Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Some Thoughts On the Martin/Zimmerman Mess

I tried to keep my fool mouth shut -- what do I know that those closer to the scene do not?

Anyone who tells you the outcome was anything but tragic is a fool or a villain.

Cries for lex talionis turn out, on closer inspection, to be calls for lex populii. Not a good idea and never has been; and yet the irony passes uncommented.

I find accusations of racism in Zimmerman's suspicion of Martin a bit overblown -- in my experience, the usual self-selected Neighborhood Watchman is suspicious of any unknown teenage male. And only slightly less so of everyone else.

On the other hand, had Zimmerman been black and Martin white, Zimmerman would probably be in jail right now. ...And if they'd both been African-American, would this have even made the news?

It is entirely normal, in a conflict between an adult and a teenager, to hold the adult to a higher standard -- and that is happening. In jail or out of it (there's a price on his head; where's he gonna run?), he'll be facing at least one grand jury and it will happen if there are marches and protests or not.

As for what happened, there's only one man who knows for sure; me, I am leaning towards "mutual and escalating panic." You know, at one time in most of the U.S., a busybody adult could ask a child or teen wandering by, "Do you live around here?" and the situation wasn't fraught with tension. We'd be better off looking for a way to bring that back, instead of letting loud voices mob everyone up into mutually-suspicious demographic subdivisions of our common humanity.


Tango Juliet said...

Truer words have never been spoken.

Dave H said...

I'm not so sure Zimmerman would have been arrested even if he was black. Florida state law allows police to investigate use of deadly force in a defensive situation, but they're not allowed to arrest the person who uses it unless there's probable cause that it was used unlawfully.


With little evidence other than Zimmerman's claims, it's likely the police didn't feel they had probable cause. So he remains free.

Stuart the Viking said...

Except for a few anti-freedom statist idiots, we here in Florida LIKE those laws. In (some) other parts of the US, even if it is OBVIOUS that someone acted in self defense they would be arrested and charged with... something... incuring what to many would be complete financial and probably personal ruin while they try to navigate a self defense averse system. That is what these Florida laws were put in place in an attempt to avoid.

Zimmerman is feeling much of that pain anyway, of course. Just not from the criminal justice system. I'm not sure what, if anything, could be done about that (or if anything should be).


Earl said...

Are you blaming the change in culture on the teaching our children in school "Stranger! Danger!", This situation does remind me of why I think many of the current crop of gun toting folks haven't thought through the idea of shooting and killing someone. Like a John Wayne movie, our idea of ourselves is too clean, and life is messy.

You remain a great place to see reasoned opinions.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

I wish someone would explain to me why a "stand your ground" shooting in Florida translates to "thousands" demonstrating, marching and chanting in Indianapolis.

Anything to push Teh Won's traitorous open-mike gaffe to page 3 of the local fishwarp, I guess.

Anonymous said...

"We'd be better off looking for a way to bring that back, instead of letting loud voices mob everyone up into mutually-suspicious demographic subdivisions of our common humanity."

Armed citizens have more reason to go armed than they did at this time last week, and I tremble to contemplate what even the most righteous, justified, caught-on-surveillance-camera self-defense shooting will bring down on the country.

If your intent is to bring back the days when asking a kid "Do you live around here" wasn't fraught with tension, you'll have to do something about the "loud voices" summoning the riot.

The loud voices have money, power, and influence to lose if you get them to act responsibly, and they won't hear contradiction, not at all, and it matters not one little bit how good your intentions are. Neither does it matter that the body count is hugely, disproportionately, inflicted by the group that's gearing up for the riot, both on themselves and the other groups they're sharing the country with. You're operating on different logic than they are.

I know! We can give them Zimmermann! As an earnest of our good intent. But Zimmermann is not going to be handed to them, and some of our fellow citizens are muttering about Rodney King. Jewelry, Air Jordans, and flat-screens figure into the mix, also.

We pessimists are rarely disappointed. A bloomin' ray of sunshine, I am.

Mike James

Windy Wilson said...

Nathan, if there is any truth to the claim that Zimmerman was flat on his back on the grass/pavement getting his lights punched out when he shot Martin, I can't see how "stand your ground" and the otherwise present duty to retreat is implicated.

Earl, I think it isn't "stranger-danger", which is directed more at children rather than 17 year old incipient adults, but the attitude parents bring to the school of, "stop picking on my kid", when the Assistant Principal in charge of safety and discipline summons them to school to talk about Johnny and his demonstration of his interpersonal skills.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Pardon me for falling victim to the rhetoric of the left...who are trying as hard as they can to impugn the right to stand one's ground by exploiting this story.

What is more important than the actual phraseology is the question I really asked, and which I will repeat: How does this story in Florida translate into lefties rallying in Indianapolis?

The answer of course is rhetorical; the left has better things for us to focus on than their worthless traitor of a president.

Roberta X said...

They want to feel involved Nathan; most people would rather feel than think.

greg said...

Yeah...I'm trying to decide if I have an opinion here. The only thing I really keep coming back to is that fact that this feels like something that didn't NEED to happen.

Sabra said...

I think mutually escalating panic is a perfect description of what likely took place. I'm betting each man (and yeah, I'm going to consider a 17-year-old a man) felt he was acting in self-defense. It's a damn tragedy, and it's made worse by race baiters, and there is no possible good resolution to this.

Panamared said...

The media make it difficult to maintain an unbiased opinion on this tragedy, when the events occurred almost a month before the coverage became universal and yet it took until today for the mass media to show a picture of Martin that was less than 3 or 4 years old. All of the early coverage spoke of a young black boy killed by a white vigilantly. I have yet to see any TV coverage that talks about Trayvon being a 6'3" football player, and most of the coverage questions the truth of Zimmerman's testimony, if not openly then by the tone of there presentation of his account of events. Non of this makes it easier for me to form an unbiased opinion about this case or the people that are caught up in the attempt to railroad Zimmerman.