Trayvon Martin Found Guilty!

Trayvon Martin, profiled as a criminal and then killed on a patch of grass in Florida more than a year ago, has been on trial for the last month. Now the verdict is in and Martin has been found guilty of trying to kill, or to cause serious damage to, George Zimmerman.

Oh, I know most people think Zimmerman was the man on trial, but it wasn’t so. It was the 16-year-and-a-month-old black kid in the hoodie, the black kid in the hoodie with the Skittles. And, of course, the black kid in the hoodie who, allegedly, armed himself with a sidewalk.

To sort of summarize what many Americans, many white Americans, felt about the black-kid-is-guilty verdict, I’ll use a Tweet from gun-crazed Ted Nugent:

nugent tweet

You see, Nugent, along with many, many others—most of them before the trial began—convicted Trayvon Martin—a “kid” Nugent said—of an “attack” on George Zimmerman, even though there was no evidence, other than the word of George Zimmerman—who happened to be charged with second degree murder—for such a conviction.

But it was crucial for the defense to make that case, to leave the six-woman jury with the idea that 158-pound Trayvon Martin was a man-sized thug who was armed with a dangerous sidewalk and who meant to kill 200-pound George Zimmerman with it.

Now, unlike most people who will read this or read anything about the case, I watched nearly all of what I only loosely refer to as George Zimmerman’s trial, including watching the closing arguments, through which each side attempted to pull together the evidence in support of their respective claims in the case.

I can tell you, emphatically, that I would not have found Trayvon Martin guilty of trying to kill George Zimmerman. There simply wasn’t enough evidence to do so and the star witness against him had an obvious motive to lie. In fact, he lied to Sean Hannity about whether he had heard of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law:

HANNITY: …prior to this night, this incident, had you even heard “Stand Your Ground”?


HANNITY: You have never heard about it before?


Except that the trial revealed this:

…an army prosecutor who taught Zimmerman in a 2010 college class on criminal litigation, testified that he often covered Florida’s self-defense and “Stand Your Ground” laws in his 2010 course. Army Captain Alexis Carter said Zimmerman “was probably one of the better students in the class,” calling him an “A” student.

Leaving aside the lie about that dangerous law in Florida, let’s move on to something simple: if Martin had really wanted to use the sidewalk as a way of seriously injuring or killing Zimmerman, he could have. Perhaps, some cynical people would argue, he should have. Had he done so, had he killed Zimmerman with that deadly sidewalk, Trayvon Martin would be alive today and, given the ridiculous nature of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, might be free to wander the streets in pursuit of more Skittles and more victims of his sidewalk-aided killing spree.

Except that George Zimmerman’s injuries, as the evidence demonstrated to me, were not consistent with the idea that Trayvon Martin was trying to kill him using that killing machine some of us know only as a walkway.

If we believe the star witness against Martin, that is, if we believe Zimmerman’s varying accounts of what happened, then we must believe that Martin is guilty of attempted murder. We must. If we believe that Zimmerman was pinned down with his head on the concrete, if we believe he was being beaten so badly that he feared for his life or seriously injury, then we must believe that Trayvon Martin was guilty of trying to kill the neighborhood-watching Zimmerman, who, by the way, never bothered to identify himself as such, when he and Martin met.

We must believe Martin was the person with the intent to kill, or else Zimmerman is a liar. Zimmerman told police, the day after he killed Martin, the following:

I kept yelling for help. And I got a  little bit of leverage, and I started to sit up, and then he took my head and slammed it into the concrete several times….I started screaming for help, and he covered by nose with one hand and my mouth with the other one, and he told me, “Shut the fuck up!” And I couldn’t breathe; I was suffocating. But when I shifted, my jacket came up and my shirt came up, exposing my firearm. And that’s when he said—he sat up and looked and said, “You’re gonna die tonight, motherfucker.” And I saw him take one hand off my mouth and slide it down my chest. And I just pinched his arm and I grabbed my gun, I aimed it at him, and fired one shot.

Leaving aside the mechanical implausibility of that account, leaving aside its self-serving nature, the claim is that Martin explicitly threatened Zimmerman’s life. Some months later, Zimmerman told Sean Hannity that Martin told him that “he was going to kill me.” Was he? Did this Skittles-buying kid have murder in his heart?  What did the evidence presented during the trial tell us?

Again, as the Zimmerman defense team—which was really the Martin prosecution team—framed this case, the salient issue was whether a black teenager wandering home from a convenience store viciously attacked George Zimmerman and meant to kill him with a slab of concrete. They made this case despite the fact that there were no serious injuries to the eventual killer’s head. They made this case despite the fact that their client didn’t require medical treatment beyond a few Band-Aids.

I will submit to you that Trayvon Martin most obviously was not trying to kill his killer or to seriously harm him, as only a few hard cracks against that sidewalk—defense attorney Mark O’Mara at one time forcefully and deliberately demonstrated to the jury what that would look like—would have done the trick.

In fact, it was O’Mara’s violent demonstration on a foam dummy during the trial that convinced me that Martin did not do what O’Mara essentially accused him of doing. Straddling that dummy, O’Mara violently pounded the back of its head into the floor. Wow, I thought. If Trayvon Martin did that to Zimmerman on the sidewalk and Zimmerman lived to tell about it, he must have a super-human titanium skull.

That demonstration by O’Mara was not without foundation. George Zimmerman told Sean Hannity that Martin “was slamming my head into the concrete, and I thought I would lose consciousness.” I can only tell you, as the state tried to tell the jurors in this case, to use your “God-given common sense.” You try banging your head, with the force implied by the defense, against a slab of concrete and see how long you are conscious enough to talk about it, let alone remember it in vivid, if self-serving detail. It became clear to me that no such thing happen to Zimmerman. There wasn’t sufficient evidence for it, even though a paid defense expert witness said,

You can get severe trauma to the head without external injuries, actually.

Think about that. Zimmerman said his head was being slammed repeatedly into concrete. The defense dramatically claimed concrete was a deadly weapon. And, conveniently, they put on a doctor who suggested that such a weapon could kill or seriously wound without leaving much of a mark! That Trayvon Martin could slam Zimmerman’s head into the concrete “several times,” trying to kill him, and it might not necessarily look like it after the fact, after the fact that Zimmerman shot Martin in the heart. I’m sorry, but that’s not something I can accept as even remotely plausible, and certainly not believable enough to convict Trayvon Martin of attempted murder.

