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MadHierophant said on March 28th, 2012 at 10:56 am

Well said. I’m black, and I’ve been following the Trayvon Martin case almost obsessively lately, but it wasn’t until a few days ago that I actually realized why. It’s not just because I’m black, although that is a factor, but it’s also the fact that it could have just as easily happened to me if I was in the wrong place at the wrong time near the wrong person.

I remember back when I was 13 or 14, I was staying over at my cousin’s for the weekend in Savoy, which at the time was a predominately white area. It was around 9 PM and we wanted a pizza, but we didn’t have a whole lot of money between us. So instead of ordering from Domino’s or whatever, we ordered one from this place nearby called Skateland, which was about 15-20 minutes away if we walked.

It was cold that night, so we had on jackets and skullcaps. The guy on the phone said the pizza would be ready in 10 minutes, so Brandon said we should run to get there faster so our pizza wouldn’t get cold. Being a fat-fuck I objected, *naturally*, but I couldn’t argue his logic. We ran for about a couple minutes and I was already getting tired of it, literally and figuratively, but then it hit me that we were two black kids running in a mostly white area at night. So I said to him:

“You know…*huff*…that we look like…*huff*…we stole something…*huff*…right?”

He stopped, and so did I. We exchanged a look and walked the rest of the way. When we got our pizza, we walked the rest of the way back. We laughed about it when we got home.

I don’t laugh about it so much now.

And now I can’t help but wonder exactly how fucked we would have been if someone like Zimmerman spotted us and a Stand Your Ground law was in effect.

I can’t imagine that I’m the only one thinking the same thing either.

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“That’s why the anger isn’t going away this time.”

But isn’t that what we thought back when they beat the shit out of Rodney King?

Isn’t that what we thought when they shot Diallo in his American skin?

I’m amazed that there haven’t been (to continue your apt parallels) District 11 uprisings in Florida. I’m amazed that Zimmerman is still alive.

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Is it so much, really, to ask for one rule of law, enforced equally on all citizens regardless of age, race, economic rung or position?

This isn’t a rhetorical question, and honestly, that’s my feeling coming from this.

Disgusted that in all we’ve done developing technology and making progress in other ways scratch the merest coat of paint off? We’ve learned nothing.

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I think the cause of Trayvon’s death is obvious: Zimmerman shot him so that Dick Cheney could have a heart donor. Ain’t nothing like a 17-year-old black boy’s heart to keep the Lord of Darkness’ blood pumping.

No, I’m not serious. But what they’re doing to the young man’s memory is almost as disrespectful. I miss the old days, when public figures had shame.

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Sean D. Martin said on March 28th, 2012 at 11:57 am

Indeed.

A sense of shame has been sorely lacking recently, and not just in public figures.

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Christian Williams said on March 28th, 2012 at 12:01 pm

I’m tired of the knee-jerk reaction of the right, because the reaction is so dishonest. It’s driven by: the fact that the first people to take up the cause were liberals, by the partial fear that anything gun-violence related will feed into an anti-gun move, and by the fact that the victim in this case looks nothing like them. So we go into exhaustive background searches, look at his school records, find someone to say they heard Trayvon once said ‘Fuck the Man’, so they can point and say ‘See! He wasn’t just an innocent kid!’ As if Zimmerman could have known ANY of these things when he stalked Trayvon down to confront him.

I come from a law-enforcement family, and I’m tired of the amount of minority lives that are lost that are accepted as part of the ‘collateral damage’ of living in the US. We jokingly make references to things like ‘But it’s okay, he’s black so no one cares’… and accept that’s fine to stop a random black person in a non-black neighborhood to see what’s going on. Minority kids go missing, and there’s barely a stir, white kids go missing and it’s on the local news.

Equal, fair, and just society? It’s a laughable joke.

What I’m sickest of all about it though? Is that my generation, building on the momentum of the movement and standing on the shoulders of giants can barely be bothered to give a crap. Sure, we’ll get up in arms about Trayvon… we’ll furiously tweet and post on facebook, we’ll cheer when Zimmerman goes to jail…. and we won’t do a fucking thing to change anything.

We barely vote.
We barely become involved at a community level.
We barely step forward to try to become part of the process and change it from within.

Doing any of these things wouldn’t make what happened to Trayvon less tragic. But it would make it less inevitable.

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There are two parts of this (beyond the whole justifying racially motivated murder) that really bother me.

1. People thinking that they aren’t part of the problem because they are less racist than this guy apparently is.

2. The main defense of everyone taking his side is almost exactly the same as the old rape defense of “Well if she dressed like that, clearly she was just asking for someone to beat and rape her.”

I’m also sad because most of the country will forget this whole incident in a month or two until it comes up as an example in an article about the next time something like this happens.

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@Christian

As someone who works at a local news station in a decision-making role, I can say without a doubt that race doesn’t play a factor in what we cover as far as missing kids or unjust killings or the like. Circumstances do.

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Christian Williams said on March 28th, 2012 at 12:32 pm

@T.Shock

I get that, and I’m generally not the voice that shouts ‘That’s racist’ because I’m far more likely to attribute life’s injustices to regular human stupidity. But, it does seem that we are for more likely to see a story about a missing caucasian girl, than we are for a minority one. It could simply be coincidence or perception… but in this case the perception matters.

In any event, I think our system has pervasive problems… and given that my generation of minorities is far more likely to blog about the problem than actively intercede to fix it… I don’t see that changing.

You always hear that there’s nothing we can do, well one of the best ways to make sure that a police force treats minorities fairly is to get high-ranking minorities in the force. Which is why it’s awesome that my brother is a Captain.

