Richard Cohen’s controversial piece on Trayvon Martin trial

Washington Post op ed writer Richard Cohen wrote a piece today about the verdict in the Trayvon Martin murder trial.  Cohen’s op ed has caused a bit of a firestorm, and I think it’s worth reading both his column and some of the responses.

First, some of Cohen’s main points:

I don’t like what George Zimmerman did, and I hate that Trayvon Martin is dead. But I also can understand why Zimmerman was suspicious and why he thought Martin was wearing a uniform we all recognize. I don’t know whether Zimmerman is a racist. But I’m tired of politicians and others who have donned hoodies in solidarity with Martin and who essentially suggest that, for recognizing the reality of urban crime in the United States, I am a racist. The hoodie blinds them as much as it did Zimmerman.

Where is the politician who will own up to the painful complexity of the problem and acknowledge the widespread fear of crime committed by young black males? This does not mean that raw racism has disappeared, and some judgments are not the product of invidious stereotyping. It does mean, though, that the public knows young black males commit a disproportionate amount of crime. In New York City, blacks make up a quarter of the population, yet they represent 78 percent of all shooting suspects — almost all of them young men. We know them from the nightly news….

In the meantime, the least we can do is talk honestly about the problem. It does no one any good to merely cite the number of stop-and-frisks involving black males without citing the murder statistics as well. Citing the former and not the latter is an Orwellian exercise in political correctness. It not only censors half of the story but also suggests that racism is the sole reason for the policy. This mindlessness, like racism itself, is repugnant.

Ben Adler, from the Nation, was one of those outraged by Cohen’s article:

Some people might be offended by Richard Cohen’s Washington Post column today, which defends racial profiling of young African-American men on the grounds that they are disproportionately likely to commit crimes…..

“It does no one any good to merely cite the number of stop-and-frisks involving black males without citing the murder statistics as well. Citing the former and not the latter is an Orwellian exercise in political correctness. It not only censors half of the story but also suggests that racism is the sole reason for the policy. This mindlessness, like racism itself, is repugnant.”

There’s some classic false equivalence for you. Political correctness isn’t just wrong to Cohen, it’s repugnant. As repugnant as racism itself! Because, you know, political correctness has been used to justify slavery and Jim Crow, right?

Also, Cohen needs to re-read 1984. There’s nothing “Orwellian” about the arguably intellectually dishonest practice of citing police stops of black males without citing murder statistics. It may be bad argumentation, but that was not Orwell’s concern. Orwell was concerned with totalitarianism, and something “Orwellian” is totalitarian. If Cohen is worried about intellectual laziness, perhaps he should look at his own writing.

Is Cohen right?  Are a significant number of Americans afraid of young black men, because of the urban crime rate, and is the debate over the Zimmerman verdict, and the larger debate over race that ensued, refusing to acknowledge this?

Or is Adler right, is Cohen simply making false equivalences in order to justify racial profiling, and racism?

I will say that I think Cohen didn’t do his argument any credit by getting into the racial profiling issue – which is its own complicated, and controversial area, that only serves to further polarize the discussion.

Acknowledging that, part of Cohen’s point is that if we are going to have a discussion about race in America, and why some people, or even a lot of people, have a fear (call it a racist fear) of young black men, is it important that we also talk about why some people are afraid, namely, the crime statistics, and their (rational or irrational) fear of being a victim of a violent crime?  Is that a reasonable issue to discuss, or not – and if so, why or why not?

You could argue that having this discussion at all “blames the victim.”  And that it’s never okay to shoot an innocent young man who has done nothing wrong, regardless of why the underlying suspicion might have been there.  Others, like Cohen, I suspect, would argue that they agree, it’s never acceptable.  But, he’d also say that if we’re going to try to change things, and make it so that people aren’t suspicious of young black men in the future, we need to address the reason some people are afraid in the first place, namely the crime statistics.

Outrage is understandable. But as an activist, or any concerned progressive, the question we face is what to do to change things in the future.  How we do best approach this issue, in the aftermath of the verdict, to affect positive change?

What do you think?


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • tom

    George didn’t want to hurt Trayvon. George just wanted some tail. When he saw Trayvon’s thong and his backsides glistening in the rain he couldn’t resist slobbering over it.

    Trayvon: You gotta problem? … with me wearing a thong?
    George: No I don’t have a problem … I like your thong, a lot.

  • caphillprof

    It is precisely what happened.

  • willow rivers

    george stated that “a small portion of his head” was being being pounded into the concrete and that he was moving around, on his back trying to get all of his head on the grass. i am sure he was doing his best to resist but it appears his head took more than one crack. even a small crack on the cement would hurt and have a stunning effect.

  • willow rivers

    if you can believe what you wrote, that trayvon wasn’t trying to seriously injure george, there is no hope for you. you are ignoring the evidence of the forensics expert dr. demayo about the injuries sustained, among other things. when trayvon decided to run but not go home and instead attacked george, i am sure he wasn’t planning to just play with him. you are also ignoring that george said that trayvon had discovered his gun and had made a comment like, “you are going to die tonight.” i would not call trayvon a thug. he was an angry youth who made some bad choices that night.

  • willow rivers

    if we could just let george zimmerman get on with his life, without persecution, the discussion could end. it’s unjust to continue to vilify this man when the available evidence does not support the charges laid by the prosecutor. he is not guilty and everyone who can’t accept this fact is deluded.

  • willow rivers

    you would be right, if that were what happened. thankfully, it is not.

  • Snow Leopard

    So, what does it mean when a white person calls you racist then?

    Here are some things to consider as a context for your tirade.

    Crime is at a historic low.

    In the DC area (74% black), the likely criminality of black youths in all categories is under 10% in most if not all categories. (Pardon my memory for not remember every detail in my head.)

    In case that’s wasn’t clear, this means that less than 1 in 10 Trayvon Martin’s in the DC area should on the “rational grounds” that they’re “likely” a criminal be followed and harrassed.In other words, mroe than 90% should NOT be. So how is Zimmerman justified. If a white man breks into a house, are all white men in the area automatically suspect? No. That’s not the case for black men, an black youth.

    People like to cite the statistic that a disproporionate PERCENTAGE of black folk commit crime; this hides the fact that the overwhelming total NUMBER of crimes in the United States get committed by whites. Excuse me for bringing up another white person for this argument, but Tim Wise reminds us all:

    According to the Centers for Disease Control’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey, and the Monitoring the Future report from the National Institutes on Drug Abuse, it is our children, and not those of the urban ghetto who are most likely to use drugs. White high school students are seven times more likely than blacks to have used cocaine and heroin, eight times more likely to have
    smoked crack, and ten times more likely to have used LSD. What’s more,
    it is white youth between the ages of 12-17 who are more likely to sell
    drugs: one third more likely than their black counterparts; and it is
    white youth who are twice as likely to binge drink, and nearly twice as
    likely as blacks to drive drunk; and white males are twice as likely as
    black males to bring a weapon to school.

    Despite this, blacks get arrested, have charges filed, convicted, and sent to prison exponentially more often than white kids. White kids get drug diversions; black kids get prison. White kids get rehab; black kids get prison. White kids get counseling; black kids get prison. White kids get the charges dropped; black kids get prison. See a pattern? Wall Street’s the biggest bunch of crooks in history, and hardly a one prosecution in the bunch; a black man in Clifronia steals a slice of pizza, he gets life in prison. No shitting you.

    So there’s your race card, racist.

  • recon

    i owe you an apology on that TM vs GZ comment that “he just needed a beat down” i was stereotyping the young man as if he were one of my numerous past experiences of young men acting in an undisciplined manner (ie. theft, assault, particularly against special populations ie. women or children). this without having been on the scene or knowing all the data.

    sorry

    jarhead

    peace!

  • BillFromDover

    Who said that Travon threw the 1st punch… George?

  • Swami_Binkinanda

    Also the greatest number of victims http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/bvvc.pdf

    Blacks accounted for 49% of all homicide victims in 2005,according to the FBI’s UCR.*
    Black males accounted for about 52% (or 6,800) of the nearly 13,000 male homicide victims in 2005. Black females made up 35% (or 1,200) of the nearly 3,500 female homicide victims. The number of black males murdered increased between 2004 and 2005, while the number of black females murdered remained the same (figure 3). A higher percentage of black homicide victims (36%) than white victims (26%) were ages 13 to 24. About half (51%) of black homicide victims were ages 17 to 29, compared to about 37% of white victims.

  • Swami_Binkinanda

    Nobody has statistics for the past 12 months.

    http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/bvvc.pdf

    Black victims of homicide were most likely to be male (85%) and between ages 17 and 29 (51%). Homicides against blacks were more likely than those against whites to occur in highly populated areas, including cities and sub-urbs. About 53% of homicides against blacks in 2005 took place in areas with populations of at least 250,000 people, compared to about 33% of homicides of white victims.
    Blacks were killed with a firearm in about 77% of homicides against them.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    The right wing is so terrified of body parts……it’s pathological.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    ouch!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    That works.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    A couple of thoughts: You often chose very controversial subjects and juxtapositions and I think that adds greatly to discussions here. As for being an elitist, so? It seems to me that you are a powerful voice for those of us with none, who has placed himself in the middle of power to make a difference. I respect that. We probably have more in cultural upbringing than you might imagine. I became a revolutionary with minor effect and you became a transformer with considerable effect. I particularly appreciate your participation in the discussions.

  • docsterx

    Please see my earlier post, above.

  • docsterx

    It wasn’t even sparring – crazy cracker just babbled and ran.

    Sometimes the reply isn’t meant for the troll alone. And sometimes, feeding the troll, poisons him. There are dozens to thousands of people who read blogs and may never post. They lurk, read and think about what they’ve read. I may have reached a few of them when I replied to cc.

    You’re generalizing when you say that it’s pointless to engage with RWers. That’s one of the very things that RWers do often, generalize They feel everything is either black or white. You’ve heard the GOP party lines: immigrants are destroying the economy, gays are pedophiles, everyone on SNAP is a welfare queen, women who get raped have caused it themselves. I know some RWers that do think, listen to opposing views, do come to independent conclusions and don’t just spout Republican catchphrases. Not all RWers are exemplified by cc and his cohorts, though, unfortunately, many are.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “Trayvon Martin was not on trial” EXACTLY Travon murdered then convicted,—that’s the tragedy of it and institutional judicial racism is nexus.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Maybe he will meet Tot Mom in hiding and fall in love.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    D37

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Is Big Daddy your stage name honey? BTW, I wouldn’t take on Nicho if I were you. Go over to Brietbart blog, where your BS will be appreciated.

  • docsterx

    I’ve read accounts that said that Martin was hitting Zimmerman’s head on the ground; others said it was his back that Martin was slamming into the ground. If he were pounding the torso into the ground, the damage to the back of the head may have been less than it would have been if Zimmerman’s head were being used. Regardless, concrete is pretty unforgiving. And the back of Zimmerman’s head would still have gotten injured more severely than the pictures I saw show. When I first say those pictures, I thought that the injuries looked consistent with Martin hitting Zimmerman in the nose and Zimmerman falling and hitting his head on the concrete – once. It DIDN’T look like Zimmerman’s head struck the concrete more than once or twice.

  • rj

    How many black kids Mr Martins age were gunned down in the past 12 months by a someone other than another black person? and most of those black people gunning down other black people don’t register for guns and get them off the streets.

  • rj

    And here comes the race card. My point made again , when things don’t go their way pull out the race card

  • The Observer

    Precisely! Reasonable doubt abounds!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Particularly in exculpatory evidence to the opposite.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    What is it with you racist trolls. Did you skip spelling in grade school?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Probably got them shaving his head like a skin head want-to-be.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Crackers down’t spell good or no contractions.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    And here they come: the racist crackers.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    It you spoke in large type we could hear you better through that white sheet.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    No thanks for the clueless, insensitive, moving-on meme…… This is a perfect space to discuss the blatant murder of a black kid and the racist jury that let his killer go free.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    In Florida, civilization is only skin color deep.

  • RJ

    Ok folks your right, the only reason black teens by statistics commit the most crimes is because they are being racially profiled. In this case their were several home invasion in the area being committed by black teens, Zimmerman involved in the neighborhood watch. What is the purpose of neighborhood watch? To watch the neighborhood and try to prevent crimes before they happen. Common sense people, if the past home invasions in the area were done by white teens and I was a member of the neighborhood watch I would be keeping a close eye on ANY white teen in the area to make sure the next home invasion didn’t happen. Travon decided that he needed to confront Zimmerman and break his nose a choice he made rather than walking straight home or just ignoring Zimmerman. Make it about race, spend the next 50 years blaming society for what is reality. Black people can say anything they want regardless if its politically correct or not, a white person needs to be careful about everything they say and do towards black people or were considered racist. Fact is Black folks are the biggest racist in society today and will pull out the race card whenever things don’t go their way.

