Two Minutes of Hate for George Zimmerman

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119 Responses

  1. Tarrou says:

    Luckily, in the era of the internet, we have ways to check the media, whose slavish adherence to the party line of one segment of society has completely ended their ability to report the news without doctoring it to fit their chosen narratives. We may have to search to find it, but the truth is in the wires.

  2. JTM says:

    I'm not sure the article you cited supports the facts as you have presented them.

    You wrote: "Zimmerman and his wife were dividing marital property and she showed up at the house when she was not expected."

    The article said that "George Zimmerman and his wife texted Monday morning, and she told him she was going over to the house… George Zimmerman came to the house with a friend of his and got into a heated discussion with Dean, O'Mara said."

    You said that "Zimmerman did not punch his father-in-law in the nose" and that "the father-in-law's nose was unmarked."

    The article said that "Police said Dean [the father-in-law] spoke with first responders but was not treated by paramedics."

    The article said that "During the altercation, Zimmerman smashed his wife's iPad." This does not appear to be refuted by any source in the article.

    You said "Zimmerman had no gun on his person or in his car."

    The article said "The question of the gun became confused later when police told reporters there was no gun involved, but George Zimmerman's attorney told CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 that he believed his client had a firearm on him. 'He acted appropriately. He never took the weapon out,' said Mark O'Mara, who is also a CNN legal analyst."

    I don't see how you get from the article that "[implicitly] the 911 phone call was full of lies." The report indicates that Mrs. Zimmerman refused to press charges, and I believe that it is common for police to decline to arrest for a domestic disturbance when the victim refuses to cooperate.

    Do you have other sources for your contentions than the one you linked (http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/09/us/george-zimmerman-detained/index.html)?

  3. Clark says:

    Do you have other sources for your contentions than the one you linked

    Shoot. In fact, I do. I liked to the wrong article. Let me see if I can find it in Chrome's history list; the later CNN article was a fair bit stronger on all of those points.

  4. Gus Bailey says:

    Well, I have to admit, that my first reaction was, "Darn, Zim why'd you have to go do something stupid?" This morning, I am bemused to see so many pulled hamstrings from hastily jerked knees.

    My take. Zim's had a rough year. Lots of stress and such (death threats will do that). Now his wife is dumping him. Might he have been a little grumpy, sure. Might there be kernels of truth in the sauce of the original complaint, sure. Have cooler heads prevailed (apparently on all sides), seems so. Is this really news, nah.

    The President's gonna bomb Syria for some reason or another… just, y'know, fwiw.

  5. Clark says:

    My take. Zim's had a rough year. Lots of stress and such (death threats will do that). Now his wife is dumping him. Might he have been a little grumpy, sure. Might there be kernels of truth in the sauce of the original complaint, sure.

    My take as well.

    Is Zimmerman a saint? No. He's a human being.

    Might there have been a loud argument over who gets the iPad and the nice pans? Sure.

    Might she have called him a "low life cheating douche bag", and might he have called her a "filthy no-good whore" ? Absolutely. Divorcing people do such things.

    Is he any worse than the rest of us? No.

    Should this be news? No.

    Should we revenge ourselves on him for the fact that the jury reached the "wrong" verdict by picking apart his life and holding him to a higher standard than we hold ourselves? No.

  6. L says:

    I second JTM. You link to an article, and the text of the link is "the truth today," but the article does not support 5 of your 6 bullet points. The 6th, that GZ was not arrested, is at least a little odd. The article says he was detained, but not arrested. Given the usual content of your blog posts, I wouldn't expect you to be so sanguine about the distinction between a detention and an arrest.

    But as for the rest of your post after the bullet points, hear hear.

    Also, why does Team GZ feel the need to constantly remind us that GZ is Hispanic?

    Also also, Ken's tweet didn't state or assume that the allegations were true. It predicted a reaction by Team GZ. So for you to tweet what you were going to would have been a non sequitur.

  7. L says:

    Sorry, I started that comment before you posted the comment about having linked to the wrong article. Consider the first sentence of the comment retracted.

  8. L says:

    First two sentences, sorry.

  9. L says:

    "Might she have called him a "low life cheating douche bag", and might he have called her a "filthy no-good whore" ? Absolutely. Divorcing people do such things."

    Having never been through a divorce, I won't pass judgment on what they might have said. But divorcing people don't have to do such things, and they don't always do such things.

    "Is he any worse than the rest of us? No."

    I don't know what it means for someone to be worse than someone else, or how I would judge such a thing. But if we're going to judge his behavior, then he did, at the very least, smash his wife's iPad. I don't do that.

    "Should this be news? No.

    Should we revenge ourselves on him for the fact that the jury reached the "wrong" verdict by picking apart his life and holding him to a higher standard than we hold ourselves? No."

    I can't disagree with any of that. But if he smashed his wife's iPad (which he apparently did), and if he assaulted her father (unknown at this point), and if he said threatening things to them with his hand on his gun (ditto), then by criticizing him we are not holding him to a higher standard then we hold ourselves, no.

  10. Matthew Smith says:

    Saw an article on the 911 call–thought to myself, "Zim's not likely to be acquitted of charges a second time. Still, it's prelminary. A news article is not a trial judgment."

    Saw a second article later saying no gun found, and no one pressing charges–thought to myself, "If Zim weren't involved this wouldn't even have come to my attention. I'm going to ignore this until there's something of actual public interest in it."

    Unless, of course, it appears in the Popehat blog…

  11. Chuck says:

    Without diving into whether the Zimmerman verdict was decided correctly or not, there's an entirely new topic: Zimmerman's post-hearing life.

    The correct way to not dive into that topic is to omit the part where you dive into that topic, as I've edited above.

  12. Jimmy C says:

    "threatening the wife who asked for a divorce with a gun."

    Boy did I parse that differently than intended. (Either that or…I'd never threaten someone who was using a gun to ask for a divorce.)

  13. Clark says:

    @L:

    he did, at the very least, smash his wife's iPad. I don't do that.

    Did he?

    I've read three versions:

    1) he smashed it
    2) he slashed it with scissors
    3) he did nothing to it

    I don't know which is true.

  14. Clark says:

    @Chuck

    Without diving into whether the Zimmerman verdict was decided correctly or not, there's an entirely new topic: Zimmerman's post-hearing life.

    The correct way to not dive into that topic is to omit the part where you dive into that topic, as I've edited above.

    You do it your way on your blog, I'll do it my way on mine.

  15. Ken White says:

    Hmm.

    That tweet sure makes it seem like I am rushing to judgment, consistent with the theme of your post.

    Huh. It says (2/2). I wonder what the first tweet said?

    Not drawing conclusions about George Zimmerman based on an arrest, which is an accusation. But I am waiting to see . . . (1/2)

    Yeah, never mind. That's not relevant to the theme of the post at all.

  16. Ken White says:

    Also: just to add a note of complexity:

    Someone got very agitated with me on Twitter, suggesting I was acting like Spike Lee, when I repeated an initial report that Zimmerman had been arrested. The police claim he wasn't arrested:

    Officers detained George Zimmerman but never arrested him, police said. Detectives later came to the home to interview him.

    Ah, yes. "Detained."

    See, law enforcement will almost always say that someone is merely "answering questions" or "temporarily detained," even if all of the circumstances show that the person's freedom to leave was interrupted by armed police officers demanding he answer questions based on a suspicion of a crime — which people like me with a defense attorney bent might call an arrest.

    So: skepticism might lead you to question media reports of an arrest, but might also lead you to question police reports of not-arrest.

  17. bannor says:

    when it comes to divorces i'm not prepared to believe either sides story.

  18. Clark says:

    @Ken:

    Ah, yes. "Detained."

