The killing of Trayvon Martin, and what it signals for the future of America

    By now, you’ve probably heard about Trayvon Martin, the 17 year old who was recently shot to death in a gated Florida community by an armed, criminally-overzealous-at-best member of a neighborhood watch group. Martin, who was black, was making his way back to his father’s home, after having purchased some candy and an iced tea from a nearby 7-Eleven, when he attracted the attention of 28 year old George Zimmerman. Zimmerman, who informed a police operator that the young black man was wearing a hoodie, and looked out of place, took it upon himself to pursue the young man. Zimmerman was told not to do so by the police dispatcher, but proceeded to anyway, saying, “They always get away.” According to initial police reports, a confrontation ensued, during which Martin was killed. Zimmerman, it seemed, had acted in self-defense.

    Thankfully, however, Martin’s family, and members of the community, weren’t willing to just let the matter rest. They demanded to hear the 911 tapes, hoping they might shed some light on how the unarmed man had come to die. After denying the request for several days, the police reluctantly conceded. And, with that, the police narrative began to unravel.

    Here, first, is Zimmerman’s call to the police, followed by the call of someone in the neighborhood. As you’ll hear in the second recording, Martin’s screams for someone to help him come to a abrupt end with the firing of Zimmerman’s gun.

    And, now, not only is evidence coming out that Zimmerman, who had tried and failed to become a cop himself, had had some run-ins with the law, and a history of obsession when it came to young black men in his neighborhood, but that the local police tried to influence testimony in order to make it look as though Zimmerman, and not Martin, had been the one yelling for help. The following clip comes courtesy of ABC News:

    …Another officer corrected a witness after she told him that she heard the teen cry for help. The officer told the witness, a long-time teacher, it was Zimmerman who cried for help, said the witness. ABC News has spoken to the teacher and she confirmed that the officer corrected her when she said she heard the teenager shout for help….

    I don’t have a lot to add to the story, and, at this point, I think it would be irresponsible to start speculating as to whether or not Zimmerman fancied himself a libertarian “I’ll take matters into my own hands” tough guy hero, but I did want to offer something for your consideration. Regardless of the facts in this case, I think it’s pretty clear that, with the increase in privately owned weapons, and the decreased funding for trained police officers, that we’re going to see more and more of this in the future. As we’ve discussed here in the past, the instances of “justifiable homicide” are already way up in Detroit, and I don’t see any reason why every other town around our country wouldn’t eventually be following suit, from the poorest urban wasteland, where individuals are increasingly carrying concealed weapons, to the the most wealthy gated community, guarded by private security forces. At any rate, I think it’s something that warrants discussion. And I’m wondering how people feel about it.

    I’ll leave you tonight with this quote from Martin’s mother.

    “My son didn’t do anything. He was walking home from the store. Why would the neighborhood watch guy have a weapon? It’s just crazy. You are supposed to watch the neighborhood, not take the law into your own hands.”

    So, is this this the kind of America that we want to live in? Do we want to be governed by mob rule, and frontier justice, in a country where our untrained neighbors are taking the law into their own hands, without consequence?

    update: Given the increased national attention, and the promise of protests in Florida, federal agencies say they will be opening a formal investigation.

    update: Both Slate and Mother Jones have good pieces on Florida gun law, and why it is that you can kill almost anyone there and call it self-defense. Here’s a clip from the Mother Jones article:

    …Zimmerman may have benefited from some of the broadest firearms and self-defense regulations in the nation. In 1987, then-Gov. Bob Martinez (R) signed Florida’s concealed carry provision into law, which “liberalized the restrictions that previously hindered the citizens of Florida from obtaining concealed weapons permits,” according to one legal analyst. This trendsetting “shall-issue” statute triggered a wave of gun-carry laws in other states. (Critics said at the time that Florida would become “Dodge City.”) Permit holders are also exempted from the mandatory state waiting period on handgun purchases.