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I know it’s a tired cliche, but imagine if the races of the participants were changed. Imagine if a black neighborhood watch captain (I know a black neighborhood watch captain in a gated community is a ridiculous premise, but bear with me) shot a white 17-year-old in these circumstances.

The guy would definitely have been arrested, if not still in jail without bond. It would have been a national story that got maybe 15 minutes of airtime, because he would be in jail pending a speedy trial by a jury of his peers that might include as many as one black person.

If, by some circumstance, the police kept the same “stand your ground” stance on the case, conservative commentators, especially on Fox News, would be losing their goddamn minds. And at least one nationally televised pundit would suggest that the public ought to take justice into their own hands.

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Cookie McCool said on March 28th, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Unfortunately just driving while black is still a crime in America, and not just in the south. It’s a shame that eating Skittles while black is also a shooting offense.

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Oh, and to elaborate on the last part of my comments, the most gung-ho pundit would probably stop short of using the word “lynch,” but he or she would probably make some reference to a rope or a tall tree.

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highlyverbal said on March 28th, 2012 at 1:09 pm

@MGK: “(The civil rights struggle basically started after the Civil War ended and took nearly a century to get to the point where a majority of the black population was engaged, and it wasn’t because black people weren’t being treated like shit at the beginning of it.)”

At the risk of thread-jacking, this is not historically accurate. The couple decades around the turn of the 20th Century saw a massive upswing in federal, institutionalized racism that reversed much of the gradual progress that had occurred since the Civil War. Google, e.g., Woodrow Wilson.

If one were to graph the black members of Congress, there is a huge dip/flatline for that time period, emphasized when George Henry White left Congress. (Mr. White is also a great Google: “This is perhaps the Negroes’ temporary farewell to the American Congress, but let me say, Phoenix-like he will rise up some day and come again.”)

Racism is not a holdover antebellum/slavery problem, it is a modern problem.

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Sisyphus said on March 28th, 2012 at 1:25 pm

The thing that makes me sick about this is that these stupid “Stand Your Ground” laws are so easily used to justify something like this. If Trayvon had lived, and Zimmerman had been killed, how likely do you think it would have been that Trayvon would not have even been arrested? Is there anyone who thinks he could have claimed he was “standing his ground” and have had anyone take that seriously?

Even if you ignore the fact that these laws are clearly a good way for vigilantes to exercise their racism, there are good reasons that police get special training. Any reasonable citizen should remove themselves from a dangerous situation rather than trying to “stand their ground.” Doing otherwise is a recipe for tragedy, all power fantasies of the right aside.

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Racism is not a holdover antebellum/slavery problem, it is a modern problem.

That would imply that slavery was not a racist institution, which is clearly bullshit.

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highlyverbal said on March 28th, 2012 at 2:00 pm

@BringTheNoise: “That would imply that slavery was not a racist institution, which is clearly bullshit.”

No, it doesn’t imply that. Think harder.

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@T.Shock: Maybe where you work, but there’s plenty of evidence that that isn’t the case at other media outlets: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/12/opinion/12herbert.html

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I thought sure the Hunger Games tie-in was going to be about the shitheads who, when they realized Rue was black, suddenly felt cheated that they’d empathized with the character in the book.
http://jezebel.com/5896408/racist-hunger-games-fans-dont-care-how-much-money-the-movie-made

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Can someone point me to a timeline of the events that’s not contested at this point? I don’t have TV, so my understanding of how this played out is based on what I heard on NPR before the Feds were called in and a couple of things I’ve read online since (on MSN, I think? maybe quoting the Florida Sentinel?), and I’ve heard/read accounts that seem to conflict: one that Martin was walking and on his cell phone when Zimmerman accosted him, they got into a fight, and Zimmerman shot Martin; another that Zimmerman was walking back to his car, Martin came up and punched Zimmerman in the face and started pounding his head against the pavement, and Zimmerman shot him. And as far as I know, there are witnesses in both of these scenarios: Martin’s friend he was on the phone with in the first, and neighborhood eyewitnesses in the second. In either case, Zimmerman is totally unjustified in the shooting (in my opinion–I don’t know about if it’s “legally” justified with Stand Your Ground). But MGK says “When the conflict started, he walked away. These facts are not in dispute.” and I want to be able to cite that when discussing the case with people.

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The true villain in this story is the media, which wasted no time at all trying to escalate a fairly simple manslaughter into an all-out race war just to bump ratings a tiny bit higher. Misinformation, mobs, vigilantism and panic are apparently acceptable when there’s money to be made.

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Christian Williams said on March 28th, 2012 at 5:25 pm

@acabaca

Um… no, but thanks for playing.

This was not a ‘fairly simple manslaughter’. This was, before the media picked it up, a fairly simple case of someone killing a teenager and not being held responsible for it at all.

Also whether or not this case in manslaughter will be an interesting decision for a DA. Given that Zimmerman definitively forced a confrontation while armed with a gun, the question of whether there was malice aforethought should be made by better men then I.

Also as to:
‘Misinformation, mobs, vigilantism and panic are apparently acceptable when there’s money to be made.’

It’s interesting that you’re up in arms about vigilantism when, pretty clearly, Zimmerman fancied himself as a vigilante, keeping the streets ‘safe’. But if we were to run down your list of problems ’caused’ by the media:

1) Misinformation: Clearly someone involved is lying or stretching the truth, and right now Zimmerman’s story that he was chased down and the kid made a play for his gun. Seems far less likely than that he started a fight, and then lost it.

2) Mobs: People gathering en masse to protest aren’t automatically a mob just because they’re primarily black.

3) Vigilantism: See Previous Passage.

