Saturday, March 31, 2012

Why Manipulate the Tragedy of Trayvon Martin?


By Heather Mac Donald

March 25, 2012 12:05 P.M.

The fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last month by a neighborhood-watch volunteer was a sickening and — unless new facts come to light — unjustified loss of an innocent life. Unless Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman, had reason to believe that Martin was armed, shooting him was a grossly disproportionate response to a fistfight, even leaving aside the fact that Zimmerman had initiated the encounter. If such a shooting is justified under Florida’s broad self-defense law, that law has licensed violence that goes far beyond legitimate self-defense. Every American shares the despair of Martin’s family over this heartbreaking tragedy and supports a fuller investigation (though the entrance of the Feds at this point is premature, absent evidence of Florida’s incapacity to conduct a fair inquiry).

But is the Martin shooting emblematic of a larger problem? Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and the mainstream media here and abroad certainly are portraying it as such. That larger problem, of course, is lethal white racism and a criminal-justice system allegedly indifferent to the killing of blacks. At a rally Thursday night in Sanford, Sharpton said that “Trayvon represents a reckless disregard for our lives that we’ve seen for too long,” and warned that “they,” presumably whites, would try to trick black protesters into violence by “send[ing] in provocateurs.” “Blacks are under attack,” said Jesse Jackson on Friday from Chicago. “Targeting, arresting, convicting blacks, and ultimately killing us is big business.” MSNBC analyst Karen Finney claimed that “racist rhetoric” used by Rush Limbaugh and several Republican presidential candidates was responsible for Martin’s death.

So determined has the New York Times been to fit the shooting into its favored racial story line that it has been referring to the Zimmerman as a “white Hispanic,” contrary to its usual practice of referring to Hispanics without any additional racial characterization. The fact that Zimmerman’s father is white does not explain this departure from the Times’s racial protocols; the Times’s one-drop rule still applies to Barack Obama, who is, according to the Times and every other media outlet, America’s “first black president.” (The Grey Lady referred to Zimmerman for the first time on Friday simply as “Hispanic.”)

Times columnist Charles Blow dealt with the complicating factor of Zimmerman’s ethnicity with a simple duality: “Trayvon is black. Zimmerman is not,” he wrote last Saturday, presumably conferring on Zimmerman putative white status. The Rainbow Coalition has apparently broken down.

Blow went on to claim that it is the “the burden of black boys in America” to be at high risk of being shot by non-blacks: “This is the fear that seizes me whenever my boys are out in the world: that a man with a gun and an itchy finger will find them ‘suspicious.’”

Blow is right about one thing: Black boys do face a much higher chance than non-blacks that they will be shot when they are “out in the world.” Black males between the ages of 14 and 24 were seven times more likely to die of homicide in 2007 than white and Hispanic males of the same age group combined. But the danger they face comes overwhelmingly from other black males, whose homicide offending rate in the 14 to 24 age category was nearly ten times higher than that of young white and Hispanic males combined. (The federal government’s crime data puts Hispanics and whites in a single category of “white,” thus overstating the non-Hispanic white offending and victimization rates). Most homicides are intraracial, but the chance of a black being killed by a white or Hispanic is much lower than the chance that a white or Hispanic will be killed by a black. Seventeen percent of what the FBI calls “white” homicide victims in 2009 were killed by blacks, compared to 8 percent of black homicide victims who were killed by “whites.” There were two and a half times as many white and Hispanic victims of black killers in 2009 as there were black victims of white and Hispanic killers, even though the black population is one-sixth that of whites and Hispanics combined. If Hispanics were removed from the category of “white” killers of blacks, the percentage of blacks killed by Anglo whites would plummet, since a significant percentage of what the FBI calls “white”-on-black killings represent gang warfare between Hispanic and black gangs. (Needless to say, there is no reason to think that racism plays a more frequent role in white-on-black killings than in black-on-white killings.)

Blow’s fear that his children will be blown away by a white is particularly ludicrous in New York City. Blacks commit 80 percent of all shootings in the city — as reported by the victims of and witnesses to those shootings — though they are but 23 percent of the population; whites commit 1.4 percent of all shootings, though they are 35 percent of the population. Add Hispanic shootings to the black tally, and you account for 98 percent of all of the city’s gun violence. In New York, as in big cities across the country, the face of violence is overwhelmingly black and Hispanic.

Do You Trust ‘THE NEWS’? From The Market Ticker

NBC Is The Skittle Network

Are you*****ed off yet? You will be.

NBC News is being excoriated in some circles – with competitor Fox News Channel leading the charge – for selectively editing audio of the 911 call placed by George Zimmerman just before he killed Trayvon Martin.

Yep. They got caught too.