So, I disagree with the verdict in this case. I would have found Martin not guilty of trying to kill George Zimmerman. The evidence simply wasn’t there and the witness against him offered an implausible account and had a good reason to lie about what happened. But apparently the jury, and certainly many white Americans, don’t agree with me.



  1. King Beauregard

     /  July 15, 2013

    I’m plenty white and I agree the verdict is a travesty. A few days back I said that I am not concerned with the specific verdict so much as the courts doing their job, but apparently that’s not true, because the verdict in this case convinces me that the courts DIDN’T do their job. By Zimmerman’s own admission, as well as 911 records, it is clear Zimmerman instigated the conflict, leading to the shooting death of a teenager who was initially just minding his own business. Somewhere in there, even the most brain-dead court should be able to apportion some culpability to Zimmerman, even if the most that could be shown beyond a reasonable doubt was something like “menacing” or “stalking” — there has to be something on the books that covers provoking a conflict even after the 911 operation has told you to knock it off.

    So does this fall under the category of hypocrisy or irony: Zimmerman is currently living in an undisclosed location because he’s afraid of vigilantes.


  2. Unlike, Duane, I did not watch the trial but only read about it and saw television out-takes. However, I suggest that there is a possibility that neither a guilty nor a not-guilty verdict would have served justice in this case. I suspect King B might agree with this also because he said (emphasis added),

    ” . . . even the most brain-dead court should be able to apportion some culpability to Zimmerman, . . “

    But, Florida law apparently doesn’t allow such nuance. The Jury’s choices were between second degree murder, manslaughter, or not guilty. Manslaughter potentially offered the very serious sentence of 30 years in prison.

    I think the jury probably came to the same conclusion I had, that this was a situation that spiraled out of control on raw emotion and, yes, on racial prejudice. Consider the elements. There had been a recent history of mischief and crime in the area perpetrated by young people who probably looked and dressed a lot like Travon. Zimmerman was a wanna-be lawman who sported a gun which he wasn’t supposed to employ in his neighborhood watch duties. Travon had THC in his blood, something that could have impaired his judgement. And finally, there is adrenaline. When anger becomes physical, it kicks in for both parties and neither is likely to be reasoning at that point. It’s all fight-or-flight reaction and statements such as “I’m going to kill you” are not a conclusion to reasoning but part of the fight.

    I submit that Zimmerman is to blame for this thing getting out of control, simply because he was over-zealous and because of the gun, but that his claim of self-defense was valid after the confrontation got out of hand. Martin over-reacted, probably believing that the un-uniformed, unidentified and armed man accosting him wanted to mug him. If there is any primary cause of this tragedy I think it’s the Florida law that permitted Zimmerman to have the gun in such a situation.

    Zimmerman ought to bear some legal responsibility for this tragedy but not 30 years in prison. Just my opinion.


  3. ansonburlingame

     /  July 15, 2013

    Well said, Jim and I agree with you, by and large. But back to Duane!

    I think, Duane, what you are trying to say, in a convoluted way, is that we need more and better laws to cover such a situation. Obviously the existing laws failed to punish Zimmmerman for “something” which you and the larger black community call for, punishment of some sort for Zimmerman.

    Remember if possible some 11/2 years ago when an entire police department claimed there was insufficient evidence to charge Zimmerman, under current laws, with much of anything, if anything at all. Outrage resulted and charges were then filed. Now the verdict is in confirming what the Flordia PD said long ago.

    Simply stated, it seems to me the lack of effective laws was the cause of Zimmerman being found not guilty of “something”!!! THAT is not Zimmerman’s fault or his defense team or the jury. If blame is to be leveled, well blame legislature(s) and governors.

    You and many others want “Justice for Trayvon Martin” and only severe punishment of Zimmerman will satisfy the blood lust, or so it seems to me. Now we are going to see another “round” with the federal DOJ weighing in to see if THOSE laws can award punishment to Zimmerman.

    Two young men acted “stupidly”. One started the process by standing a neighborhood watch with a legal gun on his belt. That by itself is “stupid” and SHOULD be illegal in my view. Fix THAT law alone and no death to Martin in all probability, or Zimmerman either for that matter.

    THEN matters got sort of vague, murky if you will. All we have to go on is the evidence admitted and presented in the trial. I too watched the trial, in “clips” only however. Based on what I observed I saw NO WAY, beyond a reasonable doubt, to convict Zimmerman of murder or man slaughter. That is a LEGAL opinon from me, a non-lawyer. And believe you me I started observing the trial with an open mind ready to convict or not convict based only on what I observed on TV.

    But back to “stupid”. I don’t know how laws can outlaw “stupidity” particularly when both men acted as such. And like it or not Florida law PROTECTED Zimmerman’s stupidity far more than it did Martin’s stupidity. Had Martin lived through it all we COULD have seen a trial with assualt being charged against both men. But that will never happen and wishing for it is just a wish, not reality.

    I wrote several days ago, before the verdict, that the REAL culprits in this case are the Florida legislature and governor that put the laws in place that ALLOWED, even demanded a verdict of Not Guilty, based on the best evidence the prosecution could assemble in 1 1/2 years of trying hard to convict Zimmerman of “something”.

    Had you, Duane, and I been both on that jury, well Jim’s outcome would have been the result I suppose, a “hung jury”. But of course neither of us can be sure in such a guess as NEITHER of us saw and heard ALL the evidence presented, along with all the nuances of a court of law.

    I personally believe our system of justice worked as best it could have worked in this case. But yes, it was imperfect as well as all systems of justice become from time to time.

    Rather than ranting about unfairness in our system, I would suggest you let us know exactly what new laws you believe are needed to prevent such things from happening in the future. If much stronger laws AGAINST carrying guns is your call, well count me on your side.

    But until you achieve that goal, why not leave George Zimmerman alone now, which of course will never happen either!! Race, blood lust, etc. will continue to prevail until…….?



  4. Anonymous

     /  July 15, 2013

    As far as I am concerned, whether Trayvon Martin fought with George Zimmerman or even threatened him, is beyond the point. I do not think it is unreasonable to be fearful or angry or to fight back when an armed individual stalks and attacks you at any time. Considering that it was a dark rainy night, could only have added to the tension.


