Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Zimmerman’s Gun—Facts And Figuring On The Antisocial Network

Part of the insane hyperbole swirling in the MSM-ASN the last couple of days, The Daily News compares George Zimmerman to people such as the murderers of James Byrd, Jr., who was dragged to death by white supremacists in an infamous hate crime in Texas. Asserting Zimmerman's guilt by extreme and dubious associations seems to be the order of the day since guilt by a jury did not work out for the ASN.
A couple of points:

1. I’m not saying Trayvon Martin deserved to get shot. I understand a kid going for candy should be able to do that without being killed. And so, what I describe below as the anti-Zimmerman Antisocial Network is also populated by meatheads on the right, who today are praising George Zimmerman for killing the "thug", Trayvon Martin.

2. I’m not saying George Zimmerman is a great guy for shooting Trayvon Martin. I wish George Zimmerman had stayed the fuck home that night. I'll bet he wishes that too. But that doesn't mean I think Zimmerman is guilty of murder. Yes, I know that's weird, and you don't understand. But the law is weird, and makes people not understand pretty often.

What I am saying is this: talk facts, and the law, and what you know to be true in this case, instead of your passions about what you believe must be true in every case.

When Sanford, Florida, police and prosecutors first evaluated the evidence gathered at the scene of the shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, they looked at the facts, as they could be counted up against existing Florida law, and decided there was insufficient cause to charge Zimmerman with a crime. Note that eventually Sanford police would claim that was not true and that they wanted to charge Zimmerman, but no prosecutor would review the evidence. However that is, they didn't charge him.

The net of this, that an unarmed kid on his way back from buying some Skittles ended up dead from a gunshot wound by some neighborhood watch guy, and the neighborhood watch guy was gonna walk without charges, just seemed wrong. Especially since the kid was black,* and Zimmerman (whose mom is Peruvian, though she says "Afro-Peruvian") was lighter-skinned than the kid, and that’s America’s favorite color combination for a quick, satisfying, racial hysteria smoothie.
*—It is generally believed by the Antisocial Network that a white kid is absolutely invulnerable to ending up dead in similar circumstances.

It didn’t take the Antisocial Network long to decipher the meaning of the decision to not charge Zimmerman: the cops and the prosecutors must all be racists! How could they not have busted George Zimmerman, who was painted white for a quick sale, for murdering that poor, defenseless, black child?!

Just to make sure the “child” bit was emphasized, pictures of Martin showing him much younger and sweeter than his actual age and current picture set might suggest, made the rounds. And the news media edited Zimmerman's 911 call to give the false impression the neighborhood watch guy told police, without any prompting, that Martin was black.

The Antisocial Network took this ball of bunk and ran with it, charging George Zimmerman with stalking and gunning down a little black boy. That is actually the image many people adopted, and got firmly engrained in their heads, and something else they adopted was a self-righteous, facts-be-damned attitude that is pretty much required these days for the ASN processing of any event.

Civil rights spokespeople, including professionals like Al Sharpton, lobbied the White House to push for some federal intervention into the case. Before that happened, authorities down in Florida, feeling the serious (irrational) heat from the ASN and the MSM and politicians (of course), reversed themselves and decided to charge George Zimmerman with murder in the second degree.

If you look at the probable cause affidavit, which outlines the reason why Florida was charging Zimmerman, and when you also know MORE facts than the few listed, the affidavit sounds absolutely absurd, in that it interprets facts in a prejudicial manner, and leaves out so much information that is actually exculpatory for Zimmerman, that the charge of second-degree murder, must be rubber-stamped in Florida like an NSA request for universal domestic spying.

OR—the state of Florida was bound and determined to bring these charges, regardless of whether they had the evidence to prove the case.

As the probable cause affidavit says:
“The facts mentioned in this Affadavit are not a complete recitation of all the pertinent facts and evidence in this case but only are presented or a determination of Probable Cause for Second Degree Murder.”
The problem was, when the more complete recitation of all the pertinent facts and evidence in the case was heard in court, it served to destroy the prosecution’s case, and made the acquittal of Zimmerman almost a foregone conclusion.

“Almost” because in spite of the nature of the evidence, most of which supported Zimmerman’s story about defending himself from being attacked by Trayvon Martin, half the jury remained convinced that Zimmerman had committed some kind of crime. However, when the half that was convinced of Zimmerman being not guilty reviewed the evidence with the doubters, Zimmerman’s defenders won the argument.

So, the claim that “racism” clouded the judgment of the jurors seems dubious. What motivated the jurors it seems was to try to do the right thing according to the laws of the state of Florida. Which brings us to one, key, controversial point.

The Stand Your Ground Law

According to Florida's self-defense statute:
“A person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:
(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself.”
For example, somebody is sitting on you, pounding your head into concrete, while you’re screaming for help, and you think you’re going to die. In Florida, as in every state, “deadly force” is justified to use in that instance, to stop your assailant. Why every state? Because, even if your state has no stand your ground law, the "duty to retreat", where you are required to flee if possible, is irrelevant, if your assailant is preventing you from retreating.

That is one big reason the Florida authorities saw no reason initially to charge Zimmerman, whose story about what happened matched the above description. And the evidence police recovered supported that story as well. According to Florida law, Zimmerman had acted legally in shooting Trayvon Martin.

So, in the end, the question in the Zimmerman trial came down to: did George Zimmerman reasonably fear for his life at the moment he drew his pistol and shot Trayvon Martin? And the answer to that, according to the evidence, and according to the jury’s decision, was “yes”. And so, the answer to the further question about whether there was sufficient reasonable doubt to acquit Zimmerman of murder or manslaughter charges (the latter being another option the jury considered) was also “yes”.

And so the jury acquitted George Zimmerman.

