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Excerpt: "How can we explain the startling ferocity of the efforts to portray Trayvon Martin as a thug? As investigators continue to sort out why self-appointed neighborhood-watch captain George Zimmerman shot and killed the Florida teen last month, it's hard not to become distraught at the extent to which a dead young man's reputation has been gleefully dragged through the mud by so many people."

Trayvon Martin, killed by George Zimmerman over a month ago. (photo: The Martin Family)
Trayvon Martin, killed by George Zimmerman over a month ago. (photo: The Martin Family)



Why Is Trayvon Being Slandered?

By Jesse Singal, The Daily Beast

01 April 12

 

Racism isn't the sole reason some people are painting Trayvon Martin as a thug. Jesse Singal on the psychological quirks that perpetuate rumors and twist facts in difficult cases.

ow can we explain the startling ferocity of the efforts to portray Trayvon Martin as a thug? As investigators continue to sort out why self-appointed neighborhood-watch captain George Zimmerman shot and killed the Florida teen last month, it's hard not to become distraught at the extent to which a dead young man's reputation has been gleefully dragged through the mud by so many people.

Any comment on the Martin case must be prefaced, of course, by the acknowledgment that we're still operating with a real deficit of information here. Other than the video and audio recordings we've seen and heard, everything else is rampant speculation. But the rumors themselves are still worth examining because of what they can tell us about how the human mind works during a major news event.

It's easy to focus on the nasty racial components, which are hard to deny. There has been a concerted online campaign to portray Martin as a "thug" despite a complete lack of evidence that he ever engaged in any sort of violence. Pundits and commentators are focusing on his appearance, his style of dress, and the stupid, very teenage things he said on his Twitter account. If they didn't think these irrelevant details implied that Martin's own actions contributed to his death, they wouldn't be so intently focused on propagating them.

But while race is undeniably a factor in the power of the rumors, it's not the only one, and the connection between race-related feelings and rumor-mongering is more complicated than it appears at first glance. If we're actually going to understand why the Martin rumors exploded, we're going to need some more-nuanced explanations.

Psychology is our friend here. Since rumors are such an important part of human life, from the boardroom to counterinsurgency efforts, psychologists have been studying for decades how they spread and what can be done to slow them down when they are false. They've also devoted a great deal of research to the proximal question of which pieces of information are most likely to stick out in our minds - the things we're most likely to pass on to a friend.

One key factor here is the overwhelming lack of concrete information about what happened in the moments immediately before Zimmerman killed Martin. This makes the story inherently vulnerable to rumors, according to Rochester Institute of Technology psychologist Nick DiFonzo, an expert on rumor research and the author of The Watercooler Effect: A Psychologist Explores the Extraordinary Power of Rumors. "Whenever there's a little bit of uncertainty and it doesn't seem to make sense, people get very surprised when they hear this story, and they're wondering, ‘Well, what? What happened? Why did it happen? That's crazy,' " he said. "They'll try to fill it in with rumors, speculation."

We are inherently bothered by an incomplete story. When we see holes in a narrative, we do whatever we can to plug them with the tools we have at hand. Rumors are an excellent solution, because they can be shaped to fit any gap that we come across. "It's hard to stay in an ambiguous mode and accept uncertainty," DiFonzo says. The more clear-cut a given story, the less likely it is to spawn rumors. "If people will supply some harder facts, it's harder to wiggle," he adds. "You have to wiggle around the new facts." In the Martin case, there is an enormity of wiggle room.

So what makes a rumor likely to go viral? Partly, how easy it is for us to process cognitively - the extent to which it fits what we already "know." For many Americans, unfortunately, what's been revealed about Martin - that he was suspended for writing graffiti and being found with an empty marijuana bag, and that he was found with women's jewelry (which he wasn't disciplined for) - fits right into their preexisting notion that young black men are predisposed to criminality. So even though these details have zero bearing on the facts of this case, they are passed around excitedly by likeminded members of online social networks as though they explain something.

Another potentially powerful mechanism here is the so-called just-world hypothesis. Just as we have a powerful urge to complete stories with missing parts, we have a similarly powerful urge to see the world - and the stories we hear as we traverse it - as having some underlying force for justice guiding everything.

"People are strongly motivated to believe that the world is just - that people get what they deserve," wrote Danny Oppenheimer, a professor of psychology at Princeton and the author of Democracy Despite Itself: Why a System That Shouldn't Work at All Works So Well, in an email. "So people want to believe that a victim deserved it, or brought it on him/herself."

It's an understandable impulse, but not always a helpful one. As science writer Jonah Lehrer put it, "we often rationalize injustices away, so that we can maintain our naïve belief in a just world."

In this case, the idea of an unarmed teenager simply getting gunned down leaves our brains itching, in a sense, because it reeks of injustice. One way to scratch that itch is to decide that Martin did something to bring about the shooting - even if there's no evidence to suggest this is the case.

"If Trayvon was dangerous, then people can preserve the illusion that the world is just - if Trayvon was just an innocent kid, then that forces us to confront a harsh world that is psychologically much harder to deal with," wrote Oppenheimer.

So it isn't quite right to say that those who are convinced Trayvon must have been the instigator are necessarily racist. Rather, they're trying to make sense of a tragedy, and the most straightforward, cognitively easy way to do so might be to assume that Martin must have done something that explains Zimmerman's deadly aggression.

Neither of these two stories - one in which an innocent black teenager was shot because of a neighborhood-watch volunteer's overly assertive "policing," and the other in which a black teenager was shot and killed in part because he was acting suspiciously or aggressively - is a particularly happy tale. Neither calibrates with our highest ideals of justice. But one comes closer than the other, and that's why, in some quarters, it's the more popular of the two.

None of this is to say that race doesn't play a huge role in how we sift and filter information and decide which pieces of it to pass on. Psychologists have known for a long time that racial stereotypes and cues can powerfully affect how we process information and weigh evidence - for our brains, race is a "shortcut" by which to quickly make sense of new information. It's one of many ways in which our quickest, most reactionary forms of thinking don't necessarily provide good results. So it's unfortunate that these stereotypes are so pernicious, because our brains are, in key ways, predisposed toward racial prejudice, and this fact has never been clearer than in the Martin case.

It's also worth pointing out that Martin's supporters are just as prone to certain biases in how they handle the massive amount of information about this case circulating online. They're more likely to circulate pictures of Zimmerman in which he looks scary, and to pass along the revelations that he had previous run-ins with the law, allegedly involving violence.

It's a tough thing to admit, but very few of us are as interested in objective reality as we think we are - we all have some sort of agenda when we parse emotionally loaded information.

"When it comes to deciding what we believe is true," Oppenheimer wrote in his email, "whether or not it's actually true isn't nearly as important as whether we want to believe it."

 

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+130 # artful 2012-04-01 13:17
It is not hard to understand. The republican right wing gun nuts feel threatened. When threatened, they do what Zimmerman did--shoot first and ask questions later. Republicans have gone completely off the deep end. They no longer have any shame.
 
 
+130 # usedtobesupermom 2012-04-01 13:39
The fact is that the teen was UNARMED!.
 
 
+5 # Texas Aggie 2012-04-01 16:41
Whaddya mean "UNARMED!?"