    Even though felons and other violent offenders are barred from getting a weapons permit, a 2007 investigation by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel found that licenses had been mistakenly issued to 1,400 felons and hundreds more applicants with warrants, domestic abuse injunctions, or gun violations. (More than 410,000 Floridians have been issued concealed weapons permits). Since then, Florida also passed a law permitting residents to keep guns in their cars at work, against employers’ wishes. The state also nearly allowed guns on college campuses last year, until an influential Republican lawmaker fought the bill after his close friend’s daughter was killed by an AK-47 brandished at a Florida State University fraternity party.

    Florida also makes it easy to plead self-defense in a killing. Under then-Gov. Jeb Bush, the state in 2005 passed a broad “stand your ground” law, which allows Florida residents to use deadly force against a threat without attempting to back down from the situation. (More stringent self-defense laws state that gun owners have “a duty to retreat” before resorting to killing.) In championing the law, former NRA president and longtime Florida gun lobbyist Marion Hammer said: “Through time, in this country, what I like to call bleeding heart criminal coddlers want you to give a criminal an even break, so that when you’re attacked, you’re supposed to turn around and run, rather than standing your ground and protecting yourself and your family and your property.”

    Again, the Sunshine State was the trendsetter: 17 states have since passed “stand your ground” laws, which critics call a “license to kill” or a “shoot first” law. The law has been unpopular with law enforcement officers in Florida, since it makes it much more difficult to charge shooters with a crime and has regularly confounded juries in murder cases; many Orlando-area cops reportedly have given up investigating “self-defense” cases as a result, referring them to the overloaded state attorney’s office for action. A 2010 study by the Tampa Bay Times found that “justifiable homicides” had tripled in the state since the law went into effect…..

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      60 Comments

      1. dragon
        Posted March 19, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

        Hey, I’m all for young people being able to walk through the neighborhood with skittles, but from my perspective he crossed the line when he failed to remember he was in an officially sanctioned gated community.

      2. ChelseaL
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

        I agree a hundred percent about the increase in privately owned firearms and the simultaneous decrease in funding. What I don’t understand is why more people don’t instead own stun guns or bean bag guns–which protect just as well (depending whom you ask) and rarely kill. What a ghastly tragedy–one of many.

      3. John
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink

        “Is this this the kind of America that we want to live in? Do we want to be citizens of a country where our untrained neighbors are taking the law into their own hands, without consequence?”
        Oh he will face consequences, this rambo rent a cop will go to prison for a very long time. Hard to believe he killed this kid over what $10 a hour? Protecting the 1%. The people he was hired by should also be held accountable.

      4. Edward
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink

        Was he paid to patrol the neighborhood, John? When I heard “neighborhood watch” I assumed he was a volunteer who lived in the community.

      5. x
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 9:00 am | Permalink

        I thought this comment on NY Times summed up Zimmerman…..

        I was once a sworn, part-time law enforcement officer in California – for several summers a deputy sheriff patrolling county lakes in a boat. I was unarmed, and yet was able, through polite respect for the public, and the symbols of authority, to enforce the law. I worked with some splendid fellows who went on to fine careers, one rising to chief of a large San Francisco Peninsula city, others rising from police officer to upper-level positions in their respective forces. One thing I learned during that time was to recognize flawed men like Zimmerman, who are drawn to policing (in his case, make-believe policing) for all the wrong reasons. They are invariably cowardly bullies whose petty resentments render them unable to achieve the cool-headed objectivity that distinguishes professional men and women in police work. Zimmerman’s history of over-aggressive behavior as a self-appointed neighborhood guardian, his whining about the a——s who “always get away”, and his preposterous affectation of carrying a handgun in this context, make him an archetypal example of the kind of person who should not ever be allowed to assume a role of authority. If the authorities involved in this case do not prosecute this man, then higher authorities should prosecute them along with Zimmerman. He shot an unarmed kid because he was afraid. He was afraid because, instead of a harmless boy, he saw a bogeyman conjured up by his cowardly and racist obsessions.

