Tribalism and racism are the 1%’s best friends, as we see in the shooting of Trayvon Martin

Summary:  Conservatives have exploited the shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman.  Inciting tribalism, even racism — the 1%’s best friends. They seek to cloud the facts, exploiting the usual mish-mash of conflicting evidence to paint a simple false picture that arouses hatred of minorities and mistrust of the news media.

Divide et impera
— Divide and rule, a maxim that served Rome well

(1)  A useful summary

What we know about the incident, and the latest news:

On the other side, we have conservative activist Kyle Rogers blogging at the examiner website, using exaggeration and misrepresentation to paint a false picture of the incident.  This received considerable attention.  What’s disturbing is the attention this racist screed received on military threads, suggesting that the picture of a happy multiracial military has less substance than we hoped.

These incidents serve a valuable role for the 1%, serving to arouse tribal emotions and prevent Americans from realizing their common interests.  They have played this game well since the Founding.  Indians, Afro-Americans, various immigrants — all serve as others against which to arouse mob emotions.

We need not play their game.  Calm and patience will service us well when thinking about incidents such as Trayvon Martin’s shooting. The facts will come out eventually.  A rush to judgement often produces wrong conclusions, especially on the scraps released by the police and uncovered by the news media.

(2)  More evidence gathered by the Orlando Sentinel

(3)  Update — a last note about George Zimmerman

OK, it looks like this post counts as a win — and the critics were wrong.

Yet Again, George Zimmerman Proves He’s Violent, Aggressive, and Confrontational“, Jamelle Bouie, The Daily Beast, 29 November 2013 — Zimmerman’s recent arrest for domestic violence, and attempt to pin the blame on his girlfriend, should put an end to the debate over Trayvon Martin’s killing.

What to make of George Zimmerman’s Latest Arrest“, Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic, 19 November 2013 — “What to make of a third violent incident involving the man who killed Trayvon Martin”

There’s Something Wrong With a Country That Lets George Zimmerman Have a Gun“, Amanda Marcotte, Slate, 19 November 2013

(4) For More Information: about our struggle to adapt to a new century

  1. Which is better? Rioting in France and Greece or snoozing in America?, 28 October 2010
  2. Polarization and hot rhetoric conceal two similar political parties. Will we ever notice?, 29 October 2010
  3. We have the leaders we deserve. Visit MacDonald’s to learn why., 30 October 2010
  4. The problem with America lies in our choice of heroes, 2 November 2010
  5. The Enigma of American Power, 8 November 2010
  6. Why China will again rise to the top. About their most important advantage over America., 11 November 2010
  7. The story of the early 21st century: the future arrives, forcing us to build a new world order, 6 December 2010

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49 thoughts on “Tribalism and racism are the 1%’s best friends, as we see in the shooting of Trayvon Martin

  1. I can’t help but to think how ridiculous the summery for this accumulation of opinion pieces is.

    Is FM proposing that the ‘1%’ made this a national story? Please provide proof before developing a hypothesis that:
    A.) defines the 1% as conservative, and
    B.) that this story has been nationalized by the 1%

    Before you go all 1% controls the invisible mob, I recommend a little Honest Abe. Lyceum Address, Abraham Lincoln, Jan 1838 — Relevant excerpts:

    At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never!–All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

    At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

    … I know the American People are much attached to their Government; I know they would suffer much for its sake; I know they would endure evils long and patiently, before they would ever think of exchanging it for another. Yet, notwithstanding all this, if the laws be continually despised and disregarded, if their rights to be secure in their persons and property, are held by no better tenure than the caprice of a mob, the alienation of their affections from the Government is the natural consequence; and to that, sooner or later, it must come. Here then, is one point at which danger may be expected.

    The question recurs, “how shall we fortify against it?” The answer is simple. Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others. As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor;–let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the character of his own, and his children’s liberty. Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap–let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs;–let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

    While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

    When I so pressingly urge a strict observance of all the laws, let me not be understood as saying there are no bad laws, nor that grievances may not arise, for the redress of which, no legal provisions have been made.–I mean to say no such thing. But I do mean to say, that, although bad laws, if they exist, should be repealed as soon as possible, still while they continue in force, for the sake of example, they should be religiously observed. So also in unprovided cases. If such arise, let proper legal provisions be made for them with the least possible delay; but, till then, let them, if not too intolerable, be borne with.

    1. Aesop,

      (1) What is the relevance of the Lincoln quote to this situation? He concludes that “When I so pressingly urge a strict observance of all the laws”. Which is what the public protests ask for, a reverals of the police’s initial refusal to investigate this shooting.

      (2) “defines the 1% as conservative”

      It’s a small pool, and so difficult to study at that level. We do know that richer white people vote more Republican (source). The influence of the super-rich is easy to see. In 2011–2012 the 100 biggest individual donors to super PACs make up only 3.7% of the contributors but supply more than 80% of the cash. For more information see:

      (3) “That this story has been nationalized by the 1%”

      I never said that it was. Merely that they’ve benefited from conservatives (many of which they support through the infrastructure built during the past several decades) fanning the flames.

    2. This is the re-emergence of an archetypal conflict between the slaves and the foremen who were hired by the plantation owners to control the slaves.

      Slaves = “ghetto” people (underclass, economically and/or educationally disadvantaged, usually non-white)

      Plantation Foremen = “law and order” males, usually white/light skinned, one level above slaves. Zimmerman is a symbol. Many in the military share the value system and beliefs, sense of honor. Will accept a role in social injustices as a trade off for their own social/career advance (or opportunity to exercise a misplaced sense of duty to country?).

      Plantation owners = Apartment owner association in this case, symbolizes “aspirations” of those who want to avoid the “ghetto” and its images. Also, the ruling elites in general, presumably “conservative” local government, mainly representing the business community, and so forth.

  2. I usually find this site to be extremely enlightening, perhaps made even more so by my agreement with the thoughts presented. however, you lost me on this one — it was the liberal MSM addicted to finding a “cause” supporting the only race card they really like to play, white on black that fanned this admittedly sad event from a small campfire to a national forest fire.

    Why did we not get attention to the 13 year old white boy doused with gasoline on his own front porch a few days ago by two black teenagers? When they lit the match that burned the child they said “You get what you deserve white boy.” Racism, it cannot be denied. Totally unprovoked, evidently. Horrible, you bet. Did Al Sharpton protest, if the burnt child is not a possible son of Obama’s, he is still a son of America’s. How about the 85 year old women, raped and bludgeoned to death by a black 17 year old in her house, who also decided to shoot her 90 year old husband in the face. These are only two incidents out of many that occurred during the same month as the race baiting, media hyped events in Florida.

    You are totally off base here…this “kid” was a 6’2″ physically intimidating hooded black man in a neighborhood that has been consistently burgled with a shooting as well over the past year. An out of control event, mishandled with clearly unnecessary force, by a “white” Hispanic –yes, but a rallying point for every race spewing radical in the MSM drawing the attention of the aging leaders of the professional race card crowd, absolutely not.

    1. Let’s see if we can cut through tstraus’ fog.

      (1) The incident he refers to is described here: “Teens set kid on fire for being ‘white boy’“, NY Daily News, 4 March 2012.

      (2) What’s the difference between the two incidents? One is another episode in the daily parade of violence that is today’s America (though at rates far befow the peak). The other appears to be police misconduct, their refusal to investigate a shooting of a black man by a white man. They did not interview witnesses or the 911 tapes until forced to do so by public protest. That’s toxic, undercutting the respect for the law absolutely necessary if America is to survive.