4) Panic: About the only panic I’ve seen is Geraldo’s fear that hoodie wearing black people might come to his neighborhood.

Thank you for playing this week’s edition of: ‘Let’s turn this into a process story’, sorry you didn’t win… would you like to see your parting gifts?

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Tenken347 said on March 28th, 2012 at 6:03 pm

I lived in Florida for 2 years, and while race is definitely an issue here, the far bigger issue is the Stand Your Ground law. I honestly believe that if the roles were reversed, if a black man had shot a white teenager to death, that he would have been acquitted because of the Stand Your Ground law. The whole law was essentially put in place so that the police down there could abdicate all of their responsibilities regarding the routine racially-motivated violence. I think they’d allow any case to slide, out of fear that they otherwise would have to maintain a rule of law. Call it the fairness of inaction. This law is dangerous to the point of complete and total anarchy, and I’m glad it’s finally getting the criticism it deserves.

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demonizing a dead kid for being in the wrong place and the wrong time.

I got nothing…

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The Hullabaloo blog had a good point: None of the pro-gun groups are making the usual observations about “Well, if this kid had been packing, this wouldn’t have happened which shows how wonderful guns are.” In fact, one interviewee for a pro-gun group said that as soon as Martin knocked Zimmerman down (which he accepts as the facts of the case), he should have run because he’d lost the moral high ground.

I suspect if he’d run and Zimmerman shot him, the same guy would be lecturing us on how “Well if the boy had nothing to hide, he should have stayed and answered questions calmly.”

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MGK, I think with your description of Cato you’ve broadly outlined the entirety of the American Conservative Lunacy reaction to… well everything. They act like rabid dogs when we try to change the rules, not because there’s any particular stake in the rules being just or unjust, but because they’ve invested so much time, energy, and resources into minmaxing that any deviation would screw up their whole deal.

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@ Matthew Johnson

The logic used by the writer of that article is completely off-base, a fact of which the writer is aware. He uses a meeting that probably took place when African-Americans were still considered second-class citizens (he mentions this was his first meeting and his picture makes him look about 50 or so) to frame the context of modern media’s decisions.

Then, he says, why doesn’t the media cover the three dozen murders of students in Chicago, in admittedly poor neighborhoods? Note the number of murders. It has nothing to do with the skin color of the victims and everything to do with the frequency of the deaths. If a minority was shot and killed at a school in a plush, suburban area of Chicago, we’d cover that.

Not to attack his other example, but the fact the Craigslist killer got so much play from us wasn’t because she was white, but because it’s rare a guy kills people he meets on Craigslist.

It’s a specious argument based on unsound reasoning. I’ve never once been in a meeting where the victim’s skin color was brought up.

However, I can’t speak for every newsroom in the country, just the ones I’ve been in.

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MSNBC reports
“This guy looks like he’s up to no good … he looks black,” Zimmerman told a police dispatcher…

The actual quote, in context:

ZIMMERMAN: This guy looks like he’s up to no good, [begin ellipsis] or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.
911 DISPATCHER: Okay, is this guy, is he white, black, or Hispanic? [end ellipsis]

ZIMMERMAN: He looks black.

That’s some fine, unbiased reporting right there.

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Sean D. Martin said on March 28th, 2012 at 8:42 pm

@Funkula: I thought sure the Hunger Games tie-in was going to be about the shitheads who, when they realized Rue was black, suddenly felt cheated that they’d empathized with the character in the book.

Despite the fact that she’s described in the book as having dark skin.

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Sean D. Martin said on March 28th, 2012 at 8:46 pm

@Tenken34: The whole law was essentially put in place so that the police down there could abdicate all of their responsibilities

Riiight.

Which is why law enforcement folks are almost uniformly opposed to such laws.

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@T. Shock,
(A) Bob Herbert worked for The Daily News from 1976-1985.
(B) Here.
And here.

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Fred Davis said on March 28th, 2012 at 11:50 pm

@Tenken347, actually this issue is a tripod:

The first leg is the shooting itself, as the shooting of a teenage boy by what is essentially a crazy paranoid who’s successfully evaded justice is fucked up and should leave most people slightly outraged that that’s possible.

Then you have the police response, which consisted of the officers on the scene and all the way up the chain of command in the local police department taking some truly extralegal decisions; Because when you have a body on the ground and someone is standing next to them with a smoking gun, you investigate that, you take a breathalyser of the shooter, you take them down to the station for questioning and more thorough drug tests. Whether or not the shooting was legal or not, whether or not there are stand your ground laws, there should be an investigation to ascertain that the shooting was in fact legal under the Stand Your Ground laws before the police are allowed to act as though that is a fact.
And in this case that investigation didn’t happen, and then the police department decided to publicly defend Zimmerman in the media… the stand your ground laws don’t force those two things, those are things the police department chose to do themselves as a result of zero legal compulsion to do so.

Then finally, like the future-santorum-to-be lube in a manwhich, there’s the stand your ground law itself, which is what you get when one of the major and unimpeachable political organisers and donors in your country is an organisation run by limp dick gun nuts who’s self identity is built around a weird pre-emptive-revenge fantasy that promises people that any second now an evil moustache twirling villain with a glock will suddenly leap out and go to shoot a woman who’s pregnant with adorable puppies unless someone with a concealed fully automatic assault rifle with an extended clip is around to stop them with bullets. If those sorts of groups do get to making law, well that’s still not a total catastrophe, because it’s not a law that a system of civil law shouldn’t be able to work around and deal with it – one way you do that is that you have very thorough investigations into non-accidental deaths, because that avoids people using stand your ground laws to get away with murder. But looping back around to the second point, this law really doesn’t legalize forcibly starting a confrontation for no reason and then shooting a person after the unneccesary confrontation has escalated to assault.