In the NBC segment, Zimmerman says: “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.”

So Zimmerman is a racist, right? Uh, not quite.

The full version, though, unfolds like this:

Zimmerman: “This guy looks like he’s up to no good, or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.”

911 operator: “Okay. And this guy, is he white black or Hispanic?”

Zimmerman: “He looks black.”

What do you call it when the media invents things? That's not reporting folks.

Maybe NBC is trying to incite a race riot. Or maybe it's just pure slander. Incidentally there's no defense available to a news organization (or any journalist) when they intentionally do something like this. Zimmerman ought to consider suing their ass to somewhere beyond the orbit of Mars.

More to the point, however, this sort of invention of a conversation that never happened by splicing together two pieces of tape means that nothing the media is telling you can be accepted as true without independent proof irrespective of which side of the debate the alleged "report" is on.

While we're at it I have some more questions, but I'll keep it to just two for right now. Both would help understand what actually happened that night, and neither, to my knowledge, has been investigated and reported upon.

Let's ask "why not?"

First, ABC reported that Trayvon's body was kept in the morgue as a "John Doe" for three days. However, Martin's father called the Sanford police department the morning after the shooting when he noted his son was not home, and they came out and made the identification. Where did that discrepancy come from and was ABC trying to intentionally smear the Sanford police department? There is an adjunct question to this -- we know Trayvon had a cellphone with him because he was allegedly talking with his girlfriend. Were there numbers with the tags "Mom" and "Dad" in it? Wouldn't you have expected the police to look over what was inventoried, assuming that Trayvon wasn't carrying ID and call any obvious contact number such as one tagged "Mom" or "Dad"? Now maybe the cellphone had a passcode on it or something similar, but there's an obvious open question on the delay in identification and contact with the parents, and it deserves an answer.

Second, Trayvon Martin was allegedly out at night, on foot and in a rainstorm getting iced tea and skittles. Ok, here's the address where the altercation took place from the police report:

2381 Retreat View Cir
Sanford, FL 32771

Now go to Google Maps and type in that address.

Next, find me a convenience store -- you know, a place to buy skittles and an iced tea. Just type in "convenience store" in the "Search Nearby" box.

Where's the closest one and how far is it on foot?

In a rainstorm, for a bag of skittles and can of iced tea, both ways? Possible? Sure. Plausible? That story ought to be able to be checked, and rather easily -- all convenience stores these days have video recorders.

So has anyone checked to see if indeed the deceased hiked the anywhere from 2-4 miles to and from one of the half-dozen convenience stores in the general area (none closer than about a mile on foot, incidentally, and all somewhat of a pain in the ass to get to due to what appears to be a limited access highway -- 417 -- between the location and the stores which would force you to walk quite a bit further than you could go "as the crow flies".)

These are pretty basic questions. In fact the closest convenience store is a Murphy USA; to reach the others north of the location (the ones south are a LOT further) you'd have to walk past it, so it's highly likely that's the store -- if the story of going out for skittles and iced tea holds up.

Does it? Has anyone checked?

We'll start there; I've got more queued up.

Monday, March 26, 2012

It's Time To Stomp On The Left (The Market Ticker)

There are times that blatant and outrageous pandering just go too far.

This is one of them.

Sen. Chuck Schumer is calling on the Justice Department to investigate so-called "Stand Your Ground" laws following the fatal shooting of an unarmed Florida teen.

The law, a version of which was enacted in Florida in 2005, allows for individuals to use deadly force -- even outside their home -- if they feel threatened.

Since the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, Republican leaders have called the killing a tragedy but argue that the law in question did not actually apply to this case.

Still, Schumer wrote in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder on Sunday that the laws themselves should be investigated.

"These laws seem to be encouraging vigilantism by allowing individuals to use deadly force as a first resort," Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement.

The Republicans are right -- Schumer is wrong.

Look, it sucks that Martin is dead, ok? Let's get that out right up front.

But this is not as clear as some people would like you to believe.

When the Sanford police department responded to the 911 calls they found Zimmerman with injuries and Martin apparently deceased. This is from the original incident report which is able to be found with 30 seconds worth of effort on The Internet and is an official police public record:

The focus folks is in one place and one place only -- was the use of force justified.

That's it.

The facts as we currently know them support that Zimmerman was attacked from behind, was flat on his back, was assaulted from the top and not free to escape. That's consistent with both witness reports and physical evidence as noted in the above report. I note that both former Governor Bush and the author of the "Stand Your Ground" law have both said that the Castle Doctrine is inapplicable to this circumstance and they're correct; an altercation in which you are physically prevented from leaving by someone sitting on you after knocking you to the ground removes all consideration of that law from the decision process and the legal evaluation.