    See, law enforcement will almost always say that someone is merely "answering questions" or "temporarily detained," even if all of the circumstances show that the person's freedom to leave was interrupted by armed police officers demanding he answer questions based on a suspicion of a crime — which people like me with a defense attorney bent might call an arrest.

    Excellent point; I retract the bullet point where I said that he was not arrested.

  19. David says:

    I like the way Clark ignored Ken's devastating rebuttal of Clark's having called Ken out. That takes kibbutzpah.

  20. Rhonda Lea Kirk Fries says:

    You spelled "counsel" wrong.

    And not all of us "believe the narrative of [our] own cultural camp without question."

    Finally, the best way to halt the "insane level of scrutiny" to which his life is now subject is to stop writing articles about George Zimmerman.

  21. repsac3 says:

    That we know about any of this is the price of fame, deserved or undeserved. Same goes with ideologues taking sides. (Ideologues took sides over Miley Cyrus' "dancing," ferChristSakes…) Like it or don't, anything involving Zimmerman and potential gun violence is going to be reported, because of who he is and the situation he once found himself in / created for himself based on his actions.

    News media rushing to be first and getting portions of the story wrong–and parts of the public jumping to unwarranted conclusions based on those bad reports, and spreading it all (bad reporting and rushed judgement) like wildfire via social media is now par for the course. The media ought to be a little slower and more deliberate about getting the story right rather than rushing to say something…anything…before their competition. But I have a harder time blaming the public for repeating what the media tells them. Yes, they ought to approach early reports skeptically (moreso these days, when there seem to be more "rush" errors, and enough social media to spread bad reportage right quickly), but once the media puts "facts" out there, it's not that unreasonable for folks to repeat and react to what they hear…even if some of it later turns out to be untrue. (The same thing happens without facts, too… I can point to several early news articles reporting that a guy with a vaguely middle eastern name was allegedly involved in some crime… and without any further info, the allegations of "TERRORISM" or "HONOR KILLING" flood segments of the blogosphere. Later reporting sometimes substantiates the allegations–which is then used to berate anyone who called those early conclusions into question, as though ending up correct at 8 pm justifies guessing (or selling a meme) based on bigotry or ideology 10-12 hours earlier. And sometimes, the evidence for those early claims never materializes–in which case there was clearly a cover-up, obviously.)

    Hell, even this post full of recrimination for all of that bad behavior (with or without its own ideological bent) is getting pretty common…

    And then there are the dammed commenters…

  22. Clark says:

    @David

    I like the way Clark ignored Ken's devastating rebuttal of Clark's having called Ken out. That takes kubbutzpah.

    Devastating?

    You must have read some other comment than I did.

    I wanted to make a point about Ken's preemptively going after anyone who might suggest that Zimmerman's wife was off her rocker…when, as it turned out, less than 24 hours later, it turned out that Zimmerman's wife had lied about a minor thing like – oh – implicitly threatening her life with a gun by touching it repeatedly while saying "come at me".

    Because Ken is a friend I soft-balled it a fair bit.

    I then edited Ken's tweet to remove the "2/2" line posted Ken's tweet whole.

    Ken wanted to make a related point, and he did. Actually, he made two. One stands above, and didn't elicit much outrage by anyone – perhaps because everyone here follows Ken's @popehat account and already knew what he'd said, and knew that I wasn't trying to paint Ken as a horrendous villain.

    The second point Ken made, about the meaning of the word "arrest", was an excellent one, and I was wrong, and I immediately retracted my bullet point.

  23. Clark says:

    @Rhonda Lea Kirk Fries

    You spelled "counsel" wrong.

    Thank you. This is the kind of comment that adds incalculably to the value of a debate, and if only this blog supported upvoting I'd click "good comment" five or six times.

  24. R R Clark says:

    When y'all have figured out whether you're outraged with the left-wing media, yourselves, George Zimmerman, or Hispanics, be so kind as to let us know and we can actually have a discuss re: salient points.

    In the meantime, I'll just say that there's a line at which someone becomes a person of public interest and for better or worse Mr. Zimmerman is currently over that line. That just brings us around to the "do celebrities deserve privacy" debate, which has always struck me as stupid. If they want to continue being celebrities, they necessarily must sacrifice some privacy. That or the American public needs to get over their tabloids. Some of us have.

  25. adam says:

    one could just as easily argue he brought this all on himself. i don't know if he was racially motivated in the whole Martin case – everything was so charged, I don't know what to believe. but he did make a huge mistake in ignoring the 911 operator's instructions to not leave his truck. i wonder if, in retrospect, he regrets that single action.

    additionally, in this 24-hour-news-cycle-people-love-dirty-laundry-what-have-you-done-for-me-lately, media outlets are competing for the remaining scraps of our dignity and tossing out fodder as quickly as they can produce it lest we change the channel or, *gasp*, turn off the TV (or navigate to lolcats.com – actually, this is probably more gasp-worthy).

    don't hate the player, hate the game – but my god, do we need to grow up.

  26. Ken White says:

    I wanted to make a point about Ken's preemptively going after anyone who might suggest that Zimmerman's wife was off her rocker

    My point was less about whether there would be narrow attacks on the credibility of a particular accusation — which, after all, are part of critical thinking, as Clark suggests — and more about whether the accusations would be treated as an occasion for a wide-ranging attack on her, and on ex-wives, and on domestic violence law, just as the Zimmerman prosecution was treated as an excuse for a substantial about of bigotry and racist trolling.

  27. Clark says:

    @R R Clark

    In the meantime, I'll just say that there's a line at which someone becomes a person of public interest and for better or worse Mr. Zimmerman is currently over that line. That just brings us around to the "do celebrities deserve privacy" debate, which has always struck me as stupid. If they want to continue being celebrities, they necessarily must sacrifice some privacy.

    Indeed. I'm not going to argue that Madonna gets to call the paparazzi when it's time to promote her new album, but then wish them away when she goes out shopping.

    I don't think Zimmerman "wants to continue being a celebrity"; he's a normal citizen who got yanked into the public spotlight against his will.

  28. RogerX says:

    I've previously articulated and demonstrated my pro-gender-equality and pro-human stances, but the tweets, blog and facebook posts, etc lately from the good Mr. White (e.g. "Zimmerman ideologues will start attacking his wife") are a little head-scratching. I'm not sure why we keep jumping to "some guys are douches on the internet and say mean things about ladies" as step one in every news story.

  29. repsac3 says:

    "but he did make a huge mistake in ignoring the 911 operator's instructions to not leave his truck. i wonder if, in retrospect, he regrets that single action."

    I was struck by the fact that Shellie's 911 operator very clearly told her to "stand aside and let the police do their job." If only George had gotten her on the line instead when he made his call…and he had actually listened…

  30. Clark says:

    @Ken:

    My point was less about whether there would be narrow attacks on the credibility of a particular accusation — which, after all, are part of critical thinking, as Clark suggests — and more about whether the accusations would be treated as an occasion for a wide-ranging attack on her, and on ex-wives, and on domestic violence law

    I saw it (and see it) as preparing the battle space (not that there's anything wrong with that), by (1) calling out attacks on the credibility of exes as invalid, and (2) calling out attacks on domestic violence laws as being invalid.

    For the record, I think that the statements of exes towards each other are often incredible. I say that having never had a divorce and being on good terms with every ex…but I've seen men and women who are scorned, or who are in the middle of negotiating financial settlements, say all sorts of insane things.

    I am not saying "bitches be trippin'"; I am saying "as a first approximation, I'd distrust everything said by both parties in such a fight.

    Re domestic violence laws, one can stand fully for the assertion that no one should ever be battered by a partner and note that people lie about battery all the time, that violence is often mutual, and that the law is an ass (with statutes that either explicitly or implicitly take the woman's side of the story and lead to the arrest of the man).