      More interesting, why is it necessary to point this out?

      (3) “this “kid” was a 6’2″ physically intimidating hooded black man”

      And your point is what? That he could be shot on sight?

      There is evidence indicating that Zimmerman chased Martin down and killed him (and some contrary evidence). You appear to just take the evidence that pleases you, toss the rest, and construct a pretty story. That so many people do so illustrates exactly what I describe in this post. This disinterest in facts makes us easy to manipulate. But of course that’s characteristic of sheep.

    2. Also, lost in America’s amnesia about our past, is the historical context for Martin’s death.

      For centuries a primary task of the State law-enforcment machinery in the South was opporession of Blacks. Not just during the era of slavery. After the end of reconstruction, Southern whites conducted a successful insurgency. They regained control of State and local governments and partially reestablished oppression of Blacks — for the next century. The slow process of ending that began only during WWII, with each President taking steps — fighting Southern governments to restore Constitutional rights to Blacks. It was largely a Federal vs. State/local conflict, buring hot right through the 1960s — and slowly fading afterwards. See here for a summary of this sad history.

      So the fears about police racism in the Martin-Zimmerman have sound historical roots. We should not forget that history, or pretend it left no legacy.

    3. The reason that Trayvon Martin’s case receives more attention that other, perhaps even more horrifying incidents of black on white violence, is that fact the police did not do their due diligence in investigating Zimmerman.

      I really appreciate this article and the fact that FM is linking economic injustice with fear and hatred.

      Another good example of how hate divides the country is how the Health Care Debate is now framed. Originally, debate and the need for an Affordable Health Care Act came out of a fleeting national concern that people should not be turned away from emergency rooms and allowed to die because of lack of health care. Now, we are saying that Obama shouldn’t force us to pay our way, and if people “Choose” not to pay for healthcare, it is OK to let them die.

      Show me three examples of how the conservative elite are doing anything to unite and bind American society, both conservatives and liberals, together? There are so many common themes, but they are all economic and hurt the 1%. I don’t think this article was so off-base….

    4. FM, I am constrained for time, so allow me to quote others:

      Every year hundreds of Americans are shot and killed under controversial circumstances, where the evidence is incomplete and subject to dispute, often making impossible an immediate charge of murder or manslaughter, at least until further witnesses or information come forth.

      We, the public, rarely, if ever, hear of such tragedies. These certainly are not national news items. What, then, made the Trayvon Martin shooting so different?

      A few unpleasant facts were assumed that explain the subsequent protests—and the growing backlash against the protests. I think they run something like this, presented here without much editorial commentary.

      1. If Trayvon Martin had been white, or George Zimmerman had been black, or had both been black or both white, there would have been no outrage: 94% of murdered blacks are killed by other blacks, to almost no national outcry. Just this past Friday in Florida, fourteen were gunned down (two killed) to silence (at a funeral parlor, no less), as the protestors of the single Martin fatality went ahead with further demonstrations.

      Whites are far more likely to be murdered by blacks than vice versa, despite the latter comprising only 11-12% of the population — again to no national outcry. The distinction in this case was that Martin was black. Zimmerman was not. The rule in America is apparently that only rare white on black crime — not far more common black on black, or black on white, or white on white — is symbolic of larger pathologies, both past and present. In earlier decades of American history, the reverse was more likely true: black on white crime aroused public furor in a way white on white or black on black or white on black crime did not. That fact in time was accepted as clearly symptomatic of racial bias, but the inverse of that today is said not to be.

      2. If George Zimmerman had been black and not charged with a felony, there would have been no outcry — given that black assailants of other blacks often are not charged because of the occasional difficulty of obtaining eyewitnesses’ affidavits and the unwillingness of many to testify in court (especially in gang-related violence), as well as the use of the self-defense plea. If no one comes forward with enough information to arrest all those who shot up a Florida funeral parlor last Friday, wounding fourteen and killing two, no one I fear will care all that much. Again, the apparent problem in the Martin case was that the one who was not immediately charged was white — and that again made it symbolic of supposedly larger pathologies.

      3. George Zimmerman allegedly used a racial slur caught on tape. I say allegedly since the recording is scratchy and unclear. Yet we know the deceased self-identified himself on his twitter account with the N-word. One problem in this case is that everyone did not realize that someone not black who may have or have not invoked a racial slur is thereby rightly suspect — whereas one who is black may use racial slurs aplenty with impunity, understood as they are as terms of intimacy or endearment. When whites, remember, use racial epithets, it is symptomatic of larger pathologies; when blacks do, it enters the realm of sociological exegesis. It does not matter that there are social implications to young black males referring to each other with the infamous N-word — from matters of proverbial self-esteem to lowering the bar for the usage of such a slur by others. It matters only that non-blacks accept that they will hear the N-word frequently in rap lyrics, in movies, on some radio, and in colloquial speech and that they nevertheless realize that the omnipresent smear has not in fact now transmogrified into mere slang.

      4. George Zimmerman, we are told, had credit problems. He had brushes with the law. He apparently displayed in the past a bad temper. All that was considered to be necessary background information to understand his motives on the night of the shooting. Trayvon Martin was suspended from school three times, for allegedly possessing drug paraphernalia, defacing school property with obscene graffiti, and possessing items not his own, as well as posting on the internet some disturbing references to apparent criminal activity. All such information was announced to be irrelevant to the issue of whether Martin may have provoked a fight, broken Mr. Zimmerman’s nose, or pounded the latter’s head into the pavement. Such background information about Martin was considered character assassination — that about Zimmerman a key to his criminal psyche. Whether such distinctions were predicated on the fact that Mr. Martin was black and Zimmerman white, or, conversely, that Mr. Martin was shot in the altercation and Mr. Zimmerman shot him, is not entirely clear.

      From: http://pjmedia.com/victordavishanson/from-the-trayvon-martin-tragedy-to-a-national-travesty/

    5. Hey James,

      What this is really about is political symbolism. Did you ever read Tom Wolf Bonfire of the Vanities? Everyone was wrong, no one was right. The judge said “you people have no human decency”. Wiki on the original historical meaning of “Bonfire of the Vanities”:

      “The focus of this destruction was nominally on objects that might tempt one to sin, including vanity items… “

      The “liberal” national media elites see their role as being upholders of the nobility and purity of images and symbols of social progress. This includes the shifting of the “cultural center of gravity” away from traditional and conservative institutions, including local institutions in the former slave owning regions. The media elites use their powers to elicit an expected signal from law enforcement and local government in the former slave regions. Such signals contain “code” indicating that local police/government are willing to at least pay lip services to the need for a shift in the center of gravity of the culture to the left (toward “diversity”, pluralism, etc.).

      The facts will be made to fit, to the extent possible, the needs of those managing political symbolism.

      At a local level, my guess is that it is about perceptions, and the tensions between “ghetto” people and middle/upper class people. Class more than race, but there is an overlap.

      No one expects perfect justice in the USA, especially these days. To state the obvious, the criminal “justice” system is heavily slanted against poor black males, and is deeply and systemically corrupt in the sense that poor black men are disproportionately exploited by it. Wealthy, white “conservatives” set up all those dynamics, and should expect to get their noses punched by the “liberal” media as a result (every once in a while).