He could have shouted "BOO" at Zimmerman. Do you know what that did to the poor baby's sphincter? He could have peed his pants. He could have lost control of his other sphincter as well. Obviously Martin was a mortal threat to the poor baby. Do you know what it would have meant to explain the brown stains in his underpants to his mother? She would have smacked him upside the head.
 
 
+20 # vitobonespur 2012-04-01 18:17
Quoting usedtobesupermom:
The fact is that the teen was UNARMED!.


You seem to forget that Trayvon was in possession of a bag of Skittles! A well-aimed red or orange Skittle can be devastating if it hits someone in the face or head!
 
 
+79 # DaveM 2012-04-01 13:39
Stanley Milgram would have fun with this story. It's a classic example of "obedience to authority", which he demonstrated all too clearly in a notorious experiment. In this case, it does not appear to matter that "authority" named and armed itself and had no power other than that it took upon itself. But his victim is perceived as deserving of summary execution because of the possibility that he did not "obey".
 
 
+142 # Barbara K 2012-04-01 13:40
Prejudice, stupid people. The real thug is the one with the gun. He stalked and killed an innocent young man while he was walking home from the store and talking on the phone to his girlfriend. What the H is suspicious about that? Zimmerman had a gun, and he should not have a gun, should not have qualified for one or a license to carry it, with his background. He was told not to follow the child, but because of his prejudice, he stalked him, then murdered him. Why? Skin color.
 
 
+31 # rachel 2012-04-01 14:25
I appreciate the thoughtful article as a way to help me listen more intelligently. I find as a marriage/relati onship counselor that even if the two parties trying to solve a relational problem are of the same race, gender and political perspective, the underlying need to be right has trumped any commitment to listening and resolution gets bogged down by the fight to win the #one tag. For me this article was a welcome opportunity to listen where my emotions are running crazy high.
 
 
+37 # Texas Aggie 2012-04-01 16:47
It's fine to talk about "the underlying need to be right has trumped any commitment to listening " when things are more ambiguous, but in this case the ambiguity is too minimal to mention. Zimmerman's story has too many holes to be credible. The cops and the DA's justifications are too transparent and contradictory to be taken seriously. And when Zimmerman's brother says that Martin was trying to take Zimmerman's gun, it makes it obvious that Zimmerman was intending to shoot him and Martin was acting in self defense.

The article does a good job of explaining why people are giving importance to irrelevant details, but by no means does it bring into question that Zimmerman had no business doing what he did, and he should be doing serious jail time for what he did.
 
 
-5 # Jmac 2012-04-01 18:57
I don't think the point of the story was to show blame on either side
 
 
+12 # Billy Bob 2012-04-01 19:38
Actually, much of the point of the story was to point out the great amount of trouble people are going through to explain why Martin must have deserved to be shot, without any evidence to support their belief.

EVEN THE TITLE IS "WHY IS TRAYVON BEING SLANDERED?"

This clearly DOES place blame on one side of the argument: yours.
 
 
+17 # readerz 2012-04-01 20:53
And legally, the title is wrong. SLANDER is only the incorrect and damaging things a private person says about another private person.
LIBEL is the incorrect and damaging things that media and public persons say about a private person. Trayvon Martin has been libeled, not slandered by some in the media, and this is very important because:

There is a reason why these two terms are distinct.
In the case of slander, get out your psychology textbooks, and write articles excusing behavior based on a fairly innocent misunderstanding.

In the case of libel, the journalists who wrote or broadcast it are deliberately inciting riot or worse in order to sell more media. Slander is explained by psychology; libel deliberately uses psychology to shape public opinion and damage others. It's the difference between co-intel-pro and gossip.

If the media lies to themselves or others, then instead of rocking a little boat, an ocean liner could sink.
 
 
+11 # Billy Bob 2012-04-01 21:17
Wow! That was a pretty interesting comment. And I think you're absolutely right. The media involved in libel know exactly what they're doing.
 
 
+3 # cynnibunny 2012-04-02 15:23
Quoting rachel:
... the underlying need to be right has trumped any commitment to listening and resolution gets bogged down by the fight to win the #one tag...

This is tragically convincing, especially considering that the deed has already been done, and the attempts to find reason in an irrational act are desperate. Truth, however, was lost quite a while ago.....
 
 
+58 # Salus Populi 2012-04-01 14:29
Frankly, in answer to the article above, the question of whether the impulse to trash Trayvon comes primarily from racism can be at least partially answered by doing a "thought experiment": Imagine that the colors were reversed. A big black man, with a history of violence and a restraining order that forbids him from owning or carrying a firearm, who used to provide muscle for underaged house parties but was fired for being too rough, stalks a tall young white guy whom he outweighs by 50 to 100 pounds, driving after him in an SUV as the kid walks home from a 7-11, drinking a foam cup of ice tea, eating a pack of Skittles, and talking with his girlfriend on his cell phone.

The white guy has already run in a panic, but then slows down to a fast walk, trying to make it home where he'll be safe. The big, tough, black guy finally manages to corner the white kid, who asks him how come he's following him. A few minutes later, the white kid lies dead, face down, several feet from the sidewalk.

The black guy is picked up. They don't even take away his illegal gun. He doesn't appear to have a mark on him, but he claims the white kid broke his nose, knocked him to the sidewalk, bashed his head repeatedly, and was shot in self defense while he straddled his stalker.

Would the web go wild with unconfirmed rumors about how the white guy had brought it on himself?
 
 
+18 # readerz 2012-04-01 20:59
While I agree with your basic idea, I would focus on the victim. I got another petition from Moveon.org tonight about a case of a 68 year old Marine veteran gunned down inside his home because his medical alert had malfunctioned and alerted the police. (He has heart problems). The medical alert company told the police that it was a malfunction, but the police still banged down the door and shot this man dead in his own home. The police added the "n" word too, all recorded by the medical alert company (who was on the phone recording it). Go to Moveon and see it, and sign the petition. Of course, the man who was killed was black. The point to me isn't just who held the gun, but also who is the victim.
 
 
+61 # jameslefay 2012-04-01 14:29
Besides the attempt to discredit this boy being vile, the important question is this: why is the general press indulging in such bottom-feeding? Whether this boy had behavorial issues or not is totally irrelevant. This is a simple case. A man who had no business having a gun in the first place was told by the police not to follow this boy and now the boy ends up dead. The rest is noise.
 
 
+30 # chinaski 2012-04-01 14:38
Why is president Obama being slandered?
Two dots, one line. Anybody got a pencil?
 
 
+40 # guomashi 2012-04-01 14:47
Not a very compelling article.
American jurisprudence demands that we consider the facts of the case at hand.

Zimmerman shot Trayvon.
Zimmerman admits to shooting Trayvon.
Zimmerman lied about being beaten.
Trayvon was unarmed.
The screams recorded were not Zimmerman.
Zimmerman disobeyed the police dispatcher in stalking Trayvon.

This article wants to ramble on about rumors and conveniently avoid the facts.

I smell a rat.
 
 
+10 # soularddave 2012-04-02 05:20
Quoting guomashi:


This article wants to ramble on about rumors and conveniently avoid the facts.


The article isn't about the certain and specific facts in the case in the first place. It's about the interest and motivations in finding or conjuring up irrelevant and unrelated "facts", and WHY so many are interested in doing so.

The article doesn't try to be a window into the motivations surrounding the tragedy, but rather a mirror to help us understand the motivations of those who try to rationalize the victim into being the perpetrator.
 