  5. Duane,

    Well, you knew I had to pipe in here, didn’t you? Monday morning quarter-backing is always so much fun.

    I, of course, was pleased with the verdict. And I agree with your assessment that it was Trayvon Martin who was found guilty. None of us could know what was in the minds of either party or how the confrontation and subsequent fight when down with any certainly. And that is exactly why there is the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard that prosecutors must prove. And that’s a good thing because it also protects you and me if we are ever charged with a crime.

    I agree too that the “stand your ground” law is too vague and ambagious. In fact, I’m surprised it hasn’t been legally challenged. But that still leaves self-defense. Zimmerman’s actions during the deadly tussle did met the self-defense legal standard beyond a reasonable doubt. And I commend the jury for having followed the law and the evidence to reach the not guilty verdict instead of defaulting to the politically correct , but not legally correct, manslaughter charge.

    I’m not going to retry the case here or even rebut your interpretation of the events. But it would be interesting to speculate, if Trayvon had been shot somewhere other than the heart and survived, would the state go after him for aggravated assault? And what if Zimmerman had left his gun in the car and Martin was free to continue pounding his head on the sidewalk until he was dead? Would the state charge Martin with Second Degree Murder? Or would he assert self-defense?

    This case was, as I have said many times, about race. It turns out that the SPD had it right to begin with and it would have ended there except for the Martin family’s denial that Trayvon could be capable of committing the violence that, tragically, resulted in his own death. Yes, I am blaming the victim here. He was culpable and the evidence, including some of the evidence that was not admitted at trial, showed beyond a reasonable doubt that he was.

    But, no. We have to set black against white. To do this, we have to follow the absurd rationale that the White-Hispanic man whose head looked like a punching bag had viciously attacked a poor black kid who only had one small scratch on his finger (other than the bullet hole, obviously.) The black community and their sympathizers now want to extrapolate this specific and unique case as being responsible for labeling all black teenagers as potential felons. To quote Mark O’Mara, “Seriously?”

    There are many other cases out there where the civil rights of blacks are truly being violated and where convictions of blacks have been unjust. And those demand attention by all of us. But this is not such a case. Not when you have the white guy using the non-racial term “punk” to describe the black guy, and the black guy using the racial term “cracker” to characterize the white guy.

    So, in the end, you’re right, Duane. Trayvon Martin was indeed found guilty of attempted murder. And that was proved beyond a reasonable doubt.



    • Thanks for that link, Herb. It appears to be pretty good evidence that Zimmerman is not only principled but reasonably articulate about it.


    • Herb,

      Let’s get this straight: While others may call George Zimmerman a racist, I haven’t. I don’t believe he is. What I do believe is that he racially profiled Trayvon Martin, which is something different. In fact, I don’t even have a problem with what he did by calling the non-emergency number, when he saw Martin in his complex.

      Given Zimmerman’s state of mind, his obvious desire to be a law enforcer, his knowledge of some burglaries that had occurred in the complex, it is totally rational for him to suspect a black kid in a hoodie of being up to no good, even though labeling him as a “fucking punk” and “asshole” was clearly going too far and revealed something more profound about his state of mind at the time.

      The problem with this case is that Zimmerman was allowed to get away with a form of vigilantism–he was, after all, armed when he went looking for Trayvon Martin–that he would not have been allowed to get away with were he a black person.

      Another problem was that from the beginning, the police assumed Zimmerman was telling them the truth. A black person in that position—who had killed an unarmed white kid—would, clearly, not have received the benefit of that assumption.

      Another problem was that Martin was demonized as a black thug by certain right-wing outlets, by George Zimmerman’s brother, and finally by the defense team itself. Martin wasn’t simply a teenager who got into some trouble, like many of them, white and black, do. He was a thug who brought on his own death.

      And, finally, the reasoning used by the juror who has come forth, who is reportedly seeking some kind of book deal, clearly demonstrates that she, and other jurors, believed, only upon the testimony of Zimmerman, that Martin was the aggressor. He got “mad” as she put it. How does she know Martin was mad? How does she know that he wasn’t simply defending himself against a creepy guy with a gun—who may have, for all we know, showed Martin the gun to frighten him—who was following him in the rain and the dark? She “knows” that because, I submit, that’s what she thinks black kids in hoodies do, that’s  why.

      I recognize that what I am saying to you and what I have written is difficult for white people, especially white people of a certain generation, to accept. I recognize that most white people, including that white female juror, aren’t willing to accept that maybe, just maybe, they are blinded by unconscious prejudices, by judgments that have been influenced by their cultural background and environment.

      You often complained about the way this case was racialized by certain black leaders. At the base of that complaint is that they are seeing something in this case that you don’t see. You, and others, seem to be arguing that it is legitimate for you, a white person with your experiences, to pass judgment on the facts in this case, but not legitimate for black folks, with their experiences, to also pass judgment on this case.

      All I am saying is that I side with those who see more to this case than an “open and shut” self-defense case, and that I can understand why black folks were, and remain, upset about the way the case was handled from the beginning, not to mention the verdict. That doesn’t include judging Zimmerman as a racist, or even concluding that he is a murderer. But it includes a judgment about the system, about the larger culture, about how it treats black kids in hoodies different from others. That has always been my central point.

      And through it all, Trayvon Martin’s parents, next to Trayvon those who have suffered the most, have been dignified. They sought a trial of fact—which would not have happened without a public demand—and they are disappointed with the verdict, understandably. But they have called for calm and for peace, if nothing else to honor the memory of their son.

      I call on folks, all of us, to examine how it is that we see and understand and interpret these kinds of things and question whether there might be something affecting our judgment that we need to address. White people need to question what we see when we look at Trayvon Martin. Black people need to question why so many white folks are afraid of black teenagers. What is it in our culture that has brought us to this point and what can we do to change it?

      I submit that the first thing that I, as a white person, can do is to recognize that many black folks experience a different America from the one I experience. That is what this case, among other things, teaches us, and that, it seems to me, is where we must start any conversation about how to fix what is wrong.



      • Duane,

        I agree with most of what you say. But I do a few quibbles, to use your word.

