e., gunshot) was incapable of discernment. What a weird thing to nitpick.

Edit: I misread the xdog’s post a bit. Still though, this post is pretty clearly attacking the failure to prosecute Zimmerman. Not sure what the beef is.

xdog March 23, 2012 at 3:32 pm

The beef is that the attitudes that legitimized Zimmerman’s actions as gun-totin macho scourge of the neighborhood watch team are so engrained that they’re almost invisible, at least here. People fuss about how the issue has been politicized but without the politicization Zimmerman would still be walking those mean streets of his imagination and Sanford would still be in the business of putting the issue to bed.

The beef is that GOPers/libertoonians have to wait 60 years after Brown v Board of Education, 45 years after Nixon’s southern strategy, 30 years after Reagan’s remarks in Philadelphia MS to make ‘short, blunt unqualified statements’ about the death of a black minor who was doing no wrong at the hands of an armed watchman. You guys have effectively purged the party of blacks, you’ve chased off a bunch of gay men and women and you’re waiting on the rest to leave, you’re doing a very good job of running off Latins for a couple of generations–but your party is right, those ‘others’ are wrong.

The beef is that even professional windbags like Alan West and Erick Erickson are finding this one too toxic for their usual stance to obtain. Naturally, they know their audience best and aren’t surprised at the accolades they have received for coming down on the side of angels this time. They’ll be updating their cv with this one.

Enough beef?

Rambler1414 March 23, 2012 at 10:52 am

“Zimmerman fired because Martin was black.”

Evidence?

Max Power March 23, 2012 at 12:08 pm

I think it’s probably more accurate to say that Zimmerman followed Martin because he was young and black.

Doug Deal March 23, 2012 at 10:52 am

People need to stop making national racial political statements out of such things. There are all kinds of nutcases like Zimmerman (who is Hispanic, by the way) who are going to do all sorts of heinous things. They are not representing anyone else in their crime. Just like black violent offenders do not speak for anyone else. People who try to make the shooting about anyone other than Zimmerman are race baiters and are a blight on our society.

The police, on the other hand, are a different story. The kid had no weapons, he clearly was coming back from a store, he cried for help and a number of other things that should have had Zimmerman’s behind bars that night or at least in a couple days after some initial investigation. They didn’t and that is a shame, but it is still not to the point of justifying race riots, as it can be easily corrected by a grand jury indicting him for murder.

Just as disgusting as racist a-holes are race warlords.

The stand your ground law is good law. We have a right to defend ourselves. Zimmerman did not use this law; he used his own vigilante justice and deserves whatever the system can dole out.

Doug Deal March 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Since posting, I did more research and found at least 5 different accounts of the story. All contradict each other in some material way. I had originally heard Zimmerman shot Martin in the back, accounding to what I read this morning, that is not true, but it was claimed that Martin hit Zimmerman or Zimmerman hit (not shot) Martin in the back, depending on what you read. There are also competing accounts of who was calling for help. Zimmerman claims he was while Martin was beating him up, but some others claim that Martin was calling for help, which is what I heard last night.

As clear as the broadcast news/talk radio reports made it sound last night, the print reports are scattered over the map. Therefore I take back my statement that it had to be murder. There is a big difference between shooting a fleeing person in the back and hitting someone punching you in the chest. That’s why there are investigations.

Max Power March 23, 2012 at 11:06 am

People need to stop making national racial political statements out of such things.

Because there’s a definite racial issue in the police department’s handling of this case. Do you really believe if this kid had been white that Zimmerman wouldn’t have been arrested?

but it is still not to the point of justifying race riots

What!? Have there been any race riots in Sanford?

Doug Deal March 23, 2012 at 11:15 am

Not being a mind reader, I cannot know what the police were thinking. It took a year to arrest Robert Blake for the murder of his wife and several other celebrity murderers nearly as long. Zimmerman made a claim of self defense, police erroring on the side of caution instead of arresting everyone and sorting it out later is not necessarily a bad thing.

Maybe they wanted to let a grand jury decide to indict him, who knows. It seems obvious now, but when the decision was made that night perhaps the evidence was not as clear. It is a correctable error, so getting hysterical over it only causes more problems.

Pre-trial jail is not for punishment, it is for holding people pre-trial that are a flight risk.

Max Power March 23, 2012 at 11:19 am

Pre-trial jail is not for punishment, it is for holding people pre-trial that are a flight risk.

And to protect the community from those who might be a threat. A guy who stalks and shoots an unarmed kid is a threat to the community. Blake wasn’t found over his victim gun in hand claiming to have shot her in self-defense.

Do you believe that he wouldn’t have been arrested if he were standing over a dead white kid?

Doug Deal March 23, 2012 at 11:35 am

Why are you a such a racist? Can you entertain any other possibility for the motivations of others? Zimmerman was Hispanic, if he was arrested someone like you would be arguing he was arrested because he was Hispanic.

I have no idea what would have happened, and you do not either. Stow the hate, you’ll be happier.

Max Power March 23, 2012 at 11:41 am

Don’t use words if you don’t know their meaning.

People like you who deny the existence of racial issues in our society are more destructive than the Jesse Jackson and Al Sharptons.

Doug Deal March 23, 2012 at 11:51 am

You are the one assuming you can read people’s minds and that it always turns out to be racially motivated.

Read this story:

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/os-trayvon-martin-shooting-zimmerman-letter-20120315,0,1716605.story

This is about the fifth different account I have now heard. It does not sound as clear cut as the on air accounts I heard last night. If true, there is good reason for the police to not have made an immediate arrest.

There are people who view society solely through a racial prism. Those people are trouble makers and they come in all races and cultures. This include people who can only see a racially motivated solution to the unknowns when infinite other answers fit as well.

Max Power March 23, 2012 at 11:58 am

You are the one assuming you can read people’s minds and that it always turns out to be racially motivated.

Why would you say something objectively not true? I’m using my powers of observation and logic. If that makes me a racist then so is Erick who said almost the same thing on his show last night.

No one disputes that Zimmerman called police from his SUV, then left it and encountered Trayvon on foot as the teenager returned from a 7-Eleven candy run.

All I need to know is the undisputed facts. Zimmerman was following Martin. Zimmerman was told not to follow Martin by 911 but continued to do so. Zimmerman shot an unarmed Martin, with those facts under the law probable cause for arrest. But let’s face facts in our society young black males are too often presumed to be criminals. It’s sad but true. And you pretending that it doesn’t happen makes the situation worse not better.

Doug Deal March 23, 2012 at 12:10 pm

There is no logic that connects your conclusion to your arguments. You want to see racism, so you see it.

Max Power March 23, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Keep telling yourself that buddy if it makes you feel better. Here’s an idea make some black friends and talk to them about what they regularly experience. (I know I know you have lots of black friends)

Doug Deal March 23, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Like I said. You are a racist. You know nothing about me or my racial makeup or history. You assume people live up to the racist world you have created. Stop the hate. you will be happier.