 
-2 # Jmac 2012-04-04 00:10
Drawing alot of conclusions.... .NBC News regrets editing of Trayvon shooting call
 
 
-38 # joehonick@gmail.com 2012-04-01 15:00
The reality is that none of you commenting on any side of this tragedy know anything at all about the events that have become a commercial enterprise, sadly and distastefully driving the young man'a mother to have to trade mark his name. You who have assumed guilt for one person have no knowledge of the forensics or any other element of this unfortunate event. None of you likewise have even commented on the horrendous story of several Black teens televised committing mayhem in a hate crime upon a single Hispanic youth. 'w'hy is that? Where is the publicity seeking Jesse Jackson to speak to this terrible tragedy as he slandered Duke University athletes several years ago who had been falsely accused of raping some young ladies.?
It is time for the rule of law to pursue the guilt of someone without mob justice disguised as liberal/progres sive stories.
 
 
+23 # GeeRob 2012-04-01 18:07
Have you been paying attention? Until a week ago, the rule of law was asleep! It was the roar of family, friends and countless citizens who woke it up.
 
 
+15 # Billy Bob 2012-04-01 19:27
"None of you likewise have even commented on the horrendous story of several Black teens televised committing mayhem in a hate crime upon a single Hispanic youth. 'w'hy is that? Where is the publicity seeking Jesse Jackson to speak to this terrible tragedy as he slandered Duke University athletes several years ago who had been falsely accused of raping some young ladies.?"

Because NONE of that has anything to do with the case. We aren't discussing the weather either.

You're right though about one thing. It IS time for this case to be brought to trial.
 
 
+4 # dbuscemi1949@gmail.com 2012-04-02 19:43
Quoting joehonick@gmail.com:
None of you likewise have even commented on the horrendous story of several Black teens televised committing mayhem in a hate crime upon a single Hispanic youth. 'w'hy is that?


That's because no one is trying to justify that act of violence.
 
 
+10 # MendoChuck 2012-04-01 15:06
MM-M-M-M-M-MMMm mmmm . . . .
Seems to me we have folks here continuing to make things up to support what they want to believe.
I would suggest you wait until you hear all of the facts available . . . Then pass your judgment.
 
 
+19 # Texas Aggie 2012-04-01 16:50
The problem is when do we decide that we have the facts. Moving goal posts is a right wing MO. And if there isn't any trial, how are we ever to get the facts?
 
 
-3 # Jmac 2012-04-02 16:28
And the left nevers uses the same strategy to achieve thier own ends? C'mon, it's not right either way.
 
 
+5 # Billy Bob 2012-04-02 18:57
So you admit that the rationalization s for why Martin must have deserved to be shot and why we should all just leave Zimmerman alone (coming from the right) are right-wing strategy, and you also admit that it's wrong?

Thank you for candor.
 
 
+6 # vitobonespur 2012-04-01 18:36
I believe it will eventually come out that Trayvon Martin, that Skittles-eating monster, spent the first 18 to 24 months of his life as a hardcore mother's milk addict. What do you expect?

If anyone deserved to be shot to death, surely it was he.
 
 
+2 # readerz 2012-04-01 21:05
And some psychologists say that milk isn't good for teens. (I'm really sorry, but we were told this a few weeks ago by a PhD who said that not fevers, or head injuries, but milk was the reason for hyperactivity. It was especially funny because the psychologist eats foods that are swimming in... butter, I kid you not. It would be slander, but I am not naming names.)
 
 
+3 # balconesfalk 2012-04-02 07:27
The negatives registered against this comment apparently come from people who can't appreciate exaggerated irony.
 
 
+2 # Billy Bob 2012-04-02 09:28
That happens to me all the time. You have to hit the "sarcasm button".

I finish the comment with - NOTE: SARCASM

Otherwise, people think you really believe anything you say for some reason.
 
 
+34 # BVA 2012-04-01 15:16
To Diane Rehm Show, WAMU-NPR, 3/30/12:

I was dismayed to hear you repeat the irrelevant news item that Trayvon Martin had been suspended from school for an empty 'baggie' with marijuana residue, WITHOUT also mentioning the much more relevant fact that George "Zimmerman had two prior arrests [for violence]" cbsnews).

Mentioning an irrelevant but emotionally resonant fact, even to deny it, does damage to the public's ability to be fair about an issue. Neural networks create unwarranted subconscious beliefs even in rational people; in this case the subtly planted belief is a suspicion that Trayvon Martin is a malevolent person who deserved what he got.

The best way to neurally neutralize this irrelevancy is to repeat in temporal proximity the much more relevant fact of Zimmerman's previous arrests for violence. Followed with a statement the irrelevance of both, but if compared, Zimmerman's two previous violent incidents are much closer to relevance to judgments about this particular case. A teachable moment.

A larger lesson is something similar can be done in other instances to neurally neutralize "factoids" (wikipedia) or other manipulative words used in otherwise rational discussions.

Likely your commentators will go on repeating subtle smears to deny them or their relevance, unwittingly spreading the subtle damage of the smear, cheap shot, in a rational discussion of this and other topics.
 
 
+15 # gfelder 2012-04-01 15:19
We as a Nation have a very serious sickness and we express it across the world with those of colour and at home. we are in deed god's gift to other people , when we come to understand what we have done to those of our own land we will see ourselves as others see us.
 
 
+30 # Mysan 2012-04-01 15:22
I could not read what has been said without adding another psychological explanation of why Trayvon is being slandered. It is due to "cognitive dissonance" which is spelled out in brilliant detail by Carol Tavris and Elliott Aronson in their book, "Mistakes Were Made But Not by Me.". Clearly, Zimmerman must have realized that the person he shot was an unarmed young black boy! When he tried to explain his error both to himself and to the police, he came up with an excuse conveniently supplied by law enforcement --
 
 
+32 # Mysan 2012-04-01 15:24
Continue from above --
self defense - under Florida's seriously flawed stand and defend law promoted by the NRA and businesses who promote sale of firearms.  Cognitive dissonance is the uncomfortable feeling when you become aware that your behavior is not consistent with your belief.  We then rationalize and self justify our wrongful behavior by making up facts or refusing to accept facts that contradict our mistaken behavior.  In this case, those who support the flawed law that allows people like Zimmerman to own and fire a weapon for whatever reason they believe is justified, now have to rationalize the terrible consequences of their poor judgment in supporting such a law.  Hence, those who support this law and act using it, even though mistakenly shooting an unarmed teenager, must now rationalize and justify such horrible behavior by finding or fabricating evidence that the victim deserved getting shot.  Whether any of the information is true or irrelevant is beside the point -- it serves the purpose of reconciling the "cognitive dissonance .". Frankly, I think this is a much better and well documented human phenomenon than Why rumors are spread.  
 
 
+12 # Texas Aggie 2012-04-01 16:53
Absolutely! Spot on!

I apologize for accidentally hitting the wrong thumb sign. I meant to hit the thumbs up.
 
 
-15 # Jmac 2012-04-01 19:02
Does this mean everyone else who owns a gun and beleives in the right of self defense is wrong? I don't believe so?
 
 
+12 # Billy Bob 2012-04-01 19:28
Of course not. It means that there is no such thing as vigilante justice.
 