That there are contrary witness reports is not surprising; if you've ever looked at reports from a particular "simple" incident such as a traffic accident there are frequently very different things reported by the various witnesses. The job of the investigating agency is to filter this information by both assessing the credibility of the witnesses and the physical evidence. That which is contrary to the physical evidence can't have happened, no matter how many people claim it did. A couple of years ago I was a witness to a horrific traffic accident that was described very differently than what happened by one of the drivers and a couple of other witnesses -- unfortunately for them the physical evidence (skid marks on the roadway and point of impact) were inconsistent with what they claimed they saw, but entirely-consistent with what I saw and reported. The young driver (who they tried to pin the accident on) was in fact not at fault as the other vehicle emerged from between two trucks in a line and entered his lane outside of an intersection leaving him less than a car length to react -- it was literally impossible for him to have avoided the collision as the distance covered by a vehicle during the best-case human reaction time exceeded the distance between the vehicles at the lawful speed for that section of road. I suspect my testimony, which I was happy to provide in written form, saved him from at least a chargeable accident and perhaps a suspended or revoked license.

In this case Zimmerman had a documented physical injury on the back of his head that was bleeding when he was "cuffed and stuffed", along with bleeding from his nose. It was also apparent from physical evidence that he was on his back on wet ground (grass stains and water on the BACK of his shirt.) Reports are that Martin was shot in the front of his body, not in the back, so he was facing the weapon when it discharged.

These are physical facts that to the best of my knowledge are not in controversy.

If Zimmerman was the aggressor how did he get injured on the back of his head with sufficient force to cause bleeding? Further, if he was on top of Martin how did Zimmerman's shirt get grass stains on the back? Such claims are inconsistent with the physical evidence.

The media has refused to present a reasonably-recent picture of Martin. There are multiple ones floating around on the Internet; one I've seen is of highly-questionable provenance and thus I discount it's probative value until and unless it is validated as real. But there's likely a reason that all of the pictures presented thus far are four years or more old and show Martin when he was 13 -- and not now, when he was 17. This sort of blatant "in your face" distortion ought to be ringing everyone's alarm bells at high volume -- that it isn't is very disturbing.

Then we have the call for blatantly unlawful action yesterday from the "New Black Panthers", which literally asked for 5,000 black men to search for and kidnap Zimmerman and issued a reward for anyone who did so. I will remind everyone that kidnapping is a federal and state felony carrying a potential life sentence in prison. If this is not part and parcel of an attempt to incite a race war, would someone please tell me what is?

The new Black Panther Party offered a bounty of $10,000 Saturday for the “capture” of a Florida neighborhood watch captain who killed unarmed teen Trayvon Martin.

“An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” leader Mikhail Muhammad said after announcing the reward for George Zimmerman at a protest in Sanford, Fla.

Muhammad called on 5,000 black men to mobilize and capture the neighborhood watch volunteer.

“If the government won’t do the job, we’ll do it,” Muhammad said, leading chants that included “freedom or death” and “justice for Trayvon.”

Read more:

If you, I, or anyone else did this we'd be facing a federal investigation and possible listing as a domestic terrorist organization right here and now. But this organization was caught on camera in the last election threatening voters with violence -- a federal offense -- and yet our current administration refused to investigate or prosecute.

Assuming the above is indeed what happened then the sole remaining question is whether or not Zimmerman had a justifiable fear that he was about to suffer serious physical injury or death. If so under Florida Statutes and any reasonable ethical and moral code his use of defensive force was lawful and proper. Simply put you are never required to submit to your own death by an assailant and those who argue otherwise in a political context must be run out of town on a rail as their statements are an explicit denial of your right to life and therefore constitute advocacy of the overthrow of the Constitution via extralegal means (since there is no lawful means by which an unalienable right can be extinguished!)

If the assault did not rise to that level then his use of defensive force was not lawful and some form of manslaughter or unlawful homicide occurred.

In the general sense a fist fight does not rise to the level of felony assault. However, if you are on the ground after being knocked down and your assailant mounts you and starts pummeling your face or body such that you cannot escape or effectively fend him off there comes a point where that line is indeed crossed and the use of force in defense is both lawful and proper.

If the evidence changes so will my opinion and there is both a DOJ and State Grand Jury investigating the matter. Everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence, including Mr. Zimmerman. At present the physical evidence buttress both his statements and those of witnesses that he was attacked from behind, fell to the ground and was repeatedly struck by Martin who was on top of him. Until physical evidence emerges or a credible claim of events arises that is consistent with the physical evidence and leads to a different conclusion what I see is a witch-hunt being exploited to both attempt to deny a man his due process rights and abrogate the right of every American (and indeed every person) to lawful and proper self-defense.