No single one of those issues really dominates the other, but together they amount to an overt break down in law and order of a really easy to grok kind, which has for some reason also been picked up and disseminated by a political engine that hates skittles, hoodies and filthy bullet hoarding murder victims.

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I just want to make a point that, while whether the Stand Your Ground law is good policy is certainly debatable, the law itself is NOT the problem. This is an enforcement problem.

The key language in the law is “reasonably believe.” This means that a person’s need to use deadly force to stop another from using deadly force or inflict great bodily harm must be OBJECTIVELY reasonable. It doesn’t matter what Zimmerman actually believed; it only matters what a reasonable person would believe under the circumstances. It is the police’s failure to enter into that inquiry, which according to current reports they have not done,that is the problem. Unlike what many irresponsible media commentators are claiming, the law does not legalize murder.

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@Aragon

The Stand Your Ground laws are the problem because they are broadly worded (at least the examples I’ve seen) and “reasonably believe” is not an objective standard. It’s a subjective nightmare because if I provoke and escalate a physical situation, I can make a great case for “reasonably believing” I’m in mortal danger and start shooting.

And it will come down to a he-said vs he-said situation, with one of the he’s being dead.

Existing self-defence laws were fine. Stand Your Ground kicks that up a notch.

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highlyverbal said on March 29th, 2012 at 4:19 am

@Aragon: “…OBJECTIVELY reasonable…”

Your choices in capitalization make me fear you are missing the irony in this phrase.

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Society, for the most part, is the process of internalizing rules and accepting that following them is good. Usually these rules exist for good reasons. “Don’t kill people,” for example, is a good rule because it means if everybody follows it nobody will try to murder you, except rulebreakers, and then those rulebreakers run into “don’t break the rules” and they’re in trouble. Granted, sometimes there can be stupid rules, but luckily we have managed to advance society to the point where we can discuss and change the rules. This is about as good as society is gonna get unless we become telepathic.

Now – were I black and in America, I would be perpetually pissed off to begin with, because it’s quite evident that being black in America means you get a different set of rules than, say, white people do. But simply having an unfair set of extra rules isn’t really enough to get people really, really mad most of the time. (The civil rights struggle basically started after the Civil War ended and took nearly a century to get to the point where a majority of the black population was engaged, and it wasn’t because black people weren’t being treated like shit at the beginning of it.)

To minorly derail the conversation, this reminds me of the ongoing discussion in the UK about the riots in London and elsewhere in England. Famously, David Cameron’s said that the cause of the riots was “criminality, pure and simple”.

This is annoying for a number of reasons.

The first is that it was sparked off by protest outside a police station over a police killing. That’s not really the overall cause, though, and the vast majority was unrelated.

Second, ‘criminality’ is a downright stupid accusation, in a society that’s utterly normalised criminality. There is essentially no practical punishment for serious fraud in the UK, no police have ever been prosecuted for the hundreds of deaths in their custody and our political system seems highly undemocratic. Meanwhile, the rich seem to be able to get away with anything.

The tabloids and media have broken uncounted laws hacking into all sorts of phones to publish gossip about celebrities & missing children, made up stories about people they don’t like, outrightly fabricating racial abuse, and generally being ten times worse than one would think possible. Andy Coulson, former editor of the News of The World, Rupert Murdoch’s long-running Sunday tabloid (and the paper he ran longest) resigned in ’07 because they’d hacked phones of royals, among others. He, along with everyone but some sacrificial reporters claimed ignorance, and was promptly hired by the then-leader-of-the-opposition, David Cameron as his communications head.

Earlier this year, he’s had to resign because the fact he was deeply involved came out. Cameron’s ridiculously close to a lot of the people involved, and there’s a lot of criticism over the proportion of the cabinet who went to Eton, London’s most famous private school. (The hacking story is ridiculous, generally, and reached new peaks with the frankly absurd chapter ‘Horsegate’. Read it up on it in the link.) At this point, they’re privatising the roads, police, postal service, education, libraries (or attempting to) and, allegedly the NHS. No one’s quite sure about the last because the bill that got pushed through last week is so long and confusing that no one really is said to totally understand it. But many think it does really destroy our national health service. All with little real popular support, and a lot of corruption.

So the key point is that it’s ridiculous for David Cameron, to shriek about criminality when he’s pointedly never denied doing drugs at uni, trashing restaurants for fun, or hiring Andy Coulson.

The rich get away with criminality a lot more than the poor, sell off all the public sector to their friends, and cut the tax on the richest 1% of earners. And they wonder why we have riots.

(But, yeah, the Trayvon Martin thing is awful too.)

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That Guy said on March 29th, 2012 at 8:19 am

@acabaca: Non-trained, non-official, non-empowered person with a gun and an authority complex making assumptions about someone walking around a neighborhood at night.

Then makes justifications to go – without any authority to back it up – and confront said youth. And shoots him in the back. After being told by people *with* authority to leave the kid alone.

In your surgically selected passage; the reporter took out his spurious justifications and left the remark that’s most telling about the person who shot someone in the back for no good reason in the quote.

Even if you are trolling, as I suspect, that remark needed to be challenged. Either way, I cannot begin to fathom the abuse of logic in your statements. A boy of 17 was shot, in the back, by some middle aged jackass with a gun and no reason to be enforcing anything. No position, no authority. Nothing. Just decided to confront and then shoot. A boy is dead, because he thought with his gun. There is no justification for this, PERIOD.

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@ Aragon
I just want to make a point that, while whether the Stand Your Ground law is good policy is certainly debatable, the law itself is NOT the problem. This is an enforcement problem.