      6. anonymous
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 9:08 am | Permalink

        Thanks for sharing that, x. It sums things up nicely.

      7. John
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink

        Edward I think your right that he was a volunteer, either way hes going to prison. And the cop who corrected the witness needs to be looked at for criminal charges also.

      8. EOS
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        Zimmerman hasn’t even been charged with a crime. Assuming he is racist and regarding him as guilty when the media hasn’t even mentioned his point of view is very wrong. The neighborhood where he voluntarily patrolled has a majority minority population and he was well spoken of by the neighborhood watch group and several minorities who live there. If he wasn’t in fear for his life when he shot the kid, he should be charged and convicted. But, forming an opinion based only on what the defense lawyer and victim’s family says is a rush to judgement.

      9. Tommy
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 11:03 am | Permalink

        How very Christian of you EOS! However, the moment that he was specifically told by a police dispatcher to not pursue the individual is where he crossed the line. Self defense is the only plausible defense, which may or may not be valid. They have a lot of experience investigating such things down in Florida. I would expect that the second 911 audio above, a witness to that audio, and ballistics (position of body, entry point and proximity, etc. etc.) will piece together the story; self-defense claim or not.

      10. EOS
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        In 1987, when Florida enacted “liberalized” concealed carry laws, critics warned that the “Sunshine State” would become the “Gunshine State.” Contrary to their predictions, homicide rates dropped faster than the national average.

        http://www.guncite.com/gun_control_gcdgcon.html

        “Our most conservative estimates show that by adopting shall-issue laws, states reduced murders by 8.5%, rapes by 5%, aggravated assaults by 7% and robbery by 3%. If those states that did not permit concealed handguns in 1992 had permitted them back then, citizens might have been spared approximately 1,570 murders, 4,177 rapes, 60,000 aggravated assaults and 12,000 robberies. To put it even more simply criminals, we found, respond rationally to deterrence threats… While support for strict gun-control laws usually has been strongest in large cities, where crime rates are highest, that’s precisely where right-to-carry laws have produced the largest drops in violent crimes.”

      11. Mr. X
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        I agree with EOS that, as it pertains to this case, we should withhold judgement for the time being. It’s hard to imagine, given what we’ve all heard on the recordings, that the self-appointed neighborhood watch commander was in any danger, especially given that he outweighed the young man by over 100 pounds, and had a gun, but I imagine it’s possible that he could have mistaken a can of Arizona Iced Tea for weapon. That doesn’t, however, make this case any less instructive. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter if Zimmerman actually felt his life to be in danger. He shouldn’t have been following this man, with a gun, in the first place. And we shouldn’t live in the kind of culture were want-to-be Dirty Hairys feel empowered to start stepping in, and executing people for “looking out of place.” Zimmerman said that this young man attracted his attention because he was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, and walking slowly in the rain. As I understand it, he wasn’t even on anyone’s property, looking in windows, etc. That’s dead wrong. And we need to acknowledge that as a nation. Thank you to everyone one the street in Orlando, demanding action.

      12. Dan
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        @John,

        I don’t think he is going to go to jail for any amount of time. As Mark cited, the laws in Florida protect him. I think FROM THE EVIDENCE I’VE HEARD SO FAR, he’s a scum bag and deserves the same vigilante justice he provided, but don’t be surprised if he isn’t ever charged. I’d be more surprised if he actually went to jail, than if he didn’t.