      But of course some of them are too whiny and cowardly to take their punishment like real men.

    6. WTF, I suspect you learn nothing from replies — even simple facts. So I’ll pick just one sentence.

      WTF: “The ‘liberal’ national media elites see their role as being upholders of the nobility and purity of images and symbols of social progress.”

      Can you provide any support for that? Studies, quotations, evidence? Or do you just free-associate at your keyboard, and assume what comes out is accurate and useful?

    7. That is what I was told by a black lesbian diversity coach. No kidding. Taxpayer money well spent.

      Posturing around racism is a waste and will get you nowhere. It is self evident that there is a deep current of hatred and distrust of white people in black culture in the USA, and the reasons should be obvious. Some progress has been made by both sides, but it is not complete.

      To repeat: in “Bonfire”, everyone is wrong. The judge yells into the mob frenzy “have you people no human decency?”.

      It is self-evident that the liberal elites instrumentalize race as part of their tendency toward political correctness, thought policing and bullying/scapegoating. In other words, they are mirroring racism, inverting it as per their own anti-conservative bigotry.

      Many blacks use the resulting toxified climate as the basis of their power in “negotiating” their relationships with white people. And anyone that dares to disagree is subject to attack, possibly vicious, institutionalized attack.

      The idea that a group of oppressed people can be raised up by diminishing another group by reversing the mechanics of prejudice is malicious, and is a big part of what got us into the mess that race relations are in this country.

      A clever but dishonest person can find “proof” to support any position, but that doesn’t mean that they are people that uphold principles in a meaningful way.

      It is interesting that some people can’t see how despicable their cowardice looks to other people.

    8. Three comments in reply to WTF:

      (1) I hope you don’t argue with your spouse like this. “While it’s true I forgot to pick you up at the airport, let me explain what’s wrong with the institution of marriage.” Nothing you said is relevant to this post about the rush to judgement following the shooting of Martin by Zimmerman. You’re changing the subject to obscure the issue at hand.

      (2) If you were shot by someone, you’d probably object if his defense attorney used the “don’t accuse my client, accuse the system” trope. Nothing you said is relevant to the shooting of Martin by Zimmerman. The larger factors you describe, however true (and I largely agree), are irrelevant to this post.

      (3) Your analysis of the big picture is absurdly (pitifully, comically) one-sided. The members of the black underclass must take responsibility for their behavior. But the US must take responsibility for the hundreds of years of oppression that played the largest role in producing this underclass, from the 17th century until the slow process of unwinding their oppression after WWII — which took root in the late 1960s. Not that long ago, as social dynamics go. The Florida police demonstrated that the process remains incomplete in the Martin-Zimmerman incident — and the ones like it during the past few years.

  3. A few thoughts..

    1) It is not just conservatives exploiting the situation. Al Sharpton and co are certainly not helping matters here.

    2) Let’s not assume that racism had anything to do with the killing. We don’t know what was in Zimmerman’s mind. Although it seems as if racism did have something to do with the atrocious police response.

    3) Zimmerman instigated the incident. You can’t chase someone who is running away from you and claim self defense. If anything, Martin had the right to stand his ground!

    PS: please fix the typo in the title.

    1. Braganca,

      (1) Good point; thanks for brining it up. Although Sharpton and his ilk have only tiny fraction of the well-funded conservative machine’s influence, it is a pernicious influence. To say that Al Sharpton is a demagogue and conman is to repeat myself. Two articles describe this:

      (2) We cannot make any certain inferences as yet, esp abuot something so inherently difficult as motivations. But the record does suggest Zimmerman reported young black men who were guilty only of walking near him.

      (3) That is the key point: the 9-11 tape strongly indicates that Zimmerman pursued Martin, contrary to the operator’s instructions.

      (4) Thanks for catching the typo!

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

    P.S. NBC launches internal probe how could it happen. Don’t waste time. We all know how staff like that “happens” in soviet America.

  5. all of you make very good points, however–a few rambling thoughts if i might. Al Sharpton and his ilk do not need massive funding behind them to receive more attention than those that do when there are opportunities to push their totally self-serving race screaming agenda as is the case in this sad story. They have the entire MSM giving them support–with their inverse racism, driven by a radical liberal intolerance of anyone disagreeing with their unwavering belief in that all crimes by blacks are the result of the white mans oppression and that white on black homicides, though rare must be innately racist crimes.

    Fabius, I suppose you are omnipotent and all seeing and know the truth here when few, of course except the media, have been able to determine the facts in the case but where the many have already tried and convicted Mr. Zimmerman, that “white” Hispanic? Have we forgotten the rush to judgement and the lynching mobs that figuratively hung a few inappropriately behaved lacrosse players at Duke only a few short years ago?

    ( by the way is Obama a “white” African American because of his white mother? Is he called a mulatto American by anyone?)

    Do you have other instances for the record of the local police force being accused of racism or acts that would betray an entrenched institutionalized racist bias where they might justify the inference you have made that the police force would favor a Hispanic over an African American based on racist tendencies rather than the facts as they saw them at the time?

    Frankly, this whole overblown bullshit of a media, race baiting, circus just draws attention away from the rapidly unfolding destruction of this country. I am afraid that the almost completed corrosion of the rule of law in this country is a color blind process, and knows no real difference in left or right among the political elite. Obama and his ilk are nothing more than the representatives of the left wing faction of the same party, the Fascist Empire of the United States of America. Fanning the flames of racial division, besides diverting the attention of a lobotomized public and the eager propagandists in the media, creates an atmosphere justifying the increasing power of the federal government to control police at even the most local levels. I am surprised the they have not yet found a national security interest in this case so that the long arm of the DHS and the national security state could march right along with the reverend Al and Jesse–two such upstanding citizens.

    Far too tired to have written anything here tonight. Forgive the rambling verbosity and disjointed thoughts…this damn event is a red herring and so unworthy of the massive attention it has received.

    1. tstraus,

      You raise too many points to deal with, so I’ll take them in sequence until I tire.

      (1) “Al Sharpton and his ilk do not need massive funding behind them to receive more attention than those that do when there are opportunities to push their totally self-serving race screaming agenda”

      Do you have any evidence for this, or are you just making stuff up? In fact you appear to be just making up lots and lots of stuff in the this paragraph. Let’s skip ahead in search of actual content.

      (2) “a radical liberal intolerance of anyone disagreeing with their unwavering belief in that all crimes by blacks are the result of the white mans oppression”

      This is delusional, beyond comment.

      (3) “Fabius, I suppose you are omnipotent and all seeing and know the truth here”

      That’s quite a weird statement, since I explicitly draw few conclusions — and no big ones — about this incident. As in the conclusion:

      “Calm and patience will service us well when thinking about incidents such as Trayvon Martin’s shooting. The facts will come out eventually. A rush to judgement often produces wrong conclusions, especially on the scraps released by the police and uncovered by the news media.”

      (4) “when few, of course except the media have been able to determine the facts in the case”

      The major news media have in general carefully mustered the known facts, somewhat contradictory (as usual). I give a link to a summary article, which you obviously did not read.

      (5) “Have we forgotten the rush to judgement and the lynching mobs that figuratively hung a few inappropriately behaved lacrosse players at Duke only a few short years ago?”

      More evidence that you did not read the post, since I used the exact same phrase “rush to judgement”.

      (6) “by the way is Obama a “white” African American because of his white mother? Is he called a mulatto American by anyone?”

