New whines in classic vessels from the vineyards of Lary9

L. E. Alba

L. E. Alba
New Jersey, USA
January 09
Semi-retired but fully inspired
L.E. Alba (aka Lary9) was born into a venerable Louisiana political family during the Truman administration. Educated in engineering and liberal arts, this father of three opinionated offspring, has had a lifelong love affair with all things American especially political independence. He routinely apologizes for his progressive zeal by claiming to be besotted with Liberty. After serving in the USAF during the undeclared Vietnam war, he promptly joined the Woodstock Generation, lived in a commune in Haight-Ashbury and, despite the seductive Sirens of the West Coast, returned to the East and began to cultivate a stubborn but artistic Yankee sensibility. More often than not, this landed him squarely in radical left-wing territory on most issues. Lately he has been thinking about retiring from politics but his Louisiana roots are deep and proving to be retirement-resistant. [Twitter: @Lary9]


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MARCH 27, 2012 11:46PM

Constitutional Sensibility & Trayvon Martin

Rate: 2 Flag


I've been a progressive Independent politically for most of my life and tonight I almost wept from disappointment while watching the media circus and interacting in the Twitter-sphere. I never dreamed that so many irrational, mean-spirited so-called fellow liberals were out there! OMG. They were rallying in vigilante e-mobs that displayed the very intemperance that brought about Trayvon's death in the first place. Very few of these opinionated Tweeters seemed to have even a modicum of Constitutional sensibility about 'due process'. In the center ring of this circus tent, it felt like mob rule and lynching party mentality and that leaves no room for the facts about Martin and Zimmerman...or the broader ranging issues of justice sought for all the rest of us. I fear we are no longer a nation of citizen equals but have become a loose collection of clannish tribes comprised of supermarket tabloid consumers and reality show addicts. What an eye-opener.

~more to be appended as the case unfolds~


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Amen brother! Say on!

There are a lot of people ready to hang Zimmerman. They think they know a lot, but they don't. Some of the most vociferous are some of the most ignorant. They don't know, and they don't know that they don't know. There's almost an inverse relationship between their outrage and what they know.

Last night I went over to Massad Ayoob's blog. Few people on Open Salon have even heard about him, but he is the nation's leading expert on the legal aspects of the use of lethal force in self defense. He has served as an expert witness in a large number of trials, teaches handgun owners the legalities of self-defense, and also trains defense attorneys in the intricacies of the law. He has written books and countless articles on the subject.

Anyway, Massad Ayoob says that no one has enough facts to know whether Zimmerman is likely innocent, guilty of manslaughter, or guilty of murder. If Massad Ayoob doesn't have enough facts, then no one does.

All these people walking around in hoodies and calling for Zimmerman's head -- I feel embarrassed for them. They may -- eventually -- turn out to be right. But right now it is WAY THE HELL too early to come to any conclusions. And by the way, the pundits on the news shows are some of the most ignorant.
Also -- nice avatar. Lothaire Bluteau in Black Robe, if I'm not mistaken.
"They don't know, and they don't know that they don't know."
Shades of Donald Rumsfeld.
"Lothaire Bluteau in Black Robe" avatar for over 6 yrs now...actually there is a strong resemblance.

You and I are simpatico on this one...I'm confident you fully "got" my brief post. I plan to add to it as the fiasco plays on into second and third acts.
What we're seeing is something that is typically reserved for nature documentaries: a feeding frenzy, with Zimmerman starring as the prey and "liberals" and "progressives" in the role of the sharks. There's blood in the water, and everyone wants a piece of flesh.

People refer to Martin as the "victim," as if that were already decided, not something yet to be decided as part of a legal process. Today one TV pundit, upon hearing something favorable toward Zimmerman, warned everyone not to be "distracted by the details" -- his exact phrase. The other pundits agreed, all of them foaming at the mouth in their ignorance. It's all quite a spectacle.

And speaking of Lothaire Bluteau -- I loved him in Jesus of Montreal, and he also made an appearance in several episodes of The Tudors.
I don't want Zimmerman's head and I would not advocate violence against him.

On the other hand, we absolutely MUST address how this entire case was handled.