  • caphillprof

    Even if one has a fear of black teenagers or young black men, that doesn’t mean it’s rational to arm oneself and follow them down the street and confronting them in the hope(?) of killing them in self defense. If that (arming, following and confronting) isn’t criminal behavior, then we can kiss civilization goodbye.

  • Jackie Hill

    Wrong place wrong time……WTF this case is all about race. White man kills black man and walks away. This shit been happening since this fuc$ing countries inception. White people live in a parallel universe. Lucky Lucky You!!!!
    YOU DONT GET IT!!!!

  • dcinsider

    I get that but do you know how many black kids Mr. Martin’s age were gunned down in the past 12 months? Those victims could be anyone of their kids, too.

    There is simply nothing in this particular case that differs from the myriad of gun violence we see every day in this country, other than media hype, and gullible people who fall for such nonsense.

  • Badgerite

    The origin of the ‘hoodie’ controversy was one of Geraldo Rivera’s dumb ass comments. Someone left a really good comment at the Washington Post saying next time his kid goes on a snack run he’ll tell him to wear a suit and tie. It is a good thing for Zimmerman that he wasn’t following someone like Ted Nugent that night, cause Nugent, according to Nugent at least, would have shot him dead. Not just punched him in the nose.

  • Badgerite

    Uh-huh. But Trayvon Martin was guilty? I think not.

  • Badgerite

    Yes, but his injuries weren’t life threatening because his life was not really threatened. He said he pulled and shot his gun because Trayvon Martin saw it and he thought would take it away from him and use it on him. So the guy who brought the gun into the incident claimed he just had to do it because he feared for his life because there was a gun in the incident. Trayvon Martin did not behave like a thug. Zimmerman was losing a fight that started because he had followed someone he didn’t know. He was so incapable of defending himself in a fight that he carried a gun. The fact that there was a gun made him fear for his life. Trayvon Martin didn’t do anything that should have gotten him killed. The concrete was right there and if Trayvon Martin had been trying to badly injure Zimmerman, he certainly could have used it. He didn’t. Zimmerman just panicked.

  • Badgerite

    Well, that makes more sense. The kid was pounding this guys torso on the ground and probably did a double take when he saw his gun. Zimmerman, already believing he was being assailed by a dangerous criminal, then got it into his head that it was life and death and hauled off and killed the kid. What an ASSHOLE!

  • Badgerite

    He was not ‘smashing his head into the concrete’. If he had wanted to do that he certainly could have. According the O’Mara’s recreation for the jury, and we can presume that this is what Zimmerman told him, Trayvon Martin was holding onto the front of his shirt, not his head, and pounding his torso on the ground. Lifting it up and banging it back down. Zimmerman’s head whipped back and forth and hit the concrete incidentally. This is why his injuries were so minor. And they were minor. What he had on the back of his head was minor cuts. If Trayvon Martrin had been ‘pounding his head on the concrete’, Zimmerman would have been far more injured than he was. If, when Zimmerman had gone down, he had fallen completely on the grass, there would have been no injuries to the back of his head at all, that is how minor the ‘ pounding ‘ of his head was. Get your facts straight.

  • Badgerite

    Like I said, touched a nerve.

  • Badgerite

    Again, he didn’t pound the head onto the concrete. He pounded the torso and the head whipped back and forth and hit the concrete incidentally. If he had pounded the head the guy probably would have been unconscious. He would at least have had a concussion. Christ, I’ve had a concussion from a bike fall. So the injuries to the head had to be quite minor because the head was not the focus of the pounding. The torso was. That Zimmerman aimed and shot for the heart when Trayvon Martin was really not harming him significantly when he could have, is kind of disgusting.

  • Badgerite

    I saw some footage of O’Mara demonstrating the incident for the jury at trial. He was straddling what would have been Zimmerman( dummy) , holding onto the lapels of Zimmerman’s shirt and pulling up and pounding back down repeatedly. So, the contention that he was ‘pounding his head on the concrete’ isn’t really accurate. He wasn’t really pounding his head so much as pounding his torso ( back area) on the ground and his head just hit the concrete incidentally as his torso whipped back and forth. If Trayvon Martin had really wanted to hurt the guy, he would have grabbed the head and slammed it on the concrete. He didn’t do that. I don’t really believe that Zimmerman’s life was in any way, shape or form in any real danger. Nor was he likely to receive some kind of brain trauma as his brother contends. This is why his injuries were so minor. Trayvon Martin wasn’t trying to injure him. He was not a thug.

  • Badgerite

    Ok, you just said it yourself it was because he was black. See, “Fact is a black teen is more likely to commit a crime than any other race.” There it is. You said it yourself. The kid got followed and died because he was a black teen. Not because he WAS committing a crime because he was perceived to be about to commit a crime. The kid was only making a snack run. Do you really not understand that this has implications for the society as a whole. This brings up issues which the judicial system cannot address. Larger issues in the society that each community affected has to make some attempt to deal with. Nothing touches a nerve with people like the safety of their children. The only thing the trial settled was the fate of George Zimmerman, one man. The issues the trial raised persist.

  • Badgerite

    I think you are wrong about that because it seems that every black parent who writes had the same thought, “That could be my kid” and “What do I tell my child.”. And there were those who saw themselves in George Zimmerman. Accused of being a racist when in his mind he was not and was only trying to stop a crime. This case touched a nerve. I think we are not so post racial as the Supreme Court seems to think.

  • toc001

    I am a white man with a daughter, and two sons, 19 and 20. My sons wear Hoodie type sweatshirts and on a dark night, in the rain with their hoods pulled over their heads, talking to their girlfriends on the phone, bent over so the phone doesn’t get wet and doing it outside so their nosy parents don’t listen in on their conversations like we did when we were their age, yea, they could be confused with someone snooping around the neighborhood. However, that calls for more investigation, by trained police, not armed confrontation by armed, gung-ho amateurs. Observe and report you overzealous fucktards. Know your place. Someone could get hurt, or worse.

  • Mocas Dad

    See my comment below about not engaging with RWers. It’s utterly pointless. It does no real harm on a message board, of course. All you did was spar with some loser white dude who feels victimized because he can’t use the N-word.

    The real harm is done when dem majorities allow themselves to be dragged into pointless debates over things that are indisputable. In this case, the fact that U.S. justice is stacked against minorities, and stand-your-ground laws, in practice, are essentially a free pass for whites to murder minorities.
    http://www.salon.com/2013/07/16/zimmerman_verdict_puts_stand_your_ground_on_trial_partner/

  • scottdedalus

    This isn’t an argument that either Cohen or Aravois is making in good faith. We’re not having a conversation about race in the abstract. Specifically, the issues Cohen brings up are about the Zimmerman case and about racial profiling. Young black males may in some statistical sense be more likely to commit certain offenses, and people may react to that with a general sense of fear. OK, but so what? How much does that fear entitle you to do? To follow a black kid because he’s wearing a hoodie, provoke a confrontation, then shoot him dead when it goes against you? To have the cops stop and frisk a black kid just because he’s black, with the very real possibility (given recent history) that the cops may get violent if they don’t get what they deem to be instant compliance? That’s what this argument is about because Cohen himself brought it up, and pretending otherwise is either disingenuous or just plain lazy and sloppy.

  • ckerst

    Why is it that black teens are more likely to commit crimes. The past creates the future. you are ignoring history and current attitudes about race. You are pointing at an effect and determining that it’s the cause.

  • dcinsider

    Is anyone else as tired of this discussion as me? Can we possibly not let one over-hyped trial about an idiot wannabee and kid who may have just been at the wrong place at the wrong time be a metaphor for every concern about race in this country? It was ONE criminal trial. The jury has spoken. What does it mean? Nothing really. Maybe a bad guy got off (it happens every day). Maybe Mr. Martin was the aggressor. Maybe Mr. Zimmerman is totally nuts.

    None of this, not one bit, has anything to do with the much larger and significantly more complicated issues of race in this country.

    Enough already.

    If we want to have a real dialogue on race, let’s have it, but you cannot do it through the prism of this trial, or the outcome. It was a criminal proceeding like thousands of others across the country that same day. Were all of those other trials also a metaphor for race issues?

    Enough. Let’s move on. And if we need a dialogue, let’s have it in a more appropriate space, without the crap that everyone seems to think flows from a trial of little note except to those directly involved.

  • The Observer

    Julie,

    I could not find a “those people” quote from B-37.

  • The Observer

    Thanks, Julie! I’m read them.

    TO

  • docsterx

    1. I’m not an attorney I’m an MD so I couldn’t have prosecuted Zimmerman. Neither could I have convinced the jury of anything.

    2. My comment had nothing to do with Zimmerman’s nose, just the photos of the back of his head.

    3. What I posted had nothing to do with any alleged racial remarks made by either Zimmerman or Martin.

    4. Glad that you got this chance to vent and ramble.

    5. At least you picked an appropriate screen name.

  • JamesR

    Exactly. Makes some sense of some of his Byzantine excuses, trying to save various parts of his ass.

  • JamesR

    Aah vintage Beebs, strangling animals OK, masturbation not. Poor Golf.

    Almost spit out my Crunchy Frog THANKS!

  • JamesR

    Sorry, I only got the Ass part of your Smart Guy post.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    On top of everything else, the rules for neighborhood watch groups is people are NOT supposed to be armed when they’re out patrolling their neighborhoods.

    Even if allowed to carry-concealed, in the context of doing that particular volunteer job, Zimmerman wasn’t supposed to have a gun while doing it. Period.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    “have been” not “of been”

  • Race Card man

    3 Black guys beat up a white jogger in Mississippi and said to him this is for Trayvon after beating him. I bet the the 3 black guys thought the jogger was profiling them and following them. The 3 black men had every right to beat that jogger Travon would be proud. The black men could of killed him. That jogger took the beating like a man, and had no right to defend himself. That jogger got lucky the 3 black men didn’t kill him. Next time he better jog with a gun. Oh forget that if he had a gun and used it on 3 black men that were beating him he would be called a racist and up for second degree murder.

  • Julie Autuore

    This is where I saw it first:

    http://crooksandliars.com/karoli/zimmerman-juror-interview-exposes-flawed-de
    There is also an article on ThinkProgress.org

  • smart guy

    You should of made the prosecutor aware of this. I’m not sure how this got past them. Zimmerman would not be free and only is now because you failed to let them know of this important detail that you figured out. I hope you feel good about yourself for letting a guilty man walk.

  • smarty

    Never changed the fact Travon hit him first, how is that all of them? oh its just the most important word

  • Big Daddy

    A racist women hating blogger like yourself would make a great juror in my opinion.

  • Smart guy

    You walk up to me and blast me in the nose for following you I would pound your head into the cement until I killed you so I hope you have a weapon to prevent that from happening.

  • mirror

    Either you think it is relevant to Zimmerman’s behavior or you don’t. It sounds like you are saying you understand his discomfort with black teens in hoodies because you were made uncomfortable by and disapproved of many of the black teens you encountered working in a San Francisco High School, who were often sullen, disapproved of valuing school work, and projected an image of contempt for the “school scene.” This was particularly symbolized for you by their wearing of a hoody indoors or that hid parts of their faces.

    So, which part or parts of Zimmerman’s known or unverified behavior are you empathizing with? Or are you saying your experience makes you understand Cohen? Or are you just trying to say you are uncomfortable and afraid at the same time? Do you want the readers to certify that your discomfort has a rational basis? What is your point?

    If Martin had had his hood down, would he still be alive?

    As far as I can tell, what Cohen gets out of this whole thing is that it is high time we had a conversation about how black teen behavior is scary, not: how existence of a gun in any confrontation or disagreement increases the likelihood of a resulting death exponentially, or how the possession of a gun leads people to act more aggressively than they otherwise might, or any number of other topics that relate directly to the actions of the killer, or how white people often believe black people are acting uppity if they don’t do exactly what they are told, even to the point of being uppity for not reading the white person’s mind, as here where Martin is amazingly criminalized for not reading the mind of Zimmerman and treating him with the respect and deference due a watch volunteer (ie, white person), who never explained his actions and had no identifying regalia.*

    Is black teen behavior the main societal problem this whole travesty leads you to want us all to work toward resolving?

    *This by the way is one of the many reasons watch volunteers aren’t supposed to be armed or approach anyone they think might be suspicious.

  • Crazy Cracker

    You should of been the prosecutor you would of convinced the jury to convict Zimmerman I think your on to something that the prosecutors didn’t think of. The only racial comment was made was by Travon calling Zimmerman a crazy white cracker. I guess if your black and being followed its ok the blast someone in the face and break their nose.