      Of what relevance is this? First, people of different races can be racist to one another. Such as Hispanic to Black. Second, as mentioned countless times in the new coverage of this incident, the key racial aspect is that of the police.

      (7) “Do you have other instances for the record of the local police force being accused of racism or acts that would betray an entrenched institutionalized racist bias where they might justify the inference you have made that the police force would favor a Hispanic over an African American based on racist tendencies rather than the facts as they saw them at the time? ”

      You should read about the facts before writing such belligerent comments. Mother Jones, 18 March 2012 (follow the links to the sources):

      Sanford PD’s officers have suffered a series of public missteps in recent years, according to local reporters. In 2006 two private security guards — the son of a Sanford police officer, and a volunteer for the department — killed a black teen with a single gunshot in his back. Even though they admitted to never identifying themselves, the guards were released without charges. In 2009, after an assailant allegedly attempted to rape a child in her home, the department was called to task for sitting on the suspect’s fingerprints, delaying identification and pursuit of the attacker.

      Perhaps the most significant incident occurred in late 2010: Justin Collison, the son of a Sanford PD lieutenant, sucker-punched a homeless black man outside a bar, and officers on the scene released Collison without charges. He eventually surrendered after video of the incident materialized online. The police chief at the time was ultimately forced into retirement. “Bottom line, we didn’t do our job that night,” a Police Department representative told WFTV of the incident. The TV station later learned that the Sanford patrol sergeant in charge on the night of Collison’s assault, Anthony Raimondo, was also the first supervisor on the scene of Trayvon Martin’s shooting death.

      I could continue, but what’s the point? The rest of your comment is just as foolish, and your eyes and mind are probably tight.

  6. Pure baseless speculation following:

    Why was Zimmerman unable to handle this young man if it was indeed self defense? Come on, a 16 year old boy versus a grown man?! And he wanted to be a cop?! It’s kind of a wussy move to go straight to a gun even if he did get smashed a little bit. If this was a fight, it was probably Zimmerman’s first.

    I am always skeptical of people who insist on concealed carry permits and such because of this. You should be a man and hold your own without a gun, or at least give way to someone who does know how to handle the situation.

    1. “The finality is almost overwhelming. ”

      Only because we’re sheep. Men would easily free themselves from this situation. As we can, if we wish to be free.

  7. Stand Your Ground laws coincide with jump in justifiable-homicide cases“, Washington Post, 7 April 2012 — Opening:

    When Billy Kuch knocked on the wrong door, he had a cigarette in one hand and a shirt in the other. The homeowner, Gregory Stewart, stepped outside, stood his ground, fired a round from his semiautomatic into Kuch’s chest, and in the eyes of the state of Florida, committed no crime.

    Three years after that shooting, in a Land O’ Lakes subdivision called Stagecoach Village, Kuch is alive but damaged by his injuries and the shock of being shot at point-blank range. Stewart is free but lying low, still sought out by neighbors and others who want him to account for his actions.

    I have no problem with people owning guns to protect themselves,” says Bill Kuch, Billy’s father. “But somehow, we’ve reached the point where the shooter’s word is the law. The victim doesn’t even get his day in court. I don’t think most Americans realize it, but that’s where we are.”

    In Florida and across the country, “Stand Your Ground” laws — the same kind of legislation that authorities cited for not arresting a neighborhood-watch volunteer after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed in Florida in February — have coincided with a sharp increase in justifiable-homicide cases. …

  8. Recommended reading, an excellent summary of the incident and background context: “Trayvon Martin Case Spotlights Florida Town’s History Of ‘Sloppy’ Police Work“, Huffington Post, 9 April 2012 — Excerpt:

    “All this with Trayvon is just bringing the light on the Sanford Police Department,” Ruffin said. “This happened for a reason.”

    Martin’s killing has sparked national outrage. But it is not the first criminal investigation to upset Sanford’s black community, whose leaders say police have repeatedly failed to properly investigate crimes involving black victims.
    A string of recent scandals involving department personnel has added to community anger. In the past three years, officers have been caught demanding bribes from motorists, fabricating evidence and drawing weapons unlawfully.

    “They’re notorious for mishandling investigations, not doing any follow-ups on various leads, or saying that they can’t get any leads,” said Turner Clayton, president of the local branch of the NAACP. “When a victim’s loved one asks for an update, the only thing they can say is, ‘We don’t have anything now,'” he said. “Seems like they never get anything at all.”

  9. Yet more race-bating at National Review

    A fine example of fanning the flames in order to keep GOP rank-and-file ignorant and alienated from US society. Lots of big statements. Incendiary statements. But zero evidence. No quotes. No citations. Just Hanson letting his weird imagination run wild. And on planet GOP he’s considered an intellectual.

    Walking Back the Trayvon Martin Hysteria“, Victor Davis Hanson, National Review Online, 5 April 2012 — Opening:

    If one suggests that there may not be, at least as yet, enough evidence to overturn the initial police decision of not charging Mr. Zimmerman with a crime, then one is a de facto racist.

    In other words, the liberal position of letting all the evidence be reexamined in a dispassionate fashion is now illiberal. And the illiberal one of charging someone with a felony without established probable cause is liberal. But just arresting and charging a suspect to let a judge or jury post facto decide whether there was ever probable cause for such an arrest is neither liberal nor consistent with American jurisprudence.

  10. Powerful reading: “The White Plight“, Andrew Hacker, New York Review of Books, 10 May 2012

    Review of Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010 by Charles Murray, and The Great Divergence: America’s Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do About It by Timothy Noah.

  11. I think what we saw was a media reflex (nasty “white” racist killing a photogenic black kid), followed by a circus (classic good versus evil narrative), followed by a politically motivated overcharging of Zimmerman (2nd degree murder!), followed by slow backtracking by the media about Zimmerman (increasingly sympathetic portraits e.g. “George Zimmerman: Prelude to a shooting“).

    Even though it will be hard for Zimmerman to have a fair trial, given the reporting on the case, it is next to impossible that he can be convicted on second degree murder based on the evidence at hand. The prosecutors deposition was embarrassingly sparse. Celebrity defence lawyers like Alan Dershowitz have scoffed at the prosecutor’s case and denounced her as acting illegally (“Dershowitz Slams Zimmerman Prosecutor: ‘Unethical,’ ‘Irresponsible’, Breitbart video).

    So he might plea bargain. Or it might go to trial. If it does, he should go free.

    Then what? LA style race riots? No peace even though a Zimmerman acquittal (based on current evidence) would be just? We’ll see.

    1. Since we don’t know what evidence the Prosecutor has, your confident analysis and easy conclusion seems excessive.

      “LA style race riots”

      The protests were about the police’s failure to even investigate the case (eg, get testimony of witnesses) — and the local police’s disturbing prior history — it appears that the protestors were correct. As such, yours seems a very odd prediction. Quite tribal, which was the point of this post.

    2. Actually we do know what the prosecutor has. She has laid out the basis of her case in the affidavit of probably cause. As Dershowitz points out, its a joke. It does not even meet the lower standards of probably cause affidavit, not to mention evidence beyond reasonable doubt.

      Watch the Dershowitz interview, he explains it well (incidentally, the correct URL is http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2012/04/12/Dershowitz-Slams-Zimmerman-Prosecutor-Arrest-Unethical-Irresponsible ).

      As for the mention of riots, recall the LA Riots (20 years this week) were sparked off by the acquittal of the Rodney King beating officers.