It’s possible to imagine a SYG law that’s not problematic, but there’s a big, basic problem with Florida’s version of it: it gives a killer who claims self-defense the benefit of the doubt. If the police find someone literally with a smoking gun standing over a dead body with a gunshot wound, but the shooter claims he felt threatened by the dead person, there probably can’t be a conviction. (Reference.) That’s a big, weird change from what I would have imagined was the default. (Yes, of course “innocent until proven guilty” is an important legal principle, but I would think that when you’ve already got a dead body and know who did it, that kind of evidence should be allowed to carry some weight.)Shifting the burden of proof like that seems very bad.

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Christian said on March 29th, 2012 at 10:07 am

@T.Shock

Just a note:

‘If a minority was shot and killed at a school in a plush, suburban area of Chicago, we’d cover that.’

That statement in and of itself is highly problematic, at least for me, but it is how the world works so *shrug*.

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Christian said on March 29th, 2012 at 10:10 am

@acabaca

Using MSNBC as your example for how ‘the media’ as a whole has turned this case into a firestorm… is about as unbiased as their editing of the transcript of the 911 call.

With the exception of MSNBC and Fox News, both of which have an axe to grind, the reporting on this issue has been relatively balanced, which is about the best we can get.

And this is *still* not a case of a ‘relatively simple manslaughter’ as that assumes facts which are, to this point, not in evidence.

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TG:
>In your surgically selected passage; the reporter took out his spurious justifications

…And the part where the dispatcher explicitly ASKED what the race of the person was. Zimmerman didn’t bring it up himself.

>and left the remark that’s most telling about the person who shot someone in the back for no good reason in the quote.

Don’t sugar-coat it. It was blatant falsification on MSNBC’s part. Forgery to make the shooter look like some kind of a Klansman, just to make the story that much more juicy. I mean, what’s a little fib when there’s a buck to be made, right? Who cares if the lie could spark a riot? Neutrality is overrated anyway.

The same sort of dishonest casting of heroes and villains is present when every story uses the four year old photo where the victim is 13, instead of a photo where he’d look like was at the moment of shooting. The press is handling this like a fable, not a matter of real-world reporting, and they’re completely getting away with it.

I find the killing itself to be of secondary importance here. Zimmerman will be tried and convicted if necessary. The lying press will get away scot free.

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Christian said on March 29th, 2012 at 10:41 am

@That Guy

The problem here is you can’t justify what MSNBC did there, not at all. Even if you believe that the problem is that Zimmerman is a racist, rather than just a sociopathic, wanna-be cop, nut-job… you can’t say that the excised text was ‘spurious justification’.

MSNBC manipulated the information that was available to them, to make Zimmerman sound even worse than he is. The problem with doing that, is it’s deceitful, underhanded and NOT NECESSARY.

This case is already tragic, it’s already revolting. While it’s quite possible that Zimmerman is a racist scum-bag… there are also a half-dozen other malfunctions he could have that would have precipitated this issue. Editing what was actually said, to fit the story they’re trying to tell only makes it harder to take them seriously later.

Also, regarding Zimmerman shooting him in the back? As far as I can tell (and I’ve looked) there’s absolutely nothing to support this as yet. The official police statement said he was shot in the chest and the autopsy report hasn’t been released yet.

If, in our eagerness for punishment, we are willing to push aside truth and the reasonable search for facts, then we guarantee that we can never find justice.

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Sean D. Martin said on March 29th, 2012 at 12:30 pm

@That Guy: In your surgically selected passage…

Let me get this right. acabaca points out that MSNBC carefully snipped the transcript to make thigns seem different than they actually were, and when he posts the un edited passage you accuse him of misleading editing?

… And shoots him in the back.
… A boy of 17 was shot, in the back, …

Something no only not mentioned but actually flat out contradicted by every report made so far that describes where he was shot.

Now who’s making shit up?

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HammerHeart said on March 29th, 2012 at 12:58 pm

I gotta tell you… if I were Trayvon’s relative, I’d put a bullet in Zimmerman’s head and then explain that I went to talk to him and felt threatened. I’m not a violent man but that feels like a pretty reasonable respose if Zimmerman comes out scot free.

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Christian said on March 29th, 2012 at 3:05 pm

@acabaca

You had me, you had me.. you had me…

“I find the killing itself to be of secondary importance here. Zimmerman will be tried and convicted if necessary. The lying press will get away scot free.”

… and then you lost me.

It’s all well and good to make a case for MSNBC (and it’s not *all* the press doing it) going to press with a blatant fabrication. It’s completely correct to say the lack of fallout from doing so is an issue. But that being secondary to the killing itself? That’s utter bullshit.

Why? Because this happens all the time with both MSNBC and FOX News in the eternal gamesmanship of ‘make the other side look bad.’ Each time a republican congressman does something wrong, there is a shocking ‘mistake’ in the Fox News graphics, and they label that congressman a democrat. Republican positions that can have eve the slightest negative effect on social services end up on MSNBC as ‘Republicans attach Social Security!’

It’s bullshit gamesmanship, and they never get called on it, because both sides have a whole host of lawyers waiting to file suits for suppression of the press and violations of the first amendment.

Do not sing me a sad song about how ‘the press’ is lying now, about this one case, all MSNBC and FOX News does is lie. It’s become the language of political discourse.

I’ve conceded the point that MSNBC isn’t impartial, but if not for all of the non-MSNBC press outlets that picked up this story initially and would not let it go away, you would not have heard of the Trayvon Martin case.

RE: The photo? The press has a problem in that they have for use pictures the family releases, at least initially. Is the family manipulating the press a little? Yes. But they needed to do that to get people to listen.