        First, a couple of things about the trial that I never saw or heard being brought up. From what I understand, there was ample time for Trayvon to get to his father’s house after being seen by Zimmerman, in which case the whole affair could have been avoided. I could say that Trayvon didn’t have the sense to get in out of the rain, but that would be tacky. Not racist, tacky.

        The other thing that I didn’t see discussed is the fact that the fatal shot was most likely an accident. Zimmerman was trying to get Martin off of him and he fired the shot in self-defense. Clearly, Zimmerman never intended to kill Martin or shoot for the heart. It was essentially an unintended consequence of the struggle.

        And that brings up the question of whether Trayvon would have been so emboldened as to beat Zimmerman about the head and face if he knew there was a gun in the first place. That, it seems to me, goes to the reasonableness of whether Trayvon threw the first punch at what he called a “creepy-ass cracker,” which is, by definition, a racist insult to whites. (By the way, the epithets used by Zimmerman were equal opportunity slurs, not racial.)

        Yes, we have a race problem. And, no, I don’t have a solution. But the likes of Sharpton and his ilk don’t help by playing the race card. They are now seeking a civil rights charge because the justice system didn’t come out in their favor. Of course, there are no civil rights violations here based on Zimmerman’s background or the facts of this case. He “profiled” Martin, not because he was black, but because he looked like one of the many burglars that had recently been in that complex. Apparently nobody, including the president, AG Holder, or the FBI have the guts to say no to the black leaders. If a civil right case does proceed, that would indeed be a miscarriage of justice.

        It’s also interesting to see how most of the black commenters have completely misrepresented the facts in this case and just flat make stuff up. If I didn’t know better, I’d think, after listening to this hogwash, that Zimmerman tracked down this happy-go-lucky “child,” no doubt muttering the N word under his breath, took his Skittles away from him, and then murdered him in cold blood. It’s this kind of nonsense that only deepens the racial divide.

        As to the juror, I saw the interview and was very impressed with her explanation of how the jury arrived at their verdict. It was all about the evidence and the law as best they understood it. You’ve got to remember that there was never a case to begin with. And that’s why the prosecutors lost – they didn’t have the facts or the law. No, the jurors could not see the world through the lens of the black experience. And, being all women, they couldn’t see it through the male experience either. Whether they would have reached a different verdict if had they all been black? Well, I give you the O.J. trial and leave it at that. Remember what Aristotle said, “Law is reason, free of passion.”

        Now consider this – “Tulsa OK, Mar. 14, 2012: An 85-year-old woman was sexually assaulted and battered to death by a home invader who also shot her 90-year-old husband in the face with a BB gun. Nancy and Bob Strait, who had celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in December, were discovered by their daughter at their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

        “Both the pensioners were rushed to hospital where Mrs Strait, who was nearly blind, died from her injuries. Mr Strait, who served in the 101st Airborne Division in World War II, suffered a broken jaw, broken ribs and severe bleeding. He is in a serious condition in the hospital. (Mr. Strait subsequently died on May 4th, 2012.)

        “Police have arrested 20-year-old Tyrone Dale David Woodfork (who is black) in connection with the case.”

        As you know, this kind of black on white crime happens quite a lot – all over the country. And this is a real problem for the black community. If they don’t want to be racially profiled when one their own prowls around neighborhoods at night, then they better get busy cleaning up their own house. Seems to me that would be a lot more productive than running a fool’s errand for civil rights violations where none exist.



        • King Beauregard

           /  July 16, 2013

          “If they don’t want to be racially profiled when one their own prowls around neighborhoods at night, then they better get busy cleaning up their own house.”

          I am loathe to call anyone a racist. Herb, you are a racist. You found an instance of a horrific crime committed by a black against whites, and from this you conclude that profiling blacks is fair — even to the point that going to the store for Skittles and iced tea is now “prowling” in your mind.

          If there’s one thing that this white guy has taken away from this case, it’s that we WHITES are the ones who need to patrol our ranks, call the racists out when we see it. So Herb, I’m calling you out. This country lost any use for your kind decades ago.


          • King,

            So if I’m looking for Santa Claus in a crowd of people, I should ignore the fat guy in the red suit with the white beard? If being a racist is being a realist and acknowledging that the world is often unfair and unjust, then I’m a racist.

            If you were in charge of protecting a neighborhood where a number of break-ins have recently occurred and those caught doing it are all black, and you see a black guy meandering around in the dark who you don’t think lives in the area, would you (1) do nothing, (2) call the police, (3) follow the guy to see where he’s going, or (4) do both 2 and 3? Now, 2, 3, and 4, involve racial profiling. So option 1 is the correct answer because doing nothing doesn’t involve profiling and is therefore politically correct. But it’s also irresponsible. And if you did nothing, I’d fire your cracker ass in a heartbeat.

            I’m one of those who thinks we need to have an honest conversation about the racial divide in this country and try to work on ways the gap can be closed. The operative word here is “honest.” But Jackson and Sharpton and their like-minded friends are not going to let that happen. After all, where would they be if the blacks and whites were to all get along? So they keep things stirred up, keep the tension and distrust going, make sure that victimhood is never forgotten. If you want to attack the racists, King, I suggest you start with those guys.



            • King Beauregard

               /  July 16, 2013

              No, Herb, I’ll start with you. If it’s up to blacks to police their own, then by damn I’m going to work on policing whites who think their racism is justified (as if there’s any racist who DOESN’T think their racism is justified).

              If you’re looking for Santa Claus, then that is exactly one guy with a specific description. Being black is not enough to go on, no matter how many scary stories you want to trot out about black-on-white crime. White-on-white happens too, so does white-on-black, and even black-on-black. None of it justifies racism, not from you, not from anyone else.

              The kicker is this line:

              “If you were in charge of protecting a neighborhood” … Zimmerman wasn’t in charge of ANYTHING, he was at best inadequately trained to be in charge of anything. But I would expect REAL policemen to behave in a professional manner; a black kid walking on the sidewalk is not suspicious behavior in and of itself. It was enough for Zimmerman to go on, though it’s clear he was grossly in error. Despite all that, apparently it remains enough for you to go on.

              Jackson and Sharpton aren’t the problem with this country, Herb. You are.