      13. tom mast
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

        I think most people on here get it. Our ‘stand your ground’ law (I live in FL; used to live in Ypsi) makes it very difficult to convict shooters involved in a scuffle. As far as we can tell, nobody witnessed the entire brawl. Therefore, Zimmerman will be able to claim that Martin became aggressive, had something in his pocket, etc. It is legal in FL to kill somebody in a fight–with the caveat that you did not start the fight. Keep in mind the huge burden of proof that will be required in order to both convict and convince a jury that Zimmerman was not in fear or had a premeditation. Also, since Zimmerman was a volunteer there are no professional standards to charge him for violating.
        And EOS, that webpage has not been updated since 2005 (notice the top left corner). Our gun law was passed in 2005 and would have gone into effect that summer/fall. To see the relevant stats for both Miami-Dade county and for all of FL: http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/Content/getdoc/9f7ae94b-576d-4db4-8d81-f6d3877b3e51/Miami-Dade.aspx
        FL-wide most gun crimes rose dramatically in 2005-2007 and as of 2010, were returning to 2004 levels. (FL-wide is also a good name for a BBQ restaurant)

      14. anonymous
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

        Tom, are you saying that EOS got his facts wrong? That’s unheard of.

      15. EOS
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        No. 1987 was when Florida liberalized its “shall issue” laws, 2005 was when they adopted the “stand your ground” law. That’s confirmed in the except Mark posted from Mother Jones.

      16. Burt Reynolds
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        Don’t know if we have any NFL fans in the thread, however there is a retired player for the San Diego Chargers named Marcellus Wiley. He is now an ESPN analyst. Back when the Plaxico Burrus case was in the news, when he shot himself in the leg in a club with his own gun on accident, someone asked Marcellus if he carried a gun.

        This is what he said

        “More, more, more,” said Wiley, who grew up on the tough streets of Compton near Los Angeles to become an NFL multi-millionaire. That was when he started carrying a gun. “For my first two years, I would carry round a .380 pistol that was inside of a holster that looked like a wallet. I would go to night clubs, I would go to practice, I would go everywhere except road trips with this gun.

        “And the mindset changes when you have a gun in your hand. You’re not looking for danger but you’re suspicious. It’s a huge paranoia that occurs once you have a gun. You start looking at people who may be innocent. A guy walks up to your car; he may be asking for directions but you’re thinking ‘oh, this guy may be trying to jack me’, so now you have your hand on your gun.”

        I completely agree with this ideology.

      17. james
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        There is already enough evidence in this case to think Zimmerman should be arrested. Zimmerman was the aggressor in this situation. He started a confrontation with someone ten years younger than him who he did not know at all.

        What is a 17year old kid to think when some random older guy starts following him? And then closes into range of physical contact? Where was Trayvon’s right to self-defense there?

        I don’t have a problem with people carrying guns for self-defense, but this was clearly a case of Zimmerman going out of his way to confront a stranger while carrying a deadly weapon. If Trayvon had been in the middle of committing a crime, I would be willing to cut Zimmerman some slack- but Trayvon was not.

      18. tom mast
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        Not sure where Burt was going with his post but it got curious about Marcellus Wiley, Columbia alumnus, whom I like. He raises money for the Brady Center in LA and is, accordingly, against carrying a gun.

        http://www.bradycenter.org/donate/events/losangeles
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maZV2n0syIA

      19. Posted March 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        EOS is just psyched because there’s one less dangerous black person in the world.

        Zimmerman was told by police not to pursue, he did. He was reckless. There needs to be a trial.

      20. Eel
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

        LOL

        In Florida, not only can you shoot a child to death, if you feel threatened, but you can fire people for wearing orange.

        http://gawker.com/5895048/these-floridians-probably-werent-fired-just-for-wearing-orange-right

      21. Erika
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

        I have been listening to NPR conversations on this subject today with black parents who are explaining how they have to teach their children to expect to be targeted while driving, shopping, walking etc. They need to expect to be accused, if not attacked, for being “suspicious”.

        It suddenly struck me that these are the same kinds of things that women have learned from their parents – about how they will be targeted by men, especially if they are perceived as vulnerable and/or sexually available in any way. Another kind of “suspicious”.

        The kind of fear that many/most men never, ever have to consider when walking alone at night or when approached by a man in a deserted place… this is somewhat akin to the fear that only non-white people (especially young men) have to just incorporate into their daily lives.