Max Power March 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm

I tell you what, go to a dictionary and look up what the word racist means and then come back and we can have a discussion about why it applies or doesn’t. Also try and make some black friends, talk to them learn about their lives maybe it will open your eyes.

Doug Deal March 23, 2012 at 12:53 pm

2. abusive or aggressive behaviour towards members of another race on the basis of such a belief (belief in superiorty of one race over another).

Your obvious contempt for people who are not black, that their motivations must be driven by disgusting character flaws, qualifies you for that.

Anyway, it is clear that our conversation is done and contributes nothing more to this conversation. Take care. Stop the hate, you’ll be happier.

Max Power March 23, 2012 at 12:56 pm

You left out the “belief in the superiority of a race” bit, but I’ll let you slide this time since I think you now know the term racist doesn’t apply here. However, I really think you would benefit from making some black friends, talking to them, listening to them, we tend to get comfortable in our own little worlds but it does us good to get out of them every once and a while.

wicker March 23, 2012 at 11:59 am

Sorry Doug Deal. The state of Florida has already made it clear that SPD was making no attempt to investigate. They uncovered more leads in a few days than the SPD did in the several weeks when they were primarily concerned with resisting requests to release the 911 tapes. Also, the SPD chief apologized to Martin’s parents. Excuse me, but how often and in what circumstances do police apologize to the parents of the AGGRESSOR in a self-defense case? It was an attempt to mollify them in the hopes of preventing them from doing what they have done, which is hire a lawyer, contact the media and take their case – which is now more against SPD than against Zimmerman – to the public.

They weren’t pursuing a grand jury indictment. They were done. It was self-defense, according to their estimations. They only claimed that the investigation was still open as an excuse to prevent from releasing the 911 tapes. In response to public pressure, they released some of the tapes, then they released them all.

Had it not been for the Martin family applying public pressure, this case would be over. I am not condemning SPD as a bunch of racists, but it is clear that they acted poorly in this incident.

Doug Deal March 23, 2012 at 12:15 pm

That may be the case that they are incompetent, I said as much above. However, all the errors are correctable. I have not seen where the case was closed and no further investigation was going to happen. If you have a reference to it from an official source, please post it.

Still, the legal system does not work like TV, it is slow and cumbersome and that is by design. Throwing people into jail because people are outraged is how justice works in third world countries.

Painterman March 23, 2012 at 11:09 am

There are always 2 sides. Has anyone else heard this? Don’t know if it is true or not, just as I don’t know if what I have been hearing is true except that someone shot someone else. I would think this would be pretty easy to determine in an investigation.
http://www.examiner.com/charleston-conservative-in-charleston-sc/zimmerman-was-on-the-ground-being-punched-when-he-shot-trayvon-martin

William Satterwhite March 23, 2012 at 11:24 am

Painterman, it’s always been known that the reason Zimmerman shot Martin is because Martin had gained the upper hand in a physical altercation with Zimmerman and Zimmerman found himself in a compromised position, that aspect of the story has never been in doubt. The real issue here is how did the physical altercation between the two start- Zimmerman was able to tell the police his story and the police took him at his word, Martin was not and no one cared to conduct an investigation to find out just what his story may have been.

Doug Deal March 23, 2012 at 11:38 am

Weird, I heard a different story on the radio. Is there a posting of the actual police report anywhere. There is too much conjecture floating around.

William Satterwhite March 23, 2012 at 11:51 am

Supposedly this is the report, or at least a portion of it- http://cnninsession.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/martinpolicreport.pdf

Doug Deal March 23, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Thanks!

Andre March 23, 2012 at 12:37 pm

The police report is a very interesting read.

Someone posted below that we should refrain from rushing to judgment, and let investigators do their job without mounting pressure from the public.

I agree with that.

Doug Deal March 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Well said Andre. Like most people I want justice. It is never instant, rarely quick and often takes patience.

Max Power March 23, 2012 at 11:25 am

It would have been a lot easier to determine if the cops had done their job back in February.

wicker March 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Painterman:

Yes, there are 2 sides to this story. Here is Trayvon Martin’s side: I HAVE THE RIGHT TO DEFEND MYSELF FROM A GROWN MAN IN A CAR WHO IS CHASING ME IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. George Zimmerman chased Martin down, got out of his car, and confronted him. WHAT ELSE WAS MARTIN SUPPOSED TO DO?

It is amazing: the idea that Zimmerman had a right to defend himself from Martin, but Martin didn’t have the same rights as the older, larger man with the car and the gun who provoked the whole situation even after 911 told him to back off. Zimmerman was afraid that Martin would get away before the police got there, and took matters into his own hands. That may not be first degree murder, but Stand Your Ground DEFINITELY does not apply here, and neither does self defense. At minimum, it is involuntary manslaughter.

wicker March 23, 2012 at 11:50 am

Hold on, back up now. Here’s the deal: the Trayvon Martin issue – as a public activism cause – is over. The only goal should have been to get a legitimate investigation of the case. (FYI: Eric Holder pursuing “violation of civil rights” charges is not legitimate.) That is happening. Conservative Republicans who support gun owners rights and the stand your ground law have acted to convene a grand jury in mid-April, plus the Florida governor has appointed a special prosecutor.

So, what we have to do now is to let the legal system run its course. The rallies need to stop, the media attention needs to end, the activists need to go home, and (yes) Trayvon Martin’s parents and family need to tend to their grief, and particularly to the grief of Martin’s younger brother. Anything less will be exploiting this tragedy for an agenda that has nothing to do with justice, dishonors his memory, and exploits the emotions of Martin’s loved ones (even if they are participating in their own exploitation).

All this media attention and activism that is going on now should have happened when the Sanford Police Department was sitting on those 911 tapes for 3 weeks and claiming to not have found any evidence contradicting Zimmerman’s self – defense claim (including the cell phone transcripts with Martin’s girlfriend, which renders much of Zimmerman’s testimony to be implausible). But since this thing is getting bigger and bigger now that it has largely succeeded (as even Martin’s mother states that her only desire is to see Zimmerman stand trial, not a particular outcome) I don’t know what positive purpose that it serves.

Demanding that Zimmerman be arrested immediately is simply wrong. Decisions like that should not be made by public pressure. (Allow me to say that given the nature of grand juries, i.e. the “ham sandwich” cliche, Zimmerman will be indicted if the Florida attorney general wants him to be badly enough.) The same is true of demanding the firings/resignations of the SPD leadership (why do it at this time, as the actions of the SPD – including the allegations of getting witnesses to alter their statements – are a part of the state of Florida investigation … let the facts come out first) and if these folks are talking about challenging gun laws or Stand Your Ground, then this doesn’t have a thing to do with Martin and none of these activists could care less about him.