We don't know... but I can tell you for certain... if the shooter had been Trayvon and the dead person Zimmerman... Trayvon would have been charged that same night no matter WHAT the alleged justification for the killing was.

Contrary to popular belief, Justice isn't blind and there's NO justice in the United States when you are "not white" - which is WHY there is so much public outrage over this case.
That center paragraph should read "There is so much we don't know" - I think my fingers were moving faster than my brain.
" . . . Trayvon would have been charged that same night no matter WHAT the alleged justification for the killing was."

That's an interesting theory, and also a popular theory. It is also total speculation about a situation that did not occur. No one knows what would have happened had the races or ethnicities been reversed.
Mrs. Raptor~
I understand and empathize with your POV in this matter. IMO these crowds of chanting, placard carriers are seeking satisfaction rather than justice---and "satisfaction" is never "justice", except in a duel. Additionally, I suspect from years of laboring in the vineyards of civil rights, that the rush to judgment in this sad, frenetic tale will boomerang on the very people seeking satisfaction.
I don't think that Twitter comments are the equivalent of a mob.

Look, people are talking about this case. They have strong opinions. The great majority of people are believers in due process (and even if they're not, due process will still exite in spite of them), and they're still talking about it passionately. One does not necessarily preclude the other. Zimmerman will have his day in court.

"exist" (still wishing for a "preview" button)
Jeanette DeMain~
Swift justice is still patient. I wish I shared your positive take on the twitter-verse but I've seen and heard people repeating scenarios of pure hearsay that have acquired the indisputable quality of established fact . Often there have been competing and conflicting versions of the "truth". And when calmer heads call for patience and prudence, they're accused of shilling for the far right. Furthermore, when an alternate version of the facts is reported by someone outside the crowd, they get shouted down and shunned. What would you call that.
I would call that the internet.

I'm not always crazy about it myself, but I do think that the republic will survive.
Mich... we DO know what would have happened if the races were reversed... the historical data shows clearly what would have happened had the person laying dead been white. It's acceptable for someone who is white to "defend" their home or their life... but NOT acceptable for anyone else. That's a FACT demonstrated clearly over the last 500 years - and no amount of twisting can change it.

The judging and finding guilty without trial continues TODAY ... witness Zimmerman's acknowledged judgement that Trayvon was NOT innocently walking down the sidewalk on a rainy night - judgement made because of the color of Trayvon's skin and what he was wearing. Witness as well the *demands* that there be RECEIPTS for the skittles and the tea Trayvon was carrying - demands made simply because the dead child is NOT WHITE.

Yes, I want JUSTICE for a kid named Trayvon Martin... And unfortunately, I know it's not going to happen - not because Zimmerman is not guilty of murder (the minute he got out of the vehicle he became the aggressor) but because the kid who is dead is not white.

Yes, I'm cynical... but I am not cynical without very good reason.

In the final analysis though... Zimmerman will have to explain to GOD why he chose to murder an innocent... and frankly I figure the punishment GOD metes out is going to be far worse than ANY punishment mere man can come up with.
Yes, MrsRapto…and you are not alone in being cynical and disturbed by this event.

Lary, I understand all these niceties you are championing…and I have on many occasions spoke out for the same principles. But I think a good deal more understanding of the emotions this incident provoked is in order also.

I am not a liberal, but one does not have to be far left to see the “complexities” of this case are not entirely complex.

This was a young black male walking in the American south. He was followed—indeed, STALKED, by someone who had to look menacing to damn near anyone Zimmerman decided to stalk. My guess is that Martin was intimidated.

Regardless of what happened leading up to the shooting and death of an unarmed young man…everyone should be upset, disturbed, and cynical about what happened afterwards.

To suppose looking at this scenario and becoming angry, disturbed, cynical, and vocal about is somehow equivalent to being irrational or mean-spirited…is itself irrational and mean-spirited.

And to suppose for one second that things would not be different if the roles had been reversed is naiveté on a cosmic scale.

Time for everyone thinking as you do to dismount from their high horse.
Lary9 and mishima666,

I agree there are a lot of details most of these demosntrators do not know.