        It truly is a privilege to never have those almost subconscious decisions to make at all times based on this constant thought: “Am I safe right now?”

      22. Posted March 20, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

        Not to take anything away from your point, Erika, which is valid, but I think it’s worth pointing out that fear isn’t something just experienced by women and minorities. I’m not suggesting that it’s worse for white men. It isn’t. I just thought that it was worth pointing out that the thought, “Am I safe right now?”, goes through our minds quite often as well. And I think that’s evidenced by the fact that so many white men carry guns now. Fear is everywhere. Still, though, you’re right that we aren’t raised, by and large, to consider the threat that lurks behind every corner.

      23. john
        Posted March 21, 2012 at 6:13 am | Permalink

        “The kind of fear that many/most men never, ever have to consider when walking alone at night or when approached by a man in a deserted place… this is somewhat akin to the fear that only non-white people (especially young men) have to just incorporate into their daily lives.”

        Erika you should read the news, to say that men aren’t targets of voilet crime on a regular basis is a flat out lie. Drop any man off in Detroit at night and see if he makes it out safe. Also why do you think so many people in Wastenaw county have CPL’s, its not to shoot black people as you would want to believe, I also have the same talk with my kids about dealing with the police, I just dont come at it like a victim tho.

      24. Meta
        Posted March 21, 2012 at 6:13 am | Permalink

        It looks as though Martin was trying to avoid the unidentified man who was following him.

        A 16-year-old girl said she was on the phone with the Florida teen shot by a neighborhod watch volunteer moments before he was killed, and that he feared he was being stalked.

        Trayvon Martin tried to shake the man following him just minutes before the fatal confrontation that left the unarmed high schooler dead, the unidentified femalesaid, according to ABC News.

        The 16-year-old told Martin’s family attorney she was on the phone with Martin on the night of Feb. 26, ABC News reported, and they talked just moments before he was shot to death by George Zimmerman.

        Read more:
        http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/trayvon-martin-case-16-year-old-girl-recalls-phone-conversation-minutes-martin-shot-dead-report-article-1.1047445#ixzz1pkTYxQEO

      25. Posted March 21, 2012 at 7:21 am | Permalink

        I just searchefd for “George Zimmerman hero” on Google. There’s some great stuff there:

        “George Zimmerman is a hero that protected his community. Why do Libs want him charged for shooting a darkie?

        George Zimmerman saw that his community was being ravaged and he was also threatened by the the little hoodlum who probably had a Mac-10 or something strapped on him. Which is why he followed the gangsta in his car and shot him in self-defense.

        Zimmerman did the heroic act of standing up to the hoodlum and protected his community. Now all the Libs are whining, claiming the thug wasn’t armed or that he was just going to the store. Liberals are liars so you can’t trust what they claim.

        This is all part of Obama’s plan to eventually have guns banned from ordinary American citizens.”

        “Blacks commit murders and other racist hate crimes against whites EVERY DAY in this country, and now you AA’s want to be big crybabies because the tables have been turned? LOL! It’s a little thing called “poetic justice.”"

        “Who thinks we should a George Zimmerman Day every year to celebrate his heroic act?”

        “Im sorry but this man was just trying to protect his community. At night patrolling the streets of his neighborhood while they were watching TV, hanging out and doing drugs. His intentions were not MALICIOUS, he was just trying to protect and save. Leave this man ALONE ALREADY.!”

        “There is another reason for one-sided media push. That is to get rid of Florida’s liberal self-defense laws. I believe a main goal for the Obama Administration is make whites defenseless to black criminals.”

        I like the idea of a deep Obama led conspiracy to set Zimmerman up so that he can take guns away from white people so that they can be easy prey for black people.

        What’s even more frightening, is that there are people out there that believe this shit.