Also, I am squeamish about the role that racism is playing in this case. Trayvon Martin’s father is – unwisely in my case – going around saying that his son was profiled. Well, it is only illegal for law enforcement to profile. Private citizens like Zimmerman can and should profile. As a matter of fact, one of the positive things about LEGITIMATE neighborhood watches (which Zimmerman was not a part of) and community policing is the fact that they can do the profiling that the police can’t. We WANT private citizens to call the police and say “there is someone suspicious/unknown etc. in the neighborhood so could you please come check it out.” Oh that this would happen more in high crime areas!

You also have people who claim that Zimmerman shot Martin because he was black. Sorry, that does ignore the fact that Zimmerman was bleeding from the head when the police got there, and that there is great physical evidence that Martin and Zimmerman did get involved in a violent physical altercation before Zimmerman shot Martin. (Some say that there is evidence that Martin was getting the better of Zimmerman when he was shot; those are the details that we need to wait on the investigation. While Zimmerman’s arrest and conviction appear certain at this point, it is extremely unlikely that it will be for first degree murder.)

Also, we have to keep in mind here: the crime that Zimmerman is accused of is wrongfully causing Martin’s death, not for being a racist. The folks who have the position is that Zimmerman’s “real crime” is any racial animus that he might hold towards black people, and that such animus is the primary reason why Martin is dead are doing Martin’s memory a disservice, and moreover making things like legitimate law enforcement impossible.

I was “down with the cause” when the issue was Sanford Police Department’s abject refusal to either continue the investigation or release the 911 tapes. After the state of Florida announced the grand jury and also announced that they had found tons of leads and evidence that SPD had no interest in, “the cause”, as far as I am concerned, was over. Now the problem is that so many people refuse to see it the same way. For instance, WAOK-AM, the black political radio station in Atlanta (that campaigns for Obama and the Democrats all day every day, including carrying The Al Sharpton Radio Show) is still dedicating hours of airtime to this case, and organizing attempts to go to Sanford, Florida and protest. The fact that a grand jury has already been called pretty much gets ignored. Yes, the (need for) gun control and (their opposition to) Stand Your Ground gets oft discussed, as well as not a few transparent, explicit mentions of how “this case proves that there is still racism in this country” which means … well you can take it from there considering that this is the “re-elect Obama” station. If they are the ones that are still driving this thing when the focus now really does need to be on healing, unifying, and monitoring the actions of the state of Florida (to whom Sanford Police has completely surrendered control of this case to) then they need to be called out and opposed, because it means that they’re perfectly willing to use a dead teen’s body as a political prop.

I am glad that this conservative-leaning site has dealt with this issue directly (instead of indirectly by way of mentioning John Lewis’ demagoguery) since it means that it is impossible to accuse you guys of ducking the issue. But now that it has, I really do not think that this issue should be mentioned again (at least until the grand jury in mid-April) because the people who are determined to maximize attention to this issue really do not seem to be motivated by JUSTICE.

Thanks, Charlie.

COBBPUNDIT March 23, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Brilliant… couldn’t have said it better myself.

Max Power March 23, 2012 at 12:37 pm

I am glad that this conservative-leaning site has dealt with this issue directly (instead of indirectly by way of mentioning John Lewis’ demagoguery) since it means that it is impossible to accuse you guys of ducking the issue.

In case anyone missed it, Erick had a very thoughtful discussion about this case last night on his show.

CobbGOPer March 23, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Well said, I would just point out that when your entire business/profession is based on fighting ‘racism,’ the tendency is to find ‘racism’ everywhere… Al Sharpton, Farrakhan, etc.

sunkawakan March 23, 2012 at 12:55 pm

I would be interesting to test this Zimmerman fellow’s discretion by having a number of young white men walk through his neighborhood.

Also, has anyone heard if the prior 911 calls that Zimmerman made about suspicious characters stated the “suspects” were black or white?

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 23, 2012 at 2:22 pm

“(It) would be interesting to test this Zimmerman fellow’s discretion by having a number of young white men walk through his neighborhood.”

Too late for that for, as I understand, a few days ago Zimmerman was asked to move out of his condo by the actual neighborhood association that it has been reported by some outlets that he was pretending to represent as a self-appointed community watch leader. It has also been reported that since being asked to leave his condo, Zimmerman has gone into hiding due to a high volume of death threats from those looking to carryout some vigilante justice of their very own.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 23, 2012 at 2:35 pm

“Also, has anyone heard if the prior 911 calls that Zimmerman made about suspicious characters stated the “suspects” were black or white?”

That’s a very good question. In most of the calls that Zimmerman made to the police that have been played on air he was recorded as stating that the suspicious characters that he was reporting were young black youths.

But only a very small fraction of the calls that Zimmerman has made to 911 have been played on air as Zimmerman reportedly has called 911 at least 46 times since early 2011 when he reportedly appointed himself head of the neighborhood community watch patrol. If one were able to examine those recordings they might be able to see whether Zimmerman was only biased strictly towards young black youths or was an all-around equal opportunity nutjob who absolutely needed not to anywhere near a gun while he was going completely off-the-rails mentally.

Painterman March 23, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Not trying to take up for either side, I just hate to see a rush to judgment by anyone until facts can be established, like when Obama quickly criticized the police over the arrest of that professor before the truth was established. I also hate to keep seeing what appears to be another botched investigations by police.
I do have a major question as to why Zimmerman did not follow instruction to not follow the subject when the 911 operator told him to. This is the main issue in my book, but the article I referenced was the first I’d heard where there was a physical confrontation to that extent.
Sad also that because it’s an election year as this is being ramped up to more class & race baiting and stirring the pot!

Doug Deal March 23, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Whenever people botch something, I think about my own work environment and how I make mistakes from time to time. How many times have people gotten the wrong food at a drive-thru, or the wrong item sent in mail order? All of these are very simple tasks, imagine how hard of a job it is to correctly interpret laws, many of which are extremely poorly written and Bisentine in logic. Add to that the glee that people like Sharpton and others take when anything can be turned into a racial issue, simply because the skin colors of the involved parties do not match.

It only takes one critical mistake in any of the several thousand similar cases for one to turn into a national news story. If this type of thing was common, you would hear about it multiple times a day from local police departments, not a couple a year in another state.

I would personally never want a job with the police. It is far tougher with so much more on the line I could deal with on a day to day basis. That does not absolve them when they do wrong intentionally, look the other way or do wrong unintentionally and cover it up, but they need the same amount of slack that all of us do. I just ask that they act in good faith and try to do their best.

xdog March 23, 2012 at 3:08 pm

“Add to that the glee that people like Sharpton and others take when anything can be turned into a racial issue, simply because the skin colors of the involved parties do not match.”

Yep, that’s the moral and legal equivalent of shooting an unarmed 17 yo. Good one.