What is important is that a 17-year old kid died and, until the story got national attention, the local police department did no investigating what so ever, just deemed it a righteous kill. Realize if Zimmerman *was* a cop, the shooting would have had more of an investigation than it got.

The need for veracity in the press, is actually it’s own huge secondary issue… that people have generally conceded until such time as the dishonesty ‘favors’ what they perceive as the wrong side.

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Sean D. Martin said on March 29th, 2012 at 3:40 pm

HammerHeart: I gotta tell you… if I were Trayvon’s relative, I’d put a bullet in Zimmerman’s head and then explain that I went to talk to him and felt threatened.

I’ve wondered a very similar thing. With all the folks (starting with Zimmerman and the arresting cops, I suppose) who’ve been defending the Stand Your Ground law and how it justifies Zimmerman’s act, it would seem to me as a logical response.

And a clear demonstration of a main fault with the law.

Apparently it lets you walk up to someone, start a fight with them and then, when they retaliate and you start losing the fight, shoot them dead with impunity. So just what is there to prevent anyone walking up to Zimmerman “just to talk with him” and then end up shooting him dead claiming that Zimmerman responded to the peaceful request to talk with violence?

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@Jonny:
Although it was quite a derail, I appreciate your comment given that I thought the same thing at the time.

Re: Trayvon, I find the police department’s lack of investigation disgusting, racist, lazy, and incompetent.

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Christian said on March 29th, 2012 at 4:35 pm

@jonny / @zurn

It’s s derail, but it’s also … just stunning. I’d like to think the Jezebel article was making something out of nothing… but it’s not. The degree of outrage amongst parts of the teen / tween audience because the author made them care for a black person?

The only reason I didn’t comment on the initial threadjack is because, to be honest, I lack the words.

‘We love Rue. We love Rue. We love Rue… wait she’s a n*****? Fuck that.’

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highlyverbal said on March 29th, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Number of people using MSNBC as evidence on this thread: 0

Number of people debunking MSNBC on this thread: 1

Ok, so MSNBC Breitbarted Zimmerman — we all henceforth agree to not take MSNBC seriously. Nothing on this thread changes. Troll satisfied?

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@Christian: I meant the Cameron stuff, don’t know anything about Hunger Games (skipping the third paragraph in the OP seems to sidestep spoilers, unless you revealed some, but whatever, it’s cool).

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Christian said on March 29th, 2012 at 4:52 pm

@Sean D. Martin

Apparently it lets you walk up to someone, start a fight with them and then, when they retaliate and you start losing the fight, shoot them dead with impunity. So just what is there to prevent anyone walking up to Zimmerman “just to talk with him” and then end up shooting him dead claiming that Zimmerman responded to the peaceful request to talk with violence?

Mostly? Premeditation.

It’s part of the reason people are focusing on the part of the 911 call where Zimmerman (maybe did / maybe didn’t) use a racial slur. Because that would establish a definitive context to the confrontation, and suggest the *possibility* that he confronted Martin with the goal of shooting him.

The possibility of which is the dividing line between manslaughter and murder.

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Sean D. Martin said on March 29th, 2012 at 6:47 pm

@Christian:

Oh, in the scenario HammerHeart presented and I said I’d also imagined the killing would definitely be premeditated. That’s part of my point.

But, as I understand the Stand Your Ground law from the descriptions/explanations I’ve read, as long as the shooter maintained that they only approached Zimmerman to talk to him and that they then shot him in self-defense, the presumption would have to be that that is exactly what happened. That it was premeditated could never be shown.

I suspect there are some finer points to the law that haven’t been described in what I’ve read and that scenario wouldn’t actually result in someone being able to get off scott free. I certainly find it hard to imagine a law could be written so stupidly as to allow it.

However, I’d also expect such a law wouldn’t allow a person to accost someone else and then kill them with impunity when they start to lose a fight that wouldn’t have happened but for their instigating it. Yet that seems to have happened.

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were I black and in America, I would be perpetually pissed off to begin with, because it’s quite evident that being black in America means you get a different set of rules than, say, white people do.

What’s more, there is a constant drumbeat in politics, the media, in leisure entertainment, and most of all in comment sections on the internet that the only racism in America is oppression of white men by “political correctness.” Sure, there are opposing viewpoints, but you are ALWAYS hearing that minorities are oppressing white men by demanding special treatment.

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degauss12 said on March 30th, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I find the killing itself to be of secondary importance here.

How embarrassing for you.

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So much has been said and has been said better than I could, so all I will add is I’m glad that the liberals have apparently embraced Glenn Beck, who has said he thinks Zimmerman is guilty.

Thank you. We conservatives are glad to be rid of him.

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Sean D. Martin said on March 30th, 2012 at 6:00 pm

@Randal: We conservatives are glad to be rid of him

I’m glad to see there is a conservative who recognizes Beck for what he is and rejects him.

I’m glad that the liberals have apparently embraced Glenn Beck

If it only came without the obligatory black/white absolute viewpoint.

Noting that Beck wasn’t an idiot on a single matter isn’t “embracing” him.

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I’m going to chime in on MIB’s comment about one of the versions of events that had Zimmerman in a bad way, with Martin “pounding his head against the pavement”. There’s now security camera footage of Zimmerman’s visit to the cop shop that day, and he’s just not messed up. For a description like “pounding his head against the pavement” to be fair — an I’ve seen it used, too — I think there’d have to be some visible damage in the footage that ABC provides, given the camera angles and Zimmerman’s very short hair.

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highlyverbal said on March 30th, 2012 at 10:30 pm

@ Randal: “I’m glad that the liberals have apparently embraced Glenn Beck”

Wow, way to illustrate MGK’s larger point.