  • ezpz

    I guess with a judge for a father, a mother who’s a court clerk, and an uncle (the one who testified) who’s a bailiff, you get charges dropped and/or reduced to misdemeanors. Your’re right…nothing to see here.

  • JamesR

    Sadly.

  • docsterx

    It seems that other people with common sense didn’t make it to the jury, either.

  • mirror

    Not saying the pre-Stonewall activists weren’t heroically courageous,
    but these folks look a little lonely, like they really need some in your face flags and
    motorcycles to liven up the party.

  • docsterx

    That same thought crossed my mind. Also, the “pounding” would probably have at least produced a concussion, maybe a bleed into his head or brain, possibly even a skull fracture. And, it would make his head hurt like hell. Yet he didn’t want to go to an ER. At the very least, he’d have to have a high pain tolerance and very poor judgment.

  • JamesR

    Son of a Judge, previously accused of abuse and of fighting with police, preparing for potential trial.

    Nothing to look at! Keep moving.

  • ezpz

    I wouldn’t be surprised if his “wounds” were self inflicted. When video footage emerged from that night of him going into the police station, it barely looked like there were any injuries at all. He didn’t go to the hospital and everyone said he seemed fine. Then, in the days and weeks following, the “bloody” pictures emerge with the swollen nose, and I’m thinking photoshoppe.

  • JamesR

    Yep.

    Having too much of that type of common sense would have kept your off the jury.

  • JamesR

    I am a resident of Florida, and I have been through the training that used to be given, just a decade ago, for a Concealed Weapons Permit. What Zimmerman learned included the ‘Stand Your Ground’ bullshit, but even so, even as it contradicted parts of Florida firearm laws as they still stand, he most certainly got the rest. And, save for the jury instructions (!!??) the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law was found not to pertain to this case.

    Concealed is concealed, it’s also a RESPONSIBILITY, introductory video here: http://earlystart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/05/did-george-zimmerman-violate-his-weapon-concealment-permit-on-night-of-trayvon-martin-shooting-retired-officer-lou-palumbo-weighs-in/ – the issues raised by the interviewee, Lou Paulumbo, are a start. Yet it’s what we are ALL TAUGHT in the class we must take – and this is for the personal permit, the class of permit I got and what Zimmerman got. Personal. To be a security guard, or to carry concealed while employed or acting in that capacity that requires a different degree of permit. One Zimmerman did not have. And one he knew he would have needed. One reason he was explicitly told he was not to carry a firearm while on his watch rounds, and why he knew he shouldn’t.

    The classes, such as they are – and they could and should be more comprehensive IMHO, but even as they are they delineate the FACT that once permitted, even once, you are AWARE of the LAW. Aware of the ethics, the safety and the responsibility(ies) of carrying a firearm, especially into potential danger. The average person, who bungles into a situation and creates an issue through brandishment, discharge, mayhem or loss, they can say they didn’t know the law. Those permitted can never say that and are subject to more severe penalties.

    That is how it’s supposed to work. That’s the law, on the books. And the precedent, most of the precedent, provided by the cumulative prosecutorial discretion of all areas of the State. And of other States. (As a Florida CWP is recognized in many other states reciprocally.)

    That Florida would have put forth a prosecution if it were warranted, and didn’t therefore one wasn’t warranted not only is a circular argument, or tautology, but it involves FLORIDA. God help all of us. Observe more and learn.

  • emjayay

    Snark and mockery of serious comments and worse of commenters is an unfortunate and all too common feature of this blog. Look for my avatar and observe above.

  • cole3244

    lol!

  • RJ

    Fact is a black teen is more likely to commit a crime than any other race. The media will try to play this out that the verdict was racially motivated. Majority of people in the twitter world feel the verdict was racially motivated. Are we a society controlled by the media? Do people understand the laws of the land? or do most of us lack the common sense to understand it, and feel are judicial system should be based on a popularity contest? The verdict came down to evidence and the law and that is why Zimmerman is free. The prosecutors in the case are a disgrace to are judicial system. In the end its the same story when all else fails pull out the race card Its because I’m black or because he’s black. I’m tired of it. If Travon was white and Zimmerman was black the verdict would of been the same because of the law.

  • cole3244

    be gone little mind.

  • docsterx

    I’ve seen a fair amount of head trauma. I’ve seen several photos of Zimmerman’s head. Based on what it looks like in those photos, I’d say “pounded” was not the appropriate term to describe those injuries. Pounding someone’s head on a hard surface, like concrete, would cause depressions in the skin, heavy bleeding, a lot of bruising (the head and face are very vascular) and could have caused a skull fracture. At least one of those lesions looks like a superficial abrasion, not something that would have been a direct result of pounding. There doesn’t seem to be enough damage there to be the result of his head being banged into the concrete multiple times, or perhaps, even “pounded” once.

  • emjayay

    Well, you know what they say, Dog Bites Man, not news, Man Bites Dog, news. And TV news is a stupid and visual medium. So that’s what you get. Not always though, but certainly in right wing propaganda over the years.

  • emjayay

    It’s not that hard to press the shift key occasionally. There’s a reason why we have kept this convention in modern English.

  • emjayay

    Please use your shift key in the conventional manner in order to make your comment readable. Maybe you had a lot to say that I would have found enlightening. I’ll never know.

  • skwcw2001

    to answer if I agree to the mans article I asked this instead, if we only talk about two races when the subject of racism comes up then how can we have honest talks, also where are the many many many incidents involving a black aggressor and a white victim never ever covered as a hate crime, or seen as them being targeted due to being white? Now if those question cannot be answered without someone playing the your a racist card then we have no way of addressing the real world problem

  • emjayay

    It didn’t seem to go over all that well for me above either.

  • emjayay

    I wasn’t talking about wearing a hoodie, but wearing one inside with the hood up and mostly covering the face, and the general impression projected by their body language. They were young teen gansta wannabes who appeared to feel the need to project a certain image, and there was a group of four or five who were usually to be found at the same place at the same time every day in the same pose. As someone pointed out above, projecting a tough guy image is at least partly a necessity in a low income violent gang ruled neighborhood, or perceived to be. And you may have heard of the well known urban lower class mostly black attitude that being attentive to and valuing schoolwork is “white.” Projecting an image of being contemptuous of the school scene is the other side of that attitude. That’s the stuff I was trying to talk about.

    Speaking of race and behavior and body language, if you have a dog you may have noticed they can be very observant about that sort of stuff. Some years ago I had a dog who liked everyone but would freak at black people approaching on the sidewalk. Then my friend one day referring to his dog said “Mango is a racist.” Years later on Family Guy the dog Brian freaks every time Cleveland comes in the house, and Peter has to make excuses. Obviously Seth MacFarland has seen the same dog behavior. No, it’s not from a clue from their owner. My dog would repeatedly freak before I even noticed anything about the person.

    To quote myself, “Not that this excuses Zimmerman’s behavior or not guilty verdict in any way.” And for all I know Cohen is a big racist.

  • The Observer

    Julie,

    I haven’t been following any updates since early this morning. Could you please provide me a link to read the story?

    Thanks,
    TO

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    D37 racist code

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    LOL

  • Julie Autuore

    We do now. Juror B-37 has been flapping her gums and referring to Zimmerman as “George”, calling Trayvon and his girlfriend “those people”.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    yes

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I disagree that racial animus should not be considered. It is a mind set of precondition.

  • The Observer

    Jules Epstein, a law professor in Delaware, aptly notes:

    …the prosecutor may have erred by charging
    second-degree murder. The charge requires proof of an evil state of
    mind, but the evidence “seemed to show bad judgment and then an event
    that spiraled out of control,” Epstein said.

    Epstein echoed Reep’s comment that a courtroom is not the place for a
    forum on race. The jury’s job is not to rule on racial profiling,
    racial animosity or the merits of a stand-your-ground law, he said. “The
    jurors’ function was to answer one question — whether the charges were
    proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said.

  • The Observer

    You have NO EVIDENCE that the jury, which was APPROVED BY THE PROSECUTION, was racist. You don’t even know their identities.

    You don’t like their verdict, but that does not make them racists.

  • emjayay

    i understand that he already gained over a hundred pounds in a year. All he needs is the string tie.

  • The Observer

    Do think Zimmerman feels no remorse?

  • The Observer

    Bill,

    Self defense and Stand Your Ground would not apply because the law allows to ““meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably
    believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm
    to himself or herself.”

    A punch in the nose does not rise to that level.

  • Mocas Dad

    I think you don’t have arguments with people whose positions are falsely premised. You want to argue with Cohen, be my guest. But it’s a fool’s errand.

    Liberals make the mistake of thinking we need to engage with racists, gun nuts, austerity hard ons, woman haters, and all the other assorted nut jobs on the right. That’s why nothing ever gets when dems take power – well, it’s one of the reasons but it’s a big one.

    Thus, whatever horrors the GOP leaves dems stuck with – they become the new normal, the baseline dems defend, almost always with limited success, against even further right wing carnage.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    The prosecution was incompetent and handed the case to the defense, thus setting free a cold blooded killer.

  • The Observer

    Karma,

    I thought the prosecution did a terrible job. Did you think they did a good job? If so, why?

  • The Observer

    Bill,

    Which post of mine are you responding to?

    Thanks,
    TO

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    We certainly are cognizant of the absence of it Judge Judy.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Their concrete proof had too many cracks in it.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Observer,

    there is no evidence that Trevon threw the first punch. He was murdered as you might recall and couldn’t take the stand in his defense.

  • The Observer

    Good God! Do you folks believe in evidence???

  • The Observer

    The defense did not have the burden of proof. :)

  • The Observer

    Nicho,

    The is no evidence that Zimmerman threw the first punch.

  • The Observer

    James,

    I am not a Florida resident, so I am not an expert of the proper carrying of firearm in that state. I think it is reasonable to assume that if Zimmerman carried a firearm negligently, the state of Florida would have charged him with that.

    It didn’t.

  • BillFromDover

    What the fuck are ya talking about? Links please?

  • BillFromDover

    Robert is the epitome of douchebaggery!

  • BillFromDover

    Perhaps, he should head post haste to some unnamed airport in Moscow?

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    And as many have already noted, the NRA has not as yet suggested that Trayvon Martin should have been armed himself, to fend off the violent vigilante.

  • BillFromDover

    I walk up to you and out of nowhere, knock you on your ass.

    You punch me in the nose and I say “Ouch, that hurts.”

    I then blow your ass away.

    Can I then claim self defense… just wondering?

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Oh gawd… yeah, Proust.

    I offer this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwAOc4g3K-g

  • ezpz

    Exactly.

  • BillFromDover

    Which words as he constantly changed them all?

  • JamesR

    There is nothing “obvious” about what this jury did.

  • JamesR

    Zimmerman’s defense put forth also that he thought Trayvon was going for his gun. The unsecure firearm he was told NOT to bring with him on his route, a gun he was responsible for, that was the direct cause of the murder. At that point, it could be argued, that he did not have prior intent to kill but he did have prior negligence allowing his firearm to be unsecure. Morally, that’s responsibility. Legally, in most States and enlightened countries, that’s also murder.

    That he shot Trayvon so that his gun would not have been used against himself – that was a defense! But it’s a condition HE was DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR.

  • BillFromDover

    And you know this, how?

  • ezpz

    Now I’m reading that her husband the lawyer knows O’Mara – maybe even went to school with him. Of course, I don’t know if it’s true – I just read it in a comment thread on another site, and I don’t think they sourced it.

  • mpeasee

    I don’t know about that, folks are pretty quiet, and still for the time being.

  • mpeasee

    …black people are not immune to the inoculation of propaganda, but he is aware of the sad state of how fear is created. The media is a powerful tool, and corporations have their tentacles in everything that shapes our “fake” world views. It takes a lot of strength and courage to think out of the box and create your own realities.

  • nicho

    And the all-white female racist jury obviously felt….

  • nicho

    Because Zimmerman stalked him and assaulted him. Trayvon was merely standing his ground. Zimmerman was the attacker.

  • mpeasee

    …them damn facts, they come hell or high water!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    The concrete did appear in court but when asked to testify for the Defense was unable to speak.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I did drop lady Windamere’s fan on that one.

  • mirror

    “hyper bourgeois sensibilities”!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Yep, but I have the same trouble with Proust. ‘Swan’s Way’ has been sitting on the back of the John for nearly twenty years and I’m only half way through it.

  • Monoceros Forth

    If some self-appointed vigilante and gun-toting lowlife stalked me for no reason and was fixing to kill me for no reason, I’d be tempted to smash his head into the concrete myself if I could.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Unfortunately Zimmerman will make a fortune off this murder and be celebrated by the right wing, Republicans the tea bags and other racists. My guess is that he and his brother Robert will be darlings on the hate circuit for years to come.