Doug Deal March 23, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Yuck, it’s Byzantine. I spelled it phonetically to have the spell checker catch it, but somehow I must have forgotten to run it. Case in point about making mistakes.

xdog, yeah, because that was clearly what I was doing, forget everything I wrote, just come up with that absurd conclusion. Shootings and particularly anything that can be blown up into fodder for the usual race warlords is understandably a stressful environment. Either way, they will likely be criticized by people, probably not too much unlike you and Max who seem to have an axe to grind.

Of course you could do their job perfectly every time. I just know it.

xdog March 23, 2012 at 5:38 pm

What does the fact that Sharpton annoys the hell out of you have to do with anything else in this thread?

The absurdity you mention was in your writing, not in my pointing out what you wrote.

Hard to tell if you’re talking about the job difficulty of cops or judges, or maybe night patrollin’ gun-totin’ hard men or something else entirely. A lifetime ago I was a cop. I could never be a judge. I have better things to do with my evenings.

Doug Deal March 23, 2012 at 6:55 pm

If you cannot understand the relevance, that’s on you. Perhaps if you read what I wrote, like the part where I clearly mention the police, you could follow things a little better. Is it really such a stretch to believe that a reply chain could possible relate to the comments that came before it?

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 23, 2012 at 2:45 pm

“I do have a major question as to why Zimmerman did not follow instruction to not follow the subject when the 911 operator told him to.”

Because he is probably nuts as it sounds as though Zimmerman has some very profound psychological issues, especially after calling 911 close to 50 times since the start of 2011 and has been involved in some other questionable situations since being involved in an altercation with a cop back in 2005.

It appears as if the guy has been going off of the tracks psychologically and was in some need of some minor mental help that he obviously wasn’t getting before this incident.

After this incident, getting some minimal mental help to deal with his accumulating psychological issues is the very least of his worries.

jiminga March 23, 2012 at 3:49 pm

It’s hard to imagine that Charlie or any other posters here have ever even been to Sanford, FL, much less have any more information than the news media have handed out. While many here have jumped to a conclusion I’d prefer to stand back and let the case take its course. Then, if a jury is involved, will respect THEIR verdict.

wicker March 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Like you respected the verdict in the O.J. Simpson case, right? or was that different?

jiminga March 24, 2012 at 1:33 pm

How do you know my thoughts on the O.J. verdict? Or are you making even more assumptions based on opinion, not fact.

Why don’t we just lynch Zimmerman this afternoon, since we all know he’s a bloodthirsty murderer.

peachstealth March 23, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Everyone knew Richard Jewell was the Olympic bomber, until we found out he wasn’t.
Everyone knew the Duke Lacrosse players were guilty, until we found out they weren’t.
We may think we know what happened here, but we weren’t there.
Let’s have an investigation and try to find out what really happened and not try this case in a court of law and not on the internet or in the press

wicker March 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm

@peachstealth:

I agree totally. That is why the Martin family was correct in hiring a lawyer and using the media and activists to apply public pressure to the Sanford Police Department. Otherwise, the 911 tapes never would have been released, we would have never known that the cell phone transcripts exist, we would never have known that Zimmerman’s claims about being captain of the neighborhood watch are false and the several violent crimes against him. There would also be no grand jury being convened next month, and no state of Florida investigation.

The issue here is people wanting an investigation versus those who declared that chasing a teen down with your car in the middle of the night is “self defense.”

Chris Huttman March 23, 2012 at 4:41 pm

It would be one thing if the Duke Lacrosse players had called 911 and told the operator they were going to rape her and the operator suggested they leave the party instead.

The real issue here, beyond the gunshot and everything else, is that Zimmerman was clearly the aggressor at the start of the incident (whether he was eventually getting beaten up or not) and that if you allow a Stand Your Grand law to protect someone from murder or manslaughter because they are eventually on the losing end then you can kiss society goodbye.

The police department’s willingness to hide behind this is shocking. Just think about what this means – basically in this town if you decide you want to kill someone, all you need to do is get in a physical altercation with them where eventually they are pummelling you, and then it’s self-defense as long as you can get your shot off.

There was a good article in Slate the other day about how the law is being applied. Apparently when the races were reversed (and 30 years or so of age was added to each actor) there was much less hesitation to arrest and try a black aggressor. Now, sample size of 2 isn’t very valid, but take away the race entirely, focus on Zimmerman’s 911 call. Do you want some psycho that’s following you that 911 tells to BACK AWAY FROM to be able to kill them after you land the first or better punch?

wicker March 23, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Doug Deal:

Like I said yesterday, before criticizing black liberals like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton in cases like this, it is more productive to ask why black conservatives don’t get involved. Or for that matter white conservatives. What you have to remember: this isn’t one of their corporate shakedowns, attempts to get somebody elected, or pressing to get some law adopted or repealed. In cases like these, Sharpton and Jackson get involved because the families ask them to. And blacks call the liberal “race lords” like Sharpton in large part because the Clarence Thomas contingent doesn’t pick up the phone. This isn’t a case of wanting a handout, or a benefit from a quota, or seeing racism under every stone. This was A) the death of an unarmed teenager at the hands of a fellow with a history of violent crime. In addition to assaulting a police officer, it appears that this Zimmerman has some domestic violence arrests as well.
http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/318716/20120323/george-zimmerman-florida-shooting-trayvon-martin.htm

As far as law enforcement goes, well this is just another government agency that is either corrupt, incompetent or possibly both. If conservatives don’t take the “we all make mistakes sometimes” when it is government schools, government regulatory agencies, and government social welfare agencies and depicts every failure (or impossible situation) as a reason why these entities should be held accountable, their budgets cut and their being possibly eliminated, why hold police to a different standard? This isn’t the police having to make a split second decision in a dark alley and making a regrettable one, as in the case of Amadou Diallo. If the news reports are true, witnesses told police that they heard a teenager screaming for help, only to have police officers “correct” them and tell them to change their story to say that they heard Zimmerman crying for help instead. The police withheld the 911 tapes because of an alleged ongoing investigation, yet three weeks after the incident they had no idea that Martin had a cell phone conversation with his girlfriend when Zimmerman started pursuing him. If it weren’t for the civil rights lawyer that the Martins hired, we would have never known that information. And how could the police fail to check the criminal background of a man who chased and shot an unarmed teen in the middle of the night? The media discovered Zimmerman’s domestic violence and assault against a police officer history in mere days. The media also exposed his “neighborhood watch captain” claim as fanciful thinking on the part of Zimmerman at best, but SPD was fine with everyone thinking that Zimmerman was the leader of a registered neighborhood watch organization that contained more members than Zimmerman himself, as well as fine with everyone thinking that Zimmerman was “squeaky clean” instead of someone who should have never been allowed to carry a concealed weapon due to his history of violent criminal allegations against him. If it were the EPA acting like this while investigating the threat that oil company drilling would have on spotted owls and hapless toads instead of the police department, what would your attitude be?