 
+21 # Billy Bob 2012-04-01 19:30
Besides, what does this case have to do with "self-defense"? If Trayvon had done the shooting it might be a case of self-defense, but you can't stalk someone, threaten them, and then claim self-defense when they protect themself, if Martin did.
 
 
-7 # Jmac 2012-04-02 16:41
You were reading too much into my post, walking around carrying a firearm for any other act than self defense is not what the law says. While the stalking part is debateble, the rest is conjecture. There's this picture being painted with NO PROOF YET that Zimmerman was this half crazed vigilante eager to cut a notch on gunbelt. I was reading a few earlier posts and it made it sound like he was chasing martin around waving and shooting his pistola up in the air, pinned him on the ground and shoved the barrel in martin's mouth calling him all sorts of bad names in the process. With sveral "eye witnesses" contradicting each other and the Keystone cops trying to fix thier inverstigations i'll keep watching.
 
 
+7 # Billy Bob 2012-04-02 18:48
No. Actually, you were reading something that wasn't in Mysan's post. I responded to your reaction.

It's a FACT that Martin was an unarmed boy walking home.

It's a FACT that Zimmerman found something "in his appearance" suspicious, but we don't know what.

It's a FACT that Zimmerman was told not to pursue Martin but he went ahead and did it anyway.

It's a FACT that Martin tried to get away and called his girlfriend saying he was worried about the man following him.

It's a FACT that Zimmerman had no identification and was therefore A STALKER.

It's a FACT that Zimmerman complained that "they always run away".

It's a FACT that Zimmerman has called 911 46 times since Jan. 2011.

It's a FACT that Zimmerman has been accused of a violent past, whereas Martin has not.

It's a FACT that Zimmerman was court ordered to undergo anger management.

It's a FACT that we live in a country where children are abducted and murdered under these EXACT circumstances.

CONT.
 
 
+7 # Billy Bob 2012-04-02 18:49
CONT.

It's a FACT that Martin at one point tried to run away, but yet Zimmerman caught up to him.

It's a FACT that Martin had every reason to believe a stranger chasing him late at night was a threat to his life (a fact that he would obviously be correct in thinking).

It's a FACT that slamming someone's head into the sidewalk, especially when you're overpowering that person would usually be fatal.

It's a FACT that everyone not associated with either party involved who heard the screams considered them to be those a young boy.

It's a FACT that the usual procedure when bringing a case like this to trial is to formally accuse someone and hold them in custody until the trial.

It's a FACT that recommendations were made that Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter, but they were ignored.

I'm sorry that the facts disagree with your narrative. If Zimmerman is innocent, I'd like his accusers to have their day in court. If they can't prove guilt then he should be free. This can't happen if the case isn't even pursued.
 
 
+2 # readerz 2012-04-01 21:12
Again:
Psychology is for slander, which is what a private person says incorrectly and hurtfully against another private person.
Libel is a deliberate attempt by media to shape and twist public opinion, also using incorrect and hurtful information. The purpose of libel might be to sell more TV, radio, newspapers, books, or to try to keep rich advertisers in power, or people in power in power.
Slander: oops. Libel: premeditated destruction of society.
 
 
+7 # readerz 2012-04-02 07:18
People may hit the negative button, but the fact remains. No matter what Zimmerman had as an excuse, those who have legal responsibility: police, prosecutors, state, and media, whether print, TV, radio, or books; all have professional training in either law or journalism to not libel Trayvon Martin and not make excuses for Zimmerman, which also libels Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman could be tried as insane (although I doubt it would stick), but he must be tried.

Libel is deliberate, and has serious consequences, among them that libel changes society. For example, Rush thinking that he could get away with the old libel that women are automatically sluts if they seek gynecological exams and hormones to regulate periods. This libel has cut medical care to thousands of women. Trayvon Martin's libel is cutting protection for blacks. Adding psychology at this point is not speaking in a vacuum, it is derailing the conversation. All sorts of things could be extrapolated, but it would be an attention deficit disorder on our part to think about these things, turning us from demanding action.

Instead of psychology, use cultural anthropology. The neighborhood simply wanted to scare the black family away, or kill them if that wouldn't work. Zimmerman wasn't actually the watch, but nobody objected either. We should counter this psychological argument with an anthropological truth: the Sanford police (at least) are racist.
 
 
-6 # Jmac 2012-04-02 16:34
How is the NRA's fault and you say this with the assumption that Zimmerman has already been charged, tried and convicted.
There is nothing in that law (go read it) that says you can just randomly prowl your nieghborhood and use that law as an excuse to gun donw someone YOU THINK is suspicious. If he was out for a walk and was attacked or witnessed someone else being attacked he could come to thier aid but that's it and even then you have to have had clearly no other recourse.
 
 
+4 # Billy Bob 2012-04-02 18:59
If that's the case, then why is the right-wing trying to justify what Zimmerman did?

Also, if he is attacked, and shoots his attacker without a witness, how do we know he wasn't the actual attacker? Wouldn't it be easy for any murderer to claim self-defense as long as there were no witnesses?
 
 
+16 # paulrevere 2012-04-01 15:24
I take issue with all those words used by the author and the vanillaization by the shrink, a member of a group of professionals who continue to stamp approval upon and oversee the likes of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo torture, administer unconscionable amounts of psychotropic drugs on anyone who walks into their pervue and get zero feedback from their professional association amidst all this lazy and unethical behavior.
The simple truth here is that bigotry is alive and well in America...dump all the intellectualiza tions please.
 
 
+4 # readerz 2012-04-01 21:14
Thank you, one sane voice!
Libel is not slander. Libel is bigotry, packaged for sale.
 
 
+29 # Colleen Clark 2012-04-01 15:34
We shouldn't be surprised. Blame the victim! It's as old as the hills. Same thing happens to women all the time. Complain about sexual harassment, assault, or rape and the woman's reputation, dress, demeanor, history etc etc etc gets dragged through the mud. She's too pretty; she's too ugly - who would rape her?; she's too old, etc etc etc. Remember Anita Hill?

Trayvon was too black. He wasn't a saint. The very fact that Zimmerman attacked him is evidence that he was"guilty" -of what exactly is not clear but not relevant to the hate mongers. You're not a white male? Then watch out!
 
 
+16 # hjsteed 2012-04-01 15:51
Not unlike the Bradley Manning case where the innocent man is charged with a serious crime.
 
 
-23 # Jmac 2012-04-01 19:05
Bradley manning was not an innocent man. he released secret information and now he's reaping what he sowed, granted he probably believe what he was doing was the right thing but what has come out of it?
There was no earth shattering information released, no one went to jail, the war contiues on and it seems it was done more out of spite than any real sense of justice.
 
 
+20 # LetJusticeRoll 2012-04-01 20:07
There most certainly was earth shattering information released. The first instance that comes to my mind is the video of the people (including journalists) gunned down from a US helicopter - and later the people gunned down by US military as those people tried to rescue one of the survivors of the first attack. You could hear the callous comments of those doing the killing - even laughing as someone was run over by a vehicle.

And since that video, many shocking revelations have come out as a result of the release, about how US policy is really made - the lies and hypocrisy. It was earth shattering, at least to me and others who care about justice. And you're right, no one has yet gone to jail except Bradley Manning. Certainly some people should have been tried for their criminal actions by now. But it is still good that the general public has the opportunity to learn what's really going on. You should try reading some of the information released before saying there "was no earth shattering information released."
 