  • The Observer

    Both sides presented the evidence and the jury obviously felt Zimmerman was not guilty because of self-defense.

  • JamesR

    LOL – My subconscious is more sarcastic than my conscious THANKS much to ponder

  • JamesR

    Hopefully we will both live to see a better day.

  • ezpz

    All you have is zimmerman’s word which is worth a damn.

  • http://poodyheads.wordpress.com/ zorbear

    Don’t you just know that Zimmer was muttering “Go ahead, punk, make my day!” as he stalked Tray?
    :-(

  • JamesR

    Nothing good ever comes from a “people like you” post. Perhaps John has a traumatic public shame experience he’s not shared?

  • http://poodyheads.wordpress.com/ zorbear

    Not if you’re black: http://wp.me/p21xsW-6fs

  • ezpz

    Bingo. Isn’t that near Sanford?

  • JamesR

    In my experience attending pride celebrations, and then seeing the coverage, it’s not the participants who flash the penises to the children but the press itself. Ignore the 90%+ completely unremarkable ‘regular looking’ citizens of all stripes and ages attending and find one outrageous picture, hopefully with as contrasting a background or foreground as you can, and run that. It’s despicable, lazy, yet not new and completely out of anyone’s (but an editor’s) control. Codependantly worrying about what others will publish and how they will publish is a waste of time. Especially now the interweb is becoming the superior news delivery system, the only antidote to such ‘outrageous flauntings’ – that are out of our control and are, in fact, a First Amendment given – we just need to publish a better news coverage, with a better pictoral representation. Making a good blog is the best and only antidote, and we, and YOU have done that. Thanks.Your panties to not need to be in a permanent twist over it though, Times have changed and are changing still.

    One day we will see pride exist and covered well as occurs in other more well adjusted places like in Amsterdam, where people bring their children to pride celebrations and there are plenty of penises and nobody gives a crap but if the floats are well done and entertaining. One Day.

    The days the Post or Moon Times could run one pic of Dykes On Bikes or drag queens or strippers as their pride article is OVER. Fundies will propagandize as they will and there’s nothing we can do about it but pray for them.

  • ezpz

    Me too.

  • ezpz

    I read that one of the pundits or someone (don’t remember who) asked the person whom he was debating if that person thought Trayvon should have worn a tuxedo to make that skittles run.

  • ezpz

    :(

  • ezpz

    Really. A true no brainer, but what chance for justice did Trayvon have with the jury being comprised of five whites and one hispanic? And in Sanford Florida, no less.

  • ezpz

    I love Jonathan Turley and been meaning to mosey on over there to see what he has to say, but haven’t gotten there yet. Thanks for the nudge.

  • The Observer

    Zimmerman shot Trayvon because Trayvon was repeatedly smashing Zimmerman’s head into the concrete.

  • nicho

    If Zimmerman hadn’t stalked Trayvon Martin and threatened him, Trayvon would have simply gone home and been charged with nothing. Zimmerman was the aggressor and Trayvon was simply “standing his ground,” which I believe is allowed under Florida law.

  • nicho

    And Zimmerman was out with a gun looking for someone to confront with it, so he could “stand his ground.”

  • ezpz

    Indeed!

  • ezpz

    Uh, Trayvon Martin was not on trial. Remember? He was killed by the guy who WAS on trial.

    And speaking of that guy who was on trial for murder, if you think Martin’s character and history of his short life is pertinent, than I would think you’ll appreciate the following about your hero:

    http://rollingout.com/culture/george-zimmerman-son-of-a-retired-judge-has-3-closed-arrests/
    “George Zimmerman, Son of a Retired Judge, Has 3 Closed Arrests”

    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/05/18/486523/audio-witness-says-george-zimmerman-repeatedly-bullied-him-at-work-targeted-him-with-racist-jokes/?mobile=nc
    “AUDIO: Witness Says George Zimmerman Repeatedly Bullied Him At Work, Targeted Him With Racist Jokes”

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-07-16/zimmerman-abuse-prosecutor-trayvon/56253714/1
    “Woman accuses Zimmerman of child molestation”

    And he was taking some highly controlled medication like Adderall and Temazapam, which can cause side effects such as hostility, agitation, aggression, delusions, anxiety, and more…

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2012/05/accused-trayvon-martin-killer-was-prescribed-adderall-and-temazepam-prior-to-shooting/

    Happy reading! Let me know when you’re done. There’s more…

  • JamesR

    …that would technically be Walk Your Ground

  • nicho

    And did he say that if they weren’t white, he would shoot them?

  • keirmeister

    “Prudent Discretionary Prejudicial Action.” I like that…and you’re totally right. It IS different, but the sting remains. I’ve grappled with this concept most of my life with regard to members of my own race.

    In a way, it hurts. But in the end, I care more about my safety than being called an Uncle Tom. If the setting ain’t right, I’m not pushing the friendly dude routine. Period.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I noticed that as well.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Didn’t work for MLK or Malcolm X.

  • Rob Dowdy

    It makes perfect sense, right? 17 year-old black boys in hoodies are obviously asking for it. I mean, what can they expect, dressing like that?

    Just like 17 year-old white girls in skimpy dresses and spiky heels … that’s certainly a “uniform” we all recognize, right? Littles sluts just begging for it …

  • ezpz

    “Rights are NOT FOR THOSE WE LIKE. Remember, Repeat, white it down, read it over and over.”

    Freudian or deliberate? Either way, it’s great!

  • keirmeister

    This is where we get into the blame-the-rape-victim-for-wearing-skimply-clothes-and-gettting-drunk-at-the-frat-party territory.

    Does Trayvon share any blame for his appearance? No. But my question is, was he aware of how his appearance affected how he was perceived? I can’t imagine he could ever fathom the notion that his hoody would be grounds for getting shot (why should anyone?). But what about profiled? Did his father ever sit him down about this?

    But screw all that….because this is all about trying to understand how the VICTIM could have changed himself to avoid getting shot. And while I honestly think there are intelligent discussions to have about this, right now we should be talking about Zimmerman and the type of paranoid beast he is to hunt down a kid. We should be talking about HIS mental capacities and the dangers of guns in the hands of nutjobs like him.

    The racism and evil I have seen on the Zimmerman side of this argument is chilling.

    And the test is quite simple: If Zimmerman now knows the kid he stalked was not a suspect of any crimes. Has he shown any remorse or sadness for taking his life? If this happened to me, and I truly killed someone out of self defense (but learned he wasn’t who I originally thought he was), I would be devastated. Sure, I would fight for my freedom, but after a Not Guilty verdict, I wouldn’t continue to drag the kid’s name through the mud. Yet that’s what’s going on.

    Does that make Zimmerman, his lawyer, his brother, or Fox News racists? Maybe not. But when you use racist tactics to win (and continue to hammer those themes), you’re not much different than a Klansman in a suit.

  • The Observer

    “There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery. Then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.” —Jesse Jackson

  • JamesR

    There’s prudent discretionary prejudicial action, like avoiding the guys with hoodies walking towards you late at night if you can – that anyone would do based on context and probability, then there’s shooting someone walking home from school ’cause he looks like those same guys you’re still afraid of a day later. Those two situations and actions are completely different.

    Good point that our culture seems to encourage only one behavior in response to unmanaged fear.

  • cole3244

    that’s the way i write, if my comments aren’t interesting enough to put up with my lazy habits i understand, take the advice of your prof and ignore my rambling sentences, i completely understand.

  • KingCranky

    I want no physical harm to come to Zimmerman, and I want him to live a very long life.

    And I hope that Zimmerman worries every time there’s a knock at the door, every time the phone rings, every time he hears a vehicle approaching while crossing the street, every time he goes to a restaurant and can’t see his food being prepared, every time he goes out in public and anyone gives a quick glance his way.

    I hope Zimmerman destroys himself worrying about an attack that never comes, and that he never has another enjoyable moment in his despicable life.

  • KingCranky

    You’re so right, with the “not guilty” verdict Zimmerman joins that exclusive club of unjustly prosecuted individuals, like OJ Simpson.

    And now they’re kindred spirits, OJ & Zimmerman, both found “not guilty” of murder.

    Wow, I do feel so much better.

  • mirth

    Love that link, James. I’m saving it.

  • JamesR

    Interesting article and discussion about that here: (and on the rest of his blog) http://jonathanturley.org/2013/07/15/law-and-legend-how-the-zimmerman-case-was-lost-by-the-prosecution/

  • nicho
  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I know

  • SkippyFlipjack

    Yeah, that’s not what I’m saying, at all. Thanks though.

  • JamesR

    Thanks Mirth! I do it for the thread not the troll, usually LOL. The condition of the individual troll is usually beyond the power for me to fix with just one post http://i187.photobucket.com/albums/x102/bradwj1977/TrollsBrainandmemory.gif

    Long tme no see!! (Been busy.) Happy Summer!

  • mpeasee

    …the link is inconsistent with his post, the Florida Times article talks about how the law has been applied wide and varied. The post ignores the volume of inconsistencies in the way the law is applied.

  • mucholderguy

    George Zimmerman should become a spokesperson for the NRA, as his case represents what gun fancying in America is really all about. Or maybe if he puts on a few pounds and starts wearing one of those little string ties he could find work in a gun store, at least until he got tired of people asking him to show his birth certificate. The story of Trayvon and his murderer will be legendary part of middle school life for a long time. Zimmerman will be on edge every time he gets out of his car, and the sight of teenagers hanging out anywhere will strike terror into his soul.

  • mirth

    Love it when you get riled up, James.

  • nicho

    They’ve been out in force since the verdict was announced.

  • Monoceros Forth

    You said it.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I learned a lot from my brothers.

  • JamesR

    Rights are NOT FOR THOSE WE LIKE. Remember, Repeat, white it down, read it over and over.

    Who Trayvon Martin was, how ‘bad’ he was IS NOT THE ISSUE. Bad, good, in between, as bad as one could get at his age, carrying food, it is NOT THE ISSUE.

    Zimmerman, as flawed as he is, now, is also in reality not this issue. The issue is, here, in America, can we legally GET SHOT AND KILLED because someone else doesn’t like the way we look or behave – that they get a feeling outside of the fact of our LAWFUL BEHAVIOR that we are a threat, and like and agent for the Department of Pre-Crime (Minority Report, Google it,) they terminate us. Is that the America you want to live in?

    It sounds as if you think none of this will affect you personally, because you, currently, or in the social contexts you mix in (curently,) don’t look like a criminal. (To you.) Think again. You, as well as everyone else, in States as fucked up as to have these mixes of laws, are what’s called TARGETS be we a member of any cultural racial or ethnic or economic group. We all offend someone. Not just here on a blog thread.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    It was broad spectrum. I think what also contributed to the change were hundreds thousands of families directly effected by the suffering and deaths of loved ones.

  • nicho

    Trappist monks — just a bunch of thugs walking around trying to look “badass.”

  • SkippyFlipjack

    yeah that’s fair.. it’s a broad category of clothing. I think it’s all about whether the hood conceals the face beneath; that’s what tends to say ‘badass’. like the photo the Miami Heat took of them in hoodies in solidarity w/ Trayvon. You notice that they’re obscuring their faces because that’s the look they’re supporting — if they all wore tight little hoodies like Zuckerberg it wouldn’t be the same kind of statement.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    About halfway through ‘Ulysses’, I realized I’d lost the capacity to think in coherent sentences. It was most disturbing.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Yep, I’m more up for street fighting in the early hours. :-)

  • Monoceros Forth

    You remind me of Joe Pesci in GoodFellas, making up lame excuses for gunning a boy down just because the kid told him to fuck himself. It was OK to murder him because “he would have grown up to be a rat.” Were you born this disgusting or did you have to work on it?

  • nicho

    You obviously have us confused with the KKK site.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I think we can expect a steady stream of racist trolls on this topic and post from here on out, my friend.

  • mpeasee

    Basically this law is not for black people, I am starting to see these “Stand your ground” laws as legalized lynching. A way to put more guns in the fearful white (or want to be white) Americans and traumatize black mothers and black people. A way to tell people of color to know your place. Pretty sick in 2013.

  • mirth

    It’s only for the thread action, believe you me, and for Gaius, anything from Gaius.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    When I wear my hoodies, I look like a frumpy middle-aged Irish woman. Nobody looks at me twice, not even when I have the hood up to hide the fact I forgot to wash my hair the day before.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “The real scandal is the racial quota system that is allowing people to engage in criminal activity without consequence.” You mean like German Latinos that commit murder?

  • mirth

    Yesterday I bought a hoodie and, while we are having a gloriously cool spell in my desert, tomorrow I intend to wear it while I run errands.