When a fast food employee screws up a meal that given my weight and cholesterol level I probably shouldn’t be eating anyway, it was just that: a mistake, and that employee deserves the benefit of the doubt. But the persistent misbehavior with regards to this case over several weeks is comparable to what APS did. Especially since they wanted to have it both ways. To justify not arresting Zimmerman, they cited self-defense and “Stand Your Ground.” Fine, but why use “the investigation is still underway” as an excuse for not releasing the 911 tapes? Just say “We haven’t arrested him yet because of a lack of evidence” instead of being Zimmerman’s advocate to the local community that “it certainly looks like a self-defense/Stand Your Ground case by our neighborhood watch captain to us!”

Go read the Sanford, Florida newspaper: it’s unreal. The Sanford Police actually stated that arresting Zimmerman would be a violation of his civil rights. Still sound like a “mistake” to you? If so, then the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal was just a “mistake” or an “administrative oversight” also.

By the way: I live in what was once a high-crime neighborhood in urban Atlanta (though the crime rate has been going down the past few years). I am VERY MUCH pro law-enforcement. I despise the civil rights ideology towards law enforcement, and also the postmodern view of the law in general by the new left. I was very sympathetic towards Mary Norwood in the mayor’s race precisely because of the crime issue (though Reed was the more accomplished, qualified candidate) and was appalled/angered when I went to visit a local police precinct and saw how understaffed and poorly equipped they were: oh if the police in Atlanta were as valued by the city’s political leaders as social welfare centers (including Grady Hospital), MARTA, gay rights and affirmative action programs. And I do support the 2nd Amendment, including conceal/carry, and also Stand Your Ground. But when law enforcement acts the way that SPD did in this case, they need to be held accountable just like everybody else.

Chris Huttman March 23, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Great comment, although I really don’t see how you could justify voting for Norwood – she would have been a disaster as mayor. But on all the other stuff, right on. Great analogy between failing schools and failing police departments.

Doug Deal March 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm

I respect what you say here, but disagree in regard to JJ and AS. There are any number of people that can get involved that are not intent on simply inflaming and aggravating the case to generate their own press.

I think a vast majority of people just want the resolution to be just. Sadly, there are a percentage of hotheads and other who want to use such events for political ends who do not care much about that. I have already had my mind changed (to some degree, but I still think Zimmerman committed an unlawful homocide) several times on this over the last 24 hours because the story is somewhat different from every source.

For all we know, Zimmerman could be a racist who had it in for black kids and was chomping at the bit to kill one. He could have also been a somewhat paranoid victim of past crimes who wanted to act to stop being a victim and overzealously tried to defend his neighboorhood in a recklessly aggressive way. Or he could have just approached the kid to ask him what he was up to (which is completely legal) and he might have been attacked, eventually pulling his gun to stop the assault after being knocked to the ground. It could have been one from a number of other scenarios as well.

None of us know, we can only guess and unfortunately far too many guess based on the race of the two people involved and not hard evidence. It is being investigated and hopefully whatever happened can be known beyond any doubt so that a peaceful closure can be found, instead of people deciding to direct inflamed passions into more violence.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 23, 2012 at 6:24 pm

“For all we know, Zimmerman could be a racist who had it in for black kids and was chomping at the bit to kill one. He could have also been a somewhat paranoid victim of past crimes who wanted to act to stop being a victim and overzealously tried to defend his neighboorhood in a recklessly aggressive way. Or he could have just approached the kid to ask him what he was up to (which is completely legal) and he might have been attacked, eventually pulling his gun to stop the assault after being knocked to the ground. It could have been one from a number of other scenarios as well.”

Or Zimmerman could have just been a certifiable nutjob as evidenced by the 46 calls to 911 since the start of 2011 when he reportedly appointed himself neighborhood watch captain. Though Zimmerman’s claims of multiple break-ins and burglaries have not been confimed at this point, there could not possibly be enough crime in a small gated community to justify close to 50 911 calls from one man in just over a year.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 23, 2012 at 6:36 pm

And if there was, in fact, THAT much crime in a small gated community, then the Sanford Police Department and the greater community at-large has even worse issues than we all originally thought.

Doug Deal March 23, 2012 at 7:05 pm

I live in a lightly populated subdivision in a “good” part of Macon and in the last year we have had at least 7 burglaries and entering autos in the past year on my street of only 6 houses. The perpetrator of most of them was caught, but since he was 16, nothing happened to him except apparently a stern lecture. I caught the other one on my home security cameras trying to break into my car and he too was very young.

When I lived in the not so nice part of Macon, my car was broken into 4 times in less than a year. I never left anything of real value in there, so all that’s left are junk from my glove box on my floor and open compartments and doors.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 23, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Calling the police to report (and letting them handle) the suspicious activity that people in a neighborhood have every right to be concerned about during and after a wave of seven instances of property crimes is one thing, but one guy calling 911 46 times over eight years (an instance of one of many of those conflicting reports that you referred to earlier) to repeatedly report open garage doors and potholes in the road is quite another.

Here’s a log of each of the 46 calls that Zimmerman has made to 911 over the last eight years:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/03/22/george-zimmerman-s-history-of-911-calls-a-complete-log.html

Doug Deal March 23, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Don’t get me wrong, I think he is a nut too.

saltycracker March 23, 2012 at 9:54 pm

The police report said it is an apt/condo complex – Google-Earth the address in the police report and you’ll see it is not a small community and is not gated.

Not one of us will know “the facts” of what happened until the investigation is completed.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 23, 2012 at 11:04 pm

I Googled the address (again) on Google Maps and found that the community in question, The Retreat at Twin Lakes is, in fact, gated with two gated entrances, one on the eastside of the complex on Twin Trees facing a north-south directional Oregon Avenue and a gated entrance on the northside of the complex on Twin Trees facing an east-west directional Oregon Avenue.

Judging from the both the Google Maps overhead satellite image and the Google Maps street-level images taken in April 2011, the gate to the east entrance of the complex, off of the north-south directional Oregon Avenue, looks like it often remains closed while the gate to the north entrance of the complex off of the east-west directional Oregon Avenue directly across the street from the entrance to Bentley Elementary School looks like it often remains open, at least during daylight hours when both the satellite and street-level images were captured.

The complex also appears to be gated on the webpage of the realty company that is in charge of selling condo and townhome units within the complex with a picture of a closed sidewalk gate next to an open street gate at one of the entrances and a brief description under the picture that states that the complex is a gated community under the word “Amenities” under the picture of the gated entrance:

http://www.407re.com/RetreatatTwinLakes

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 23, 2012 at 11:24 pm

Also, though the community is densely-developed with a series of closely-spaced connected condos/townhomes, the community is still relatively small with only three named residential streets.