      In the Zimmerman case, the public has been primed to see the case in simplistic terms, where a “white” aggressor has murdered an innocent black kid, and that is a symbol of racist America.

      If Zimmerman goes free – and its likely based on what we know so far – then I expect there will be trouble. If he is acquitted, it will appear to be an injustice, even if it is absolutely legally and morally sound.

      I think that those who rushed to denounce Zimmerman ought to be embarrassed now that a more nuanced picture is emerging from the fog of media fable and disinformation.

      That includes you, sir.

    3. I don’t believe much of limbic’s comment is correct. Some of it appears to be right-wing fantasy.

      (1) “It does not even meet the lower standards of probably cause affidavit, not to mention evidence beyond reasonable doubt.”
      A judge rules if the affidavit suffices to show probable cause (not publicity-seek profs). The affidavid need not show reasonable doubt; that’s established — or not — at the trial.

      Also, does limbic always consider as definitive the opinions of Harvard Law Professors? My guess is “no”. Perhaps only when they agree with him.

      (2) “recall the LA Riots (20 years this week) were sparked off by the acquittal of the Rodney King beating officers.”

      • The King riots were 20 years ago. There have been many high-profile cases before and since, with no riots.
      • The cases are not similar. Zimmerman is not the LAPD, with its long history (then) of brutality and racism. Also, there is no equivalent of the King video establishing guilt in the minds of thousands.
      • There is a small number of fringe loons on both sides hyping hysteria, but there is little evidence they have much effect.
      • The protests were about the failure of the police even to investigate. The investigation appears to have, as it should, calmed things down.

      (3) “public has been primed to see the case in simplistic terms, where a “white” aggressor has murdered an innocent black kid”
      That’s false. As my previous posts have shown by excerpts from a wide range of sources, most of the coverage has been quite balanced.

      (3) “I think that those who rushed to denounce Zimmerman ought to be embarrassed now that a more nuanced picture is emerging from the fog of media fable and disinformation”
      Yes. There were tribalists on both sides who immediately decided guilt and innocence based on skin color. That was, of course, my point.

      (4) “That includes you, sir.”

      Can you produce evidence for this assertion? I have done no such thing; the opposite, in fact. Which makes me wonder if you read this post. Note its conclusion (similar to that in the other posts about this):

      Calm and patience will service us well when thinking about incidents such as Trayvon Martin’s shooting. The facts will come out eventually. A rush to judgement often produces wrong conclusions, especially on the scraps released by the police and uncovered by the news media.

  12. 1. This is a straw man. As I wrote “It does not even meet the *lower* standards of probably cause affidavit”. The affidavit barely made probable cause, I strongly doubt they will be able to establish guilt at the trial. Also I have never had cause to agreer disagree with Dershowitz before, but I do agree with him on this matter and he is not a conservative by any standard.

    2. I did not address the current protests, I speculated about the risks of future trouble if this high profile case ends to the dissatisfaction of restive communities. I cited LA in ’92 as an example. As for guilt, in the mind of most, Zimmerman is clearly guilty. Which leads on to (3)…

    3. There has been a presumption of guilt from the very start. The mere fact that he shot and killed a minor is enough. Mens Rea has been imputed and manufactured by editing 911 calls etc. The coverage has not been balanced at all. Everything from the framing of the story (“Vigilante” “bully” versus innocent black child) to the use of pictures has been biased against Zimmerman. Even Zimmerman’s ethnicity was erased to fit the dominant narrative of “white” aggressor.

    If your point was, indeed, that extremists on BOTH sides are exploiting this setting their allegiances on the basis of race, then perhaps I have misread you. If so, I apologise.

    That said I read a vitriolic attack only on “Conservatives”. From the summary:

    “Conservatives have exploited the shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman. Inciting tribalism, even racism — the 1%’s best friends. They seek to cloud the facts, exploiting the usual mish-mash of conflicting evidence to paint a simple false picture that arouses hatred of minorities and mistrust of the news media.”

    One could as easily reverse this:

    Black nationalists/liberals/the media have exploited the shooting of Trayvon martin by George Zimmerman. Inciting tribalism, even racism – the 1% best friends. They seek to cloud the facts, exploiting the usual mish-mash of conflicting evidence to paint a simple false picture that arouses hatred amongst minorities and aggravated racial tensions”.

    1. (1) “There has been a presumption of guilt from the very start.”
      Evidence? Just because right-wing sources endlessly say so, repeating and repeating the same few talking points, does not make it so. As I said before, I have previously cited quite a few mainstream articles refuting this.

      (2) “If your point was, indeed, that extremists on BOTH sides are exploiting this setting their allegiances on the basis of race, then perhaps I have misread you.”
      The conclusion to this point was quite clear as to the overall situation. This post was an examination of one widely cited article (I wrote a simlar post about the equally aweful ariticles of Victon Hanson). However, I have made that point about loons on both sides elsewhere.

      (3) “This is a straw man.”

      It was a specific rebuttal to what you said (quoted), and therefore not a straw man. You draw a conclusion based on one attorney’s opinion about “probably cause”, then incorrectly drew a inferences about the affidavit’s need to meet “beyond a reasonable doubt” and disclose the State’s full case.

      (4) Where’s your evidence for this statement: “I think that those who rushed to denounce Zimmerman ought to be embarrassed now that a more nuanced picture is emerging from the fog of media fable and disinformation. That includes you, sir.”

      This is typical of comments with ideologues. They ignore rebuttals to clearly false statements, support their case with a stream of made-up assertions, and seldom cite facts. Around and around we go, endlessly.

  13. It seems that our discussion is approaching the end of its usefulness. Thank you for taking the time to debate. I just wanted to note a few things before I wind up:

    1. The NBC quote is the most flagrant example of media bias. Here is the 911 clip as aired by NBC: “Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.”

    This is what was actually was said:

    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.
    Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?
    Zimmerman: He looks black.
    [Mother Jones, Wikipedia ]

    NBC were busted with an obvious falsehood. But the overall bias is harder to pin down. Such is the nature of media bias. Often its subtle. A choice of words, using old pictures of the protagonists, using loaded words like “vigilante”.

    * CNN claimed – falsely – that Zimmerman used a racial epithet.

    * MSNBC were quick to declare that video of Zimmerman being booked contradicted claims that he was injured in a fight even when the video was unclear and police could be seen examining his head. It is no longer contested that Zimmerman had two bleeding wounds to the head and a bruised node, consistent with his account of being attacked. [ Daily Mail ].

    In the UK press – where I do most of my reading – the immediate reaction was one of presumed guilt. Even the The Times of London jumped on the early bandwagon. This was a leading article – penned by the Editor of the UK’s establishment newspaper:

    “No issue is as sensitive, explosive or fundamental to American politics and national self-perception as race. The United States has made titanic strides in the past two generations to overcome centuries of racial division and the bitter legacy of civil war. But every so often an incident occurs which not only highlights lingering prejudice and injustice but stirs atavistic emotions that are all too readily exploited by those seeking political advantage. The fatal shooting of a black teenager by a white vigilante in a gated community in Florida is one such incident, and has provoked the loudest racial uproar for 21 years, one whose echoes are now reverberating around the White House.