On the other hand, without all of these demonstrators, would anyone in authority even be trying to find out?
MrsRaptor writes: "Mich... we DO know what would have happened if the races were reversed... the historical data shows clearly what would have happened had the person laying dead been white."

Once again, no. Zimmerman wasn't arrested because under Florida law the police have to have probable cause in order to arrest someone once a claim of self-defense has been made. Based on what the police discovered that night they didn't have probable cause. They may eventually have probable cause, but they didn't have it that night.

"2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful." [Fla. Stat. § 776.032. Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force]

The myths surrounding the case continue to crumble. People were outraged because the police didn't take Zimmerman's clothing for crime lab analysis. Now the Chicago Tribune reports that "they took his clothing as well as Trayvon's and packaged it for crime-lab analysis."

This case is starting to resemble the Tawana Brawley case. And like the Tawana Brawley case, some of the people most outraged seem virtually immune to the facts. People get to a point at which they have so much invested in a particular narrative that they are unable to move beyond it.

I repeat again: at this point no one knows enough about this case to come to a definitive conclusion concerning the guilt or innocence of George Zimmerman.

Tawana Brawley? Is the young Mr. Martin going to return and tell us this has been a hoax? While you tell everyone there isn't enough evidence to know what happened you haven't missed an opportunity to impune Mr. Martin.
Tawana Brawley in the sense that accusations are made that are eventually proven to be untrue, the involvement of Al Sharpton, the outrage before the facts are known, staying with the old narrative even once facts are known, and so on.

If Zimmerman's account is true -- and that is still a big if -- then Martin is hardly the saintly child that has been portrayed. I'm not impugning Martin. It's just that based on all the evidence that we have at this point, I don't think that prejudging Zimmerman as guilty is appropriate. If it turns out that Zimmerman was in the wrong, that's fine with me too.
Jeanette DeMain~
Sure...the Republic will survive. I'm just not so sure about 'me'.
Frank Apisa~
No thanks...I'll stay mounted and advocate for due process. Like I said, justice is careful and patient. Otherwise, justice doesn't get served, people just get satisfied and think it's justice.
Has everyone who's chiming in seen and heard the toxic protests and promotions of this event? It's all quite over the top and. IMHO, it delays and inhibits justice.

Mr. Zimmerman's story and Mr. Martin's saintliness have no relation to each other do they? Mr. Zimmerman's guilt or innocence isn't based on how bad a trouble Mr. Martin has been in does it? Then why such a concerted effort to prove Mr. Martin wasn't a saint? all...I agree that good, old fashioned rabble-rousing is always good to raise levels of awareness...that much is true.
Anthony Duval~
That is also part of my brief calling for due process.
Frank Apisa
"...thinking as you do..."
You know how I think, do you? Then you should deduce that I'm for one thing and one thing only...due process and no trials by media circuses or public juries. Other than that, pray tell what else do I think? (No cheating...don't skip ahead and peek...)
Lary wrote:

Frank Apisa~
No thanks...I'll stay mounted and advocate for due process.

I advocate for due process also. Nothing I said suggests otherwise. But to suggest that consternation with the event…and anger toward the initial reaction of authorities is mostly “irrational and mean-spirited” is off base...and I took objection.

In my opinion, you went overboard.

Frank Apisa
"...thinking as you do..."
You know how I think, do you? Then you should deduce that I'm for one thing and one thing only...due process and no trials by media circuses or public juries. Other than that, pray tell what else do I think? (No cheating...don't skip ahead and peek...)

You know I was speaking just about your published thoughts on this particular issue...and not about some ESP knowledge of what you think. But I guess pretending I was meaning something else makes sense to you. So fine, go for it.
One last thing:

Some of us are meeting Saturday afternoon at McGarry's Pub right across the street from Madison Square Garden on 9th Avenue. I'll buy the Guiness. 2:00 pm...for an hour or two.