And, also, while the facts of what happened that right will not be official in a court of law until the investigation wraps up, the facts that we know are certain is that George Zimmerman got out of his vehicle, pursued and then shot and killed an unarmed teenage Trayvon Martin in a confrontation provoked by Zimmerman after being told by the 911 operator not to get out of his vehicle and pursue Martin, this is what we do know.

If Zimmerman simply follows the 911 operator’s instructions and stays in his vehicle, Martin would still be alive and Zimmerman doesn’t become one of the most hated and possibly, hunted, men in the country facing a tortured existence for the rest of his days in the form of a very long prison sentence and having to stay in hiding as he now has to do to stay completely out-of-sight of an entire race of people who are increasingly undescribably angry at him.

saltycracker March 24, 2012 at 8:00 am

Our take is from the off the mark info we are fed in bits.
The community is also described as upscale, under B&E seige, Trayvon as a hooded, suspended teenager, Zimmerman as grass stained, bleeding, neighborhood watch, zealous, multiracial hispanic…..Sanford has been stressed for a long time. It is a shame to see thousands demonstrating what appears to be a tragic mess while the same groups did not get too concerned until the pot boiled over.

Let’s hope the investigation is quick & clear but don’t expect it to resolve much in Sanford as eyes are diverted from the real issues.

jiminga March 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm

“it is more productive to ask why black conservatives don’t get involved”. A reminder….conservative blacks are not race whores like Sharpton, et al. Conservative blacks are usually not hyphenated Americans and don’t make up racial issues for their own benefit.

Another reminder… the Sanford Sentinel isn’t exactly Woodward & Bernstein of Watergate fame. I suggest you don’t believe everything you read in the papers.

Mike Hassinger March 23, 2012 at 5:40 pm

I hope y’all haven’t pulled any hamstrings with all the leaping to conclusions you’ve done in this thread. Here’s what the AP is reporting, which is a probably a whole lot closer to facts than anything any of you believe:

http://tinyurl.com/7qyrysg

bowersville March 23, 2012 at 11:58 pm

Florida is among 21 states with a “Stand Your Ground Law,” which gives people wide latitude to use deadly force rather than retreat during a fight. The Florida law lets police on the scene decide whether they believe the self-defense claim

That is the money quote from Hassinger’s link as to how the Police Chief took sole responsibility for the self defense finding. If that statement is correct no one or two people should ever have the authority to decide “self defense” in a death. Everything should be reviewed which apparently is now being done.

saltycracker March 23, 2012 at 5:44 pm

402 calls to 911 from one neighborhood in a year is a clue of a time bomb.

In business I had a position that when a customer file got two inches deep it was beyond the point of a reasonable solution. Neither side will ever accept the outcome. We got to a foot of BS pretty fast on this one. And chances are wrong place, wrong time, misinformation, pre-judgement.

COBBPUNDIT March 24, 2012 at 4:36 pm

This story below is why we need to let the system work without people like Al Sharpton stoking the fire. At the very least this lends support to the self defense argument made by zimmerman. Let the grand jury decide before rushing to judgment my friends.

http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/dpp/news/state/witness-martin-attacked-zimmerman-03232012

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 24, 2012 at 5:57 pm

“This story below is why we need to let the system work without people like Al Sharpton stoking the fire.”

Trust me, this raging fire had already gotten well out-of-hand before Sharpton got involved at the behest of Trayvon Martin’s family.

“At the very least this lends support to the self defense argument made by zimmerman.”

There wouldn’t even be a self-defense argument for Zimmerman to have to attempt to make if he would have simply just followed the 911 dispatcher’s instructions and STAYED IN HIS CAR and let the REAL cops, for all their faults and obvious flaws, handle it.

As our friends on the erstwhile comedy show “In Living Color” observed after the L.A. Riots in the early 1990’s, only bad things can happen when people get out of their cars in questionable situations. It appears that Mr. Zimmerman should have taken the cautionary advice to STAY IN HIS CAR!!!!

http://www.hulu.com/watch/5032/in-living-color-rodney-and-reginald

COBBPUNDIT March 24, 2012 at 7:37 pm

The self-defense argument remains valid regardless of how the situation came into being with the exception of Mr. Zimmerman being the aggressor. Mr. Zimmerman could have asked Martin who he was and what he was doing, and after being told turned to walk back to his car and was attacked and after being attacked had to use deadly force to protect himself. This story at least makes that a possibility. We just don’t know. As far as I know, one is not bound to obey the instructions of a 911 dispatcher, unless there is a specific statute stating otherwise in FL… and there could be. The bottom line is this story presents another side of what we have been hearing… That is why it is so crucial to let the system work without this rush to judgment that Zimmerman murdered an unarmed, passive man.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 24, 2012 at 8:14 pm

I’m not saying that Zimmerman was legally bound by the instructions of the 911 dispatcher, because according to the law, he isn’t, but I’m saying that in some situations, unless you witness an actual violent crime in progress and someone’s life is in actual imminent danger of immediate physical harm, i.e. someone doing actual physical harm or threatening physical harm to an innocent bystander, it’s probably a good idea let the police handle it, as Mr. Zimmerman has found out firsthand.

Going by Zimmerman’s comments during the 911 call where he remarked something to the effect that the criminal suspects always get away and he implied that he was determined not to let that happen this time it is likely that Zimmerman confronted Martin, being determined to in some way detain him until the cops came.

Though you are very correct that we don’t know exactly what transpired in their interaction as to whether Zimmerman attacked Martin or Martin attacked Zimmerman, we do know for a fact that Zimmerman shot-and-killed what turned out to be an unarmed teenager who was only 70 feet from his father’s home and no matter what the legal findings are, that does not look good for Mr. Zimmerman in what has become the court of public opinion.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 24, 2012 at 6:23 pm

“Let the grand jury decide before rushing to judgment my friends.”

It’s WAY too late for that one.

Even if the Grand Jury finds in Mr. Zimmerman’s favor in this case, the Grand Jury’s potential findings are and will continue to be the least of his worries as Zimmerman now finds himself in the unfortunate position of having EVERY black person in America extremely angry at him (not too dissimilar from when O.J. Simpson found himself in the position of having every white person in America extremely angry at him).

Even if Zimmerman is completely cleared by the Grand Jury (and now the Feds), he is in such a position that he can’t even come out in broad daylight unless under very heavy security anywhere in the lower 48 where there is a sizeable black population as he has become and will forever be Public Enemy Number One to Black America.