  • JamesR

    The bucket of pain he’s floating in is just so big he gets lost among the others. For me, when I look into it. But good to retain and remember, thanks again.

  • Jackster

    Isn’t it time to admit you were wrong about George Zimmerman ? It’s ok. Lots of people have been taken in by the disinformation dispensed by the Martin’s scheme team.
    Just say it..you’ll feel better.
    Do some research about how the Miami-Dade PD covered up Trayvon’s burglary. They flat out lied and reported the jewelry as ‘found items’ so he would not be prosecuted.
    The real scandal is the racial quota system that is allowing
    people to engage in criminal activity without consequence.
    Had Trayvon been prosecuted, he would still be alive.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I’m nearly seventy, wear a hoody, am a bad ass, but look like a nice old man….Beware!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Poor Travon should have worn his suit that night.

  • PeteWa

    he’s truly horrifying.
    I try to avoid them as well, but became a little obsessed with him when he was cheerleading for war with Iraq.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Mind melt: James Joyce.

  • JamesR

    Depressing factoid THANKS again (sad)LOL – I try to avoid all the pundits of Cohen’s ilk. Since the late ’80s! So I wouldn’t have noticed. Reminds me of an article I found on Alternet today I think ‘ll read to both palette cleanse and palette anger (Even though Cohen isn’t even a “journalist”) http://www.alternet.org/media/media-millionaires-journalism-and-001-percent

  • PeteWa

    but… how many… Celine’s… were… there?

  • PeteWa

    I wear them because they are functional, comfortable, and have the neat added bonus of having a removable hat for when it rains. I don’t think hoodies look badass.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I love it when you are here!

  • mpeasee

    Aman brother!

  • SkippyFlipjack

    You raise interesting points which I don’t think you can simply resolve by asking if someone deserves to get shot over it; the answer is obviously no. Say instead that Zimmerman just called the cops and went home, and a beat cop pulled up, talked to Martin for a while and let him go on his way. That’s still pretty effed up, right? That he was treated like a criminal for doing nothing but walking through a strange neighborhood? But he dressed in “street fashion” so was he accepting the risks?

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Your point is taken and I actually agree with your post, but in one way I kind of agree with Emjayay: It’s much harder to read and comprehent remarks that lack capitalization, use random punctuation, and are single, very long run-on sentences, one to a paragraph.

    I had a college English professor who had a cardinal rule: “There was only one James Joyce and only one e.e. cummings. You students are neither of those writers, so don’t even attempt to write like them.”

  • mirth

    Wow, I love astute comments.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Yep, one even sees babies in the Parade and children of counsel members and other notables in the Parade. For the most part one doesn’t see privates panic during Pride days.

  • JamesR

    I know, I just find it ironic. – All the Zimmerman’s I’ve knows were Jewish, and it is what people think. Like the way he looks Mexican and yet hates them. I’d have typed “Jewish sounding” as an edit but you’ve already made the comment so I ‘ll keep it THANKS though you are correct.

  • PeteWa

    Cohen didn’t just find this area, he’s been exploiting it since at least the mid ’80s.

  • mpeasee

    …gees John, you sound like the “great white hope” for the gay cause, know one is asking for a savior, nanny state, or Mother Teresa, you sound like your moralizing.

  • arcadesproject

    Hoodie. A uniform ‘we’ all recognize. Say what? I have three hoodies. Walk around my neighborhood in the fall and you will see people doing yard work wearing….hoodies! I had no fucking idea about the nefariousness of hoodies. I swear to god I thought they were just something you wear.
    But what did I know?

  • nicho

    I often wear one because I’m chilly.

  • JamesR

    Reading Zimmerman’s public posts, they indicate he is a racist – multiple assumptions of superiority, disdain, and hostility. Lack of any depth or any desire whatsoever to see the people who are the objects of and projections for his anger and resentment evidence a de-humanizing element that is at least racism, way beyond mere prejudice. For sure.

    Hunting your prey after being told not to is another level entirely.

    I was and am peeved at the use of language, especially by one who knows better, Cohen, or that he could have at least defined his terms, as he’s someone old enough to have seen the change and to know the difference. That would have made for an interesting and relevant column. As for Cohen “being racist,” as has been thrown about here, I think he’s just found a non-exploited area to punditize upon, an opportunist not a racist per-se.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    This argument has been made for generations about different fashion styles but don’t people wear concealing hoodies because they look sort of badass, so it might not be surprising when someone treats them as if they’re badass?

  • mirth

    Always fun to fall back on “child” thing. We must protect the children. And there is, of course, a very thin line between this canard and, for instance, the argument against gay teachers because one knows that at any point in a classroom discussion a gay teacher might whip out his dick and begin a’molestin’.

    And this simpleminded tactic never brings rebuke for the adults who bring an overly-sensitive child to a Pride parade with it’s expected, exuberant, outrageous displays of freedom and, well, pride, or a recognition that some parents (rightly, in my view) aren’t afraid of, may even encourage, their children seeing nakedness and joyful, wild abandonment.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Damn right. The excuse-making and the attempts to soften the implications of Zimmerman’s acquittal just astonish me. He’s unfit for membership in civilized society as far as I’m concerned.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    There were Catholic Zimmermans in the Nazi administration, one on them died in the ’90′s. Maybe the Zimmermans don’t fall far from the tree.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Actually she warned Travon that a creepy cracker like you might be stalking him.

  • PeteWa

    small quibble:
    Zimmerman is not a Jewish name, it’s a German name that some Jewish people adopted.
    Zimmerman’s father was a Baptist before he married and converted to his wife’s faith, Catholicism.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    Racist.

  • Jackster

    If Trayvon Martin had survived, he would have been charged with aggravated assault and probably attempted murder.
    Now the star witness is claiming that she warned Trayvon that Zimmerman was a homosexual rapist. That would very possibly make Trayvon’s aggravated assault on Zimmerman a hate crime.
    Could you guys be more wrong about any aspect of this case ? I’m embarrassed by you.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Excellent points, particularly the concept of ‘supremacy’ which is institutionalize and infests the legal system at all levels.

  • nicho

    Yeah. I’m getting the picture of her as the key figure here, especially seeing as how the jury was split in the beginning. I’m sure she was able to swing them all.

  • mpeasee

    Raw racism and the validity of fear. These are very interesting topics that Cohen brings up and John discusses. I am beginning to think that this racism is small potatoes in comparison to supremacy. There can be little doubt that while supremacy is built into the very social structure of America when one considers the fact that the politico-economic structure of the U.S. was designed by white people to serve the interests of white people. The op-ed doesn’t really, I think, defend racism but defends white supremacy. People with white skin are secure in the social structure that functions in such a way that maintains the supremacy of whites, excepting certain token reforms such as Affirmative Action.

    Cohen says of; ” It does mean, though, that the public knows young black males commit a disproportionate amount of crime.”, is non-sense. In 2011, for instance, the nation’s rate of violent crime rate fell by 3.8 percent after having dropped by 6 percent in 2010 and 5.5 percent in 2009, according to F.B.I. data.
    Who commits the most crimes — whites, blacks or other minorities? Blacks, who represent just 12.5% of the U.S. population, account for a disproportionate share of violent crime. Still, the fact remains that whites commit more such crimes — 54% vs. 45% for blacks, according to FBI arrest statistics. Violent crimes overall have been falling since 1994, so I wonder where is Cohen getting his information from, maybe the media double standards in reporting for the status quo.
    Beyond the demographics, and beyond the oppression, or even the stripping of cultural identity and the enslavement of African Americans prior to the Civil War, the last 150 years have witnessed countless examples of black people being villainized, oppressed, lynched, tortured and segregated by white people and as recent as 2008 with the dragging of Brandon McClland, 24 in Paris Texas.

    So when it come to validity of fear who of whom should be afraid?

    Today most expressions of white supremacy take this form of passive indifference, as in the case with Trayvon Martin, he was a black kid wearing the wrong clothes in the wrong place. Active malice and passive indifference are but flip sides of the same racial coin. Many white folk seek to ignore or deny their privilege, but then there are the white supremacist ideologues who take pride in it and seeks to justify, protect and expand it. I wonder if Cohen is of the latter.

    I also think that some gay people (mostly white skin gays) are caught in this conumdrum as well, many face the same obstacles as people of color, but long to participate, to an extent, in the privilege denied to them because they are openly gay….

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Thank you

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “A lot of us spent a lot of time repairing the damage that people like you” How dare you! You are so absurdly defensive and quick to offense. As for people like me: I am nearly seventy years old and quite frankly have never flung my penis around—as a matter of style, not some queasy prudery. I do respect you and if I thought teasing you and your hyper bourgeois sensibilities would lighten your sense of humor I would be glad for it. But understand this several million Pride Paraders and hundreds of thousands of San Francisco GLTBQ’s communities don’t think rigid delicacies of taste should impede self expression and SF is the city that celebrates it like no other. Don’t tell me this is a game. I was probably on the lines when you were in diapers.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Cohen is an apologist for the racist murderer Zimmerman. There are no excuses for that.

  • tweeter

    Richard Cohen is the problem.

  • nicho

    First off, pet peeve #1 the word “racist” – It used to mean the
    belief that one race was inherently better or superior than another, or
    that one race (or all others) were inferior. It used to mean a belief
    rooted in inherent characteristics.

    I think the idea that if someone is black, they’re probably a criminal and worth stalking with a gun, is pretty racist.

  • kingstonbears

    Same here x 2

  • JamesR

    Exactly.

  • JamesR

    First off, pet peeve #1 the word “racist” – It used to mean the belief that one race was inherently better or superior than another, or that one race (or all others) were inferior. It used to mean a belief rooted in inherent characteristics.

    The word “prejudice” is much more applicable. Or rather, the word “racist” seems to be encroaching on this meaning, more and more. It’s a cultural slide newer speakers of the language do not notice but older ones do. And they rightly balk at being called “racist, according to the definition(s) they hold on to.

    “Prejudice” is profiling, making class assumptions, instantly judging someone by their clothes, and walking on the other side of the street at night when you see two black men walking towards you, the analogy Obama used in his first campaign, back when because of prejudice I thought he’d act more like a black president but that’s another thread.

    Cohen is hawking a small truth. A very small truth. The logical extension of which is that if you see someone you don’t like, they or society is now responsible for your actions or poor decisions. WTF? It’s about RESPONSIBILITY. A: We’re all responsible for our own actions, and B: Rights are not just for those we ‘like.’ – We don’t like who we perceive as a criminal class, we don’t like how they dress, etc etc. So fucking what? Shoot them?? They have a RIGHT to walk down the street just as we do, and a ‘threat’ that exists only in our minds is NOT a real threat. It’s a neurosis.

    Though speaking of neuroses, reading excerpts of the text on Zimmerman’s old MySpace page, it reads so much like the pot calling the kettle black, as it were. A resentful Latino (half Latino, South American / Latino looking – Latino-profile for sure,) he’s speaking of all the Mexicans (he resembles,) getting over and being criminals, and that he’s so glad his Felonies (years ago) were dropped – all in a patois / slang that is rather indistinguishable, to me, from the culture he fears. He’s a wannabe. Wannabe cop, wannabe HOA gangsta. Good God. I doubt Richard Cohen has anything in common with this man except a Jewish name. He would, however, most certainly cross the street to avoid Zimmerman for sure. If only irony could bring back the dead.

  • nicho

    Yeas, but Cohen’s “ideas,” over the years, have been bullshit. It’s like being a fan of Rush Limbaugh’s ideas and critical thinking.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I have a very strong viseral disgust for Republicans, but have yet to consider SYG as a solution, although if they get too close I may ram them with my walker before they shoot me.

  • nicho

    A couple of things:

    Zimmerman was a self-appointed vigilante with a gun. He was looking for a chance to use it.
    Even though he might have been “afraid,” Martin posed no threat to him until Zimmerman stalked him and confronted him.

    Zimmerman had no need to stalk Martin — and in fact was told not to by the police dispatcher, instructions he ignored.
    The police were on their way.
    Had Zimmerman obeyed instructions, sat tight, and waited for the police to respond, he was in zero — zero — danger and should have had absolutely no fear.

    Any arguments that ignore those facts are just bullshit. Had Zimmerman just minded his own business, Trayvon would still be alive and Zimmerman wouldn’t be a man who got away with murder.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    OMG, I haven’t heard about that atrocity in years. Yes, Rosewood is the perfect dead heart of Florida.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    The great irony is the exquisite beauty of laws as compiled and written. But in practice and reality, justice seldom fulfills their paradigms.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Heck, involuntary manslaughter ought to have been a gimme.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I wear a hoodie and am nearly seventy. I hope Zimmerman the vigalanti doesn’t pick me off.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I’m imagining as hard as I can but Tinkerbell is still dead….:-(

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    True, Cohen makes a great whack’a’mole. :-)

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I was once wealthy. That’s why I hate Wall Street. Now I barely make it on SS eat Dinty Moore Stew in a can (Which is cheaper than cat food) and am rather happy by and large.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    The mods have had enough with him, thank Cthulhu. His last post above

    crossed the line into overt racism.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Same with our Bodhi Dog, He’s black and scares racists.