It seems that to conservatives, it matters very little if something is true or not, but it matters a lot more who is saying it. Agreeing with the wrong people shows the wrong allegiances. So when liberals agree with Glenn Beck, it’s funny! Ha, ha, stupid liberals, they’re doing it wrong.

…And that’s how conservatives end up throwing away their dignity by combing through this young person’s life, pretending that some detail could be uncovered that will make him dangerous enough to deserve getting shot. Better that than agree with a liberal.

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Oh for chrst’s sake, highly verbal…way to utterly not get my point. To say this is a conservative-liberal thing is wrong wrong wrong, and if you believe that in the face of evidence you’re choosing ignorance.

As far as throwing away dignity, which side placed bounties, is encouraging “escalation” and tweeted the address of Zimmerman’s parents? I know that attempting to encite a race war isn’t as horrifying as pointing out Martin was suspended from school…because the latter event is lacking in dignity.

Zimmerman is absolutely not looking good right now…to put it mildly. My personal opinion is that he’s not being entirely truthul. That does not mean he’s guilty. Some people understand the difference. Some people don’t. I’ll let the grand jury and then the regular jury decide, and then we can decide what to do about any police issues, which, between that and the SYG law is where I find the most offense

Meanwhile, I’ll thank you to not assume what I think or feel.

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Randal: took you a whole tube of KY to spurt forth that Glenn Beck witticism, did it?

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I’d like to preface my remarks with the fact that any way you cut it, dead kid, asshole with gun, fucked up situation.

However.
What’s being lost here is that sometimes we have to be conscious about how our actions are viewed by others. Decades of distortion thanks to the media and racism and, y’know, actual crimes committed by people who happen to be black, have cemented into people’s minds that young black males are bad news. Yes, it’s wrong, and a tragedy, and yadda yadda yadda. Unfortunately, those perceptions can prove to be poisonous, especially to some guy who thinks he’s Robocop. I don’t know if Martin had been actually acting suspiciously, I don’t know if he had actually been seen by Zimmerman doing shit around the community. I don’t know the crime statistics around the neighborhood, I don’t know a lot of things, a lot of the factors that a lot of people seem to be taking for granted. We place a lot of emphasis on easily digestable nuggets of information instead of sticky, complicated facts, whatever those may be.

Black people, as this mythical homogenous group, are not supposed to be responsible for the acts of a criminal minority, nor should they be in a just world, but they pay the consequences for those acts. If they are going to be held accountable for the acts of the few, right or wrong, then it would make a sort of sense to be conscious of that, and be conscious about how their actions may be perceived. You know, a survival mechanism.

Oh yes. Kind of like men who take jobs that are around children – you’re always under suspicion that you might be a pedophile. So it might pay dividends to not do anything that would even plant a seed of doubt in anyone’s mind. You may not be a pedophile, but that won’t stop someone from thinking it, and that could indeed cost you your job somewhere down the line. If you wear Slick Rick-style gold chains, drive an Escalade with gold rims in the rent controlled apartment complex, and hang out with suspected gang members, sorry man, but people are going to suspect that you’re a dope boy. You may have just gotten lucky on that Powerball money, and wanted to look ‘cool’, I guess, have friends who are always in trouble, whatever. But how you project yourself is how people will take you. If you are of Middle Eastern descent, maybe acting suspiciously on an airplane or around a nuclear power plant isn’t a good idea. If you are conspicuously white and American looking, maybe hiking in Iran isn’t such a good idea.

White people, Hispanic folks (hardly a homogenous group if, y’know, actually know Hispanic folks), Asians and the like, all remotely connected to the misdeeds of the few idiots who cause people to stereotype and label and rush to judgement. Think about it. Some KKK cocksucker shoots a black guy outside a 7-11. Dude who burns crosses and wears white sheets may be white, and you may be white, and have NOTHING TO FUCKING DO WITH EACH OTHER, but someone pissed off enough or ignorant enough will group you right in with that KKK piece of shit, and there ain’t shit you can do about it. The opportunistic black ‘leadership’ will piss and moan and point fingers, there will be a bunch of professional grimacing in the people around them, and ignorant black folks (like the asshole where I work who blamed me for Martin’s murder, me and all the white folks, so his reasoning went) will group you, the well intentioned liberal thinking peace loving white person, right alongside that piece of shit Klansman. Kind of like how a black professor trying to get into his townhome gets accosted by the white policeman because police (by their very nature) are constantly in contact with lowlifes and have warped perceptions of people, and suddenly we have another racial flare-up in this country. Or a African immigrant standing in the foyer of his apartment gets lit the fuck up by some hyped up rookie cops on a flex squad because they thought he was going for a gun – no, wait, that’s a wallet… because he’s black and the black people they generally come into contact with are kind of likely to have guns. Or a cop pulling over a pickup truck full of Mexicans because there might be a good chance one of them’s illegal, or they have no insurance, or something… even though they may all be born in America and speak better English than he does.

But anyway, if Trayvon wasn’t, in some dim way, aware of how he may be presenting himself, or worse yet, actively projecting a hostile persona… well, what did you expect to happen when the guy started coming after you? I mean, really – what would you think would be a logical outcome? This isn’t blaming the victim, but there isn’t much that happens to us in life that we don’t in some way set into motion ourselves.

Some reports claim they were scuffling. There was a fight. Was Zimmerman openly wearing a gun? If so, why did Trayvon try his luck? Did Zimmerman have it concealed and pulled it when the fight turned bad? Or was Zimmerman brandishing it, trying to cow Martin into submission? Did Martin have a case of violent indignation, or did he, like some media reports say, get caught in the crosshairs of a fuckhead who took Observe & Report to heart?