    I'm not a PUA guy or a MRM partisan, but I think that "wide-ranging attacks" on domestic violence law are well within the bounds of civilized debate.

  31. R R Clark says:

    @Clark

    One could argue the primacy of choice in this instance without sounding like an a**hole, but I don't think I have the gravitas to pull it off. But even celebrities by choice can't just decide they're over it whenever they want. They have to step back and ensure the media has a reason to forget about them for a while.

  32. John Kindley says:

    I like the way Clark goes out of his way to go after the Top Dog and the way David doesn't like it.

  33. Clark says:

    @John Kindley

    I like the way Clark goes out of his way to go after the Top Dog and the way David doesn't like it.

    Re the first half of the sentence: I wouldn't characterize it as "going after" Ken; I'd say that I'm not shy about – every now and then – calling out the areas where Ken and I disagree. By the way, my take on the matter is that Ken and I both agree deeply about most things: the kind of society we'd like to live in (more or less), the proper scope of government (more or less), etc. We tend to clash mostly on cultural issues: his knee jerks in the Responsible Decent Member of Obama-voting Society direction, my knee jerks in the Robert-Heinlein-was-too-soft-in-his-libertarianism direction.

    Re the second half of your sentence…

    …well, moving on… ;-)

  34. Sam says:

    he's a normal citizen who got yanked into the public spotlight against his will.

    Not to divert the argument here, but I view Zimmerman as anything but a 'normal citizen'. I rather doubt the majority of citizens have shot to death a 17 year old carrying no weapon. Fair or not, a singular event has come to define his life in the media which really isn't all that uncommon (even if it is detestable).

    In any case (see what I did there?), I imagine the public will grow tired of Zimmerman much as they did with Casey Anthony. And then his book deal is going to be worth millions. I've depressed myself enough for one post.

  35. stillnotking says:

    Is there such a thing as a "Zimmerman ideologue"? What is George Zimmerman's ideology, exactly? Even if there is such a thing, and it's as hateful/racist/misogynist/whatever as Ken and others seem to suggest, how are those of us who were merely glad to see him acquitted of a weak and politically-motivated prosecution somehow responsible for rebutting it?

  36. Renee Jones says:

    I would love to stay and chat, but I must go guide bombs to targets on airstrip one.

  37. David says:

    I thought the Top Dog was Patrick.

  38. cb says:

    Love that the list of "the truth" includes assertionswith little to back them.
    ■Zimmerman and his wife were dividing marital property and she showed up at the house when she was not expected.

    As noted, the linked article states that she texted–how is someone unexpected if they tell you that they are coming?

    ■Zimmerman did not punch his father-in-law in the nose.
    ■The father-in-law's nose was unmarked

    You know these how?

    ■Zimmerman had no gun on his person or in his car

    Odd that his lawyer would say "he never took the weapon out" if it didn't exist

    ■[ implicitly ] the 911 phone call was full of lies

    Don't think you really havee enough evidence to claim this.

  39. Noah Callaway says:

    @Clark

    I often find your writing persuasive and your points convincing. That being said, you have one rhetorical habit that tends to push me away. It doesn't weaken any of your arguments, but (for me) makes your writing much less persuasive on a stylistic level.

    In your writing you tend to assume superiority. One example is: "You'll fail. I know this because I fail." Personally, lines like this tend to push me away from your main goal (again, on a purely superficial level). Rhetorically, I think this line would be more persuasive as "You'll fail. I know this because we all fail."

    Just my $0.02; overall I thought this was a really well-written article. I'll stay out of the Twitter disagreement for now, mostly because I have to go to work…

  40. Docrailgun says:

    Ideology aside, Clark's post seems (to me) rely on some assumption that people think 'the news' is 'the truth'. No, the reported news is just that-reported news. We form opinions based on the information we have at any one time. I don't see how one can berate people for doing so, or when they change their minds when new information comes in.
    It is a nice screed, though. That'll keep us damn dirty liberals in our place. I guess the ironic thing is that the post was based on incorrect information too. Funny, that.

  41. Clark says:

    @Noah Callaway

    In your writing you tend to assume superiority. One example is: "You'll fail. I know this because I fail." Personally, lines like this tend to push me away from your main goal (again, on a purely superficial level). Rhetorically, I think this line would be more persuasive as "You'll fail. I know this because we all fail."

    Noah,

    I don't remotely intend such statements that way; what I'm trying to express is "we are all sinners".

    I find it ironic that my attempt at humility was read as exactly the opposite.

    …but I do understand how it can be read that way.

    I'll try to correct the phrasing in the future so that my "I, a worthless sinner" is read as "I, a worthless sinner" and not as "even I, the might Clark, sin".

    Thanks for taking the time to give me actionable feedback.

  42. Darryl says:

    In any event, I think this shows he is what I always thought–impulsive, hotheaded wannabe cop who thinks violence and confrontation are the answer to disputes. Interesting thought experiment for Clark–if Zimmerman were a real cop doing this kind of authoritarian crap to people and not just a wannabe who washed out, would Clark still be in his corner like he appears to be here?

  43. aromaticpose says:

    Zimmerman's wife calls 911, won't press charges
    Clark, was this the story you were looking for? The second paragraph states that Zimmerman's wife "said she never saw a gun …"

  44. Clark says:

    @Darryl

    In any event, I think this shows he is what I always
    thought–impulsive, hotheaded wannabe cop who thinks violence and
    confrontation are the answer to disputes.

    How does it show that?

    I think the only think we know for sure that happened is that a guy went to a house, got in a loud argument with his ex, and left the house.

    Interesting thought experiment for Clark–if Zimmerman were a real cop doing this kind of authoritarian crap to people and not just a wannabe who washed out, would Clark still be in his corner like he appears to be here?

    I'm not "in" Zimmerman's corner.

    I'm in the corner of not-making-a-big-deal-out-of-the-speeding-tickets-of-nobodies.

    Go back through all my posts about cops. You'll find me referencing cops who murder, cops who sell drugs, cops who buy tanks, etc.

    You won't find any posts about cops who argue with their wives and then leave.

  45. TM says:

    @ adamn

    I don't know what to believe. but he did make a huge mistake in ignoring the 911 operator's instructions to not leave his truck. i wonder if, in retrospect, he regrets that single action.

    It's awful hard to obey instructions when the instructions come after you have already done the actions the instructions are instructing you not to do. It's even harder to obey instructions when they aren't actually instructions.

    As to the distinction between "arrest" and "detain", while I fully get the "if I'm not free to go, making a distinction between arrest and detain is splitting hairs", at least as far as public perception and media goes, "arrest" is almost always assumed to be followed by (even if not explicitly stated) with "and charged with a crime", which as we all know means you're guilty because police never charge innocent people with crimes. Were I, $diety forbid, ever in a situation were I was being questioned as a person of interest in a crime and in a situation where I was "not free to go" for a few hours but not transported from the location of the incident, I would probably strenuously object to my story being reported as "arrested", even if I might argue in another case that an officer randomly stopping me on a street and refusing to let me leave until I answered questions was an arrest and a violation of rights. It's self serving I admit, but such is dealing with the media and the government.

    As to the horrible things people do in a divorce, my first thought when I read this is "Why the hell isn't Zimmerman on his absolute best behavior." While normally you might thing two adults could rationally if heatedly handle property division, were I Zimmerman right now, after everything that has happened, I would not have merely gone to the house with a friend as a witness, I would have brought a video camera and a Sheriff with me as well. Not because I expect anything to happen, but so that no one could ever insinuate something did.

    Even still, like Clark said, I am disinclined to believe anything anyone in the middle of a divorce says. A relative of mine and her husband are going through a divorce now. Bad relationship, mutually physically abusive. Neither are saints and both irritate me to no end, but the husband has recently decided the best tactic for dealing with things is to call the police and CPS to file false reports of the wife without evidence or even reason (other than creating trouble) abusing the children. People do really stupid things in the middle of a divorce.