  • mirror

    I want to be wealthy when I’m 72, but I don’t think it is going to happen…

  • nicho

    “Bernie Goetz wannabe”

    Yes, of course. I had forgotten about good, old Bernie.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Interesting though that blacks and people of color comprise the highest percentage of incarcerations. The courts are racially biased.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    You assert that the Alexander case is in no way analogous to the Zimmerman case — yet offer no refutation as to why they are not similar. ‘Stand Your Ground’ was key to both cases, cited explicitly in both.

  • nicho

    Well, the prosecutors didn’t want to charge Zimmerman to begin with. So, it’s only natural they wouldn’t be putting forth their best case.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Same here

  • nicho

    This is the same argument used in favor of racial profiling of Middle Eastern men.

  • mirth

    Also my belief, that the prosecution threw this case.

  • nicho

    As a 71-year-old white man, I take issue with that.

  • mirror

    The brazenness gave people the courage to come out. The mass coming out changed minds and hearts. If that wasn’t true, Stonewall would have had the opposite effect of what it did.

  • Swami_Binkinanda

    Your computer will read it out loud for you. No excuse.

  • Swami_Binkinanda

    Facts as such are socially constructed and contextualized. Sanford is a sundown town and this gated community had its own enforcer of those values.

    The “studies” (by news organizations, ick) may have elided important circumstances for a variety of reasons, from statistical convenience to intentional (e.g. think tank sponsored policy goal oriented research, pr/tourism promotion) manipulation.

    There is also a seeming contradiction when your thesis statement begins with “criminal cases aren’t comparable” and then you go on to compare criminal cases to support a position. Chewbacca is a Wookie so he can’t be from Endor.

    Shorter Cohen: scared of black kids. He’s a Cohen Jerry Rivers.

  • PeteWa

    totally, I’ve been told by people I’ve become friends with that I look scary when walking alone – well, at least until they got to know me…

    and I’ve also noticed how much more people smile at me when I walk up with that little smiling (he smiles when he walks, I swear!) furball.

  • mirror

    I think he’s really trying, but there are these invisible walls he knows are there, but can’t see and they keep moving… (please don’t get mad enough to threaten me with banishment again, John)

  • mirror

    LOL. Sometimes I take my neighbor’s beautiful dog for a walk. She is big, but such a pretty girl that you can tell it changes the way people look at me completely.

  • http://thechroniclesofefrem.blogspot.com/ CHOCOLATEBEARCUB

    John like you really care about people of color no offense on that James Baldwin piece you said Blacks dressed urban-ish makes you feel uncomfortable. So really what’s the point of a white gay male such as yourself wanting a discussion on this? Just asking.

  • dula

    That’s very thoughtful.

  • PeteWa

    I do the same thing, unless I’m walking with my little six pound dog of cuteness.
    I figure he defuses the ‘scruffy oaf in a hoodie lumbering at you’ look.

  • ezpz

    Ha.. I lived in Howard Beach – a lifetime ago! I hated it.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Actually, what you’re noticing is that I fear this might be one of those topics that some can’t discuss in a civil manner unless you agree with them 110%. We’ve had other topics before that fit this category. And I really think all of these topics must be discussed if we’re to move forward. So I start the conversation anyway, with trepidation as to where it’s going to lead :)

  • mirror

    Sometimes I cross the street at night to get away from a young person, especially a young lady, because I know I’m kind of scruffy looking old dude and I want to save them the trouble of being concerned, but I don’t think I’m scruffy enough to shoot. Just wanted to write that somewhere.

  • PeteWa

    “I’m not sure what you’re [sic]* point is?”
    here, these are your words, they can be found in the second paragraph of your first post that you seem to not be able to remember:
    “Also, while Stand Your Ground was not a factor in the trial of this case”
    …pointing out that you aren’t even getting the basics right (and that you can’t even figure that out when prodded) is not a cheap shot, no matter how much you might wish it were.

    *that’s what a cheap shot looks like.

  • Swami_Binkinanda

    Crown Heights. Howard Beach.

  • mirror

    John, you can say I’m attacking you, but here you just pointed out that Cohen had an argument that you believe worth thinking through ( possesses a compelling logic, a draw if you will) in a paragraph you begin with a sentence suggesting you aren’t comfortable appearing to defend Cohen’s ideas. That is exactly what I said above.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    A lot of us spent a lot of time repairing the damage that people like you caused by every newspaper in the country, and TV news, always flashing the worst photos from Pride parades every time they did a gay rights story. So feel free to tell the rest of America that you think flashing your penis to a child is funny. And then see how likely they are to legislate our civil rights. This isn’t a game. At least have the respect to respond to someone’s point rather than just using mockery to silence.

  • cole3244

    the comment is most likely too complicated for you to understand anyway so i completely understand your lack of interest.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Go dance on some other grave, you loathsome little man. And stop with
    the goddamn multiple posting. Or is writing more than one thought into a
    post a bit too much of a stretch for you?

  • Swami_Binkinanda

    Rosewood.

  • BrianWPB

    I’m not sure what you’re point is? I posted a source that shows that SYG is not applied with or lead to disparate results across races. So in fact, whatever cheap point you’re trying to make while in anger-mode actually bolsters my argument.
    Thanks for that, I suppose.

  • mirror

    Is this your policy basis for a hunting license to follow and kill black teens walking alone at night?

    Was Zimmerman like a heroic villager risking his life following a dangerous man-eating tiger to its lair through the jungle in dead of night in order to protect the community?

  • PeteWa

    hey now, that information was not cherry picked to bolster Cohen’s fear based, pants wetting argument!

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    We responded to the fear about AIDS through education, visibility, coming out as HIV positive, and more. We didn’t just shout people down – though we did that too, quite effectively. But we also figured out a way to combat their fears – if they were irrational, we educated people. We shed light on the fears, and showed that they weren’t valid. We lost a generation because some politicians weren’t willing to listen.

  • gaylib

    Richard Cohen is a wealthy, 72 year old white man. Of course he’s racist.

  • Johnathan Williams

    I wonder if @BarackObama had a son, he’d be as homophobic as #TrayvonMartin was? #creepyasscracka #homophobia

  • Johnathan Williams

    because it ADDRESSES the REAL issue, that Black people are FAR more dangerous to themselves than non-blacks. You want to effect REAL change then have the GUTS to address that fact you COWARD

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    No, because John is a big fan of ideas, and critical thinking. And he finds that we tend to win more battles when we’re not afraid to question our, and others’, most basic assumptions. :)

  • E

    Sigh . . .

    Almost 70% of all arrests for crime are of white people, including 65% for rape and 66% percent for burglary (and you can be sure given racial attitudes of police and others and socio-economic factors that the arrest numbers underestimate the percent of the crime actually being committed by whites).

    Therefore Richard Cohen is not only a racist but a moron because he is more scared of being a victim of crime by black people than white people.

    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/table-43

  • ezpz

    Her husband’s an attorney, but they never discussed the case.
    In fact, she knew nothing about it! Magine that.

  • mirror

    This talking point is very big right now. Understanding why, may actually come closer to a true explanation of why they spent so much time maligning TM. It was a sincere effort to get us to see the world as they do.

    I think to them it makes sense because their real issue is how to them all black people are dangerous subhumans who need to be kept in their place, not whether Trayvon Martin was a danger to Zimmerman. They are not conceding that Zimmerman didn’t have a carte blanche right to shoot to kill the first time he felt a little nervous the moment he got out of his truck. The simply aren’t going to concede that.

  • PeteWa

    regardless of your well-held, self-righteous opinion to the contrary, SYG was indeed a factor in this case.
    SYG was included in the jury instructions.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=SYG+included+in+jury+instructions&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

  • mirror

    Please explain how the hoody fashion equates with low self esteem and why that is true for black kids but not white kids, because as my son’s mixed race high school, ALL the boys wear hoodies. My son wears a hoody over a tee shirt when it is 45 degrees (long cold wet winters) or 70 degrees outside, and if he arrives for school that way, he certainly isn’t taking it off if it goes up to 75 degrees. Is that enough for you to assume that he most likely has low self-esteem or should be assumed to be a thug until he proves beyond a reasonable doubt that he isn’t (or is dead).

    Now tell me the color of his skin.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    It already happening.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “jumping up and down to intentionally fling their penises up and down for the crowd. I found that inappropriate,” Oh my gosh, you poor thing. The SF Parade had a thousand penises flinging about, not to mention beavers on bikes, and boobs ahoy. Lions and tigers and bears OH my!

  • dula

    Sometimes you cross the street when you see a person of a different race or culture because you are a bigot, and sometimes because you feel threatened by the agressive body language of the person. If you grow up in a dangerous neighborhood, you cultivate an intimidating swagger so people won’t mess with you. When you leave your neighborhood and go to a nicer neighborhood you might not be aware you are intimidating people because it’s just a natural part of your demeanor. If you are also taught, as a means of survival, that if somebody threatens you you fight them or you appear weak and therefore a target, you learn to use violence as conflict resolution, rather than running away. Ultimately, these are issues bred by poverty.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Guh. This is all so revolting I can barely bring myself to follow this story. Some Bernie Goetz wannabe with a gun and a chip on his shoulder murdered someone. I don’t care what reasons he thought he had or how his homicidal paranoia was somehow understandable. I’ll say the same thing about him that I say about every thuggish cop who guns down an unarmed man and claims that he thought his life was in danger: if you’re that easily unnerved then maybe you shouldn’t be let within a hundred yards of a firearm.

  • Indigo

    I noticed that too.

  • emjayay

    I said the same thing two or three times in this thread.

  • Indigo

    Welcome to Florid’oh! I wondered from the beginning what was going on when the jury was comprised of nice white ladies from Seminole Count (where Sanford is the county seat) and one nice “Hispanic” lady. If the message hasn’t got out yet, it’s not going to get out but plantation Sanford is the heart of gracious ante-bellum Dixie. Pass the mint julips, please, and remember, if you’re sweating, you’re strolling too fast.

  • ezpz

    That right wing talking point has outlived its sell by date.
    Do you have anything original?

  • emjayay

    It’s not cultural or economic. It’s both. I’d throw in politial and sociological and historical as well.

  • mirror

    Answer: because John finds his arguments compelling and isn’t comfortable with it at the same time.

  • BrianWPB

    LOL @ the downvote. I guess that’s for those people who don’t like to let things like “facts” or “studies” or pesky things like that get in the way of their well-held self-righteous opinions.

  • emjayay

    I would haved loved to read your comment, but without standard capitalization, sorry, my policy is to not put in the extra effort you apparently think other readers should expend to decipher it.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    To the basics: Why are we even discussing a racist hack like Cohen or care what that dim wit thinks.

  • emjayay

    Very thoughtful comment. The incident was in April, in Forida. And Trayvon had the hood of his hoodie up? And his best friend cannot speak anything approximating correct English, and I suppose he was the same. This is all sadly typical of many back young people. I’m sorry but black community simply has enormous social/sociological problems. We all know the crime rates and jailing rates and it’s not all busts for selling a joint.

    I used to teach high school in San Francisco. Certain black male students put a high importance on wearing baseball caps (against the rules) and sitting in class with hoods up (also against the rules, for obvious reasons). In class. Inside. Where it was 75 degrees. Black guys used to line up in a little group in the hall leaning on the wall with hoods up. I thought of them as the low self esteem club.

    The issues and causes are complex but longstanding and real. Solutions would be equally complex. No one since Moynihan many decades ago seem to be willing to discuss, analyse, or do anything about what is one of the biggest problems in this country.

    Not that this excuses Zimmerman’s behavior or not guilty verdict in any way.

  • PeteWa

    this is the same ‘argument’ that Cohen has been making for decades, and it is in a nutshell:
    it’s okay to fear black people because they commit (or, you know, are convicted of) the most crimes.
    it’s okay to generalize that thing you ‘know’ onto an entire class of people, because, scary!
    also, don’t forget, even though he seems consistently racist, he’s not, honest, just ask him!
    It’s complicated!

    Cohen has no interest in the actual complexities of why does crime happen (or that crime rates have dropped to incredible lows in the past couple of decades) outside of his ability to use the ‘complexity’ excuse as a shield.
    nor does Cohen have the slightest interest in the fact that crimes are unevenly handled from the outset, as that would undermine the fear *cough* racism *cough* that he’s spent so much energy (and column inches) justifying.