      26. Maggot Brain
        Posted March 21, 2012 at 8:23 am | Permalink

        I hear they are going to have a Klan rally in Mr. Zimmerman’s honor…. crosses will be burned in yards across the nation in show of support. God bless AmeriKKKa.

      27. john
        Posted March 21, 2012 at 8:40 am | Permalink

        Maggot Brain what is the purpose of your comment? Do you have real information that the shooter was a racist, and not just stupid? I know they go hand in hand but you seems to be more interested in dividing people then bringing them together. Why is that?

      28. EOS
        Posted March 21, 2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink

        George Zimmerman is a Hispanic man who has several African American relatives.

      29. Posted March 21, 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        Racists seem to be flocking around Zimmerman, DESPITE the fact that he is hispanic.

        It’s a bizarre show of solidarity.

        It’s all part of Obama’s plot to disarm white people and leave them open to attacks from black black people.

      30. Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink

        Erika, folks missed your point entirely it seems. It is not about as you grow up you learn to become afraid (what happens to most white men who listen to enough Rush), it is about the need to indoctrinate our sons and daughters about the every day threats they face walking on the street. All children should be taught “street smarts” and situational awareness (I was brought up fearing gypsies, the boogeyman my mother had been conditioned with). It is clear from the various 911 calls that Zimmerman was a predator. He had clearly set himself up as the defender of all that was good and right in his neighborhood, and was going to hunt down and eliminate the bad ones.
        By the way Hispanic is not a racial category. It is mainly a linguistic or cultural category, one used by many white (or mainly white) central and south american’s to differentiate them self from their mix-blood or native american neighbors. After all most people when they think Mexican, or Puerto Rican think brown not white. Zimmerman’s dad has not (that I have seen) said they have African American relatives.

        Zimmerman was simple a thug who thought he could get away with being a thug. The Sanford police (I’ve been there a few times, and practically every development in the last 20 years is a “gated community”) are the real bad guys in this situation. Institutional racism at it best. They clearly had the attitude of, just another dead n**, no need to do much work here, move along—-for three days they had the boy’s cell phone and despite the boy’s father’s repeated calls trying to find his son, they never investigated who the dead child belonged too. Bullied witnesses into changing their stories, and obviously figured this would just all go away. They thought this because killing black folks is not that big of a deal to them. The lack of credible investigations in the shooting of other black folks in this town is why the entire black community of central Florida have turned this into a national story.

      31. john
        Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        Peter I have no reason to believe Zimmerman is racist based on the facts I’ve heard, I do know without question that he is a very dumb man who will go to prison for a very long time for whats hes done. You seem to get off calling people racist with no facts to back that up, what is your motive to divid people? I personlly believe people like you and Zimmerman both belong in prison together as you’re both a danger to the rest of us.

      32. Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        Some Sanford Fla. background on its institutional racism

        “In 2011, former Sanford Police Chief Brian Tooley resigned after a YouTube video showed his 21-year-old son attacking a homeless black man. In 2005, two white security guards, one of them also the son of a Sanford police officer, shot and killed 16-year-old Travares McGill.”

        VIDEO http://www.wesh.com/r/26351400/detail.html

        ARTICLE http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2006-01-29/news/GUARDS29_1_sanford-ansley-security-guards

        http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/316817/20120320/george-zimmerman-trayvon-martin-florida-shooting.htm
        3

      33. Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        I never called Zimmerman a racist. I don’t know where that’s coming from.

      34. Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        Oh, maybe you are referring to the multitudes of times that I have (correctly) called EOS a racist.

        I don’t know.

        I like that you think I should be in prison, though. That’s interesting.

      35. Erika
        Posted March 21, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, Wobblie, for noting that people missed my point entirely.

        One thing that I was trying to point out is that there are certain KINDS of fear that specific groups face which don’t necessarily enter the minds of other groups. For instance, I am guessing that most men don’t have to learn to assume that their bodies could be sexually violated in an alley or elevator when they least expect it, and that this can be the ONLY reason for attack (as opposed to theft/robbery, turf war situations, etc). Note that I said *most* as I do recognize that males can and are raped. Similarly, non-whites have to learn to assume that they could be targeted for simply being “suspiciously” non-white.