But, the AntiSocial Network had already convicted Zimmerman, after declaring him a monster, a racist, a thug worse than Hitler or the KKK or ANYBODY! How could those stupid, Florida racists let Zimmerman go???

This was what was so amazingly stupid about the outrage expressed on the ASN the last couple days. Most legal experts had long ago expressed considerable doubt about the strength of the state's case, given Florida law, and given the facts as alleged and known. The prosecution would have had to successfully paint Zimmerman as a raging racist, who was just aching to gun down a black person, in order to support the second-degree murder charge (which does not require premeditation, but does require "a depraved mind") . The evidence just did not support that view. In fact, in retrospect, the state of Florida may have intentionally overcharged as a way of hitting back at the people who pressured the state to prosecute Zimmerman. Anyway, the verdict was no shock, no surprise, no outrageous outcome. It made sense in light of the law.

Meanwhile, so immunized from these or any facts, or any desire to review or consider any information that might contradict their faith-based propaganda, the AntiSocial Network has, since the verdict was announced, launched into a full-scale war on Zimmerman, his attorneys (denounced for getting him acquitted), on the jurors (naturally), and on ANYBODY saying anything that could be held to be a defense of Zimmerman or the verdict. And further, the ASN has essentially enabled and encouraged people to act out, in the street, venting rage based on their ignorance of the facts, and to demonstrate their deep passions that a terrible injustice has occurred.

Here is just one example of how the faith is deranging the conversation about what is really true.

One meme that has developed in the past couple of weeks is the idea that the stand your ground law is unfairly applied, and for example in another case in Florida, a black woman, Marissa Alexander, who sought to use that provision in her defense in her assault trial, instead ended up getting a 20-year prison sentence after her conviction.

The ASN declared this to be obvious racism, that the woman had merely fired a "warning shot" over the head of her abusive, estranged, husband, whom she feared was going to attack her. How come she didn't get to stand her ground too?

Well, the facts of the Alexander case, as profiled in this Washington Post story, suggest why things may have worked out differently for the woman.

For example:

"Alexander was convicted of three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for firing a gun into a wall close to where her husband...and [her] stepsons were standing."

Stepsons? Uh-huh. Boys. And they weren't beating her. They were getting ready to leave with their dad.

And what about the idea Alexander shot over her husband's head?

Again, the WP reports:
"While online accounts sympathetic to Alexander say she fired shots into the ceiling, the single bullet she fired actually hit the wall, not far from Gray and the boys, then ricocheted into the ceiling."
By the time that bullet in the ceiling made it through the ASN news filter, it had been changed to Alexander, the poor thing, had only fired over her husband's head.

Not quite.

Naturally, after the Zimmerman verdict, the civil rights advocates have gone back to the White House, and the Justice Department has decided to pursue its investigation into whether or not to bring federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman.

However, most restrained reviewers of the likelihood that will happen note that there is a great difficulty in proving such cases, particularly when it is pretty evident the “victim” in the case was actively assaulting his alleged murderer at the time the assailant was shot. Add to this, there is no evidence that Zimmerman profiled and followed Martin because Trayvon was black. Zimmerman was asked BY POLICE to assess the race of the person he was describing to them in his 911 call. And Zimmerman correctly responded to this question that Martin was black.

So, what is the basis of a civil rights case against George Zimmerman? Politics maybe. Evidence no way.

But that isn’t going to satisfy the AntiSocial Network, which is full to the brim today with people suggesting or openly demanding that somebody make George Zimmerman pay, so “justice” can be done.

Zimmerman’s attorney has noted his client will never be OK, in the sense of feeling safe, for the rest of his life.

And, additionally, the attorney pointed out, George Zimmerman will be getting back one piece of evidence from the state of Florida: his Kel-Tec PF-9 handgun, which Zimmerman used to kill Trayvon Martin.

The attorney, Mark O’Mara, said that Zimmerman, who he said believes the gun saved his life on the night Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin, will now need the weapon “more than before.”

Meanwhile, across the USA, the ASN-fueled fury, based on the faith that a horrible injustice has occurred (again), continues, seeming to get worse by the hour and by the factless ranting about racism and murder unpunished in the Zimmerman case.

2 comments:

  1. Interesting analysis. Two points: one, you ignore the Initial Aggressor exception, which is at the heart of the case,

    Two, you seem to uncritically accept Z's story of Martin sitting on him etc. which the facts do not seem to support. It is not "pretty evident", to me, that Martin was actively assaulting Z at the time, and certainly not that it was reasonable for Z to fear for his life.
    Comments?

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    Replies
    1. "you ignore the Initial Aggressor exception"

      In Florida, there is an exception to the exception: http://bit.ly/wnJO6h

      The heart of the case is that we don't know who started the fight, but we do know with reasonable assurance who was winning it, at the point Z drew his weapon to end it. According to the law, even if Z started the fight or was the aggressor, once he was pinned and his face and head were being beaten, and he reasonably believed he might be seriously injured or killed, he had the right to resist with deadly force.

      "you seem to uncritically accept Z's story"

      Z's story was he was being physically assaulted, i.e. beaten on his face and head. The physical evidence supports that view. It also supports Z's claim he was on the ground on his back during this assault. Z's clothing and M's clothing were noted by police to have grass and stain marks consistent with what Z claimed had happened.

      And, you have eyewitness testimony—in fact the only eyewitness of the fight the state offered in court—who supported that Martin was straddling and pinning Z.

      You're forgetting something. The defense does not have to prove anything. The prosecutors have to do that, beyond a reasonable doubt. And they didn't. Most legal experts agree that is the case. And the jury agreed as well.

      That doesn't mean that with 100% certainty we can say we know what happened and that the correct verdict was delivered. But the outcry over the verdict has been insanely prejudicial against Z, and that was the point of my post.

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