    Here’s some of Cohen’s infamous ‘thinking’, a quote pulled to showcase that his idiocy does not only pertain to his ‘omg I just saw a young black guy!’ pants wetting racism:

    The evidence he [Powell] presented to the United Nations — some of it
    circumstantial, some of it absolutely bone-chilling* in its detail — had
    to prove to anyone that Iraq not only hasn’t accounted for its weapons
    of mass destruction but without a doubt still retains them. Only a fool
    – or possibly a Frenchman — could conclude otherwise.

    what a great thinker.
    not.

    *mmmmm… fear is a delicious excuse.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “Our experiences feed our prejudices,” That is so true. That’s why I loath cops, prosecutors and judges, even though I rationally understand that statistically a few of them actually believe in justice. My experience in dealing with judicial and legal institutions as a community worker has long created my contempt for American courts and police.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Juror D37 was a piece of work. She claims to have had no idea how ‘Big’ the trial was, yet a day after the verdict she signed a book deal and several days later appeared on Anderson Cooper. It was interesting to see her drip racist code in the most sincere and Oh gosh manner, even to crying real southern girl tears for a few seconds, all in the dramatic shadow of course. Her bias for Zimmerman was sickening to the point of saying she would want him on her neighborhood watch. She had to pause to say if she felt sorry for Travon.

  • BrianWPB

    Actually, the Alexander case is not analogous at all to the Zimmerman case. I really wish people would stop pointing to that case as if it’s some sort of evidence of inherently flawed outcomes. Unfortunately, criminal cases are hardly EVER analogous to make comparisons. They all involve different circumstances, different facts, different backgrounds of perpetrators, different juries, judges and LAWS. Maybe that’s a flaw in and of itself, but attempts to remove the subjective parts of the law are EXACTLY what has Ms. Alexander in such an absurd situation right now.

    Also, while Stand Your Ground was not a factor in the trial of this case (despite early police reliance on same), a state newspaper did take a look at the “racial component” of that law and its application.

    Maybe to the surprise of some, analysis found no obvious bias in how black defendants have been treated:

    • Whites who invoked the law were charged at the same rate as blacks.

    • Whites who went to trial were convicted at the same rate as blacks.

    • In mixed-race cases involving fatalities, the outcomes were similar. Four of the five blacks who killed a white went free; five of the six whites who killed a black went free.

    • Overall, black defendants went free 66 percent of the time in fatal cases compared to 61 percent for white defendants — a difference explained, in part, by the fact blacks were more likely to kill another black.

    • The Times found that blacks and whites have had nearly the same success rate when arguing “stand your ground” in hearings before a judge.

    Where the Tribune tries to make a case that “Defendants who kill blacks are more likely to free,” they admit that aggravating and mitigating circumstances may contribute to that outcome: The analysis, for example, found that black victims were more likely to be carrying a weapon when they were killed. They also were more likely than whites to be committing a crime, such as burglary, at the time. These kinds of things matter in criminal cases.

    Actually, a lot of sentencing disparity news articles FAIL to control for things like aggravating circumstances may often play a role in apparent sentence disparities. A lazy journalist, however, once they’ve found the piece of data that fits the narrative they’re seeking, will never bother to dig deeper.

    I realize that people are highly emotional about this case.I think the element of “racism” and “bias” in this case is overblown just as much as any supposed over-blowing of black crime rates. Both overblown to further an agenda, perhaps.

    And although this is going to be unpopular….while I disagree with the verdict, there is little-to-no evidence of a racial component in this case. There is no evidence – other than conjecture by emotional people – to suggest that Zimmerman a) knew Martin was black when he first became suspicious, or somehow b) wouldn’t have followed Martin if Martin if it became clear that he were Chinese, white, or Latino.

    http://www.tampabay.com/stand-your-ground-law/

  • Sherril Stewart

    I wonder if he was carrying a concealed weapon the other 46 times he called 911 or was it just this time?

  • Sherril Stewart

    The perfect tools and laws.

  • ezpz

    On/off topic: I think the prosecution threw this case. No prosecution can be that inept. It was a very winnable case even of 2nd degree murder. They never formulated a theory. They did the job for the defense by asking question after question in their closing arguments, creating that reasonable doubt.
    When that pretty white blond woman testified about the black young men who broke into her house, why did the prosecution not ask rhetorically if the perp was Trayvon or if she ever even saw Trayvon before. Complicit silence on that from the state.

    The defense admitted to racial profiling and DEFENDED it, and the prosecution never countered..

  • eahopp

    My apologies. I did not realize this unique variable in showing Cohen’s argument of the problem being “cultural.” Then again, maybe I’m just looking too hard at a hugely complex, social problem that has been suppressed in this country for generations. I guess in Cohen’s mind, he can’t see the elephant in the room here.

    Or is Cohen an ignorant elephant? ;)

  • gaylib

    Of course Cohen is motivated by racism. Think of the situation regarding AIDS in the 80′s. do you think it was all right to stigmatize gay men as untouchable because if the association with the disease. Was the AIDS epidemic a result of some cultural defect in the gay community? A lot easier to answer those questions, I bet. But what’s the difference? It was homophobic bigotry then and its racist bigotry now. This article could have been written in 1985 about justifying the stigma of gay people, and in fact it was, repeatedly. And we lost a generation because of it.

  • Ninong

    Well, Laura Bush was a 17-yr-old white girl and it was Texas in 1963. Besides, she had an excuse. She was engaged in conversation with her girlfriend passenger and just didn’t notice the stop sign as she blew through that intersection at 50 mph (which was within the speed limit). The boy coming from the other direction had the right of way but Laura just forgot all about the fact that there was a stop sign there because that’s what teenage girls do, you know. So that was a valid excuse. That and the fact that she was white. And a girl.

    The poor boy she broadsided at 50 mph had the right-of-way but it was just an unfortunate accident that Miss Laura forgot about that stop sign being there. His father was following in another vehicle and witnessed his son’s death.

    As far as VP Cheney shooting that guy in the face, that was an accident, too. The fact that Cheney was probably a little tipsy at the time had nothing to do with him waiting so long to report it.

    “W” was a lush during his youth, which officially ended when he turned 40, thanks to that talk he had with Billy Graham as they walked together. That was actually an arranged intervention. After that, “W” was born again, so to speak. That’s why he never spoke about anything he did during his college days. That AWOL was okay because he was working on that GOP fellow’s losing campign for office. So that was understandable. Besides, he made up a full year’s worth of missed drills by attending exactly one weekend drill where all he did was hang out in the rec room and read magazines. Some general friend of his dad’s arranged that.

  • ezpz

    Funny you should say that.
    Last night, there was a rerun of a Cheers episode – the one where a guy (maybe pro athlete?) came out, and at first, all the regulars were okay with it. Then, more and more gay men started to come to the bar, and the regulars seemed a bit….well, yes…”panicked” that it would become a gay bar.

    I hope I’m depicting it right as I was half sleeping, so I don’t know how it ended, and I don’t remember the episode when it originally ran. (I watched little to no tv back then.)

    Long story short (I know, too late for that): what I saw and remember was panic and maybe that was the attitude in the 80s.

  • keirmeister

    The problem is that this whole issue is far deeper than anyone can discuss in short blasts. I’m a black male, and I often feel in danger around black men dressed in “street fashion”. Does that make me a racist against my own race?

    I was with a friend in Boston once. I noticed two young black men behind us. My immediate reaction was fear, then I admonished myself for it and kept on my merry way.

    Then they mugged us at knife point.

    Jesse Jackson once said, “There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery. Then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved…. After all we have been through. Just to think we can’t walk down our own streets, how humiliating.”

    But see, if I’m in the reddest of red-neck territory, I would feel the same way. Our experiences feed our prejudices, as does a fear-based culture when there is no personal experience to speak of.

    i think it’s a vicious cycle. Black youth who adopt the “thug life” persona aren’t doing themselves any favors, but perhaps they are simply expressing the logical result of a greater culture that over-values masculinity, power, and violence. When you feel you have no roadmap for the happy picket fence life with a good family and a job, your manhood suffers and you overcompensate for it. We are seeing this in other countries as well.

    But that doesn’t mean these kids deserve to get shot for it. For what it is, I think Zimmerman was not much different than the “thug” he thought he was pursuing. Like a right-winger against Sharia law or a gay Republican homophobe, he hated in others what he saw in himself. HE was the big-bad protector of HIS people, and he was going to show a “punk” the size of his dick. And our American obsession with guns gave him the perfect tool to express his manliness.

    And our culture encourages this.

  • Johnathan Williams

    Why do we have MARCHES when a ” non black” kills a Black man, but sit in SILENCE for the HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of black men killed by fellow black men???? For every Trayvon Martin killed by someone not black, nine other blacks were murdered by someone black.” – JOHN W. FOUNTAIN ( Chicago Suns times )

  • confusion

    Zimmerman..carrying a weapon larger than his abilities went looking to hurt someone no matter the reason. There are laws against hunting other humans especially children. A society that dabbles in anti-social behavior with official approval will collapse .

  • hydroursus

    If we want to know who is most likely to commit a crime we need a REAL STUDY. One that looks at the data and checks the facts. Just because there are disproportionately more young black males in jail does NOT mean they were the instigator of crime. Police can be emotional and let their actions go unchecked. This is also hidden from the outcomes of incidents with young black males, specifically. If you want to know who most likely will steal, historically, it is the hungry and poor. Shall we just lock up the millions of American citizens for wanting that tasty sandwich?

  • http://poodyheads.wordpress.com/ zorbear

    darn ole upity women…
    :-(

  • mirth

    In a nut shell.

  • benb

    Zimmerman’s a pussy. His gun made him think he wasn’t but he was just a pussy with a gun that gave him a pumped up ego that made him disregard common sense, get himself into trouble, and shoot an innocent 17-yr kid.

  • http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Arel Harry R. Sohl

    Is there evidence young black males “commit” more crime, or are they profiled, pursued, stopped, incarcerated (instead of warned), charged, convicted, and/or sentenced significantly more aggressively?

    Laura Bush killed her ex-boyfriend. Wonder what that woulda looked like if she was black?

    Cheney shot a man in the face and the dude literally apologized to him! Wonder what that might have played out if he was black?

    W. had how many DUIs, and even went AWOL with no repercussions whatsoever…

  • Ninong

    First of all, it was in FLORIDA! Apparently anybody can get a license to carry in Florida. George Zimmerman was previously charged with assault on a police officer and resisting arrest, as well as having a restraining order against him for alleged domestic violence, but that didn’t stop Florida from giving him a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

    Secondly, Zimmerman was the only person on his Neighborhood Watch team. He was the only one who volunteered for the non-paying job, therefore he became the Neighborhood Watch Coordinator. He was given instruction by the police on how to perform the duties of a member of a neighborhood watchman. One of the very first rules was that he was never to be armed when he went on his patrols. The next rule was that he was not to follow anyone or ever get involved with anyone he thought was suspicious. The only thing he was supposed to do was watch and report, but never to follow and absolutely never to make contact with a suspicious person.

    Zimmerman violated all of those rules. He was asked if he was following the person (Trayvon Martin) and he said, “yeah.” He was told, “well, we don’t need you to do that.” He replied, “okay.”
    He also muttered something about those “f’n punks always getting away.” So that told you the frame of mind he was in at the time when he saw young Travyon walking through HIS neighborhood.
    In any sane society, that would have been enough to prove that Zimmerman caused the problem!

    But Florida’s laws are different. Unfortunately, a couple dozen other states have since adopted laws similar to Florida’s. In Florida, for instance, it’s perfectly legal for you to shoot someone if you reasonably believed that you were in imminent danger of great bodily harm or death. One person shot at a suspect who was reaching into the passenger’s side window to open the door. That suspect was almost certainly up to no good but that’s not the story. The story is that she hit an innocent bystander. She was not charged with anything because she acted legally according to Florida’s laws and it was entirely accidental that the innocent bystander was hit.