        • Herb,

          First, I didn’t see your first comment until now. You know, the one in which you, unbelievably, said this:

          Trayvon Martin was indeed found guilty of attempted murder. And that was proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

          Yes, he was found guilty. But your contention that that there was no reasonable doubt about whether he tried to kill—I repeat: tried to kill—Zimmerman betrays your incredible bias in this case. Either that or you didn’t watch the trial or your definition of “reasonable” is one with which I am not familiar. As I said, if Martin had wanted to kill him, a couple of blows against that sidewalk would have likely done the trick.

          You also said,

          Yes, I am blaming the victim here. He was culpable and the evidence, including some of the evidence that was not admitted at trial, showed beyond a reasonable doubt that he was.

          Hmm. I saw all of the evidence and heard the testimony. Which evidence is it that convinces you? The self-serving testimony of a man on trial for his life? Or are you sneaking in some evidence that was not allowed into the courtroom in order to bolster your case? Come on, Herb. You’re better than that. There was only Zimmerman’s testimony that Martin threatened him and was banging his head on the sidewalk. No one else heard or saw that. His injuries were not consistent with the kind of beating he claimed he was undergoing. I’ve had worse injuries to my head working out in the yard, for God’s sake.

          In any case, on to your claims in this comment. I want to start with the following:

          From what I understand, there was ample time for Trayvon to get to his father’s house after being seen by Zimmerman, in which case the whole affair could have been avoided. I could say that Trayvon didn’t have the sense to get in out of the rain, but that would be tacky. Not racist, tacky.

          You’re right, Herb. That’s not racist. It’s not even tacky. It’s a sign indicating your moral indifference to this case.

          Even so, I admit that I too thought about why it was that Martin didn’t simply go home. Then I learned that awaiting him there was the 12-year-old son of his father’s fiance. If I remember right, the Skittles were for him. And then I remembered that not long ago, a person was following me as I was walking the neighborhood. I knew I was being followed for reasons I won’t go into here, but I purposely did not go to my house because I didn’t want to reveal where I lived, should this person decide to vandalize it or something. In other words, there is a perfectly plausible explanation as to why Martin did not want to go home: safety. When you think about it, if he believed that Zimmerman was some kind of creepy stalker, he wouldn’t want him to know where he lived. Would you? If you thought Trayvon Martin was following you in the rain and the dark, would you want him to know where you lived?

          Like the female juror, it’s funny how you believe the testimony of the girl on the phone, who mentioned that “creepy-ass cracker” remark, but then appear to discount other parts of her testimony.

          Rachel Jeantel testified that Trayvon told her “a man was watching him” and that “he kept complaining” about the guy. He also told her that he was going to try to lose him but later on said, “The nigga is behind me.” That suggests that he doesn’t think he can lose the guy without leaving the complex. And since he may not have wanted to lead him to his house, what was he supposed to do? Where was he supposed to go?

          Jeantel also said Trayvon asked Zimmerman, “Why are you following me?” And we know that Zimmerman didn’t tell him why, or explain that he was a neighborhood watcher. So, it is entirely understandable that Martin might have felt very threatened, especially if Zimmerman flashed his pistol at him or made a move like he was going for a gun (which corresponds with the killer’s testimony that he reached for his cellphone upon meeting Trayvon). But there was no extra-Zimmerman evidence to support your claim that Martin, beyond a reasonable doubt, tried to kill Zimmerman.

          As for your contention that “most of the black commenters have completely misrepresented the facts in this case and just flat make stuff up,” I submit that’s not even close to true. “Most” means more than half, and I can confidently claim you can’t prove that claim. Most of the commentary I have heard from blacks on TV, and most opinions I have read in print, have not strayed very far from the facts in this case, although they sometimes reach unwarranted conclusions. Now, if you want to talk about white right-wingers, then that’s another matter.

          As for your being impressed with the explanation of the talking juror, I am perplexed by that. Sure, she explains very well why she was confused by the law and how to apply it. You know why? Because she was easily confused, starting with the fact that she confused the defense’s pathologist witness with Zimmerman’s Vietnam-vet friend who donated money to his defense fund and bought him suits and testified that it was his voice on the 9-1-1 tape. It’s too bad Anderson Cooper dropped that matter very quickly.

          To be fair, I was also a bit bewildered by the instructions given to the jurors, which I am sure was why in the end this was a unanimous decision. At least three of the jurors were going to convict him of something and I would bet it was the Stand Your Ground instructions–no duty to retreat–that saved Zimmerman’s skin. In any case, if that juror impressed you, then you are easily impressed.

          In fact, I think you should be dismayed that our legal system, as it now works, seeks out the most uninformed and incurious people it can find so as to be able to manipulate them with courtroom antics. Both sides, prosecution and defense, contribute to this state of affairs. I am all for professional jurors, folks who reflect the community in more ways than purposely remaining ignorant about what is going on around them.

          Finally, you wrote this:

          As you know, this kind of black on white crime happens quite a lot – all over the country. And this is a real problem for the black community. If they don’t want to be racially profiled when one their own prowls around neighborhoods at night, then they better get busy cleaning up their own house. 

          I submit something for your consideration: the “real problem” with the high rates of all black criminality (which there are many theories to explain) is not only for blacks, but for whites. And if you think that it is only the responsibility of blacks to clean up “their own house,” then you are ignoring that we all live in the same house, the American house.




          • Duane,

            1. You say, “But your contention that there was no reasonable doubt about whether he (Trayvon) tried to kill—I repeat: tried to kill—Zimmerman betrays your incredible bias in this case.”

            I would just flip that around and say your inability to accept the evidence and use a little common sense, “betrays your incredible bias in this case.”

            2. You also challenged my comment about Trayvon being the aggressor by saying, ‘Which evidence is it that convinces you? The self-serving testimony of a man on trial for his life? Or are you sneaking in some evidence that was not allowed into the courtroom in order to bolster your case? Come on, Herb. You’re better than that There was only Zimmerman’s testimony that Martin threatened him and was banging his head on the sidewalk.”

            So you’re saying that Zimmerman beat himself up? That’s absurd on its face. Did you not see the photos of Zimmerman after the incident? Do you not remember that the M.E. said there were no injuries to Trayvon’s head? Looking at those photos, please explain to me why the guy with no injuries from fighting would be screaming for help. You wrap up the paragraph by saying, “I’ve had worse injuries to my head working out in the yard, for God’s sake.” To which I say, for God’s sake, what, exactly, does that have to do with the price of beans in China? Again, Duane, you’re in denial.