 
+8 # Billy Bob 2012-04-01 21:20
Thank you for taking the trouble to answer Jmac's comment with a serious reality check.
 
 
+19 # Sensible1 2012-04-01 16:09
You can call it the Bush syndrome. On a world scale, those who know there are facts to support crimes against humanity, and Bush lies, but so many theories come out, and in the end, no one can really put a handle on the truth. So everyone gets a free pass. This is likely to happen here, especially if more time goes by, and public interest wanes to convict Zimmerman. If Bush can walk free, so can Zimmerman. That is sometimes the way American justice works. No justice at all.
 
 
+19 # mrbadexample 2012-04-01 16:15
I bought my first JUSTICE FOR TRAYVON MARTIN button at Union Square today. That button will join all the other buttons in the big bucket in my closet--the buttons for Michael Stewart, Eleanor Bumpurs, Michael Griffith, Amadou Diallo, and the Tulia Texas defendants. The problem here is that the (mostly white) left doesn't want to connect the dots. They don't want to confront the racists on the issues until forced to by an event like this. And we're going to keep refighting these battles until we make it impossible for these folks to stay in positions of responsibility. I'm thinking of the GOP party official in California caught sending out pictures of Obama as a chimpanzee baby
http://www.good.is/post/gop-official-says-her-incredibly-racist-obama-monkey-email-wasn-t-racist/
--it should be progressives of all races who make it impossible for her to keep her job. Until that changes, we're going to have events like that which befell Trayvon Martin.
 
 
+11 # Sensible1 2012-04-01 16:45
Unfortunately, it has become an all too common American thing. It seems America has always been for elite white folks; by and for white folks. I know we do not want to see it that way, nor do we want it to be that way, but it has always been that way. Ironically, we do not see all black countries having this kind of problem, but I would not be surprised if someday we do. The NRA is a powerful lobby and this is one fight they will be all in to win. A gun in the hand of a racist has no conscience, nor does the man holding it.
 
 
-19 # Jmac 2012-04-01 19:08
Yes the NRA itself is completely to blame along with all those crazy gun owning white people right? Becuase only elite white people own guns for the express resaon of oppressing the minorities every where...lol
 
 
+11 # Billy Bob 2012-04-01 21:29
The NRA is responsible for the fact this law was enacted in the first place. These events could not have happened as they did without that law in affect.

On a side note, the more you get involved in the race argument, the more you look like you have an obvious axe to grind. It's not a flattering picture.
 
 
+5 # readerz 2012-04-02 07:33
It is a problem, certainly. However, just as the psychologists can dot the i's and cross the t's, so can anthropologists .

Any anthropologists want to write an article? The gist would include: who owns property in Florida? Are neighborhoods newly integrated? In America, those who are black are the longest residents, but own the least property; is there a concerted effort, especially in the deep South, to move black families away?

I think the Trayvon Martin problem, and also the Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. problem which happened in White Plains, NY (see Moveon.org), point to a real need to investigate these suburban communities. I know that in my state the KKK does not have a foothold in my city, but in one or two suburbs. The demographics of hate MUST be investigated by people who do not hate, and not wait for the FBI or Homeland Security, which seem to have the opposite agenda. Goodness, people did not challenge the 2010 census enough, or the gerrymandered redistricting! And this also is about poor that must move frequently not being able to register to vote if their ID address changes. Isn't there "another side" that will do this research? I know that science and business promises more money, but c'mon folks... brush off your university research capabilities, and research what America is about. Al Franken did research, and he was moved to be a Senator. Research defuses the accusations of "ax to grind."
 
 
-9 # Jmac 2012-04-02 17:01
If we're going to blame the NRA for everytime something gun related then we should also blame the ACLU, Teamsters, UAW, KKK, NAACP, little green men and any other NGO that happens to be convient at the time for everything remotely related to them as well. No matter that politicians are the ones who enact laws after voters vote them into office. Or is everyone blameless except "they".
 
 
+4 # Billy Bob 2012-04-02 18:34
The NAACP isn't lobbying and puting political pressure on politicians to enact the shoot first law. The NRA is doing that. The law is an NRA idea.

You're right about one thing. The repuglican politicians who enacted this nasty law are ultimately responsible. I agree that we shouldn't vote repug.
 
 
-2 # infohiway 2012-04-02 17:02
Quoting Sensible1:
Unfortunately, it has become an all too common American thing. It seems America has always been for elite white folks; by and for white folks. I know we do not want to see it that way, nor do we want it to be that way, but it has always been that way. Ironically, we do not see all black countries having this kind of problem, but I would not be surprised if someday we do. The NRA is a powerful lobby and this is one fight they will be all in to win. A gun in the hand of a racist has no conscience, nor does the man holding it.


Now wait just a darned minute with your broad brush-strokes. This is less a racial thing than one of sheer evil and stupidity. Zimmerman, in fact, should have been legally banned from gun ownership for being unstable.

And don't you ever forget that kidnapped and brainwashed CHILD SOLDIERS in Africa and South America are rife.
 
 
+3 # Billy Bob 2012-04-02 18:31
This is an NRA issue, a racial issue, a corruption issue, a urban hysteria issue, and a lobbyist issue, off the top of my head.

I'm sorry, but I missed how this has anything to do with Africa and South America. Didn't the shooting take place in Florida?
 
 
-3 # Jmac 2012-04-03 18:09
The NRA is not to blame, to use your own words it's urban hysteria.
 
 
0 # Billy Bob 2012-04-03 21:25
Without urban hysteria the NRA couldn't exist in its present form. The NRA is a perfect example of (to use your words) mob mentality.
 
 
+12 # jwb110 2012-04-01 16:17
If you want to stop lies and rumors just pinch the lip shut on every Republican you can lay your hands on!
 
 
+23 # dascher 2012-04-01 16:44
We heard that "Zimmerman was not arrested" but then we saw that video of him in cuffs in the police station; we heard that the police didn't arrest him because nobody came to the site of the shooting from the D.A.'s office (?); we heard that the body was treated as a "John Doe" although it was carrying a wallet with I.D.; we have heard nothing about any kind of medical exam being performed on the body before burial - no examination of the wound (or wounds) to see how far the gun was from Trayvon when he was shot; etc... etc...

The "police work" in this case can only be taken as an indication of how little they thought of this dead black boy and their obligation to find the truth of Zimmerman's account. One can only speculate as to why they would have so little regard for justice in this case, but it is really difficult to come up with any explanation other than gross incompetence and stupidity or bigotry. Regardless of which is the underlying reason, the State of Florida (sure) or the U.S. Department of Justice should be shutting this police department down asap.
 
 
+12 # Dick Huopana 2012-04-01 19:02
You are absolutely correct that the police department should be shut down. It's amazing that Florida's governor has failed to do so.

Our American Pledge of Allegiance should also be revised to eliminate its last four words, i.e., "and justice for all" until the words become a reality.
 
 
-2 # Jmac 2012-04-03 18:08
So you would condemn an entire police department to shut down depriving thier citizens of effective law enforcements for the actions of a few IF TRUE?
 
 
+1 # Dick Huopana 2012-04-05 16:01
No, Jmac, I would expect the State of FL to temporarily take over the police dept's responsibilitie s until it can determine the "few" who are incompetent and/or corrupt and get them replaced.
 