    By comparison, you can’t shoot someone in California unless they have already entered your house. Then you can shoot them if they are a threat. What you cannot do is shoot them as they are fleeing and already out of your house. In Louisiana a man shot a foreign exchange student who was approaching his side door to ask for directions. The foreign exchange student was 16 years old and was learning English. He was living with a local family. He and his friend were looking for a classmate’s house to attend a Halloween party. One of them rang the front doorbell but since they were getting no response, they started up the side walkway to the side door of the house through the open carport. The side door opened and the man inside said, “freeze.” The 16-year-old foreign exchange student didn’t understand the command, “freeze,” and he continued to approach the side door to ask for direction. The homeowner shot him through the screendoor, killing him. He was not charged with a crime because in Louisiana it’s okay to shoot someone you think is a threat even if they are only approaching your side door and not yet inside your house. That was a very sad case.
    Zimmerman should never have been issued a carry permit. He was clearly unfit to be a neighborhood watch anything, as proven by his refusal to follow any of the rules. He was a frustrated wannabe cop. Everything that happened AFTER he got out of his car was perfectly legal under Florida law based on his version of events. We don’t know for sure if he told the truth or not. We do know that he lied about a lot of things but there was no way to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he lied about what happened after he got out of his car. In Florida, if Travon hit him first and then banged his head against the concrete (even if only once), and if he reasonably believed he was in imminent danger of great bodily harm, then it was legal for him to shoot Trayvon. He gets to decide if he should execute him. That’s the penalty, sometimes, in Florida for assault.
    I live in an area where virtually everyone agrees that Zimmerman did a good thing. Okay, maybe only 90% of them. They think everybody should be armed all the time and that way nobody would shoot anybody. I know it’s stupid but that’s what they believe. The NRA told them that and they accept it as gospel. They’re not interested in hearing about anything that happened before the confrontation between Zimmerman and Trayvon. The only thing they want to talk about is what happened after Zimmerman got out of his car. Apparently that’s exactly the approach taken by the six women jurors in Sanford, Florida, according to the juror who is the wife of a local attorney who gave an exclusive interview to CNN’s Anderson Cooper. She also has a book deal in the works, probably something her husband negotiated as soon as she was chosen for the jury.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Cohen’s problem is cultural: He is a racist.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Well, let’s talk about that. What percentage of Americans have gay panic, and what percent are afraid of young black men? Do you think it’s the same percentage? Again, we’re not talking about the validity of the fear, necessarily, we’re talking about the prevalence of it.

    Take gay rights, if a visceral fear of gay men were permeating much of the country and it were affecting our advancement, yes I would want to discuss it and figure out how we move past it, even if the fear were irrational. If it were a problem, and a significant one, that was complicating our gay rights efforts, I’d definitely want to confront it somehow. And to some degree, just sticking with gay rights for a moment, I’ve been rather outspoken about my concerns about some of the naked, and near naked, floats during Pride parades – in DC this year we had hung guys wearing loose thongs jumping up and down to intentionally fling their penises up and down for the crowd. I found that inappropriate, but I also found it politically counter-productive. So to answer your question, I have actually thought about how to address some of the anti-gay sentiment out there and to what degree my community sometimes feeds prejudice against us.

  • GeorgeMokray

    The media peddles fear and crisis to hype up our emotions and get us to buy the paper, watch the newscast, read the article. It is a society of spectacle without any reasoned discourse to counter the heightened emotions that leave us vulnerable to advertising pitches and political claptrap.

    Cohen knows very well that crime rates have decreased and that the coverage of crime has increased. He knows very well that his paper and his profession and he himself are playing to fear and emotion based upon “the Other.” They have made young black men the predominant Other in our culture but Moslems, women, young people who talk back, anybody who makes people like Cohen uncomfortable in their protected positions can become “the Other” in a split second.

    Cohen is a scared old man trying to scare the rest of us into the prison of his own fear.

    If you want to talk about black crime in this country, talk about the disproportionate number of ostensibly non-white men and women who are in jail because of their poverty and their skin color. Without justice there can be no peace. Cohen will always avoid any mention of justice.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    And I don’t want to be the one defending Cohen :) But I do think his argument is a bit more complicated, and it’s worth thinking through. He’d probably say that if most of the muggings in your neighborhood were being committed by Hassidic Jews, we might not be surprised to find you afraid of walking home late at night and running into a Hassidic Jew on the street. So the question is whether we even take your fear into account, not when figuring out if you should shoot the guy, but rather when trying to figure out what’s going on here, and how to resolve it, get beyond it, etc.

  • nicho

    I’d like to hear Cohen’s rationale had the victim been a Hasidic Jew who a shooter found threatening because of his dress.

  • nicho

    The fear is real — just like in “gay panic” cases.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Right, but I don’t think that’s what Cohen is talking about. He’s arguing that the fear is real, whether it’s rational or not – and he’d argue that it’s not entirely irrational, so that’s debatable too – and that if you don’t even discuss the fear, and acknowledge it, you won’t get to the point where people can get beyond their biases. As for the statistics, I think he’s talking about white people being afraid of being mugged/robbed, so you’d need to look at those statistics.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Cohen’s piece is a pseudo-intellectual mess of false equivalencies, conflated analogies, misused statistics, and justified profiling. I’m in agreement with Ben Adler’s reaction.

    Cohen cites murder statistics among young African American males as a justification for stop-and-frisk policies — completely ignoring two important details:

    1. Most of those murders are those young African American males killing each other, making reflexive Caucasian fears rather less rational and more prejudicial in origin.

    2. Nearly all of the stop-and-frisk arrests are drug-related, further increasing the disproportionate incarceration of African Americans versus all other groups. And it’s long been a truism that once a young man has been institutionalized to our penal system, a life of crime is just about all that’s left as far as achievable opportunities after a felony sentence has been completed.

    Lots of kids wear hoodies. But it’s only when an African American kid or young man puts one on that it becomes a ‘uniform’ conveying potential menace. A generation ago, I remember very clearly how track suits — a different sort of uniform that made the body-popping and break-dancing fads easier to perform — also were cited as threatening.

    Significant numbers of Americans are afraid of young African American men because our politicians and our mass media have taught that fear. (Just as folks have been taught to fear Muslims and immigrants and anyone who is different.) I’d wager that quite a few of those who are prejudicially afraid don’t actually encounter very many African Americans in their lives.

    As for the Zimmerman case, my takeaway was similar to Jon Oliver’s: Florida law makes it legal for you to stalk an unarmed minor, directly cause a confrontation, and if at any time during that confrontation, you become afraid, you can shoot that kid dead and not be charged with any crime.

    Sadly, Florida is far from the only state with such laws on the books. And if anybody thinks that even with such laws, that they’re fairly enforced with no racial bias, just look at this case here:

    Marissa Alexander, the 31-year-old Florida woman who fired what her family calls a warning shot at her abusive husband, was sentenced Friday morning to 20 years in prison.

    Alexander was convicted of three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for firing into a wall near her husband and his two young children at their Jacksonville home in 2010. Alexander has maintained that she wasn’t trying to hurt anyone and that she was standing her ground against a man who had over the course of nearly a year punched and choked her on several different occasions. Alexander says that she believed she was protected that day under the state’s Stand Your Ground Law, which gives people wide discretion in using deadly force to defend themselves.

    A judge and a jury disagreed.
    (snip)
    According to Florida’s 10-20-Life statutes, anyone who pulls a gun during a crime receives a mandatory 10-year sentence. Firing a gun during the commission of a crime equals a mandatory 20-year sentence. Anyone convicted of shooting and killing another person during a crime is sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

    Alexander, who did not have a criminal record before the shooting, was convicted of felony assault with a gun.

    Felony assault with a gun. Ms. Alexander didn’t even hurt anybody — no one ended up dead, yet she’s going to go to prison for 20 years. Not all will agree with me, but I’d wager anything that if she’d shot her husband dead, she’d be looking at life behind bars.

    By the way, in addition to racism, there’s a deep streak of sexism in our justice system, such that when a woman fights back against her abuser, she’s very likely to receive punitive judgments.

  • mirror

    Like I said – uncomfortable.

  • cole3244

    just look at the names opponents call pres obama or how the tea party spat on black politicians going back into congress, or the laws that are directed at the black community as in crack cocaine & powder cocaine which the white population uses but you need seven times the amount to get the same sentence.
    white america puts minority citizens in jail faster and for less crime than their white counterparts because they are afraid of and dislike black & minority citizens, its also another way to suppress the minority vote, until we rid america of the bigotry nothing will change, its understandable that white america is afraid of blackness because it knows its treatment of black citizens has been and continues to be despicable.
    in america if you are not white you are considered a second class person not worthy of the protection or respect most demand, i see & hear racism everyday from decent people but when i come in contact with that attitude the term decent doesn’t enter my mind because i do not excuse bigotry or racism under any circumstance, but that’s just me and i obviously have a minority opinion.
    as long as the politicians can separate us by class & color the 99% will be relegated to the scrap heap of economic despair and the american dream will only be realized by the super elite opportunists in america, and our one party system of govt is the problem not the solution to americas societal cancer which will only be cured by a legitimate multiple party system.

  • Rational

    Choose a group of people who are denied the right to vote, access to good education, unrelenting harassment by the authorities, inability to travel without being stopped ( driving while black), limited employment oppurtunities, constantly reinforced negative profile and general marginalization and people are surprised and shocked when they
    a) assume an attitude
    b) have a higher incarcenation rate then the priviledged.
    Gee do you think that if you live in a society that presents higher bars to you for success while holding you under a microscope of police attention that one might get a bit beligerent?
    A good example of systematic prejudice are the marijuana convictions.
    Study’s have shown that the percentage of use of Marijuana cut across racial lines yet african Americans are disproportionaly pursues and convicted for it.
    Same “criminial” behavior. Only difference is the color of the skin.
    The reason Cohen is afraid is he wants to be afraid. This way he gets to feel superior to those he fears.
    The man is a racist and a fool and slime.

  • OMG

    John, the problem with Cohen’s argument is that the entire premise is based on fear – and most fears (or at least elements of them) are just not rational. It really doesn’t matter if black male crime drops to zero – so long as black males just “look scary” whites will have this fear. Even without Hoodies, young black men will still look scary to most whites. As you know, most black males commit violent crimes against other black males. On top of that, the overall crime rate is at modern historical lows – yet most whites are more fearful of crime today than they have ever been. When you base public policy/laws on fears, you invite these kinds of events because as I said earlier, most fears are irrational. I know many people who have a genuine fear of swimming in the ocean because of sharks, but I know no one afraid of their toaster. The statistics are clear as to which one is more likely to injure or kill you.

  • iamlegion

    Here’s a thought – if Cohen believes crime statistics, in relation to young black males, are a justification for the legal system’s oppressive and systemic mistreatment of said black males, maybe he should ask if there’s some CAUSAL CONNECTION between police mistreatment (and a judicial system that provides neither protection nor restitution) of an entire segment of society and that same segment’s lack of interest in playing by the same rules that pay guys like Cohen 6 or 7 figure salaries just to spout this kind of drivel…

  • Indigo

    It’s a creative dodge worthy of the 1950s. We’ll be lucky to keep segregation off the law books if that kind of b.s. continues for another decade.

  • http://buddybest.tripod.com/index.html BuddyNovinski

    I interpret the article as calling racial profiling as too simple for a complex problem. Suppose John, you as a lawyer, contacted me after I was hit in the crosswalks as I was walking across a street. Let’s assume I never met you. Wouldn’t I be suspicious that you were an “ambulance chaser”? Would that mean that I was prejudiced against lawyers?
    Of course not! I was merely being cautious. Even more so, I know what lawyers do — far more than to know the nine justices on SCOTUS and explain their major decisions to the world on my website. I appreciate that lawyers deal with uncertainty, yet in this case, there was reasonable doubt.

    I’ve also seen male African-Americans add to the prejudice. In one case, when I was living in lily-white Wilkes-Barre (PA, my hometown), there was a loud group of them making fun of scaring everyone as they came down the street. In other words, the situation was complex — was it because they were teenagers or African-Americans? By the way, they were only loud, not criminal.
    What can we do to change it positively in the future? I really have no ideas. I never even spoke to an African-American until I was well into my teens. Now I don’t even think of race in my daily life. However, once I was forced to get off a train because I was lost in North Philadelphia. I wanted to get out of there as soon as possible, only because of the high crime, and fortunately I was soon out of there. I had no trouble convincing the SEPTA official I went the wrong way, simply because it was obvious I was not from the area! Once again, it’s a complex issue. I saw no males the short time I was there at the train stop.

  • eahopp

    Cohen also said this:

    “The problems of the black underclass are hardly new. They are surely the product of slavery, the subsequent Jim Crow era and the tenacious persistence of racism. They will be solved someday,
    but not probably with any existing programs. For want of a better word, the problem is cultural, and it will be solved when the culture, somehow, is changed.”

    Cohen is completely wrong about the problem being “cultural.” It is not cultural, but rather economic. When you have young, black men who have no future, no economic advancement, no jobs, no education, and to have these factors continue for decades, what do you think will happen? What do you expect a young black male will do with such deplorable conditions? They are going to turn to crime, resulting in the stereotyping of young black men being all criminals. When you have a black underclass with no opportunities to improve itself, that class will turn to criminal means to survive.

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