            3. You claim that the Skittles were for “the 12-year-old son of his father’s fiancé. Well, not quite. You see Skittles and Arizona Watermelon Fruit Cocktail Juice, which is exactly what Trayvon purchased that night – NOT iced tea — when combined with Robitussin, makes a codeine-based concoction called “Purple Drank” or “Lean.” (See

            I think it is highly likely that Martin’s father and his wife had a bottle of Robitussin in their medicine cabinet. So, the kindly, brotherly Trayvon was probably not getting the Skittles for the 12 year old, he was planning on getting high. That would add to the marijuana already in his system. Not exactly the innocent “child” you and the other defenders of Trayvon would have us believe, now is it?

            4. You put a lot of emphasis on Rachel Jeantel’s testimony. I believe Ms. Jeantel is a complete racist. And she is compelled by that prejudice to, well, let’s just say embellish, her account of what Trayvon allegedly told her. And don’t forget, some weeks had passed before she “dictated” the letter to Trayvon’s mother. Memories can change somewhat over time, especially if one wants those memories to reflect a certain position. So I discount Jeantel’s testimony as I think the jury did as well – and rightfully so.

            5. You then write, “As for your contention that “most of the black commenters have completely misrepresented the facts in this case and just flat make stuff up,” I submit that’s not even close to true.” Well then let’s consider Al Sharpton’s comments after the verdict was announced:

            “I think that this is an atrocity. It is probably one of the worst situations that I have seen. What this jury has done is establish a precedent that when you are young and fit a certain profile, you can be committing no crime … and be killed and someone can claim self-defense …” Sharpton also called it “a sad day in the country” and “a slap in the face to those that believe in justice in this country.”

            Translation: “Wow! Here is a great chance to exploit the death of a black teenager!” Talk about “Black Power!”

            Sharpton says, “What this jury has done is establish a precedent that when you are young and fit a certain profile, you can be committing no crime … and be killed and someone can claim self-defense … “ OK Al. we get it. If the law goes against you, the law is wrong. And the implication that Trayvon was racially profiled and then killed as if Zimmerman just walked up a shot him, is a gross misrepresentation of the facts. But I agree with one thing he said. By stirring up anger at the white community and using this case as the cause celebre to exacerbate racism in this country, Sharpton and his followers have indeed given “a slap in the face to those that believe in justice in this country.”

            I must say, Duane, I’m disappointed you would be so gullible as to be persuaded by the efforts of Sharpton and others to increase racial divisiveness.

            Finally, I find it ironic that some of the extremist black leaders would use the 50th anniversary of MLK’s “I have a dream” speech to promote civil rights action against Zimmerman. In part of that great speech, King said, “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

            I believe Sharpton, Jackson, Benjamin Jealous (NAACP), Marc Morial (Urban League) and the others have dishonored Dr. King. They are clearly judging Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman by the color of their shin and not by the content of their character. Same on them. And same on the rest of us for not calling them on it.



            • King Beauregard

               /  July 26, 2013

              Herb, here’s the deal. You sympathize with Zimmerman because you know that, if you were in his place, you’d be motivated by the same thoughts he was (“black kid I don’t know must be up to no good”). It turns out that Zimmerman was wrong, tragically wrong — Trayvon wasn’t prowling around the neighborhood casing houses — and this puts you in an uncomfortable mental place, where either you can acknowledge having racist tendencies and work to correct them, or you can put the blame elsewhere (in this case on the 17-year-old kid who didn’t deserve to die). Do you have the moral courage to look at yourself, and try to learn and grow from this?

              You don’t answer to me on issues of basic decency, of course; it comes down to what sort of man you want to be. That said, you keep saying the black community is obligated to police themselves, so I can only assume it’s proper for us white folks to police ourselves too.


              • King, King, King. Wow! The best you’ve got is to shoot the messenger? No rebuttal, no arguments of fact, no search for evidence to support your claims? All you can do is to be sanctimonious, condescending, judgmental, and appeal to emotion.

                It is clear to me, and probably others reading this, that you obviously can’t handle the truth. I’m not even sure you could recognize the truth if it hit you up the side of your head. You’ve been mislead, like millions of others, into believing the misstatements, misrepresentations and the self-serving, racially charged rhetoric of the Al Sharpton’s of the world.

                So, you too owe Dr. King an apology. Unless, of course, you believe the color of a person’s skin is more important than the content of their character.

                As you said, it all comes down to the sort of man you want to be.


                • King Beauregard

                   /  July 26, 2013

                  On the one hand you have a kid who, at worst, enjoyed getting a little messed up. (By the way, I don’t know if you are aware of this, but cough medicine and weed are exactly the sort of drugs that make you LESS likely to go on a rampage. Unless by “rampage” you mean “visit Taco Bell and have trouble figuring out how many tacos you can afford”.) On the other hand we have a guy who thought the kid was such a menace that he trailed him in his SUV, then followed him on foot with a loaded gun, and then shot him to death after a non-life-threatening fight started. And you take the side of the guy with the gun. And you don’t see that there’s something seriously wrong with that.

                  I understand your game, you’re doing what Anson does: you figure that, if you slice your side of the argument thin enough and debate each slice individually, nobody will notice that it’s still baloney. Well I’m not playing your game. By your own admission you are still a racist, and rather than reconsider the racism inside you, you just double down on taking the side of the guy who killed a teenage boy for no good reason.

                  Not that it has much to do with this story, but you know the Religious Right you despise so much … ? They didn’t actually start as a response to Roe vs. Wade, but to Bob Jones University’s tax-exempt status coming into jeopardy for continuing to practice racial segregation. Just wanted to point out that, if you asked any of those Bob Jones types what they thought of this case, they’d be on the same side as you: Zimmerman was clearly in the right because black teenager.


            • Herb,
              You’re right. Even though Zimmerman has three arrests for assault, one against a police officer and two against women, the fact that Martin was packing Arizona Watermelon Juice and Skittles makes it all but certain that he was seeking some Robitussin. Zimmerman might have sustained injuries severe enough to require medical attention had Martin found time to make the concoction known as Purple Drank. I suppose the small amount of THC found in his blood provided a weedy spark, unleashing the violent thug lurking beneath a hoodie. He was a black kid, after all. Had Martin lived longer, there is little doubt that he too would have accumulated a criminal record.