 
+2 # JohnnyK 2012-04-01 17:17
There are many questions left to be answered. The photos of the two men are not an accurate depiction of them. The photo of Martin is several years old and makes him appear much younger and smaller than he actually is. The photos of Zimmerman make him look scary. We all need to hear more facts about this case.

The fact that Florida incourages people to carry guns by their lax laws doesn't help either.
 
 
+15 # Pancho 2012-04-01 17:28
I'm deluged with posts forwarded from the few right wing friends I manage to tolerate as our relationships go back decades. They used to send me more, forwarded by them to dozens of others, sent to them by pathetic individuals who believe they're fulfilling God's wishes by disseminating this filth.

They include just me now, on those posts, because I'd send responses to all their correspondents, to all those who had been copied by previous forwarders, with original source citations, sometimes with Snopes or Urban legends URLs. Suffice to say that all of those forwarding this crap were born without a BS detector and never felt any need to acquire one.

Trayvon Martin is a proxy for their racist fears. Singal neatly dodges this transparent reality, bestowing upon us his "voice of moderation. "

The same ugly souls who need to trash this dead kid, or Muslims, or Obama (not that I'm his biggest fan), or Sandra Flake, even the ones who take care to avoid the use of racist epithets or vulgarities, are the ones who leap vigorously to the defense of that disgusting, drunken cokehead Andrew Breitbart, or who consciously avoid considering why Rush Limbaugh violated probation by taking a bagful of Viagra on a solo trip to the Dominican Republican, as if all he wanted couldn't be easily solicited on the streets of Miami or Los Angeles.

Shame on the Daily Beast for giving exposure to Singal's dismissiveness of the racist nature of this crime.
 
 
+17 # Sarek 2012-04-01 17:43
The driving force that I've seen for slandering/libe ling Trayvon Martin is coming from the ultra-right media. That being the case, I believe there are three issues:
1) many or most of those taking up the cause calling for Zimmerman's arrest are liberals. This is especially true in the media: I've seen it on MSNBC with most of the liberal cadre calling for investigation. If the "left" is on one side, the right feels the need to be on the other, despite the fact that this isn't or shouldn't be a right-left issue.
2) President Obama spoke sympathetically to the parents. The hatred of the President is so strong, that if he declared it day, the Right would declare it night.
3) Zimmerman shot the young man. He used a gun. To the Right, in keeping with the most irrational NRA members, nothing bad can be done with a gun. Any criticism of anything done with a gun might lead to gun control. Thus, Zimmerman must be defended.

But, of course, the real reason does come back to race. Zimmerman looks white (why is it that one can be partially Hispanic and partially white, but not partially black and partially white?), has a German name, and shot a black youth. Thus, he must be in the right and the youth must be a black hoodlum. I'd put cash money that the righties pushing this don't call Trayvon black or African-America n. I've been there but got over it. They call him a (pick your slur, you probably know a couple).

Live long and prosper
 
 
+6 # Byronator 2012-04-01 19:44
Hispanic and African American hostilities have been raging among youth gangs in hundreds of communities. Asians have also been targeted by all groups. It's not just a black and white problem. It's tribalism, classism, bigotry and the demonization of the "different".
 
 
+19 # margpark 2012-04-01 17:44
The first question that popped into my mind was "Why on earth was a neighborhood watch person armed and dangerous. Where I live neighborhood watch means you are alert to questionable activity in the neighborhood. You then call the police who check out the questionable activity.
You do not go out and confront the questionable activity yourself.

To believe everything I read everyone in Florida is going around with concealed weapons. That is probably not true either.

NRA be damned, there are too many weapons in too many hands these days.
Margaret Park
 
 
+12 # E-Mon 2012-04-01 17:52
I read that there had been several burglaries in the neighborhood, allegedly, by the now stereotypical young black males wearing "hoodies", which helps me to see why Zimmerman was acting like a self appointed vigilante. However.... The crux of the issue is whether or not Zimmerman shot in self defense. If it were me, and I thought Trayvon looked suspicious, I would think just letting him know he was being watched would be enough of a deterrent. I think Zimmerman crossed the line when he decided to aggressively pursue Trayvon, essentially creating a situation of self defense for both. If Trayvon really did react violently.... (which I personally doubt very much) Allegedly breaking his nose and pushing Zimmerman down and smashing his head on the sidewalk then where's the evidence!!?? If Trayvon really did react violently, because someone was following him, would that not also be self defense?
 
 
+7 # dick 2012-04-01 19:02
I look at the police station tape. I see no rivers of blood on Z's clothes or smeared on his head. I hear he had his head pounded repeatedly into the sidewalk. I see no hospital stop or concussion watch. I see KKKops who covered up a murder. They must be thrilled that all the focus is on GZ. Florida is not going to significantly change the law. But if the American people demand serious justice for the murderer AND for the cover-up KKKops, others might be deterred. In this case, screw the rumor crap.
 
 
+5 # balconesfalk 2012-04-02 07:14
One racist-based rumor that reached my eyes on-line alleged that the tape of Zimmerman's "perp walk" was fabricated, that the camera, supposedly fixed, appeared to the "reporter" to be hand held, and suggested that it may not even have been Zimmerman. The piece was topped off with, "...shame on ABC for broadcasting it"! How much more preposterous could such a contribution to the racist rumor mill get?
 
 
-8 # lnason@umassd.edu 2012-04-01 19:26
I think the response is motivated by fear of mob justice. With the black panthers group offering a huge bounty on the head of Zimmerman, with the tweeting of Zimmerman's home address (even if it was not the correct address), with the distorting of Zimmerman's own racial heritage and personal life, I think it perfectly possible that the response is simply meant to bring some deliberative sanity to the case.

Right wingers (and many independents) remember the Brawley case or the Duke Lacrosse case (just to name two of the more egregious examples of people jumping to conclusions) and the fervor over the Martin case feels very similar.

Personally, I don't know what happened that night but I am very uncomfortable with what a lot of other people are assuming -- on both sides.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
 
 
+8 # Billy Bob 2012-04-01 21:23
Another example of mob justice is writing laws that allow lone vigilantes to stalk people, shoot them and claim self-defense, all because of right-wing fears.

Vigilante justice is what has already occured. That mob you're refering to wants to see this case brought to trial. There's nothing irrational about that.

billy bob
USA, Earth
 
 
-12 # lnason@umassd.edu 2012-04-02 07:38
Billy Bob:

Martin's family wants to see a trial (and that is good) but not the mob. The bounty on Zimmerman's head is a fairly obvious incitement to vigilante action as is the tweeting of Zimmerman's address. But listening to some of the mob rabble-rousers convinces me that they would cheerfully lynch Zimmerman if they had the opportunity. In any event, if Zimmerman were to be proven innocent (and I think that there is a possibility of that since I do not know what happened that night), his life is ruined simply because people were jumping to conclusions without knowing pertinent facts.

You state with conviction that "vigilante justice" has already occurred. But isn't that what the trial should determine? We don't know enough facts yet -- did Zimmerman have a broken nose as he claims? medical records will have to be produced; was the recorded cry for help from Martin or Zimmerman? voice recognition software can determine that -- many other facts may change our perceptions before the trial is over and we should not clamber on a bandwagon (as we did with Brawley and the Duke kids) only to discover that we have ruined a person's reputation and life because of our hyperactive suspicions.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
 
 
+7 # Billy Bob 2012-04-02 09:19
But the "mob" you're refering to is really two different things. The "mob" of protesters, who also only want to see a trial, and goofballs who've decided their own vigilante justice would be a good form of revenge for the shooting.