    To any reasonable person, the shooting looks like an inexcusably racist provocation. Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old black youth, was walking home when George Zimmerman, a white 28-year- old community guard, thought he was acting suspiciously. Although told by local police not to follow the hooded youth, he did so and, in circumstances yet to be explained, shot him.” [Times – BEHIND PAYWALL]

    So, an inexcusable racist provocation committed by a white vigilante. There you have it. No bias there then.

    Some of the most important media figures in the case have betrayed their biases ion social media. One example is ABC’s Matt Gudman who has openly expressed his anti-Zimmerman sympathies, whilst breaking several key anti-Zimmerman articles. [Daily Caller]. I could go on….

    2. OK, granted.

    3. The straw man, and it is repeated in your last response, is your uncharitable (at best) or deliberate misrepresentation of my arguments, despite it being there for anyone to read. So once again, I invite you to read what I wrote. It is incontrovertible.

    Not once did I claim the affidavit needed to meet “beyond reasonable doubt”. I stated that the case presented in the affidavit “does not even meet the lower standards of [a] probably cause affidavit, not to mention evidence beyond reasonable doubt.” I was, of course, responding to an earlier distortion of my original point, which was (allow me to quote myself):

    “Even though it will be hard for Zimmerman to have a fair trial, given the reporting on the case, it is next to impossible that he can be convicted on second degree murder based on the evidence at hand. The prosecutors deposition was embarrassingly sparse. Celebrity defence lawyers like Alan Dershowitz have scoffed at the prosecutor’s case and denounced her as acting illegally.”

    I posted a link to Dershowitz’s video for you to see for yourself. You pointed out that we are not party to the full facts, and I merely pointed out that we have some insight into the state’s case, and what was presented was weak to the point of embarrassing. Dershowitz agrees.

    Based partly on Deshowitz’s opinions, and other reading, I believe the state has no chance of securing a Second degree murder conviction against Zimmerman. The stand your ground laws alone are almost insurmountable. [ http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/stand-your-ground-law-protects-those-who-go-far-beyond-that-point/1222930 ]

    4. I already posted my evidence – examples of sympathetic portraits of Zimmerman that were entirely absent in March or early April. The only thing I was wrong about – and you are understandably irked – is that you did not denounce Zimmerman. I withdraw that. Instead you denounced the conservative right, one side of the case. I am still waiting to see you comments on racist of the left and their agitations. I suppose I will wait in vain for a long time.

    Finally your snide imputation that I am an ideologue who ignores rebuttals, make clearly false statements, support my case with a stream of made-up assertions and seldom cite facts, well, that is a low blow and unbecoming of you.

    I am regular reader and fan. I am respectfully disagreeing with you and very honoured that you have taken the time to debate. I would like to invite you to try and respect the “A Code of Conduct for Effective Rational Discussion”.

    Pay close attention to the Principle of Charity, if you have a peccadillo, violation of this principle is it: The Principle of Charity:

    If a participant’s argument is reformulated by an opponent, it should be expressed in the strongest possible version that is consistent with the original intention of the arguer. If there is any question about that intention or about implicit parts of the argument, the arguer should be given the benefit of any doubt in the reformulation.

    1. (1) News media bias

      I don’t see that you have any significant evidence of media bias. The right-wing has scoured the media for every scrap of possible bias, and repeated it endlessly. Since there have been thousands of stories about the Zimmerman incident, one can find a few examples. Considering the racially charged nature of the incident, it’s an indication of the news media’s careful handling that the inevitable occasions of bias are so few.

      Your examples are bogus.

      (a) The unfairly edited NBC tape is a clear example of improper behavior. It hardly suffices to indite an industry. Jeff Burnside, the producer involved was fired, and two other employees were disciplined. What need NBC do in response? Waterboard them? Send to our prisons for years of anal rape?

      (b) “CNN claimed – falsely – that Zimmerman used a racial epithet.”

      False. They carefully reported the story, hired experts for analysis, and reported their conclusions (no slur). Here’s an early example of a CNN report, 21 March:

      As outrage over the killing of a Florida teenager continues to spread online, social media and news outlets are debating whether the shooter uttered a racial epithet in one of his 911 calls. And if so, what he might have said. … Many people at CNN have listened repeatedly to the call but have been unable to reach any consensus on what was said. An audio engineer enhanced the sound on the 911 call but said it was difficult to improve the quality or to replicate the background noise. CNN continues to analyze the tape and consult outside experts.

      (c) “MSNBC were quick to declare that video of Zimmerman being booked”

      False. It’s a video. They showed the video and accurately reported what they found (that’s their job); and updated the story as more information appeared. Here’s the opening of their story:

      Surveillance video footage of George Zimmerman being led from a police car shortly after he fatally shot teenager Trayvon Martin does not appear to show any obvious signs of injuries or bloodstains, but his attorney says the video is too grainy to be revealing.

      (d) You indict the entire US news media based on one editorial in a UK paper? Too silly for rebuttal. For some context, the reporting in the Wall Street Journal is excellent — the op-ed’s are often delusional nonsense.

      (2) “deliberate misrepresentation of my arguments”

      I quoted what you said, and respond to the quote. You might not like the quote, or agree with my response — but neither is “misrepresentation.” That’s appears to be your method of avoiding a response to my rebuttal. Color me unimpressed.

      (3) “and what was presented was weak to the point of embarrassing. Dershowitz agrees.”

      For the third time, Dershowitz is neither God nor the judge — and you are incorrect to present his view as definitive. It’s just one attorney’s opinion.

      (4) “I am an ideologue who ignores rebuttals, make clearly false statements, support my case with a stream of made-up assertions and seldom cite facts”

      I give your quotes and provide facts showing that they are false (as in this comment). Such is life.

      Also, a correction: I said “this is typical of comments with ideologues.” I did not that you were an ideologue, as there is insufficient evidence for such a conclusion.

      (5) “if a participant’s argument is reformulated by an opponent”

      I seldom “reformulate”. My standard practice is to provide direct quotes (and the full text apppears an inch above on the screen), and reply to the quote. This is an example of what I referred to. Rather than provide an example of my “reformulating” — and doing so inaccurately — you make a general statement. One that is clearly false.

    1. The FM website does not hold comments for moderation, unless they trip some preset triggers (eg, profane, obscene, antisemetic or racial language).

      WordPress uses the Akismet spam filter, otherwise every other comment would be spam (over 100 thousand blocked during the past few years). It’s fantastic and improving, but sometimes eats non-spam comments. Longer comments are more likely to get eaten. It ate yours, while I was on the road. It’s now up.

  14. 1. As previously advised, this exchange has deteriorated into name calling and vaunting. You wrote:

    “I don’t see that you have any significant evidence of media bias. The right-wing has scoured the media for every scrap of possible bias, and repeated it endlessly.”