              Thanks for sharing the link. I didn’t know that right-wing billionaire Phil Anshultz owns the website. It certainly has more credibility than Breitbart’s online legacy or Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, the first two websites that popped up when I googled Trayvon Martin and Purple Drank.

              The late Dr. King would have taken Zimmerman’s side. I can picture the slain civil rights leader joining Sean Hannity in excoriating a charlatan like Al Sharpton for his race baiting antics. Hell, that just makes sense.


  6. ansonburlingame

     /  July 15, 2013

    Good Lord, Herb and Duane,

    Martin was not found guilty, legally, of anything. Zimmerman was found “guilty” of self defense, however, legally, as the evidence, not passion or politics, would suggest!!!

    Remember that for Zimmerman to be found guilty of any felony, such a crime MUST be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. I can understand many folks WANTING Zimmerman to be guilty of “something”. But wanting something and proving it beyond a reasonable doubt in the mind of all six members of that jury are two entirely different matters. My guess is the jury itself would have liked to find Zimmerman guilty of “something” as well. But the LAW got in the way of such matters. Was the Judge wrong in her interpretation of the LAW?

    As for the evidence admitted MARTIN “slung” the only racial slur shown in evidence. MARTIN was seen atop Zimmerman banging his head into the sidewalk. Physical evidence backed up the Zimmerman interviews with police as to Zimmerman’s side of the story. NO EYEWITNESS could offer testimony backing up the Martin family side of things. Try as hard as they could, the prosecution was unable to refut the Zimmerman story, by and large.

    But I agree with Herb as well. There is no sense retrying the case in a blog. The verdict is now in. Where to go now becomes the question at hand. My “vote” again is to get control of guns, damnit, so that angry young men cannot shot each other. And based on the evidence, I hope no one trys to say that Martin was not a very angry young man. I would be too if someone was following me. But I hope to hell I would have done something different with such anger or that my sons or grand kids would do so as well. Acting macho in the movies works well but not on some of our streets in America, for sure, by anyone.



  7. Duane,

    Methinks we have another horse that will soon be going to the glue factory. . .

    Rather than rehash our respective comments, I would like to make a couple of general observations that, from my perspective, might help to explain why I take the positions I do on this whole affair.

    First, to the race issue. From all I’ve seen and read and heard about George Zimmerman (Z), he is not a racist. In fact, his past record shows he is very sympathetic to the black community. Now if this is true – that Z is NOT a racist beyond a reasonable doubt – then this whole case takes on a completely new face. Z was NOT tracking Trayvon Martin (M) because he was black. Z did not “racially profile” M. If fact, Z had no beef with blacks at all. At the end of the day, the fact that M was black was just coincidental in spite of efforts, including yours, to make race the focal point of the trial.

    So, all the outrage about this case and the indignation of Jackson, Sharpton et al is based on a false premise, as follows: All non-blacks who shoot blacks are racists. Z is a non-black who shot a black. Therefore Z is a racist. The fallacy is that the premise, “all non-blacks who shoot blacks are racists,” is a provably false statement. So, if you take the racial bias away from the evidence concerning Z’s behavior, you’re left with a much less complicated case of self-defense. And furthermore, as the FBI has no doubt found out by now, there were no civil rights violations here. So the chances of a federal civil rights case going anywhere is virtually nil.

    Good ‘ol Z seems like a nice guy. But I think we can agree that he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Z is a dreamer, a guy who wants to be recognized as capable and useful. He’s one of these people, we all know somebody like this, who drive down the highway of life but keep running off the road and somehow setting the car on fire.

    That said, I believe Z’s lies and embellishments are derived from his need to be seen as a capable law enforcement officer; adapting some of the events in his mind to what he knows about police procedures. That doesn’t justify the lies, but it does make them more understandable. I don’t think, for example, that M ever reached for the gun. I think the gun just presented itself during the end, obviously, of the struggle. And the claim that Z penned M’s arms to the ground is another fantasy he came up with to make him look more like a cop.

    Don’t forget too that Z was pretty much in shock when he gave his initial interviews, so his account of what happened was understandably fuzzy. Of course, the SPD managed to sort the wheat from the chaff over the following weeks. At the end of the day, Z’s self-serving lies and misrepresentations were not enough to outweigh the actual evidence. The SPD got it right after all.

    Now let’s talk about Trayvon Martin. By turning the case into one about race, and making Z out to be a racist, M’s potential culpability in the event was rarely brought up. But I for one would like to see a forensic psychologist, or two or three, go into M’s background to see if he had any proclivity toward violence, or anger at authority or whites. Nobody wants to blame the victim, of course. He is dead after all.

    We do know that M was suspended from school and that his mom sent him to live with his dad during the suspension. He’d been suspended two times before, but not for any reason that would be an issue here. He also had some text messages about fighting and guns and marijuana. Not sure how reliable that information is. I just think this case would have been better for getting in something that pointed to the possibility of M’s potential for fight versus flight.

    I’ve raised two sons through the age of 17. That was not an easy time. So I can sympathize with the Martin family for not only having to go through that part of M’s growing up, but more especially for his death. I can’t possibly imagine having to experience the loss of either of my sons.

    I would also say, and I’m sure the Martins are thinking about it, that if they were to bring a civil “wrongful death” suit against W, vis a vis the Goldman’s vs. O.J., all of W’s dirty laundry will be brought in. If so, that would provide more clarity about this case. I doubt that the Martins want that.

    This brings us to the big event. You may remember W’s boxing coach saying that W was so bad he, the coach, wouldn’t let him in the ring. He even laughed that W wasn’t even good at shadow boxing! That being true, and assuming M’s willingness to do whatever to “stand his ground” against a “creepy-ass cracker,” it is possible, if not probable, that M threw the first punch. Common sense tells us that Z, being inept at fighting, went to defensive mode and struggled to get away from M. Looking at the pictures of Z’s face and M’s face after the fight, it’s clear that Z was the big loser. Thus, common sense would tell us that it was Z screaming for help, not W. Then, somehow, the gun came out and Z shot and, I believe, accidently killed M.

    We don’t know of course what was going on inside Z’s head (or M’s for that matter) and whether you believe the violence done to Z was not life threatening, Z obviously did. That’s all that counts. All the rest is speculation.