  46. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    Your categorization of Mr. Zimmerman's status as a "thought criminal" isn't very intellectually honest. He isn't disliked because he doesn't hew to the orthodoxy, he's disliked because he killed an unarmed 17 year old in the course of a confrontation he instigated.

    I happen to agree that the acquittal was correct (mostly due to the shockingly poor choices and performance of the prosecutors) but that doesn't mean that Zimmerman didn't do a terrible thing or that he shouldn't bear its social stigma. Sometimes people are villainized because they are villains.

  47. jdh says:

    I like how the wife's allegations seemed to go away and she "decided not to prosecute" after Mr. Z apparently offered up security tapes of the confrontation.

    I think both Mr. and Mrs. Z have the opportunity for potentially lucrative book deals – THere is a ready-made audience for both sides of the debate/

  48. Jon says:

    No, the top cow dog is Via Angus.

  49. xtmar says:

    Will the Zimmerman dialogue be revealed by the Zimmerman telegram? Inquiring minds want to know.

  50. W Klink says:

    Not saying who's right here at all, but my assumption is that she declined to press charges because his court costs would be paid from his defense fund, which has already been declared a marital asset in which she is entitled to half. I assume the attorney that advised her not to press charges is her divorce attorney and that she was advised that the more George stays out of court on criminal charges, the more money she'll get.

    I'm not judging her. Even if the 911 call is entirely accurate and she's telling the entire truth, it may still be in her best interest to not press charges.

  51. Clark says:

    @Klink

    Not saying who's right here at all, but my assumption is that she declined to press charges because his court costs would be paid from his defense fund

    Or perhaps

    CNN:

    Zimmerman offered to turn over surveillance tapes from security cameras at the house to investigators.

  52. Clark says:

    @Dr. Nobel Dynamite

    Your categorization of Mr. Zimmerman's status as a "thought criminal" isn't very intellectually honest.

    His detractors care a lot about what his thoughts are:

    67,000 hits for "george zimmerman thinks".

    George Zimmerman thinks he's above the law.

    George Zimmerman thinks he's invincible.

    George Zimmerman thinks he's playing Grand Theft Auto.

    George Zimmerman thinks African-Americans are the bullies.

  53. Dr. Nobel Dynamite says:

    A non-snarky question for you, Clark: do you also think that OJ Simpson was treated as a "thought criminal" following his acquittal?

  54. Clark says:

    @Dr. Nobel Dynamite

    A non-snarky question for you, Clark: do you also think that OJ Simpson was treated as a "thought criminal" following his acquittal?

    A fair question, and I think the answer is no.

    First, I think that our society is more polarized into Team Coke and Team Pepsi now than we were 20 years ago. I think that more news choices, the internet, self-selection, etc. all play a part in this.

    Second, it is my strong belief (but not one that I can prove by footnotes) that "Zimmerman", the concept, is much more important than Zimmerman, the man, in this debate, and that the Cultural Left decided that Zimmerman v. Martin fit the template of "angry white male racist gun culture nutso" and ran with it, and a whole lot of hatred that's getting projected at GZ is not really about him, his case, his actions, or that one terrible night, but about cultural fault lines.

    In retrospect "thought criminal" is not the perfect word, but I don't retract it because it's still relevant and close enough to the concept I'm aiming at.

    Perhaps a better phrase would be "whipping boy" or "avatar" or "effigy".

  55. Bill says:

    Thank you. This is the kind of comment that adds incalculably to the value of a debate, and if only this blog supported upvoting I'd click "good comment" five or six times.

    Best comment ever

  56. Sam says:

    67,000 hits for "george zimmerman thinks".

    There are also 685,000 hits for "Miley Cyrus thinks". Probably you take anyone relatively famous and find some interesting hits for them. I'd wager (not a lot) that the majority of those hits are also from people unfamiliar with Thoughtcrime, Newspeak, 1984 and George Orwell.

  57. Sam says:

    Perhaps a better phrase would be "whipping boy" or "avatar" or "effigy".

    This I totally agree with, though I don't think it happened in a vacuum. The preexisting racial tension in Sanford, particularly with respect to the police interaction with the black community provided the impetus, but I agree that the case and Zimmerman's persona took on a life of its own. Of course, so did the representation of Trayvon and his family.

  58. Exodor says:

    It appears an iPad suffered terribly for the Zimmerman's sins:

    "Police investigating a possible domestic violence incident involving George Zimmerman and his wife told reporters this afternoon there may be video of what happened on an iPad.

    However, the tablet was smashed and "is in multiple pieces," Lake Mary police spokesman Officer Zach Hudson said today. Shellie Zimmerman told police her husband broke the iPad, Hudson confirmed.

    Investigators are still hopeful they'll be able to recover the video, the spokesman said."

    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/trayvon-martin/os-george-zimmerman-update-wife-threats-20130910,0,918190.story

  59. Clark says:

    @Sam:

    There are also 685,000 hits for "Miley Cyrus thinks".

    Well, if you want to strap a cage full of hungry rats to her face in the name of the Inner Party, I'm not going to stop you.

  60. Erbo says:

    Consider also that, according to the CNN article, Shellie Zimmerman was convicted of perjury last month, for lying about her and Zimmerman's finances at Zimmerman's bail hearing last month. So now the media is engaged in spreading the wild accusations of a known liar?

    If you ever needed evidence that Zimmerman has become the media's Designated Villain, this is it.

  61. Darryl says:

    Offered without comment:

    "During a press conference later, O'Mara was asked if he had any advice for Zimmerman, and he answered, "Pay me.""

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/george-zimmermans-lawyer-quits/story?id=20212533

  62. Sam says:

    in the name of the Inner Party

    Of course I would never, ever do something in the name of the Inner Party. It would be for Truth, Justice and Miley's own good.

  63. GuestPoster says:

    Interesting. I actually think about incidents like this much like what Ken talks about regarding 1st amendment rights vs. societal retribution due to speech. Namely: the jury found Zimmerman not guilty of specific crimes under the Florida legal codes. (This is my understanding, I am not a lawyer, feel free to correct me if this is wrong). But – Zimmerman still shot a kid, based on all the evidence I've seen, and doesn't deny doing this.

    Now, if you're the sort of person that thinks that that SHOULD be illegal – are you required to treat Zimmerman as a decent human being, after he violated a rule you consider fairly sacrosanct? Or should he expect to lead a fairly unhappy life going forward, having publicly asked how to get his life back, and having not asked (at least, in a way that made the papers) how to help Martin get HIS life back?

    We are told that the left has made Zimmerman into an effigy of sorts – I'd argue that that's mostly untrue, but that what truth is there is identical in nature to the opposite claim – that the right has made Zimmerman into a hero figure. Clearly he has supporters and detractors. It was totally in his power to not enter the public eye. He chose to ignore that option. He then very much plead to the public for help, putting himself firmly in the public sphere. I'd probably feel differently had he done what he could to stay off the radar, but he didn't. So that brings us back to the question – having done something that many people consider terrible, then having gone into the public sphere soliciting donations to defend himself from a trial spawned by what he did – how is he not a public figure? He made himself one. And as a public figure, why should the public simply ignore him?

    Said another way – there's terrible discrimination against ex-cons who serve their time. Is it any surprise that there's discrimination against those who did similar things, but didn't serve any time at all? And in either case, is it wrong to socially hold those people accountable for what they've done?

  64. Shane says:

    Nothing will teach the true meaning of the word hate like divorce.

    I get sad when I see people divorce. Because like a train wreck many, many things had to go wrong before the wreck finally happens.

    Remember at the time of the TM shooting SZ was not at their home, and was staying with her father. So this bit of ugliness was coming. Maybe they could of reconciled had GZ not made the spotlight, but I doubt it. When people decide to divorce rarely is it amicable, as much as the parties believe at first it will be.