COBBPUNDIT March 24, 2012 at 7:44 pm

This might all be true and it highlights what is wrong with people in this country. This is why we have a judicial system to handle these matters. People need to respect the outcome, whether they agree with it or not. I think the jury in the OJ case got it wrong… but you know what… that is what they are there for… to get it right or wrong. Same thing in this case. Evidence might come out that Zimmerman cold bloodily killed Martin… if that is the case and the evidence supports it… he should be tried and punished accordingly. On the other hand evidence might come out that Martin was the aggressor and attacked Zimmerman who was forced to use deadly force to protect himself, in that event people need to understand Zimmerman is not a murderer and the killing, while regrettable, while unfortunate was justified. As of right now, we just don’t know what happened, that is why a grand jury will investigate the facts and decide how to proceed. If Black America can’t come to terms with that then there is something wrong with Black America.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 24, 2012 at 8:49 pm

If Zimmerman, who at over 230 pounds, had it taken to him by a 140-pound teenager, that’s all the more reason why he should have stayed in the car and let the real police take care of whatever suspicions he had, whether real or imagined.

Unfortunately the fact that he killed an unarmed teenager (an unarmed black teenager) who was minding his own business in walking back to his father’s home from the convenience store does not look good for him, especially to African Americans who as group have experienced a long history of being the victims of unprovoked, unjustified and totally unnecessary senseless racial killings.

The reason why this incident has touched a real nerve with African Americans is because to them, what happened to Trayvon Martin could have and can happen to anyone one of their teenaged family members that is seemingly minding their own business because if you’re young and black, you automatically “fit the profile” whenever something happens. whether you are guilty of an actual crime or not.

African Americans are really disturbed by this incident because according to Zimmerman during the 911 call (one of his close to 50 911 calls over the last eight years), just the simple fact that Martin was black while he was walking down the street obvious meant that he was on drugs and casing the neighborhood when he was just simply walking back home from the convenience store with no weapons, no contraband and no tools to commit a robbery or break-in, just a bag of Skittles and an iced tea.

saltycracker March 24, 2012 at 9:19 pm

“What if zimmerman had followed 911’s advice ?”

What if the “small” neighborhood was not calling 911 more than one time per day ?
What if Trayvon wasn’t suspended from his Miami high school ?
What if the outcome was reversed and the hispanic was killed ? National outcry ?
What if Zimmerman wasn’t so driven by (unknown) ?
What if tensions & B&E crimes were not so high in Sanford ?

What if we played better together ? As Charlie asked while reaching an unproven (while probable and inflamatory) conclusion in the headline and opening sentence.
Unfortunately some will see this as an opportunity to drive the wedge deeper in a troubled community.

What if we just waited for the investigation to take place ? And pray justice gets served.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 24, 2012 at 10:30 pm

“What if we just waited for the investigation to take place ? And pray justice gets served.”

Ah, but that’s apart of the beef that African Americans have, that it has taken nearly month since Martin’s murder to take place.

Another part of this growing anger over Martin’s death has been that his parents and those close to the family have been getting attention brought to this story through the media and social networking.

Even if Zimmerman might have actually been justified in shooting Martin in self-defense as he was found to be by the Sanford Police, in the nearly a month since the incident this thing has been boiling up more-and-more below the surface and less-and-less out of the direct sight of the mainstream national media.

Since most of the outrage regarding this incident has been boiling before an official extended investigation took place, the results of the investigation really don’t matter in the court of public opinion as most of the anger and outrage has already gained full steam, hence the reason that we are here blogging about it right now.

Even if Zimmerman is in the clear and is found to be in the clear, in the eyes of many African Americans, Zimmerman is and will always be seen as a monster who chased down and shot-and-killed an unarmed black teenager who had nothing more than a bag of candy and an iced tea on him, which regardless of the whole body of facts is the narrative that was presented early-on in the absence of a more comprehensive investigation early on before the public outrage got completely out-of-control, which is clearly the case now.

Due to the intense and still growing level of public anger, especially in the African American community where he has become Public Enemy Number One, I would strongly advise Mr. Zimmerman to seriously think about relocating to a part of the continent where African Americans are far and few between far away from major U.S. urban centers. Some kind of dramatic alteration of his normal appearance and a name change might be a very good idea, also.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 24, 2012 at 10:05 pm

“What if the “small” neighborhood was not calling 911 more than one time per day ?”

That question brings up another good question: Why did the gate to the northside of the “Retreat at Twin Lakes” community where this incident happened always seem to be open?

From most of the pictures and satellite images of that development, the eastside gate to that community always seems to remain closed, but that northside gate across from the elementary school always seems to remain open from the images of the entrance that I’ve seen that were taken during daylight hours.

If being a gated community where safety is a priority in an area where safety can sometimes be questionable is such a big selling point, then why is that gate, that I presume residents are paying extra for, seem to mostly remain open?

Even though the Greater Orlando area, in which the neighborhood and larger Sanford community in question are located, is known mostly as a resort area, most anywhere in Florida with any significant population, especially in Central and South Florida has well-documented issues with crime.

saltycracker March 27, 2012 at 10:30 am

What if the gate was closed ? (yep…open in satellite pic)
What if the walls were higher ?
What if Trayvon’s 10 day school suspension in Miami for marijuana did not happen ?
What if the eye-witness is lying about Trayvon on top of the hispanic and the hispanic yelling for help ?
What if the residents calling 911 daily had confidence in the police and they wouldn’t have to check on suspicious activity ?
What if the Sanford police acted properly in not rushing to judgement ?

Well we have another one close to home “DeKalb teen shot to death by security guards”
The teen was said to be unarmed.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 27, 2012 at 3:18 pm

More very good questions.

Bucky Plyler March 27, 2012 at 9:58 am

“Some things require short, blunt unqualified statements.”

Charlie, your post is a rush to judgement instead of trusting our legal system. Let a grand jury in Sanford, FL determine if the issue should go forward in court.

Charlie March 27, 2012 at 10:22 am

Bull.

It amazes me at the number of people who seem to need this to not be a problem. The fact of the matter is quite simple. There would be no grand jury looking into this were there not a month of building public outrage.

The small window of opportunity to have decent public dialogue has passed. There are two versions of reality now firmly entrenched in the public domain. One for each “side”, as if the tragic death of a teenager requires sides in this country.

The issue here is that police on the ground chose not to do their job. They misapplied “stand your ground” as an excuse to look the other way. The public outrage is the only thing that has an attempt at justice after the fact.

John Konop March 27, 2012 at 11:19 am

Well said I agree!

Bucky Plyler March 27, 2012 at 10:55 am

Double Bull. The same thing has happened before with public outrage only to find out that the “facts” were not what everybody thought they were. I think you’re dead wrong on this one, but you’re entitled to your opinion…blogging about it is your call as well. It’s a bad call, but it’s your call.

Doug Grammer March 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Considering that the story has changed several times, and I don’t think I’ve still heard the whole story, I will wait to see what the evidence brings. Call me silly, but I’m still a believer of innocent until proven guilty.