You can get the train in Sterling and be in town in less than an hour. I'm coming in from the Dunellen station on another line. Cranky Cuss, Designanator and some other OSers will be there. A good group. PM me if you can make it.
The single most important fact in this case, which has already been irrefutably established by the 911 call when the dispatcher essentially told Zimmerman not to pursue, is that Zimmerman was not "standing his ground" when he pursued Trayvon Martin, who was fleeing and had no weapons. Any liability for Martin's death lies solely on Zimmerman's actions and are not mitigated by anything Martin did. If anything, the so-called "Stand Your Ground Law" justifies anything Martin did to defend himself. This is why the outrage; the facts are clear and they have not been acted upon responsibly. "Due process" in this case necessitates that Zimmerman be detained, charged, and put on trial. That has not happened. Why not?
Rick Lucke~
Not to belabor the point, but he said "We don't NEED you to do that."
It isn't much but it's enough of a nuanced statement within the context of the rest of the call to raise in a court of law. The policeman clearly displayed an attitude of "needful" inquiry over the phone up to that point. It made it easier for Z. to ignore it since he may not have thought it carried much of a directive. See my point?
Frank Apisa~
Read your comments and replied with a message.
It doesn't matter, Larry, how you choose to parse words; what is established is that Zimmerman was not "standing his ground" he was "following" Martin -- that is irrefutable, as he states clearly that's what he is doing. It is, btw, standard police procedure to instruct security personnel NOT to pursue or to engage if it is at all possible to avoid it. There simply is no way Zimmerman can argue self-defense in light of facts already in evidence.
Rick Luck
You've misunderstood my point. Perhaps I didn't parse it clearly enough. I loathe the SYG laws and adamantly agree that Trayvon Martin is clearly the wronged party and victim here. I'm just suggesting that Zimmerman is not alone in his accountability for this tragedy.
Rick Luck
You've misunderstood my point. Perhaps I didn't parse it clearly enough. I loathe the SYG laws and adamantly agree that Trayvon Martin is clearly the wronged party and victim here. I'm just suggesting that Zimmerman is not alone in his accountability for this tragedy.
You are totally correct! Spot on! With all due respect to all of this, it never fails to amaze me how people talk, talk, talk, about this case and it’s mostly race, race, race– which is totally legitimate for that is the ugly underbelly in America. This infestation of racism pollutes our body politic and is a disgrace on a great Nation.

But what troubles me most is that people also talk, and jabber hysterically about this law when they haven’t even troubled themselves to go read the freakin’ statute  so they might at least have a thimble full of knowledge demonstrating they have a clue what they are talking about.  Essentially it comes down to what Randolph McLaughlin, attorney for the family of Kenneth Chamberlain said speaking about that case on Democracy Now and comparing the police there to Zimmerman here. You can’t provoke a situation and then respond to it, "Oh, I had to use deadly force to protect myself."  That really is all of it in a nutshell. Superbly stated.

But if we are going to trash a law (when the real trash is law enforcement) we should at least go read it. This is easy. This is not rocket science.  If anyone is going publish their opinions credibility helps.  The law in question here is really simple enough for a 17-year old to understand.

Read "Trayvon Martin: Defense a Pig-Sty Beneath a Racist Facade?"  as well as the follow up commentary and I think you will agree that the ONLY person who can rely on this law as a defense is Trayvon Martin.

Indeed, even as to the alleged fight that broke out the legal consequence is the same. Under the plain and simple language of this law and the facts as we know them, The ONLY man with a right to stand his ground was Trayvon Martin and the only one legally authorized by law to meet force with force as that 6' 3" 140 lg boy against a 5. 9' 240lb gorilla with a gun.  

“Suspicion” will NOT suffice under this statute. Read it. Much more  must be specifically shown.  Did Trayvon fight back? Is this even a relevant question? If you were 140 lb  skinny teenager  displaying none of the BEHAVIOR SPECIFICALLY required before one can even evoke this statute (just read it!) and 250 gorilla jumps out of a car and comes after you as you are retreated from his aggression what would you do?  What would and person do? Waht they have a right to! Stand your ground and meet force with force if necessary to prevent great bodily harm.

Notice, once you read this simple and clear law, one person and one person only has the factual and legal right to assert on their behalf.  And that ONE person was Travyon Martin.  I rest my case.