    :(

  65. Clark says:

    @Erbo

    Consider also that, according to the CNN article, Shellie Zimmerman was convicted of perjury last month, for lying about her and Zimmerman's finances at Zimmerman's bail hearing last month. So now the media is engaged in spreading the wild accusations of a known liar?

    If you ever needed evidence that Zimmerman has become the media's Designated Villain, this is it.

    I read an article somewhere in the last month or two that made a very convincing argument that the perjury charge against her was nonsensical, and the result of entrapment.

    I can't find a link; anyone have a pointer?

  66. Frank says:

    I read Popehat almost every day and like even what I tend to disagree with, but I just had to comment on this:

    @Sam

    "Not to divert the argument here, but I view Zimmerman as anything but a 'normal citizen'. I rather doubt the majority of citizens have shot to death a 17 year old carrying no weapon. Fair or not, a singular event has come to define his life in the media which really isn't all that uncommon (even if it is detestable)."

    I am a normal Citizen.

    If a 17 year old is sitting on top of me bashing the back of my head into a concrete sidewalk, I will shoot and kill them. If a 17 year old is merely punching me, I will not.

    There is a difference in intent. If someone is punching me, they are not likely to be intending to inflict serious bodily harm on my person, although that can be up for some debate depending on several factors. If someone is bashing my head into an object, be it a sidewalk, a brick wall, a car window, whatever, they are intending on doing me serious bodily harm. That falls squarely into the realm of the authorized use of lethal force for your self defense. If I, as a reasonable person, suspect that, if he keeps up doing this, I could be killed or seriously injured, that is the litmus test for the authorized use of lethal force.

    I probably would not have put myself into the same situation that Zimmerman did. With that being said, if I somehow ended up in a situation where a 17 year old was sitting on top of me bashing my head into the concrete sidewalk, you're damn right that I would defend myself with lethal force. I have two daughters to go home to.

  67. Sam says:

    So now the media is engaged in spreading the wild accusations of a known liar?

    Well, yeah, they quote politicians all the time.

  68. Mike says:

    Shellie's a thug convict, so…

    I love how we're not supposed to jump to conclusions, but "truth" can be decided by one article.

  69. TomB says:

    Clark, you may take a bow:

    Lake Mary Police are now calling into question several statements Shellie Zimmerman made to 911

    http://www.abcactionnews.com/dpp/news/region_tampa/lake-mary-police-are-now-calling-into-question-several-statements-shellie-zimmerman-made-to-911#ixzz2eVnXjyVk

  70. joshuaism says:

    Well I don't know about you all, but I look forward to seeing what comes out of the security cam footage and ipad footage. I'm of the mind that whoever destroyed the ipad is likely the party at fault. Innocent people don't destroy evidence.

  71. James Pollock says:

    "I don't know what it means for someone to be worse than someone else, or how I would judge such a thing. But if we're going to judge his behavior, then he did, at the very least, smash his wife's iPad. I don't do that."

    But you might, if you were going through a divorce. You're right, in the part I didn't quote, that not all divorces are acrimonious. But most feature at least moments of acrimony, even when the people involved are not usually known for such. Divorce does that to people.

  72. James Pollock says:

    "I don't think Zimmerman "wants to continue being a celebrity"; he's a normal citizen who got yanked into the public spotlight against his will."

    … but by his own actions.

  73. James Pollock says:

    "It's awful hard to obey instructions when the instructions come after you have already done the actions the instructions are instructing you not to do."

    On the other hand, he was a member of a neighborhood watch, and what advice does the neighborhood watch manual give?

  74. Ron Larson says:

    And people wonder why I don't own a TV.

    Rant time….

    I find that most "breaking news" on TV has no immediate impact on me and gives me nothing of value. Thus, I don't watch. Unless the news is that I am about the be killed, it can wait for fact verification, completeness, and analysis. That takes time. I'll wait.

    I don't live in Florida. Mr Zimmerman is not a threat that needs my immediate attention. So I don't read breaking news about him. I fail to see how his divorce warrants any attention from me, ever.

    When the mass production of food happened and cheap, bad food became widely available and consumed, people discovered that they needed to learn how to eat right. This is called a diet. We had to learn to moderate and keep the junk and poison, no matter how delicious, to tolerable levels.

    Mass media is the exact same thing. Just like fast food, we have lots of choices of junk news and junk entertainment. Cheap, having no value, and when consumed in excess, poisonous. We have to have a media diet. That is what I call it. I have to carefully choose what media I consume. I have to create a healthy, nutritious, and balanced diet of news and entertainment.

    The first step in my diet was to get rid of my television. Having TV and 400 channel cable in the house is like living in a Taco Bell Buffet. Too much junk that is too easy to consume.

    I do watch some TV programming. I have Netflix. I will rent a Redbox video once a month. But I limit it all to 3 hours a week. I find this gives me lots of time to get out and have fun. What a relief. I can consume this content on my laptop.

    If I want to watch a sports game live, there is a great sports bar down the street. So perhaps once a month I go in there. I get to talk to people, cute waitresses, have some cold beers, and watch my game on their giant a** screens. Still cheaper than paying for cable.

  75. James Pollock says:

    " it is my strong belief (but not one that I can prove by footnotes) that "Zimmerman", the concept, is much more important than Zimmerman, the man, in this debate"

    Absolutely agree.

    "the Cultural Left decided that Zimmerman v. Martin fit the template of "angry white male racist gun culture nutso" and ran with it, and a whole lot of hatred that's getting projected at GZ is not really about him, his case, his actions, or that one terrible night, but about cultural fault lines."

    Also agree here, BUT you're leaving out the other side. There was, in fact, a LOT of Z supporters who were on that side because he was the one with a handgun. Also, there actually were some on the Z side because they are racist. Not the "good start, now let's hunt up some more" variety of racist, but the "Well, he was a black guy, so obviously it was suspicious for him to be there, and obviously reasonable to confront him while armed" type.

  76. James Pollock says:

    "Nothing will teach the true meaning of the word hate like divorce."

    Wow. Shane and I agree on something.

    … was that an earthquake?

  77. Darryl says:

    @Clark

    I should have clarified–If what is reported is true, then. . . yes, he is a hothead who thinks violence is the way to solve things. If it is not true (once we have all the facts), then. . .it proves nothing one way or the other (except, as you said, he had an argument with his soon to be ex-wife and left).

    Also, I said you "appear to be" in his corner. I still am interested if you would be as charitable in believing Z's story if he were an off-duty cop accused of doing the same things. Maybe you would be.

  78. James Pollock says:

    "If a 17 year old is sitting on top of me bashing the back of my head into a concrete sidewalk, I will shoot and kill them. If a 17 year old is merely punching me, I will not."

    Will you put yourself into a situation where a 17-year-old thinks he has a reason to do so? (Either of the above). I mean, I know you say "I wouldn't be in the same situation", but it makes a difference if you assume the first part of killing young Mr. Martin was pulling the gun from its holster, or if you assume the first part of killing young Mr. Martin was following him around.

    "If someone is bashing my head into an object, be it a sidewalk, a brick wall, a car window, whatever, they are intending on doing me serious bodily harm."

    They're trying to knock you out. Granted, the NFL has pretty much demonstrated that enough of that CAN lead to serious bodily harm, and WILL lead to serious bodily harm if repeated sufficiently, but on TV, they make it look SO EASY to knock someone out, if you didn't have experience with ACTUALLY knocking someone out, you could easily be confused as to how hard it actually is to do.
    (Yes, the "I-blame-Hollywood" argument. Far too many people think they know about stuff because they saw it on TV.)