Charlie March 27, 2012 at 1:40 pm

The fact that you’re silly doesn’t mean anyone has been pronounced guilty in this post. Zimmerman has the right to a fair trial, and not trial by mob. He would have had a much better chance at proving his innocence in a court of law had the police done their job than he ever will in the court of public opinion.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 27, 2012 at 3:13 pm

By no means am I an advocate of the type of so-called vigilante justice that Zimmerman is being accused of, but according to the newest information that keeps coming out daily, what if the Sanford Police were at least doing most of their job as when they got to the scene Zimmerman looked as if he had been beaten badly by Martin and, also according to the most recent reports, there were multiple witnesses saying that Martin attacked Zimmerman after he had turned around and walking back to his truck.

It is being reported that many of those same witnesses have stated that Martin was on top of Zimmerman and beating him badly.

Hearing those reports, there is definitely an argument that can be made that one could see how the police could have thought that the shooting was self-defense on Zimmerman’s part, though there is also an argument to be made that that does not excuse the authorities from not at least checking Zimmerman’s background after the shooting.

Thre is an argument to be made that the fact that Zimmerman held a concealed carry permit, had no previous assaults on his record (a prior assault in an incident with excise police had supposedly been explunged from his criminal record), appeared to be bloodied and beaten and had witnesses making statements in his favor at the scene could hold a lot of weight with police who had arrived after the fact and had to make an immediate judgment of whether or not to make an arrest, which with the help of the D.A. by phone, they did not, because it looked at the time that they did not reasonably have enough evidence to make an arrest, especially seeing as though there were multiple witnesses backing up Zimmerman’s story according to recent reports.

SallyForth March 27, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Thanks for posting the update. Like Mike said earlier, it looks like some of the folks on here have pulled a few hamstrings jumping to conclusions. I feel sure that we will see more information coming out in days to come, and everybody of every color needs to just take a chill pill. I can’t figure why the media keeps showing the picture of Trayvon at about 10-12 years old, instead of using current images which could easily be gotten off Facebook, along with his boasts of recently beating up a bus driver. I saw current pictures of him last night as a mature young man with gold on his front teeth and intimidating appearance, along with the fact that he was 6′ 3″ tall and the other guy way 5′ 9″. All of this, plus the eyewitnesses who said Trayvon was the aggressor and on top of the other guy banging his head on the sidewalk, put another slant on things. Those of us watching the news and speculating from hundreds of miles away truly do not know what actually happened. We do know that this, like too many others in our country, seems to have been a senseless death – and the best we can do is have empathy for the families involved, pray for them at this difficult time, and try to tone down rhetoric based on “I said, he said” that amounts to gossip.

Doug was right when he stated “I think a vast majority of people just want the resolution to be just. Sadly, there are a percentage of hotheads and other who want to use such events for political ends who do not care much about that.”

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 27, 2012 at 4:23 pm

The so-called just resolution to this incident may not be the one that people are seemingly hoping to see.

It’s looking more-and-more like the police may well have been correct in not arresting Zimmerman at the time of the incident and that Zimmerman have well been justified in the shooting of Martin, especially if it is true that Martin attacked Zimmerman while he had his back turned and was on his way back to his truck, despite the tragicness of the outcome of the incident which resulted in a teenage Martin being shot-and-killed, though as many have wisely advised, we should not jump to conclusions as this story continues to unfold.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 27, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Another thing to consider is that during the first month of this thing, we’ve only heard one side of the story from Trayvon Martin’s family.

Now within the last few days we have begun to publicly hear more of George Zimmerman’s side of story.

Hearing Zimmerman’s side of the story doesn’t make it any better that an unarmed teenager was shot-and-killed while walking back to his father’s home, but it definitely matters to have BOTH SIDES of the story, especially with people jumping to their own conclusions and ready to convict a man in the court of public opinion before hearing the complete story and all of the facts.

saltycracker March 27, 2012 at 4:35 pm

TLDG,

You have earned my respect on this issue for an open mind (little unsteady at first). Most have thrown themselves on their close-minded sword.
On this thread it spun out of control with conclusions at 10 AM March 23rd.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 27, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Thanks. Lets just hope that things don’t spin out-of-control in the streets of America.

After a month of pretty much hearing only one side of the story there are a lot of people that are riled up and pretty angry.

Though, I can’t blame Martin’s parents for pushing this as I would be very upset if my child was shot-and-killed in any circumstance, especially for what seems to be no reason on the surface, it probably might have helped matters much more if Zimmerman would have been able to get his side of the story out much sooner before this thing started to spiral completely out-of-control. Though, as they say, hindsight is 20-20.

John Konop March 27, 2012 at 4:59 pm

I am no lawyer but this is the problem as I see it.

1) It was irresponsible for him to go after the kid with a gun. I am not saying he broke any laws but it was poor judgment.
2) It appears the police assumed the innocence of Zimmerman over doing a non bias investigation ie drug testing the victim and not the shooter, poor investigation during the initial situation………
3) It is my understanding if a person feels they are under physical threat in most states you can defend yourself.
4) Many on both sides need a real timeout. First the attacks on the victim ( Mr. Martin) have been totally insensitive and have no bearing on the case. Only a very sick person would endorse this behavior. The attacks on Zimmerman have been over the top as well and he deserves his day in court if arrested.
5) The debate on this issue should be how to improve the situation like decimalizing drugs which tag low income people for life in general with low paying jobs, a public education system that promotes skills and 4 year college degree opportunities over the current one size fit all system that is creating drop-outs………
6) Let’s all be honest many of us can relate to both sides of the story. Fear of crime on one side verse an overzealous person insensitive to all sides of a situation.

The Last Democrat in Georgia March 27, 2012 at 5:42 pm

“2) It appears the police assumed the innocence of Zimmerman over doing a non bias investigation ie drug testing the victim and not the shooter, poor investigation during the initial situation………”

Sanford Police also seemed to have assumed the innocence of Zimmerman because, by many accounts, to be frank, he appeared to have gotten his butt thoroughly whipped by Martin.

I can see how the police could have thought that there was no reason to investigate further if it is true that Zimmerman appeared beaten and bloodied, he was claiming that he shot Martin in self-defense and there were multiple witnesses collaborating his story.

I can also see how this incident could have happened in an environment that by most accounts seemed like it was a perfect storm for a such a tragic incident to arise with reports that public safety in the city of Sanford is vastly underfunded in a town where break-ins, burglaries, thefts and crime in general sounds to be higher-than-average, especially for what one would think would be a smaller and somewhat suburban city and appearance of what looks to be an overall lack of urgency about security to this so-called gated community in which, by all appearances, one of the two gates to the neighborhood in question appears to remain open much more than it is closed.

Add in a seemingly overzealous neighborhood patrol watchman, who by some accounts is self-appointed and may have a few mental issues of his own and a teenage juvenile, who while suspended from school for discipinary reasons and may not have been the total angel that some have tried to make him out to be, likely had no idea of the numerous and substantial public safety and security issues that were plaguing the community in which it seems that he was just merely walking to and from the convenience store for candy and juice while visiting his father and we have the perfect storm for such a tragic incident to take place.

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