    Now that’s my take on the Zimmerman case and the rationale behind my earlier comments. They are what they are and unless you or someone else can provide evidence to the contrary, I am maintaining that position. If I come off as cold or indifferent it’s only because I’m searching for the truth. Sometimes it’s easy to be blinded by empathy and compassion. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan reminds us, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

    So it is my opinion, and my opinion only, that the verdict in this case was correct. I don’t see any moral issue here either. Shit happens. Assigning blame where none exists is irresponsible and a convenient escape from the reality of what happened.

    I do agree with you that the treatment of blacks in the criminal justice system is abhorrent. There is a whole lot of racism going on there. Maybe the tragedy of Trayvon Martin can be turned into a positive reformation of that system.


    p.s., See Nonny Moose’s comments on this topic over at Anson’s blog under “No 9th Inning Under Politics.” He and I are on the same page, well, philosophically at least and his views help to underscore and amplify mine.


    • I have an irresistible impulse, Herb, to point out that your last comment here is mainly a lengthy version of the one I made early on, and thus I agree with it. However, what you said in the end surely bears repeating:

      I do agree with you that the treatment of blacks in the criminal justice system is abhorrent. There is a whole lot of racism going on there. Maybe the tragedy of Trayvon Martin can be turned into a positive reformation of that system.

      It just might be that the national discussion started by this case will turn out to be a positive thing, assuming of course that violence doesn’t steal all the thunder.


      • Jim,

        Thanks. We’re on the same page fer sure. I ran out of time and patience and cyberspace to rag on the black community and explain my comments above about their obligation to help their own when it comes to crime. Maybe next time – if I have the time – and if anyone really cares.



    • Herb,

      Did you know that Zimmerman violated Sanford Sheriff Department Neighborhood Watch rules on the evening in question? Those enrolled in the program (Zimmerman was the Captain of his Neighborhood Watch) are taught not to carry firearms during patrols or exit their vehicle to pursue suspicious subjects after notifying law enforcement. Not only was Zimmerman armed, he disregarded instructions to remain in his vehicle. This explains why the Homeowners Association quickly settled a wrongful death suit filed by the Martin family.

      As you might say, “This shit should never have happened.”

      We agree that the “treatment of blacks in the criminal justice system is abhorrent.” That said, Trayvon Martin’s death was never about race, but George Zimmerman’s reckless negligence.


    • Herb,

      I don’t even know what you mean by the black community’s “obligation to help their own when it comes to crime.” Do white people have the obligation to help “their own” when it comes to crime? Like, say, Wall Street crime? Are their separate domains in America that blacks and whites have independent responsibility for? Huh? If you don’t mind me saying so, that’s absurd.

      Also, as far as any “wrongful death” suit that the Martin’s might be considering, you wrote that they might be reluctant to do so because Trayvon’s “dirty laundry will be brought in.” What? The kid was one month from being only sixteen goddamn years old. He didn’t have much laundry, dirty or otherwise. And who, including you, would want to be judged by what you did when you were fourteen or fifteen or sixteen years old?



      P.S. I have no intention of seeing “Nonny Moose’s” comments anywhere. I have read his mostly juvenile comments before, and if I were you I would at least wonder about my reasoning if I were “on the same page” he’s on.


  8. ansonburlingame

     /  July 18, 2013

    OK, let’s agree that blacks might be mistreated in our system of criminal justice. WHY becomes the operative word, I suggest. Are the lawyers, judges and juries inherently racially prejudiced within that system of justice. Or is it just the cops that bear that burdern of prejudice, even perhaps bigortry?

    Nonny, Moderate Poli, and I have held a reasonable discussion, “over there” on the scale of differences between profiling, racially profiling, prejudice, bigotry and discrimination. We all agree, but folks in here might not, that profiling is “natural”. It is a part of human instinct to be aware of their surroundings as a matter of self-protection. Profiling may well be wrong but without actions such “judgment” of people is not inherently harmful. Even racial profiling might well be a benefit to all concerned.

    I won’t burden you with the details however.

    But here is an example. My wife participates in a community exercise program with other women. Yesterday a newcomer attended. She was “fat” and in doing the exercises she moaned and groaned, a lot. My wife profiled her as “fat” but so what. It was the moaning and groaning that bothered her. My wife COULD have concluded that all fat women moan and groan doing exercises that are “good” for all concerned, which of course would be far too universal, “all fat people moan during exercises”.

    So next week, Janet will probably try to exercise at more of a distance from the “fat woman”. But she will not be prejudiced in doing so, prejudiced against fat women in an exercise class. She just does not want to listen to the moaning and groaning. Profiling. prejudicial profiling, bigotry and discrimination, all wrapped up in a bundle. Now if the fat woman was also black, well there we could go, off to the races over race, all over again.

    Knowing my wife rather well, I suspect that if the fat woman was also black, Janet would go right to her side simply to show tolerance and ignore any moaning or groaning! She would in fact have racially profiled the fat woman and taken action, based only on race to lend a hand, and put up with a different concern by ignoring it.



    • I am disappointed that you did not expand on why racial profiling might be beneficial to all concerned and doubly disappointed that the fat woman moaning and groaning was not black. It is always entertaining in a rural roadside carnival kind of way when you go “off to the races over race.”


    • King Beauregard

       /  July 18, 2013

      Fat is directly tied to physical capabilities and what can be physically expected of a person, Anson. Can you see any way how that might not be much of a metaphor for skin color?


  9. ansonburlingame

     /  July 19, 2013

    A rational conversation with you two on profiling, racial profiling, race, bigotry and any other associated matters is IMPOSSIBLE and I won’t bother to even try unless you raise your crazy views on my own blog!!!



    • Pass. But since you mention “crazy” views, this example of a “rational conversation” about “profiling, racial profiling, race bigotry and any other associated matters” is why:


    • King Beauregard

       /  July 19, 2013

      You left a few words out. Let me fix that for you:

      “A rational conversation with you two on profiling, racial profiling, race, bigotry and any other associated matters THAT CONFIRMS MY [Anson’s] PET CONCLUSIONS is IMPOSSIBLE”.

      Hope this helps! Remember, you’re the guy who thinks that the physical ramifications of being fat are the same thing as the cultural penalties for being black … there’s no arguing with logic like that.


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