  79. Frank says:

    @James Pollock

    "Will you put yourself into a situation where a 17-year-old thinks he has a reason to do so? (Either of the above). I mean, I know you say "I wouldn't be in the same situation", but it makes a difference if you assume the first part of killing young Mr. Martin was pulling the gun from its holster, or if you assume the first part of killing young Mr. Martin was following him around."

    If you re-read my statement, I said that I would not be in the same situation that Zimmerman found himself in. That does not, preclude, other situations where I could end up on the wrong end of a confrontation through no fault of my own, or even a fault of my own. Since "following him around" has no detrimental health effects to Trayvon, I would have to say that the first part of "killing him" was when the bullet entered his body. Following someone around is not "deadly force". People follow each other around on a daily basis with no ill effects to anyone's health.

    "hey're trying to knock you out. Granted, the NFL has pretty much demonstrated that enough of that CAN lead to serious bodily harm, and WILL lead to serious bodily harm if repeated sufficiently, but on TV, they make it look SO EASY to knock someone out, if you didn't have experience with ACTUALLY knocking someone out, you could easily be confused as to how hard it actually is to do.
    (Yes, the "I-blame-Hollywood" argument. Far too many people think they know about stuff because they saw it on TV.)"

    Assumes facts not in evidence (As in where did it say that Trayvon was only trying to knock Zimmerman out?). A sidewalk (brick wall, car window, et al) can crush your skull rather easily when your skull is stuck on it repeatedly. I am not going to sit there and wait to find out if he is trying to cave my skull in or to "knock me out". Even "trying to knock you out" is grounds for using lethal force in Arizona if you have a reasonable fear that someone is trying to kill or severely injure you. That's like saying that "the sidewalk isn't a deadly weapon". Anything can be a deadly weapon in the right circumstances. If someone comes at me, with hostile intent, with a knife, screwdriver, bat, whatever, I am going to assume that they have the intent on killing me or severely injuring me and am going to act accordingly.

  80. James Pollock says:

    "If you re-read my statement, I said that I would not be in the same situation that Zimmerman found himself in."

    Didn't I say that? Note the difference between "find myself in" and "put myself in".

    "People follow each other around on a daily basis with no ill effects to anyone's health."
    People point guns at each other on a daily basis with no ill effects to anyone's health.
    People even point guns at each other and pull the trigger on a fairly regular basis with no ill effects to anyone's health.

    "If someone comes at me, with hostile intent, with a knife, screwdriver, bat, whatever, I am going to assume that they have the intent on killing me or severely injuring me and am going to act accordingly."
    Did you note the circularlity here? If they come at you with intent, you're going to assume what that intent is.

    My argument isn't that people shouldn't defend themselves, nor even that people shouldn't defend themselves with guns. Rather, it's people who are armed should not intentionally place themselves in positions where they will have to defend themselves with armed force.

    In other words, if you find yourself in a dispute that requires resolution via deadly force, that's one thing. If you went looking for it, that's another.

  81. Sam says:

    I probably would not have put myself into the same situation that Zimmerman did. With that being said, if I somehow ended up in a situation where a 17 year old was sitting on top of me bashing my head into the concrete sidewalk, you're damn right that I would defend myself with lethal force.

    Ok.

    I have two daughters to go home to.

    I fail to see what this has to do with anything I posted.

    In any case, my point was the fact that Zimmerman shot Trayvon to death sets him apart from other citizens in that most other citizens haven't shot anyone to death. Furthermore, as someone pointed out above, Zimmerman sought publicity to fund his defense. The "17 and unarmed" was unnecessary rhetorical flair that I am wont to use because, well, I want to.

  82. Frank says:

    @James Pollock

    You're assuming that Zimmerman went into a situation where he assumed that deadly force was necessary. You have no idea what he assumed when he went into that situation. Neither do I. What I do know is that when the situation escalated he felt the need to defend his life with deadly force, and did so successfully.

    We all find ourselves in situations that get out of hand from time to time. Hell, I have been in situations that I attempted to deescalate and the other party was having none of that and it was rapidly getting out of hand. Just because a situation like this happens doesn't mean that anyone was "looking for a fight". We will never know what was on either party's mind that night. All we know for sure is that one guy is dead and one guy is not. The rest is all sensationalism by the media.

    @Sam

    "I fail to see what this has to do with anything I posted."

    It has everything to do with what you posted. You said, "normal citizen". Normal Citizens have families that they want to live another day to get home to.

    "In any case, my point was the fact that Zimmerman shot Trayvon to death sets him apart from other citizens in that most other citizens haven't shot anyone to death."

    Again, I consider myself to be a normal Citizen. I have never shot anyone to death. I have, however, had to draw a weapon with the intent of defending myself or others against another human being. Until you have been in that situation, you have no idea what you're talking about. It is an absolutely horrific position to find yourself in and probably one of the worst feelings in the world. The aftermath feelings are even worse. I sincerely hope that I do not have to ever use a weapon to take the life of another human being, however, I am prepared to do so should the need arise. Contrary to your belief, and the belief of the Liberal media, most people carrying weapons for self-protection are not out there looking for a gunfight. And I suspect that Zimmerman wasn't as well.

    "The "17 and unarmed" was unnecessary rhetorical flair that I am wont to use because, well, I want to."

    So basically you're saying that you intended to use inflammatory rhetoric to prove your point despite it not being particularly relevant other than to inflame passions. That basically puts you into the same league as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Obama, and the mainstream media with regard to this case. It makes perfect sense now.

  83. repsac3 says:

    "Rather, it's people who are armed should not intentionally place themselves in positions where they will have to defend themselves with armed force."

    There are very reputable gun owner organizations who argue that responsible gun owners should do all they can to avoid such situations. Perhaps it isn't the macho he-man manly thing to do in this age of stand your ground laws and the attitudes that put them into play, but just because you can fire a weapon at someone–even someone who really deserves it–doesn't mean you should willingly enter into situations where you can…or must.

  84. Sam says:

    "I fail to see what this has to do with anything I posted."

    It has everything to do with what you posted. You said, "normal citizen". Normal Citizens have families that they want to live another day to get home to.

    You don't have to have a family to want to live another day.

    Contrary to your belief, and the belief of the Liberal media, most people carrying weapons for self-protection are not out there looking for a gunfight. And I suspect that Zimmerman wasn't as well.

    Where exactly did I express this sentiment?

    So basically you're saying that you intended to use inflammatory rhetoric to prove your point despite it not being particularly relevant other than to inflame passions. That basically puts you into the same league as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Obama, and the mainstream media with regard to this case. It makes perfect sense now.

    Really? 'Inflammatory'? I quoted his age and the fact that he had no weapon on him.

  85. James Pollock says:

    "You're assuming that Zimmerman went into a situation where he assumed that deadly force was necessary."

    If he didn't, why did he go armed? The vast majority of neighborhood watch members do NOT go armed. It is, in fact, the recommendation of the neighborhood watch manual, NOT to.

    People who think they have the superior chance of winning are more likely to pick fights, and less likely to avoid them. That's why this happened; both thought they were more likely to win a fight, but only one of them knew Zimmerman was armed.

    "Just because a situation like this happens doesn't mean that anyone was "looking for a fight"."
    It kind of does. If you have two people who aren't looking for a fight, you, well, don't wind up with a fight. Outside of grade school, middle school tops, I mean.

    " All we know for sure is that one guy is dead and one guy is not."
    We know that one guy was armed prior to their interaction, and the other guy wasn't. We know that one was pursuing the other prior to the their interaction. We know that one is poor at fist-fighting, which is a good reason to carry a firearm but a damn poor one to get involved in fist-fights.

  86. James Pollock says:

    "I have, however, had to draw a weapon with the intent of defending myself or others against another human being."
    Me, too.