This is of course not one sided.

I could also point you to a mob of angry white supremacists on the internet who are claiming that "n****r" got just what he deserved. Are my right-wing mob accusations any less pertinent to the case than your "black panther" mob accusations?

Right now, Trayvon Martin is DEAD because there is a law saying you can shoot first and ask questions later. There is nothing more final than that. THAT is vigilante justice. Trying Zimmerman for murder won't take away the fact that an UNARMED boy was stalked, chased and shot to death - REGARDLESS of whether or not he chose to defend himself.

So far, Zimmerman appears to be protected by the illusion that he was defending himself and is therefore not required to be sitting in jail awaiting a trial.

CONT.
 
 
+10 # Billy Bob 2012-04-02 09:19
CONT.

Again, NONE of the facts of the case can be determined without a trial, which is very unlikely, considering that the person many of us are accusing has yet to be accused formally of any crime.

You seem a LOT MORE concerned about the reputation of a man who STALKED, CHASED, and SHOT TO DEATH a young boy, than the reputation of the boy that was killed and is now being attacked by the right-wing media. WHY?

billy bob
USA, Earth
 
 
+6 # readerz 2012-04-02 11:44
So far, what the press has found has included:
1. Video showing Mr. Zimmerman walking handcuffed into a police station, with no swelling, bruising, or other changes around his nose and eyes, no swelling, bruising anywhere on his head, and no other problems. His gait is relaxed. The officer walks around him for a better look, that is all.
2. Audio recording of the actual minutes leading up to an including the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. In this recording, there are screams heard. And yes, two independent sources have done voice analysis, and the voice is not Mr. Zimmerman's.
3. Witnesses who heard what was going on outside their window who are not friends with either Zimmerman or Martin, and have no agenda other than the truth. They said that they heard a young voice pleading with an older voice, and then shots.
Inason, that is not a "mob." That is video, audio, and legal witness, and the press has a right to broadcast it, and citizens have a right to discuss it. That is the First Amendment, unless you want to call the writers of the Constitution a "mob." By the way, the Second Amendment does not give a license to kill other citizens; it is a very limited right compared to the First Amendment.
 
 
-2 # Jmac 2012-04-03 18:06
Mob is a mob, doesn't make it right. They're not demanding justice, they're demanding a conviction out of court.
 
 
0 # Billy Bob 2012-04-03 21:24
So you admit the law is the product of mob mentality?

The protests I've heard are demanding a trial.
 
 
+12 # dick 2012-04-01 19:27
Where are the police photographs of the head wounds from being battered into the sidewalk? Where are the police photographs of the bloody face & clothes. Can you spell KKKover-up? Aiding & abetting homicide? Obstruction of justice? Conspiracy to obstruct justice? PRISON TIME for cover-up KKKops? They should NOT go free to laugh & do it again. We need more focus & info on the cover-up cops.
 
 
-2 # Jmac 2012-04-03 18:04
Check the recently released police reports as of today.
 
 
0 # Billy Bob 2012-04-03 21:23
Do you mean the reports that voice analysts agree the screams were not Zimmerman, or do you mean the enhanced pictures showing that Zimmerman's head was still not very seriously injured for someone who supposedly had the back of it (the most fragile part of the skull) smashed into the sidewalk?

Is there some other inconsequential evidence you can point to which makes Martin suddenly armed and Zimmerman suddenly not deserving of charges?
 
 
+10 # Billy Bob 2012-04-01 19:32
I really liked Mysan's comment.

There's a whole OTHER explanation for the fact that right-wingers want to justify Martin's death:

They want to justify the law they enacted which legalizes vigilante justice.
 
 
+2 # readerz 2012-04-02 07:35
O.K., I'll buy that, but only that. The rest, please change textbooks from psychology to anthropology. And send those journalists, police, prosecutors, etc. back to school.
 
 
+12 # angelfish 2012-04-01 19:33
The Fear, Ignorance and Racism that is promoted by "Fixed" News and other Scandal Mongers know that it is far more lucrative to invent bad press than to investigate the FACTS of the case. However, if one of THEIR children had been murdered in the street, shot down like a dog BY a MAD DOG, they would shriek their brains out for Justice! This young man was STALKED. WHY didn't Zimmerman "stand down" when told to by the Police? What he did is called First Degree Murder! THIS is what Justice looks like in Florida and HOW many other States? I guess it's time for Armored Vehicles and Body Guards!
 
 
+4 # R Miller 2012-04-01 20:21
This article--and most of these comments--much like the MSNBC lynching of Zimmerman--is an embarrassment. Most are the arguments made for and against either of these two people are precooked, driven more by political position than anything else. The simple, painful truth is that all the facts are not in. Did Zimmerman really have a broken nose? We'll find out soon enough. Did Martin confront Zimmerman, then grab hold of his weapon (as some have claimed)? Forensics can determine that. Zimmerman and Martin aside, never forget the root cause in this tragedy: the fools in Florida who voted for that despicable "stand your ground" bill--the jerk who signed it into law: Jeb Bush--and that miserable organization who backed it: the NRA. Thanks to these idiots, be prepared to see even more of this kind of bad business.
 
 
+9 # Billy Bob 2012-04-01 21:25
Of course none of this will be investigated at all unless a real investigation is actually happening.
 
 
+3 # balconesfalk 2012-04-02 07:32
One of the glaringly missing details is where Trayvon's bullet wound occured on his body, in front or back? Did Zimmerman "stand his ground" or "shoot to kill?"
 
 
+4 # Billy Bob 2012-04-02 10:13
Even if the bullet wound was from the front it's hard to argue that an unidentified man can stalk and chase a young boy at night, and then claim "self-defense" when that boy reacts to the perceived threat.
 
 
0 # corals33 2012-04-01 20:35
If this is a DIFFICULT CASE as stated in the fine print above let us all pray for Americans. Likewise whoever coined the phrase Military Intelligence and those who accept and repeat it should be regarded with all the loving piety we could muster.Amen.
 
 
+8 # Lawandfacts 2012-04-01 20:43
RSN is a jewel. But, there are many really undisputed facts now available that the author probably should have drawn upon to assess his conclusion.
 
 
+12 # Larkrise 2012-04-01 22:57
Trayvon was unarmed. He was shot to death by an older, heavier man. This man was told to stop following Trayvon. He did not. He had a gun. He shot Trayvon in the chest. Okay. Where are the rumors. I have 3 degrees, one of which is a Masters in Psychology. You can root around in all the psychological mishmash you wish, but the facts are the facts. In a sane society, Zimmerman would be arrested, in jail, awaiting trial. Stop making excuses and dragging out theories for a murderer. He might be convicted, he might not. After all, he shot the boy in Florida. Nevertheless, he belongs in jail, awaiting trial.
 
 
+6 # Billy Bob 2012-04-02 09:33
That was the single most concise comment I've read in the past 2 weeks. It's what I've tried to say over and over, but not as well. It's a shame it has to be repeated endlessly to cut through the haze of right-wing obfuscation.
 
