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 | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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334 Responses to “Richard Cohen’s controversial piece on Trayvon Martin trial”

  1. tom says:

    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.

  2. caphillprof says:

    It is precisely what happened.

  3. willow rivers says:

    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.

  4. willow rivers says:

    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.

  5. willow rivers says:

    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.

  6. willow rivers says:

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

  7. Snow Leopard says:

    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.

  8. recon says:

    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!

  9. BillFromDover says:

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

  10. Swami_Binkinanda says:

    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.

  11. Swami_Binkinanda says:

    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.

  12. karmanot says:

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

  13. karmanot says:

    ouch!

  14. karmanot says:

    That works.

  15. karmanot says:

    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.

  16. docsterx says:

    Please see my earlier post, above.

  17. docsterx says:

    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.

  18. karmanot says:

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

  19. karmanot says:

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

  20. karmanot says:

    D37

  21. karmanot says:

    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.

  22. docsterx says:

    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.

  23. rj says:

    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.

  24. rj says:

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

  25. The Observer says:

    Precisely! Reasonable doubt abounds!

  26. karmanot says:

    Particularly in exculpatory evidence to the opposite.

  27. karmanot says:

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

  28. karmanot says:

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

  29. karmanot says:

    Crackers down’t spell good or no contractions.

  30. karmanot says:

    And here they come: the racist crackers.

  31. karmanot says:

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

  32. karmanot says:

    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.

  33. karmanot says:

    In Florida, civilization is only skin color deep.

  34. RJ says:

    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.

  35. caphillprof says:

    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.

  36. Jackie Hill says:

    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!!!!

  37. dcinsider says:

    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.

  38. Badgerite says:

    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.

  39. Badgerite says:

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

  40. Badgerite says:

    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.

  41. Badgerite says:

    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!

  42. Badgerite says:

    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.

  43. Badgerite says:

    Like I said, touched a nerve.

  44. Badgerite says:

    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.

  45. Badgerite says:

    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.

  46. Badgerite says:

    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.

  47. Badgerite says:

    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.

  48. toc001 says:

    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.

  49. Mocas Dad says:

    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/

  50. scottdedalus says:

    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.

  51. ckerst says:

    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.

  52. dcinsider says:

    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.

  53. The Observer says:

    Julie,

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

  54. The Observer says:

    Thanks, Julie! I’m read them.

    TO

  55. docsterx says:

    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.

  56. JamesR says:

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

  57. JamesR says:

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

    Almost spit out my Crunchy Frog THANKS!

  58. JamesR says:

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

  59. BeccaM says:

    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.

  60. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    “have been” not “of been”

  61. Race Card man says:

    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.

  62. Julie Autuore says:

    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

  63. smart guy says:

    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.

  64. smarty says:

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

  65. Big Daddy says:

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

  66. Smart guy says:

    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.

  67. mirror says:

    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.

  68. Crazy Cracker says:

    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.

  69. ezpz says:

    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.

  70. JamesR says:

    Sadly.

  71. docsterx says:

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

  72. mirror says:

    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.

  73. docsterx says:

    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.

  74. JamesR says:

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

    Nothing to look at! Keep moving.

  75. ezpz says:

    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.

  76. JamesR says:

    Yep.

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

  77. JamesR says:

    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.

  78. emjayay says:

    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.

  79. cole3244 says:

    lol!

  80. RJ says:

    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.

  81. cole3244 says:

    be gone little mind.

  82. docsterx says:

    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.

  83. emjayay says:

    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.

  84. emjayay says:

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

  85. emjayay says:

    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.

  86. skwcw2001 says:

    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

  87. emjayay says:

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

  88. emjayay says:

    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.

  89. The Observer says:

    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

  90. karmanot says:

    D37 racist code

  91. karmanot says:

    LOL

  92. Julie Autuore says:

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

  93. karmanot says:

    yes

  94. karmanot says:

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

  95. The Observer says:

    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.

  96. The Observer says:

    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.

  97. emjayay says:

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

  98. The Observer says:

    Do think Zimmerman feels no remorse?

  99. The Observer says:

    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.

  100. Mocas Dad says:

    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.

  101. karmanot says:

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

  102. The Observer says:

    Karma,

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

  103. The Observer says:

    Bill,

    Which post of mine are you responding to?

    Thanks,
    TO

  104. karmanot says:

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