    "Contrary to your belief, and the belief of the Liberal media, most people carrying weapons for self-protection are not out there looking for a gunfight."
    No. But a good number of them get their understanding of gunfights from TV (see micro-rant above) and thus have unrealistic expectations.

    "So basically you're saying that you intended to use inflammatory rhetoric to prove your point despite it not being particularly relevant other than to inflame passions."
    "unarmed" is relevant.

    "That basically puts you into the same league as [...] It makes perfect sense now."
    Oh. You're one of those. (Someone who uses the "oh, you're one of those" unnecessary rhetorical flair, I mean.)

  87. TomB says:

    I was going to predict that this thread would turn into an re-trying of Zimmerman v Martin (sic).

    But it was too easy.

  88. Jon says:

    My knee-jerk reaction is usually that the media got it wrong, like they seem to frequently, because getting the story out first is better (more profitable?) than getting it out right.

    The prize one gets for being able to guess the outcome prior to all facts coming to light must be a good one!

  89. TomB says:

    My knee-jerk reaction is usually that the media got it wrong, like they seem to frequently, because getting the story out first is better (more profitable?) than getting it out right.

    The thing that really bothers me is that TMZ had the 911 call within an hour of the event.

    How the hell does that happen?

  90. Sam says:

    The thing that really bothers me is that TMZ had the 911 call within an hour of the event.

    How the hell does that happen?

    Clearly, it was the NSA.

  91. Robert says:

    The problem is people will believe what they want to believe.

    I just searched twitter for Zimmerman Gun. Here's the first post I found, from one minute ago:

    https://twitter.com/_TrxllAhhKai/status/377535523469807617

  92. Shane says:

    @Ron Larson

    Mass media is the exact same thing. Just like fast food, we have lots of choices of junk news and junk entertainment. Cheap, having no value, and when consumed in excess, poisonous. We have to have a media diet.

    @Ron this is awesome.

  93. Ryan says:

    Not much to add to the general sense of "media reports bad; wait for investigation to conclude before passing judgement," except one relatively minor point:

    Shellie Zimmerman has been married to George for a while. She lived with the man. She is privy to the most intimate details of George's life. If she knows that George has a concealed carry permit, habitually carries a firearm, carries it religiously following the trial, and carries it in a certain spot on his person, then observes him placing his hand in that spot…

    …then I, for one, am not going to fault her for saying he has his hand on his firearm. If, indeed, those above statements are true.

    Just saying this whole "question the media reports" thing goes both ways. I don't think Shellie can be called a liar to 911 any more than George should be charged with a crime at this point. Stop speculating, wait for an investigation to draw actual conclusions.

    In this sense, it's a good thing Clark admitted he fails at not passing judgement regularly, because he managed it again in a post where he said he'd suggest trying not to.

  94. Frank says:

    @James Pollock

    "If he didn't, why did he go armed? The vast majority of neighborhood watch members do NOT go armed. It is, in fact, the recommendation of the neighborhood watch manual, NOT to."

    Just about every place that I go, I am armed on one fashion or another. Usually by carrying a concealed firearm. That doesn't mean that I am going out expecting everyone to attack or try to kill me. It means that *IF* someone attacks or tries to kill me, they are going to have a fight on their hands.

    "It kind of does. If you have two people who aren't looking for a fight, you, well, don't wind up with a fight. Outside of grade school, middle school tops, I mean."

    I never said that Trayvon wasn't looking for a fight, we have no way of knowing WHAT he was looking for given that he was out wandering around. He might have been out walking around thinking what a nice night it was or he might have been out walking around casing homes. We will never know. So your "two people that weren't looking for a fight" response is a non-sequitur. Zimmerman *CLAIMS* that he was just doing his duties as a part of the block watch. Of course he's going to claim that. We don't, however know whether it not it is true because he is sticking by his story. I am not assuming that he is telling the truth. The truth is that none of is have any idea of what Trayvon or Zimmerman were or weren't looking for; one is dead and the other is sticking to his story. For all we know Zimmerman might have truly believed that he was doing the right thing. I, personally, think he went about it the wrong way and would not have done it that way. Being armed was *NOT* one of the things that I think that he did wrong.

    I had a side-job for a while back in the early 90s doing unarmed security for apartment complexes in a bad section of town. Despite the prohibition of weapons, I still carried a main weapon (an Auto Ordinance .45ACP if it matters), and a backup weapon (a Browning HiPower 9mm if it matters). I carried these because there *ARE* bad people out there that are intent on doing bad things and don't care that you are just there to "observe and report". You are a witness; someone that can possibly put them in jail. I would rather be fired for carrying a weapon when I wasn't supposed to be than be dead for not carrying one when I needed it. As a side note, despite being in bad parts of town, I never once had to draw a weapon while doing this job.

    "We know that one is poor at fist-fighting, which is a good reason to carry a firearm but a damn poor one to get involved in fist-fights."

    You're assuming that he intended to get involved in a fist fight. Just because it turned out that way doesn't prove intent. Following someone doesn't necessarily mean that he even planned on confronting him at all. For all we know, he may have been following him as a part of the "observe and report" duties of being a part of the block watch.

    He didn't pull his weapon during the "fist fight" portion of the altercation. He pulled the weapon during the "Holy fuck he's bashing my head into a concrete sidewalk and might kill me." portion of the altercation, which was backed up by forensic evidence. That, my friend, is not unarmed.

  95. TM says:

    If he didn't, why did he go armed?

    I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest "because he had a CCP, and those are sort of useless if you don't intend on carrying."

  96. barry says:

    I want to play too. "Balloon boy dad thinks" only got 7 google hits (now it will be 8)

  97. Robert says:

    If you read the testimony, you would have known that Zimmerman was going out to run some errands, and he wasn't "on patrol" for his neighborhood watch when he observed a young man acting erratically, looking into windows, walking through backyards, and stumbling about.

  98. Robert says:

    >Zimmerman *CLAIMS* that he was just doing his duties as a part of the block watch.

    Zimmerman NEVER claimed this. He said he was on his way to go shopping.

  99. Tarrou says:

    My god I am tired of people re-litigating this case in the court of public opinion. Who gives a fuck anymore? Apparently a lot of people. I was sick of it before the original case even hit trial stage.

    There are some honest-to-god grassy-knoll level nuts here rehashing this shit. People need to accept the limitations of what we can know, and move the fuck on.

    Oh, and anyone who believes the first awful accusation made by a party to a divorce, I has a nice beachfront house with an attached marina in central New Mexico for sale. Seriously, were people born last night on the back of the proverbial turnip truck?

    Tribalism in action can be an ugly, ugly thing.

  100. James Pollock says:

    "I was going to predict that this thread would turn into an re-trying of Zimmerman v Martin (sic).
    But it was too easy."

    There would have to be a trying of Zimmerman v. Martin before you can have a retrying. All we've had is people v. Zimmerman, which (you may have heard) left some issues unsettled.

  101. James Pollock says:

    "I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest "because he had a CCP, and those are sort of useless if you don't intend on carrying."

    First off, that's a circular argument. You need a permit to carry concealed, so now having a permit is the REASON to carry?

    Second, having a permit and not carrying is NOT useless, if enough people do it. The point of concealing is that the bad guys don't know you're carrying until too late. Further, since they won't know in advance if someone is carrying or not, perhaps they'll choose a different path in life than to hassle a person who may or may not be able to respond with deadly force (when legally permitted to do so, of course). So, if a bunch of people get permits even if they only carry occasionally, or even if they don't carry at all, that drives up the reported number of carry permits out there, thus increasing the doubt in the pool of would-be felons, again, perhaps convincing some of them to pursue other opportunities.

  102. TomB says:

    There would have to be a trying of Zimmerman v. Martin before you can have a retrying. All we've had is people v. Zimmerman, which (you may have heard) left some issues unsettled.