    Setting a side your self-contradiction, you assert that there is *right-wing bias* (pro-Zimmerman), but no left-wing (pro-Trayvon) bias, despite the examples I provided/quoted? Very well. You believe whatever you like. Our positions are laid out here for neutrals to decide for themselves. As for my example being bogus:

    (a) NBC speaks for itself. They were caught, and the editor scapegoated. I am satisfied they reacted properly to their attempted fraud. As for years of anal rape, that is the fate awaiting Zimmerman if the travesty plays out unjustly.
    (b) “CNN claimed – falsely – that Zimmerman used a racial epithet.” You say “False. They carefully reported the story, hired experts for analysis, and reported their conclusions (no slur).” I say, check your facts: http://www.mrc.org/node/39836

    (c) “MSNBC were quick to declare that video of Zimmerman being booked”
    That’s not what I was referencing. Watch this: video.msnbc.msn.com/martin-bashir/46896424

    “It’s been more than a month since the 17-year-old unarmed black teenager called trayvon martin was shot dead in Sanford, Florida. The shooter, George Zimmerman, has claimed that he killed the teenager in self-defense. But an extended and newly released surveillance video is now raising serious questions about the veracity of Zimmerman’s story. Here are new angles, never seen before, showing George Zimmerman handcuffed, being brought into the Sanford police station four hours after what he claims was a life and death struggle that ended in Trayvon Martin’s death. Yet the tape seems to show no signs of the injuries that Zimmerman’s father and lawyer claim that he sustained, alleging that Trayvon martin attacked him, his nose and slamming the back of his head against the sidewalk.”

    (d) You say “You indict the entire US news media based on one editorial in a UK paper?”

    No I did not. This is a perfect example of misrepresentations. Cast your eyes up and find where I singled out the US media? Since you are so quick to accuse, support it with the written record above. The quote from The Times was prefaced with: “In the UK press – where I do most of my reading – the immediate reaction was one of presumed guilt. Even the The Times of London jumped on the early bandwagon. This was a leading article – penned by the Editor of the UK’s establishment newspaper”. Shame on you for these attempted cheap shots.

    (2) “deliberate misrepresentation of my arguments”
    You methodology is quote selectively, to misrepresent what is quoted, and to furiously attack straw men. Colour yourself yellow.

    (3) “and what was presented was weak to the point of embarrassing. Dershowitz agrees.”
    I have never presented Deshowitz as judge nor final arbiter of the definitive account. It is just on attorney’s opinion – it just happens to be the best and most famous defence attorney in the USA.

    (4) “I am an ideologue who ignores rebuttals, make clearly false statements, support my case with a stream of made-up assertions and seldom cite facts”

    You claim “I give your quotes and provide facts showing that they are false (as in this comment). Such is life.” You do no such thing. You quote selectively, make dismissive claims and attack straw men. When you do post links ( your “facts”) they more often than not counter-evidence against things I have never asserted nor claimed.

    You also write “Also, a correction: I said “this is typical of comments with ideologues.” I did not [say] that you were an ideologue, as there is insufficient evidence for such a conclusion.” I used the word “imputation” quite deliberately.

    (5) “if a participant’s argument is reformulated by an opponent”

    The Code of Conduct for Effective Rational Discussion is here: http://www.limbicnutrition.com/blog/resources/a-code-of-conduct-for-effective-rational-discussion/

    Now finally, bearing in mind all you have claimed and asserted, here is my original comment again:

    “I think what we saw was a media reflex (nasty “white” racist killing a photogenic black kid), followed by a circus (classic good versus evil narrative), followed by a politically motivated overcharging of Zimmerman (2nd degree murder!), followed by slow backtracking by the media about Zimmerman (increasingly sympathetic portraits e.g. “George Zimmerman: Prelude to a shooting“).

    Even though it will be hard for Zimmerman to have a fair trial, given the reporting on the case, it is next to impossible that he can be convicted on second degree murder based on the evidence at hand. The prosecutors deposition was embarrassingly sparse. Celebrity defence lawyers like Alan Dershowitz have scoffed at the prosecutor’s case and denounced her as acting illegally (“Dershowitz Slams Zimmerman Prosecutor: ‘Unethical,’ ‘Irresponsible’, Breitbart video).

    So he might plea bargain. Or it might go to trial. If it does, he should go free. Then what? LA style race riots? No peace even though a Zimmerman acquittal (based on current evidence) would be just? We’ll see.” Was it worth the (digital) ink for you?

    1. There is no point in continuing.

      You make statements about the media, I quote their exact stories — showing that there is little or no bias. You quote third parties saying otherwise.

      I give specific quotes from what you say, you don’t like your quotes.

      We’re done.

    2. We are nearly done. I made a comment about the media, alluding to its tendency to present stories in simplistic good versus evil terms, “the media reflex” and “circus”. We saw exactly this in this case. One example, the out-of-date images of the protagonists: “Betsi Grabe, a professor at Indiana University-Bloomington who has studied the effect of news images on public opinion, said photos that gain the most traction play into the desires of both journalists and the public for a story with a distinct victim and aggressor. At the center of most stories we tell in our society, cross-culturally and across the centuries, is the struggle between good and evil,” she said. “If the ingredients are there, that is what journalists will grab onto and present.”

      Grabe said it is natural to present the most innocent-looking image of the person believed to be the victim, and the most menacing one of the suspect.”

      I said that the Zimmerman charge was politically motivated – and I cited a noted authority – Alan Dershowitz – who agrees with me. I noted the media softening to Zimmerman and posted an example. I then speculated about what might happen if he is not found guilty (riots), citing an historical example (LA Riots). That’s it.

      The rest of the fight has been a meta-argument of you (mis)quoting me replying to your straw men attacks. Finally, I recommend the Wikipedia page for neutrals to stay current:

  15. I just came across your website and was really impressed with the dialogue….then, sadly, I came to this thread.

    All I can say is that you will see only what you want to see. Check out:

    .

    20121218-9-6

    .

    Throw in emotion, especially around “race” and it is easy to cloud what we see.

    I, for one, don’t see the 1% connection, but find it more plausible that there are self-serving and profitable interests on several sides of this incident to make something symbolic out of it.

    1. Big Mac,

      You might be correct about this specific episode. Who can say for certain? The larger fact is, however, that America history consists of endless instances of our ruling elites using class and ethnic divisions to fragment opposition and maintain their power. This allowed the massive growth of inequality from the relatively egalitarian early 19th century (described by Alexis de Tocqueville) to the rule of “the 400” in the Gilded Age.

      Only the massive shock of the WWI mobilization and the Great Depression to create the unified effort to create the strong middle class that characterizes the America-that-once-was.

      For more about this evolution see:

  16. OK, it looks like this post counts as a win — and the critics were wrong.

    Yet Again, George Zimmerman Proves He’s Violent, Aggressive, and Confrontational“, Jamelle Bouie, The Daily Beast, 29 November 2013 — Zimmerman’s recent arrest for domestic violence, and attempt to pin the blame on his girlfriend, should put an end to the debate over Trayvon Martin’s killing.

    What to make of George Zimmerman’s Latest Arrest“, Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic, 19 November 2013 — “What to make of a third violent incident involving the man who killed Trayvon Martin”

    1. This post does not count as a “win” for you. Your “critics” in this post were not wrong.

      This article you link to does absolutely nothing to invalidate George Zimmerman’s innocence as established in law by a jury of his peers despite a media circus preceding the trial. Nor does it invalidate the objections lodged against your post.

      You cannot accept that you are incorrigibly wrong: Zimmerman is as innocent s one can be in our system. The politically motivated attempt to persecute him in the courts failed. Give up and move on. The “guilty racist Zimmerman” shibboleth ought to be an embarrassment to those who touted it for so long and were rebuked by a clear legal and moral victory. Instead we see you reposting anything, anyone who is still shaking a fist at the spot where dead horse of the Zimmerman tragi-comedy once lay rotting. You are sounding like the Knights Who Say Ni….

    2. Limbic,

      “This article you link to does absolutely nothing to invalidate George Zimmerman’s innocence as established in law by a jury of his peers ”

      Reading FAIL. Try responding to quotes, as I do.

