I appreciate your raising the question “was this [killing of Trayvon Martin] a hate crime?”, but in my opinion your editorial is as skewed as you portray the media to be. From the many inaccuracies and misstatements in your piece, here are a couple of the most critical ones that I hope will cause you to take a second look at your analysis of the Trayvon Martin case. First, you put quotes around the words “profiled and stalked” as if Zimmerman did not actually profile or stalk Martin. We know for a fact that he profiled Martin as a suspicious person, in his words “up to no good”, who Zimmerman thought may have been high (refer to the 911 recording). We know that Martin was stalked because Zimmerman got out of his car, told the dispatcher that Martin was running, and finally caught up with Martin several yards away. Next, you mention only two pieces of physical evidence recovered from the crime scene. What you fail to notice is that the bullet lodged in Martin’s chest is a piece of physical evidence- in fact, the most important one. The last error I will point out, is the point at which you contradict your own viewpoint (where you believe there is no solid evidence in anyone’s favor) by introducing a “possible scenario”. Here, the words you choose make a solid case for Zimmerman having committed murder. By saying that Martin was “confronted” by a “follower” (another word for stalker), you create a scenario where Zimmerman was the aggressor and that Martin was rightly defending himself. This is no doubt a case of murder (in the second degree). Whether or not it is a hate crime depends on how you interpret Zimmerman’s comment to the dispatcher “they always get away”.
Sean McElroy, website
I appreciate the criticism of the piece, though I think you have misread a few points. My use of quotes for “profiled and stalked” is not to excuse Zimmerman for following Martin, but the events immediately after the 911 call are subject to witness testimony which has changed several times, see my link in the piece. Zimmerman was indeed reckless to disregard the 911 dispatcher. However, “profiled and stalked” suggests far more predatory behavior than investigating/following a person who looks “up to no good,” which is why I compared Martin’s death to Anderson’s hate-murder (a wholly malicious crime not in the least concerned with stopping a potential criminal).
I only mention the two pieces of evidence relative to my editorial. I did not think it necessary to mention the bullet since no one has disputed that Zimmerman killed Martin with a pistol. The key question is this: to what extent was the killing self defense and by how much, if any, will those circumstances ameliorate Zimmerman’s sentence? I included the physical wounds to show that Zimmerman may have been injured in one of two ways: 1) he may have been assaulted by Martin and fired in “self defense” or 2) he may have assaulted Martin, was on the losing end of a fight he chose, and so fired in “self defense.” The latter will carry a far heavier sentence than the former.
My goal with the piece was to challenge the idea of this killing as a “hate crime.” I would say no sane observer believes Zimmerman is wholly innocent. But when you suggest that I contradict my own viewpoint, I am using the unknown exchange between Zimmerman and Martin to impugn the idea of interpreting this killing as somehow racially motivated. We don’t know what was said or what happened between them. (I also never once questioned the idea of this as a case of second degree murder.) Lastly, I find it rather difficult to take seriously your idea that interpretation of Zimmerman’s comment (“they always get away”) carries the weight of a hate crime. If Zimmerman believed Martin was a burglar, then his statement that “they always get away” is overwhelmingly true–the FBI claims that roughly 1 in 10 burglaries are ever solved. Either way, “they always get away” is not in any way slanderous to any race and therefore not indicative of a racial killing.
Many of the “Occupy Groups” are decried for their claimed “Wealth Redistribution” aims. Most who decry them don’t really have an idea what the actual wealth distribution is in the United States. Answer this question before you read further. How much wealth (meaning money, land and assets) are controlled by the wealthiest 20% in our nation? If you guessed 50%, you are too low. If you guessed 80% you are still too low. It is actually 88%!
We live on a limited resource in the middle of nowhere. Sustainability, living sustainably, is the most direct, simplest behavior that we can enact to assure the near term survival of the human species. Make no mistake, we are at risk. This is in essence what the majority of participants in the various “Occupy” movements recognize.
Charles A. Bowsher
Be like Don Pratt
I am a fairly well known conservative analyst, and veteran. I knew Don Pratt from 1964 through his wife who was a classmate of mine. By 1968 anti-war protesters were generally separated into those who had deep convictions about the war, many with no marxist leanings whatsoever, and those with other items on their agenda, including a general fear of the inconveniences of military service (bill Clinton comes to mind.)…a kind of moral cowardice. And a few skipped to Canada.
I never knew Don Pratt’s politics, but that was a time a when one could stand for a thing, ending racial bias, or the war, without having any greater political agenda. I doubt that’s possible now, but he was (is) a man of courage, and quiet dignity. Everyone who ever met him wanted to be just like him.
Vassar Bushmils, online
Damn, now more to live up to! I thank you, Vassar, and am still NOTHING but a human being and being for justice and more.
Off racing to get prepared for another foster son coming into my home and to pick up a sign protesting the local governments waste on a phony “Arts District”. WOW, how life is exciting!
And I must take time to say SINCERE thanks.
You didn’t even mention the lameness of “Big Blue”, that UK blue colored horse that is supposed to be our mascot or something. And in the long list of embarrassing historical mentions you left out the bluegrass conspiracy. Everybody knows about Henry Clay and Jefferson Davis, but what mention do you see of Cassius Clay (the original)? Maybe there is a historical marker somewhere, but this dude ought to have a statue!
College sport citizens
Hard to add any meaningful words to this well-written, prize worthy article.
Crane Station, Smirking Chimp blog
You have it absolutely one hundred per cent correct.The booster of a brand.The kind of citizen who, even if he becomes politically aware or engaged,goes no further than putting on a team jersey and cheering for ”his side”—no matter what ”his side” is actually doing.Civil liberties can be gutted, for example and the practitioners of such politics are outraged–if it isn’t their team doing it, but when it is, they cheer for their team/party, leader/coach, make excuses, and keep shut.
The kind of citizen who can become a cheap hooligan at a moment’s notice.
Hardly the kind of citizen Thomas Jefferson hoped the republic would have.
MizzGrizz, Smirking Chimp blog
Michael Marchman, our man in Amsterdam, dropped a line to let us know of some corrections:
A couple of minor clarifications/corrections…
1. Romao is not exactly an “amateur filmmaker” as the article suggests. He has, in fact, worked in journalism for many years although this is his first documentary film.
2. The article implies that the film was made on a very small budget. In fact, Romao was supported/funded (in part) by Portuguese public television, which has aired the film.
Apologies to Romao for these mischaracterizations.