        I was not trying to say that white men don’t feel scared, and I appreciate the points raised about the number of white men with guns, but I was trying to point out that there are different motivations for interpersonal violence, and some of them are particularly concerning to particular groups… often conveyed by parents of those groups or aware of those concerns to their children from an early age.

        It is a privilege to ONLY have to worry about being robbed or attacked for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and not to have to immediately realize that your ORIFICES could be the objective, not your wallet. Similarly, to not have to immediately realize that your SKIN COLOR could be the motivation, not your wallet.

      36. Mr. X
        Posted March 21, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

        That’s some chilling shit, Peter. I’m particularly fond of the idea that Obama is looking to use this case in order to take guns from white people, leaving them vulnerable to attack. Obama, it seems, won’t be happy until his black thug army has taken over all of our gated communities, and impregnated all of our white women.

      37. Posted March 21, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

        That’s obviously his endgame: to wipe out the entire white race.

      38. Posted March 21, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

        Racist comments from the FOX News website collected on one handy page:

        http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/40088_Fox_News_Commenters_React_to_Trayvon_Martin-_Good_Shot_Zimmy#rss

        Lots of “Obama’s coming to get your guns because he was to let black people kill you and your family” comments.

        Amazing.

      39. Meta
        Posted March 21, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        What’s that, Mr. Zimmerman, did you say “fucking coons”?

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/21/trayvon-martin-911-tape-racial-slur_n_1368905.html?ref=crime&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009

      40. wetdolphinmissile
        Posted March 22, 2012 at 6:47 am | Permalink

        I get it Erica. It was men of all races I was taught to fear, and the dark. Women did not walk alone at night ever. I was banned from this dangerous activity. And there was just enough nefarious activity around to keep me fearful. It was hard as a grown woman when attending community college at night, being instilled with this fear from very young. I have spent a lifetime overcoming it. I had my daughters learn self defense. I stand tall and look people in the eye and go everywhere now and try not to look over my shoulder too much.

      41. EOS
        Posted March 22, 2012 at 6:57 am | Permalink

        WFTV had an audio expert listen to the call and determined that Zimmerman said the word “punks.”

        A tragedy has happened, a young man is dead. Stop fanning the flames and inciting more violence.

      42. Posted March 22, 2012 at 7:27 am | Permalink

        It’s pretty clear what your agenda is here, EOS. Sweep discussion of bigotry and irresponsible, gun-carrying vigilante citizenry under the rug.

        If there had been curfews for black people in Trayvon’s area, as EOS suggested for Ypsilanti Township, this would have never happened.

      43. EOS
        Posted March 22, 2012 at 7:40 am | Permalink

        Peter,
        That’s not true. Post the link so everybody here can see how you misinterpreted what was written. It’s called a rhetorical question.

      44. Alec
        Posted March 22, 2012 at 7:42 am | Permalink

        ALEC, the folks whose “thinking” provides the operating instructions of the Mackinac Center / Rick Snyder, and who we may thank as well for our school district’s imminent Emergency Manager, are also instrumental in protecting the man who murdered Trayvon:

        http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/03/22-1

      45. ad man
        Posted March 22, 2012 at 8:39 am | Permalink

        Probably not the best advertising for Skittles.

      46. ad man
        Posted March 22, 2012 at 8:39 am | Permalink

        Or Florida.

      47. Dan
        Posted March 22, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        I think it’s dangerous to assume Zimmerman chased down this kid just because he was black. Do you really think if it was a white “punk” with sagging pants, and a hoodie on, he would have thought he was just looking for old ladies to help cross the street?

        Zimmerman may in fact be a racist, but I dont think it does anyone any good to ASSUME the ONLY reason this happened was due to skin color.