 
+5 # Dick Huopana 2012-04-02 09:42
Unfortunately, we don't have a "sane society" as do, e.g., inhabitants of anthills and beehives. We citizens of the world's richest country, the United States of America, are far from united and are becoming increasingly divided, irrational and dangerously uncivil. And, unlike ants and bees, an increasing number of us fear and kill each other. That is why I have previously posted on RSN my belief that our human species should not be allowed to inhabit and contaminate other planets.
 
 
+1 # Dick Huopana 2012-04-02 10:50
And, oh yes, if the bees and/or ants decide to colonize on other planets, let their species establish and pay for their own space programs :-)
 
 
+2 # readerz 2012-04-02 11:36
That was the point of Arthur Clark's 2001, 2010, 2030, and 3001 stories. But in those stories, the monoliths wiped out life on earth in the end.
 
 
-1 # Jmac 2012-04-03 18:04
Zimmerman was an older heavier man but Martin was a younger, taller and more physically fit man. How does that make a differnce?
 
 
-1 # Billy Bob 2012-04-03 21:20
It doesn't. Zimmerman had the gun. Martin was unarmed and apparently innocent.
 
 
+6 # readerz 2012-04-02 10:14
Please read about the Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. case. This is yet another case where early libel is leading to a travesty of justice. The shooting death happened November 19, 2011, in White Plains, New York, and no justice has been done.
1. This was an elderly man in his own home, and video and audio show he was carrying no weapon (unlike the early newspaper report).
2. The police broke down his door, even though the medical alert company said there was a mistake and their services were not needed.
3. The police used the "n" word to a man who had been a Marine for 6 years and a corrections officer for 20 years. Yes, Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. was black.
4. The police originally had been called by a medical alert company, who canceled their call to the police, but the police broke and entered the home, claiming that the man was holding a knife (not shown in video) and threatening them (not heard on audio recording).
5. Most important, the New York State District Attorney can chose whether or not to admit the evidence of the video and audio recordings in the Grand Jury hearing that may or may not try the police. This is not about Trayvon Martin, but people need to send letters to the DA's office now.
6. The names of the police involved have not been released, and these police may still be working.
Sound familiar? See the interview: http://www.democracynow.org/2012/3/29/killed_at_home_white_plains_ny
 
 
+4 # Dick Huopana 2012-04-02 10:34
I've previously read the interview and join readerz in urging others to also do so.
 
 
+5 # PGreen 2012-04-02 10:45
I wonder how the Trayvon incident would have played-- both to the prosecutor and the media-- if Martin had been white and Zimmerman black...?
 
 
-1 # infohiway 2012-04-02 16:39
What's going down here?
Since when is George Zimmerman "white"?
He's mestizo - no matter what one police incident report says - strangely seized upon by the MSM. As such, is he 'Jewish' or Catholic? Would that matter?

Should 'white people' be blamed for this tragedy? Anybody that thinks so is racist AND scapegoating. Why, when 'whitey' did not do it?
 
 
+3 # Billy Bob 2012-04-02 18:27
Where the accusations of racism come from is not so much the fact of Zimmerman's heritage as it is the perceived justification he used to report and then pursue Martin.

It's not whether Zimmerman is white. It's the fact that Martin was black and that appears to have been a factor in his death.
 
 
0 # PGreen 2012-04-02 18:32
My question was speculating about how much racial profiling played a part in Zimmerman not being accused of murder, and whether Martin was considered a threatening figure by virtue of his skin color. Was this a reason that the "Stand Your Ground" law was invoked in this instance? Also, whether or not racial profiling played a part in media coverage.
Of course we should not blame 'white people' for the incident. But it still seems likely that Zimmerman should be investigated further.
You are correct. George Zimmerman is hispanic, so as a minority, many do not consider him white.
 
 
-2 # infohiway 2012-04-02 20:13
Some insist we must all accept 'minorities' are either:
A. incapable of being racist(s) and/or
B. exempt(ed) from being racist(s) -
because of their minority status.

GZ went out prepared, and looking, for trouble; then found it and ignored police advice; killed someone and now his 'story' does not 'stack'.

He has 'connections' within the 'justice system' and 'walks'. What's wrong with that picture?

GZ was handcuffed when he got out of the cruiser at the police station.
Thus he was under arrest when he entered that car and not when he left said police station.

What happened in the interim that changed everything?

President Nixon, a lawyer - who knew better, got himself into hot-water for condemning Charles Manson in the middle of his trial - didn't he?

Two Grand Juries are called for now.
One State and one Federal.
 
 
0 # Billy Bob 2012-04-03 06:21
Some are trying to just focus their attention on the case, rather than extraneous controversies about society as a whole. Black on white racism has no bearing AT ALL on this case. When that's the subject of a future case, it will be germaine to the discussion. Right now, it isn't.

I'm SURE you couldn't be bringing up black on white racism for the petty purposes of saying, "yeah, but those guys do it too!!!".

That CAN'T be the point you're trying to make, is it?
 
 
-2 # Jmac 2012-04-03 17:06
I'm still waiting for someone to explain how he has "inside connections" in the justice system. His dad being reported as a "retired judge" don't hold alot of water. I know alot of "retired" people and while you might call in a favor for a relative to get a job, out of a speeding ticket etc is nothing compared to getting your kid to walk from a mansluaghter or homicide charge. Even CNN, MSNBC, Jesse jackson/Al Sharpton are holding up that flag.
 
 
+2 # Billy Bob 2012-04-03 21:20
You're right. There doesn't seem to be any good reason AT ALL why Zimmerman hasn't been formally accused.
 
 
0 # Billy Bob 2012-04-03 21:28
I'm still waiting for you to respond to the list of facts I mentioned above. Do you disagree with any of them?
 
 
+1 # Billy Bob 2012-04-02 19:05
It's also about the attacks coming NOW from the right against Martin. This is, afterall, no longer just about Zimmerman. Even if racism wasn't part of Zimmerman's original motivation, it certainly has become a major player in the media machine and internet attacks on the victim of the shooting.
 
 
-3 # infohiway 2012-04-03 06:20
Oh dear.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2120504/Trayvon-Martin-case-He-suspended-times-caught-burglary-tool.html#ixzz1qLFrQbFL

Subject: Tweets from the Martin
Draw your own conclusions.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/86809463/Trayvon-s-Tweets- 

Nevertheless, GZ must be charged and tried.
 
 
+2 # Billy Bob 2012-04-03 09:32
My conclusion is that all of that has nothing to do with the case. Why should I draw any other conclusion? What conclusion would you like me to draw? Spell it out for me in plain English.
 
 
-2 # infohiway 2012-04-02 22:40
When Nixon, a lawyer - no less, popped-off about Manson, it guaranteed Manson could not get a fair trial - nation-wide. http://is.gd/t6CKZr

Therefore, Obama's 'contribution' (BY AN EX-LAWYER - no less) is tantamount to a virtual ... presidential pardon because now GZ can't get a fair trial?

Phew!
--i
PS. "In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way. " --Cicero
 
 
0 # Billy Bob 2012-04-03 09:33
What trial?
 
 
0 # HealthySkeptic 2012-04-03 08:13
My outrage grows daily at the Sanford police who are completely derelict in their duties. Tax payers hard-earned money pays their salaries and if they have no moral compass that compels them to arrest Zimmerman, the city (managers, etc.) should force them to do their job! The fact that Zimmerman is free is such a slap in the face.

The story of the Marine Vet who was killed by NY police in his own home after being called the "n" word (which was caught on tape) is at Democracy Now, not Move On.
 

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