    Oh Dear God. If you look really, REALLY hard, you'll see I added (sic) after Zimmerman v Martin because I just knew some pedant would feel it necessary to point out what everybody already knew. I didn't think someone would then be so anal-retentive as to ignore the (sic) because it isn't really the proper use of sic erat scriptum.

    Congratulations.

  103. James Pollock says:

    "You're assuming that he intended to get involved in a fist fight. Just because it turned out that way doesn't prove intent."

    He put himself, while armed, in a situation where a fistfight was likely. Either one of those, alone, is inobjectionable; together, they are a problem.
    Consider the possibilities:
    1) Martin is a criminal. In that case, following him is looking for trouble. Criminals do criminal things, like beat people up, or even shoot them.
    2) Martin is not a criminal. In that case, what are you following him for?

  104. TomB says:

    Back from the thread-hijacking:

    Just saying this whole "question the media reports" thing goes both ways. I don't think Shellie can be called a liar to 911 any more than George should be charged with a crime at this point. Stop speculating, wait for an investigation to draw actual conclusions.

    From the 911 transcript:

    SZ: He punched my dad on the nose. My dad has a mark on his face.

    SZ: Dad do you need medical?….He says no, but I think he does need medical. He is shaken. He says he feels like he is going to have a heart attack. His nose. Yes you do because your nose looks like it could be broken. I think he should have a medical. If we could have an ambulance come.

    According to authorities, Shellie's father did not have any visible injuries.

    http://www.abcactionnews.com/dpp/news/region_tampa/lake-mary-police-are-now-calling-into-question-several-statements-shellie-zimmerman-made-to-911#ixzz2eX1BuvnZ

  105. ShelbyC says:

    Huh. From CNN: Attorney Mark O'Mara drops George Zimmerman

    ""I am not representing George Zimmerman in his recent domestic altercation case or his impending divorce case," O'Mara told CNN."

    I don't think this counts as "dropping" him.

  106. Laura says:

    I opened my feed reader this afternoon to read Ken's article on Pax Dickinson right before I read this one. I would apply his premise to George Zimmerman – without getting into an opinion on his past actions, the fact that his past actions drew so much national and media attention it is not hard to imagine him with a gun in another circumstance. So when I heard the news yesterday? I wasn't surprised. I predict that situations like this will arise repeatedly in George Zimmerman's life for years to come. (see also OJ Simpson)

  107. JAWolf says:

    I am going to have get a restraining order to get Clark out of my head, since I was thinking along almost precisely these lines today. Zimmerman has become Goldstien for the loathsome chatterers. And they and their allies will ever hunt him. He dared be innocent when they needed him guilty. Therefore he must be made guilty or destroyed.

  108. Patterico says:

    This is a question and not a challenge, so read it as though I am speaking in an inquiring and non-aggressive voice: Clark, have you found an article that supports the points you made in the post yet? I started to comment that the article does not seem to support what you said, and to wonder aloud if there was other support out there. Then I saw at least two other people make the same point. Now I am wondering (since I haven't had a chance to read the news today) whether you have found that other article. I would be interested to read it.

    I think the overall point of advocating that we wait to draw conclusions from media reports is a good one, especially since we all know media reports are often utter crap.

    As a general rule: people sometimes make phony 911 calls. Also, people sometimes make genuine ones and then later take back what they said. This is why I would be interested to read a story that purports to tell us the "truth" about what actually happened. I would be highly skeptical that the absolute truth could be revealed with certainty so quickly, absent unusual circumstances.

  109. tern says:

    Clark's points:

    Zimmerman and his wife were dividing marital property and she showed up at the house when she was not expected.

    Although Shellie Zimmerman's parents own the house, O'Mara told reporters that only George Zimmerman lives there. Shellie moved out, and they had an agreement that she would take her belongings Saturday. But she and her father returned unexpectedly Monday, O'Mara said."

    Zimmerman did not punch his father-in-law in the nose.

    Unconfirmed. And by unconfirmed, I mean that I was unable to find any news reports confirming that Zimmerman punched his father-in-law in the nose, simply that his wife made an allegation that he did.

    The father-in-law's nose was unmarked.

    According to authorities, Shellie's father did not have any visible injuries.

    "Shellie Zimmerman's father and Zimmerman "put hands on each other" but there were no injuries and the father doesn't want to press charges either, Hudson said."

    Zimmerman had no gun on his person or in his car

    "'We did not find a gun, did not locate a weapon,' said Zach Hudson, public information officer with the Lake Mary Police Department. 'Nobody ever saw a gun. A gun is not part of this story.'"

    [ implicitly ] the 911 phone call was full of lies

    Apparently, the police felt that her call wasn't entirely accurate.

    There are also other inconsistencies police pointed to on the 911.

    Zimmerman was not arrested.

    Well, Ken is right – what happened ought to have been called an arrest. But they have been calling it an "investigative detention."


    "Officers detained George Zimmerman but never arrested him, police said. Detectives later came to the home to interview him."

    Hope I got the link code right.

  110. Anony Mouse says:

    Man… I thought the national media didn't cover "local crime stories" (see: Gosnel), but now we've got national coverage of a speeding ticket and a domestic disturbance.

    Who knew that municipal violations were national concerns?

  111. Sami says:

    I think it's valuable, when drawing conclusions based on reportage of events with any kind of political element, to include, always, the phrase: "If that's true, then…"

    It's both covering yourself and a reminder to yourself and others. If that's true, then… is, so long as you remain reasonable, unassailable. If it turns out it's not true, then your conclusion doesn't apply, but you didn't say it should. If it is true, you're fine. And you have reminded yourself and anyone you're talking to that it's not guaranteed to be true.

    Essentially:

    "If it's true that Barack Obama is actually a robot lizard built on the Isle of Wight, then his election to the presidency of the United States should be invalidated."

    Well, it isn't true, so it shouldn't, on that basis, but that statement is not inherently stupid incorrect.

  112. James Pope says:

    When Tiger Woods ran into a pole leaving his house it was news. I don't see how covering Zimmerman (who was a participant in a high profile criminal case with national implications thanks to its politicized nature) is much less credible media coverage than a golfer who liked to cheat on his wife getting found out. Zimmerman might have never wanted any media coverage, but I doubt Tiger wanted people interviewing his mistresses either. And if free speech means anything then it also means the media gets to walk the fine line of being up in anyone's shit if they don't slander or break any privacy laws…

    Even I see that as a fundamentally libertarian axis sort of issue I agree with – it's the free market of information. Why is it suddenly "bad" when it's something like this that people decide other people are interested enough to generate ad revenue for?

  113. Courtney says:

    "Yesterday we heard that he was arrested for threatening the wife who asked for a divorce with a gun."

    The wording of this sentence makes it sound like his wife asked for a divorce while holding a gun. You might consider revising.

  114. EAB says:

    And today we have still more information:

    Shellie Zimmerman's father told police George hit him.
    Security cameras showed him destroying the tablet.
    A third-party witness told police he saw George reach for what he thought was a gun and tell Shellie's father "Come closer, you're threatening me."
    The woman who was with George in the car told police there were licensed guns in the car.

    Puts rather a different spin on it when there is a third-party witness to the threats to shoot them, and when people on George's side are now admitting there were guns present, doesn't it?

  115. EAB says:

    Also, the Orlando Sentinel now says that police documented bruises on Shellie's father's nose:

    Zimmerman and Shellie's father, David Dean, had words, the [police] report said, and got into a fight in the garage. The two sides disagree on who was the aggressor and who did what, but Dean wound up with a punch in the nose that police documented with a photograph.

  116. Nciccheck says:

    Why did she use a gun to request a divorce? Reread your sentence carefully.

    "Yesterday we heard that he was arrested for threatening the wife who asked for a divorce with a gun."

  1. September 10, 2013

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