Even with the facts being whatever they are, there was a lot of ignorance at play here. A question, though, is how much ignorance and blame is to go around? Did Trayvon Martin initiate, instigate, or escalate the confrontation, or was it like the Martin camp proclaims it to be? The idea of him suddenly provoking Zimmerman, and Zimmerman chasing him and gunning him down strains credulity. What else went on?

On the other hand, in every instance Zimmerman is wrong. Acting out of prejudice, ignorance, or fear doesn’t excuse the act. It may provide context to a bad decision, but it is a decision and an action nonetheless. Even if Martin was actively engaged in the commission of a non-forceable felony, Martin had no right to use deadly force. If he was getting his ass beat, like some folks say he was, then I can see it, but there’s no a lot of evidence to support it. Photographs of bruises, something. But reports say he initiated the encounter, so he was fucking up to begin with.

Most people by now have simply taken away ‘black people should know better than to do X’, kind of like Geraldo Rivera, from this, and I guess that’s their right…. But whoever you are, you are judged by how you present yourself, and how people who look like you present themselves. Human beings form their opinions in a natural learning process, they take in information and process it. Like how a baby sees grandma, and forms the connection that old women who look a certain way are a grandma. If you look like their dad, then, logically, you must be someone’s dad too. If all they’ve seen is bad coming from ‘your kind’, then that is what they will expect. It’s not right, it’s not fair, it’s not how the world should be, but it is, and if you haven’t experienced that yet, then I don’t know where you’ve been living. I think Trayvon Martin was guilty of one thing, and that was to not be cognizant of how Zimmerman was perceiving him. Whether or not Martin was an active party in forming Zimmerman’s perception is another matter entirely.

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Candlejack said on March 31st, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Sam, it’s not exactly hard to find out what Zimmerman saw that was so suspicious, which apparnetly was just walking in the rain and looking around. That’s all Zimmerman offered in the 911 call. Walking in the rain, just looking around. Then he saw Zimmerman, and according to Zimmerman, he approached Zimmerman for a bit, then ran away.

You know, sort of like if you noticed some dude following you, walked close enough to see it was nobody you knew, got scared, and ran for home.

Obviously, there’s no transcript of the actual confrontation, but I know if I was persistently followed by a stranger, and I couldn’t outrun him, I would go for fight. Even if he had a gun. Because I would fear for my life. And I would be allowed to do that, because I’m a white woman–and therefore, not scary–whereas Martin was supposed to…what? In your opinion, what should Martin have done?

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dangermauf said on March 31st, 2012 at 5:43 pm

However

So many white people just desperately need for ther to br a “however” here, no matter how much there isnt one or how awful it makes them sound when they try to pretend there is

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Mmmm, knee jerk racism!

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highlyverbal said on March 31st, 2012 at 6:48 pm

@Randal “…way to utterly not get my point”

We’re doing this funny thing these days in discourse, where others are allowed to use your arguments or words to illustrate OTHER points. Or tie it back to the OP even. Crazy, I know. The craziest part is it doesn’t even mean YOUR point was missed.

Also, I am unclear about what I assumed about you, but I will gladly offer a blanket apology for such misconduct.

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Christian Williams said on April 1st, 2012 at 4:25 pm

@Sam

What’s being lost here is that sometimes we have to be conscious about how our actions are viewed by others. Decades of distortion thanks to the media and racism and, y’know, actual crimes committed by people who happen to be black, have cemented into people’s minds that young black males are bad news.

The problem with this statement, is that it is regretfully, offensively stupid when applied to this situation.

Yes, there are preconceptions that flavor how we see each other, regardless of race. Yes, those preconceptions have a subtle influence on our interactions. But there is a difference between subtle interactions… and using it as an excuse for someone killing another person.

But anyway, if Trayvon wasn’t, in some dim way, aware of how he may be presenting himself, or worse yet, actively projecting a hostile persona… well, what did you expect to happen when the guy started coming after you? I mean, really – what would you think would be a logical outcome? This isn’t blaming the victim, but there isn’t much that happens to us in life that we don’t in some way set into motion ourselves.

‘I am not blaming the victim, but I will subtly imply it was still the victim’s fault.’

What exactly are you implying Martin should have done? Let Zimmerman accost him? Let Zimmerman hit him? At what point does a person show enough submission and passivity that they make up for the crime of being black, before they can act without it being their fault they get killed, in your book?

By your argument, the kid who was walking home, when followed and confronted by a random stranger should have kowtowed, let the stranger confront him and grab him and never defended himself? With all due respect: Fuck. That. Nonsense. This is no longer the deep south 50s where it’s fair for someone to be lynched for being an uppity n*****.

Most people by now have simply taken away ‘black people should know better than to do X’, kind of like Geraldo Rivera, from this, and I guess that’s their right…. But whoever you are, you are judged by how you present yourself, and how people who look like you present themselves

Yes. Most people have taken that away… because you wrote pretty much that EXACT argument, multiple times. It’s a stupid, stupid, stupid, and offensive argument.

Beyond that, it also misses the key point that caused the controversy. When Zimmerman started the fight, lost the fight, and killed Martin… the police did no investigation, no breathalyzer, nothing. If Martin had been shot by an actual cop? There would be more of a mandatory investigation, regardless of the circumstances of the shooting. That in such a ridiculously borderline case they didn’t investigate at all is the reason people were up in arms with the police.

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[...] than a reason not to go to war in the first place without a damn good reason. •Mighty God King points out that not only are blacks in America forced to live by a different set of rules than white people, [...]

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