      I never said that Zimmerman was guilty — and repeatedly said that we had too little basis to determine it.

      Try reading the post to see what I actually said.

  17. OK, here is a quote from your update to the post:

    OK, it looks like this post counts as a win — and the critics were wrong.

    “Yet Again, George Zimmerman Proves He’s Violent, Aggressive, and Confrontational“, Jamelle Bouie, The Daily Beast, 29 November 2013 — Zimmerman’s recent arrest for domestic violence, and attempt to pin the blame on his girlfriend, should put an end to the debate over Trayvon Martin’s killing.
    * “What to make of George Zimmerman’s Latest Arrest“, Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic, 19 November 2013 — “What to make of a third violent incident involving the man who killed Trayvon Martin”
    * “There’s Something Wrong With a Country That Lets George Zimmerman Have a Gun“, Amanda Marcotte, Slate, 19 November 2013

    What DID you mean? Your original thesis – and I quote your summary – was that:

    “Conservatives have exploited the shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman. Inciting tribalism, even racism — the 1%’s best friends. They seek to cloud the facts, exploiting the usual mish-mash of conflicting evidence to paint a simple false picture that arouses hatred of minorities and mistrust of the news media.”

    You undermined your own claims in the comments later when you wrote:

    “There were tribalists ON BOTH SIDES who immediately decided guilt and innocence based on skin color. That was, of course, my point.”

    Except it was NOT your point. You singled out Conservatives, even though your critics argued that the disinformation and biased coverage was coming from all sides.

    So what is with these latest links? How do they support your post’s argument that “Conservatives exploited the shooting”? All I see are continued media attacks on an innocent but understandably troubled man. There is no evidence of Conservative exploitation in these links. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

    1. Limbic,

      Re-reading that thread, I am astonished I bothered to go so many rounds attempting to discuss this with you. A waste of time. Your comment here is similar, weird and blind. However I will briefly respond.

      (1) “You undermined your own claims in the comments later when you wrote: “That was, of course, my point.””

      Your reading FAIL. I didn’t say “that was my point in the post“. It was a comment in a thread about “my point” in a comment in the thread (see an example here, reply to Braganca).

      You miss the point in a larger sense, which you would not see if this is the only post you have read. The posts here are like chapters in a book that tell the larger story. This chapter discusses conservative tribalism. Others, such as those about global warming, discuss liberal tribalism. They are mirror images of one another, and work to make us easily governed sheep.

      (2) “All I see are continued media attacks on an innocent but understandably troubled man.”

      It’s called journalism, reporting the facts. Your comments show a disregard for facts, hence your dislike of the news media.

      (3) Speaking of tracking forecasts, let’s look at yours:

      “Even though it will be hard for Zimmerman to have a fair trial, given the reporting on the case”
      No evidence of that.

      “Then what? LA style race riots? No peace even though a Zimmerman acquittal (based on current evidence) would be just?”
      Nope.

      “If Zimmerman goes free … then I expect there will be trouble.”
      Wrong.

  18. Fabius,

    Within this post I saw a contradiction between the core point of your post (about Conservative tribalism) and your statements in the comments (about all sides exploiting it). No point in blaming me for your own inconsistencies and self-contradiction.

    (1) I am sympathetic and in agreement with your general thesis that tribalism is being used to divide us against ourselves, but in this post – notice I am not attacking you elsewhere – I believe you were/are wrong. No need to go over old ground, the record of our discussion is above. I am satisfied my point is well made and requires no further explication.

    You did not answer my question, though. You posted an update to this post (ostensibly about Conservative exploitation of the Zimmerman incident), which links to three pieces attacking Zimmerman’s character. Why? What relevance do these links about Zimmerman have to the point of your post?

    They are just samples of the many attacks on Zimmerman we have seen since this became a cause célèbre?

    (2) I wrote:

    “All I see are continued media attacks on an innocent but understandably troubled man.”

    You replied:

    “It’s called journalism, reporting the facts. Your comments show a disregard for facts, hence your dislike of the news media.”

    Setting aside the nonsense about my disregard for facts. The fact is you posted links to attacks on Zimmerman as an update to your post supposedly to support the argument that conservatives exploited the incident?

    That makes no sense.

    If you agree with these articles – and I presume you do since you post them as evidence your post is a “win” – then you are saying that Zimmerman’s prior and subsequent behaviour indicates that Zimmerman was the wrongdoer in the Trayvon Martin incident. That reasoning is, of course, fallacious, but that is another matter. What is your point?

    As an aside, you know as well as I do that this is not journalism and even if it were, journalism today is certainly not about “reporting the facts”. You did not link to a Reuters reports that there was a domestic violence incident involving Zimmerman. You linked to attacks on his character, in particular an opinion piece that argues that he got “away with murder “. If that is your standard for “factual” reporting, I would like to see what you consider and opinion piece!

    (3) As for my “forecasting”, you seem to have missed the question marks ( ? ) . I was asking if we could expect trouble if Zimmerman was acquitted because that was exactly what minority activists were threatening (“No Justice No Peace”).

    I expected trouble and there WAS trouble, albeit less than some feared. There were no LA ’92 style riots but rubber bullets were used in LA . There were violent incidents and possibly racist revenge attacks across the country. That counts as trouble. I was right.

    Zimmerman was acquitted, rightly, but not before the trial judge tried unprecedented manoeuvres to try and give the prosecution a lifeline with the manslaughter option. That failed. Despite the very best efforts of the liberal establishment, the left wing media, minority pressure groups and even the POTUS – Zimmerman was fully acquitted. The circus should have left town at that point.

    It did not.

    Your update links tell us nothing about Conservative exploitation, they reveal instead the ongoing liberal persecution of George Zimmerman and your small but important part in helping it.

    1. Limbic,

      I have lost interest in this, as you are just rehashing the same material. You raise one new point, which I answered — but you apparently did not understand, so I will repeat.

      “They are just samples of the many attacks on Zimmerman we have seen since this became a cause célèbre? ”

      Reporting acts of violence is news. The more violent, the better (“if it bleeds, it kneads”). It is not an “attack” if the report is correct.

      That you do not understand this is an example of your disregard for facts.

    2. Why did you post these “reports”?

      I am not disputing the facts – i.e. that there was an domestic violence incident involving Zimmerman – I am disputing what two of the writers deduced from the facts, namely that Zimmerman was guilty of murdering Martin.

      That is not relevant however. How do these “reports” have any bearing on your post? Why did you post these reports?

      1. As examples of the media reporting acts of violence to dazzle and distract us from the machinations of the 1% and thus making us governable sheep? (One of your larger themes)
      2. As evidence of Conservative tribalism and propaganda (The point of this post)?
      3. As evidence that those who argued in the comments that Zimmerman was not guilty were wrong?

      I fail to see what “win” these links support. The “reports” argue that Zimmerman was guilty of murder. You deny that is your point. So we keep circling around and around.

      Either you are confused or too timid to state what you really think, which is that Zimmerman is guilty and got away with the murder of Trayvon Martin – the argument of the “reports” you posted that support a “win”.

      Fabius in comment 84330 wrote:

      “I never said that Zimmerman was guilty — and repeatedly said that we had too little basis to determine it.”

      No, you just post links to opinion pieces that argue that Zimmerman was guilty! You label them a “win” then get all outraged (“Reading FAIL”) when people like me remind you Zimmerman was found innocent.

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