        Thats the easy way for people to assign blame. Just assume someone hates a minority and blame gun-toting republicans for fostering it. More likely, he probably is just an obsessed dude that thinks he’s a cop and wants to exert his “authority” on everyone.

      48. K2
        Posted March 22, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink

        And, when he said “coon,” Dan, was he talking about a raccoon that had just scampered past?

      49. Dan
        Posted March 22, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        lmao. Thats what you hear in this?

        Maybe it’s you that is the racist.

        http://www.wftv.com/videos/news/original-zimmerman-controversial-comment-explicit/vGbyc/

      50. Posted March 22, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        Personally, I have no idea whether Zimmerman is racist. I know for a fact, for example, that EOS is racist from her posts here.

        I don’t think this whole national discussion has really anything to do with whether Zimmerman is racist or not. Really, that’s beyond the point.

        The more salient problem is a racist legal and law-enforcement system that lets people like Zimmerman kill with impunity and a social climate that encourages them to do so.

      51. John Galt
        Posted March 22, 2012 at 11:42 am | Permalink

        It’s not black people we have a problem with. It’s “blah” people.

        http://www.mediaite.com/tv/rick-santorum-to-john-king-i-didnt-say-black-people-i-said-blah-people/

      52. Dan
        Posted March 22, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        @Peter, ” a racist legal and law-enforcement system that lets people like Zimmerman kill with impunity and a social climate that encourages them to do so.”

        You think the legal and law enforcement system favors Hispanics?

      53. Posted March 22, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        No, not at all, but I don’t think that’s relevant. “People like Zimmerman” did refer to his race/ethnic/cultural identity.

        He was a guy with a legally obtained gun on a vigilante mission.

      54. EOS
        Posted March 22, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

        Don’t know Peter and I have never posted a single racist comment. But just consider how many racist statements Peter has posted on this topic alone …

      55. Posted March 22, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        6-8 black men killed in over town and what is the out come…and here we go agin and it looks as if the out come is going to be the same…we should be use to it by now HOW DO YOU GET USE TO THAT…and why should we get treated different because our skin is not the same color…THE COLOR OF BLOOD IS RED…it could save your life cause we all have it

      56. EOS
        Posted March 24, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        Police have a witness to the incident who says that Zimmerman was the one heard screaming in the tapes and Trayvon was on top of him beating him during the physical altercation. Sanford police say Zimmerman was bloody in his face and head, and the back of his shirt was wet and had grass stains, indicating a struggle took place before the shooting.

      57. Eel
        Posted March 25, 2012 at 7:29 am | Permalink

        How much hate is in your heart, EOS?

        Let’s say for a moment that the unarmed young man, who was being followed by a much larger, older, armed individual, did decide to “stand his ground” and fight the unidentified stranger who was stalking him. What of it?

        I don’t give a shit that Zimmerman had a scratched head. Are you suggesting there’s some parity between the life of a young black man and the scratched head of Zimmerman?

      58. Eel
        Posted March 25, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink

        Speaking of standing one’s ground, I’m curious to know what you’d make of a scenario like this one, EOS.

        http://i.imgur.com/0ShZ0.jpg?1

      59. Meta
        Posted July 19, 2012 at 8:56 am | Permalink

        George Zimmerman says that the shooting was all part of “God’s plan.”

        http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7415402n

      60. Meta
        Posted November 19, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        George Zimmerman has been arrested again. This time for aggravated assault.

        http://abcnews.go.com/US/george-zimmerman-charged-aggravated-assault/story?id=20926767

      2 Trackbacks

      1. [...] I think Geraldo Rivera did the people a America a big favor when he went on FOX News and said that Trayvon Martin deserved some of the blame for having been murdered, seeing as how he chose to wear a hooded [...]

      2. [...] we all remember how well the whole “volunteer armed security” thing worked out for Trayvon Martin this summer, don’t we? Do we really want volunteer tough guys walking around our kids’ [...]

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